Thursday, November 12, 2020

NY Times ‘Knows’ Hurricane Facts that Are Actually False

A story in the New York Times today is misleadingly titled, “5 Things We Know About Climate Change and Hurricanes,” (Emphasis mine). In the story, the Times substitutes speculation by a few climate alarmists for facts. The real fact is there is no evidence hurricanes are becoming more frequent or severe as the Earth modestly warms.

“Scientists can’t say for sure whether global warming is causing more hurricanes, but they are confident that it’s changing the way storms behave … there’s a solid scientific consensus that hurricanes are becoming more powerful,” writes the Times.

Actually, scientists can say for sure that there is no evidence hurricane are becoming more frequent. Data from Climate Atlas, reported in Climate at a Glance: Hurricanes, demonstrate there has been no increase in global hurricane frequency during the recent period of modest warming. To the contrary, objective data show that the number of tropical storms has declined modestly during the past 50 years. (See the figure below).

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change agree with this assessment, stating in its 2018 interim report that there is “only low confidence for the attribution of any detectable changes in tropical cyclone activity to anthropogenic influences.”

The 2020 hurricane season has very active which the Times acknowledges claims is due to warm Atlantic ocean surface temperatures. However, if that is the case, why have recent years seen fewer hurricanes and tropical storms than was the case decades earlier?

Even in the midst of modestly warmer temperatures this year, the United States recently went more than a decade (2005 through 2017) without a major hurricane measuring Category 3 or higher making landfall, which is the longest such period in recorded history. America also recently experienced the fewest number of total hurricane strikes (Category 1 through 5) in any eight-year period (2009 through 2017) in recorded history.

“Warm ocean water is just one factor in the formation and intensification of hurricanes,” writes meteorologist Anthony Watts 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. It is misleading to discuss one factor in hurricane formation (warmer oceans) while failing to discuss an equally important factor (wind shear) that diminishes hurricane formation and intensification.”

The Times claims climate change is making it more likely for hurricanes to move more slowly. The Times also claims the regions impacted by tropical storms and hurricanes are expanding. However, these claims aren’t backed by any data cited by the Times. There is also no objective data showing climate change is “enlarging the zones where hurricanes can form,” as the Times asserts. Indeed, the data that does exist show hurricane zones have been stable over recorded history, neither shrinking nor expanding.

Instead, the paper quotes one or two scientists who have made such claims about expanding hurricane zones as if they represented a scientific consensus on the matters. They don’t! Moreover, if the same number of hurricanes and tropical storms are forming, and those storms are being stretched out over a greater area, then currently hurricane-prone therefore experience even fewer storms each year as the storms get more spread out.

Concerning the claim that climate change will cause hurricanes to move more slowly, the Times writes, “[r]esearchers do not yet know why storms are moving more slowly, but they are. Some say a slowdown in global atmospheric circulation, or global winds, could be partly to blame.” The Times can’t write, “we do not yet know why storms are moving more slowly,” and then assert, “we know” climate change is causing hurricanes to move more slowly. There is no evidence human-caused climate change is causing a slowdown in global wind speeds or circulation patterns. There is simply a paucity of data. As such, the Times is unjustified in asserting climate change has or will slow the pace at which hurricanes move.

Readers of the New York Times would have been better served had the paper consulted actual hurricane data, rather than quoting a few alarmist scientists, concerning what we “know” about the links between climate change and hurricane behavior. The data are, in fact, quite unalarming.

Climate 'Experts' Demand Tax-On-Meat To Fight Global Warming

The UK Health Alliance on Climate Change (UKHACC) urges the UK government to impose a climate tax on food producers by 2025 - unless private industry takes voluntary measures to limit their carbon emissions.

In the report published on Nov. 4, titled "All-Consuming: Building A Healthier Food System For People And Planet," UKHACC outlines that the climate crisis cannot be resolved without reducing food that causes high emissions, such as red meat and dairy products.

"In particular, red meat consumption will need to be cut by half if the food system is to stay within sustainable environmental limits," UKHACC wrote in the report.

Adding that, "changing our diets in this way will not only help to mitigate climate change but will also improve our health: there is also clear evidence that is replacing animal protein with plant-based protein results in lower rates of stroke, heart disease, diabetes, and overall death rates."

UKHACC represents doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals from ten Royal Colleges of medicine and nursing, the British Medical Association, and The Lancet. The report makes several recommendations besides levies on food, such as ending buy-one-get-one-free offers for supermarket products that are harmful to the environment.

"If we are to hope to limit dangerous climate change and improve health outcomes, governments – including our own – will have to do far more to improve the sustainability of the food that we eat," UKHACC said.

UKHACC said a future tax on meat and dairy products could easily work. They point to changing consumer behaviors that have been observed around a "Sugar Tax" to limit the consumption of junk foods.

Figures have it that food production is responsible for at least a quarter of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. What appears to become is that, in the name of climate change, a war on the food system will be waged and the foods we eat that are deemed too dangerous for the climate will either be taxed or banned completely.

"We can't reach our goals without addressing our food system," said Kristin Bash, who led the Faculty of Public Health's food group and was a co-author of the UKHACC report, who was quoted by The Guardian.

Bash said, "the climate crisis isn't something we should see as far in the future. It's time to take these issues seriously now."

The coronavirus appears to be ushering in a new world order to transition the old economic system into a more sustainable world economic order. As for this case, if we chose to follow down the path - we're all going to be eating plant-based products from Beyond Meats.

EPA should reduce or waive Renewable Fuel Standard in 2020 because of Covid and low demand

The Environmental Protection Agency this year set the Renewable Fuel Standard quota to 15 billion gallons conventional biofuel be blended into the nation’s fuel supply, including ethanol and biodiesel.

The way it works is refiners and importers that meet up to the quota are awarded Renewable Identification Numbers (RINS) credits from the EPA, and those that do not are forced to purchase RINS credits. The higher the standard, the more RINS there are.

Now, certain smaller refiners are simply not able to meet this obligation, mostly because the refineries are not equipped to handle processing ethanol, and to those, the EPA grants annual waivers. Between 2011 and 2018, 155 such waivers were granted and 92 were denied. And for 2019 and 2020, there are 35 petitions for waivers that are outstanding.

To meet the standard, in 2019, the U.S. only consumed 14.5 billion gallons of ethanol, and the rest of the standard was met by consuming 1.8 billion gallons of biodiesel.

Here’s the problem, particularly with 2020. Because of the Covid pandemic, ground transportation including commuters and truckers, took a tremendous hit, dramatically reducing both fuel production and consumption amid a dramatic drop in demand.

As a result from Jan. 2020 to July 2020, ethanol production is down more than 15 percent compared to the same period in 2019, to 7.8 billion gallons produced. To hit 15 billion gallons for the year, the industry will need to crank out more than 1.4 billion gallons in each of the remaining months.

Similarly, domestic consumption is way down, close to 15 percent, to 7.1 billion gallons compared to the first seven months of 2019. To hit 15 billion gallons for the year consumed, the U.S. would need to burn 1.57 billion gallons a month for the remaining months.

Even with the record Gross Domestic Product recovery in the third quarter, and more than 16 million jobs recovered since labor markets bottomed in April, and a strong fourth quarter expected, that simply is not going to happen because peak fuel usage usually occurs during the summer and in any event will not reach the same level as last year.

In fact, the only way we might meet the EPA-imposed 15 billion gallon production quota for the standard is via exports, assuming there’s enough demand overseas, which, again, because of Covid, is doubtful with exports down 9.7 percent in 2020 for the first eight months.

At its current rate, the industry will be lucky to produce 14 billion gallons for the year, even with exports.

With the economy suffering, why are we subsidizing overseas ethanol consumption by punishing domestic producers through forcing them to purchase RINS credits that are increasing in price this year?

In a year when both production and consumption are taking a major hit, the only rational course would be for the Environmental Protection Agency to grant any waivers necessary that were lawfully requested by refiners, and to lower or waive the Renewable Fuel Standard for 2020 to meet up with very low demand. Of all years, 2020 is one when the industry needs a break.

Joe Biden’s Green New Deal is a setback for Australia too

Last week’s was America’s most important election, but it also has profound implications for Australia. The Green New Deal is what most distinguishes the Democrats’ program from that of President Donald Trump.

As Jennifer Oriel has noted, Kamala Harris and ­Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez plan to use energy policy not only to fundamentally reshape the American economy but as a means of redistributing wealth and income to “low-income communities, indigenous peoples, and communities of colour”.

With the Green New Deal, the Democrats’ policy target is ­focused on zero net emissions of CO2. This means eliminating coal and gas and sharply winding back oil consumption. Nuclear power as an alternative has no place.

The day after the 2020 election, having given a year’s notice, the US formally left the Paris Agreement on climate change. Under the Paris Agreement — largely developed by the Obama administration — Australia committed to reduce its CO2 emissions by some 28 per cent as did other developed countries.

Trump renounced it because its provisions would raise energy costs, disadvantaging the US economy, especially in the context of China and other developing countries having no meaningful abatement obligations.

Joe Biden will re-join and pursue policies that include funding developing countries’ abatements, banning fracking for new gas supplies, requiring costly carbon abatement on gas and coal power stations, and a carbon tax.

The Democrats and political elites elsewhere, including Australia, generally support measures to address climate change. Those in politics and the bureaucracy (Trump’s swamp dwellers) believe the version of the science that has human-induced CO2 emissions bringing catastrophic warming of the atmosphere, with costs that include loss of wildlife and increased climatic emergencies.

Burning carbon previously stored in fossil fuels has brought carbon dioxide emissions that have caused a 1C increase in temperatures. But some scientists (controversially) believe this will be magnified two to four fold ­because CO2 will create more water vapour.

Of the 32 climate models monitored by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, only the one produced by the Russian Academy of Science’s Institute of Numerical Mathematics, does not feature water vapour amplification from CO2.

*Significantly, this “outlier” is the only model that has not overshot actual global temperatures in its forecasts*

Motivation for the Green New Deal also echoes 40 years of claims that renewable energy is the future and should be supported. This finds favour with many in business (and agriculture) who actually or potentially receive the subsidies. The subsidies to wind and solar in the US, like Australia, already cover half their cost.

US CO2 emissions have fallen recently, largely due to gas replacing coal in power generation. ­Additional regulatory measures will be required to approach the deep cuts targeted by the Green New Deal.

A carbon tax is one of the Biden strategies. Many economists also favour this because of its claimed neutrality in bringing about emission reductions.

Australia under the Gillard government is one of the few governments to have introduced such a measure. But Gillard’s carbon tax, like measures contemplated by Biden, was not a neutral alternative to other regulations and taxes. Rather, it was in addition to other taxes and regulations designed to reduce emissions, especially by supporting renewable energy.

Recent analysis for New Zealand estimate that a carbon tax of $560 per tonne is needed to bring about net zero emissions (the Australian tax was $20 per tonne).

Australia’s projected 28 per cent reduction in emissions falls well short of cuts now contemplated by the EU and America’s Democrats. Australian policy of paring back emissions is being met largely by a forced substitution of coal by renewables, driven by subsidies and selective taxes and regulatory measures. These are estimated to bring annual costs in higher electricity charges and taxes of about $13bn a year.

The coming lower costs of renewables continue to miscarry. Moreover, their unreliability demands enormous investments. These include more than $17bn to transform the Snowy and Tasmanian hydro resources into back-up facilities. They also mean vast expenditures on batteries and new transmission lines, as foreshadowed in NSW’s recent electricity infrastructure road map.

Governments claim renewable energy policies will reduce prices, but experience disproves it. As a result of such policies Australia has have slipped from leading the world on low energy prices to being among the most expensive.

The Biden victory will bring increased pressure on us to introduce more regulations, subsidies and other measures to reduce domestic emissions. One upshot, aside from higher household electricity bills, will be closure or contraction of Australian industries previously benefiting from low cost energy. A corollary is lower living standards.




No comments: