Sunday, September 15, 2019

Gloom! Another attempt to demonize air pollution in the USA fails

They do not mention it in their conclusions below but I have put a rubric on the important finding: By the conclusion of the study, fine particulate air pollution (fine soot) was NOT associated with emphysema.

The pollution that Greenies rage about is fine particle (PM2.5) pollution in the atmosphere.  Such pollution is rather heavily emitted by motor vehicles and we all know what Greenies think of motor vehicles -- as they drive off in their Volvos or try to deny what is the major source of power in their Priuses.

And one of the nastiest forms of lung damage is emphysema. Emphysemics feel fairly well but struggle even to get up a flight of stairs, which is super frustrating.  So Greenies are certain  that America's polluted skies must cause emphysema.  But the study below says not so.  How frustrating!  It's actually heavy smokers who get emphysema

Association Between Long-term Exposure to Ambient Air Pollution and Change in Quantitatively Assessed Emphysema and Lung Function

By Meng Wang et al.


Importance:  While air pollutants at historical levels have been associated with cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, it is not known whether exposure to contemporary air pollutant concentrations is associated with progression of emphysema.

Objective:  To assess the longitudinal association of ambient ozone (O3), fine particulate matter (PM2.5), oxides of nitrogen (NOx), and black carbon exposure with change in percent emphysema assessed via computed tomographic (CT) imaging and lung function.

Design, Setting, and Participants:  This cohort study included participants from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) Air and Lung Studies conducted in 6 metropolitan regions of the United States, which included 6814 adults aged 45 to 84 years recruited between July 2000 and August 2002, and an additional 257 participants recruited from February 2005 to May 2007, with follow-up through November 2018.

Exposures:  Residence-specific air pollutant concentrations (O3, PM2.5, NOx, and black carbon) were estimated by validated spatiotemporal models incorporating cohort-specific monitoring, determined from 1999 through the end of follow-up.

Main Outcomes and Measures:  Percent emphysema, defined as the percent of lung pixels less than −950 Hounsfield units, was assessed up to 5 times per participant via cardiac CT scan (2000-2007) and equivalent regions on lung CT scans (2010-2018). Spirometry was performed up to 3 times per participant (2004-2018).

Results:  Among 7071 study participants (mean [range] age at recruitment, 60 [45-84] years; 3330 [47.1%] were men), 5780 were assigned outdoor residential air pollution concentrations in the year of their baseline examination and during the follow-up period and had at least 1 follow-up CT scan, and 2772 had at least 1 follow-up spirometric assessment, over a median of 10 years.

Median percent emphysema was 3% at baseline and increased a mean of 0.58 percentage points per 10 years. Mean ambient concentrations of PM2.5 and NOx, but not O3, decreased substantially during follow-up. Ambient concentrations of O3, PM2.5, NOx, and black carbon at study baseline were significantly associated with greater increases in percent emphysema per 10 years (O3: 0.13 per 3 parts per billion [95% CI, 0.03-0.24]; PM2.5: 0.11 per 2 μg/m3 [95% CI, 0.03-0.19]; NOx: 0.06 per 10 parts per billion [95% CI, 0.01-0.12]; black carbon: 0.10 per 0.2 μg/m3 [95% CI, 0.01-0.18]).

Ambient O3 and NOx concentrations, but not PM2.5 concentrations, during follow-up were also significantly associated with greater increases in percent emphysema. 

Ambient O3 concentrations, but not other pollutants, at baseline and during follow-up were significantly associated with a greater decline in forced expiratory volume in 1 second per 10 years (baseline: 13.41 mL per 3 parts per billion [95% CI, 0.7-26.1]; follow-up: 18.15 mL per 3 parts per billion [95% CI, 1.59-34.71]).

Conclusions and Relevance:  In this cohort study conducted between 2000 and 2018 in 6 US metropolitan regions, long-term exposure to ambient air pollutants was significantly associated with increasing emphysema assessed quantitatively using CT imaging and lung function.


Morano debates hurricanes & ‘climate change’ with U. of Maryland Professor on Eric Bolling’s TV Show

Broadcast September 3, 2019 – America This Week – Eric Bolling

Bolling was joined in this debate by Fernando Miralles-Wilhelm and, the chairman of the Atmospheric and Oceanic Science Department at the University of Maryland and Marc Morano the founder of ClimateDepot.


Extreme weather expert Dr. Roger Pielke Jr.: On hurricanes – and more generally, tropical cyclones — we are fortunate that there have been two recent consensus statements of experts produced by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO, Part 1 and Part 2) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). These statements, along with the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and U.S. National Climate Assessment (USNCA) provide a robust and reliable guide to the current views of relevant experts on the science of hurricanes and climate change.

NOAA concludes “an anthropogenic influence has not been formally detected for hurricane precipitation,” but finds it likely that increases will occur this century. Similarly, the WMO concluded, “no observational studies have provided convincing evidence of a detectable anthropogenic influence specifically on hurricane-related precipitation,” but also that an increase should be expected this century…The WMO assessment concludes: “anthropogenic signals are not yet clearly detectable in observations for most TC (tropical cyclones) metrics.”

The U.S. National Climate Assessment concurred, explaining that there is agreement on predictions for a future increase in hurricane-related rainfall, but “a limiting factor for confidence in the results is the lack of a supporting detectable anthropogenic contribution in observed tropical cyclone data.” … The USNCA agrees: “A key uncertainty in tropical cyclones (TCs) is the lack of a supporting detectable anthropogenic signal in the historical data to add further confidence to these projections [of the future].”

Hurricane Dorian stats: – 185 mph lifetime maximum sustained winds – tied with Gilbert (1988) and Wilma (2005) for the 2nd strongest maximum sustained winds in the Atlantic basin since 1950. Allen (1980) had maximum sustained winds of 190 mph. – 910 hPa lifetime minimum central pressure – tied for 9th lowest pressure

The Deeply Destructive Climate Change Litigation Game

Voters and their elected representatives can be stubbornly uncooperative with interest groups pursuing the achievement of specific policy ends. “Heavy lifting” is the only way to describe an effort to forge a Congressional coalition in support of specific legislation, and “herculean” is the proper adjective for a campaign to elect legislative majorities inclined to support it.

This is particularly the case in the context of climate policies intended to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG). Such legislative efforts have been rejected by voters and by Congress several times. So what is a pressure group convinced of the truth of its climate arguments, the urgent necessity of its own policy aims, and the nefarious nature of its opponents---“Big Oil”--- to do?

For much of the policy community arguing the crucial imperative of “action” on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the perfidy of the oil industry, this gordian knot can be cut only with litigation, that is, policymaking by the judiciary. A central example of an organization advocating such climate litigation at the municipal level and among state attorneys general calls itself Climate Communications and Law (CCL), about which more below. The behavior and motivations of such groups as CCL deserve far more scrutiny than reporters and other observers have offered.

For now it is more central to examine the pitfalls of litigation masquerading as policy formulation, on the general theory that the production (not consumption) of fossil fuels has created a large “public nuisance” in the form of such climate risks as flooding in coastal regions and the like. At the most basic level, it is obvious that no coherent policy on GHG emissions can emerge from dozens of lawsuits against the producers of fossil fuels filed in state or federal courts alleging “public nuisance” harm. This reality alone makes it clear that the reduction of GHG emissions, supposedly one of the central aims of the litigation strategy, in reality is a sideshow. Far more fundamental, apart from a straightforward money grab, are the ideological goals of hammering the fossil-fuel industry narrowly, and of politicizing and rationing energy use more broadly, and thus reducing the private-sector freedom, enterprise, productive efficiency, and market exchange that abundant energy supplies facilitate.

There is the further matter that that “Big Oil” is so small a part of global industrial operations that elimination of the GHG missions from consumption of the fuels produced by those producers would have virtually no impact on climate phenomena. Whatever the current or prospective harms caused by GHG emissions: Can anyone argue seriously that Big Oil is responsible for all of them? What about other fossil-fuel producers---Aramco and the Russian oil and gas industry and many others come to mind---and agricultural activities, cement production, coal output, ad infinitum? That the litigation is being aimed at only the five or so large producers actually vulnerable in American courts speaks volumes about the pecuniary, ideological, and political imperatives actually underlying this effort. Or is it the goal of the groups promoting such litigation to win these suits and then take aim at one economic sector after another, thus imposing massive losses upon the U.S. economy writ large?

It is no small source of amusement that the plaintiff cities and states being encouraged to file GHG lawsuits have been large consumers of fossil fuels for many decades. Why are they not responsible for climate phenomena? And the same question applies to all other consumers of fossil fuels, which means every single person and business, literally. Obviously, the litigation strategy aimed only at Big Oil is designed to avoid a massive political pushback. The groups promoting such litigation are engaged in self-deception if they believe that a large increase in fuel prices caused by litigation losses will fail to engender a firestorm in Congress, led by policymakers representing producers and consumers of fossil fuels. The tobacco settlement from 1998 will not prove to be a useful model; far fewer people were involved in the production and consumption of cigarettes.

The argument that Big Oil “knew” in the 1980s the adverse effects of GHG emissions in this century is preposterous: Even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its most recent assessment report discusses large uncertainties about prospective effects on sea levels and the like. Because the uses of crude oil and natural gas are myriad---fuels, petrochemicals, plastics, and on and on---with GHG emissions outcomes that vary tremendously---litigation, again, is deeply dubious as a regulatory tool. If GHG emissions are likely to result in substantial harm---a premise that is very far from obvious---then it is clear that regulation driven by real expertise and the standard public-notice-and-comment requirements of administrative law would be vastly superior in terms of balancing the benefits and costs of fossil-fuel use.

That the organizations promoting such a litigation approach are driven by ideological imperatives is no secret, as they are supported largely by left-wing foundations and other groups deeply opposed to fossil fuels as a matter of principle. CCL is one such group; it is headed by a former Greenpeace activist. Interestingly enough, CCL has been accused credibly of violating Maryland law on the operations of charitable organizations, even as CCL accuses Big Oil of violating the common law of public nuisance. Whatever the legal realities of CCL’s operations, it is obvious that CCL is attempting to skirt the legal processes delineated in the constitution---actual legislation enacted by Congress and implemented by the executive branch---in its crusade against the oil industry. Not one of us will be safe if it succeeds.


AOC Gets Blasted by Legendary Environmentalist for Her Lies About Hurricanes & Global Warming

Bjorn Lomborg has been an environmentalist for decades. He’s also been fighting environmentalists for decades.

The Danish writer and academic has been putting environmentalists’ claims to the twin tests of reason and mathematics for over 20 years, and while the results have been overwhelmingly positive for the truth, they have been downright brutal for uninformed, emotional and often extreme green activists.

Over the weekend, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez found herself in the dead center of Lomborg’s sights, a place no thinking person would ever want to be.

In response to the devastation wrought by Hurricane Dorian, the Democratic wunderkind wrote, “This is what climate change looks like.”

The only problem is that that is decidedly not what climate change looks like. AOC’s postulation was wrong. Very wrong. And Lomborg was ready for her.

In response to AOC’s silliness, Lomborg wrote in the New York Post that “[there were] only three major hurricanes greater than a Category 3 to hit the continental US in the last 13 years. That’s a record low since 1900. For comparison, the average over the same timeframe has been nearly eight major hurricanes.”

If AOC actually wanted to show what alleged climate change looks like, she could have shown a picture of the Bahamas but also included pictures of other coastal locations that are flourishing, because we’re actually down five massive hurricanes from average.

Want to really blow a leftist environmentalist’s mind? Tell him he’s right about climate change but that it’s also producing fewer destructive hurricanes.

That poor leftist will melt down faster than if you had asked him to explain why homosexuality is hard-coded by biology but sex isn’t.

Want to take that even further? Accuse him of wanting more hurricanes. Because if he’s right that today’s climate is less desirable than yesterday’s, then he’s necessarily arguing that a world with more hurricanes is more desirable than a world with fewer.

Environmentalists might argue that a world with more but less damaging hurricanes would be better than a world with fewer but more damaging hurricanes.

The only problem is that that’s not likely to be true either.

Lomborg cedes the point that climate change — which he believes is happening — will likely make hurricanes stronger. But he follows that up by saying that “a major study in Nature showed hurricane damage today runs the world about 0.04 percent of GDP. Accounting for growth in prosperity (which means more resilience), by 2100 this would drop to 0.01 percent. And the effect of global warming making storms fewer but stronger will see damage end up around 0.02 percent.”

The point here that Lomborg doesn’t make (though to be fair it’s not the point he set out to make) is that Ocasio-Cortez and her ilk aren’t just wrong about climate change. They’re very wrong. They’re radically wrong.

Things are better now than they have ever been in the entire history of the planet. Every day 100,000 people are lifted out of the grinding poverty that has defined nearly all of human history.  Those people will nurture new ideas, invent new technologies, produce new products and increase global wealth. Things will get better and things will continue getting better.

The question isn’t how we’ll deal with an impending climate disaster. The question is why in the world we are talking about crippling the capitalist system that’s rescuing people from poverty so that we can protect them from environmental disasters that will never happen.

If AOC actually wanted to help those suffering from deprivation and devastation, she would push for as purely capitalist a society as possible, because capitalism results in wealth and increased charity. It was during the 19th century — the time when America came as close as ever to pure free-market capitalism — that the greatest development of charity ever occurred, as Thomas Sowell has written.

But Ocasio-Cortez doesn’t actually care about lifting people out of poverty. She cares about sinking people into poverty — equally. That is the defining real-life attribute of socialism.

Its proponents may suggest socialism will result in wealth for all, but in practice, it results in brutal poverty for all, save a minute ruling elite. Yes, there’s equality, but it’s not equality in prosperity. It’s equality in poverty — every time.

Climate change somehow fueling killer hurricanes is a complete and utter fraud — just like AOC.


The Australian Energy Market Operator slashes output of five big solar farms by half due to voltage issues

The unstable output from them means their role has to be limited

The Australian Energy Market Operator has taken the dramatic move of slashing the allowable output from five solar farms in Victoria and NSW by half, because of issues over “system strength” that appear to have suddenly emerged.

The solar farms involved are Broken Hill in NSW, and the Karadoc, Wemen, Bannerton and Gannawarra solar farms in north west Victoria. The constraint limiting them to just half of their nominated capacity came into effect at 12pm on Friday

It is the latest in a series of blows to the solar industry, which has been afflicted by connection and commissioning delays, resulting in a blow out of costs and claims of damages to construction firms, as well as big changes to marginal loss factors, and the requirement for some to spend lots of money on synchronous condensers or other machinery.

To add to their woes, many solar farms in Queensland and South Australia have been forced to switch off during periods of negative pricing, either because they are required to do so under their off-take agreements, or because they are not willing to pay others to take their output over sustained periods.

Most of the solar farms affected by this latest ruling have been operating for some time – and in the case of the 53MW Broken Hill solar farm for four years. But it seems that the issue only emerged in a review just recently.

Some complained about the “blanket” approach to the constraints, but apparently it is difficult for AEMO to apply individual constraints in this instance. They wanted the issue resolved as soon as possible because of the potential revenue impacts. There is also concern about “contagion” into other regions.

The general market advice came in an oblique and typically coded market notice issued by AEMO just after 12pm. However, in a statement issued to stakeholders late Thursday, AEMO said it was working closely with a “number of solar farms” and network service providers to manage identified voltage fluctuations in north-west Victoria and NSW.

“Close analysis and management of this issue is required to ensure power system security across the associated parts of the Victorian and NSW 220kV electricity network,” it says.

“Until the fluctuations are resolved, AEMO will need to partially constrain the affected generators to manage power system security. AEMO has been working closely with all impacted generators, and anticipates an expedited remediation, reducing the impact and timeframe of required constraints.”

People involved say that the issue was raised in the last couple of weeks, and a solution is being worked on. But some expressed surprise the constraint was being imposed on solar installations that had been in operation for more than a year.



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