Sunday, August 09, 2020

Shocking 'before and after' pictures of glaciers in Patagonia reveal the dramatic impact of global warming over the last century

Worldwide some glaciers are always growing and some are shrinking.  The primary influence on them is precipitation, not small variations in temperature

A 'before and after' photography project in the Patagonian mountains using images taken in 1913 and modern day equivalents exposes the dramatic impact global warming is having on the world.

Explorers Cristian Donoso has dedicated the last 24 years of his life to exposing the dramatic effect of climate change on nature.

As part of a 2018 project called 'Ice Postcards' he, along with co-author Alfredo Pourailly, tracked down locations first captured by explorer Alberto de Agostini in the early 20th century to show how the landscape has changed.

Two pictures were taken at the same location and at the same time of year, but one was in 1913 and one was in 2018. They demonstrate the alarming physical impact of global warming on ice caps around the world

Chilean explorer Cristian Donoso has dedicated the last 24 years of his life to exposing the impact of climate change in a stunning photography project. These pictures in Patagonia reveal the loss of ice since 1913

Ice Postcards saw Donoso and Alfredo Pourailly De La Plaza travel to the Cordillera Darwin (a mountain range named after British biologist Charles Darwin) in Tierra del Fuego.

They tracked down locations of images taken by Alberto de Agostini, who regularly frequented the glaciers and took more than 11,000 photos. 

Jagged ice flows dominated the early images, but many of these have either vanished or dwindled by 2018.

Patagonia is a harsh environment and is home to the largest body of ice in the southern hemisphere, outside of Antarctica. 

Side-by-side comparisons of modern images with their historical equivalents lay bare the horrific impact climate change has had on this region.

'It was much more dramatic than what we believed would be the case,' Donoso told CNN.

'Places that we have yet to really understand, that we haven't explored, that we haven't photographed or that we have yet to chart have been profoundly impacted by humans. The world is a much smaller place than we think.'

The explorers hope that their images will inspire people to tackle climate change and preserve the only planet we have left.

Ice Postcards is a long-term project and a second set of comparative photos on different glaciers in Tierra del Fuego will be produced in an upcoming expedition by the two photographers, courtesy of a Rolex Explorer Grant.

Pictured, the jutting the Negri glacier terminus, captured by de Agostini in 1913 (left) and how the same patch of land looks at the same time of year today

The 2018 image from Donoso and Pourailly (right) of the Marinelli glacier shows the ice has receded more than six miles (10 kilometers) since 1914, when it was captured on film by de Agostini


Media Blame Hurricane Isaias on Climate Change – As Hurricane Numbers Decline

Hurricane Isaias hadn’t even made landfall in the United States before the media began proclaiming Isaias was the result of human-caused climate change. Not only is there no evidence for such a claim, but hurricane numbers have been declining as global temperatures modestly warm. Also, even the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) disputes any connection between global warming and hurricanes.

A New York Times article, titled “Hurricane, Fire, Covid-19: Disasters Expose the Hard Reality of Climate Change,” provided typical media coverage of Isaias. The article asserted, “Twin emergencies on two coasts this week — Hurricane Isaias and the Apple Fire — offer a preview of life in a warming world and the steady danger of overlapping disasters.” There is nothing unusual, however, about hurricanes forming and wildfires burning simultaneously, since the hurricane and wildfire seasons overlap.

TV weatherman Dan Satterfield added to the misinformation, publishing a blog post titled “Hurricane Isaias Will Be Wetter and Stronger Because of Climate Change.” Satterfield cited no evidence for this claim – because there is none.

To the contrary, and as detailed in Climate at a Glance: Hurricanes, hurricane impacts are at an all-time low. “The United States recently went more than a decade (2005 through 2017) without a major hurricane measuring Category 3 or higher, which is the longest such period in recorded history,” notes the Climate at a Glance summary. “The United States also recently experienced the fewest number of hurricane strikes in any eight-year period (2009 through 2017) in recorded history. Additionally, America’s most vulnerable state, Florida, recently concluded an 11-year period (2005 through 2016) without a landfalling hurricane of any size—the longest such period in recorded history.”

Even the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2018 “Interim Report” observes there is “only low confidence for the attribution of any detectable changes in tropical cyclone activity to anthropogenic influences.”

Applied to Isaias, strong upper-level wind shear battered Isaias in the Caribbean Sea. That wind shear prevented Isaias from becoming very organized, and was the primary reason the storm struggled to barely reach Category 1 strength. As documented in Climate at a Glance: Hurricanes, “Wind shear inhibits strong storms from forming and rips apart storms that have already formed. Scientists have learned that global warming is likely to cause more wind shear in places where hurricanes form and intensify.” And indeed, the much-ballyhooed warmer ocean waters due to global warming were no match for the global warming-fueled wind shear that stunted Isaias’ growth.

In summary, real-world hurricane data, the United Nations IPCC, and the particular history of Isaias show global warming did not cause Isaias or make the storm any worse. Any assertion to the contrary is fake science, even in the eyes of the United Nations. Therefore, we can thankfully expect Facebook and Twitter to soon issue a warning label, or block anyone from linking to or reposting, the media’s false claims that global warming spawned or worsened Isaias.


