Thursday, October 31, 2019

How rising seas will sink COUNTRIES: Scientists calculate that current satellite-based predictions are wrong and three times as many people will be hit by rising shore lines by 2050

If the previous model was wrong, how do we know this one is right?

New estimates from scientists suggest that three times as many people could be affected by rising seas than previously thought.

According to a paper published in Nature Communications on Tuesday, new models show that 300 million are currently living on land that will flood at least once a year by 2050.

This eclipses a former estimate from NASA which projected 80 million people were currently at risk.

The new estimates eclipse projections from NASA which previously put the number of people at risk of floods at 80 million. New models say as many as 300 million people are at risk +4
The new estimates eclipse projections from NASA which previously put the number of people at risk of floods at 80 million. New models say as many as 300 million people are at risk

A revamped model, which more accurately takes into account land elevation using satellite readings and artificial intelligence, portends that swaths of countries like Vietnam and India will be under water by midcentury.

According to researchers, the new estimates came as a shock even for them, given their dramatic difference from previous tallies.

'These assessments show the potential of climate change to reshape cities, economies, coastlines and entire global regions within our lifetimes,' Scott Kulp, the lead author of the study and a senior scientist at Climate Central told The Guardian.

At-risk areas include large portions of heavily populated cities like Mumbai, which is home to more than 18 million people and could be almost entirely underwater in the next 30 years.

Models show the worst effects could be seen across Asia where countries like India saw a sevenfold increase in the number of people set to be affected by annual floods, and China which saw a threefold increase.

The threat isn't reduced to Asia, however. In the UK, 3.5 million people could be at risk of flooding by 2050 according to their estimates.

The US wasn't among the most affected areas according to the researchers, but previous estimates have shown that dozens of cities across the country's coastal regions could soon be submerged, especially in states like New Jersey and Florida.

While the projection is significantly worse than previous models, researchers note that the disconcerting results may still get worse.

According to them, models are dependent on an increasingly volatile Antarctic ice sheets which continues to hemorrhage ice into the sea.

Scientists say that if conditions there worsen, as many as 640 million people could be threatened by rising tides by 2100.

The estimates are also based on countries keeping stride with emission reductions outlined by the Paris Agreement - benchmarks  which have continually gone unmet.

Likewise, estimates of the financial impact could also be much greater than previously thought.

As noted by The Guardian, World Bank data that projected the cost of climate change globally to be about $1 trillion per year were based on former models.


California Can't Keep the Lights On
California is staying true to its reputation as the land of innovation — it is making blackouts, heretofore the signature of impoverished and war-torn lands, a routine feature of 21st-century American life.

More than 2 million people are going without power in Northern and Central California, in the latest and biggest of the intentional blackouts that are, astonishingly, California’s best answer to the risk of runaway wildfires.

Power — and all the goods it makes possible — is synonymous with modern civilization. It shouldn’t be a negotiable for anyone living in a well-functioning society, or even in California, which, despite its stupendous wealth and natural splendor, has blighted itself over the decades with misgovernance and misplaced priorities.

The same California that has been the seedbed of world-famous companies that make it possible for people to send widely viewed short missives of 280 characters or less, and share and like images of grumpy cats, isn’t doing so well at keeping the lights on.

The same California that has boldly committed to transitioning to 50 percent renewable energy by 2025 — and 100 percent renewable energy by 2045 — can’t manage its existing energy infrastructure.

The same California that has pushed its electricity rates to the highest in the contiguous United States through its mandates and regulations doesn’t provide continuous access to that overpriced electricity.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who has to try to evade responsibility for this debacle while presiding over it, blames “dog-eat-dog capitalism” for the state’s current crisis. It sounds like he’s referring to robber barons who have descended on the state to suck it dry of profits while burning it to the ground. But Newsom is talking about one of the most regulated industries in the state — namely California’s energy utilities that answer to the state’s public utilities commission.

This is not exactly an Ayn Rand operation. The state could have, if it wanted, pushed the utilities to focus on the resilience and safety of its current infrastructure — implicated in some of the state’s most fearsome recent fires — as a top priority. Instead, the commission forced costly renewable energy initiatives on the utilities. Who cares about something as mundane as properly maintained power lines if something as supposedly epically important — and politically fashionable — as saving the planet is at stake?

Meanwhile, California has had a decadeslong aversion to properly clearing forests. The state’s leaders have long been in thrall to the belief that cutting down trees is somehow an offense against nature, even though thinning helps create healthier forests. Biomass has been allowed to build up, and it becomes the kindling for catastrophic fires.

As Chuck DeVore of the Texas Public Policy Foundation points out, a report of the Western Governors’ Association warned of this effect more than a decade ago, noting that “over time the fire-prone forests that were not thinned, burn in uncharacteristically destructive wildfires.”

In 2016, then-Gov. Jerry Brown actually vetoed a bill that unanimously passed the state Legislature to promote the clearing of trees dangerously close to power lines. Brown’s team says this legislation was no big deal, but one progressive watchdog called the bill “neither insignificant or small.”

On top of all this, more people live in remote areas susceptible to fires, in part because of the high cost of housing in more built-up areas.

There shouldn’t be any doubt that California, susceptible to drought through its history and whipped by fierce, dry winds this time of year, is always going to have a fire problem. But there also shouldn’t be any doubt that dealing with it this poorly is the result of a series of foolish, unrealistic policy choices.

California’s overriding goal should have been safe, cheap and reliable power, a public good so basic that it’s easy to take for granted. The state’s focus on ideological fantasies has instead ensured it has none of the above.


Eco-imperialists impose a biomess on Africa

Instead of cutting forests and burning dung and charcoal, shouldn’t Africa have cheap electricity?

Duggan Flanakin

China, India, Vietnam and other nations are using more and more oil, natural gas and coal every year to electrify and modernize their nations, create jobs, and improve their people’s health, living standards and life spans. Why in this day and age are the World Bank and other international institutions demanding widespread use of charcoal for heating and cooking in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA)?

During the recent 2019 “climate week,” the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change touted increased reliance on biomass – which already comprises 60% of European “renewable” energy – as a tool in fighting climate change and stabilizing Earth’s never-stable climate.

(Europe’s “renewable” energy includes England’s Drax Power Plant, which is fueled by wood from millions of trees from thousands of acres of American and Canadian forest habitats. The trees are turned into wood pellets, which are hauled by truck to coastal ports and transported to North Yorkshire on oil-fueled cargo ships. From there the pellets are taken by train to the Drax Power Plant and burned in place of coal, to generate electricity – so that the UK can “meet its renewable fuel targets,” even though the overall process generates more carbon dioxide than coal or gas plants on a total life-cycle basis, and the trees are cut and burned much faster than new ones can grow. This is hardly sustainable.)

The Dogwood Alliance objected to the IPCC report, claiming that biomass (largely charcoal) contributes to deforestation.  Dogwood’s arguments reflect the views of Norimitsu Onishi, whose 2016 New York Times article pointed out that burning charcoal not only poses human health concerns, but also constitutes a massive threat to the environment and numerous plant and animal species whose habitats are being destroyed by people using their trees to make charcoal.

The UN Environment Programme predicts that Africa’s demand for charcoal – currently 23 million tons a year – is likely to double or triple by 2050. Africa’s charcoal production doubled in the past two decades and now accounts for more than 60% of the world’s total, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. Rapid urbanization increased demand for charcoal, the preferred way to cook in SSA cities.

Onishi acknowledged that charcoal is cleaner and easier to use than firewood, and cheaper and more readily available in much of Africa than gas or electricity.  As a result, 80% of SSA families use charcoal as their primary energy source.

The World Health Organization reports that worldwide over 4.3 million people a year die prematurely from illnesses attributable to household air pollution resulting from burning charcoal and other solid fuels in open fires and leaky stoves. That’s more deaths than from AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.

The WHO also noted that the lack of access to electricity for at least 1.2 billion people around the world exposes families to very high levels of fine particulate matter and other toxic materials in smoke – and to many intestinal diseases from spoiled food and unsafe drinking water. Lack of electricity also results in other health risks, such as burns, injuries and poisonings.

The lack of plentiful, reliable, affordable electricity also restricts opportunities to read and study at night, enjoy access to computers and the internet, engage in small crafts and trades, develop larger businesses and industries, create jobs, build modern homes, hospitals, schools and infrastructure, and take other steps that greatly improve people’s living standards, health and nutrition.

Why, in heaven’s name, more than century after affordable electricity began to transform Western society, is over half of Africa still not connected to any electric grid? Can any American, European, Australian or Canadian imagine life without abundant, reliable, affordable, 24/7/365 electricity?

The World Bank points out that SSA’s household electrification rate averaged a mere 42% in 2016 – with Rwanda at 80% and Guinea-Bissau at an abysmal 30% – leaving hundreds of millions of Africans with no electricity or only very limited, totally unpredictable access to this vital energy source. says three factors hinder demand for electric power in much of Africa.  First, many firms and households that are already connected to the grid in SSA face regular blackouts, due to insufficient electricity and poor grid reliability. That means continued reliance on charcoal, forcing connected households and businesses to pay for two energy sources.

Next, where electricity bills take up a large share of household income, access to electricity is very low. Countries with poor grid penetration typically use high tariffs to finance infrastructure to improve their electric grids. But high tariffs translate into high energy bills that deter consumers and make it very hard for to launch and sustain businesses that create jobs and enable people to afford electricity. 

Third, the cost and complexity of the connection process further hampers electrification. Where generation capacity is insufficient, utilities may delay new connections until infrastructure investments catch up with consumer demand. The Catch-22 is that these administrative barriers, red tape and connection costs drive down demand, postponing electrification almost forever.

In most places, says Patrick Conners, The Energy Guy, wood competes dollar for dollar with natural gas but pollutes much more and requires far more work: hauling and stacking the wood, stoking and tending the fire, and cleaning out the ashes afterward. A modern furnace gives much more uniform heat without the smoke and draft issues, but even these are unavailable and unaffordable in Africa.

African electricity costs and reliability will only come with modernization and expansion of the electric grid. The late Steven Lyazi, who worked with the Congress of Racial Equality Uganda, acknowledged that the availability of solar energy is good news to millions of Africans who rely on firewood, dung and charcoal for cooking. However, he added, solar and wind are at best stopgap solutions on the way to energy security – which UN, World Bank and other policies all but ensure will never arrive.

“Many people,” said Lyazi, “don’t know that Africa has some big dreams.” Just one – the proposed 466-mile Trans East Africa electric railway – would require much more energy than wind and solar can provide. Much of Africa has great potential for nuclear energy, coal, oil and natural gas, he explained – but powerful (largely European) environmentalists (including the World Bank) have opposed funding such projects.

Lyazi, who died in a bus accident in 2017, urged Africans to use their abundant natural resources. He challenged Africans to defy European environmentalists, who have stymied fossil fuel, hydroelectric and nuclear power projects in Africa. He said Uganda and other SSA countries should build natural gas pipelines to power plants, to generate affordable electricity for millions. Today, African oilfields mostly burn and waste the gas, while exporting the oil is mostly exported, benefitting elites while leaving millions energy-deprived, impoverished and desperate.

Why not also build nuclear and coal power plants and hydroelectric projects? Why not indeed? Why should Africans continue to barely survive at the hands of eco-imperialist, neo-colonialist, environmentally destructive organizations policies that ignore the most basic human rights: the rights to energy, modern health and living standards, and decent lives?

As South African nuclear engineer, energy consultant and activist Kelvin Kemm has noted, no single energy source will work for all of Africa. All have shortcomings in various regions, for a wide variety of reasons – except that small pebble bed modular nuclear reactors could probably be employed anywhere.

But Africa, and individual African countries and regions, should be the ones making those decisions – not outsiders, and not based on disinformation, pressure and bullying from those outsiders. They should not be forced to accept biomess energy imposed on them by global eco-imperialists.

Via email

The crusade to curb ordinary life

The crusade to curb the lifestyles and ordinary choices of Americans continues its decent to new levels of absurdity. The latest examples that caught our attention: banning release of helium balloons and drive-thrus at fast food restaurants. While neither idea is new, they represent examples of the ongoing effort by extremist politicians and enviro groups to exert greater control over society, one step at a time.

Will this ever cease?

In New York State, which is competing with California to be the most environmentally extreme nirvana on Earth, legislation has been introduced to outlaw the release of more than 25 latex balloons within a 24-hour period.

At least five other states ban balloons for release, including—you guessed it—California.

Banning release of such balloons would be one more step to “protecting our planet,” according to one of the bill’s sponsors, primarily by protecting birds, which may get tangled in the strings or eat the latex.

Birds may deserve protection, but banning release of balloons, assuming it is enforceable, will hardly compensate for the environmental assault from wind turbines that already imperils them. As CFACT has reported numerous times in recent years, wind turbines are killing birds by as many as 39 million annually. This travesty also has been downplayed and covered up by the industry and interests trying to expand wind power as a renewable energy source.

Casualties of wind turbines are not limited to winged creatures. Offshore wind turbines are taking their toll on whales.

New York state government is in the midst of pushing wind power to generate electricity. The state’s Energy Authority just signed a mega-contract with Sunrise Wind to develop an offshore wind farm off the coast of Long Island.

If New York legislators succeed in protecting a handful of birds from eating spent latex balloons that were released from children’s birthday parties, it will merely prolong their lives until they get sliced and diced by the state’s proliferating wind turbines.

While New York seeks to join a small number of states trying to curb balloon use, several localities around the country are prohibiting new drive-thrus on fast-food restaurants, with the city of Minneapolis being the latest example. The effort here is two-fold: curbing automobile emissions and discouraging fast-food consumption and obesity.

