Friday, November 08, 2019

Earth Needs Fewer People to Beat the Climate Crisis, Scientists Say

What crisis? Caleb Rossiter ( comments:

The UN IPCC, in the scientific body of its latest AR5 review of climate science, finds NO statistically significant upward global trends in hurricanes, droughts, floods, rate of sea-level rise and even rate of temperature rise compared to the first half of the 20th century to the second half. The IPCC does not claim a CO2 effect on the half a degree warming in the first period, but cites "expert judgment" to claim at least a 50 percent (or a quarter of a degree) CO2 warming effect in the second period. So, if the crisis variables are not rising from the natural period to the CO2-infuenced period where is the climate crisis? The answer is: in the models, which are in their infancy and may never emerge to adulthood"

Forty years ago, scientists from 50 nations converged on Geneva to discuss what was then called the “CO2-climate problem.” At the time, with reliance on fossil fuels having helped trigger the 1979 oil crisis, they predicted global warming would eventually become a major environmental challenge..

The scientists got to work, building a strategy on how to attack the problem and laying the groundwork for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world’s preeminent body of climate scientists. Their goal was to get ahead of the problem before it was too late. But after a fast start, the fossil fuel industry, politics and the prioritization of economic growth over planetary health slowed them down.

Now, four decades later, a larger group of scientists is sounding another, much more urgent alarm. More than 11,000 experts from around the world are calling for a critical addition to the main strategy of dumping fossil fuels for renewable energy: there needs to be far fewer humans on the planet..“We declare, with more than 11,000 scientist signatories from around the world, clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency,” the scientists wrote in a stark warning published Tuesday in the journal BioScience.

While warnings about the consequences of unchecked climate change have become so commonplace as to inure the average news consumer, this latest communique is exceptionally significant given the data that accompanies it..When absorbed in sequence, the charts lay out a devastating trend for planetary health. From meat consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and ice loss to sea-level rise and extreme weather events, they lay out a grim portrait of 40 years of squandered opportunities.

The scientists make specific calls for policymakers to quickly implement systemic change to energy, food, and economic policies. But they go one step further, into the politically fraught territory of population control. It “must be stabilized—and, ideally, gradually reduced—within a framework that ensures social integrity,” they write.

The problem is enormous, yet the signatories still manage to strike an upbeat tone. For all the lost chances, progress is being made, they contend..“We are encouraged by a recent surge of concern,” the letter states. “Governmental bodies are making climate emergency declarations. Schoolchildren are striking. Ecocide lawsuits are proceeding in the courts. Grassroots citizen movements are demanding change, and many countries, states and provinces, cities, and businesses are responding.”.

The report, however, comes one day after U.S. President Donald Trump began the formal procedure of withdrawing America from the Paris climate accord


An AOC future

EPA Rolls Back Obama Admin Regulation on Coal Plant Waste

President Donald Trump delivers remarks on America’s environmental leadership at the White House, July 8, 2019. (Tia Dufour/White House)
The Environmental Protection Agency announced Monday that it will roll back Obama administration rules governing the storage and disposal of coal ash, which were intended to prevent the toxic waste from seeping into waterways.

The 2015 rule required plants that burn coal to dispose of the fine powder and sludge using wastewater treatment technology in order to prevent about 1.4 billion pounds of coal ash from leaking into waterways. Coal ash often contains arsenic, lead, and mercury toxic to human consumption and the environment.

The new Trump administration rules would allow unlined coal ash waste ponds to remain open until 2027 at the latest.

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said the old rules “placed heavy burdens on electricity producers across the country.”

“These proposed revisions support the Trump administration’s commitment to responsible, reasonable regulations by taking a common-sense approach that will provide more certainty to U.S. industry while also protecting public health and the environment,” Wheeler said.

Coal companies have complained in court that the Obama-era rules drain their finances, and President Trump has repeatedly pledged to support the industry since running for office.

Environmental advocates have spoken up against the new rules, calling them “unconscionable.”


The long history of eco-pessimism

Climate change isn’t the first eco-apocalyptic idea, and it won’t be the last.

The global soil-erosion scare

In the words of agricultural economist Dennis Avery, soil erosion ‘has been threatening since man scratched the first seedbed with a stick’ (1). Indeed, population growth, deforestation and soil erosion form the main backdrops of the oldest known written story, The Epic of Gilgamesh. Plato later lamented that Athens’ backcountry, whose hills had once been ‘covered with soil’, the plains ‘full of rich earth’, and the mountains displaying an ‘abundance of wood’, had been turned, after years of abuse, into a landscape that could ‘only afford sustenance to bees’, because all the ‘richer and softer parts of the soil [had] fallen away, and the mere skeleton of the land [was all that was] left’.

In the middle of the 19th century, the American naturalist and diplomat George Perkins Marsh observed in his classic Man and Nature that, besides historical records that documented the past fertility of the regions stretching from Spain and North Africa to Mesopotamia and Armenia, the ‘multitude and extent of yet remaining architectural ruins, and of decayed works of internal improvement’ all pointed towards ‘former epochs [when] a dense population inhabited those now lonely districts’. It could only have been sustained, he concluded, ‘by a productiveness of soil of which we at present discover but slender traces’.

