Sunday, July 11, 2021

Cold facts about faux Antarctica meltdown

Nearly all of the major news outlets last month ran attention-grabbing headlines uncritically reporting a supposed crisis of rapidly increasing melting of Antarctica. According to the reporting, accelerated melting of the continent’s ice could raise sea level significantly and bring catastrophic coastal flooding to communities all over the world. If true, we should all be very alarmed about severe negative consequences to hundreds of millions of people.

This spate of Antarctic alarm was triggered by a study from an international team that measured ice volume and reported a dramatic increase in ice loss in recent years. This new study contradicts previous research which had consistently shown the continent steadily gaining ice volume since the beginning of the satellite era in the late 1970s.

NASA glaciologist Jay Zwally -- likely the pre-eminent expert on Antarctic ice accumulation and loss -- published a study in 2015 showing that ice loss in western Antarctica* and the Antarctic Peninsula was more than offset by significant accumulations in the rest of the continent. Both Zwally and the recent researchers were measuring the same thing, but the difference appears to be in the corrections made in adjusting for the movement of the Earth beneath the ice.

As ice accumulates or diminishes, the Earth beneath is either flexed downward or upward due to the changing weight of the overlying ice. In some cases, this “basement” rock is covered by more than 15,000 feet of ice, so an exact science this is not. Zwally is reportedly preparing a new report that will soon bolster his findings of a net ice gain.

“The good news is that Antarctica is not currently contributing to sea level rise, but is taking 0.23 millimeters per year away,” says Zwally.

So, the bottom line in this roiling debate is we have two camps of climate scientists arguing over extremely small adjustment made to sensitive data. Not one person reading this will have any idea which side is actually correct. Zwally may well be correct, but none of us has the specialist’s knowledge to judge the merits of this intensely technical discussion.

Luckily, we have another test of Antarctic ice growth that is not dependent on a researcher’s intended or unintended biases.

The extent of Antarctica’s sea ice is quantifiable and easily measured by satellites. There is overwhelming agreement that this ice has been steadily increasing for the last several decades. In fact, the very study that recently reported ice volume losses admits as much in its introduction by stating, “…maximum extent of the sea ice has increased modestly since the 1970s…”

The evidence of increasing Antarctic ice is clear, stark and overwhelming. The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) manages data for NASA and NOAA and reports an increase of 1.8% of sea ice extent per decade. The most recent monthly data (May 2018) from NSIDC showed that during the early Antarctic winter, sea ice increased by 47,000 square miles per day, “somewhat faster than the 1981 to 2010 average growth rate.”




Earth’s cryosphere shrinking by 87,000 square kilometers per year

The second word below is a lie. The small shrinkage in ice cover is NOT global. The ice-cover actually INCREASED overall in the Southern hemisphere. See the original paper. So you can calculate a global average but there is no corresponding global process

The global cryosphere—all of the areas with frozen water on Earth—shrank by about 87,000 square kilometers (about 33,000 square miles), a area about the size of Lake Superior, per year on average, between 1979 and 2016 as a result of climate change, according to a new study. This research is the first to make a global estimate of the surface area of the Earth covered by sea ice, snow cover and frozen ground.

The extent of land covered by frozen water is just as important as its mass because the bright white surface reflects sunlight so effectively, cooling the planet. Changes in the size or location of ice and snow can alter air temperatures, change the sea level and even affect ocean currents worldwide.

The new study is published in Earth’s Future, AGU’s journal for interdisciplinary research on the past, present and future of our planet and its inhabitants.

“The cryosphere is one of the most sensitive climate indicators and the first one to demonstrate a changing world,” said first author Xiaoqing Peng, a physical geographer at Lanzhou University. “Its change in size represents a major global change, rather than a regional or local issue.”

The cryosphere holds almost three-quarters of Earth’s fresh water, and in some mountainous regions, dwindling glaciers threaten drinking water supplies. Many scientists have documented shrinking ice sheets, dwindling snow cover and loss of Arctic sea ice individually due to climate change. But no previous study has considered the entire extent of the cryosphere over Earth’s surface and its response to warming temperatures.

Peng and his co-authors from Lanzhou University calculated the daily extent of the cryosphere and averaged those values to come up with yearly estimates. While the extent of the cryosphere grows and shrinks with the seasons, they found that the average area covered by Earth’s cryosphere has contracted overall since 1979, correlating with rising air temperatures.

The shrinkage primarily occurred in the Northern Hemisphere, with a loss of about 102,000 square kilometers (about 39,300 square miles), or about half the size of Kansas, each year. Those losses are offset slightly by growth in the Southern Hemisphere, where the cryosphere expanded by about 14,000 square kilometers (5,400 square miles) annually. This growth mainly occurred in the sea ice in the Ross Sea around Antarctica, likely due to patterns of wind and ocean currents and the addition of cold meltwater from Antarctic ice sheets.

The estimates showed that not only was the global cryosphere shrinking but that many regions remained frozen for less time. The average first day of freezing now occurs about 3.6 days later than in 1979, and the ice thaws about 5.7 days earlier.

“This kind of analysis is a nice idea for a global index or indicator of climate change,” said Shawn Marshall, a glaciologist at the University of Calgary, who was not involved in the study. He thinks that a natural next step would be to use these data to examine when ice and snow cover give Earth its peak brightness, to see how changes in albedo impact the climate on a seasonal or monthly basis and how this is changing over time.

To compile their global estimate of the extent of the cryosphere, the authors divided up the planet’s surface into a grid system. They used existing data sets of global sea ice extent, snow cover and frozen soil to classify each cell in the grid as part of the cryosphere if it contained at least one of the three components. Then they estimated the extent of the cryosphere on a daily, monthly and yearly basis and examined how it changed over the 37 years of their study.

The authors say that the global dataset can now be used to further probe the impact of climate change on the cryosphere, and how these changes impact ecosystems, carbon exchange and the timing of plant and animal life cycles.

Paper title: “A Holistic Assessment of 1979–2016 Global Cryospheric Extent”


Climate change could make us SMALLER: Rising temperatures drive the evolution of smaller human bodies – and brains, study warns

That's why dinosaurs were so small, I guess

Climate has changed the size of human bodies and, to some extent, human brains, research suggests.

The average body size has fluctuated over the last million years and is strongly linked to temperature, according to the new study.

Colder, harsher climates drove the evolution of larger body sizes, while warmer climates led to smaller bodies.

And while brain size has also changed dramatically, it did not evolve in tandem with body size, researchers found.

The study, led by the Universities of Cambridge and Tubingen, gathered measurements of body and brain size for more than 300 fossils from the genus Homo found across the globe.

Experts pinpointed the specific climate experienced by each fossil when it was a living human by combining this data with a reconstruction of the world's regional climates over the last million years.

The study, led by the Universities of Cambridge and Tubingen, gathered measurements of body and brain size for more than 300 fossils from the genus Homo found across the globe +2
The study, led by the Universities of Cambridge and Tubingen, gathered measurements of body and brain size for more than 300 fossils from the genus Homo found across the globe

Our brains could shrink even more - thanks to our reliance on technology
Brain size in our species appears to have been shrinking since the beginning of the Holocene (around 11,650 years ago).

The increasing dependence on technology, such as an outsourcing of complex tasks to computers, may cause brains to shrink even more over the next few thousand years, researchers suggest.

Our species, Homo sapiens, emerged around 300,000 years ago in Africa.

But the genus Homo has existed for much longer, and includes the Neanderthals and other extinct, related species such as Homo habilis and Homo erectus.

A defining trait of the evolution of our genus is a trend of increasing body and brain size.

Compared to earlier species such as Homo habilis, humans are 50 per cent heavier and our brains are three times larger.

Professor Andrea Manica, a researcher in the University of Cambridge's department of zoology, who led the study, said: 'Our study indicates that climate – particularly temperature – has been the main driver of changes in body size for the past million years.'

He added: 'We can see from people living today that those in warmer climates tend to be smaller, and those living in colder climates tend to be bigger.

'We now know that the same climatic influences have been at work for the last million years.'

The researchers also found that brain size tended to be larger when Homo was living in habitats with less vegetation, like open steppes and grasslands, but also in ecologically more stable areas.

In combination with archaeological data, the results suggest those living in these habitats hunted large animals as food – a complex task that might have driven the evolution of larger brains.

Dr Manuel Will at the University of Tubingen, Germany, first author of the study, said: 'We found that different factors determine brain size and body size – they're not under the same evolutionary pressures.

'The environment has a much greater influence on our body size than our brain size.'

He added: 'There is an indirect environmental influence on brain size in more stable and open areas: the amount of nutrients gained from the environment had to be sufficient to allow for the maintenance and growth of our large and particularly energy-demanding brains.'

The research also indicates that non-environmental factors were more important for driving larger brains than climate, prime candidates being the added cognitive challenges of increasingly complex social lives, more diverse diets, and more sophisticated technology.

Researchers say the human physique is still adapting to different temperatures, with on average larger-bodied people living in colder climates today.

Brain size in our species appears to have been shrinking since the beginning of the Holocene (around 11,650 years ago).

The increasing dependence on technology, such as an outsourcing of complex tasks to computers, may cause brains to shrink even more over the next few thousand years, researchers suggest.

The research, published in Nature Communications, was funded by the European Research Council and the Antarctic Science Platform.


Story on Pending Coffee Collapse Is Long on Alarm but Short on Facts (Again)

An article in Fort Wayne Journal Gazette (credited to the Washington Post as the original source) highlighted by Google News today in a search for the term “climate change,” claims global warming is threatening a coffee crisis. This is false. Across its range, coffee production and yields per acre have been setting records with regularity during the recent period of modest warming.

The author of the article, titled “Climate change puts coffee at risk,” says the world’s coffee growers fear coffee production will suffer due to climate change, unless new varieties of coffee beans are developed.

“Climate change could spell disaster for coffee, a crop that requires specific temperatures to flourish and that is highly sensitive to a range of pests. So scientists are racing to develop more tenacious strains of one of the world’s most beloved beverages....

‘Coffee is not ready to adapt to climate change without help,’ said Doug Welsh, the vice president and roastmaster of Peet’s Coffee, which has invested in WCR’s research.”

Computer model projections of future temperatures are being used to gin up fear that coffee crops are threatened by modestly warmer temperatures. Yet, computer models are notorious for badly overstating actual temperatures [See Figure]1, and real world data show the earth’s modest warming has accompanied record coffee production and yields.

Coffee producers as a whole are not struggling. The U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization reports coffee production and yields nearly doubled between 1993 and 2019. Global coffee production increased from approximately 5.6 million tons in 1993 to more than 10.3 million tons in 2019. Indeed, FAO data show globally coffee set new records for both production and yield 12 times since 1993. The most recent records for production and yield were set in 2018.

What’s true for the world as a whole is also true of the world’s top coffee producing countries. Brazil, Vietnam, Columbia, Indonesia, and Ethiopia (listed in order of production), have each experienced substantial growth in coffee production during the recent period of modest warming.

According to data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, from 1993 to 2019:

Coffee production in Brazil grew by more than 135 percent;

Coffee production in Vietnam increased by more than 1,137 percent;

Coffee production in Columbia increased by more than 8 percent;

Coffee production in Indonesia grew by more than 73 percent; and
Coffee production in Ethiopia expanded by more than 168 percent.

The International Coffee Organization reports coffee producers face problems not from difficulty growing crops, but because crop conditions and crop production is so strong that supply is outpacing demand. Rapid growth in coffee crop yields are driving down coffee prices. In 2018/2019 coffee production grew by 3.7 percent overall, with Arabica bean production increasing by 1.8 percent and Robusta beans growing 6.7 percent. This marked the second consecutive year of declining prices amidst growing surpluses.

In the few areas within countries where farmers have ceased growing coffee and production has declined, the evidence indicates the reason is not poor climate conditions but rather increased international competition and low prices.

Sorry, to disabuse people of your climate alarm fairy tale, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette and Washington Post, but there is no climate/coffee crisis. Coffee production keeps growing as the Earth modestly warms.


Sunday, July 04, 2021

Climate scientists say building collapse is a 'wake-up call' about the potential impact of rising seas

Nice try but no cigar. Looking at the facts, there is no way to claim the Florida collapse was due to rising seas. For a start, the base of the building is 7' above sea-level. Tony Heller has the pictures. So the alarmists just say that it *potentially* could be due to global warming

As rescue and recovery teams dig through the rubble of the collapsed condo building in Surfside, Florida, scientists and engineers are starting to consider what could have possibly caused the deadly tragedy.

Among a long list of hypotheses: climate change. Sea level rise, higher storm surges and more frequent high-tide flooding are deteriorating coastal infrastructure above and below ground.

Officials are still very early in their investigation into what caused the collapse, and initial signs point to potential issues at the base of the building, perhaps in its foundation, columns or underground parking garage. But some engineers are considering whether increasing exposure to saltwater could have played a role in weakening the building's foundation or internal support system.

At the very least, experts say even the possibility should be a wake-up call to vulnerable communities across the United States: Climate change isn't a far-future threat; it's happening now, and with potentially deadly consequences.


BBC deletes exam revision guide that listed the UPSIDE of climate change -- after fury from environmental activists

The BBC has deleted its Bitesize revision guide's list of 'positive impacts' of climate change after caving to fury from environmental activists.

The broadcaster faced furious backlash from environmental activists after sharing an online GCSE revision guide that listed the creation of shipping routes due to melting ice and lower heating bills thanks to warmer winters among a list of 'benefits'.

Campaigners called the BBC Bitesize material for GCSE geography students an ‘absolute disgrace’.

The BBC said it decided to remove the list of ‘positive’ effects because it did not follow the national curriculum.

The guide now shows only the negative impacts of global warming, such as rising sea levels, droughts and greater risk of flooding.

Other ‘benefits’ of climate change listed in bullet points included the claims that warmer temperatures lead to ‘healthier outdoor lifestyles’, there would be ‘new tourist destinations’, ‘oil becoming available in Alaska and Siberia’ as the ice melts, and some animals and plants may ‘flourish’.

The page was first highlighted on Thursday by Guardian journalist George Monbiot to his near-half a million Twitter followers after he was tipped off by a teacher.

GCSE revision tips that saw the positives in pollution

1. Warmer temperatures and increased CO2 levels, leading to more vigorous plant growth.

2. Some animals and plants could benefit and flourish. The guide failed to note that polar bears, right, are struggling to survive.

3. New shipping routes, such as the Northwest Passage, would become available.

4. More resources, for example oil, becoming available in places such as Siberia as ice melts.

5. Energy consumption decreasing due to a warmer climate.

6. Longer growing season leading to higher yields in farming areas.

7. Frozen regions, such as Canada and Siberia, could be farmed to grow crops.

8. New tourist destinations becoming available.

9. Warmer temperatures could lead to healthier outdoor lifestyles.

The lifelong environmental activist branded it ‘an absolute disgrace’, arguing the web page read like ‘fossil fuel propaganda’ and would leave schoolchildren thinking global warming was ‘pretty good’.

It prompted fury among climate experts, campaigners and teachers who said the arguments were ‘flat wrong’ and did not reflect what was on the current syllabus.

Others called for a change to Government guidance, as they claimed it was not the BBC's fault.

One person wrote online: 'And once again the BBC is taking the flak for a government decision. The national curriculum requires that positives must be taught as well as negatives, even for things like catastrophic climate change. BBC Bitesize follows the curriculum.'

Exam board Eduqas said the suggestions were not within its GCSE geography specifications, adding that while it asked students to explore opposing attitudes to climate change it did not ‘advocate a positive viewpoint’.

Stuart Lock, the chief executive of a group of schools in Bedfordshire, was among the education experts to speak out before the BBC revision guide was amended.

He tweeted: ‘I think this is flat wrong, doesn’t align with the national curriculum or exam specs, and needs reconsidering. Climate change isn’t a “both sides” argument.’

Extinction Rebellion’s south-east group said: ‘GCSE students, young people, those facing future disasters, deserve better than to be judged on questions which warp and distort the truth.’

Yesterday the BBC said: ‘We have reviewed the page and have amended the content to be in line with current curricula.’

In 2018, the Corporation accepted failures over its coverage of climate change after a series of apologies and censures for not challenging sceptics during interviews.

In a briefing note sent to staff, it stated: ‘To achieve impartiality, you do not need to include outright deniers of climate change in BBC coverage, in the same way you would not have someone denying that Manchester United won 2-0 last Saturday. The referee has spoken.’


Climate Activists Get So Woke They Cancel Themselves

A group of student climate activists is disbanding this week after arriving at the conclusion that they are too racist to continue carrying out their mission.

School Strike 4 Climate Auckland (SS4C AKL)—a New Zealand chapter affiliated with Greta Thunberg's climate justice movement among students—decided its disbandment was "well overdue" after getting what was apparently a very convincing woke education on how BIPOC—Black, Indigenous, and People of Color—communities are "disproportionally affected by climate change."

In a lengthy post on the group's Facebook page, leaders explained that the organization "has been a racist, white-dominated space" that has "avoided, ignored, and tokenised BIPOC voices and demands."

In addition, SS4C AKL leaders say the "urgent need to decolonise the organization has been put off for far too long" and their organization "delayed paying financial reparations for the work BIPOC groups/individuals within and alongside the group have done for this organisation in the past."

The decision to disband was made "under the suggestion and guidance of the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) members of our group, as well as individual BIPOC activists and organizations."

Some in the New Zealand climate movement are not patting SS4C AKL on the back for their supposedly brave decision. "Disbanding is not taking accountability, it’s quitting,” said one fellow climate warrior. "Acknowledging you have a problem or made a mistake without taking a step towards resolving it is meaningless."


Poll: viewers of conservative media more likely to get the facts right on climate change

From April 29 to May 3, Rasmussen Reports and The Heartland Institute, a national free-market think tank, conducted a nationwide survey of 2,000 likely voters.

From April 29 to May 3, Rasmussen Reports and The Heartland Institute, a national free-market think tank, conducted a nationwide survey of 2,000 likely voters. Included in the poll was a series of questions asking likely voters how they receive news and information, as well as several questions about climate-change-related topics. The following results from the survey illustrate likely voters’ views on these important issues, as well as how those views are correlated with news media preferences.