Research from 2015 on the fast-food drive-thru ban in Los Angeles revealed the folly of such efforts, which had no positive health effect. With or without drive-thrus, people are going to eat fast food if they want to, especially those from lower-income households who eat less often at higher-priced restaurants. The absence of drive-thrus also would inconvenience more elderly individuals and people with disabilities who may be less inclined to get out of their cars.

Before adopting policies that pick on the elderly, disabled and lower-income patrons of fast food restaurants, the proponents of bans on drive-thru facilities should at least be made to quantify the benefits. Of course, they can’t. Rather, they typically spew feel-good sound bites about reduced emissions and curbing obesity while demonstrating neither.

Regardless of facts or evidence, the environmental and food extremists will continue to tell Americans the dos and don’ts for how they should live their lives. This, all in the interests of their doctrinaire need to supposedly stop man-made global warming to keep the earth from burning up years or decades or centuries from now.

States and localities have banned paper receipts, plastic straws, Styrofoam cups and containers, and plastic grocery bags. It will not stop there. The Green New Deal, sponsored by so many national and local politicians is about someday banning the internal combustion engine and the use of oil, gas and nuclear power.

This moral crusade to inconvenience and curb our consumer choices and lifestyles, if not opposed, will continue to greater levels of seriousness. The very purpose of these proposals is, like so much else in life, about power and control. The insatiable urge to control others, one silly proposal at a time, will never cease until people say “enough already” and it is stopped.


$102m to help keep the lights on in Australia

The usefulness of interconnetors consists in some suppliers having excess capacity. With all states shutting down traditional generators, that seems to be less and less likely.  It's a poor substitute for new coal or gas-fired generators

An upgrade of the Queensland-NSW Interconnector will be underwritten by Scott Morrison and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian in a move to increase competition between generators in the electricity market and drive down wholesale energy prices amid pressure from coal station closures.

The federal and NSW governments will underwrite the project up to $102m to help TransGrid fast-track early works ahead of final approvals by the Australian Energy Regulator.

Ahead of the Liddell coal-fired power station closing in the Hunter Valley in 2023, the Prime Minister said unlocking transmission infrastructure was crucial in ensuring the future of the NSW energy grid. "This is about putting downward pressure on wholesale prices so businesses and households have access to reliable and affordable power," he said.

"Industry needs certainty. They need to know their electricity won't cut out, and their power bill won't suddenly double. "You can't run a business like that, and you can't employ people. That's why we are underwriting this interconnector. It's a practical step to make sure it happens, and it happens quickly."

Support for the interconnector upgrade is separate to the Morrison government underwriting the new generation investments program, which has shortlisted 12 renewable pumped hydro, gas and coal upgrade projects in NSW, South Australia, Tasmania, Queensland and Victoria.

In mid-2018, the Australian Energy Market Operator released an integrated system plan outlining transmission investments required to preserve long-term affordability and reliability in the national electricity market.

The QNI project, which will provide an extra 190MW of transmission capacity from Queensland to NSW and an upgrade of the Victoria/NSW interconnector provide an extra 170M W. of transmission capacity, were identified as key priorities by the AEMO.

Upgraded interconnectors would increase wholesale market competition in NSW and push down prices. Upgrades would also provide a reliability buffer in NSW, delivering an extra 360MW of supply across the state during peak demand.

Ms Berejiklian said her government committed to the QNI up-grade to "ease cost of living pressures across NSW" and provide "reliable and affordable power to households and businesses".

"Last year, the NSW government announced its transmission infrastructure strategy, which outlined our commitment to accelerate the delivery of key interconnector projects, including the QNI," Ms Berejiklian said.  The joint federal-state agreement, of which the Commonwealth's liability is capped to a maximum of $51m, will see upgrades to the QNI brought forward to late-2021 and help cushion the impact of the Liddell closure.

Regulatory approvals for the QNI project were progressing under the NSW transmission infrastructure strategy but further action would be required to ensure the upgraded QNI was "fully operational by the summer of 2022-23".

Under the arrangement, the federal and state governments
would be liable only for early work costs not yet approved by the AER. TransGrid chief executive Paul Italiano said the underwriting commitment was essential to the "early delivery" of the transmission project: "TransGrid is building the interconnector to ensure a reliable supply of electricity to cus-tomers over the summers ahead and as older, coal-fired generators shut down."

NSW Energy Minister Matt Kean said the project would help "keep the lights on and keep power costs down as the energy market transitions", while federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor said NSW industries required lower energy prices and reliable transmission to protect jobs.

From "The Australian" of 28/10/2019


For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


No comments: