Thursday, October 22, 2020

Crisis looms in alarmist climate science

By David Wojick

Climate science is dominated by alarmists addicted to the idea that increasing carbon dioxide will cause dangerous global warming. How much warming is thus the central scientific question.

This question has been surprisingly difficult to answer despite 40 years of research, costing tens of billions of dollars. Now the issue is exploding because two different answers are emerging, one harmlessly low and the other dangerously high. This divergence is a crisis for the alarmist community. How they handle it remains to be seen.

What follows is a slightly technical explanation of the situation.

The issue centers on a benchmark estimate of the impact of increasing CO2 on global temperature. This is called the “equilibrium climate sensitivity” or ECS. The basic question is what will the global average temperature be when the CO2 level is double the supposedly original level of 280 ppm? That is, what will it be when we hit 560 ppm.

However, since it may take the climate system some time to adjust to this new high level, the question is what the temperature will be when the system equilibrates to this doubling, which may be some time after we hit 560. Also, this is about sensitivity, so ECS is not the new high temperature. It is the number of degrees C higher than the original temperature that this new high temperature will be.

So if the new high temperature is, say, 2.2 degrees C higher then ECS = 2.2 degrees.

Technically ECS is often an abstraction, something that only happens in climate models, but model ECS is taken as an important estimate of real ECS. In the models ECS is often estimated by simply doubling the CO2 instantaneously, whereas in reality this takes centuries.

All this said, I can now explain the emerging crisis.

For many decades the accepted model estimates of ECS have ranged from 1.5 to 4.5 degrees C. Different models give different values, but the acceptable range has not changed. That the range is so big has been a policy problem. Warming as little as 1.5 degrees might be harmless, while 4.5 might be dangerous. But the ECS range has been stubbornly persistent, refusing to narrow to a specific value.

Now, suddenly, there is a huge new problem. ECS has exploded! It is not that it is higher, or lower ­ it is both. Two new lines of research have diverged sharply on the estimated value of ECS.

The first line of research takes a new approach called observational ECS. The idea is that since the CO2 level is almost half way to doubling we should be able to derive ECS empirically from the observed relationship between CO2 increase and temperature increase.

There have been a number of observational studies and many are getting ECS values well below 1.5, which are harmless indeed. Values of 1.2 and 1.3 are common. But at the same time there has been a new wave of modeling studies and these are getting ECS values way above 4.5, which would be truly dangerous. Here values of 5.2 and 5.3 are to be found.

Note that the modeling community is divided over accepting these new hot model numbers. After all, they imply that the modeling done over the last forty years or so has been wrong, including a lot of the recent modeling which is still within the old range.

The upshot of all this is that the science of ECS is in a shambles. Given that ECS addresses the core science of climate alarmism, this is truly a crisis. Has the modeling been wrong for 40 years? Is it wrong now? What about observation, which is supposed to rule in science? The scientific method says observation trumps theoretical modeling.

This is also a policy crisis. If we have no idea how sensitive the climate system will be to increasing CO2 levels then we have no basis for making climate change policy. If the observation values are right then there simply is no climate emergency.

How will this huge new uncertainty play out? Fortunately we will get at least a glimpse fairly soon. The latest IPCC assessment report (AR6) is presently under review and should be out in the next year or so. This report is supposed to review the state of climate change science, albeit from an alarmist point of view. How the IPCC handles the exploding ECS range will be interesting to see, at the very least. They may choose to ignore it because it has to hurt alarmism. They may simply drop mention of the ECS altogether, it now being very inconvenient. But this glaring omission will be easy to call out.

Or they may only acknowledge the hot higher values, which favor alarmism. Here they risk making modeling look stupid (which it is). Plus this omission of critical evidence will also be easy to call out. With the ECS range exploding the IPCC is caught between a hot rock and a cold hard place. So is alarmism. Stay tuned.

Trump touts fracking policy in Pennsylvania rally, says Biden 'will shut it all down'

President Trump told backers at an Erie, Pa., rally Tuesday night that the battleground state is crucial to his chances of winning re-election, and his stance on fracking is crucial to the Keystone state.

“You know if we win Pennsylvania we win the whole thing,” Trump said.

Trump spent the rally promoting his pro-fracking stance in comparison to his challenger, Democratic candidate Joe Biden’s somewhat mercurial position on the subject.

“The Democrat Party hate fracking, they hate coal, good beautiful clean coal,” Trump said Tuesday night. “They hate American energy and Joe Biden will shut it all down.”

Trump used his rally in Erie to show why he thinks he would be better for American energy policy and used a portion of the event to show a campaign clip of Biden’s and vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris’ stances on fracking.

The mashup of clips showed Biden saying “I guarantee you, we’re going to end fossil fuels. No new fracking. I’d gradually move away from fracking.”

Trump has taken issue with Biden’s stance on fracking after the former vice president recently said he would not “ban fracking,” but his energy policy does state that he intends to “move away” from the controversial energy practice.

Trump called his video debut a “Trump Broadway play,” and told his supporters, “I had it done specifically for the people of Erie because you guys look like people who like energy, you like being energy independent.”

Trump said that Biden would destroy American energy in an attempt to attack the middle class and gain a “socialist" foothold in the government.

Democrats are full of "hate and rage and scorn for the middle class, and for everybody,” Trump claimed.

“Only by voting for me can you save your fracking in Pennsylvania,” Trump said Tuesday night. “You are going to reject the radical left.”

The president then referenced an opinion article in the Wall Street Journal that claimed if Biden were to be elected, the average American family could lose $6,500 a year in income. Trump said this was likely because “for the last 47 years Joe Biden has been outsourcing your jobs, offshoring your factories and selling out the American worker.”

“And who knows it better than Pennsylvania?” Trump asked the crowd.

Google Promotes Maine Shellfish Scare – As Production Sets Record

Google News is promoting claims that global warming is killing off Maine’s shellfish. However, objective data show that Maine is producing a record aquaculture harvest and Maine’s lobster catch is also setting records.

At the top of search results today for “climate change,” Google News is promoting a Sci Tech Daily article titled, “Iconic Food Web Threatened by Climate Change.” The article cites a dubious new study asserting a decline in Maine shellfish during the past 20 years.

“A dataset collected over two decades, including numbers of five species of mussels, barnacles, and snails, shows that all have been experiencing declines,” claims the article.

As the title of the article makes clear, the article blames the decline on climate change. Nevertheless, the authors speculate many factors may be causing the asserted decline, including invasive crabs that feed on shellfish, pollution, and overharvesting.

Data from the Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) throws cold water on the assertion that global warming is killing off Maine’s shellfish. The Maine DMR reports that Maine’s total aquaculture harvest value set a new record last year. The same is true for blue mussels, which were featured in the Sci Tech Daily article. The same is true for Maine oysters.

Some people may argue that aquaculture harvests are not necessarily an apples-to-apples comparison with the number of wild marine animals. However, if global warming were imposing stress on wild marine-life populations, that same temperature stress should show up in marine aquaculture production. Instead, Maine aquaculture production is setting records. Indeed, Maine mussel production is currently double what it was just a decade ago. Maine oyster production is quadruple what it was a decade ago. That is not what one would expect in increasingly temperature-stressed conditions.

Also, while the study promoted by Google News and Sci Tech Daily relies on a speculative assessment of shellfish numbers, Maine’s wild lobster catch is also setting records. The Maine DMR reports that each of the 10 highest annual lobster catches occurred during the past 10 years. Lobster catches in Maine are presently double what they were just 20 years ago.

If global warming is decimating Maine’s shellfish and other marine life, Mother Nature sure has a strange way of showing it.

Australian coal mining company says reactivated mine will be 'no risk' to Sydney's drinking water, but locals are wary

There's no such thing as a happy Greenie. They make themselves feel significant by opposing things

A New South Wales coal mining company that wants to expand a mothballed operation beneath Sydney's drinking water catchment says it has "engineered out" any risk to the environment.

Wollongong Coal is seeking approval from the State Government to extract 3.7 million tonnes of coal over five years from its Russell Vale mine.

During a two-day public hearing of the Independent Planning Commission (IPC), chief executive Warwick Lidbury said the company would use a bord-and-pillar mining method to mitigate subsidence.

"The board of Wollongong Coal has committed to complete this project and future projects utilising an environmentally friendly process," he said.

"It excludes longwall mining and has engineered out the risk associated with mining under the water catchment, as well as the noise generated, air quality, and the visual impacts on the pit top area.

"The extraction plan will ensure no cracking of the strata, no additional loss of water from the catchment, no adverse effects of the water quality on the surface, no adverse effects on the upland swamps, no effects that will increase bushfire risk and no effects on any Aboriginal sites."

The colliery has been in care and maintenance since 2015 and its owners are $1 billion in debt.

It is the third time Wollongong Coal, which is owned by Indian business Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL), has significantly amended its expansion proposal since 2009.

The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) has now recommended the IPC approve the project after what it described as an "exhaustive process".

"The revised bord-and-pillar mining method addressed the key concerns raised in previous reports, in relation to the uncertainty around subsidence and groundwater impacts," director of resource assessments, Steven O'Donoghue, said.

"There'll be economic benefits to the Illawarra and overall, considering that the benefits outweigh the residual costs."

More than 80 parties, including residents, community organisations and businesses, made presentations to the commission on Monday and Tuesday, with fewer than a quarter in favour of the proposal.

Opposition to the project included concerns for water loss from Sydney's drinking supply and climate change, as well as truck movements, noise pollution, and the impact on air quality.

"We're constantly having coal dust descending on our homes," said Illawarra Residents for Responsible Mining spokesperson Alison Edwards.

"As soon as the mine starts up again, with its dropping coal from a high conveyer onto stockpiles, on unsealed roads, we will again be beset by heavy loads of coal dust falling in the vicinity."

Lock the Gate spokesperson Nic Clyde used his presentation to refute claims the bord-and-pillar technique would remove the risk to the water catchment.

"[The project] will cause the loss of about 10 million litres a year to surface waters, which adds up to 50 million litres of water over the five years," he said.

Members of the Seacliff Coasters running group also questioned the mine's impact on public amenity and recreational use of the Illawarra escarpment.

"We've been running for a very long time, but a virtual wall has now been imposed by Wollongong Coal on the Lower Escarpment Trail," said runner Tim Siegenbeek van Heukelom.

"A gate and a newly erected sign indicate no access and threaten prosecution for those who do.

"I call for you to reject the coal mine expansion proposal to enable us to keep enjoying and caring for this magical natural environment."

A boost to employment

Several speakers argued in favour of the proposal on the basis that it would create 205 direct jobs, 800 indirect jobs and 22 jobs during construction.

"If the Russell Vale mine does go back into full production, it will lead to more jobs and revenue for our office and supporting businesses," said Becker Mining spokesperson Geoff Pollard.

"The project will be required to use many different trades and contractors from many different fields and will continue to need these people for the life of the mine.

"This is a great opportunity for the Illawarra."

Danae Horsey, director of the Little School Preschool at Kembla Grange, said Wollongong Coal also made a significant financial contribution to the local community.

"We've had a very positive relationship with Wollongong Coal over the years," she said.

"They've been very generous in support of our community projects and keeping small services like ours viable.

"They make donations to our programs, they funded our early-learning languages program, they've funded our sustainability projects [by] donating money for water tanks and having those installed.

"I think it's under-reported, the good work that they do, and how they support small businesses like us."

In June 2018, the NSW Resources Regulator accepted an enforceable undertaking from Wollongong Coal to pay donations of $5,000 to a local charity or community group and to lease a portion of its property to the Little School Preschool for $1 per year until 2023.

The decision was made after an investigation into an alleged failure of the company to pay annual rental fees and administrative levies.

The IPC will make a determination on the Russell Vale Expansion Project in the coming months.




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