Friday, September 23, 2022

Important new paper challenges IPCC’s claims about climate sensitivity

A new paper reduces the estimate of climate sensitivity – the amount of warming expected for a doubling of carbon dioxide concentrations – by one third. The results therefore suggest that future global warming will be much less than expected.

The paper, by independent scientist Nic Lewis, has just appeared in the journal Climate Dynamics. It is an important challenge to the official view of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Lewis has critiqued a 2020 assessment of climate sensitivity by Sherwood et al., which strongly influenced the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report, in 2021. Lewis commented:

"It is unfortunate that Sherwood et al.'s assessment of climate sensitivity, which underpinned the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, contained such serious errors, inconsistencies and deficiencies in its methods".

After correcting the Sherwood et al. methods and revising key input data to reflect, primarily, more recent evidence, the central estimate for climate sensitivity comes down from 3.1°C per doubling of CO2 concentration in the original study to 2.16°C in the new paper.

This large reduction shows how sensitive climate sensitivity estimates still are to input assumptions, and that values between 1.5°C and 2°C remain quite plausible.

Climate sensitivity represents the long-term global temperature increase caused by a doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentration. There are different measures of climate sensitivity. Both the Sherwood and Lewis papers estimate the so-called ‘effective’ climate sensitivity, which reflects a new equilibrium state projected from centennial changes after a doubling of the CO2 concentration. This measure is considered the most relevant one for predicting climate change in the coming two centuries.

Climate sensitivity has always been a very important, but also highly uncertain, parameter in the climate change discourse. Earlier IPCC reports assessed its value as likely to be somewhere between 1.5°C and 4.5°C, with a best estimate of 3°C. However, prompted by the Sherwood paper, the 2021 Sixth Assessment Report moved that range upwards, to 2.5 to 4°C. Although for outsiders this might sound boring, for insiders it was a revolutionary change.

Lewis’s corrections and revisions lead to a likely range of 1.75 to 2.7°C, which is not only lower but is also much less uncertain than either the 2021 official IPCC assessment or the very similar Sherwood et al. estimate (2.6 to 3.9°C).

Nic Lewis is the lead or sole author of ten peer-reviewed papers on climate sensitivity. He was a participant in the 2015 workshop that kicked off the World Climate Research Programme project that led to the Sherwood et al. 2020 paper, but he was not a co-author of that paper.

Lewis commented:

"The substantial reduction in assessed climate sensitivity upon updating key input data suggests that the increase in the bottom of the climate sensitivity range in the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report was unjustified".

Lewis’s paper is entitled 'Objectively combining climate sensitivity evidence’.


Move over, Greta: new influencer makes nuclear cool

When she was 11, Greta Thunberg stopped eating for two months. Her heart rate slowed and her blood pressure dropped. She was anxious about climate change, an anxiety that would go on to spur a worldwide protest movement that culminated in her notorious “How dare you” address to the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit.

Thunberg is not alone in her anxiety. Ask any member of Gen Z today what they are afraid of and they will tell you: climate change. In a study of 10,000 young people in 10 countries, published in The Lancet in Dec­ember last year, 59 per cent of young people surveyed around the world were found to be “extremely worried” about the climate, with 84 per cent at least moderately worried. More than 50 per cent felt sad, anxious, angry, powerless, helpless and guilty, and more than 45 per cent said their feelings interfered with their daily life and functioning.

One of the reasons this climate anxiety is so debilitating is because constructive messages that provide a feeling of hope are few and far between.

Which is one reason I’m excited about Isabelle Boemeke, the world’s first nuclear-power influencer. A former fashion model from Brazil, Boemeke is cutting through to a young audience with playful memes about the merits of nuclear power. It doesn’t hurt that she is gorgeous and funny. It also helps that her message is backed by a solid scientific consensus.

In a TED talk delivered this week, Boemeke describes how she became a nuclear power advocate after reading tweets from American planetary scientist Carolyn Porco, an advocate for nuclear. Porco piqued Boemeke’s interest as she assumed, like many of her peers, there was something wrong with nuclear power.

But after speaking to dozens of scientists and gathering their opinions on nuclear energy, she described receiving the same answer over and over again. The message was: 1) nuclear power is good; 2) we need it; and 3) people hate it. Why do people hate nuclear energy? Boemeke argues it’s because of a bad meme. A concept first developed by Richard Dawkins in The Selfish Gene, a meme is an idea that spreads through human cultures through imitation. Like a gene, a meme can self-replicate, mutate and respond to selection pressures. And like certain genes, memes can be advantageous or deleterious (like the genes for a heritable disease).

The meme that nuclear energy is bad is a particularly deleter­ious one for human civilisation. Created in the 1970s, the meme arose primarily out of a legitimate fear of global nuclear warfare. Groups such as the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and Peace Action opposed nuclear armament and testing.

But this concern mutated into hostility towards nuclear energy itself, a shift Boemeke argues was as irrational as opposing electric­ity on the basis of the electric chair. It is understandable many baby boomers harbour a deep-seated fear about nuclear energy. Yet for those of us born after the Cold War, the threat of nuclear war is much less salient.

Climate change, on the other hand, looms large as a profound existential threat.

Boemeke acknowledges that over the past 10 years, despite spending trillions on renewables, the world still gets only 8 per cent of its electricity from wind and solar. While Boemeke prefers renewables to fossil fuels, she is realistic in acknowledging that wind and solar are not enough. Her central argument is that nuclear power is humanity’s best hope for replacing fossil fuels.

On the issue of safety, Boe­meke argues the problem is that nuclear accidents are rare but dramatic (attracting lots of attention), while deaths from fossil fuels are pervasive yet boring (attracting little attention). And she’s not wrong.

A 2018 study that measured global deaths from air pollution caused by the burning of fossil fuels such as wood and coal estimated that 8.7 million deaths occurred globally in 2018 alone. Boemeke points out that these statistics equate to 5.8 Chernobyls a day.

On the issue of nuclear waste, she tells her audience about the repositories being built deep underground in geologically stable locations in Finland and Sweden. On the issue of cost, she reminds us that solar energy was once considered to be too expensive but that we decided solar was “cool” and invested in it.

Boemeke’s vision is a challenging one but ultimately full of hope. “What if, instead of viewing nuclear power as destructive, we view it as a force for energy independence and even peace,” she asks. “What if this technology offers our best hope for the future? A future where wars aren’t funded by our addiction to fossil fuels. A future where energy is clean. A future where electricity finally makes its way to the 700 million people on earth who still don’t have access to it.”

The world has become accustomed to climate change activists who wish to take humanity backwards to a time of agrarian primitivism. From Extinction Rebellion fanatics who want to destroy capitalism, to Thunberg’s advocacy of the degrowth movement, too many environmentalists advocate for a strategy that would unwind our living standards and sentence the global poor to a destitute future.

A more positive vision of environmentalism is one that is not in conflict with capitalism, high living standards or technology. And it is one that is not in conflict with lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, either.

If Thunberg was the face of climate anxiety, Boemeke may become the face of climate hope. All she asks is that we help her spread the meme that nuclear energy is cool.


Facing calls to resign, World Bank's Malpass changes answer on climate crisis

Under pressure to resign for declining to say whether he accepts the scientific consensus on global warming, World Bank President David Malpass said on Thursday it was clear greenhouse emissions are causing climate change and defended his record as bank chief.

Malpass sought to restate his views in a note to staff and an interview on CNN International, during which he was asked if he was a climate change denier. His views drew scrutiny after he refused to say during a public event this week whether he believes fossil fuel burning is warming the planet.

"I'm not a denier," Malpass told CNN International.

"It's clear that greenhouse gas emissions are coming from manmade sources, including fossil fuels, methane, the agricultural uses, the industrial uses, so we're working hard to change that," Malpass said.

Malpass has long faced criticism from climate advocates, who renewed calls on President Joe Biden to replace him. His remarks at a climate event hosted by the New York Times on Tuesday also rekindled concerns about the bank's lack of a deadline to stop funding fossil fuels. read more

Speaking onstage during a panel on climate finance, Malpass was asked several times whether he believes the "manmade burning of fossil fuels is rapidly and dangerously warming the planet." He tried to dodge the question before saying: "I don't even know. I'm not a scientist."

The president of the United States, the largest World Bank shareholder, traditionally nominates World Bank presidents, subject to confirmation by the bank's board. Former president Donald Trump nominated Malpass to a five-year term in 2019.


Australian Greens: Don't bother us with facts

Are Greenies EVER interested in the facts?

Imagine being a political party that obsesses about identity-driven virtue signalling as the most important qualification for Parliament – and then not even being able to get that right.

The NSW Greens have been forced to apologise – not once, but twice – for seeking donations to elect the first Indigenous woman to State Parliament.

The Greens – whose commitment to solar panels and wind turbines is matched only by their obsession with race and gender – failed to notice that two Indigenous women had already been elected.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be so hard on them. We live in an age where the chief medical officer cannot say for certain what a woman is.

Authenticating aboriginality is even more complicated, involving proof of ancestry and confirmation of acceptance by the Indigenous community.

Nevertheless, when identity politics is your raison d’etre you’d expect the Greens to be at least competent.

A fundraising email for Greens Upper House candidate Lynda-June Coe told supporters ‘there’s never been a First Nations woman in the NSW Parliament’.

Except that wasn’t true, and if the Greens devoted half as much time to studying history as they did to cultivating grievance, they would have known that.

In defence of the Greens, maybe we can agree it was their truth. But I digress.

The email went on to ask supporters to donate $25 so ‘we can change that’.

It took someone on Twitter to point out that Linda Burney, an Indigenous woman who is currently the Indigenous Affairs Minister, had served as the member of Canterbury for 13 years before entering federal politics.

The Greens issued an apology on Tuesday, but virtue-signallers-gonna-virtue-signal. So the apology went like this:

‘This email was incorrect and a correction and apology has been emailed this afternoon.

‘The email intended to note only that Lynda-June would be the first First Nations person in the Upper House of NSW Parliament.’

All was not lost. See what they did there? While voting Green wouldn’t result in the first First Nations woman in Parliament, it would result in the first First Nations woman in the Upper House of Parliament.

Except that wasn’t true either, so the Greens’ apology had about as much value as the Greens’ climate policy – net zero.

Auburn MP Lynda Voltz – whose grandfather was Indigenous and grew up on the St Clair Aboriginal Mission in Singleton – was elected to the NSW Upper House in 2007 and served for 11 years.

So the Greens, having already apologised, were then forced to apologise for the apology. Their economic policy was beginning to make more sense!

Greens NSW State Election Campaign co-ordinator Andrew Blake wrote:

‘Greens NSW unreservedly apologise to Ms Burney and Ms Voltz and acknowledge the work they have done for the people of NSW during their time in NSW parliament.’

In claiming that the Greens were the one group you could count on to recognise Indigenous women, the Greens had become the one group that failed to recognise Indigenous women.


All of which leaves the Greens with an enormous problem.

‘Help elect the third First Nations woman to the NSW Parliament’ doesn’t have quite the same appeal as their original virtue signalling strategy.

The Greens will now be forced to find another reason to recommend their candidate, or perhaps find a different candidate that belongs to a smaller identity group.

Alternatively, the Greens could just stick to policy (except they aren’t much good at that either)




Thursday, September 22, 2022

California Turns To Jet Fuel-Burning Power Plant To Keep The Lights On

California’s Independent Systems Operator (CAISO), a large state grid operator, is requiring the Dynegy Oakland power plant, which burns jet fuel, to continue operating until the end of 2023 to stave off power outages, according to a Thursday news release.

CAISO’s board unanimously voted to extend the Dynegy plant’s “reliability must-run contract designation” (RMR), which contracts the plant to deliver power during peak demand periods so it remains available to be called into service during “grid emergencies,” according to the news release. However, in 2018, the operator accepted a plan to close and replace the jet fuel plant, which it is now relying on to prevent electricity shortages, with cleaner and more efficient alternatives, according to trade magazine Power Engineering.

The Oakland-based jet fuel-burning plant is required to operate under the RMR until Dec. 31, 2023, and will provide a total of 159.2 megawatts (MW) of electricity to meet local power demand.

“New grid facilities and the state’s progress on resource adequacy have lessened the need for RMR contracts in recent years, however, they remain a valuable backstop mechanism to provide energy when it’s needed to meet heightened summer demand,” the press release reads.

The plant generated 4,066 megawatt-hours of energy by burning only jet fuel in June, according to the Energy Information Administration. The state is currently facing severe energy shortages amid elevated grid demand as people move to cool their homes during a heat wave, and residents are being urged to curb energy consumption to prevent power outages, according to a Wednesday CAISO announcement.

“We are not responsible for policy or procurement, but jet fuel is not being considered in any of our transmission plans,” CAISO Senior Public Information Officer Anne F. Gonzales told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “We don’t have visibility into resource types unless it affects our transmission or interconnection.”

CAISO will also keep three other petroleum and natural gas power plants open to offset some of the stress being placed upon its electrical grid.


Uncool: Biden Pushes Senate to Ratify Treaty That Would Raise Cost of Air Conditioning

After a hot summer with utility bills rising, reasonable people would think that President Joe Biden would want to keep air conditioning costs low for Americans.

But the Senate is poised to vote on a climate treaty that would raise those costs and put yet another notch in the belt of Biden’s whole-of-government, whole-of-the-economy climate agenda.

