Tuesday, March 09, 2021

The climate science is clear, extreme cold events are becoming less common

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and other climate alarmists are attempting to take advantage of last week’s tragic extreme cold event in Texas last to spread the myth that climate change caused the cold outbreak or makes such extreme cold outbreaks more likely to occur. In reality, the scientific data are clear – extreme cold events are becoming less frequent rather than more frequent in recent decades. If climate change is having an impact on extreme cold events, it is clearly to lessen the chances of last week’s extreme cold tragedy.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) publishes climate summaries for each state. For each state, NOAA documents either the frequency of very cold days, in which temperatures do not rise above freezing, or the frequency of very cold nights, in which temperatures drop below zero degrees. For Texas, the NOAA data show the number of days each year with high temperatures failing to make it above freezing has been declining during the past 25 years. Very cold days were most frequent between 1960 and 1990. By contrast, two of the past three five-year periods brought Texas fewer very cold days than normal, and three of the past five five-year periods brought fewer very cold days than normal.

The states neighboring Texas show an even greater reduction in extreme cold events.

In Oklahoma, all five of the past five-year periods brought a below-average number of very cold nights with temperatures dropping below zero. Oklahoma has not experienced an above-average frequency of very cold nights since the 1980s.

In Louisiana, every five-year period in the current century has brought an average or below-average number of very cold days where temperatures do not climb above freezing. The last time Louisiana experienced more-frequent-than-average outbreaks of very cold temperatures was during the 1990s.

In New Mexico, five of the past six five-year periods have brought a below-average number of very cold nights with temperatures dropping below zero degrees.

In Arkansas, the last time there was an above-average frequency of very cold nights with temperatures dropping below zero degrees was in the 1980s.

In summary, for Texas and every state that borders Texas, extreme cold events are becoming a rarer event.

The fact that global warming – or “climate change” – is reducing the frequency of extreme cold events does not mean that extreme cold events no longer occur. They still do occur, but occur less frequently. That being the case, it defies science and common sense to claim that climate change caused last week’s cold outbreak in Texas or made the cold outbreak more likely to occur.

For additional confirmation, we need merely listen to what climate activists themselves have been saying for years. Just last month, the climate activist website Climate Central published an article titled “2021 Fewer Cold Nights & Groundhog Day.” The article warned, “89% (217) of 245 cities have fewer cold nights since 1970. … The decline in colder days and nights has consequences, including economic disruptions in winter recreation and the extension of disease-carrying tick and mosquito seasons.”

Back in 2014, Texas climate activist Katharine Hayhoe warned about the Austin, Texas, climate, “Nighttime temperatures that drop below freezing are projected to become increasingly more rare.”

Also, climate activists frequently claim that increasingly rare extreme cold events are allowing more bark beetles to survive winter and damage forests throughout the United States. For example, the New York Times claimed in a 2017 article, “the year’s coldest nights — which determine whether they survive the winter — have warmed by as much as 7 degrees Fahrenheit.”

Imagine how much worse the Texas tragedy would have been if temperatures were another 7 degrees colder.

Even the aforementioned Climate Central claimed in a 2013 article, “Meanwhile the beetles, whose numbers would normally be held in check by cold winters that kill their larvae, are surviving in greater numbers from one year to the next as winters in the U.S. continue to get warmer.”

That is at odds with what climate alarmists are saying this past week after the Texas cold outbreak.

Climate activists cannot have it both ways. Global warming cannot be causing severe cold outbreaks at the same time it is causing – by climate activists’ own admission – a reduction in the frequency of severe cold outbreaks.

Fortunately for the rest of us, we can examine the NOAA data and see for ourselves that extreme cold events are becoming less frequent, not more frequent, in recent years and decades under “climate change.”


Electric vehicles are trendy but not very Earth-friendly, affordable or emission-free

Paul Driessen

Tesla may be synonymous with electric vehicles right now. But within a few years, GM, Volvo and many other manufacturers will be making mostly or only EVs, because they’re emission-free, climate-friendly, socially and ecologically responsible, and more affordable every year. Which explains why we need subsidies to persuade people to buy them, and mandates to force people to buy them.

President Biden wants all new light/medium-duty vehicles sold by 2035 to be EVs. Vice President Harris wants only ZEVs (zero emission vehicles) on America’s roads by 2045. Various states are considering or have already passed similar laws; some would even ban the sale of new gasoline and diesel vehicles by 2030. Climate Czar John Kerry will likely be happy to buy EVs to expand his fleet of twelve cars, two yachts, six houses, and the private jet he flies in to accept climate crusader awards.

AOC would use her Green New Deal to “massively” expand electric vehicle manufacturing and use. She herself now drives an EV, most likely a $48,000 Tesla Model 3 Long Range (350 miles per charge).

Mini AOC also has an EV, pink and suitably sized for a 10-year-old. She launched her GND and bought her mini-car after viewing, “like, the most important documentary on climate change. It’s called Ice Age 2: The Meltdown. That’s not me saying it. That’s science!” she explained. “My Green New Deal will cost, like, 93 trillion dollars. Do you know how much that is? Me neither. Because it’s totally worth it. If sea levels keep rising, we won’t be able to drive to Hawaii anymore!" (Not even in her EV!)

For some people EVs are an easy choice. But why the hefty subsidies? Why do the rest of us need mandates and diktats – and a new Henry Ford dictum, letting consumers have any kind of car they want, as long as it’s electric. Regardless of needs or preferences. (But at least we can choose the color.)

More important, who’s actually getting the subsidies? and who’s paying for them? What other costs and unintended consequences are Big Green, Big Government, Big Media and Big Tech keeping quiet about?

A 2021 Tesla Model S Long Range can go 412 miles on a multi-hour charge; its MSRP is $80,000. The Model Y all-wheel-drive is $58,000. A Nissan Leaf is “only” $34,000 but only goes 149 miles. Mileage of course assumes temperatures are moderate and drivers aren’t using the cars’ heater or AC. Similar sticker-shock prices apply to other EV makes and models, putting them out of reach for most families.

To soften the blows to budgets and liberties, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) wants to spend $454 billion to install 500,000 new EV charging stations, replace US government vehicles with EVs, and finance “cash for clunkers” rebates to help at least some families navigate this transportation transformation.

Politicians are being pressured to retain the $7,500 per car federal tax credit (and sweet state tax rebates) now scheduled to lapse once a manufacturer’s cumulative vehicle sales since 2009 reach 200,000. EV drivers also want other incentives perpetuated: free charging stations, access to HOV lanes for plug-ins with only the driver, and not having to pay fees that substitute for gasoline taxes to finance the construction, maintenance and repair of highways they drive on.

A 2015 study found that the richest 20% of Americans received 90% of these generous EV subsidies. No surprise there. Clearly, lobbyists are more valuable than engineers for EV manufacturers and drivers.

This perverse reverse-Robin-Hood system also means subsidies are financed by taxpayers – including millions of working class and minority families, most of which will never be able to afford an EV.

Any cash for clunkers program will exacerbate the problem. By enabling sufficiently wealthy families to trade fossil-fuel cars for EVs, it will result in millions of perfectly drivable cars and trucks that would have ended up in used car lots getting crushed and melted instead. Basic supply and demand laws mean the average cost of pre-owned ICE vehicles will soar by thousands of dollars, pricing even them out of reach for millions of lower-income families. They’ll be forced to buy pieces of junk or ride buses and subways jammed with people they hope won’t be carrying next-generation COVID.

The United States will begin to look like Cuba, which still boasts legions of classic 1960s and ‘70s cars that are cared for and kept on the road with engines, brakes and other parts cannibalized from wrecks and even old Soviet cars. Once the states and federales ban gasoline sales, even that will end.

Perhaps even more ironic and perverse, the “zero emissions vehicle” moniker refers only to emissions in the USA – and only if the electricity required to manufacture and charge ZEVs comes from non-fossil-fuel power plants. Texans now know how well wind turbines and solar panels work when “runaway global warming” turns to record cold and snow. Californians have to dodge future rolling blackouts.

For several years now, production engineers have been pondering how to retool plants from ICE to EV engines. They better start thinking about how to retool and power their entire factories – and our planet.

With many politicians and environmentalists equally repulsed by nuclear and hydroelectric power, having any electricity source will soon be a recurrent challenge. Having reliable, affordable electricity will be a pipe dream. Simply having enough electricity to replace all of today’s coal and gas power generation, internal combustion vehicle fuels, natural gas for cooking, heating and emergency power, coal and gas for smelters and factories, and countless other now-fossil-fuel uses, will be a miracle.

Every home, neighborhood and city will also have to replace existing gas and electric systems to handle the extra loads. More trillions of dollars. There’s also the matter of nasty, toxic, impossible-to-extinguish lithium battery fires – in cars now, and soon in homes, parking garages and backup battery facilities.

We’re talking millions of wind turbines, billions of solar panels, billions of battery modules, thousands of miles of new transmission lines. They’ll kill birds and bats, disrupt or destroy sensitive habitats, and impair or eradicate hundreds of plant and animal species. As electricity prices rise, US factories won’t be able to compete against China and other nations that don’t have to and will not stop using fossil fuels.

Zero emission fantasies also ignore the essential role of fossil fuels in manufacturing ZEVs (and pretend-renewable energy systems). From mining and processing the myriad metals and minerals for EV battery modules, wiring, drivetrains and bodies, to actually making the components and finished vehicles, every step requires oil, natural gas or coal. Not in California or America perhaps, but elsewhere on Planet Earth, especially Africa, Asia and South America, most often with Chinese companies in leading roles.

A single EV battery module needs some 30 pounds of lithium, plus many other metals and materials totaling at least 1,000 pounds: from commonplace iron, copper, aluminum and petroleum-based plastics, to “exotics” like cobalt and multiple rare earth elements. An EV requires three times more copper than its ICE counterpart; a single wind turbine needs some 3.5 tons of copper per megawatt of electricity.

And every 1,000 tons of finished copper involves mining, crushing, refining and smelting some 125,000 tons of ore – and removing thousands of tons of overburden and surrounding rock just to reach the ore. The same is true for all these other materials, especially rare earths. Try to imagine the cumulative global impacts from all this mining and fossil fuel use – so that AOC, Al Gore, Leo Di Caprio and other wealthy, saintly people can drive “clean, green, climate-friendly” electric cars. (That’s OK. Mini AOC can’t either.)

Even worse, many of these materials are dug up and turned into “virtuous” EVs, wind turbines and solar panels – in China, Congo, Bolivia and other places – with little regard for child labor, fair wages, workplace safety, air and water pollution, toxic and radioactive wastes, endangered species and mined land reclamation. It’s all far away, out of sight and out of mind, and thus irrelevant. And amid all this is the touchy issue of Uighur genocide and their people being sent to re-education/slave labor camps, to help meet China’s mineral, EV and other export markets.

How long will we let real social, environmental and climate justice take a back seat to EV mythology?

Via email


The Left declares war on natural gas

The so-called CLEAN Future Act just introduced by the Democrat leaders of the house energy Committee calls for the elimination of gas-fired electric power generation, some immediately, some by 2023 and all by 2035. That is just 14 years from now. Coal-fired power will also be gone, the war on coal finally over with the ultimate solution: complete extermination.

The fifty year history of electric power in America goes like this:

First they came for the nukes in the 70’s. Coal and gas smiled, saying we can do the job, so we built 350,000 MW of coal-fired baseload and gas-fired peakers.

Then they came for coal in the 90’s. Gas smiled, saying we can do the job, so we built 220,000 MW of gas-fired baseload.

Now they have come for gas. Wind and solar are smiling; their trade associations love this law.

But there is a big difference this time. WIND AND SOLAR CAN’T DO THE JOB.

Unlike nuclear, coal and gas, wind and solar only produce power when nature wants them to, not when we need it. Only when the sun shines bright or the wind blows strong. Low wind nights are common. A week without wind power occurs every few years almost everywhere in America.

The wind and solar people say that storage of electricity is the solution to this problem of intermittency, as it is called. In the vast quantities required, the only viable storage technology available to meet the law’s mandate is batteries.

But the storage requirements are stupendous, so the cost of batteries is astronomical. In fact it is economically impossible. (It may also be physically impossible to hook up this many batteries, or even to make them.)

I have a standard cost calculation the applies here. It is imprecise but gives the flavor of the cost. Simply take the average hourly need for juice, with 7 days of storage, at the average cost of grid-scale batteries which today is roughly $1,500,000 per megawatt hour (MWh). There are reasons the real figure might be lower, and reasons it might be much higher, so this is a useful benchmark.

Here’s the math. America uses about 4.2 billion MWh per year, which is roughly 500,000 MWh per hour. For 7 days this works out to 84 million MWh, costing around $120 trillion. That is ONE HUNDRED TWENTY TRILLION DOLLARS just for batteries.

Note that this does not include the cost of replacing all the operating coal and gas fired generators with a mind boggling number of wind and solar generators. Nor does it include things like the electrification of all our cars and trucks, our houses, our gas-fired industries, etc., which might double the amount of electricity needed. This would also double the batteries, so we might be looking at $240 trillion.

I mention operating coal-fired generators because the war on coal is far from over; in fact it is only 40% over. We used to burn a billion tons a year but we still burn 600 million. That is a lot to shut down, a lot of mines and a lot of workers, plus the communities that depend on them. And of course the gas industry has a lot of workers and pays huge royalties.

What the Democrat’s CLEAN Future Act calls for simply cannot be done, because there is no feasible cure for intermittency. This raises a very interesting question: Will the electric power utilities finally tell Congress the truth? That it can’t be done? Until now they have carefully avoided doing so, because they are making a fortune building wind and solar power plants. The more they spend the more profit they make.

Many utilities are operating under state laws calling for 100% renewables, but that is in 2045 or 2050. There is no need for the utilities to mention the impossibility now, not when they are making so much money. But the proposed CLEAN Future Act calls for 80% of the coal and gas generation to be gone in just 9 years. This impossibility creates a very different situation for the utilities.

What about the electric power gas industry? They have seen huge growth over the last 20 years, now they are supposed to be gone in just 14 years. That has to hurt. Maybe they will stop smiling and start pointing out that what the proposed law calls for is both impossible and incredibly destructive.

Over 60% of the 4 billion megawatt hours we use each year come from coal and gas. We simply cannot shut that down in the next 9-14 years. The CLEAN Future Act is impossible.


Australians aren’t keen on electric cars according to survey

A new survey from global auditing and accountancy firm Deloitte shows Aussies have little desire to go electric.

Out of more than 1000 local buyers surveyed only 4 per cent said they would be looking for a fully-electric vehicle as their next purchase.

That compared with 70 per cent who would be looking for a conventional petrol or diesel vehicle and 18 per cent who would be looking for a hybrid vehicle.

In the first two months of this year electric cars made up just 0.3 per cent of new car sales, according to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries.

That figure doesn’t include Tesla sales, as the US maker refuses to report sales numbers to the industry body.

At the moment, Nissan, MG and Hyundai are the only mainstream brands to offer an electric car, although Mitsubishi has a plug-in hybrid. Kia and Mazda both plan to launch EVs soon and Ford has a plug-in planned for later in the year.

Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, Audi and BMW all have electric vehicles on sale, but sales are slow.

Deloitte’s research shows just how much of an uphill battle it will be to make the new tech popular in Australia.

Several issues were identified, including the price premium and the lack of charging infrastructure.

Currently the cheapest electric car on sale is the Chinese-built MG ZS EV small SUV priced at $43,990 drive-away. This undercuts the competition by almost $10,000, but is still expensive at $11,500 more expensive than the priciest petrol-powered MG ZS.

The most expensive is the new Porsche Taycan Turbo S at $366,000 drive-away.

Charging infrastructure isn’t widely available in Australia and can be expensive.

Late in 2020 Tesla raised the price of its Supercharger network by 24 per cent. The price hike meant it’s more expensive to fast-charge Teslas than to refill some petrol-powered rivals.

Analysis by electric car experts at EVCentral.com.au shows it would cost $9.78 per 100km to run a Tesla Model 3 if it was charged exclusively on the brand’s Supercharger network.

This compares poorly to petrol powered machines such as the BMW 330i at $8.00 per 100km and the hybrid-powered Lexus IS350h at $6.76.

Earlier this year the global boss of Jeep, Cristian Meunier, revealed to New Corp Australia why he thinks Aussies aren’t ready for electric vehicles.

Meunier said selling fully electric cars would be a challenge in Australia because of a lack of investment and incentives from the government. He said the Australian government needed to help stimulate the investment and building of charging stations and electric car infrastructure before the brand could successfully sell an EV down under.

“The governments are essential for the technology to accelerate and for these new technologies to become more mainstream. We can see that in Europe and markets like California,” said Meunier.

“Australia today is definitely not ready for BEV (Battery Electric Vehicles) because of the lack of infrastructure. And there is no point trying to push something without the help of the government.

Lee Peters, the co-head of Deloitte Australia’s automotive, believes that the initial spark has been ignited in Australia for electric vehicles but buyers need greater reassurance on these issues to fan the flame.

“Awareness among Australian consumers of, and interest in, all-electric, or at the very least hybrid, is certainly there, and is growing.” says Peters.

“In a country where we often need to travel long distances, we shouldn’t be surprised that issues such as range, price and charging opportunities are front of mind, and influencing purchasing choices to largely stay with the technology we all know.”

The survey also revealed online sales of new cars was likely to remain subdued as buyers still preferred the face-to-face experience, with eight out of 10 people expecting to head to a dealership to buy their next vehicle.

Deloitte Australia’s co-head of automotive. Dale McCauley, believes that unlike other retail sectors, purchasing a new car is largely expected to remain in-person for some time.

“Certain aspects of the buying process remain difficult to digitise, so the in-person experience will remain with us for some time. People still want to see, touch, and smell, and drive a vehicle before they buy it,” says McCauley.


My other blogs. Main ones below

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com TONGUE-TIED)

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://john-ray.blogspot.com (FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC) Saturdays only

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

https://heofen.blogspot.com/ (MY OTHER BLOGS)


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