Two New Papers on Energy Economics

The CO2 Coalition this week published two new Science & Policy Briefs by energy economist and Coalition Director Bruce Everett, Ph.D. Both Briefs review claims made by the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, and repeated elsewhere, about the cost of "renewable" energy and the calculation of the Social Cost of Carbon. 

In the first, Wind and Solar are Competitive with Fossil Fuels only in Subsidized Price, Not in True Cost, Dr. Everett tackles a vital question in determining America's energy future: are "renewable" forms of energy truly competitive with traditional fossil fuels?

Says Everett: "The June 25 Wall Street Journal has a news piece by Rochelle Toplensky entitled 'Green Energy is Finally Going Mainstream.'  Ms. Toplensky claims that 'the cost of renewable energy can now be competitive with fossil fuels.' Unfortunately, her argument is based on one of the oldest and most common economic fallacies: confusing cost and price."

In the second Brief The President, not the New York Times, Is Right on the Social Cost of Carbon, Dr. Everett points out that the Social Cost of Carbon (SCC) is an estimate of the present value of the future impact of climate change and is supposed to serve as the basis for climate regulations.  Like everything else in the climate debate, the SCC is a political exercise.

He continues: "In a July 14, 2020 New York Times article, Lisa Friedman claims 'G.A.O.: Trump Boosts Deregulation by Undervaluing Cost of Climate Change.' In fact, the GAO (Government Accountability Office) says no such thing.  Responding to Congressional requests, the GAO considered (1) why the Trump administration's SCC is lower than the Obama administration's, (2) why the recommendations of a 2017 study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine have not been implemented and (3) how do states and other countries estimate SCC.  Neither the GAO nor Ms. Friedman bothers to ask the only important question: do estimates of the SCC make any sense?"

Both Science & Policy Briefs are available on the CO2 Coalition website at

Via The CO2 Coalition:

Australian PM prepares a natural gas plan to boost economy out of the pandemic

Not enough, say Greenies

Gas projects will gain federal support to drive down energy costs for industry and households in what Prime Minister Scott Morrison calls a broader plan to lift the economy through the pandemic.

Mr Morrison backed the use of gas to help Australian industry solve its energy challenges, signalling he would act "in the months ahead" to tackle the problems caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Three cabinet ministers are working on ways to cut gas prices, raising the prospect of measures in the October budget to address years of industry calls to boost domestic gas supplies.

The next test is a NSW regulatory decision due on September 4 on whether Santos can develop the Pilliga gas field in the state’s north on the condition all the gas goes to the domestic market.

Mr Morrison said the "energy challenges" were a factor in his goal of running the national economy in a "COVID-safe" way when there was no certainty about when a vaccine might arrive and the pandemic might end.

"I have talked a lot of times about what we need do in the gas sector and I’ll have a lot more to say about that in the months ahead," he said.

"What we’re doing in our manufacturing sector, what we’re doing to get infrastructure, getting almost $10 billion brought forward – that’s the plan.

"That can give the confidence and the assurance, because that plan goes in place, vaccine or no vaccine. Operating in a COVID-safe economy is then the challenge."

Greens leader Adam Bandt has attacked the government for backing new gas projects, following a series of leaks from the National COVID Commission chaired by Nev Power, former chief executive of Fortescue Metals.

The commission's manufacturing taskforce set out plans to put taxpayer support behind a significant expansion of the domestic gas industry.

"Gas is not only a toxic fossil fuel, it's becoming too expensive to compete with clean energy," Mr Bandt said.

Energy Minister Angus Taylor addressed the media on Wednesday about wanting Australia to capitalise on depressed global oil and gas markets to deliver cheap energy for industry and boost the strategic oil reserve during the coronavirus crisis.

"More and more, industrial users are keen to make the switch to renewable energy, but are being hamstrung by a government desperate to prop up dirty coal, oil and gas."

Industry Minister Karen Andrews, Resources Minister Keith Pitt and Energy Minister Angus Taylor are all working on the gas and energy agenda with a team from the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources.

Federal government sources named problems with red tape, environmental regulation and state moratoriums on gas projects as key obstacles to driving down the price and clearing the way for new power stations fuelled by gas.

While one option is an import terminal on the east coast, the other is federal approval for the Santos project under the Environment and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

Santos is waiting on a decision from the NSW Independent Planning Commission by September 4 on whether the company can extract coal seam gas from the region around Narrabri, but the project must also gain federal clearance under the EPBC Act.

Santos chief executive Kevin Gallagher said the company needed certainty about the Narrabri project after starting the process six years ago.

"Narrabri means more jobs and more investment in NSW and the local region, and lower gas and electricity prices for customers in the state," he said.

The Prime Minister's comments signal the agenda for the October budget after Mr Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg committed another $15.6 billion to fund JobKeeper payments for millions of workers through to March.

While the total cost of the JobKeeper scheme has now reached $101.3 billion to pay a wage subsidy to four million workers – albeit not all of them at the same time – the government is facing calls for a bigger stimulus.

Mr Morrison discussed new measures in skills policy with state and territory leaders in national cabinet on Friday, as well as agreeing a new freight code to keep food and other supplies moving despite Victoria’s business shutdowns.

The Prime Minister said the pandemic would force Australia to adjust the way it does business and named the digital economy as a potential opportunity.

"There is a broader plan when it comes to the economy and that continues to be rolled out, vaccine or no vaccine."



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