Throughout history, land mismanagement sometimes resulted in localised soil depletion and compaction, siltation, waterlogging, salinisation, gullying and, in extreme cases, desertification. By the first decades of the 20th century, a growing number of writers deemed such problems significant enough to threaten humanity’s very survival. This fear played into the agenda of a few powerful constituencies. In America, it could justify New Deal programmes and their accompanying ‘gentle rain of checks’ to address Dust Bowl problems. Elsewhere, it appealed to eugenicists fearful of overpopulation, and colonial administrators keen to control native populations’ agricultural practices, such as cattle-grazing and shifting cultivation. As one British colonial administrator put it a century ago:

‘A child is not allowed to play with fire, although it may very much like to see the flames; in the same way the British people, as locally represented by the Gold Coast Government, cannot allow the inhabitants of the district to play fast and loose with their priceless treasures, the African forests, well knowing that the country will be permanently injured thereby.’

In a 1939 work, The Rape of the Earth: A World Survey of Soil Erosion, British writers Graham Vernon Jacks and Robert Orr Whyte wrote that, ‘as the result solely of human mismanagement, the soils upon which men have attempted to found new civilisations are disappearing, washed away by water and blown away by wind’. They continued: ‘[The] destruction of the Earth’s thin living cover is proceeding at a rate and on a scale unparalleled in history, and when that thin cover – the soil – is gone, the fertile regions where it formerly lay will be uninhabitable deserts.’

In 1948, ecologist William Vogt published his Road to Survival, which was to become the biggest-selling environmentalist book, until the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring in 1962. Vogt argued that, with rare exceptions, man had ‘taken the bounty of the earth and made little or no return’. Where he had not lost water and soil, he had ‘overgrazed and overcropped, and by the removal of animals and plants, [had] carried away important soil minerals, broken down the all-important soil structure, and generally exhausted the environment’. Civilisations were at risk, because ‘hundreds of millions of acres of once rich land’ had become ‘as poor as or worse than – the city gardener’s sterile plot’. Population growth and wealth creation had in the end delivered ‘[d]espoiled forests, erosion, wildlife extermination, overgrazing, and the dropping of water tables’.

That same year, Vogt’s close friend, the conservationist Henry Fairfield Osborn Jr, published his book Our Plundered Planet. There he warned that environmental destruction would soon prove even more deadly than the Second World War, for ‘man’s destructiveness has turned not only upon himself but upon his own good earth – the wellspring of life’. Osborn deemed American agricultural production one ‘great illusion’, because the ‘story of our nation in the last century as regards the use of forests, grasslands, wildlife and water sources is the most violent and the most destructive of any written in the long history of civilisation’. Man’s ‘avoidance of the day of atonement that is drawing nearer as each year passes’, Osborn continued, meant he had to learn ‘to work with nature in understanding rather than in conflict’. Failure to change threatened ‘man’s very survival’. Humanity had ‘now arrived at the day when the books should be balanced’.

More HERE 

When climate scientists cry

Emotionalism is clouding the climate-change debate.

‘Environmental scientists must be allowed to cry’, say three academics in a letter to the journal Science this month. Their plea has caused a ripple of wider media interest, but perhaps only partly because it overturns traditional ideas about scientists as dispassionate observers. This is a view the authors of the letter dismiss as a ‘pervasive illusion’ that is ‘dangerously misguided’. Rather, these scientists’ appeal for more attention to be paid to their own ‘emotional trauma’ seems to affirm the contemporary tendency to respond to the issue of climate change primarily in emotional terms.

They are not the first to highlight the feelings of climate scientists. An article in Nature last year, for instance, noted that ‘eminent ecologists, social scientists and climate researchers… invoke concepts of grief and mourning to describe their personal distress’. A 2017 study of the ‘emotional labour of climate scientists’ noted disapprovingly that many researchers strove to ‘separate themselves from emotions’, arguing that they misguidedly did so because they were influenced by ‘strong social and cultural pressure to be positive’. Yet it seems that such cultural expectations – that one should ‘manage emotion’ and ‘remain optimistic’ – no longer hold. Instead, the expectation today is that one should catastrophise and emote, preferably loudly and in public.

Alongside Greta Thunberg’s impassioned, lip-trembling speeches to world leaders, or the ostentatious displays of woe staged by Extinction Rebellion protesters, grief-stricken scientists seem to fit right in. But casting the issue of climate change as a matter of personal feelings and emotional responses is distinctly unhelpful. It turns what ought to be a question of scientific investigation and political discussion into an issue for therapeutic sanctimony, where professions of intense feeling about the problem tend to substitute for reasoned debate about how to deal with it.

In the field of environmental communication, the emotionalisation of climate change is nothing new. Analysts have long wondered how to craft the hardest-hitting campaigns, with debate often revolving around the question of whether inducing fear in the public leads to feelings of urgent invigoration or paralysing dread. The pernicious assumption underpinning much of this discussion is that people should be influenced through emotional appeals rather than being convinced as rational political beings.

In 2009 – the year that the academic journal Ecopsychology was established – a report by the American Psychological Association’s Task Force on the Interface Between Psychology and Global Climate Change noted that ‘risk perceptions… are influenced by associative and affect-driven processes as much or more than by analytic processes’. Indeed, there was already a long research tradition in psychology arguing for the primacy of visceral affect over cognitive reasoning, both in general terms and specifically in relation to environmentalism. Two decades ago, it was already uncontroversial to argue that, as one study put it in 2000, ‘the key entry point for environmental education is via the affective domain’.

The eco-psychologists were taking their cue from politicians, many of whom had already worked out that speaking about climate change on the basis of their personal feelings gave them greater moral authority than trying to revive the tired language of left/right politics. The archetypal case is Al Gore, who began his campaign for the US vice-presidency in 1992 by declaring that ‘this election isn’t about politics’, and talking instead about his experiences of family tragedy and grief. He thereby shifted the ground from politics to the sphere of private experience, claiming moral purpose based on his personal understanding of the pain of imminent loss and the need to care for future generations.

Emotion-based appeals not only allow politicians to avoid the far more difficult business of rationally and politically justifying themselves and their policies to the electorate — they also help to disguise the character of measures that would be a very hard sell indeed if they were made explicit. The UK government’s declared target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, for example, apparently feels so good that others have sought to heighten the sensation by declaring a 2030 or 2025 target. The harsh realities of immiseration, upheaval and austerity that meeting such a target would entail, however, are unlikely to be spelled out openly in any election manifestos.

Ecological thinking has always offered a fearful, dystopian vision of the future, emphasising limits, distrusting modernist ambition, and rejecting humanism as ‘anthropocentrism’. The mainstreaming of such ideas in recent years has been facilitated by a therapeutic outlook that understands politics in terms of inward-focused projects of the self. We are continually invited to self-monitor and self-audit, to express our feelings, confess our fears and signal our virtue. Just take a look at the climate ‘rebels’ currently prancing and weeping around London to see where this narcissistic approach leads. If science were to follow a similar trajectory, then maybe we really would be as doomed as the Extinction Rebellion protesters proclaim.


Australia Flicks Switch on First New Power Station in 7 Years

Fascinating that the Greenies have not opposed this.  The dire blackouts that South Australia suffered when they demolished all their coal-fired generators must have focused a few minds

AGL Energy Ltd.’s Barker Inlet gas-fired power plant began operations Monday, Australia’s first major new power station since 2012, with its quick-start capability designed to back-up fast-growing wind and solar generation.

The A$295 million ($204 million) facility in South Australia has 210 megawatts of capacity and will help supplement renewables, which regularly meet more than 50% of the state’s power demand, the company said in a statement. The plant is capable of reaching full capacity within 5 minutes, AGL said.

“This is important, because it will allow us to provide a rapid response to changes in renewable generation supply and demand -- particularly wind generation here in South Australia,” Chief Executive Officer Brett Redman said in the statement. Barker Inlet is part of AGL’s A$2 billion pipeline of infrastructure projects aimed at bolstering the grid.

Australia will likely need around A$400 billion in new utility-scale generation assets over the next 30 years as aging coal-fired power plants retire, the Grattan Institute, a think tank, said in a study last month. However, the industry has complained that the lack of policy certainty at a national level is hampering investment.

The government has short-listed 12 projects under a program to underwrite investment in new generation, and is also giving financial backing to the A$5 billion-plus Snowy 2.0 pumped-hydro project that will provide large-scale energy storage to back-up renewables.



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1 comment:

philf said...

IPCC Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change
GCM General Circulation Model (many, based on IPCC CO2 assertions)
These six links from five authors are all you really need to understand global warming.
My speculation: As the temperature went down into the Little Ice Age, limestone was deposited around the edges of bodies of water. As the temperature has recovered since, the limestone dissolved and added CO2 to the oceans, with a delay of 300-400 years. It was just an accident that this added CO2 coincided with our industrial revolution. Temperature creates CO2, not the other way around. There is proof of that. Read on.
Shows that temperature change over the last 170 years is due to 3 things: 1) cycling of the ocean temperature, 2) sun variations and 3) moisture in the air. There is no significant dependence of temperature on CO2.
Connolly father & son
Shows the vertical temperature profile follows the ideal gas laws and is not caused by CO2. Millions of weather balloon scans and trillions of data points have been analyzed to come to these conclusions. One important conclusion is that there is no green house gas effect.
Pat Frank
Shows that GCM results cannot be extrapolated a few years, let alone 50 or 100.
Joe Postma
Shows that the "flat earth model"of the IPCC is too simple. Their real models are built into the GCMs which don't fit the real data.