In his first week as president, Biden issued Executive Order 14008, “Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad.” Among the many regulatory actions it initiated, Biden’s order also directed his administration to pursue the Senate’s ratification of the Kigali Amendment to the U.N. Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.

What does a treaty on the ozone layer have to do with global warming? Very little, but it offers a convenient cover to slip in costly climate policy that would drive Americans’ air conditioning costs even higher.

The Kigali Amendment mandates a phasing down of hydrofluorocarbons—the most common and affordable compounds used in the U.S. and globally for air conditioning, refrigeration, building insulation, semiconductor manufacturing, and even fire extinguishers. Hydrofluorocarbons also emit greenhouse gases (more on that later) and consequently have become a target of global warming alarmists for elimination, regardless of the costs or benefits of doing so.

Think just of where Americans use air conditioning—in houses, cars, businesses, offices, hospitals, and data centers—and the scope of the Kigali Amendment becomes clearer, to say nothing of the other uses of hydrofluorocarbons.

Ratification of the Kigali Amendment is an unmistakable item on the Biden administration’s climate “to do” list. But it adds up to trouble for Americans.


U.S. Farmers Grab the Lobbying Pitchforks as Greens Sow Costly New Reporting Mandates

Echoing conflicts from Sri Lanka to Canada to the Netherlands, tensions between farmers and green-minded government policymakers are building in the United States, where producers are squaring off against a costly proposed federal mandate for greenhouse-gas reporting from corporate supply chains.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in March proposed requiring large corporations, including agribusinesses and food companies, to report greenhouse gas emissions down to the lowest rungs of their supply chains as a means of combatting climate change, which environmental campaigners contend imperils the planet and life on it.

Reporting such indirect, “scope 3” emissions would require corporations to demand data on the use of fuel, fertilizer, pesticides, and other chemicals from small-scale farmers who say they lack the personnel and resources to comply. The challenge has been led by the powerful American Farm Bureau Federation and its state affiliates, whose representatives have met with SEC officials and organized their lobbyists in Washington.

“The farmers we represent are already heavily regulated at the state, local, and federal level but have never been subject to things concerned with Wall Street,” said Lauren Lurkins, director of environmental policy at the Illinois Farm Bureau. “Our farmers do not have a team of compliance officers or attorneys, and they don’t have a network of people to help them understand this. They really want to make sure they are growing crops and raising livestock and that [they] take care of the food supply.”

Farmer protests worldwide, including tractor blockades, come at a time of heightened global food insecurity created by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a major wheat exporter, and other supply-chain disruptions from the pandemic. The restiveness darkens global economic prospects with recession a foregone conclusion to many as the Federal Reserve and other central banks tighten credit to tame high inflation.

The most dramatic consequences of a governmental push for sharp limits on farming occurred in Sri Lanka, where a 2021 fertilizer ban led to a massive reduction in crop yields, sparking starvation that helped bring down the government in July.

In the United States, the last major farmer protest was in 1979, when thousands of farmers – some on tractors – came to the Capitol in Washington to pressure the Carter administration to prioritize the lagging agricultural sector.

“If we start going down this path where regulators literally put farmers out of business as in Sri Lanka and the European Union with these climate decisions, you could see something like that,” said Jordan Dux, a lobbyist for the Nebraska Farm Bureau.

The downstream data reporting is required, the SEC claims, to determine larger, publicly traded companies’ green score, called an ESG, or environmental, social, and governance rating. The greenhouse gas measurements would be made at least partly in accordance with a set of standards developed in 2011 by an international consortium of environmental groups and corporations.

While the SEC released its first climate-related disclosure guidance in 2010, the new requirements are driven by the “elevation of climate issues,” Erik Gerding, the SEC’s deputy director of legal and regulatory policy in its division of corporation finance, said in a May webinar put on by the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures, an international group formed to increase reporting by companies of climate-related information.

The proposed rule is not driven by the average individual investor, but rather investment giants managing large portfolios.

“Several institutional investors who have collectively trillions of dollars and investments under management have demanded climate-related information … because of the investor assessment of how climate change poses a risk to their portfolio,” Gerding said.

Most shareholders in the U.S. prioritize traditional corporate performance over environmental and other social welfare concerns, according to a Gallup study released in February. The poll queried its Gallup Panel with $10,000 or more in equities or bonds.

In another survey, investment professionals in the National Investor Relations Institute ranked an ESG score fourth in risk to a company behind performance, crisis, and management troubles.

Agriculture industry supporters contend the pending SEC rule will hinder an already struggling food supply chain, driving up prices while harming small communities reliant on agriculture, and forcing many small and mid-sized operations across the U.S. to close.

