Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Scientist's theory of climate's Titanic moment the 'tip of a mathematical iceberg'

This is just mathemtical tomfoolery that tells us nothig.  You can write all the formulas you like but it is the numbers you plug into the formula that give you any infomation. And the numbers relevant to Schellnhuber's formula are moot

When is an emergency really an emergency?

If you’re the captain of the Titanic, approaching a giant iceberg with the potential to sink your ship becomes an emergency only when you realise you might not have enough time to steer a safe course.

And so it is, says Prof Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, when it comes to the climate emergency.

Knowing how long societies have to react to pull the brake on the Earth’s climate and then how long it will take for the ship to slow down is the difference between a climate emergency and a manageable problem.

Rather than being something abstract and open to interpretation, Schellnhuber says the climate emergency is something with clear and calculable risks that you could put into a formula. And so he wrote one.

Emergency = R × U = p × D × τ / T

In a comment article in the journal Nature, Schellnhuber and colleagues explained that to understand the climate emergency we needed to quantify the relationship between risk (R) and urgency (U).

Borrowing from the insurance industry, the scientists define risk (R) as the probability of something happening (p) multiplied by damage (D).

For example, how likely is it that sea levels will rise by a metre and how much damage will that cause.

Urgency (U) is the time it takes you to react to an issue (τ) “divided by the intervention time left to avoid a bad outcome (T)”, they wrote.

Schellnhuber, of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, tells Guardian Australia the work on the formula was just the “tip of a mathematical iceberg” in defining the climate emergency.

“It can be illustrated by the Titanic disaster, but it applies to many severe risks where you can calculate the do-nothing/business-as-usual probability of a highly damaging event,” he says. “Yet there are options to avoid the disaster.

“In other words, this a control problem.”

There is a time lag between the rapid cuts to greenhouse gases and the climate system reacting. Knowing if you have enough time tells you if you’re in an emergency or not.

Schellnhuber used “standard risk analysis and control theory” to come up with the formula, and he was already putting numbers to it.

“As a matter of fact, the intervention time left for limiting global warming to less than 2C is about 30 [years] at best. The reaction time – time needed for full global decarbonisation - is at least 20 [years].”

As the scientists write in Nature, if the “reaction time is longer than the intervention time left” then “we have lost control”.

Schellnhuber says: “Beyond that critical point, only some sort of adaptation option is left, such as moving the Titanic passengers into rescue boats (if available).”

Earlier this month, Oxford Dictionaries announced “climate emergency” as the word of the year, defining it as “a situation in which urgent action is required to reduce or halt climate change and avoid potentially irreversible environmental damage resulting from it”.

One website tracking climate emergency declarations says 1,195 jurisdictions in 25 countries, representing 454 million people, have already voted on the emergency.

This week the European parliament joined them, as did Ballina shire council in northern New South Wales, the 76th local government authority in Australia to make the declaration.

Prof Will Steffen, of the Australian National University and the Stockholm Resilience Centre, and a co-author of the article, says: “Emergency can mean many things to many people. But there are some hard numbers behind why so many people are saying we are in a climate emergency.

“This formula sharpens our thinking. So we have 30 years to decarbonise and to stabilise our pressure on the climate system.”

In the Nature article, the scientists highlight nine “tipping points” that, if crossed, become almost impossible to stop. At least five are already “active”.

Some of them, like melting permafrost or forest degradation, can start to add more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, making the job of keeping global temperatures down even harder.

“There are a range of these intervention times left,” Steffen says. “How long do we have before [the Greenland ice sheet] goes? Maybe we have 20 to 25 years and then we might be committed to losing Greenland.

“But the time we have left to intervene to stabilise coral reefs, for example, is a lot less than 30 years.

“Our reaction time has to be fast and to decarbonise by 2050 we have to really move now. That’s the point of [Schellnhuber’s] maths. “To err on the side of danger is a stupid thing to do.”


The final score from Madrid

Craig Rucker

They came for your car, your light bulb, your dishwasher and washing machine, your toilet, your electricity, your airline flight and so much more. Now you can add your burger and steak to their list of what they want to legislate, regulate or confiscate out of your existence. YOUR existence. Not theirs.

The global warming agenda is the gift that keeps on giving for everyone who wants to control what you do. Dangerous manmade climate change justifies all manner of meddling, in the name of saving the planet. And like the mafia, UN cops want a piece of the action whenever money and power are on the line.

Anti-meat crusaders have been pushing hard in recent months to use climate change to achieve their goal of forcing you into an all plant-based diet. This year their rhetoric became a big part of the dialogue at UN 25th Conference of the Parties (COP-25) on climate change, in Madrid.

They’ve introduced a new buzzword you’ll be hearing a lot of, “peak meat” – as in “peak oil,” or something that we’re going to run out of really soon ... not because we’re actually going to run out, but because government policies will make it off limits and drive it into oblivion. As CFACT’s team learned – as usual – it’s do as I say, not as I do.

So ban meat, it is, especially beef. But what do you suppose was the big seller for anyone looking for lunch at the UN climate conference? Burger King! Delicious all-meat American burgers, with not a single one of Burger King’s latest meatless Whoppers in sight.

Oh well. It’s for us little people to tighten our belts. Our high-flying climate masters need their perks if they are to have the energy and fully functioning brain cells to decide how the rest of us should live.

CFACT’s investigation into UN burger hypocrisy made a splash in the media and was picked up by Fox News, The Washington Times and more.

In the end, though, COP-25 delegates were far more successful at scoring a burger than in advancing the Paris Climate Accord. In fact, left-wing protesters became so incensed when the climate talks stalled that over 200 of them, including the kids from Greta Thunberg’s “Fridays for Future” staged a protest where they banged on pots and chanted outside the main plenary session.  UN security guards tossed them all out of the COP.  (At least it wasn’t us CFACT folks getting tossed out this time).

Our burger scoop and the rest of our action-rich agenda were all officially submitted to and permitted by our UN minders, who get to decide whose educational programs and antics are allowed, and whose get banned. Recall that last year, the UN permitted hecklers to disrupt the official US climate delegation’s presentation – while those of us who tried to object to the rude hecklers were told we would be thrown out if we said another word.

Why is the UN having a hard time advancing the global warming ball? One name – Donald J. Trump and his plans to pull America out of the Paris Climate Accord. It’s no fun making plans to spend $100 billion per year on Green Climate Fund anything-but-fossil-fuels projects when you can’t leach off the world’s biggest economy.

The European bloc did announce plans for 28 nations to go “carbon neutral” by mid-century. But it had planned to announce this “big news” before COP-25 started. During the COP, its delegates sheepishly had to admit that Poland refused to go along.

Polish coal is cheap, plentiful and reliable. And the last thing the Poles want is to be dependent on Russian energy. They’ve met the Russians before. They also aren’t too keen on adopting Germany’s anti-coal and gas policies. They’ve got experience with that country too and have seen how its policies are hammering Germany’s automotive and other energy-intensive industries and jobs. The Poles are smart.

COP-25 followed the usual script and went into overtime, the double overtime, because there was so much dithering and bickering during the regulation period.

In the end, the UN announced “big victories,” which are nothing of the sort. In fact, aside from waxing poetic about its agreement on a “gender action plan” (whatever that is), they had little more to announce than plans for yet another big COP event next year.

Among themselves and under their collective breath, they were also hoping COP-26 won’t have to be rescheduled to another city at the last minute, when the first venue suddenly erupts in violent protests against energy policies imposed in the name of preventing “catastrophic manmade climate change.” It was mighty embarrassing for the UN when that happened in Chile a few weeks before COP-25.

Ultimately, COP 25 was an embarrassing failure for the United Nations, and a blessing for everyone who isn’t lining up at the crony UN-corporatist-activist-scientist trough for more mandates and subsidies. In the end, the UN couldn’t even advance its expanded “rule book” or agree to a newfangled “international carbon market” for buying and selling carbon indulgences, so that folks like Harrison Ford can claim they bought “carbon offsets” for their flights and big companies can do their own “greeenwashing.”

If UN Secretary General (and former President of the Socialist International) António Guterres was “disappointed” that “the international community” lacks sufficient ambition “to tackle the climate crisis,” the rest of humanity should be grateful we still have fossil fuels to support our jobs and living standards.

What’s actually going on at this year’s UN climate talks is a wait-and-see game geared toward next November’s US elections. After watching Britain give the Tory party its biggest victory since Margaret Thatcher amid the Madrid talks, and observing moves now afoot to pull Britain out of the EU once and for all, the UN crowd can see that government by global bureaucracy is under threat.

The UN is plenty scared. That’s a nice thought going into this festive holiday season.

Via email

Congress must stop subsidizing wealthy car buyers: Pelosi and Schumer tout a bill that extends tax favors for the rich

Why are Democrats Sen. Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi teaming together to lobby for a tax bill that would provide about 80 percent of the benefits to Americans who make more than $100,000 a year?

Mr. Schumer and Mrs. Pelosi are the ones who for the last two years have been railing against income inequality and “tax cuts for the rich,” but now they are head cheerleaders for a bill that would extend and even expand tax favors padding the pockets of mostly wealthy Americans who can afford to buy pricey Tesla and GM electric vehicles. The price tag for taxpayers could reach $16 billion for this bill.

What’s next, tax breaks for buying a Porsche or a Rolls Royce?

Half of the tax breaks would go to residents of just two states. Guess which two. California, home state of Mrs. Pelosi. And New York, home state of Mr. Schumer. Coincidence? The voters of 48 states would get stuck paying most of the tab to underwrite the cars of those living in Manhattan and Silicon Valley.

These tax credits are far and away more generous than the rebates the car dealerships typically use to entice buyers. Uncle Sam offers a $7,500 tax credit for electric car buyers — a policy that is supposed to be phased out this year for the two biggest manufacturers — Tesla and GM. Surprise, surprise, they are lobbying furiously to keep the money flowing.

Mr. Schumer has threatened to hold this year’s tax bill hostage if the Tesla “temporary” subsidy isn’t renewed. The credits are to be phased out beginning next year, but the Senate bill would give them a new lease on life. The House bill is even worse: It would triple the existing cap on subsidies of 200,000 per manufacturer. There is also talk in the House of creating a new credit of up to $2,500 for used electric vehicles. So you buy it you get $7,500 and then you sell it and the new buyer gets $2,500 on the same vehicle.

The bill also includes billions of dollars for extensions of wind and solar subsidies (that were also supposed to expire many years ago). They even added in $5 billion of new spending on “environmental justice” grants to universities — as if campus green leftists needed any more help.

The head start program for EVs is especially egregious because, as my Heritage Foundation colleague, economist Nick Loris, notes many states have their own EV incentives, and in these states taxpayers are essentially writing a $10,000 rebate check to EV drivers. Mr. Loris also notes that because EVs don’t use gasoline at the pump, they receive an added subsidy because they don’t pay directly for the roads and highways and bridges they use.

Even worse, while Congress is preparing to expand this program, the Treasury inspector general has recently uncovered rampant fraud. The IG found an astonishing 16,510 tax returns with “potentially erroneous” electric vehicle tax credits worth a total of $73.8 million.

It appears that credits are being claimed for ineligible vehicles and that many leased vehicles are being fraudulently double subsidized — with one valid claim by the leasing company and a second, invalid claim by the lessee. The additional $2,500 per vehicle credit for the sale of used EVs will open a whole new garage full of fraudulent claims.

“The credit is working. It just needs a little more time,” says Genevieve Cullen, president of the Electric Drive Transportation Association. But experience teaches us that these green subsidies never go away once they are extended. They become lifetime entitlements. 

The biggest single beneficiary of the EV tax subsidy is Tesla founder Elon Musk. He is a billionaire and if Congress extends the tax credits, the value will be capitalized into Tesla stock and he is about to get a lot richer. Rather than unworkable wealth taxes on America’s millionaires and billionaires, wouldn’t it be better if Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Schumer stopped subsidizing them?


Wind turbines traumatizing animals as well as people

The same wind turbines that are causing reports of severe health harms to people around the world appear to be having a similar or more severe impact on dogs and other animals. This is especially troubling because dogs and other domesticated animals rely on humans for humane living conditions and they are unable to tell us when they are under distress from wind turbines.

A couple typical examples are reported in the Hamilton (Australia) Spectator and the World Council for Nature website. The Spectator article documents how a family was forced to seek medical attention for its female Kelpie shortly after wind turbines were placed approximately one mile from the family’s home.

“It is usually very active, alert and an excellent working dog, and it has become very withdrawn and this is more evident when wind is coming from the same direction that the wind turbines are in,” treating veterinarian Scott Shrive told the Spectator.

“The dog is reluctant to come out of its kennel when the wind is coming from that direction – it won’t work, they can’t get it to work, it won’t even jump up on the vehicle, but on days when there is no wind, so when the turbines aren’t working, it goes back to normal, it comes out of its kennel it is happy to work all day like it normally does,” Shrive added.

“She has never behaved like this before, when she is lying on the floor of the kennel in the morning it takes nearly half an hour to coax her up, then when she gets outside she just runs mad, all over the place, it is like her brain is scrambled,” the dog’s owner told the Spectator. “She just runs crazy and then she will settle down and just be very quiet and if you take her away (from the wind farm) then she goes back to normal later on in the day.”

The negative effects of wind turbines are apparently not limited to dogs. The World Council for Nature reported an incident of more than 1,600 minks being born prematurely – many of them deformed – after a wind farm began operation approximately 350 yards away.

Environmental stewardship involves more than merely reducing air emissions. It also requires protecting animals from unnecessary trauma caused by wind turbines.


Family, not climate, top of mind for Australian tweens

Family issues weigh more heavily in the minds of Australians aged between 10 and 13 than big global concerns such as the environment, a new study shows.

The longitudinal study run by the Australian Institute of Family Studies ranked concern about families highest, followed by terrorism, the use of drugs and alcohol, and school-related issues.

"Many parents may be surprised to hear that young people worry most about their families in their 'tweens' and early teenage years, showing how important family relationships continue to be as children get older," AIFS director Anne Hollonds said.

"Our study found two-thirds of 10-11-year-olds were worried about a family member becoming seriously ill or injured, more than half were concerned about fighting in their family and nearly half were worried about their parents losing their job," she said.

"By the age of 12-13, the level of worry about family issues had declined but still remained a prominent concern for this age group, with more than half worrying about the health of family members and close to four out of 10 concerned about family fighting and parental job loss."

The Growing Up in Australia Longitudinal Study of Australian Children found about four in 10 children in these age groups were concerned about terrorism and war, and a third worried about the environment

"Concern about the environment remained fairly stable over time," report author and AIFS research fellow Suz-anne Vassallo said.

"The use of drugs and alcohol was also a concern for many children (44 per cent at 10-11 years), although this appeared to become less of an issue once they reached their teens (37 per cent at 12-13 years)." She said relatively fewer teens and tweens worried about how they looked and whether they fitted in with their friends.

From "The Australian" of 17 December, 2019


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