Thursday, October 15, 2020

The Great Barrier Reef has lost half its corals

The heading above -- from a Warmist outfit -- is most implausible. If it were true,it would have been widely noted by now but it appears to be the first such claim. And the journal article they rely on contradicts it:

"The relative abundances of large colonies remained relatively stable"

And the reference to"greenhouse gases" is also not in the original report.

There has undoubtedly been some loss of coral cover in some places in recent years but the cause is conjectural. Many things affect coral abundance, not the least of wich is heavy weather in the form of cyclones etc.

One of the largest declines happened during a fall in the sea level in the general area. And that exposed corals to unusual dessicatory and other damage

And, finally, even research by doomsayer Hoegh-Guldberg has revealed that bounce-back of damaged coral is very good. So the mere fears in the article below are unpersuasive

Journal abstract included below

A new study of the Great Barrier Reef shows populations of its small, medium and large corals have all declined in the past three decades.

Lead author Dr Andy Dietzel, from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (CoralCoE), says while there are numerous studies over centuries on the changes in the structure of populations of humans—or, in the natural world, trees—there still isn’t the equivalent information on the changes in coral populations.

“We measured changes in colony sizes because population studies are important for understanding demography and the corals’ capacity to breed,” Dr Dietzel said.

He and his co-authors assessed coral communities and their colony size along the length of the Great Barrier Reef between 1995 and 2017. Their results show a depletion of coral populations.

“We found the number of small, medium and large corals on the Great Barrier Reef has declined by more than 50 percent since the 1990s,” said co-author Professor Terry Hughes, also from CoralCoE.

“The decline occurred in both shallow and deeper water, and across virtually all species—but especially in branching and table-shaped corals. These were the worst affected by record-breaking temperatures that triggered mass bleaching in 2016 and 2017,” Prof Hughes said.

The branching and table-shaped corals provide the structures important for reef inhabitants such as fish. The loss of these corals means a loss of habitat, which in turn diminishes fish abundance and the productivity of coral reef fisheries.

Dr Dietzel says one of the major implications of coral size is its effect on survival and breeding.

“A vibrant coral population has millions of small, baby corals, as well as many large ones— the big mamas who produce most of the larvae,” he said.

“Our results show the ability of the Great Barrier Reef to recover—its resilience—is compromised compared to the past, because there are fewer babies, and fewer large breeding adults.”

The authors of the study say better data on the demographic trends of corals is urgently needed.

“If we want to understand how coral populations are changing and whether or not they can recover between disturbances, we need more detailed demographic data: on recruitment, on reproduction and on colony size structure,” Dr Dietzel said.

“We used to think the Great Barrier Reef is protected by its sheer size—but our results show that even the world’s largest and relatively well-protected reef system is increasingly compromised and in decline,” Prof Hughes said.

Climate change is driving an increase in the frequency of reef disturbances such as marine heatwaves. The study records steeper deteriorations of coral colonies in the Northern and Central Great Barrier Reef after the mass coral bleaching events in 2016 and 2017. And the southern part of the reef was also exposed to record-breaking temperatures in early 2020.

“There is no time to lose—we must sharply decrease greenhouse gas emissions ASAP,” the authors conclude.

Long-term shifts in the colony size structure of coral populations along the Great Barrier Reef

Andreas Dietzel et al.


The age or size structure of a population has a marked influence on its demography and reproductive capacity. While declines in coral cover are well documented, concomitant shifts in the size-frequency distribution of coral colonies are rarely measured at large spatial scales. Here, we document major shifts in the colony size structure of coral populations along the 2300 km length of the Great Barrier Reef relative to historical baselines (1995/1996). Coral colony abundances on reef crests and slopes have declined sharply across all colony size classes and in all coral taxa compared to historical baselines. Declines were particularly pronounced in the northern and central regions of the Great Barrier Reef, following mass coral bleaching in 2016 and 2017. The relative abundances of large colonies remained relatively stable, but this apparent stability masks steep declines in absolute abundance. The potential for recovery of older fecund corals is uncertain given the increasing frequency and intensity of disturbance events. The systematic decline in smaller colonies across regions, habitats and taxa, suggests that a decline in recruitment has further eroded the recovery potential and resilience of coral populations.

The ‘Great Reset’: Rule by Unelected ‘Experts’ – COVID-Climate Technocracy has arrived – ‘The danger of letting lab coats run the world’

The COVID-19 lockdowns and suspension of liberties have only emboldened climate campaigners to achieve their progressive vision of having “the masses” lives planned, monitored, and controlled for their “safety” — all in the name of “science.” The very real threat of oppressive rule by unelected experts in government is now threatening to engulf the world due to the ongoing COVID lockdowns and “phased reopenings.”

“If one lesson from the pandemic is that taking serious action in a timely manner is key – then shouldn’t this also be true in terms of climate change?” asked the Speaker of the House of Commons Sir Lindsay Hoyle at G7 Speakers’ Meeting in 2020.

Speaker Hoyle was amazed at how “compliant” the public was in accepting COVID lockdowns “No-one could ever imagine that we would be wearing masks so readily and that we would all be so compliant,” he said. “People were prepared to accept limitations on personal choice and lifestyle – for the good of their own family and friends.”

Hoyle claimed that the climate “tragedy is that unlike the pandemic, the climate crisis is not simply an external threat, but one in which we have had a clear hand”. He said: “In other words, it seems that we have brought this on ourselves. While this is again sobering, surely, it is in our hands to rescue it, if we have got the will to do it?”

The “will to do it” means the public has to prepare for climate lockdowns since they were so “compliant” in accepting the COVID lockdowns. A compliant public and ambition politicians and bureaucrats are a grave threat to liberty. The COVID lockdowns are being hailed by climate activists across the spectrum as a model for the coming climate lockdowns.

Former Secretary of State John Kerry noted that “the parallels [between COVID-19 and climate change] are screaming at us, both positive and negative.”

“You could just as easily replace the words climate change with COVID-19; it is truly the tale of two pandemics deferred, denied, and distorted, one with catastrophic consequences, the other with even greater risk if we don’t reverse course,” Kerry said.

French President Emmanuel Macron while warning citizens to stay confined to their homes during COVID-19 lockdown, urged: “We must all limit the number of people with who we’re in contact with every single day. Scientists say so.”

And the reason? Because “scientists say so.”

The COVID lockdowns and the attempt to impose a Green New Deal upon the USA herald another step into what is being called “scientism” that is leading us to a technocracy. “Technocracy” can be defined as the public’s acquiesce to a governing body composed of an elite cadre of unelected technical experts who are positioned to call the shots and manage society.

“The lockdown and its consequences have brought a foretaste of what is to come: a permanent state of fear, strict behavioral control, massive loss of jobs, and growing dependence on the state,” German Economic Professor Antony P. Mueller explained in August 2020.

“This coming technocracy involves close cooperation between the heads of the digital industry and of governments. With programs such as guaranteed minimum income and healthcare for all, the new kind of governance combines strict societal control with the promise of comprehensive social justice,” Mueller wrote.

“Earlier totalitarian regimes needed mass executions and concentration camps to maintain their power. Now, with the help of new technologies, it is believed, dissenters can easily be identified and marginalized. The nonconformists will be silenced by disqualifying divergent opinions as morally despicable,” Mueller detailed.

Mueller added, “Under the order envisioned by the Great Reset, the advancement of technology is not meant to serve the improvement of the conditions of the people but to submit the individual to the tyranny of a technocratic state. ‘The experts know better’ is the justification.”

“Overnight, our society is doing what radical leftist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and her fellow Green New Deal fanatics have demanded: An almost total end to air travel; personal automobile travel down to a trickle; promises of free health care for all quickly becoming the new status quo; and the ability of people to sit at home without working and receive a paycheck from the government. The Democrats want that to continue indefinitely,” Chowka wrote.

‘Lab coats run the world’

The U.S. is entering into a new phase where the “danger of letting lab coats run the world” is palpable. “It should be clear by now that most of the world’s leaders were stampeded over the lockdown cliff like so many lemmings. What caused the stampede is even more remarkable: a tiny coterie of obscure, soft-spoken epidemiologists in white lab coats playing with numbers…the aim was to cause panic,” wrote Bill Dunne in American Thinker.

