Friday, January 31, 2020

5 Ways to Reduce Wildfire Risk in California

Data from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection show that 2019 was another year of wildfire disaster. As of November 25, 7,860 fires had burned 259,823 acres, destroyed 732 structures, claimed three lives, and dangerously reduced air quality.

A U.S. Geological Survey researcher reported that: “Since the year 2000 there’ve been a half-million acres burned due to powerline-ignited fires, which is five times more than we saw in the previous 20 years.” Many of the most devastating fires were ignited by power lines, but arson and negligence played a major role.

California’s primary strategy to prevent fire damage has been to cut off electricity. During a period of near-freezing temperatures, California residents went days without light and electricity for appliances. Spoiled food, silent cell phones, dead water pumps, and intermittent internet service disrupted daily life. That’s no strategy at all. People’s essential needs must be met.

As the ash settles on the latest tragedy, what can be done to reduce the impact of future fires? Scientific evidence suggests five ways to do this. All five must be pursued aggressively. This is an emergency – treat it as such.

* First, broaden tree trimming around power lines, waiving regulations if needed, and clear out ground fuels under them. Pacific Gas & Electric has a huge backlog of needed maintenance on lines and towers, and underbrush clearance. Some lines could be buried in vulnerable places, at a cost of about one million dollars per mile. Compared to 2018 fire losses of $11.4 billion, released by state officials, that’s a bargain.

* Second, get serious about prescribed burns. Every locality in fire country needs to work promptly and aggressively to reduce fuel loads that increase fire intensity. The current method of fire suppression has increased ground fuels and promoted over-crowding.

Mechanical thinning and selective harvesting can also play important roles. Preemptive burns and thoughtful forest management would greatly reduce these problems.

* Third, replace invasive vegetation with fire-resistant native species. This is especially useful and would significantly reduce accident-related ignitions along highways. Wildfires leave gaps within vegetation that create an environment leading to higher susceptibility to invasive species.

Sparks rarely ignite trees, but a single spark readily ignites dead grass. Dead grasses are classified as a 1-hour fine fuel, meaning they become highly flammable in just one hour of warm dry conditions, setting the stage for an explosive fire.

Historically, due to scant surface fuels, sagebrush habitat burned about every 60 to 100 years. However, invading annual grasses, like cheatgrass, now extend the fire season and promote large fires every three to five years.

Targeted holistic grazing is another strategic and profitable approach to wildfires, in which cows, sheep, or goats can reduce those easily ignited fuels.

* Fourth, improve regulations for building and zoning in fire prone areas. Increased development in the urban-wildland interface virtually guarantees wildfire problems. Smarter home building through local and statewide regulations on building codes that require the use of fire-resistant materials, creating defensible spaces and disclosure of fire risk during a sale would considerably reduce the risk of destruction related to wildfires.

Current homes in “ignition zones” should be required to follow best practices on clearing surrounding vegetation.

Finally, reduce human ignitions by arson and negligence. People ignite 84% of all fires in America’s lower 48 states, accounting for 44% of all burned areas. The U.S. Fire Administration estimates that arson accounts for 20% of California’s fires, 55% of Kentucky’s and is the leading cause of Florida’s fires.

More resources are needed to address arson as well as to increase public education programs to reduce careless fires. Educational programs combined with aggressive patrolling, prosecution, and fines would reduce both arson and negligence.

Readers may notice that one popular remedy is missing from our list: reducing emissions of the warming gas CO2. Warming plays virtually no role in California’s fires, which occur across a broad range of temperature and moisture. The only human-caused “climate change” connection to the wildfires is the CO2 -phobia that has raised the price of electricity by 50 percent and reduced the power companies’ available personnel for maintenance.

 The Manhattan Institute’s Steven Malanga, writing in the Wall Street Journal, cites a Credit Suisse report that California has required PG&E to spend $2 billion on wind and solar, “at five times the going rate” of fossil fuels. These mandates should be suspended so that more funds are available for the true task at hand, reducing California wildfires.


CLINTEL Manifesto blasts climate scaremongering

There is NO climate emergency. Preaching doom and gloom is a crime against the young generation. These are the key points of a new manifesto from the Climate Intelligence Group or CLINTEL.

CLINTEL is a rapidly growing international group, led by prominent scientists, that opposes the ill-founded attempts to scare people into hasty climate policy actions. They also oppose the terrorizing of children as part of the false climate alarm. CLINTEL recently issued a World Climate Declaration denouncing scaremongering and this new manifesto provides detailed scientific backup for the WCD for a wide public. The manifesto is authored by Professor Guus Berkhout, the President of CLINTEL.

The focus of the Berkhout manifesto is on climate related modeling, which it says is “unfit for purpose.” The purpose in this case is predicting future climate change. Modeling dominates climate science. It also provides the scary scenarios that drive hugely expensive and disruptive climate emergency action policies. That the models are faulty is a very important finding.

The manifesto says there are at least four strong reasons why today’s models are no good.

First, the model makers have not properly included the many factors that are known to be important, especially natural variability. In fact the major models simply assume that (almost) all climate change is due to human activity, an unproven hypothesis.

Second, the predictions to date are dramatically too warm compared to actual satellite measurements. There has been relatively little warming in the last 20 years and much of that looks to be natural. In stark contrast the models have predicted dramatic warming that has not occurred. The models are far too hot to be trusted. Not the climate but the model makers are the source of the panic.

Third, the models lack consideration of historical climate data. There is a growing list of observational studies finding that the global temperature is nowhere near as sensitive to human-generated CO2 as the models assume. Ironically the latest generation of models is even more sensitive than their predecessors, so they are getting even further from observation. The models are getting worse, not better.

Nor can these models explain past periods of warming and cooling, such as the medieval warm period (MWP) and the recently ended little ice age (LIA). If we cannot even explain past climate change, exclusively caused by natural variability, then we certainly cannot understand the present and predict the future. A great deal more data and research is needed in this area. We simply have insufficient insight in the complex nature of climate change. Climate science is far from settled!

All of these glaring problems with models are well explained in the Berkhout manifesto. It follows that present model projections of dangerous future warming and subsequent natural disasters are not to be trusted. They are certainly no basis for inflicting damaging climate policies on the world. The manifesto puts it succinctly: “Stop using Misleading Computer Models.”

CLINTEL is also focused on children being demoralized by climate alarmism. Young people are easy to influence by activists because they have not had enough science to defend themselves. In addition, climate change and environmental pollution are hopelessly confused. To explain why there is NO climate emergency, the manifesto closes with “a message to our grandchildren.” Here is the gist of the message:

“Don’t behave like a parrot. Be critical against the many false prophets who try to misuse you and try to turn you against your parents. The information they tell you is one-sided and misleading. Please, deepen your climate knowledge. By doing so, you will find out that there is NO empirical evidence that points at any climate crisis.”

The World Climate Declaration basically says that the climate policies, being called for in the false name of emergency, not only dangerously undermine the global economic system but they also put lives at risk in countries where large-scale access to reliable and affordable electricity is made unfeasible. This CLINTEL manifesto provides the science showing that there is no such emergency.

CLINTEL recently sent a letter of protest to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The basic message is clearly stated here: “Despite heated political rhetoric, we urge all world leaders to accept the reality that there is no climate emergency. There is ample time to use scientific advances to continue improving our understanding of climate change. Meanwhile, we should go for ADAPTATION; adaptation works whatever the causes are.”

For more information see and look at:


Hypocrites preaching Green

If you don’t know who Tom Steyer is, you should. He’s the guy riding in the internal combustion powered limousine that drops Al Gore off at his speaking engagements.

Mr. Steyer, a billionaire former hedge fund manager, who has become the most influential environmentalist in American politics, made his billions from the coal-related projects his firm bankrolled that have and will generate tens of millions of tons of carbon pollution for years, if not decades, to come.

His former firm Farallon, was appropriately named after a shark-infested shoal on the California coast, and it quickly earned a reputation for take-no-prisoners investing, raking in millions, and eventually billions. For more than 15 years, Mr. Steyer’s fund, Farallon Capital Management, pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into companies that operate coal mines and coal-fired power plants from Indonesia to China:

Farallon invested in a subsidiary of Indiabulls, an Indian financial conglomerate, in 2008, just as the subsidiary began expanding into coal-fired power. Two years later, Indiabulls began construction on two massive coal-fired power plants: the 2,700-megawatt Amravati plant in central India and the 1,350-megawatt Nasik plant outside Mumbai. When completed, Amravati is expected to be one of the largest coal-fired power plants in India locking in decades of carbon pollution.

In 2007, Farallon provided funds for the sale of Meiya Power, an electric utility that operates four large coal-fired power plants, which collectively produce about 7,000 megawatts of power. Combined, the completed Indiabulls and Meiya plants will produce about 60 million tons of carbon pollution a year.

The expected life span of those facilities, some of which may run through 2030, could cloud the credibility of Mr. Steyer’s clean-energy stance.

Today, it is appalling that Steyer is using his emissions profits to fund his image as the “environmental savior” to combat climate change. It is basically hypocritical to claim oneself a great environmentalist while investing in the very same technologies you rail against. Steyer’s shark instincts are now securing a wealth of investor funds from those who believe and support his green messages.

For electricity generation, green is good, but Steyer and his buddies Bernie Sanders and Mike Bloomberg are tight lipped about the extensive land required for the intermittent electricity from wind turbines and solar panel farms and where to place them for maximum exposure to sun and wind year- round.  The land acquisitions necessary to pull that off are nightmares waiting to happen. T

hen, its only intermittent electricity when the sun is shining, and the wind is blowing.

Steyer and his buddies are shockingly unaware that oil and gas is not just an American business with its 135 refineries in the U.S.,  but an international industry with more than 700 refineries worldwide that supply oil products and fuels to the world. Without the U.S refineries our country would become a national security risk being dependent on foreign countries for our existence.

With the winter weather most of the country has endured this year, going green would have resulted in a very dark America with numerous weather-related deaths from exposure to the elements because of no electricity.

Green is good, but Steyer and his followers have yet to propose replacements for the products from deep earth fuels that contribute to ALL medications, electronic components, air travel, shipping, transportation, and commerce.

Steyer, Bernie Sanders and Mike Bloomberg have yet to provide substitutes for the economies around the world that are directly connected to the prosperity of energy dense deep earth minerals and fuels that support the following infrastructures that benefit from the thousands of products that move things around the world.

Medications, vaccines, antibiotics, and medical equipment that are all made with the derivatives from petroleum.

Electronics that are all made with the derivatives from petroleum.

Commercial aviation, with 23,000 commercial airplanes worldwide that has been accommodating 4 billion passenger annually.

Cruise liners, each of which consumes 80,000 gallons of fuels daily, that have been accommodating more than 25 million passengers annually worldwide.

The USA has 98 operating nuclear power reactors in 30 states providing 20% of carbon free electricity in the USA.

The 52,000 merchant ships burning more than 120 million gallons a day of high sulfur bunker fuel (soon to be converted to diesel fuel to reduce sulfur emissions) moving products worldwide worth billions of dollars daily.

The military presence that protects each country from each other, is increasing each year to save the world.

Usage of fertilizers that accommodates growth of much of the food that feeds billions annually.

More than 8,000 coal power plants in America providing continuous electricity to citizens.

Vehicle manufacturing as all parts are based on the chemical and by-products from fossil fuels.

The usage of asphalt for road construction.

Again, green electricity is a good idea, but the inefficiencies of those renewables, and the huge subsidies required to move in that direction negatively affect the consumer. Like Germany, America’s renewables are becoming an increasing share in electricity generation, but at a HIGH COST. In California alone, intermittent electricity from low power density renewables has contributed to California household users paying more than 50% and industrial users paying more than 100% above the national average for electricity and may be very contributory to America’s growing homelessness and poverty populations.

Despite the debut of 45 pure electric and plug-in hybrids in the United States last year, only 325,000 plug-in passenger vehicles were sold, down 6.8% from 349,000 in 2018, according to Edmunds. That is just 2% of the 17 million vehicles of all types sold in the United States in 2019. Tom Steyer’s advocating that electric vehicles will replace every other vehicle on the road is far-fetched.

Until they figure out how to power a 4500 pound Maybach with bulletproof windows and panels all around that can cold start on a dime and get out of harm’s way when a diplomat needs to exit a venue post haste, the intermittent electricity and lithium powered vehicle market will always only be a niche market.


The Thunberg fallacies

Ever since she splashed into view I have wondered about Greta Thunberg’s reasoning. Her quoted statements, blasting the world for not doing the impossible, have given no clue where she is coming from.

Now, thanks to some detailed published statements of hers, from the World Economic Forum in Davos, I have my answer. It turns out she is hotly embracing not one, but two, howling fallacies. No wonder she sounds nuts.

To begin with, she cites the IPCC report on climate change from 2018, which claims we have only a few years left to act if there’s a 67% chance of keeping the global temperature rise from now to below 0.5 degrees C. (She, like everyone else, talks about a rise of 1.5 degrees, but the IPCC says that 1.0 degrees has already happened, which she knows.) If she said a half a degree people might laugh.

She says this is “not an opinion”, that it is THE science. Which is the first fallacy. What the IPCC writes is of course just an opinion and a highly contested one at that. It is nothing but model-based speculation, which is contradicted by real evidence.

But hey, lots of alarmists buy the IPCC stuff and they are not yelling that our planetary house is on fire. Getting to that point is Thunberg’s second, and far bigger, fallacy. She has decided that another half degree of global warming is the threshold to catastrophe.

Mind you she gives no actual reasons here. It appears to be a pure leap of faith. She mentions in passing some apparently dreadful things like tipping points and unknown feedbacks, but nothing specific. The IPCC certainly does not suggest any such hidden cataclysmic triggers.

She even says, “Either we prevent temperatures from rising above 1.5 degrees (Celsius), or we don’t. Either we avoid chain reaction of unravelling ecosystems, or we don’t.” It sounds like one follows from the other but it doesn’t.

This is the first I have heard of a chain reaction of unraveling ecosystems, especially one triggered by tiny warming (just half of what we supposedly have already seen.) I am sure the IPCC has never mentioned this demon or we would all have heard of it.

So there it is. She starts with the questionable IPCC and then simply leaps into the abyss but she calls it, “THE science”. There is no science here. In fact, there is no reasoning that I can see. In logic this is called argument by assertion.

The IPCC report merely addressed the relatively mundane question “What is the difference between 1.5 degrees of total warming (0.5 to come) and 2.0 degrees?” This question arises because the Paris Accord includes both targets. It says we want to hit 2.0 but get below it toward 1.5 if possible. In no case is 1.5 a target.

Given that 2.0 is the basic target, it is perfectly clear that 1.5 is not the threshold to catastrophe. In fact the report says that while holding to 1.5 is better, the difference is small. This is why the UN has not proposed dropping the 2.0 degree target. All of which contradicts Greta Thunberg’s claims. The report she cites simply does not support her outlandish position. No wonder the CLINTEL people say there is NO emergency.

To recap, there are two fallacies in her reasoning. Let’s call them the IPCC fallacy and the Thunberg fallacy. The IPCC fallacy is thinking that humans control global temperature. The Thunberg fallacy is thinking that a mere half degree of future warming is the threshold to catastrophe, to the point of threatening human existence. Unfortunately her followers have embraced her delusion.

The IPCC fallacy is well established and widespread, including among many scientists. It is the basis for the Paris Accord. It is moderate in its way. The Thunberg fallacy is new and nuts. In fact it is tearing the alarmist community apart, which is fine by me. Although like all forms of madness, the Thunberg fallacy bears watching, lest it get out if control.

Greta Thunberg and her followers are calling for rapidly rebuilding the global energy system, while also completely restructuring the world’s economic, social and political systems. All this turmoil in the name of limiting future global warming to one half a degree. It does not get any crazier than that.


Politicized charities

Don't give them a cent

Four of Australia’s leading international aid organisations have urged the Morrison Government to take major climate change action amid the country’s bushfire crisis.

World Vision Australia, Oxfam Australia, Plan International Australia and Save the Children Australia have joined forces to issue a plea for stronger climate measures.

The group wants more ambitious emission reduction targets to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5C, warning many countries will face unmanageable suffering and devastation if more isn’t done.

“The time for debate about climate change is over, it is now time for action. We cannot afford to waste any more time,” it said in a statement on Tuesday.

The organisations have called on Australia to demonstrate strong leadership on climate action and transition to a low-emissions global economy, support reforestation programs and build the capacity of vulnerable communities in Australia and overseas to deal with the ravages of climate change.

The four charities have called for the Coalition government to sign the Intergovernmental Declaration on Children, Youth and Climate Action.

“Our organisations acknowledge that this issue is so pressing, we must advocate in alliance to amplify the voices of the world’s most vulnerable people,” the joint statement says.

The Australian arms of World Vision, Oxfam, Plan and Save the Children describe climate change as a human rights issue impacting on health and an adequate standard of living.

“Every day, our aid workers see the very real and devastating impact of climate change on the world’s most vulnerable people,” the aid alliance says.

The group pointed to a food crisis in southern African, severe floods in Indonesia and a 2018 deadly cyclone in Mozambique.

“Now the climate emergency has well and truly arrived at home, too,” the alliance continued.

“Australians are suffering through the devastating ongoing fallout from our worst fire season on record, with dozens of lives, thousands of homes and more than a billion creatures lost.

“Fires continue to rage and millions are breathing in hazardous air across three states.” Climate action has been brought into sharp focus by Australia’s deadly bushfires with the issue sparking tensions within the coalition.



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


1 comment:

Small l said...

Can't take a site seriously if it can't even post the temperature graph to 2020 ( seems the denial crowd has trouble with graphing tools after 2010). How about you do so and reflect on what it means.