Wednesday, April 29, 2020

No, Antarctica Is Not ‘Rapidly Melting’

"It’s easy to wonder if the sheer volume of panic being spread on the issue of climate change is a conspiracy. But it doesn’t have to be a conspiracy to be this pervasive, it just has to fit the world view of a critical mass of special interests"

The BBC, which in September 2018 announced its decision to censor any reports by climate skeptics, continues to propagandize for climate alarmists. On March 12, BBC “Science Correspondent” Jonathan Amos published an alarming article entitled “Greenland and Antarctica ice loss accelerating.” According to Amos, “Earth’s great ice sheets, Greenland and Antarctica, are now losing mass six times faster than they were in the 1990s thanks to warming conditions.”

The BBC was not alone, of course. Generic journalist NPCs around the world ran with the story. The Guardian’s version came with a predictably terrifying subhead: “Losses of ice from Greenland and Antarctica are tracking the worst-case climate scenario, scientists warn.” USA Today offered its version on March 16, with a story headlined, “Greenland and Antarctica are now melting six times faster than in the 1990s, accelerating sea-level rise.”

The source of these dire statistics was a report in the journal Nature, published late last year and released online on March 12. The key findings were summarized by NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and come down to certain quantitative assertions that invite skeptical analysis.

Perhaps the most alarming sounding statistic was the following, quoting from NASA/JPL:

The two regions [Greenland and Antarctica] have lost 6.4 trillion tons of ice in three decades; unabated, this rate of melting could cause flooding that affects hundreds of millions of people by 2100.

This sounds like a lot of ice, “6.4 trillion tons.” But it’s not. This equates to 6,400 billion tons, which may also be referred to as 6,400 gigatons, which is 6,400 cubic kilometers. That would be an ice cube 18.5 kilometers on a side, or, to revert to the imperial system of measures, an ice cube 11.5 miles on a side. If you dropped this ice cube in the world’s oceans and let it melt, it would raise the level of the oceans by 18 millimeters—that’s 9/16ths of one inch.

How horrible.

Tectonic Shifts

To focus on Antarctica, the report in Nature claimed Antarctica is losing, in recent years, 190 gigatons of ice per year, an amount that supposedly portends an ominous future for coastal cities around the world. But the total ice mass of Antarctica is generally estimated at 26.5 million gigatons. This means that the participating scientists claim they can observe a change in the total ice mass of Antarctica of one seven millionths per year. You can’t even make an easily comprehensible fraction for an amount this infinitesimal. Expressed using decimals, it’s .000007.

It doesn’t take a scientist to wonder if these scientists aren’t jumping to conclusions. This amount of change is way below the noise level. How on earth—using satellite-based imagers screaming through a polar orbit at nearly 20,000 miles per hour, observing a continent 5.4 million miles in area, covered with an ice sheet that is up to three miles thick—can these scientists claim with confidence that they’re detecting an annual change in the total ice mass of .0007 percent—and, worse, announce this to the world as if it’s terrifying?

This is the sort of reasoning that the BBC openly censors. But thank God for the blogosphere to debunk alarmist reports about the cryosphere.

A good anthology of links and summaries of contrarian, non-alarmist findings can be found on the indefatigable Marc Morano’s Climate Depot website. Included in a recent post are articles by NASA glaciologist Jay Zwally claiming Antarctica is actually gaining ice.

One of the biggest obstacles to accurately measuring the volume of an ice sheet is that the underlying terrain itself changes, uplifting, or subsiding depending on tectonic shifts and other geologic variables. Available online, from the Journal of Marine Science Research and Oceanography, is an article titled “The Views of Three Sea Level Specialists.” The observations by meteorologist Thomas Wysmuller, formerly with NASA, are particularly helpful in understanding the difficulties with measuring Antarctica’s ice mass, as well as sea-level trends.

With respect to sea-level rise, Wysmuller explains that “the most influential driver of local sea level trend happens to be local tectonics,” and therefore the most accurate long-term measurements of sea level can only be found in places that are “tectonically inert.” He cites these areas as reporting a 1 millimeter to 1.2-millimeter rate of annual sea-level rise over the last century, with scant evidence of acceleration.