“We were plunged into the grandest of experiments in authoritarian paternalism, whereby we plebeians — i.e., those without government jobs — are deemed incompetent to judge if it’s safe to take a dip in the ocean or a walk in the woods. We can, though, crowd into a Walmart or the local supermarket,” Dunne wrote.

Former UK Supreme Court Judge Lord Sumption explained this well in 2020: “Do we really want to be the kind of society where basic freedoms are conditional on the decisions of politicians in thrall to scientists and statisticians? Where human beings are just tools of public policy?” Sumption asked.

“To say that life is priceless and nothing else counts is just empty rhetoric…There is more to life than the avoidance of death,” he added. “To say that there are no limits is the stuff of tyrants. Every despot who ever lived thought that he was coercing his subjects for their own good or that of society at large,” he added.

“A society in which the Government can confine most of the population without controversy is not one in which civilized people would want to live, regardless of their answers to these questions. Is it worth it?” Sumption explained adding, “The lockdown is, without doubt, the greatest interference with personal liberty in our history.”

Banning Gas-Powered Vehicles Won’t Help the Earth

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced an order this week to ban the sale of new gas-powered road vehicles in the state by 2035.

CNBC reports the proposed rule would not prohibit people from driving or owning gas-powered cars, but would ban the sale of all new gasoline-powered passenger vehicles in the Golden State in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 35 percent.

The proposed rule would make California the first state to eliminate sales of such vehicles, though several European countries, including Sweden and Denmark, have made similar commitments.

There are reasons to be skeptical of such policies, however.

Proposals to eliminate gas-powered automobiles are likely to win politicians media coverage and cheers at town hall meetings (at least in some places). But the actual environmental impact of such policies remains unclear.

It’s important to remember that CO2 emissions are not just about what comes out of vehicles, but also what goes into vehicles. Electric vehicles might not emit emissions through exhaust pipes like gas-powered cars, but they expend tremendous amounts of CO2 during their production and charging cycles, and require numerous elements—such as lithium, cobalt, and manganese—that must be mined from the earth.

While conventional wisdom says electric vehicles are more environmentally friendly and an effective tool to fight climate change, research suggests electric vehicles may have environmental costs that actually exceed those of internal combustion engines when the full cycle of production is included.

Jonathan Lesser of the Manhattan Institute, for example, has published research showing that electric vehicles are worse for the environment than modern gas-powered vehicles. Using the Energy Information Administration’s long-term forecasts for the number of electric vehicles through 2050, Lesser estimated how much electricity these vehicles would require. He then broke down the effects on three key pollutants that are regulated in the US Clean Air Act: sulfur dioxide (SO2), oxides of nitrogen (NOX), and carbon dioxide (CO2).

“What I found is that widespread adoption of electric vehicles nationwide will likely increase air pollution compared with new internal combustion vehicles. You read that right: more electric cars and trucks will mean more pollution,” Lesser wrote in Politico.

The fact is, modern gas-powered vehicles are not what your grandaddy was driving. Today’s vehicles emit very little pollution, Lesser concluded, about 1% of what they did in the 1960s.

Lesser’s findings are not isolated.

The World Economic Forum has also called attention to the “dirty secrets of electric vehicles,” which includes both adverse environmental impacts and children as young as seven working in cobalt mines in places like the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where more than half of the world’s cobalt is produced.

“[R]aw materials needed for batteries are extracted at a high human and environmental toll. This includes, for example, child labour, health and safety hazards in informal work, poverty and pollution,” the World Economic Forum’s Global Battery Alliance notes. “A recycling challenge looms over the eleven million tonnes of spent lithium-ion batteries forecast to be discarded by 2030, with few systems in place to enable reuse and recycling in a circular economy for batteries.”

Recycling is not the only environmental problem facing the lithium-ion batteries used in electric cars.

The bulk of these batteries are manufactured in places such as Japan, China, and South Korea, where generation of electricity remains heavily dependent on fossil fuels, including coal, which increases the carbon footprint of electric car batteries. For this reason, Amnesty International is calling on nations to disclose the carbon footprint of electric car batteries, so their environmental impact can be accurately assessed.
While it’s difficult to gauge the environmental costs of these batteries with precision, one German study found that every Tesla battery requires between 23,000 pounds and 32,000 pounds of carbon emissions. Considering that Tesla produced 368,000 cars in 2019 alone, that’s up to 11.8 billion pounds of carbon dioxide emissions in just Tesla batteries in a given year.

