Friday, December 13, 2019

Greenland ice melt 'is accelerating,' new study reveals

Until someone of a different religion checks these calculations, we cannot be sure how accurate they are.  And why was a 26 year period chosen?  You can prove almost anything by choosing your starting and finishing dates carefully.

But we don't actually need to ask such questions.  The key question is: what does it prove?  Even if the findings are perfectly accurate, what do they prove?  Precisely nothing.

To the monomaniacs of the Green/Left, there can be only one cause of the melt -- global warming.  But what if there are other influences behind the melting?  And there are.  There have been increasing findings in recent years of subsurface vucanism in Greenland.  Putting it plainly, the most likely cause of the melt is volcanic activity, not global warming.  You too would melt if you had a volcano under your bottom.

How sad for the Green/Left!  Reality will just NOT co-operate with their simplistic notions

The Greenland ice sheet's losses have accelerated dramatically since the 1990s and it's now losing more than seven times as much ice per year, according to a new study.

The new assessment comes from an international group of 89 scientists that reviewed satellite observations over a 26-year period.

According to their research, published Tuesday in the journal Nature, Greenland's contribution to overall sea-level rise is now tracking at what had been seen as a pessimistic projection of the future.

This means an additional 7 centimeters (2.7 inches) of ocean rise could be expected by the end of the century just from Greenland, experts say.

"The simple formula is that around the planet, six million people are brought into a flooding situation for every centimeter of sea-level rise. So, when you hear about a centimeter rise, it does have an impact," Andy Shepherd, of Leeds University, told BBC News.

The group of scientists reanalyzed data from 11 satellite missions flown from 1992 to 2018 — looking at repeat measurements of the ice sheet's thickness, flow and gravity, BBC News reports.

Greenland, located between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, is the world's largest island. The gigantic ice sheet that covers the island is over a mile thick at the center.


Another Round of Energy Pork

Christmas is upon us, and the elves are busy in the North Pole suburb of Capitol Hill. The House has produced a draft piece of “green energy” legislation that would yield massive costs, massive economic distortions and massive environmental damage.

Rep. Mike Thompson, D-California, justifies his “Growing Renewable Energy and Efficiency Now (GREEN) Act,” as “a comprehensive approach to addressing the threat of climate change through our tax code.”

Put aside the fact that there is no evidence — none — that there is a climate “crisis” to be addressed. Instead, nowhere have the supporters presented an actual estimate of the “climate” effect of this ostensible effort to achieve “net zero” U.S. emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050.

Applying the climate model used by the Environmental Protection Agency, under assumptions that exaggerate the effects of reduced emissions: 0.17 degree Celsius by 2100. Under assumptions more consistent with the recent scientific literature: 0.08 degree Celsius.

So much for the “climate” rationale for this bill. Instead, the legislation is a blatant pork-barrel exercise for innumerable interest groups. In its most important provisions, it would:

—Extend the wind production tax credit through 2024.

—Make permanent the solar investment tax credit, at a declining rate.

—Extend the investment tax credit until 2026 to a variety of energy sources that were excluded from the 2015 tax deal.

—Extend the investment tax credit at a declining rate to batteries and various other technologies at least through 2026.

—Renew a number of lapsed incentives for biofuels until 2024.

—Extend and revise the sales limit for the electric vehicle tax credit by raising the current 200,000-vehicle-per-manufacturer sales cap to 600,000, while reducing the credit from $7,500 to $7,000.

—Implement a new credit for purchases of used plug-in EVs through 2024, with buyers able to claim a base credit of $1,250 for qualifying used vehicles. The credit would be limited to the lesser of $2,500 or 30 percent of the sale price.

—Implement a new manufacturer credit through 2024 for the sale of “heavy zero emission vehicles,” defined as those powered “solely by an electric motor which draws electricity from a battery or fuel cell.”

One searches in vain for a cost estimate for all this political largesse. Instead, amusingly, the summary of the bill states that the “Revenue raisers” are “To be provided.” Note that the tax revenues needed to “pay” in the federal budget for all the tax expenditures in the bill are not the correct analytic issue; instead, it is the cost of the bill to the economy that matters, however difficult it is to measure.

That true economic cost is at least double the revenues lost as a result of the various tax credits and incentives, because of the economic distortions (“excess burden”) created by them.

Nor have the proponents mentioned the environmental damage from unconventional energy. Because the energy content of wind and sunlight is unconcentrated, land use both massive and unsightly is necessary for a renewables system. The production process for wind turbines, apart from the use of large quantities of steel, concrete and other such straightforward industrial materials, requires also significant amounts of such toxic heavy metals as neodymium and dysprosium for the magnets, for the most part produced in China, where environmental controls are hardly stringent.

The disposal problem for wind turbines’ blades and magnets only now is beginning to be recognized. The noise and light-flicker effects of wind turbines are a serious problem that siting arrangements can solve only partially. There is no easy solution for the disposal of solar panel waste  — as much as 78 million metric tons worldwide by 2050 — because of the lead, cadmium, chromium and other toxic metals that are released if the panels are broken during the disposal process. And there is the large amount of wildlife destruction attendant upon the operation of wind farms and solar fields.

Because of the unreliability of wind and solar power, the conventional backup units must be cycled up and down depending on whether the renewable units are producing power. That cycling reduces the operating efficiency of the backup units, increasing net emissions of conventional pollutants, and increasing greenhouse gas emissions under a broad range of conditions.

This legislation is a classic example of Beltway pork-barrel chicanery, justified on the basis of half-truths and worse, with actual effects diametrically in conflict with those advertised. It is a wealth redistribution special-interest bonanza with the costs inflicted upon the great mass of the unsuspecting citizenry. It should be rejected, loudly.


Isle Of Man Seabird Populations Plummet As Wind Farms Overwhelm The Irish Sea

The Isle Of Man wildlife charity Manx Birdlife has reported a shocking 40% decline in the populations of many species of sea birds around the island's coast.

The worrying figures emerged following a comprehensive census that took place over two years. Whatever the reason for the sharp decline of the birds, it illustrates that something has gone very wrong.

I've noted with interest that this unprecedented drop in populations, of several of the island's maritime species, coincides with the proliferation of wind farms in the Irish Sea - something which has worried me during the past few years, as I have witnessed the frenzied development of the wind industry in the waters off the western coasts of England and Wales.

We know that offshore turbines kill birds and bats, though it is almost impossible to estimate the number of casualties because there are no retrievable carcasses to count at sea....

It is also highly likely that wind farms adversely affect many marine mammals.

The world's largest offshore wind farm is now in operation off the Cumbrian coast at Walney, just 40 miles or so from the Isle of Man, and, with the news that nearby bird populations are in free-fall, we must seriously ask whether the huge turbines might be killing more birds than we ever anticipated.

The Isle of Man study was, ironically, partly supported by the Walney Extension Offshore Wind Farm Project. How paradoxical would it be to find that the project itself, with its giant 640 feet turbines, was responsible for the plummeting numbers of sea birds.

The report is full of depressing statistics. Herring Gulls are down 82%, European Shag down 51%, Razorbills down 55%. The list goes on.

I've been increasingly concerned at the feverish pace of industrial offshore wind farm development in this country and especially in the Irish Sea. Such a high density of turbines in a confined area - an area renowned for its wildlife - has been watched with dismay by many environmentalists, especially since large parts of the sea have been designated Marine Protected Areas (MPA's), supposedly limiting the scale of industrial development in precious areas that provide important habitat for so many species.

Alas, development has been allowed in vast parts of the sea that fall just outside the protected zones - and there have even been hints that the MPA's themselves may not be off limit for future wind farm expansion.  Last year, a report carried out for the Welsh government suggested that "this protection may not necessarily be a major barrier to new projects" - which sounds shockingly irresponsible to me.

Though the Isle Of Man currently has none of its own offshore wind farms, their government is reportedly close to approving industrial wind development off the island's coast as early as next year. Such plans might seriously threaten the survival of species already struggling to cope with the industrialisation of their habitat.

Wind energy companies might flaunt their green ideologies for all to see - but their industry nevertheless hides a grim reality. Their 'green' energy kills wildlife.


The Incredible Story Of How Climate Change Became Apocalyptic

Roger Pielke

In recent years the issue of climate change has taken a decidedly apocalyptic turn.  Earlier this week United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres warned, “If we don’t urgently change our way of life, we jeopardize life itself.” A group of scientists writes that we “might already have lost control” over “tipping points” in the Earth’s climate, warning that the “stability and resilience of our planet is in peril.”

It’s true that apocalyptic narratives have always had a place in discussions of climate. In 1989 the United Nations warned that the world had “a 10-year window of opportunity to solve the greenhouse effect before it goes beyond human control.” But the escalation of apocalyptic climate rhetoric in recent years is unprecedented. The drumbeat of doom has led some prominent figures to turn on the mainstream climate community, complaining that “climate scientists have been underestimating the rate of climate change and the severity of its effects.” In reality, climate science has not just accurately anticipated unfolding climate change, but has done so consistently for the past 50 years.

There is thus an inconsistency here. Discussions of climate change have become more apocalyptic, but climate science has not. I have been working hard to understand this inconsistency, and while I don’t yet have all the answers, I have identified a big part of the puzzle, which I can report here for the first time.

Discussions of climate change are directly and indirectly shaped by the work of experts who work under the umbrella of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change or IPCC. The IPCC was established in the 1980s to assess and summarize climate science to inform policy makers, and since then has produced five major assessment reports, along with periodic topical assessments.

I have testified before the U.S. Congress on multiple occasions on the critical importance of the IPCC. The IPCC plays such an important role that if it didn’t exist, we’d have to invent it. Research on climate change results in a large and varied literature that would be impossible to comprehend without expert assessments like those of the IPCC. The IPCC thus serves a crucial role at the intersection of science and policy.

I have argued for decades about the importance of policies to mitigate carbon dioxide emissions and the need to better adapt to climate variability and change. But effective policy making is presently threatened by the apocalyptic turn in the climate debate.

Decisions made within the IPCC have contributed to the apocalyptic turn in discussions of climate, moving us away from constructive discussions, scaring children and contributing to overheated rhetoric. To understand the role of the IPCC in in recent rise of climate doom requires understanding how the body performs its assessments.

Underpinning everything that the IPCC does in its scientific assessments are scenarios of the future. Such scenarios are used to project future climate change, to project the impacts of such change on society and the environment, and to project the costs and benefits of mitigation action intended to reduce those impacts.

In order to produce such projections, in its scenarios the IPCC has long differentiated between “baseline scenarios” of the future which describe where the world is headed in the absence of climate policies and “mitigation scenarios” which describe a world where climate policies are put into place. Baseline scenarios are often referred to as “business as usual.”

The rise of the new climate apocalysm can be traced directly to an consequential but little appreciated change in how the IPCC presents its scenarios. The consequences of this change have reverberated through the scientific community, media reporting, policy discussions and civic advocacy.

Almost two decades ago the IPCC developed a set of scenarios as the basis for integrating the work of its three working groups on science, impacts and mitigation. The scenarios were created to serve as the basis for projecting future climate change, the impacts of climate change and the consequences of mitigation action. Such coordination across the assessment work of the IPCC makes obvious sense.

At the time the IPCC recognized that “the future is inherently unpredictable and so views will differ as to which of the storylines and representative scenarios could be more or less likely. Therefore, the development of a single "best guess" or "business-as-usual" scenario is neither desirable nor possible.” Based on this perspective, the IPCC developed a set of scenarios for our collective futures but did not identify any of them as more probable than another, explaining that, “the term “business-as-usual” may be misleading” and “most climate scenarios considered in this report can be regarded as exploratory.”

The result of this approach was that projected futures in the absence of climate policies encompassed a very wide range of possible outcomes. The fourth assessment report of the IPCC published in 2007 acknowledged this wide range of futures, “There is still a large span of [carbon dioxide] emissions across baseline scenarios in the literature, with emissions in 2100 ranging from 10 GtCO2 [billion tons of carbon dioxide] to around 250 GtCO2.”

In other words, when it came to carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels and the associated climate consequences, the long-term future included possibilities that spanned from the highly optimistic (the 10 billion ton scenario) to the highly pessimistic (the 250 billion ton scenario), and everything in between. Climate change was not necessarily apocalyptic, but possibly could be if we made decisions leading to bad outcomes.

An enormously consequential change in approach occurred from the forth IPCC assessment report in 2007 to the its fifth in 2013. The IPCC abandoned its earlier acknowledgement of fundamental uncertainties and ignorance about the future and instead fully endorsed the notion of choosing a “business as usual” scenario for the future. The “business as usual” scenario adopted by the fifth IPCC assessment was associated with one of its most extreme scenarios of the future.

The fifth IPCC assessment report states that while future greenhouse gas emissions were uncertain, “between 1970 and 2010, emissions increased 79%, from 27 Gt of [greenhouse gases] to over 49 Gt [billion tons]. Business-as-usual would result in that rate continuing.” An increase of that rate to 2100 would result in 189 billion tons of greenhouse gases being emitted at the end of the century, which is in the 99th percentile of all scenarios included in the database of reference scenarios of the fifth assessment report.

The fifth assessment report went further and explicitly identified a subset of reference scenarios that characterized where the IPCC believe the world was heading in the absence of climate policies. The IPCC fifth assessment report’s range of 2100 carbon dioxide emissions for “business as usual” is 50 GtCO2 to 106 GtCO2 (which it describes as the 10% to 90% percentiles of its scenario database). The report went further and identified a single scenario as “business as usual” with 2100 carbon dioxide emissions of more than 80 billion tons of carbon dioxide (this scenario is called RCP 8.5).

From the IPCC’s fourth to fifth assessment report our collective future, as envisioned by the IPCC, changed dramatically. The world was no longer heading for a wide range of possible futures, conditioned on enormous uncertainties, but instead was heading with some certainty toward a future characterized by an extreme level of carbon dioxide emissions. Quantitatively, futures with less than 50 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions in 2100 simply disappeared from the IPCC reference scenarios and the focus was placed on a “business as usual” scenario of more than 80 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions in 2100.

The apocalypse had been scheduled.

The decision by the IPCC to center its fifth assessment report on its most extreme scenario has been incredibly consequential. Thousands of academic studies of the future impacts of climate change followed the lead of the IPCC, and have emphasized the most extreme scenario as “business as usual” which is often interpreted and promoted as where the world is heading. For instance, so far in 2019 two new academic studies have been published every day that present this most extreme scenario as “business as usual” and predict extreme future impacts. Journalists promote these sensationalist findings, which are amplified by activists and politicians and as a consequence climate change becomes viewed as being more and more apocalyptic.

The problem with the extreme “business as usual” scenario of the IPCC’s fifth assessment report is that it is already out of date. For 2020 the scenario wildly overstates emissions, and has been critiqued in the academic literature as a highly unlikely if not impossible future. The International Energy Agency has proposed scenarios for the next several decades that diverge greatly from the favored scenario of the IPCC. It is of course possible that the world will collectively choose to emit massive quantities of carbon dioxide, which would require a massive increase in coal burning. But that scenario is certainly not preordained, and other futures are certainly possible.

Remarkably, the IPCC is set to repeat its reliance on extreme scenarios as “business as usual” in its forthcoming sixth assessment report, even though these scenarios are already out of date.

I will have much more to say on this subject in coming columns, as this topic is an active focus of my research. The bottom line for today is to understand that a fateful decision by the IPCC to selectively anoint an extreme scenario from among a huge range of possible futures has helped to create the climate apocalypse, a scary but imaginary future.


Widespread electrical blackout in central Australia caused by...clouds

The danger of reliance on electrical generation power sources that can suddenly surge or diminish the way wind and solar energy do was highlighted by a major blackout that left central Australia and the "major" town of Alice Springs without electricity for up to nine hours.  Yesterday, two top energy officials in the Northern Territory lost their jobs over the fiasco:

The Northern Territory Labor government has sacked the territory's two most senior energy chiefs following a damming report from the market regulator into a "system black" event that hit the city of Alice Springs in October.

Tim Duignan, the CEO of Territory Generation, and Michael Thompson, the head of network operator and systems control company Power and Water Corporation were both sacked after the government received a report from the Utilities Commission into the outage, which affected 12,000 customers for between 30 minutes and 10 hours.

It seems clear that this is not a problem about technology — despite some trying to sheet the blame on the amount of rooftop solar in the local grid and the impact of passing clouds — but of corporate and energy culture. And of incompetence.

An investigating report by consultants Entura — requested by the Utilities Commission — found that staff managing the system did not anticipate the approaching cloud cover, and did not know what to do when they realised what was happening and output from the Uterne solar farm and rooftop solar panels declined.

Who could anticipate clouds?

Seriously, anyone with a brain — which is why solar and wind power installations require backup generators that come into use only when unexpected events like clouds or low winds happen.  But that requires maintaining the backup systems:

Thermal generators failed because they had not been properly maintained, and the staff had no idea how to re-start the machinery, because procedures had not been updated since the installation of a big battery. To cap things off, there was insufficient spinning reserve and the system was unstable.

As Australian blogger JoNova comments: "Welcome to the new complexified energy grid, where a cloud can cause a system black event."



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


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