Some of The Heartland Institute’s key findings from an analysis of the survey include:

There is a strong correlation between a likely voter’s favorite television news outlet and his or her understanding of basic facts about climate change.

Compared to viewers of Fox News, “another” cable news outlet, and those who don’t watch television news, viewers of CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, and NBC are substantially more likely to believe that if CO2 emissions continue to increase at recent rates, humans will “become completely or nearly extinct due to climate change” within the next 100 years.

For example, 58% of MSNBC viewers and more than half of viewers of ABC, CBS, and NBC said they think humanity could become extinct or nearly extinct within a century.

About one-quarter of CNN and MSNBC viewers believe humanity could become extinct within 50 years due to climate change.
Viewers of CNN and MSNBC are substantially more likely to overestimate the amount of global warming that has occurred since the late 1800s compared to viewers of Fox News or “another” outlet. 65% percent of CNN viewers and 67% of MSNBC viewers overestimated warming by at least 40%, and three in 10 CNN and MSNBC viewers overestimated warming by more than double the real figure.

Viewers of ABC, CBS, and NBC were also substantially more likely to overestimate global warming. Six in 10 viewers of these networks overestimated warming trends.

Respondents who don’t watch cable news and viewers of Fox News or “another” outlet (such as The Blaze TV or Newsmax) were more likely to correctly estimate the amount of warming that has occurred since the late 1800s. More than four in 10 of the respondents in these three categories answered correctly, compared to about three in 10 viewers of CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, and NBC.

55% of likely voters believe climate change is primarily caused by human beings, compared to 45% who believe long-term planetary trends are the main cause.




Thursday, June 17, 2021

Global treaty to regulate plastic pollution gains momentum

The long article below shows not the slightest doubt that banning plastic bags would be a good thing. It is another of the dubious Greenie claims that have become accepted wisdom as undisputably and obviously right.

But what is the science of the matter? What the scientific studies repeatedly show is very different. In fact plastic bags are unusually environmentally responsible. The studies concerned are set out in book here

Even producers have an interest in global rules on plastic waste that would resolve the inconsistencies among countries.

The simple plastic bag has come to symbolize the world’s growing problem with plastic waste. Yet globally, there are seven definitions of what is considered a plastic bag—and that complicates efforts to reduce their proliferation.

Banning bags, along with other plastic packaging, is the most commonly used remedy to rein in plastic waste. So far, 115 nations have taken that approach, but in different ways. In France, bags less than 50 microns thick are banned. In Tunisia, bags are banned if they are less than 40 microns thick.

Those kinds of differences create loopholes that enable illegal bags to find their way to street vendors and market stalls. Kenya, which passed the world’s toughest bag ban in 2017, has had to contend with illegal bags smuggled in from Uganda and Somalia. So has Rwanda.

Likewise, millions of mosquito nets that Rwanda imported from the United States arrived in plastic packaging for which the chemical content was not disclosed—even after a Rwandan recycler inquired. That rendered them unrecyclable.

For global companies like Nestlé, which sells food products in 187 countries, that means complying with 187 different sets of national regulations on plastic packaging.

These are but three examples of hundreds of contradictory policies, inconsistencies, and lack of transparency that are embedded in the global plastics trade in ways that make it hard to gain control of the growing accumulation of plastic waste. Not only do definitions differ from country to country, there also are no global rules for such practices as determining which plastic materials can be mixed together in one product; that creates a potential nightmare for recycling. Internationally accepted methods for how to measure plastic waste spilling into the environment don’t exist. Without uniform standards or specific data, the job of fixing it all becomes essentially impossible.

Now, help may be on the way. Support is growing for a global treaty to address plastic waste. At least 100 nations have already expressed support for a plastic treaty, and those involved in preliminary talks are optimistic that one could be approved on a pace that could make a difference, much as the 1987 landmark Montreal protocol prevented depletion of the stratospheric ozone.

“Fundamentally, governments will not be able to do what they are supposed to do if they can’t count on an international partnership and international framework. It is not going to work,” says Hugo-Maria Schally, head of the multilateral environmental cooperation unit at the European Commission. “It is a concrete problem that asks for a concrete solution and a global agreement will provide that.”

Schally’s message to industry is direct: “You can work with public policy (to make) plastic sustainable and that means you can be part of the solution, or you can become defensive and then you’re part of the problem.”

A surge in waste
The primary argument against trying to push a treaty through the United Nations and its 193 member states is that negotiations can drag on for a decade or more, and on the issue of plastics, there is little time to spare.

New plastics waste is created yearly at a rate of 303 million tons (275 million metric tons). To date, 75 percent of all plastic ever produced has become waste, and production is expected to triple by 2050. New research this year suggests that the accumulation of plastic waste in the oceans is also expected to triple by 2040 to an average of 32 million tons (29 million metric tons) a year.

With numbers like those, it’s no surprise that none of the nations that are the most significant contributors of plastic waste to the environment have been able to gain control of their mismanaged waste. And though global treaties take time, no environmental issue of this magnitude has been significantly addressed without one.

Plastic pollution has been on the agenda at the United Nations since 2012. In 2019, when the UN Environmental Assembly last gathered face-to-face in Nairobi, talks about plastic waste were stymied primarily by the United States, which opposed a binding treaty. The only agreement that emerged was an agreement to keep talking.

Over the last decade, the ground has shifted dramatically. “In 2015, no country had expressed an interest in pursuing a global treaty,” says Erik Lindebjerg, who is spearheading the World Wildlife Fund’s plastic waste campaign from Oslo. He helped oversee publication of The Business Case for a UN Treaty on Plastic Pollution, a report prepared in partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, which details how a treaty could solve an assortment of business problems. “In one sense, we’ve reached a saturation point, so you suddenly see impacts everywhere.”

Industry also has reversed its opposition.

“We have evolved our position as the situation has evolved,” says Stewart Harris, an American Chemistry Council executive speaking on behalf of the International Council of Chemical Associations, a global chemistry association of which the ACC is a member.

“We were concerned with the binding element of a global [treaty]. We felt we weren’t ready for that yet,” he says. “And now that’s changed. Now we do believe a global instrument is needed to help us achieve the elimination of waste in the environment and help companies achieve voluntary commitments.”

What’s on the negotiating table
Preliminary talks are already underway, all aimed at the next in-person meeting in Nairobi, where hopes are high that agreement can be reached to move ahead with treaty discussions.

Scandanavian nations traditionally have run talks about plastic waste, with Norway, as current president of the UN Environmental Assembly, taking the lead. But other groups of nations have been meeting and pushed the conversation forward. Ecuador, Germany, Ghana, and Vietnam have held several sessions, with another planned for September. Small island nations, inundated by drifting plastic waste and with much to lose in climate change, have conducted preliminary talks of their own.

The overarching goal of early talks has been to set a specific date to eliminate plastic from spilling into the oceans. The rest of the agenda is centered around four topics: a harmonized set of definitions and standards that would eliminate inconsistencies such as the definition of a plastic bag; coordination of national targets and plans; agreement on reporting standards and methodologies; and creation of a fund to build waste management facilities where they are most needed in less developed countries.

Christina Dixon, an oceans specialist at the Environmental Investigation Agency, an environmental nonprofit based in London and Washington, says that the existing methods for managing the plastic marketplace are not sustainable. “We need to find a way to look at plastic with a global lens. We have a material that is polluting throughout its lifecycle and across borders. No one country is able to address the challenge by itself.”

The power of the public—and of dialogue
Public opinion is also prompting change. Plastic pollution ranks as one of the three most-pressing environmental concerns, along with climate change and water pollution, according to a 2019 survey included in the Business Case for a UN Treaty report. Young activists who took to the streets in 2019 to protest lack of action on climate have been paying attention to plastic waste. Multiple industry studies show that Gen Z and Millennials are pushing makers of consumer products towards sustainability practices.

Then, there’s a simple matter that the opposing sides are now talking to each other.

In 2019, Dave Ford, a former advertising executive whose company had been hosting corporate leaders on expensive trips to Antarctica, Africa and the like, decided to host a four-day cruise and talkathon from Bermuda to the Sargasso Sea for 165 people working on plastic waste. The passenger roster ranged from executives at Dow Chemical to Greenpeace. In a move designed to get maximum publicity, a Greenpeace activist roomed with a Nestlé executive in what became known on board as the Sleeping With The Enemy moment.

The ploy worked. Many members from the cruise are still talking to each other and tensions that had been building eased. Ford has since founded the Ocean Plastics Leadership Network and recruited additional activists and industry executives to join the conversation.

“What we’re trying to do is get all the parties historically fighting each other to understand where everybody sits,” Ford says. “In a lot of cases, they might be closer than they think.”


'Green Bank' Would Be Boondoggle for Taxpayers and Consumers

Driven by the dubious desire to call everything “infrastructure,” the Biden administration and Congress are considering all sorts of bank-breaking ideas to “Build Back Better.” One proposal that has gotten plenty of airtime is a “green bank,” which is essentially a taxpayer-backed lending operation for projects such as wind turbines and solar panels. Supporters claim that the idea would cost a negligible sum since the government would be doling out loans instead of grants. But in reality, the government is a horrible judge of which projects “deserve” to be funded and which should stay on the sidelines. If lawmakers really want to rebuild America, they should examine ways to remove barriers to private lending and investment. “Green” government lending is simply corporate welfare masquerading as innovative financing.

While plenty about the infrastructure bill remains in flux, there are some encouraging signs that the two parties in power are listening to each other. Republicans are successfully pushing to keep tax hikes off the table, focus spending on core infrastructure priorities (e.g., roads and bridges), and get electric vehicle owners to pay their fair share for road wear-and-tear. All of these hard-fought gains can be undone, though, if lawmakers manage to sneak seed funding for a green bank into the final package. This trendy idea could wind up being sold in a variety of ways, including as a non-profit divorced from the federal government. But, once $30 billion worth of taxpayer dollars gets entangled in the decision-making process, the endeavor effectively becomes a government operation. Much like the healthcare “public option” proposed at various points over the years, all the rhetorical wrapping in the world cannot transform a taxpayer-funded operation into a private or non-profit initiative.

Dispersing dollars via loans and leveraged private funds need not end in disaster if the lender in question is competent and guided by the right incentives. Even if “green” loans are a fairly new idea, experience with government grants shows that the federal policymakers fail at parsing out profit. For example, the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) program has a poor track record in finding and funding the next great “green” idea.

A study conducted in 2017 by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine provides patent and investment statistics, as well as case studies, on these DOE endeavors. The authors find that of all DOE research programs, ARPA-E-funded projects lead the pack in generating follow-up research. The catch is that all of the ARPA-E projects have been lackluster. The analysis finds that “recipients of 44 percent of ARPA-E awards published at least once, compared with the Office of Science and EERE at 27 percent and 18 percent of awards, respectively.”

The authors choose to focus on ARPA-E awardees’ relative success in publishing their results. But, the inability of most awardees in any program to publish should be concerning to taxpayers. And subsequent outcomes are hardly encouraging. Nearly three-quarters of ARPA-E projects designated as “completed” have no market engagement whatsoever — no private funding or company formed around the research. And even that figure is probably excessively kind because the academics (somewhat shadily) include in their definition of “company formation” recipients who had founded firms prior to receiving ARPA-E funding.

In theory, it could be the case that “green banking” is more successful than traditional government grants due to a more innovative financing model. It’s important to remember, though, that failed government projects such as Solyndra started out as loans. And states such as New York and Connecticut have already been experimenting with green banking, but the results do not appear promising. According to a 2020 finance report by the American Green Bank Consortium and the Coalition for Green Capital, the majority of green bank investments center around “community solar” projects and nonprofit clean electricity/energy efficiency endeavors. This funding structure is perplexing given that large-scale commercial endeavors are far more cost-effective in delivering “green” energy to consumers.

Consumers ultimately need access to a variety of energy sources ranging from solar to natural gas. Regardless of the source, private investors and lenders are better than governmental institutions at finding the cheapest and most effective way to keep the lights on and drive innovation. A “green bank” would be a boondoggle for taxpayers and consumers and a boon to special interests.


Bill Gates, Warren Buffett to Launch ‘Game-Changing’ Nuclear Power Plant in Wyoming

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon on June 2 announced that a next-generation nuclear power plant will be built at a soon-to-be-retired coal-fired plant in Wyoming in the next several years, with the project a joint initiative between Bill Gates’s TerraPower and PacifiCorp, owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.

“Today’s announcement really, truly is game-changing and monumental for Wyoming,” Gordon said at a press conference at the state Capitol in Cheyenne.

The project features a 345-megawatt sodium-cooled fast reactor with a molten salt-based energy storage system, which would produce enough power for roughly 250,000 homes. The storage technology is also able to boost output to 500 megawatts of power for about five and a half hours, which is equivalent to the energy needed to power around 400,000 homes, according to TerraPower.

Gordon said the pilot project, called Natrium, would replace one of the state’s current coal-fired power plants, with an exact location to be announced by the end of the year. At the same time, Gordon made clear that the move toward nuclear doesn’t mean he is abandoning Wyoming’s fossil fuel industry, which he called “the bedrock of our economy” that has provided “an enormous amount of capital” for environmental protection initiatives.

“Earlier this year, I set a goal for Wyoming to be a carbon negative state and continue to use fossil fuels,” Gordon said, with “carbon negative” meaning the state would capture more carbon dioxide than it emitted.

“I am not going to abandon any of our fossil fuel industry—it is absolutely essential to our state and one of the things that we believe very strongly is our fastest and clearest course to being carbon negative.”

“Nuclear power is clearly a part of my all-of-the-above strategy for energy,” Gordon added.

Wyoming is both a top coal mining and top uranium mining state, and the reactor would use uranium from “in situ” mines that extract heavy metal from networks of water wells on the High Plains, officials said.

The reactor proposal also creates common ground between Wyoming, a Republican state, and Democratic President Joe Biden’s administration, which is seeking to reduce carbon emissions by half, compared to 2005 levels, by 2030.

U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said by video link that Natrium has a “simpler design that will hopefully result in faster construction at lower cost.”

“It’s going to create a smaller footprint. It’s going to be equipped with next-generation safety measures,” she said.

“I have a feeling that Wyoming won’t be the only state angling for one of these nuclear reactors once we see it in action,” she said, adding that the Biden administration is prepared to make “major investments in advanced nuclear technology so that communities all over the country can enjoy the benefits of safe and reliable and clean power that will leave them with lower energy bills.”

Gordon said the small, modular nuclear reactor would provide on-demand energy and result in an overall reduction of CO2 emissions, while creating “hundreds of good-paying jobs through the construction and operation of the unit.”

Gates, who founded TerraPower 15 years ago, spoke at the press conference by video link, saying that he believes “Natrium will be a game-changer for the energy industry.”

“Wyoming has been a leader in energy for over a century and we hope our investment in Natrium will help Wyoming to stay in the lead for many decades to come,” he said.

The plant will be a “multibillion-dollar project,” with costs to be split evenly between government and private industry, TerraPower President and CEO Chris Levesque said.

The plant would produce two-thirds less waste by volume than conventional nuclear plants, Levesque added.


Climate Policies Continue to Mislead the Public

I had previously written about the problems of the “global warming” hypothesis. This article is a continuation of the same topic. I will elaborate on how some people identified a stand-in for the “global warming” hypothesis, and how they fool governments and the general public into paying for their so-called “climate policy.”

“Global warming” has disappeared from the vocabulary of the Biden administration’s climate policy. This is because there have been several unusually cold winters after the global warming theory was touted, thus many people began to question it. However, in terms of relevant policies, “global warming” has not disappeared completely. Is there any difference between “global warming” and “climate change?” In fact, the two terms are essentially the same thing—”global warming” entered the various international summits under a new name: “climate change.”

Governments and international organizations now use the term “climate change” and have formulated a series of related policies to prevent “climate change.”

According to a report from Deutsche Welle on Feb. 3, 2007, it was President George W. Bush who first used the term “climate change” during his tenure. Then President Barack Obama inherited the entire “climate change” game from the Bush administration.

After President Donald Trump took office, he declared that climate change was “a hoax” and subsequently withdrew from the Paris climate agreement.

Does the Earth’s Temperature Keep Rising?

The core argument of the “climate change” theory is still based on the “global warming” hypothesis, which blames carbon dioxide emissions for the continual increase of global temperature. Therefore, it continues to stress that mankind must implement policies to reduce various carbon dioxide emissions.

However, does the Earth’s temperature continue to rise?

Based on temperature records, from 1983 to 2008, many places on Earth were much warmer than before, but at the end of 2009 many regions had a severely cold winter.

In January 2019, the average temperature in the Great Lakes region of North America dropped around -34°C to -40°C (-29°F to -40°F), and many cities and towns experienced record low temperatures. In early February 2021, the United States again had cold snaps several times, and cold weather spread to the central region, causing many areas to reach record low temperatures. Even Texas was among the severely affected areas.

Online research reports show that the change in global temperature from January 1999 to December 2008 is plus or minus 0.07 degrees Celsius, which is much less than the plus or minus 0.18 degrees Celsius of the previous ten years. It is basically stable, and the main cause of global temperature fluctuation is the El Niño, an oceanic and climatic phenomenon.

G.G. Matishov, the academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) and the scientific director of the Southern Scientific Center RAS, believes that the world is not warming up, but rather cooling down. In his opinion, the climate is cyclical and now the warming cycle is over and the Earth is entering the cooling cycle.

In an interview with the Russian newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta on Feb. 23 this year, Matishov stated that what awaits mankind is not global warming, but the Little Ice Age. He has been doing research in the Arctic since 1965 and believes that there is no such thing as global warming. If the theory of global warming is correct, then the Arctic ice would have already melted. Mattisov also said that since the Arctic temperature has slightly increased in recent years, this led some people to believe that global warming is the trend. However, the Arctic in 1878 and 1933 were in the same warm cycle, but since then entered a cold cycle again. “Is our memory really so short?” Matishov asked sarcastically.

He believes that to understand the trend of climate change, one must look at data accumulated over at least one hundred years, rather than focusing on events that have occurred in the last couple of years.

Mattisov pointed out that the climate is cyclical, and mankind is now witnessing the beginning of a new Ice Age. He believes the warm cycle that caused the temperature to rise in the Arctic has ended, and the climate is turning into a cold cycle. He said that the European part of Russia has experienced extremely cold winters, droughts, and heavy precipitation–all these factors prove his claim.

Mattisov also pointed out that the Antarctic ice sheet is a very stable system, and the argument that global warming will lead to ice sheet melting, sea level rising and severe flooding is false.

However, the “political correctness” camp obstructed the debunking of the global warming theory. Obsessed with their own political and economic interests, they used political power to suppress criticism of the global warming theory, and at the same time continued to push forward various arguments supporting it. Additionally, these arguments were used as the basis for the forceful implementation of various policies to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. In recent years, global summits are the international arena for this group of people to turn their political agenda into policies and regulations in different countries.

What Are the Causes of Climate Change?

The Earth’s surface temperature is always changing. The temperature change is usually fluctuating, and there are natural climate cycles. Each cycle may last several decades, or even millions of years. The fluctuation may be regional or global, and the factors causing these changes are numerous and mostly due to natural factors, including solar radiation, changes in the Earth’s orbit, continental drift, changes in ocean currents, and orogenic movements.

These natural factors are beyond human control. Of course, changes in climate may also be related to human activities. However, it is unscientific to attribute all climate changes to the economic activities of mankind.

I have summarized how these natural factors led to climate changes in my previous article, and pointed out that so far, the scientific community cannot describe or explain them clearly due to their complexity. The global warming hypothesis emerged as a result of an unscientific approach—some scientists chose to ignore the influence of all natural factors and use carbon dioxide emissions to explain the short-term temperature changes on Earth.

The “climate change” claim inherited all the arguments from the global warming hypothesis, making the successor as questionable as the predecessor.

Let me use an analogy to illustrate what these theories amount to: if someone notices that a plant in the backyard is not growing well, without analyzing whether the weather, soil conditions, pests, diseases, moisture levels have changed compared to previous years, he subjectively asserts that it is the resident’s outdoor barbecue activities that is solely responsible for the unhealthy state of the plant!

Are Experts Right in Their Calculation?

Since the “climate change” theory became a government policy, carbon dioxide emissions have become a rigid indicator. However, there are serious human errors in the calculations, that is, researchers only calculate carbon dioxide emissions, but refuse to calculate carbon dioxide absorption by plants.

It is high school knowledge that plants use light to turn carbon dioxide and water into carbohydrates, a process known as photosynthesis, yet scholars doing research on carbon dioxide concentration choose to ignore this part of the carbon cycle.

Twenty years ago, I participated in a conference hosted by a non-profit organization, and one of the topics was global warming caused by carbon dioxide emissions. During the conference, I asked a climate expert, “How do you calculate the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed?”

He really surprised me when he replied that such calculations are too complicated and scientists like him choose to ignore it.

I then asked him, “Does this mean that the natural balance of carbon dioxide in the air in North America, which has a high degree of vegetation coverage, and that of African deserts, are treated the same way?” In North America where there are many lush green open spaces, the carbon dioxide emitted by cars can be absorbed to a large extent in rural and suburban areas, but very little in cities and deserts. Would it be inaccurate if scientists only calculate carbon dioxide emissions in each country, without knowing how much carbon dioxide is absorbed in different regions? This expert finally admitted that they have to stick to their unscientific method, otherwise they won’t be able to get research funding.

Pushing Policies Based on Flawed Theories

There is a Chinese idiom, “He who is muddle-headed tries to educate others.” The decision-makers of climate policies in different countries seem to fit in this category.

As a matter of fact, to analyze the relationship between carbon dioxide emissions and absorption in a country, some scientists proposed an index called “carbon flux,” which is the amount of carbon exchanged between carbon pools in a certain region.

However, up to now, no country cares about the “carbon flux” data and there is no research paper that discusses this measurement. I only found one such paper written by a Chinese scholar at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania in 2011, and it was the study of the history of carbon flux changes in peatlands on Earth.

The recent climate summit set the goal of “carbon neutrality” by 2050, also known as net zero emissions. There are three main methods to achieve net zero carbon dioxide emissions. First, planting trees and growing forests to absorb more carbon dioxide; second, replacing coal and oil with wind and solar energy; third, giving money to developing countries to help them emit less carbon dioxide.

The first method itself reflects the fallacy of climate policy. Since climate policy advocates and researchers refuse to calculate the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by existing plants in various countries, it is equivalent to assuming that the amount of carbon dioxide uptake by all plants is negligible. Then why do they list afforestation as the top priority of climate policy?

Conversely, since planting trees and afforestation has become the top priority of climate policy, it means that people who advocate climate policy actually know that plants can absorb carbon dioxide. Why do they refuse to calculate how much carbon dioxide is absorbed by plants in various regions on Earth?

Based on this fallacy, climate policy has proposed the so-called ‘green energy’ program as an alternative to coal and oil. If the general public understands that climate policy is not solid science, they will certainly reject this costly alternative.

The third method could also fail, because even when developing countries receive subsidies for carbon reduction, it is not a guarantee that they will stop using coal and oil.

In addition, there are two drastically different methods in the current monitoring of carbon dioxide concentration in the global atmosphere: super-macro and super-micro.

Super-macro: Although there are more than 200 observation points monitoring the changes of carbon dioxide concentration in the world, only global data is given, while the data collected from each country’s observation stations is absent. Therefore, it is impossible to determine whether the global data can represent the trend of changes in the carbon dioxide concentration in each country.

Super-micro: For instance, global data often comes from an observation point in Hawaii, and sometimes from another observation point in Australia. However, do we really know to what extent the changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations at these two observation points are caused by local human activities, or by other factors, such as whether the volcanic eruptions in Hawaii had caused an excessive increase of carbon dioxide?

When the leftists in Western countries are in power, they pursue so-called “progressivism” and include all the policies they want to promote into the category of “progressivism” and “political correctness,” labeling their opponents as “backward and ignorant.” In such a setting, climate policy is promoted as an unquestionable issue. They are actually using “political correctness” to interfere with scientific research and hype up the issue in order to push forward certain policies. Subsequently, the same group of people would profit from these policies as well as bolster their political image.

Needless to say, the general public can easily fall prey to such a large-scale and concerted brainwashing campaign and become indoctrinated.




Friday, June 04, 2021

Koonin responds to a Scientific American article by Oreskes et al.

On 2nd., I put up a short demolition of the Oreskes et al attack on the work of Steven Koonin. Koonin's own rebuttal has now come to hand so I reproduce it below

Scientific American has published a criticism of me and my recent book, Unsettled. Most of that article’s 1,000 words are scurrilous ad hominem and guilt-by-association aspersions from the twelve co-authors. Only three scientific criticisms are buried within their spluttering; here is my response to each them.

The first criticism concerns rising temperatures: A recent Washington Post column by conservative contributor Marc Thiessen repeats several points Koonin makes. The first is citing the 2017 National Climate Assessment to downplay rising temperatures—but the report’s very first key finding on the topic says temperatures have risen, rapidly since 1979, and are the warmest in 1,500 years.

In fact, Unsettled explicitly acknowledges a warming globe, but also the problems in comparing instrumental and proxy temperatures that weaken confidence in the “warmest in 1,500 years”.

The book’s Chapter 5 criticizes in detail the 2017 report’s misleading and inaccurate representation of a different temperature metric, US extreme temperatures. To the surprise of many, the country’s warmest temperatures have not increased since 1960 and are no higher in recent years than they were in 1900.

The authors go on to offer: The second is Thiessen quoting Koonin’s use of an outdated 2014 assessment on hurricanes to downplay climate concerns. But the newer 2017 report finds that human activity has “contributed to the observed upward trend in North Atlantic hurricane activity since the 1970s.”

In fact, Unsettled’s Chapter 6 discusses the description of hurricanes in the 2014 report, in the 2017 report, and in more recent research papers through 2020, including an authoritative 2019 assessment by eleven hurricane experts. None of those studies claim any detectable human influences on hurricanes.

Finally, we’re given: A third point downplays sea level rise by portraying it as steady over time, cherry-picking reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In fact, the rate of sea-level rise has quadrupled since the industrial revolution, as climate scientists pointed out years ago when Koonin made this same argument.

In no sense does Unsettled portray sea level rise as “steady over time”. Rather, the book’s Chapter 8 does quite the opposite, describing the full decadal variability as portrayed in the IPCC reports and subsequent research literature, but somehow omitted in the 2017 National Climate Assessment. The IPCC statement that rates of rise between 1920 and 1950 were likely similar to those of recent decades complicates attribution of recent trends.

It is telling that these three criticisms cite Thiessen’s column rather than what I’ve written in Unsettled. That they are readily countered suggests the authors haven’t read the book or, if they have, they aren’t acting in good faith. That’s precisely the same unprofessional behavior found in the easily rebutted “fact check” of, again, a review of Unsettled, not the book itself.

To paraphrase a statement attributed to Einstein, “If I were wrong, it wouldn’t take a dozen scientists to disprove me - one would be sufficient.”

As I write in Unsettled, I welcome serious, informed discussion of any of the points I raise in the book. Unfortunately, the article by Oreskes et al. falls well short of that standard.

Steven E. Koonin is the author of the bestselling book Unsettled: What climate science tells us, what it doesn’t, and why it matters.


Warming effect of greenhouse gases 'has been overestimated': Ice samples suggest pre-industrial air pollution was WORSE than we thought

Which demolishes all previous Greenie statistics on the subject

Antarctic ice has revealed that pre-industrial air pollution was worse than thought, suggesting climate models have overstated the warming from greenhouse gases.

Key to modelling the climate of the future is understanding how the rate at which surface temperatures are likely to rise in response to greenhouse gas levels.

To do this, modern climate models start by looking at how temperatures responded to known changes in the past — and then extrapolating from there.

The problem is that while past greenhouse gas levels are well documented, they are not the only things in the atmosphere that can affect surface temperatures.

Aerosols, as released by volcanoes and fires, have a cooling effect — but, unlike greenhouse gases, their levels before the Industrial era are poorly understood.

A team led from Harvard University analysed cores of Antarctic ice, trapped in which were soot particles from Africa, Australia and South America dating back to 1750.

Analysing this suggested that — in the southern hemisphere at least — pre-industrial times were more fiery than was previously anticipated, with four times the soot.

This means that, before 1780, the atmosphere was being cooled by soot more than expected — with implications for atmospheric models based on this assumption.

Specifically, in order to account for the observed increase in surface temperatures since then, models may have overestimated the warming from greenhouse gases.

While the world is 'clearly' warming, as the team put it, the new findings suggest that it might not be heating up at quite the rate that was previously feared.

'Up till now, the magnitude of past fire activity, and thus the amount of smoke in the preindustrial atmosphere, has not been well characterized,' explained paper author and atmospheric chemist Pengfei Liu of Massachussets' Harvard University.

'These results have importance for understanding the evolution of climate change from the 1750s until today, and for predicting future climate.'

In total, Dr Liu and colleagues analysed the content of 14 different ice cores, each bored up from a different location across the southernmost continent.

'Soot deposited in glacier ice directly reflects past atmospheric concentrations so well-dated ice cores provide the most reliable long-term records,' explained hydrologist Joseph McConnell of the Desert Research Institute in Nevada.

The researchers were surprised to find that the pre-industrial (here defined as 1750–1780) soot levels were considerably higher than was long thought.

'While most studies have assumed less fire took place in the preindustrial era, the ice cores suggested a much fierier past, at least in the Southern Hemisphere,' said atmospheric chemist Loretta Mickley, also of Harvard University.

To account for these surprising levels of soot, the team ran computer simulations which explored both the impact of wildfires and the burning practices of indigenous peoples in the southern hemisphere.

'The computer simulations of fire show that the atmosphere of the Southern Hemisphere could have been very smoky in the century before the Industrial Revolution,' said earth scientist Jed Kaplan of the University of Hong Kong.

'Soot concentrations in the atmosphere were up to four times greater than previous studies suggested,' he added.

'Most of this was caused by widespread and regular burning practiced by indigenous peoples in the pre-colonial period.'

Indeed the smelting of copper is known to have taken place in South America from as early as 1400 BC, with the Incas smelting silver ore later that century and air pollution increasing when the conquistadors invaded the century after.

Both the ice core data and the models conclude that soot levels were abundant before the industrial era and remained relatively constant across the 20th century.

As land use changed — and fire activity decreased — emissions from industry increased instead, the models suggest.

'Climate scientists have known that the most recent generation of climate models have been over-estimating surface temperature sensitivity to greenhouse gasses, but we haven't known why or by how much,' explained Dr Liu.

'This research offers a possible explanation', he noted. The new finding, added Dr Mickley, 'allows us to refine our predictions moving forward.'

'Clearly the world is warming but the key question is how fast will it warm as greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, she added.

The full findings of the study were published in the journal Science Advances.


Climate change blamed for more than a third of heat-related deaths

Will this nonsense ever stop? For a start: It' arguable that ANY deaths occur in response to heat. I grew up in the topics where we have "heatwaves" for most of sunmmer. But where were the epidemics of deaths from it? We saw none. We had electric fans, cold beer and places to go swimming. So we coped. The weather problems described below stemmed from a failure to adapt to the climate

And the big season of dying is winter. Cold kills, not warmth. Warmth undoubtedly saves lives

Human-caused global warming was responsible for thousands of heat-related deaths in recent decades, a fraction of the numbers expected in the future even if nations adopt ambitious emissions-cutting efforts.

Research of 30 million deaths, spanning almost three decades in 732 locations in 42 countries, found 37 per cent of heat-related mortality could be attributed to climate change. For Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, there were almost 3000 extra deaths, the international study, published on Tuesday in Nature Climate Change journal, found.

The authors, including two based at Australian universities, applied the latest epidemiological and climate models to assess warm-season changes. The result was the largest such study of the health impacts of a hotter world to date, they said.

“We have demonstrated that health burdens from anthropogenic climate change are occurring, are geographically widespread and are non-trivial,” the paper concluded. “In many locations, the attributable mortality is already in the order of dozens to hundreds of deaths each year.”

Yuming Guo, head of Monash University’s Climate, air quality research unit, said warm-season heat-related deaths in Australia amounted to about 1.8 per cent of the total, of which about one-third can be attributed to climate change. That ratio is in line with the rest of the world, he said.

“Australians are still sensitive to heat, particularly extreme heat,” Professor Guo said. Even though residents could expect to access more air-conditioning and other relief from high temperatures, an ageing population brought extra deaths in line with other parts of the world.

For the 1991-2018 period, there were 2968 deaths in the three Australian cities that could be attributed to climate change, Professor Guo told the Herald and The Age. Sydney had the highest toll at 1484, with Melbourne at 924 and Brisbane suffering 560 extra deaths.

The fatalities would likely be proportionally higher in other parts of the country. “Normally low socio-economic areas have a higher mortality,” Professor Guo said.

Still, the additional deaths are occurring when average global temperatures have only increased about 1 degree since 1900. “That rise is lower than even the strictest climate targets outlined in the Paris Agreement [to limit warming to 1.5–2 degrees] and a fraction of what may occur if emissions are left unchecked”, the researchers said


Climate crisis is suffocating the world’s lakes, study finds

Most likely it is increased use of river water by humans that explains any effect here. Taking more from the rivers reduces inflow to the lakes

The climate crisis is causing a widespread fall in oxygen levels in lakes across the world, suffocating wildlife and threatening drinking water supplies.

Falling levels of oxygen in oceans had already been identified, but new research shows that the decline in lakes has been between three and nine times faster in the past 40 years. Scientists found oxygen levels had fallen by 19% in deep waters and 5% at the surface.

Rising temperatures driven by global heating is the main cause, because warmer water cannot hold as much oxygen. Furthermore, rising summer heat leaves the top layer of lakes hotter and less dense than the waters below, meaning mixing is reduced and oxygen supply to the depths falls.

Oxygen levels have increased at the surface of some lakes. But this is most likely due to higher temperatures driving algal blooms, which can also produce dangerous toxins. Cutting emissions to tackle the climate crisis is vital, the scientists said, as well as cutting the use of farm fertiliser and urban sewage pollution that also damages lakes.

“All complex life depends on oxygen and so, when oxygen levels drop, you really decrease the habitat for many different species.” said Prof Kevin Rose, of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in the US, who was part of the research team.

“This study proves that the problem is even more severe in fresh waters [than in oceans], threatening our drinking water supplies and the delicate balance that enables complex freshwater ecosystems to thrive,” said Curt Breneman, RPI’s dean of science.

Freshwater habitats are rich in fish, insects, birds and animals, and are important for food and recreation for humans. But they have already suffered great damage, with average wildlife populations having fallen by 84% since 1970. In addition to global heating and pollution, the causes include overuse of water for farming.

The study, published in the journal Nature, analysed 45,000 dissolved oxygen and temperature profiles collected from nearly 400 lakes worldwide. Most records started in about 1980, though one went back to 1941.

Most of the lakes were in temperate zones, particularly in Europe and the US, but there were a few records from higher latitudes, nearer the poles, and for tropical lakes in Africa. In both cases, oxygen was falling as in the other lakes.

In lakes where oxygen levels have fallen to almost zero, phosphorus can be drawn out of sediments, providing an essential nutrient for bacteria. These can proliferate and produce the powerful greenhouse gas methane, driving further heating.

Oxygen levels in surface waters were increasing in about a fifth of the lakes studied, almost all of which were prone to pollution. This is an indicator of widespread increases in algal blooms, said Rose. “Without taxonomic data, we can’t say that definitively, but nothing else we’re aware of can explain this pattern.”

Global temperatures are still rising, pushing lake oxygen levels ever lower, so just keeping the status quo requires action to clean up freshwater bodies. Rose said a positive example was Oneida Lake in New York state, where a clean-up led to better water clarity, which in turn allowed more photosynthesis from oxygen-producing algae.

“The new study provides a much-needed global overview of what happens in the limited freshwater stores of the planet – their health is a prime concern,” said Prof Hans-Otto Poertner, of the Alfred-Wegener-Institute in Bremerhaven, Germany, who was not part of the team. Lakes are isolated and small compared with oceans, in which global currents can still provide oxygen to deeper waters, he said.

“Climate change, together with [agricultural pollution], threatens vulnerable freshwater systems, adding to the urgency to strongly cut emissions,” Poertner said.




Wednesday, June 02, 2021

That ‘Obama Scientist’ Climate Skeptic You’ve Been Hearing About

There is an article under the above heading just out by the 12 apostles of climate change. Are we getting through to them? Heavy weight argumentation is being used in an attempt to shoot down just one climate skeptic

But it is a pathetic attempt. Like almost all Green/Left argumentation, it consists a of a few potshots that make no attempt to tell both sides of the argument. They assume what they have to prove. Their idea of proving their basic point is to say baldly: "But unfortunately, climate change is real". That's the full extent of their argument for global warming. No statistics and an assertion built on sand. A six-year old could make a better argument.

The entire argument is unmoored assertion and would persuade nobody who knows anything about the relevant facts.


Fifteen Republican State Treasurers sent a warning that they will pull assets from financial institutions if they give in to Federal pressure to de-carbonize and “refuse to lend to or invest in” the fossil fuel and coal industry.

The letter (pdf), led by West Virginia Treasurer Riley Moore, is directed at Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry. It expresses concerns over reports that Kerry and other members of the Biden administration have been “privately pressuring” U.S. banks to stifle the fossil fuel industry.

“We are writing today to express our deep concern with recent reports that you, and other members of the Biden Administration, are privately pressuring U.S. banks and financial institutions to refuse to lend to or invest in coal, oil, and natural gas companies, as part of a misguided strategy to eliminate the fossil fuel industry in our country,” the letter reads.

The State Treasurers sent a plain message to financial institutions, telling them not to submit to the present administration’s coercion to deny investment and lending for the natural resources.

Furthermore, they assert that the approaches will “discriminate against law-abiding U.S. energy companies and their employees, impede economic growth, and drive up consumer costs,” adding that the strategy in question would make the free market submit to the will of politicians.

The signees of the letter are representing collectively more than $600 billion in assets, according to Axios.

They are backing some of the largest fossil fuel producers in the country.

“As a collective, we strongly oppose command-and-control economic policies that attempt to bend the free market to the political will of government officials,” they write. “It is simply antithetical to our nation’s position as a democracy and a capitalist economy for the Executive Branch to bully corporations into curtailing legal activities. The Biden Administration’s top-down tactics of picking economic winners and losers deprives the real determinate group in our society—the people—of essential choice and agency. We refuse to allow the federal government to pick our critical industries as losers, based purely on President Biden’s own radical political preferences and ideologies.”

The Obama administration’s previous conflict with American coal and natural gas industries is mentioned as an attack on jobs, tax revenue, and health insurance provided to families across the country, specifically hard-working middle-class families.

“As the chief financial officers of our respective states, we entrust banks and financial institutions with billions of our taxpayers’ dollars. It is only logical that we will give significant weight to the fact that an institution engaged in tactics that will harm the people whose money they are handling before entering into or extending any contract,” they warned.


Is Having Children in 2021 ‘Environmental Vandalism’?

Not this old chestnut agin!

Concerns about population growth are nothing new. And a recent article in British Vogue is based on the same flawed assumptions
A recent British Vogue article shocked many with the title, “Is Having A Baby In 2021 Pure Environmental Vandalism?” In this piece, writer Nell Frizzell ponders whether having children is irresponsible due to the effects additional people have on the climate.

“For the scientifically-engaged person, there are few questions more troubling when looking at the current climate emergency than that of having a baby,” writes Frizzell. “Whether your body throbs to reproduce, you passively believe that it is on the cards for you one day, or you actively seek to remain child-free, the declining health of the planet cannot help but factor in your thinking.”

Frizzell offers many concerns about the future of the planet, including the idea that humans will run out of drinking water and that air pollution now kills more people than tobacco use. All of this is combined with the worry that children in rich countries will contribute significantly to greenhouse gas emissions.

Concerns about population growth are nothing new. In 1968, ecologists Paul and Anne Ehrlich echoed 18th-century economist Thomas Malthus when they predicted mass starvation and widespread upheavals due to overpopulation.

“Sometime in the next 15 years, the end will come,” Paul Ehrlich told CBS News following publication of the book. “And by ‘the end’ I mean an utter breakdown of the capacity of the planet to support humanity.”

The problem? These predictions never came true. In spite of all the worry, access to food and resources increased as population rose. People have to spend less time working today for these resources, than at any other time in history.

Do Frizzell’s worries hold up any better? Not really. The organization HumanProgress tweeted in response that air pollution deaths are actually falling. The only reason they’ve overtaken tobacco deaths is they’re falling more slowly.


Why Taiwan’s drought means you can’t have a new smart TV

The chips that drive your smartphones, laptops and cars need water - lots of water.

This might sound curious - given their propensity to fail after water damage - but this is not your average water. It’s 1000 times purer than regular water. It is used to cleanse these technical marvels of any impurities before they land in your Tesla, iPhone or Samsung Galaxy.

Right now, the world’s largest manufacturer of these chips, Taiwan’s TSMC, is about to hit a deadline. On Tuesday, if Taiwan has not received more than 100 millimetres of rain in its reservoir catchment, some of the world’s largest semiconductor factories will have to scale back water consumption.

Taiwan’s crippling drought is hitting the world’s electronics supply, just as COVID-19 lockdowns send the demand for gadgets to record heights. “The rain is simply not enough to support the ongoing growth of the industry,” said Natixis Asia Pacific economist Gary Ng.

“If this situation continues, and if it reaches a stage where the water supply is actually affecting TSMC’s production, I think it will have a spillover effect in the world.”

Taiwan’s worst drought in more than half a century began last year. The mostly subtropical island expects typhoons between June and October, but in 2020 they didn’t come. It relies on its wet season to fill its water reservoirs. Usually, it gets 2500 mm a year. Last year, some parts of the island only got 20 per cent of their usual fill.

To purify its chips, TSMC needs 156 million litres of water a day. It has established water recycling methods to manage supply risk but, as Ng says, it is limited in its ability to expand production at an unprecedented time of demand. TSMC was contacted for comment.

There were more than 1 trillion semiconductor chips delivered around the world last year. Relative to the proportion of the population that buys consumer electronics, that’s more than 300 chips produced per person each year.

These tiny chips, made from silicon, refined by robots, purified in water and locked in filtered air, are essentially networks of switches that allow different parts of everyday devices to communicate. They are made in factories that are so brutally competitive and with capital costs so high that they must run 24 hours a day.

Few companies have the appetite to stump up the estimated $25 billion it costs to build one of the world’s top chip factories. Fewer still are ready to wear the costs of being superseded by competitors.

The result is one of the most highly concentrated industries in the world. Right now that $645 billion industry is centred on Taiwan - a place threatened not only by drought and climate change but also by its superpower neighbour China. To make matters more complicated, supply chains have been severely disrupted by a COVID-19 pandemic that has kept people in lockdown and driven demand for consumer electronics.

JP Morgan’s Bruce Kasman said “the bottlenecks are real”. “Extreme shortages in semiconductors have weighed on global auto output,” he added.

JB Hi-Fi warned consumers in February that there would be stock shortages of TVs for the foreseeable future, while Sony and Microsoft have scaled back production of gaming consoles.

Ng said in the short term, the industry faces a perfect storm of threats. “This chip shortage could basically derail the global recovery path,” he said.

Ben May, the director of global research at Oxford Economics, said COVID-19 had largely kept consumer prices low.

“But the big fear is, of course, that a range of factors related to the pandemic will eventually trigger broad-based price rises,” he said. “These include higher input costs as a result of surging commodity prices, sky-high shipping costs and shortages of key supplies such as semiconductors.”

If Taiwan can manage to sustain its production, get through the drought and get its current COVID-19 outbreak under control, then its post-COVID economic outlook is strong. The demand for its key export shows no signs of abating, driven by strong global demand for those precious chips fuelled by remote working, 5G deployment and high-performance computing. Exports rose by almost 40 per cent in April.

“We remain optimistic on Taiwan’s export growth amid a global recovery, and forecast it to rise more than 20 per cent in 2021,” said Lloyd Chan from Oxford Economics. “We have also raised our 2021 GDP growth forecast once again to 7 per cent, from 5 per cent previously.”




Thursday, May 27, 2021

A dangerous rise in global temperatures above the 1.5C limit set by the UN could happen in just five years, warn scientists

Another lachrymose prophecy. If 2016 was the hottest year so far, there is NO upward trend

There is a 40 per cent chance that annual temperature rises will go beyond the level set by the 2015 Paris Agreement, agreed to by 196 countries, it is claimed.

The report published by the World Meteorological Organisation also warns of a very high likelihood – a 90 per cent chance – of at least one year between 2021 and 2025 becoming the warmest on record, outstripping *2016's record heat*

Global average temperatures of 1.5C above 19th century levels are seen as a threshold beyond which the most dangerous impacts of climate change will be felt.

Scientists warn that temperature rises above 1.5C will lead to more heatwaves, extreme rainstorms, water shortages and drought, greater economic losses and lower crop yields, higher sea levels and destruction of coral reefs.

In 2020, the global average temperature was 1.2C above pre-industrial levels, making it among the three hottest years on record.

The predictions appear in the WMO's Global Annual to Decadal Climate update, which is led by Britain's Met Office.

WMO secretary general Professor Petteri Taalas said: 'Increasing temperatures mean more melting ice, higher sea levels, more heatwaves and other extreme weather, and greater impacts on food security, health, the environment and sustainable development.

This study shows – with a high level of scientific skill – that we are getting measurably and inexorably closer to the lower target of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

'It is yet another wake-up call that the world needs to fast-track commitments to slash greenhouse gas emissions.'

Under the international Paris Agreement countries pledged to limit long-term temperature rises to 2C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to curb them to 1.5C, to reduce the risks and impacts of climate change.

Current action promised by countries puts the world on track for 2-3C of warming by the end of the century.

Dr Stephen Cornelius, chief climate adviser at WWF, said: 'Limiting global warming to 1.5C is of critical importance to prevent the worst impacts of the climate crisis on people and nature, but we know without global action we are at risk of reaching this threshold in the coming years.

'With so much at stake, governments must take urgent action to cut harmful emissions.'


So-Called Infrastructure Plan Would Federalize California’s Climate Mandates

If Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., continue to have their way, families across the U.S. will pay more in taxes so that millionaires in California can write off a new Tesla.

Sound fair? Team Biden thinks so. Included within the White House’s $2.3 trillion “infrastructure” plan—which is dense with wasteful Green New Deal ideas—is a massively wasteful government program that would try to remove gas cars from the U.S. economy.

Within President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan is $174 billion that would both extend the electric vehicle tax credit as well as replace government cars with electric ones. To put this level of waste into perspective: $174 billion is more than practically every state budget.

The proposal would federalize the failed climate mandates in California. It’s not hard to see what’s being forced on states (like my home state, Kansas) next from the state that has become a socialist laboratory for bad policy experiments. California’s governor even recently signed an order that will phase out gas-powered cars by 2035. This is not based on reality.

Right now, electric cars comprise less than 2% of the automotive market in the U.S. Signing an order to phase out cars will only punish working-class Americans.

It’s only one example of the many radical climate mandates that have created an affordability crisis in the state, causing many to flee. Democrats haven’t seemed to notice the thousands leaving California for places like Texas. Instead of learning from their mistakes, their plan is to double down on the failed climate policies of California.

But hardworking American families, who are dealing with rising prices on most household goods, don’t want to subsidize wealthy Americans to buy a Tesla or to pay for the federal government to purchase electric cars. There’s simply no reason to—it’s pure waste.

In addition, not many Americans will choose electric vehicles because they can only be driven about halfway across a state the size of Kansas before needing to be recharged for hours.

That’s why I’ve introduced two pieces of legislation to push back against this radical socialist agenda. The Close the Double Subsidy Loophole for Electric Vehicles Act will ensure that American taxpayers do not continue footing the bill for electric vehicle tax credits that are overwhelmingly claimed by wealthy individuals and corporations in states that already heavily incentivize electric vehicles.

Under current law, the tax credit for electric cars does not take state subsidies into account when it is calculated. This means that in states like California, where electric cars are heavily subsidized, many can double dip with state and federal subsidies to buy a qualifying electric vehicle.

According to data from tax returns filed in 2019, 80% of taxpayers claiming this credit had adjusted gross income of $100,000 or more. In addition, it is estimated that roughly half of the forgone revenue for this credit from 2018 to 2022 stems from corporations claiming the credit.

My legislation would close the loophole while still allowing buyers of electric vehicles to benefit from state and federal tax breaks.

In addition, Biden’s plan to purchase 645,000 electric vehicles for the government could cost over $20 billion. That’s why I’ve also introduced the No Subsidies for Government Purchases of Electric Vehicles Act.

This would ensure the federal government does not use the tax credit to grant the seller of the vehicle a large tax credit against their federal tax rate. If this is allowed, it would introduce a poor incentive for those selling cars that could limit your buying options in addition to encouraging wasteful government spending.

Americans deserve to buy a car that will suit their lives—not a car that Washington decides they should be driving. Instead of including electric vehicles as part of your options when buying a car, Democrats are incentivizing them with the goal of removing gas cars. This means you’ll be stuck without options.

If Americans don’t want to buy electric vehicles for whatever reason, they don’t have to. Democrats in Congress should be focused on reopening the economy and getting Americans back to work—not trying to implement California’s failed climate policies.


The IEA’s Plan to Destroy Freedom and Save the Planet

If you liked gas lines after the Colonial Pipeline was shut down by a hacking—or if the rolling blackouts last summer in California were your idea of fun—you will love what the international global warming warriors at the International Energy Agency have planned for us.

The agency is the world’s most influential international energy policy organization, made up of 30 prosperous member-states, including the United States—its biggest funder, of course—the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and Japan. Ironically, the IEA was formed in the wake of the 1973 oil crisis to develop policies that would prevent such energy disruptions from happening again. Now, it wants to cause those very disruptions in the name of fighting global warming.

The agency doesn’t admit that. But major shortages and dislocations would be the almost certain consequence if its recommended radical policies were aggressively implemented. You see, the IEA doesn’t want to just reduce carbon emissions. It wants to eliminate them entirely by setting a goal of zero net carbon emissions (ZNE) by 2050. Otherwise, we are all doomed!

Toward this end, the IEA just issued “Net Zero by 2050: A Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector,” a 200-plus-page report urging specific actions to attain this almost surely unattainable goal. It makes for chilling reading since it’s clear from reading the report that the global warming warriors are green with envy (get it?) about how the COVID-19 fight successfully redirected individual behavior and reset societal norms—so now they want to do it to us, too.

But there is a big difference between COVID and global warming. Whereas our pandemic dislocations are (hopefully) temporary, the IEA’s would never end. Moreover, COVID restrictions will seem like minor nuisances compared to major societal dislocations the IEA plans.

Here’s a nutshell overview:

Decimate the Oil and Gas Industry: The report foresees forcing a “major contraction of oil and gas production.” It calls for forbidding all future oil and gas exploration and refusing permits for any new extraction of oil, gas, and coal.

Replace Fossil Fuels With Low-Emission Hydrogen: The report predicts replacing fossil fuels by “using hydrogen-based fuels for ships and planes, as well as hydrogen in heavy industries like steel and chemicals.” Such technology doesn’t exist yet. Not to worry. If governments put a mere $90 billion into research, the technology will be ready by 2030 “with a portfolio of demonstration projects.”

We Will Be Forced Into Electric Vehicles (EV): Achieving NZE will require us to replace vehicles with internal combustion engines with EVs, i.e., electric vehicles. The report wants to force this transformation immediately. Just nine years from now, it expects the total number of EVs to rise to 60 percent from 5 percent.

You Will Also Be Forced to Take the Bus: The IEA also wants far fewer automobiles in private hands. Thus, the report predicts on page 86 that policies will be put in place that will require urbanites to make about 50 percent of their trips using public transportation, with the remainder consigned to riding a bicycle or walking. The report expects car ownership in the world to plunge to 20 percent by 2050 from 35 percent now—with only 5 percent of households owning more than one vehicle.

Thou Shalt Rarely Fly: Page 135 calls for “comprehensive government policies that promote a shift toward high-speed rail and rein in expansion of long-haul commercial flying.” Business and pleasure travel aren’t to exceed 2019 levels. (If you want a vivid illustration of how well that will turn out, check out the California high-speed “train to nowhere” boondoggle that wasted tens of billions and still isn’t carrying passengers anywhere they want to go.)

You Will Be Hot in the Summer and Cold in the Winter: Your ability to set your own thermostats will be regulated. In the summer, you will not be able to cool your home below 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and not heat above 66 to 67 degrees in the freezing winter. Jimmy Carter’s cardigan sweater is ready for a comeback! Also, you will be forced to reduce the temperature of your hot water, so get ready for tepid showers!

The key to this grand future is electricity—to fuel EVs, cook our food, heat our homes, drive our industries, operate our entertainment devices, run our trains, and allow for the other accoutrements of modern life. But all that will require tremendous growth in generation—raising the obvious question of how we will create all that needed power after dramatically cutting the use of natural gas and phasing out coal.

Of course, windmills and solar power! But these aren’t reliable sources. Windmills freeze in the winter—not to mention kill many millions of birds and bats—and solar power doesn’t generate electricity at night or on cloudy days. Then there is the major battery problem to allow storing that generated electricity for later use. Indeed, California’s reliance on unreliable renewables was one of the factors leading to the rolling blackouts last summer. Oh, well, they’ll think of something.

What about nuclear power? The report supports its use but doesn’t push it as a solution to power generation, stating on page 115 that it expects nuclear power to be “below 10 percent in 2050.”

How much will all of this cost? It’s beyond imagination. I mean, we haven’t even gotten into the mandatory commercial and residential building retrofits for which the report calls, nor the transformation of planes, ships, and major industry into using hydrogen fuels.

So, how will all of that be paid for? Private investment. But also—you guessed it—lots and lots of taxes—and not just on the rich. There will be carbon taxes. There will be road fees. There will be congestion charges. And yes, there will be increased taxes on electricity after they force us to rely almost exclusively on that source of energy to live modern lives.

As you ponder these and many other proposed head-swimming “reforms” the IEA plans, remember: It’s all for our own good! The planet is cooking! There is a world to save! All they demand in return is that we surrender our lifestyles, prosperity, and personal freedom.