It’s unclear if Gavin Newsom truly has three Teslas—a New Yorker journalist found three in the driveway when he went to Newsom’s home in 2018 for an interview—but if he did that would put Newsom’s carbon footprint at close to 100,000 for just the Tesla batteries.

This of course is of little concern to Newsom or Tesla founder Elon Musk, who “liked” Newsom’s announcement on Twitter that California would be “phasing out the internal combustion engine.”

Of course Musk likes this news. Newsom is sidelining Tesla’s competition, which stands to increase the market share of the world’s most valuable automobile company even further. This isn’t capitalism, however, it’s crony capitalism—the use of government regulations to shift the market toward a favored company or economic sector.

As the regulatory state grows, so does the phenomenon of what economists call “rent-seeking.” It involves companies diverting resources toward lobbying efforts (versus production) that seek regulatory measures designed to hamstring their economic rivals to increase their own share of the market.

Rent-seeking is, unfortunately, often an effective business strategy. But it’s not capitalism and is unlikely to improve the environment.

The law of unintended consequences, one of the proverbial building blocks of economics, shows that actions, those undertaken by people but especially those undertaken by governments, have consequences that go far beyond their desired effects.

Many people of good faith wish to help the environment by rejecting or limiting the use of gasoline. The desired effect is lower consumption of gasoline. However, there are also unintended consequences of this action.

By restricting the use of gasoline, environmentalists increase the demand for electricity. This in turn increases the price of coal, which incentives production of coal, a fossil fuel that produces more CO2 emissions than gasoline.

The great economist Claude-Frédéric Bastiat (1801-1850), in his seminal essay “That Which is Seen, and That Which is Not Seen,” observed there was a tendency for humans to judge actions based on immediate effects (“a small present good”) while ignoring their long-term consequences (“a great evil to come”).

Bastiat said it was man’s inability to see the results of actions in their totality—the seen and the unseen—that resulted in mankind’s greatest depredations.

“This explains the fatally grievous condition of mankind,” Bastiat warned. “Ignorance surrounds its cradle: then its actions are determined by their first consequences, the only ones which, in its first stage, it can see.”

If we celebrate the decline in emissions from gas-powered vehicles but ignore the considerable environmental costs of electric vehicles, we fall into the trap Bastiat described 170 years ago.

Jeff Bezos and Amazon Join the Religion of Green

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon and the world’s richest man, likes to depict himself as rising from difficult circumstances. His mother was still in high school when she became pregnant and his biological father left early on. Bezos as well as his former wife, Mackenzie, are members in good standing of what Charles Murray called the new upper class, in his book: Coming Apart: The State of White America 1960-2010. The Bezos couple exhibited high intelligence, were successful at the best colleges, and rose rapidly in their careers. Members of the new upper class marry each other, live in nice houses, send their kids to private schools or good public schools, and are very much out of touch with the thinking of ordinary people.

None of the new upper-class billionaires are monsters. They come from middle to upper middle-class origins. They are all brilliant entrepreneurs. They mostly use their power to damage Trump politically because they don’t like Trump. That is not usually illegal, but it does affect the future of the country because they do have great power

Amazon is a great company. I’m a faithful customer and I published my book: Dumb Energy: A Critique of Wind and Solar Energy using Amazon’s Kindle system. I hope I’m not going to wake up tomorrow and find out that my book has disappeared.

Lately, Amazon has jumped on the global warming/ renewable energy/ sustainability bandwagon. They are spending millions on television ads to tell everyone how virtuous they are. Amazon’s 2019 annual report is heavy with climate change, carbon footprints and renewable energy. Amazon is building wind and solar farms. They have signed a “climate pledge.” Previously, when Amazon mentioned climate, they meant the economic climate. Although Amazon has a history with renewable energy, it is necessary to keep in mind that in some circumstances, due to massive subsidies, renewable energy can be a profitable exercise.

Amazon is genuflecting to the Religion of Green, explained in this PragerU video. The Religion of Green is where the new upper class goes for spiritual sustenance, having given up on Episcopalianism. The Religion of Green claims to be backed by science. That is not necessarily a lie, because a lot of scientists are enjoying great success thanks to the Religion of Green. Since the popularization of global warming, climate scientists have risen from occupants of an obscure corner of academia into world-jetting celebrities. For these scientists, worldly fame has displaced scientific investigation. But Amazon is late to the green party. Apple and Chevron have been celebrating the Religion of Green for a long time.

Renewable energy is the concrete manifestation of the green religion. Yammering about global warming or recycling is mostly show. Renewable energy is billions of dollars for wind and solar farms that are absolutely a complete waste of money. Every claim made about the virtues of renewable energy is a lie and not a subtle lie. Further, the advocates of renewable energy that are technically literate have to work very hard not to see the truth.

Of course, not seeing the truth is easier if your paycheck depends on not seeing the truth. Climate Scientists for Nuclear agree with me. They say renewable energy is useless and won’t be remotely useful for reducing CO2 emissions. James Hansen, the most prominent climate scientist in the world and a proselytizer for global warming, calls renewable energy “grotesque.” You can see a video of Hansen and the prominent environmental advocate Michael Schellenberger making those points here.

Climate Scientists for Nuclear tell us that wind and solar will never be effective for reducing CO2 emissions. They are horribly expensive energy, requiring an 80% subsidy. If you get to the point of replacing about 25% of the grid electricity with wind and solar, the cost and difficulty of adding more becomes overwhelming.

Nuclear, on the other hand, does not emit CO2. Although nuclear is more expensive than fossil fuels, that is mostly due to the anti-nuclear movement launched by the same environmental groups that scream climate change. They have entangled nuclear in so much regulation and so many lawsuits that it is nearly impossible to build a new plant in the U.S. In other places, like France, South Korea and China, nuclear is progressing rapidly. The priests of the green religion are in a pickle. If they endorse nuclear, they will be endorsing what was formerly the work of the devil. But, if they don’t endorse nuclear, they are not serious about global warming.

Most likely, Amazon has jumped on the green train to deflect from the criticism it is getting for being a monopoly and stepping on toes of other interests. Bezos purchased the Washington Post newspaper, a virulently anti-Trump publication that has not become less anti-Trump under its new ownership.

President Trump has responded by suggesting that Amazon is ripping off the Postal Service by not paying enough for its package deliveries. If Trump is reelected, Bezos may have to start currying favor rather than promoting Trump hatred. Members of the new upper class are overwhelmingly Democrat voters with a low opinion of Trump. Manhattan and Marin County, California, hotbeds of the new upper class, voted better than 80% for Hillary in the last presidential election.

The billionaire members of the new upper class that run Google, Facebook, Apple and Twitter can’t stand Trump. My opinion is that jealously plays a big role in inciting this hatred. From nowhere and using only his native cunning, Trump got himself elected president. This is hard to bear, especially considering that Trump is a relative pauper compared to the tech billionaires. The less opulent, run of the mill members of the new upper-class sense that Trump is not one of them and doesn’t care about their class interests. They sense that the Democrat party is run by fellow class members, so they feel at home with the Democrats. The Republican Party, in contrast, is filled with people still following traditional religion, rather than the Religion of Green.

Since the Religion of Green is a religion, it can be difficult to counter with scientific or engineering facts or data. The facts and data concerning global warming (now called climate change because there wasn’t enough warming) lead directly to a swamp populated with computer models. But when it comes to wind and solar, the renewable energy that counts, the facts are very clear. The crippling handicap of wind and solar is intermittent and erratic operation. Because their operation is unpredictable, wind and solar can’t replace existing fossil fuel plants. The existing plants have to stay, in full force, to take over when the wind stops or the sun is obscured by clouds. Either wind or solar electricity costs, exclusive of subsidies, about $80 per megawatt hour. The cost is mostly the capital cost of the plant amortized over the life of the plant. The alternative is to burn natural gas in the existing plants at a fuel cost of $15 per megawatt hour. Renewable energy is a scheme to displace $15 electricity with $80 electricity.




No comments: