Sunday, September 29, 2019

The actual problem with the Green New Deal

It's not green

UK: Both here and in the US there’s this thing called the Green New Deal. A vast and transformative project to, well, actually, to move the world over to an entirely different economic structure. The claimed justification being the need to deal with climate change. Caroline Lucas is to launch the proposal for legislation. There’s a problem with it though:

It’s been more than 10 years in the making, and is the top demand of the youth strikers gathering on Friday for the UK’s largest ever climate protest – which is why Friday is also the first attempt in Britain to put legislation in place to make a Green New Deal a reality for our country. Working with the Labour MP Clive Lewis, I am launching the full version of a Green New Deal bill (formal title, the decarbonisation and economic strategy bill), which sets out a transformative programme driven by the principles of justice and equity. It aims to move our economy away from its harmful dependence on carbon, at the scale and speed demanded by the science, and to build a society that lives within its ecological limits while reversing social and economic inequality.

The problem being that selection of words, justice, equity, social, economic, inequality. None of which have anything to do with climate change of course.

Assume that we do have that technical problem of climate change, as the IPCC avers. The science of how to deal with it is well known. It’s a technical problem with a technical solution, the carbon tax. As we have droned boringly on about for at least the past decade.

There is nothing at all within this solution that requires the following:

"and the eradication of inequality"

Climate change is being used as an excuse to impose an extremely partial meaning of the words  justice, equity, social, economic, inequality. A meaning which very large portions of the population don’t agree with  - as evidenced by the fact that no plurality, let alone majority, has ever voted to impose the meanings being used here upon us all.

For that reason, if no other, the proposal must be rejected.

There are, of course, other reasons too. Like the manner in which all of the science of climate change - William Nordhaus, The Stern Review, the IPCC’s own reports and economic models - say that this isn’t even the correct way to deal with climate change itself. The carbon tax is.

We’re in a Rahm Emmanuel world here, never letting a crisis go to waste. The correct response to such manipulations being an Anglo Saxon wave and then going off to do the right thing instead.


Capitalism Against Climate Change

Capitalism, not socialism, will produce the technology to address environmental concerns. 

The UN’s International Panel on Climate Change recently released a report claiming that the world’s oceans are warming to an alarming degree. “The oceans are sending us so many warning signals that we need to get emissions under control,” claimed the report’s lead author, marine biologist Hans-Otto Portner. “Ecosystems are changing, food webs are changing, fish stocks are changing, and this turmoil is affecting humans.”

The New York Times informs us, “The report, which was written by more than 100 international experts and is based on more than 7,000 studies, represents the most extensive look to date at the effects of climate change on oceans, ice sheets, mountain snowpack and permafrost.”

The report asserts that if fossil-fuel emissions continue their rapid rise, then “the maximum amount of fish in the ocean that can be sustainably caught could decrease by as much as a quarter by century’s end.” One of the report’s coauthors, Michael Oppenheimer, argued, “The oceans and the icy parts of the world are in big trouble and that means we’re all in big trouble, too. The changes are accelerating.”

Quick, somebody tell Barack Obama that he’ll need a supply of sandbags for his new $15 million oceanfront home.

Meanwhile, in Washington, DC, climate protesters physically blocked roads Monday, stopping traffic for hours. At least one of them held up a sign saying, “Capitalism Is Killing The Planet.” Actually, capitalism is the way to save the planet. And as we’ve repeatedly noted, the real motivation behind all this environmental activism is not the environment at all; rather it’s an excuse to push the socialist agenda. Yet as Murray Feshbach and Alfred Friendly wrote in their 1992 book entitled Ecocide in the USSR: Health and Nature Under Siege, “When historians finally conduct an autopsy of the Soviet Union and Soviet Communism, they may reach the verdict of death by ecocide. For the modern era, indeed for any event except the mysterious collapse of the Mayan empire, it would be a unique but not an implausible conclusion.”

What Feshbach and Alfred point out is the fact that communism, not capitalism, was proved to be massively damaging to the environment and people. “No other great industrial civilization so systematically and so long poisoned its land, air, water, and people” as the Soviet Union. Not coincidentally, the world is now seeing a similar disregard for the environment from the central planners in communist China.

By 2017, U.S. carbon emission had dropped to 1993 levels. According to economist Mark Perry, “For that impressive ‘greening’ of America, we can thank the underground oceans of America’s natural gas that are now accessible because of the revolutionary, advanced drilling and extraction technologies of hydraulic fracking and horizontal/directional drilling, and are increasingly displacing coal for the nation’s electricity generation.”

In other words, capitalism and free enterprise will enrich more people and provide more solutions for our planet’s issues than any socialist pipe dream, all the promises of the “Green New Deal” notwithstanding.


Fracking Ban Proposed By 2020 Dems Would Kill Millions of Jobs

Fracking has put U.S. on path to energy independence, lowering carbon emissions

A proposed fracking ban put forward by leading Democratic presidential candidates would have a devastating impact on U.S. jobs, energy independence, and even national security, according to several studies.

Reports from the American Petroleum Institute, Independent Petroleum Association of America, and U.S. Chamber of Commerce painted a stark picture of the economic fallout from ending fracking, a process which has transformed the United States into the top oil and natural gas producer in the world.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), and Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) are among eight remaining 2020 candidates who have called for an all-out ban on fracking, despite the fact that the drilling method has put the United States on a path to energy independence. The practice has also led to cleaner energy alternatives and lower carbon emissions, a key goal of climate change activists.

Fracking, also known as hydraulic fracturing, is a drilling and extraction method of releasing oil and gas from underground shale rocks, using high-pressure liquid to break them apart.

Environmental opponents argue fracking's positives are offset by issues such as contamination of drinking water, air pollution, methane leaks, links to causing earthquakes, and the lowering of proximate property value.

‘A ban … would destroy more than 14 million jobs'
A 2016 report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce found the economy would suffer dramatically if lawmakers banned fracking.

"A fracking ban would be a disaster for the U.S. economy, exceeding the economic harm caused by the financial crisis, the housing bust, and the Great Recession—combined," the report said. "Those concurrent events cost the United States around 8 million jobs. A ban on fracturing would destroy more than 14 million jobs, all while raising costs for families and considerably reducing American energy security."

It explored how a theoretical ban would affect the American economy if begun on Jan. 1, 2017, and it concluded that over five years it would roughly double gas prices, raise natural gas prices by 400 percent, and raise electricity prices by 100 percent.

The spike in energy prices would raise the cost of living by $4,000 a year, and household incomes would drop by $873 billion. The report concluded the U.S. gross domestic product would be reduced by $1.6 trillion.

Texas (1,499,000 jobs lost), Pennsylvania (466,000), Ohio (397,000), and Colorado (215,000) would see more than a combined 2.5 million jobs lost from a fracking ban alone over that span, the report said, taking into consideration its effect on energy prices, incomes, manufacturing, and energy security.

President Donald Trump, a fracking supporter, won Texas, Pennsylvania, and Ohio in the 2016 election, and he lost Colorado by less than 5 points. Last month in Pennsylvania, he lauded fracking's success and the country's energy production.

"We have the greatest resources, which really came about over the last few years," he said. "Nobody knew this. Fracking made it possible. Other new technologies made it possible. And now we’re the number-one—think of it, as I said—the number-one energy producer in the world."

"They wanted to take away your wealth," he added. "They didn’t want you to drill. They didn’t want you to frack. They didn’t want you to do steel. They wanted to take away your wealth."

A spokesman for Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) told the Washington Free Beacon a ban on fracking would be devastating.

"The United States is currently the number one producer of crude oil and natural gas on the planet, surpassing both Russia and Saudi Arabia in crude oil production," Cruz's spokesman said in a statement. "Texas is the leading U.S. producer of both crude oil and natural gas, producing more than one-third of the nation's crude oil, and a quarter of the nation’s natural gas. This success is due in large part to the shale revolution. A fracking ban would be catastrophic to Texas and the United States as a whole—destroying jobs, wreaking economic havoc, and putting our nation’s security at risk."

Sen. John Cornyn (R., Tex.) and Sen. Cory Gardner (R., Colo.), both up for reelection in 2020, also told the Free Beacon a ban would be ruinous.

"This innovative technology has created tons of jobs, lowered utility bills, and established Texas as a global energy powerhouse," Cornyn said. "This would devastate our country’s leading economy."

"Radical policies like the Green New Deal and a federal ban on fracking would be devastating for Colorado—wiping out billions of dollars of the economy, destroying tens of thousands of jobs, and recklessly inducing an immediate recession," Gardner said. "These are some of the most irresponsible actions any leader can propose."

A separate report from the American Petroleum Institute concluded bans on fracking, fossil fuel production, and other "keep it in the ground" policies would cost 5.9 million jobs and a cumulative GDP reduction of $11.8 trillion. The trade group found the losses would stem from lower economic growth due to lower domestic energy production.

A 2019 report by the National Association of State Energy Officials found the natural gas industry employed 625,639 Americans, with more than a quarter of them (162,928) working in mining and extraction.

The report stated natural gas fuels employed 270,626 workers in 2018. That year, the market increased by 17,000 jobs, or about 7 percent. Mining and extraction jobs supported over 60 percent of the natural gas fuels industry.

The fracking boom has helped the United States become a world leader in natural gas production and consumption. An IHS Markit research firm report in 2018 estimated it would surge another 60 percent over the next 20 years, following a 60 percent increase with the advent of the shale boom in the late 2000s.

The Independent Petroleum Association of America found from 2007 to 2016 that advancements in fracking and horizontal drilling technology helped oil production and natural gas production spike 75 and 39 percent, respectively.

"The shale boom has reshaped the nation's electric grid, fueled a petrochemical boom along the Gulf Coast and created a burgeoning U.S. industry in liquefied natural gas exports," the Houston Chronicle reported. "Of course, the shale oil surge wouldn't have happened without the horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing techniques used to triggered the shale gas revolution."

Another analysis from the nonpartisan Rapidan Energy Group found oil production from shale formations would decrease by 3 million barrels per day over the first year of a ban beginning on Jan. 1, 2022. The advisory firm independently conducted the study for its clients and shared the findings with the media.

Representatives for Warren, Sanders, and Harris did not return requests for comment. Neither did Sen. Bob Casey (D., Pa.), Sen. Michael Bennet (D., Colo.), or Sen. Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio), the only Democratic senators from the four states in the study. Sen. Pat Toomey's (R., Pa.) office pointed the Free Beacon to his tweet noting natural gas's critical role in Pennsylvania, while Sen. Rob Portman (R., Ohio) did not reply.


How Climate Change Pseudoscience Became Publicly Accepted

Political and corporate leaders gathered for the climate week in New York City have urged significant action to fight global warming. But, given the high costs of the suggested solutions, could it be that the suggested cure is worse than the disease?

As a liberal who grew up in a solar house, I have always been energy-conscious and inclined toward activist solutions to environmental issues. I was therefore extremely surprised when my research as an astrophysicist led me to the conclusion that climate change is more complicated than we are led to believe. The disease is much more benign, and a simple palliative solution lies in front of our eyes.

To begin with, the story we hear in the media, that most 20th-century warming is anthropogenic, that the climate is very sensitive to changes in CO2, and that future warming will, therefore, be large and will happen very soon, simply isn’t supported by any direct evidence, only a shaky line of circular reasoning. We “know” that humans must have caused some warming, we see warming, we don’t know of anything else that could have caused the warming, so it adds up.

However, there is no calculation based on first principles that leads to a large warming by CO2—none. Mind you, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports state that doubling CO2 will increase the temperatures by anywhere from 1.5 degrees to 4.5 degrees C, a huge range of uncertainty that dates back to the Charney committee from 1979.

In fact, there is no evidence on any time scale showing that CO2 variations or other changes to the energy budget cause large temperature variations. There is, however, evidence to the contrary. Tenfold variations in CO2 over the past half-billion years have no correlation whatsoever with temperature; likewise, the climate response to large volcanic eruptions such as Krakatoa.

Both examples lead to the inescapable upper limit of 1.5 degrees C per CO2 doubling—much more modest than the sensitive IPCC climate models predict. However, the large sensitivity of the latter is required in order to explain 20th-century warming, or so it is erroneously thought.

In 2008, I showed, using various data sets that span as much as a century, that the amount of heat going into the oceans, in sync with the 11-year solar cycle, is an order of magnitude larger than the relatively small effect expected simply from changes in the total solar output. Namely, solar activity variations translate into large changes in the so-called radiative forcing on the climate.

Since solar activity significantly increased over the 20th century, a significant fraction of the warming should be then attributed to the sun, and because the overall change in the radiative forcing due to CO2 and solar activity is much larger, climate sensitivity should be on the low side (about 1 to 1.5 degrees C per CO2 doubling).

In the decade following the publication of the above, not only was the paper uncontested, more data, this time from satellites, confirmed the large variations associated with solar activity. In light of this hard data, it should be evident by now that a large part of the warming isn’t human, and that future warming from any given emission scenario will be much smaller.

Alas, because the climate community developed a blind spot to any evidence that should raise a red flag, such as the aforementioned examples or the much smaller tropospheric warming over the past two decades than models predicted, the rest of the public sees a very distorted view of climate change—a shaky scientific picture that is full of inconsistencies became one of certain calamity.

With this public mindset, phenomena such as that of child activist Greta Thunberg are no surprise. Most bothersome, however, is that this mindset has compromised the ability to convey the science to the public.

One example from the past month is my interview with Forbes. A few hours after the article was posted online, it was removed by the editors “for failing to meet our editorial standards.” The fact that it’s become politically incorrect to have any scientific discussion has led the public to accept the pseudo-argumentation supporting the catastrophic scenarios.

Evidence for warming doesn’t tell us what caused the warming, and any time someone has to appeal to the so-called 97 percent consensus, he or she is doing so because his or her scientific arguments aren’t strong enough. Science isn’t a democracy. 

Whether the Western world will overcome this ongoing hysteria in the near future, it’s clear that on a time scale of a decade or two, it would be a thing of the past. Not only will there be growing inconsistencies between model and data, a much-stronger force will change the rules of the game.

Once China realizes it can’t rely on coal anymore, it will start investing heavily in nuclear power to supply its remarkably increasing energy needs, at which point, the West won’t fall behind. We will then have cheap and clean energy-producing carbon-neutral fuel, and even cheap fertilizers that will make the recently troubling slash-and-burn agriculture redundant.

The West would then realize that global warming never was and never will be a serious problem. In the meantime, the extra CO2 in the atmosphere would even increase agriculture yields, as it has been found to do in arid regions in particular. It is plant food after all.



Four current articles below

Climate: The Conversation becomes a lecture

The Conversation has always been heavily behind the alarmist side of the climate debate, and has featured in this blog many times in the past.

Now however it has taken the extraordinary step of banning any dissenting views on climate:

Climate change deniers, and those shamelessly peddling pseudoscience and misinformation, are perpetuating ideas that will ultimately destroy the planet. As a publisher, giving them a voice on our site contributes to a stalled public discourse.

That’s why the editorial team in Australia is implementing a zero-tolerance approach to moderating climate change deniers, and sceptics. Not only will we be removing their comments, we’ll be locking their accounts.

There is a huge range of dissenting opinion, from outright “denial” to educated and careful scientific critique, but we can be sure that The Conversation will interpret the ban as widely as possible so that nothing disrupts the desired consensus viewpoint. No doubt will be allowed.

The Catholic Church had the same idea when they sentenced Galileo to house arrest for “falsely” claiming the Earth orbited the Sun. Look how that worked out…

We really haven’t come that far since the 1600s.


Time to up the ante on climate change strategy

A sobering lesson from the latest UN science report on climate is not how much still needs to be done but how little has been achieved for all the effort and money already spent.

Temperatures are rising and fossil fuel use is increasing with no sign of peaking. Despite the extraordinary growth in renewable energy the world overwhelmingly is powered by fossil fuels. This will continue as the yearly rise in global energy use is greater than investment in renewable energy, which has been showing signs of fatigue.

To change the trend, the UN’s United in Science report calls for a doubling of effort to meet the two-degree target and a five-fold step-up to limit future warming to the more ambitious 1.5C.

Rather than new findings, the report brings together the already published state of play. It mentions recent extreme weather and says the pace of sea level rise has accelerated from 3mm to 4mm a year.

The main purpose of the report was to lay a foundation for action at the special UN climate summit called by Secretary General Antonio Guterres in New York this week. About 60 nations were to make presentations to the UN Assembly on what they would do to increase action on climate change.

The report underscores the fact pledges made under the Paris Agr­eement will not achieve anywhere near what is judged to be needed.

According to the report, current commitments are estimated to lower global emissions in 2030 by up to six gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent compared to a continuation of current policies. If implemented this would still see temperatures rise by between 2.9 and 3.4C by 2100, the report says.

This level of ambition is a fraction of what the UN says is required. But none of the big emissions nations, the US, China, India or the European Union are expected to offer to do more.

Rather, discussions remain mired in the same old arguments about how there must be different responsibilities for developed and developing countries and funding.

The UN report says technically it still is possible to bridge the gap in 2030 to ensure global warming stays below 2C and 1.5C. But the evidence is that even existing ambitions are proving difficult for many countries to honour.

This should be no surprise. It has been anticipated by big thinkers such as Bill Gates and was at the heart of a Mission Innovation program unveiled in Paris to boost research funding. Governments, including Australia, have fallen well short on what was pledged.

It is time to redouble efforts to invest in new solutions.


'Australia's got nothing to apologise for': Scott Morrison hits back at 'completely false' critics of his climate change policies in his United Nations address

Scott Morrison has hit back at critics of his climate change policies during an historic address to the United Nations.

The prime minister has faced backlash for missing special climate conference in the United States and the government has been accused of lacking a 'credible climate or energy policy'.

While speaking to the general assembly in New York on Wednesday, Mr Morrison fired back, accusing critics of overlooking or ignoring the efforts Australia had made.

'Australia is doing our bit on climate change and we reject any suggestion to the contrary.

'Australia's internal... and global critics on climate change willingly overlook or, perhaps, ignore our achievements, as the facts simply don't fit the narrative that they wish to project about our contribution.'

He said the country was committed to its target of cutting emissions by 26-28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, describing that as a 'credible, fair, responsible and achievable contribution'.

During his speech he highlighted that Australia was responsible for just 1.3 per cent of global emissions and how the country had pledged $13.2 billion to invest in clean energy technologies in 2018

Ahead of the speech, the Prime Minister said Pacific leaders he spoke with were often surprised to learn what Australia was doing on climate.

'Oftentimes the criticisms that have been made about Australia are completely false,' he told reporters in New York.

'Where do they get their information from? Who knows? Maybe they read it, maybe they read it.'

Asked if he was saying it was 'fake news' - a favourite insult of US President Donald Trump - he replied: 'I'm not saying that. All I'm saying is when I've spoken to them, they've been surprised to learn about the facts about what Australia has been doing'.

He told the UN that Australia would beat its 2020 Kyoto targets and claimed it would also meet its 2030 Paris pledge.

Environment department figures show Australia's emissions have risen since 2014.

Under the Paris agreement, all countries are expected to update their pledges to cut emissions at the 2020 climate conference in Glasgow. But Mr Morrison indicated that at this stage, Australia is unlikely to do so. 'We have our commitments, and we're sticking to those commitments,' he said.

Mr Morrison also confirmed to the UN that Australia won't contribute any more to the global Green Climate Fund.

The May budget papers said Australia made its last payment into the fund in December 2018.

Instead, Australia is redirecting $500 million of its aid money to help Pacific Island nations become more resilient in the face of the effects of climate change. 'I'm not writing a $500 million cheque to the UN, I won't be doing that. There's no way I'm going to do that to Australian taxpayers,' Mr Morrison told reporters.


Climate pressure on Suncorp

Suncorp is Queensland's biggest insurer and a major bank

ENVIRONMENTAL activist shareholders of Suncorp say its lucrative insurance business is under threat from global warming weather events but have failed to get the Queensland financial group to target specific reductions in fossil fuel investments.

Environmental group Market Forces moved at Suncorp's annual general meeting yesterday to push the company to set targets to reduce investment in and underwriting of oil and gas projects.  Suncorp has already committed to phasing out investments in coal by 2025.

Suncorp chairman Christine McLoughlin said the company accepted that human activity was causing climate change and the frequency of severe weather events was accelerating. But Ms McLoughlin said Suncorp had taken steps to reduce its exposure to the fossil fuel sector and disclosure of specific investment targets was not needed.

She said fossil fuel-related business made up less than 1 per cent of its insurance business and a negligible part of its lending and investment portfolio.

Activist shareholders said that targets were necessary as Suncorp's insurance business came under threat from worsening natural disasters linked to global warming.

Activist Jan McNicol said Suncorp's insurance business could end up in a "death spiral" due to global warming. However, a resolution that would have led to Suncorp disclosing short, medium and long-term fossil fuel reduction targets was voted down by an overwhelming majority of shareholders.

Grazier Simon Gedda said that he became convinced human activity was causing worsening weather conditions when a flood hit his central Queensland property in 2017 and was "14 foot" higher than the previous record flood in 1991.  He told the AGM he was concerned that continued investment by Suncorp in oil and gas projects would put its insurance clients at continued risk of severe weather events.

Suncorp CEO Steve Johnston said the company's involvement in funding and underwriting of fossil fuel projects was minimal and there were no plans to in-crease its investments in oil and gas.

"Courier Mail" 27 Sept. 2019


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