Friday, October 25, 2019

Warnings over ‘carbon bomb’ Amazon’s dangerous tipping point. The Amazon rainforest is dangerously close to an irreversible tipping point and should be described as a “carbon bomb” we need to avoid going off

I don't know whether this is ignorance or bulldust but it shows no knowledge of rainforest. Rainforest does NOT burn, whether in Brazil or Australia. When the fires hit a rainforest, it is too damp to be set alight.  

The fires seen in Brazil were in areas -- mostly areas cleared for farming -- that had lost their original rainforest cover or never had it

What the satellites show: "MAAP’s findings show that the dramatic photos that garnered worldwide attention of smoky fires sweeping the Brazilian Amazon in August do not correspond with burning rainforest, but instead coincide with areas intentionally deforested this year" 

You have to know so much to counteract Green/Left lies and stupidity

The Amazon would be dangerously close to the estimated “tipping point” as soon as 2021, beyond which the rainforest could no longer generate enough rain to sustain itself, a senior economist says.

Monica de Bolle, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, calculates that if the current rate of deforestation is maintained over the next few years and government policy failure continues, that’s when the world-renowned rainforest will reach tipping point.

In her policy brief that states the Amazon is a “carbon bomb” the world needs to avoid setting off, she outlines how the fires in Brazil represent a government policy failure over many years, with Brazilian public agencies that are supposed to curb man-made fires “deliberately weakened”.

She said in keeping with his far-right nationalist campaign promises, President Jair Bolsonaro’s government has intentionally backed away from efforts to combat climate change and preserve the environment, which has emboldened farmers, loggers, and other players to engage in predatory activities in the rainforest.

The trees of the Amazon store 60 billion to 80 billion tonnes of carbon.

“The rainforest is often wrongly called ‘the lungs of the world’,” de Bolle said. “It stores carbon, but that is not what fights climate change. It would be more apt to describe it as a ‘carbon bomb’.

“Setting fire to the forest for deforestation may release as much as 200 million tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere a year, which would spur climate change at a much faster rate, not to mention associated changes in rainfall patterns that may result from deforestation.

Ms de Bolle said the tragic fires had demonstrated that protecting the Amazon was a global cause. She said the international attention provided an opportunity for the governments of Brazil and the United States to stop denying climate change and co-operate on strategies to preserve the rainforest and develop ways to sustainably use its natural resources.

Some climate scientists believe the tipping point is still 15 to 20 years away.

The briefing highlighted that in August Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research estimated that total deforestation was 222 per cent higher than it was in August 2018.

The Amazon Basin contains 40 per cent of the world’s tropical forests and accounts for 10-15 per cent of the biodiversity of Earth’s continents.

In August, Professor Will Steffen, a member of Australia's Climate Council said there was credible evidence that a tipping point may exist for the Amazon rainforest.

“A combination of direct human landclearing and climate change - primarily through changing rainfall regimes - can trigger a rapid conversion of much of the forest to savanna or grassland ecosystems, thereby emitting large amounts of carbon to the atmosphere,” he said.

“Yet there seems to be little attention given to such global-level feedbacks and abrupt shifts associated with land systems.”


NZ farmers trumpet win in do nothing, pay little climate deal

NZ used to be pretty righteous about global warming.  So this is a big slowdown. It is the work of Winston Peters, sometimes compared to Donald Trump.  "NZ First" is his party. Peters has only a few votes in parliament but he keeps the minority Labor government in power so they have to listen when he speaks up

Peters is not a explicit denialist but he is very cynical about climate change legislation -- about the same as Trump

New Zealand farmers won’t have to enter the country’s emissions trading scheme until 2025 and will then get a discounted rate of 95 per cent under a climate change deal struck with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Ms Ardern announced the “historic consensus” on Thursday morning in Wellington, gathering with primary sector groups to reveal the deal. However environmentalists shunned the meeting, panning the agreement as too slow, and a climate sell-out.

Ms Ardern said the ‘He Waka Eke Noa’ deal was about creating change that “will stick”.

“For too long politicians have passed the buck and caused uncertainty for everyone while the need for climate action was clear,” Ms Ardern said. “I’m proud that we have a world-first agreement … and we’ve done that by reaching a historic consensus with our primary sector.”

Dairy farmers and primary industries have been granted other major concessions by Ms Ardern’s coalition government as it ramps up action to combat climate change and equip its economy to adapt to change.

The agricultural sector contributes roughly half of New Zealand’s emissions, making it a major part of any climate policy negotiations.

Individual farms will be asked to report emissions from 2023, required to report them in 2024, and start paying for them in 2025. However in a win trumpeted by the farmers, they’ll receive a 95 per cent discount rate when slotted into the ETS, a concession championed by minority coalition partners NZ First.

The deal had origins in an industry proposal put by several peak bodies, including Dairy NZ. “We are grateful you have engaged with us and listened to us,” Dairy NZ chief executive Tim Mackle said.

Environmental group Forest and Bird said the move was a step in the right direction “but the change is far too slow”.  “We need all industries to do everything they can to reduce greenhouse gas emissions right away,” chief executive Kevin Hague said.

Greenpeace went further, saying Ms Ardern’s government had rolled over for the primary sector and “sold out” Kiwis. “The government has buckled to lobbying pressure from the diary industry and big agri-business,” campaigner Gen Toop said.

“Agriculture is our biggest climate polluter. An emissions trading scheme without the sector in it is a joke and won’t be able to combat the climate emergency — the greatest threat humanity has ever faced.”

In a speech to the United Nations last month, Ms Ardern pledged to make New Zealand the world’s most sustainable food producers. “We’ve been asked to try and create change that will last. We have been having the debate for 15 years. The debate has to end. The action has to start,” she said. “That’s what this is about today. This will stick.

“For those that say that we’re not doing enough, well, this is a world first. No one is pricing agriculture. No one is doing this work, farm by farm. I’m incredibly proud of what we’re doing here today on behalf of New Zealand.”


Washington Subsidies Not Helping the Wind Industry
Last week, the lobbying arm of the wind energy industry made an unsurprising, though somewhat embarrassing, announcement. It wants a longer lifeline with federal subsidies. So much for wind being the low-cost energy source of the future.

Less than a year ago, the American Wind Energy Association with great fanfare issued a press statement that, as Bloomberg reported: “America’s wind farms are ready to go it alone.” Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, a Republican who has strongly supported the wind industry since the days of federal support began in 1992, boasted that the wind industry had finally “matured” and wind farms were “ready to compete.”

Never mind.

Big Wind’s change of heart was predictable. When this tax giveaway — which basically requires taxpayers to underwrite 30% of the cost of wind energy production — was first enacted, the renewable energy lobby promised it would lift itself out of the federal wheelchair and walk on its own within five years. But like clockwork, every five years, they have come back to Congress pleading for an extension — much like Oliver with his porridge bowl asking, “Please, sir, could I have some more?”

What’s especially interesting is why Big Wind thinks it’s deserving of “more.” The industry execs mentioned the tough competition from natural gas — which isn’t going away. Today, natural gas is by far the most cost-efficient source of electric power generation in most markets. Thanks to the shale revolution, natural gas prices have fallen by about two-thirds. Only with very generous taxpayer assistance on top of local mandates requiring local utilities to buy wind and solar power can green energy compete.

Big Wind said it will lobby for a continued subsidy so wind power will “have parity” with the solar industry subsidies. The solar industry sun gods get even higher subsidies than wind producers. They are actually right. Per unit of electricity, solar gets five times as much as wind power. And wind gets some five times more than coal and natural gas. So now we have a subsidy arms race.

Over the last 30 or so years, the renewable energy industry has received well over $100 billion in federal, state and local handouts. Yet these are still fairly trivial contributors to America’s overall energy production — supplying somewhere between 5% and 10% of the nation’s total. The rational solution would, of course, be to eliminate all federal energy subsidies and simply create a level playing field among coal, nuclear, natural gas, solar and wind. But given the current anti-fossil fuel hysteria and the movement to promote green energy at any cost, the idea of creating an economically efficient market for energy is about as likely as hell freezing over — which isn’t going to happen anytime soon because of global warming.

Given the powerful green movement’s lobby on Capitol Hill, don’t be surprised if the federal aid keeps pouring in. But here again we see the central contradiction of the green energy fad. On the one hand, we here rave reviews of how enormously cost-effective green energy has become in the 21st century. We are told we can require 50%, 60%, even 100% renewable energy over the next decade at no cost to consumers or businesses.

If so, why must the subsidies continue ad infinitum? If $100 billion of taxpayer handouts hasn’t worked, what will?

My hunch is that the lifelines Washington keeps tossing to the wind and solar industries have been more curse than blessing. Subsidies can be as addictive as heroin. A cold-turkey cutoff of taxpayer aid would force the renewable industry to adopt strategies and innovations that would make them viable competitors in energy markets.

Necessity really is the mother of invention.


UK: Extinction Rebellion protests cost police £37 million and led to other investigations being shut

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said on Tuesday that the cost of the two-week protest action this month had cost £21million, a bill set to rise by several million pounds.