Wysmuller provides an excellent example of how sea level data is manipulated by alarmists, by showing a chart from NOAA depicting mean sea level at Seward, Alaska. The trend line of the long-term tide gauges shows a supposed rapid rise in sea level, but when you observe the actual year over year data, it is clear that sea level was stable both before and after the Alaskan earthquake in 1964. At a magnitude of 9.3, this devastating quake caused the coastal land to fall by 0.9 meters.

It is impossible to refute every argument made by climate alarmists, because there is a perpetual onslaught of propaganda connecting virtually any topic to climate change. But voters and politicians have an obligation to look past the hype and perform their own critical reasoning. Six-point-four-trillion-tons. That sounds like so much, but in fact it’s just a drop in the ocean.

And as for Greenland, why is it called Greenland? Because in “Old Greenland,” back in the 10th century and for a few hundred years thereafter, parts of this harsh land were green. To this day there are ruins of churches, anchoring settlements where thousands lived until the little ice age drove them out.

And what about “thermal expansion” of the oceans? Then why is there no indisputable evidence of sea levels rising? And why wouldn’t increased evaporation in a thermally expanded, warmer ocean, offset the thermal expansion? These questions deserve discussion and answers. But the BBC, along with most other mainstream and online media, suppress discussion, and suppress answers with which they do not agree.

Former presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg, when talking about his policy positions, was fond of prefacing a remark with the phrase “science says . . . ” But using the words “science says” as a way to gain credibility and stifle debate is not scientific. The lifeblood of science is skepticism. It is supposed to be the lifeblood of journalism as well. And when it comes to climate change, “science” knows a lot less than its self-proclaimed spokespersons claim.

It’s easy to wonder if the sheer volume of panic being spread on the issue of climate change is a conspiracy. But it doesn’t have to be a conspiracy to be this pervasive, it just has to fit the world view of a critical mass of special interests. And that it does.

Anyone who believes in socialism, or just in bigger government, will favor the climate alarmist narrative. Anyone who believes in globalism and the withering away of national sovereignty will be similarly attracted to climate alarmism. As for private opportunists, from rent-seeking multinational corporations to local environmental impact consultants, climate alarmism is a gold mine.

Worst of all is not just the censorship of skeptical voices, but the demonization of skeptics. For example, a Google search on Thomas Wysmuller reveals links to several websites devoted to nothing but smearing and defaming him and everybody like him. But it is the documented facts and logical integrity of Wysmuller’s arguments that must be considered, not the attacks on his character made by his ideological enemies.

Perhaps referring to these left-wing, slime-slinging websites is the best way to quickly learn who’s willing to tell the other side of the story; perhaps it’s where we find the good guys.


Climatologist Delighted Over Economic Downturn, Wants Carbon Tax

Betts is an old diehard Warmist from way back

In a recent opinion piece, Vermont “climate scientist” Alan Betts rejoiced at the world’s financial troubles, beginning with his title: “The global economy crumbles.”

Hundreds of millions of people face imminent starvation globally, but Mr. Betts (an expert in “atmospheric research”) gloats that “reality has intruded on sacred ‘free-market’ theology.”

To Betts, all of the world’s problems were created by cruel, unnamed capitalists who manipulated the poor while toxifying the environment.

He lambasts these horrible antagonists:

Capitalism has no moral guiding principles, it simply demands growth and profits, with no consideration for resilience and long-term stability.

Historically, justice for working people was not considered, let alone justice for life on Earth[.] … Looking back, it is clear that the growth of the capitalist system was powered by fossil fuel.

Ironically, Mr. Betts has not “historically considered” the state from whence he is shrieking.

Vermont, which boasts a history of self-reliance and small farm production, has long been sustained on that capitalism he disdains as unjust (long before fossil fuel dependency).

But for him, Vermont must be delivered from capitalist injustice through the unnamed virtues of socialism, by embracing more local production and control.

Says Betts:

[W]e must step away from the endless pleas for growth, and grasp the simple reality that exponential [sic] growth of the consumer economy means sacrificing the planet just so some can profit.

This too is stupid when our engineers could easily and cheaply build long-lived products for a sustainable society instead of the throw-away culture that was started in the 1950s.

This “simple reality” must be the one Betts suggested hadn’t “intruded on sacred free-market theology.” But Betts’s “simple reality” points to “the consumer economy.”

Is that the fault of the mysterious capitalists? Mr. Betts blames the producers and the consumers of the goods — is he Marxist or bourgeois?

Mr. Betts promises undisclosed socialist panaceas to rescue the planet’s future from the totalitarian grip of the capitalist past.

His sole (atmospheric?) policy prescription is a regressive tax on gasoline:

Now is a perfect time to add a fossil carbon tax, when the price of oil is low, to fund the transition to an efficient society powered by renewable energy.

The public would not notice, but what is obvious to us is unthinkable to the rich and powerful oil industry, which demands instead subsidies to protect profits as usual.

Betts wishes to use what he calls the “clueless central government” to take money from low-income drivers (while they “won’t notice”) to transfer (as subsidies) to the rich and powerful renewable energy industry, in the name of the “rich and powerful oil industry.”

Presumably, the money siphoned off those poor-slob car-drivers would “fund the transition” to throw away that throwaway culture and manufacture a new Shangri-La.

But Betts hasn’t asked for consumption to be thrown away. He also hasn’t told readers where to throw away the tens of millions of people facing starvation due to the “global economic crumbling” he chortles over.

He has thrown away capitalism with Vermont history, discarded self-reliance with self-respect, and cast common sense to the wind.

Yet Mr. Betts has not thrown away economics:

We can also delight in the benefits from the large economic downturn. Decline in the pollution from air travel and less driving helps Earth. The big drop in global air pollution from the reduced burning of fossil fuels benefits the planet, and ironically may save as many lives as are dying from COVID-19.

Mr. Betts proposes to 1) use a collapsing economy and gas prices to 2) take money from working-class people to 3) finance renewable energy projects and electric vehicles that benefit the wealthy, while 4) blaming wealthy capitalists and 5) saving all life on planet Earth.

Families are struggling financially, with food security threatened for some — even in Vermont. The government faces a fiscal crisis.

But with gasoline consumption at the lowest since the Vietnam War, Mr. Betts and other progressive Earth rescuers have dropped the pretense that a fuel tax will reduce consumption and are simply grabbing for a tax.

There is a big difference between an existential futuristic threat of global climate change and the very real and present harm to mankind of seismic economic collapse.

There is also a huge gulf between dreading and delighting in that economic downturn, which may yet claim vastly more lives than were taken by COVID-19 (or saved by that “big drop in air pollution”).

It is surreal to delight in the face of mass human suffering while opportunistically advocating a regressive tax on cheap gas to “transition to an efficient society.” Human morality is crumbling faster than the global economy.

What is this new sacred theology that is replacing the free market?


New N.H. Temp Reconstructions Devoid Of Mann-Made ‘Hockey Sticks’

New paleoclimate records from Europe, Scandinavia-Russia, China, and the northeastern USA indicate there has been no unusual modern warming.

Instead, these newly published reconstructions show warmer periods and more rapid centennial-scale warming events occurred in past centuries, or when CO2 concentrations were much lower than they are now.

United States

In the late 1990s, Dr. Michael Mann heavily weighted tree-ring evidence from North American bristlecone pines to construct the notorious hockey stick temperature graph featuring a sharp uptick in modern warming.

A new 2,500-year tree-ring reconstruction (411 B.C.E. to 2016 C.E.)  for the northeastern United States shows no unusual climate changes in recent decades have occurred in this region (Pearl et al., 2020).

The authors suggest the tree species used, Atlantic white cedar, is “significantly correlated” with this region’s temperature.

Scandinavia, Russia

Another new dendroclimatology study (Shi et al., 2020) affirms Northern Eurasia (Sweden, Yamal) warmed 3 to 6 times faster during the 4th, 15th, and 19th centuries than during the 1900s-2000s.

For example, the temperature record suggests it warmed 0.37°C to 0.85°C within the last century.

During the Roman and Medieval warm periods as well as the 19th century, regional temperatures rose at much faster rates of 1.37°C to 3.31°C per century.

Further, the record shows regional temperatures were warmer during the first millennium than during the last century.


Using ice cores, tree rings, lake sediments, and stalagmites from 28 proxy temperature reconstructions from throughout the “whole country” of China, Hao et al., (2020) find the “longest warm period on the centennial-scale” occurred during the 10th to 13th centuries, or during the Medieval Warm Period (MWP).

The two warmest 30-year periods during the MWP are also “comparable” to the warmth of the most recent decades.

None of these Northern Hemisphere temperature reconstructions indicate there has been any unusual modern warming relative to the natural temperature variations of the last few millennia.


Australia could get 90% of electricity from renewables by 2040 with no price increase

On windy nights only, presumably.  What do you do when the wind doesn't blow and the sun doesn't shine? They talk blithely of pumped hydro and batteries but omit to mention that the costs for both are vast while the output is trivial

Australia could get 90% of its electricity from renewable energy by 2040 without an increase in power prices, according to an analysis by the energy and carbon consultancy RepuTex.

Under current government policies, the country is on track to have 75% of its electricity generated by renewables within 20 years, but the analysis suggests a weak federal policy framework would lead to wholesale prices rising for a period after 2030.

RepuTex’s latest outlook for the national energy market finds investment driven by state policies, including renewable energy targets in Victoria and Queensland, will help keep wholesale electricity prices down throughout the 2020s.
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But it says wholesale prices would rise again in the 2030s without federal policy to encourage investment in new clean energy generation before ageing coal-fired power stations close.

RepuTex examined two scenarios, one that forecasts wholesale electricity prices under current government policies, and another that forecasts prices under the Australian Energy Market Operator’s more ambitious “step change” scenario that uses a carbon budget in line with the Paris agreement. It has made a summary of its report and methodology, but not the full report, available on its website.

Under current policies, Australia would reach 50% renewable energy by 2030 and 75% by 2040, despite the absence of a federal policy framework beyond the underwriting of new generation investment scheme.

The report finds new investment would be driven by state-based policies and renewable energy targets, which RepuTex forecasts would bring about 17 gigawatts of new capacity by 2030, along with 4GW of rooftop solar and 3.5GW of new storage capacity.

The falling costs of clean technology would put pressure on coal and gas generation and lead to 18GW of thermal capacity exiting the market by 2040. It forecasts wholesale prices would remain at roughly the current level, between $50 -$70 a megawatt hour, over the next 10 years. Wholesale electricity prices have fallen by nearly 50% over the past year.
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“As new renewable energy and storage projects such as Snowy 2.0 are commissioned, along with the continued uptake of small-scale resources, traditional volumes for black coal and gas-fired capacity are likely to be eroded,” RepuTex’s head of research, Bret Harper, said.

But the report finds that a disorderly closure of coal-fired power stations would push wholesale prices up in the 2030s in the absence of federal policy to guide investment.

RepuTex found that an increase in wholesale prices could be avoided under the more ambitious scenario, forecasting that average annual prices in the 2030s would remain below $80/MWh. The step change scenario sets out an emissions budget for the electricity sector that would lead to decarbonised energy systems by 2050, in line with the Paris agreement commitment of keeping global heating below 2C.

RepuTex forecasts this scenario would lead to Australia reaching 70% renewable energy generation by 2030 and 90% in 2040, and that the combination of more renewable energy, improved storage technologies and a carbon budget would be “fatal” for coal-fired power.

“The most interesting thing is we can have this decarbonised energy system and it won’t cost any more,” Harper said.

“In fact, it costs slightly less. Just in the last year even, energy storage costs have really come down, whether it’s battery or pumped hydro.”



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