This included £3.5million for overtime, just under £6million for officers who were drafted in from 38 other forces in England and Wales, and £11.8million staffing costs.

Protest action by Extinction Rebellion (XR) in April cost the Met £16million, meaning the bill so far this year is £37million - more than twice the annual budget of its Violent Crime Taskforce. The annual budget for its Violent Crime Taskforce is £15million.

Scotland Yard's figures suggest that so far this year there have been 115 homicides in London, compared with 112 at the same point in 2018. This includes 77 stabbings and nine shootings.

Dame Cressida said the policing of the climate change group had put a "horrendous strain" on the force, and as a result some of its other investigations were either being done slowly or in the worst-case scenario - not at all.

She said: "We are certainly at the point where I would say to Extinction Rebellion this is placing a horrendous strain on London, and on the Met.

"From the Met's point of view (a) big cost to us and the people who pay for us. Huge drain on our people's resources and energy, causing their families to have to make massive changes in their personal arrangements.

"Frankly, a less good service to the rest of London. Partly because people get tired and partly because we just had to slow down certain types of inquiries, certain types of investigations would just be done more slowly and some things won't ever be done at all."

Met bosses will apply to the Home Office to cover the cost of the protest action.

Nearly 8,000 Metropolitan Police officers were deployed during the October action by Extinction Rebellion, with 21,000 asked to work 12-hour shifts for part of the fortnight.

The Commissioner said officers were taken off local patrol duties and some were moved out of schools while the protests took place.

Detectives were also called in to cover some frontline duties while uniformed colleagues were drafted in to central London.

A total of 1,828 protesters were arrested, of whom 164 have so far been charged.

In April 1,148 activists were held, of whom more than 900 were charged, mostly receiving a conditional discharge.

Police recovered 80 tonnes of equipment, including tents and toilets, that will go to landfill.

Senior officers have been in talks with ministers about potential changes to public order legislation since the action in April.

These could include banning orders to stop activists who repeatedly protest unlawfully, and a new criminal offence of attaching items to the road.


Australia: Renewable energy cutting emissions at a big cost to users

Extinction rebels and others whingeing that Australia is not doing its fair share to cut greenhouse gas emissions need a reality check. New research from the Australian National University shows emissions could fall from next year following a boom in renewable power investment. Australia is on track, between last year and next year, to invest in wind and solar power three times faster per capita than Germany, four to five times faster than China, the EU, Japan and the US, and 10 times faster than the global average. The researchers expect emissions to fall by 3 to 4 per cent from next year to 2022.

Environmentalists should be cautious, however, before proclaiming the imminent demise of fossil fuels. Sustaining the fall in emissions would require billions of dollars more to be spent on behalf of taxpayers on energy storage and transmission, Graham Lloyd writes on Thursday. The additional costs would add about $5 a megawatt hour to the cost of power in the national market when there was 50 per cent renewable energy in the system. That would soar to an additional $25/MWh at 100 per cent renewables — on top of at least $50/MWh for generating renewable power, which is heavily subsidised. Conversion of the entire system to renewables would reduce emissions by 33 per cent, the ANU researchers calculated. But without more government spending on storage and transmission, they warn, investment in renewables may slow down, causing emissions to start rising.

While admitting the transition to renewables would not be “without headaches’’, the ANU’s work, which envisages “straightforward solutions to the teething problems of technical change in the energy industry”, is a potential road map towards a long-term transition that could provide reliable, affordable renewable power to domestic and commercial users.

The size of the challenge may have been underestimated by the ANU researchers, however. Other reports have made clear that making the switch becomes progressively more difficult as the percentage of renewable energy in the system increases. Large-scale storage has yet to show that it is both achievable and economically feasible.

While the Morrison government is committed to meeting Australia’s Paris target — to cut greenhouse emissions by 26 to 28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030 — affordable, reliable power must remain its main energy policy goal. Some states and the opposition are also starting to show a welcome pragmatism. Anthony Albanese and opposition climate spokesman Mark Butler have not ruled out scrapping Bill Shorten’s 45 per cent emissions reduction target, although Mr Butler has rejected frontbencher Joel Fitzgibbon’s call to adopt the government’s target, also favoured by the Australian Workers Union.

NSW is legislating to stop international emissions being used as a reason to block new mines being approved. That sensible move follows the NSW Land and Environment Court’s rejection of the Rocky Hill coking coal mine, citing “dire consequences” on global pollution. And while Queensland is still refusing to release consultants’ reports on “overseas scope 3 emissions” levels being linked to approvals of resource projects, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says such legislation is not being considered. Nor should it be. Australians’ jobs and quality of life depend on rational energy policies that provide affordable, reliable power, regardless of the source.



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