Gary Gensler, the Biden-nominated chairman of the SEC and a long time progressive, said in announcing the plan that “it would provide investors with consistent, comparable, and decision-useful information for making their investment decisions.”

But the plan drew “an extraordinarily high” number of substantive comments to the agency – around 14,000 – during the 60-day requisite comment period, according to Ropes & Gray, a law firm that compiled a report on public comments submitted to the SEC on the climate disclosure proposal. Because of that, the comment period was extended an extra 30 days and closed on June 17.

Agribusiness represented 20% of the total comments received by the SEC, mostly opposing the rule. The SEC was scheduled to adopt the plan in October, but it is expected to finalize the rule later due to the volume of comments and pleas for reconsideration.

Among the comments was the promise of litigation from a group of 24 Republican state attorneys general, which cited this year’s U.S. Supreme Court decision in West Virginia v. EPA that a federal agency does not have the authority to regulate greenhouse gases.


Sydney: no petrol or diesel cars, no gas, no future

New South Wales is in for an energy nightmare, and it makes no difference whether they vote Labor, Green, or Kean at the next election.

There is a plot underway to ban the purchase of all petrol and diesel cars and outlaw gas connections in new properties.

Too bad, I guess, when the next blackout comes along. I’ll be boiling water on the stove and having a hot dinner – the rest of the state will be staring at the darkness eating a packet of biscuits.

Before we get into the nonsense, I have a question for Labor’s Anthony Albanese.

If cutting our emissions in half by 2030 is the government’s chief priority, why has Labor decided to import 400,000 new people next year? How many services and privileges are the rest of us going to lose in order to maintain our existing standard of living and endure the emissions cut with all these additional ‘carbon units’ wandering around?

No really, Albanese. Are we saving the planet or pushing toward a ‘Big Australia’ which requires ‘Big Infrastructure’ for your union mates?

As far as anyone can determine, the Labor government is deliberately making the quality of life for Australians paper-thin so that we can be comfortably bundled up into a Treasury report.

The nonsense specific to NSW is coming out of the Committee for Sydney thinktank – also known as ‘a collection of people paid to sit around and make everyone’s lives miserable’.

The Decarbonising Sydney report reads more like a guide to return to the stone age:

Sam Kernaghan, the Committee’s Resilience Director, said the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s sixth assessment report (August 2021) had put an intense focus on what a warming world would look like, and the need to accelerate climate action.

‘We still have time, but not much,’ he said.

‘We can’t wait until 2050. We need to set ambitious and optimistic goals for 2030 – goals that show leadership and set the direction.

‘These actions will help Sydney play its part in combating Climate Change, but they’ll also provide benefits to our communities, economy, and environment – from improved air quality to lower household bills and more resilient energy grids that are better able to cope with the extremes of weather that we can expect to face in coming years.’

Utter fantasy. The more ‘green’ our grid goes, the higher our energy costs climb. This is a worldwide pattern that some call ‘teething issues with transition’ but the rest of name as ‘a permanent flaw’ that is opening like the Mariana Trench beneath our feet.

The Sydney Committee’s plan is to funnel as much money as possible into the billionaire renewables barons. If their business model is so successful, why are the increasingly poor public paying for it?

Why hasn’t anyone asked the Committee what they plan to do about global shortages of raw materials that currently prohibit the creation of their energy dreams?

It’s almost like the ‘thinktank’ didn’t ‘think’ about any of the real-world practicalities and instead prefers to prattle off dangerous idiocy from their gilded city cages without having any clue that their comfort comes off the back of coal, oil, and gas.

Their plan (if you can call it that) is to halve Sydney’s emissions by 2030. We could probably achieve that by putting a stop on the flight plans and unnecessary mansions of Sydney’s richest businessmen and politicians, but in a ‘do as I say, not as I do’ reality, only the peasants will suffer.

Banning gas to households is stupid and petty. The government is not doing it to ‘save the planet’ – they are doing it because they desperately need the gas reserves to prop up their failing renewables grid. They don’t want to come out and say that because it involves admitting that solar and wind require fossil fuels to work.

If politicians opened a few nuclear plants, citizens could have as much cheap gas as they wanted, instead, panic is setting on the energy industry as unreliable renewables shake grid stability to its core.

If you do any sort of real work in this country, banning petrol and diesel cars is going to be a catastrophe. The state government wants vehicles sales to be 100 per cent EV, but as of 2021, there were only around 10,000 in the whole state (because no one wants them).

As pointed out earlier, the world doesn’t have the resources to build these cars and Australia doesn’t have the power grid to charge them.

At the same time, NSW is pushing for solar on homes made from the same limited resources that EVs require. The natural consequence is what we are already seeing around the world – huge price increases in EVs and renwables. Their costs are growing in tandem and they have no price ceiling as resources dry up.

Owning your own car is soon to become a fantasy for the middle and working classes.

The report says as much. One of their priorities is a ‘shift to car-sharing’ that says:

‘In the future [of Sydney] people are going to use a car when they need one without having to own one. Car-sharing (as represented today by companies like GoGet) and ride-sharing (as represented today by companies like Uber) are the early examples. As the vehicle fleet evolves toward autonomous electric cars; it’s simply not going to make sense for people to own their own cars when they can summon one to get where they want to be at any time. The net result will be a massive gain of urban space as all of the street space and garages can be converted to new uses. Sydney should do everything in its power to support this transition.’

They also want to see a ‘dynamic road pricing plan’ to make your trip to the city even more unaffordable.

This will make the eco-fascists happy. Their goal is not to facilitate a green ‘change’ to our transport sector, it’s to strip cars away from the population to improve their Net Zero goals. While those penning these thinktank travesties live in the middle of the cities, half a block from civilisation, everyone else in the country is going to have to go out and find themselves a horse and cart – that is, provided you’re still allowed to own farm animals.

Where is the Liberal government? They are supposed to protect the people from this kind of selfish, reckless, bureaucratic garbage.

If you are wondering where all of this comes from, Kernaghan, the man behind the virtuous plan, worked with the Chief Resilience Officers ‘across Australia, New Zealand and across Asia to develop and implement comprehensive city resilience strategies as part of the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities Network’.

Most of the links for the 100 Resilient Cities Network no longer go anywhere, with their webpages long-dead, just like our cities will be if we keep pursuing the thought bubbles of Utopian ideologues.




Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Don’t Believe the Hype About Antarctica’s Melting Glaciers

Alarming reports that the Antarctic ice sheet is shrinking misrepresent the science under way to understand a very complex situation. Antarctica has been ice-covered for at least 30 million years. The ice sheet holds about 26.5 million gigatons of water (a gigaton is a billion metric tons, or about 2.2 trillion pounds). If it were to melt completely, sea levels would rise 190 feet. Such a change is many millennia in the future, if it comes at all.

Much more modest ice loss is normal in Antarctica. Each year, some 2,200 gigatons (or 0.01%) of the ice is discharged in the form of melt and icebergs, while snowfall adds almost the same amount. The difference between the discharge and addition each year is the ice sheet’s annual loss. That figure has been increasing in recent decades, from 40 gigatons a year in the 1980s to 250 gigatons a year in the 2010s.

But the increase is a small change in a complex and highly variable process. For example, Greenland’s annual loss has fluctuated significantly over the past century. And while the Antarctic losses seem stupendously large, the recent annual losses amount to 0.001% of the total ice and, if they continued at that rate, would raise sea level by only 3 inches over 100 years.

Many fear that a warming globe could cause glaciers to retreat rapidly, increasing discharge and causing more rapid sea-level rise. To get beyond that simplistic picture, it is important to understand how glaciers have flowed in the past to predict better whether they might flow faster in the future.

Two recent studies reported in the media focus on the terminus of glaciers—i.e., where the ice, the ocean and the ground come together. One study used an underwater drone to map the seabed at a depth of 2,000 feet, about 35 miles from the terminus of the Thwaites Glacier in Antarctica. Detailed sonar scans showed a washboard pattern of ridges, most less than 8 inches high. The ridges are caused by daily tides and serve as a record of where ice touched the seabed in the past. Researchers could read that record to infer that at some time in the past the glacier retreated for half a year at more than twice the fastest rate observed between 2011 and 2019.

The cause of the specific event at the Thwaites Glacier remains unknown, in part because the time of the rapid retreat hasn’t yet been determined. It likely happened more than 70 years ago, if not several centuries ago. But the media goes with this angle: “A ‘doomsday glacier’ the size of Florida is disintegrating faster than thought.” A correct headline would read: “Thwaites Glacier retreating less than half as rapidly today as it did in the past.”

A second study tested the idea that freshwater from the melting of one glacier could be carried by currents along the shore to accelerate the discharge of nearby glaciers. Because global climate models are insufficiently detailed to describe the ocean near the coast, researchers constructed a special model to prove out their idea. If ocean currents can connect the discharges of distant glaciers, that would add to the complexity and variability of changes in the Antarctic ice sheet.

Under scenarios deemed likely by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a connection between ocean currents and discharge would increase the overall discharge rate in one region of the continent by some 10% by the end of the century. But to emphasize the idea being tested, the modelers used human influences almost three times larger. Even though that fact is stated in the paper, reporters rarely catch such nuance, and the media goes with headlines such as “Antarctic Ice Melting Could Be 40 Percent Faster Than Thought” with the absurd statement that “a massive tsunami would swamp New York City and beyond, killing millions. London, Venice and Mumbai would also become aquariums.” A more accurate headline would read: “Ocean currents connecting antarctic glaciers might accelerate their melting.”

These two studies illustrate the progress being made in understanding a dauntingly complex mix of ice, ocean, land and weather, with clever methods to infer past conditions and sophisticated computer modeling to show potential future scenarios. These papers describe the science with appropriate precision and caveats, but it is a shame that the media misrepresents the research to raise alarm. That denies the public the right to make informed decisions about “climate action,” as well as the opportunity to marvel at the science itself.


Biden's energy policies encourage global instability

When it comes to energy independence – a key component of global stability – the America of 2022 could learn a lot from the America of 1942.

In that year, American energy dominance powered the Allied war effort of World War II, making production substantially cheaper and producing an abundance of war material: aviation fuel, gasoline, synthetic rubber and more. America would produce seven times as much aviation fuel as all the other major belligerents combined. She outproduced Japan in coal by more than a 10-to-1 margin and pumped 700 times as much oil.

In short, American energy was a cornerstone of Allied victory.

More recently, renewed American energy independence, which was becoming energy dominance, was a pillar of geopolitical stability. Increased American production created lower prices, which acted like a choke collar on hostile nations that rely on energy exports to fund their war machines. Simply put, Russia did not invade its neighbors when oil and natural gas prices were low and American energy exports were increasing.

People often underestimate the degree to which energy markets impact military exercises and excursions, something that the Greatest Generation knew intimately.

The Nazi war machine and the Imperial Japanese juggernaut were starved for energy by the Allies, who themselves were backstopped by a burgeoning American energy industry. Fast forward 80 years, and Germany is again being strangled by losing energy imports, while the rest of Europe is being threatened by the Soviet Union’s hostile descendant.

When America is producing affordable and abundant energy not only for herself but for her allies around the globe, then Columbia’s enemies think twice before stepping out of line. American energy dominance is not only pro-American but pro-peace. Inexpensive American energy is a key pillar to geopolitical stability.

But that pillar was knocked down and the subsequent stability rent asunder by President Joe Biden’s “green” energy boondoggles and anti-energy policies. Canceling pipelines, imposing additional taxes and regulations on coal, oil, and natural gas, promising to end these three industries in just a few years, and stonewalling new leases for drilling are just some of the ways he has hamstrung one of America’s greatest strategic assets.

America cannot even keep the lights on here at home, with multiple states experiencing severe energy shortages in recent days. That projects weakness, not strength.

By abdicating the global energy throne, America has left a power vacuum, which China, Russia, Iran and others are thrilled to fill. This has left our supposed European allies in a bind, as Russia's Vladimir Putin now has them over an oil barrel, with the ability to shut off the continent’s energy until sanctions are lifted. Germany, the largest economy in Europe, is facing a catastrophic shortage of modern fuels, and Germans are searching online for firewood at a rate that is a multiple of previous records.

German industry will be brought to a grinding halt from this energy shortage and the economy forced to its knees. The industrial incapacitation that took years of American and British bombing campaigns and millions of Soviet casualties is now being accomplished much faster and less bloodily by simply shutting off Russian energy exports.

Energy is not just a domestic policy issue, but a foreign policy requirement. Nations that are energy reliant are vulnerable while those that are energy dominant control spheres of influence. America would likely not be sending arms to Europe if she had already been sending tankers and freighters of affordable, reliable energy. But such exports presume a robust domestic energy industry capable of exceeding demand at home and projecting power abroad.

Biden clearly never learned this lesson from history. Now would be a good time to start.


EV Owners Sick and Tired of Allegedly Being Lied to About Their Cars: Massive Lawsuit Filed Against Tesla

Tesla has been slapped with a class-action lawsuit. The suit claims the electric car company has misled the public regarding its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving technology.

The law firm filing the suit issued a news release on Wednesday stating that many customers paid thousands of dollars for the software believing that it would make their vehicles fully autonomous.

However, “Tesla has yet to produce anything even remotely approaching a fully self-driving car,” said Briggs Matsko, the suit’s named plaintiff, according to Reuters.

“Since at least 2016, Tesla has misleadingly and deceptively marketed its supposed autopilot and full self-driving technology as either already fully functional or just around the corner,” the news release said.

The law firm pointed to a video demonstration published on Tesla’s website back in 2016, which declared that “the person in the driver’s seat is only there for legal reasons. He is not doing anything. The car is driving itself.”

The New York Times later reported that the demonstration wasn’t a realistic representation of real-world use and that the car had crashed into a barrier during the making of the video.

The release also said Tesla’s “self-driving” technology has caused people to lose their lives and suffer serious injuries.

In fact, there have been enough deaths and injuries that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the National Transportation Safety Board and other regulating bodies have opened investigations into the matter, the release said.

In addition, the California Department of Motor Vehicles has filed a complaint against Tesla accusing the company of making false and misleading statements about its Autopilot and FSD technology.

If the state DMV’s claims are found to be valid, Tesla’s vehicle dealer and manufacturing licenses could be revoked and the company required to pay restitution.

Matsko said Tesla’s motive for misrepresenting its technology was to “generate excitement” about its vehicles.

It was also allegedly intended to draw investors, increase sales, avert bankruptcy and inflate Tesla’s stock price so that the company would appear to be a “dominant player” in the electric vehicle industry.

Additional problems that Tesla owners have reported in connection to the “self-driving” software include vehicles failing to make routine turns, running red lights and veering into oncoming traffic.


Australia has become a nation ruled by fools

We have surrendered power over every aspect of our lives and industry to fifteen debating chambers in eight ruling cities. These assemblies are controlled by lawyers, unionists, centralists, green dreamers, power seekers, and tax consumers.

Their direct cost alone is horrendous.

There are 837 politicians (ignoring local government). Each has a salary (say $200,000), travel and office costs (say $150,000 per year), and staff costs (say $200,000) – a billion here, plus a billion there and pretty soon you’re talking real money.

Now add all the state and federal governors, the cabinets with their limos and press corps, eight armies of tax collectors, and the accountants and lawyers trying to protect taxpayers from them. Then there are the building costs with each citadel probably getting its red-and-black flag (the NSW version flag cost $25 million).

But salaries and perks are a minor part of their real cost. The killer costs are incurred when they use direct investments or fiddle the rules on taxes and subsidies to chase impossible green dreams.

Most of our 837 politicians and their servants are obsessed with Net Zero and, learning from the Covid lockdowns, they now dream of Climate lockdowns.

Devoid of engineering talent or economic common sense they presume to design our electricity network (but they ban emissions-free nuclear power while planning the destruction of the old reliables, coal, gas, and hydro). Although the green-infected electricity grid is struggling to meet current demands, they ‘plan’ to add even greater loads to turn water into hydrogen, push water uphill, charge giant batteries and power subsidised fleets of electric vehicles.

Pretending to save the bush, their green mandates and subsidies are replacing useful grasslands and valuable resources of hardwood, softwood, mulga, and saltbush with bird slicers, roads, poles, wires, plastic, metal, concrete, and glass as the new green energy landscapes. Then they plan to use this intermittent low-density green energy to produce hydrogen which can never recover the energy used to produce it, and also consumes nine tonnes of fresh water for every tonne of hydrogen produced.

Ignorant of the realities of food production, they turn grasslands into havens for weeds and pests, and lock-the-gates to explorers, farmers, foresters, and fishermen. They think we can have drought and flood mitigation without dams, timber without foresters, minerals without mines, and food without farmers and fishermen.

They reward people who won’t work and tax those who do. Ignorant of the benefits of federalism, they strive to destroy federalism by inventing a ‘National Cabinet’, and run endless centralising summits, enquiries, and talkfests. Soon, the veto of The Voice could make anything and everything impossible!

A cold hungry winter is about to show Europe the deadly dangers of listening to green dreamers. It is surely time for Australia to withdraw from foreign entanglements like the Paris treaty, and chop Canberra’s green tentacles, limiting its duties to defence, foreign affairs, and maintenance of free trade (exactly as our founders intended).




Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Angry Tesla Owner He Found Out He'd Have to Pay $26,000 to continue using his 9 year old car

Mario Zelaya, a Canadian ax-thrower, entrepreneur and Tesla owner, told TikTok viewers in a series of now-viral videos starting Aug. 29 that his “piece of trash” 2013 Tesla Model S — which cost him $142,000 Canadian when new — now required a new battery that would cost him approximately $26,000 to replace.

Worse still, without a battery, he was having trouble selling the car because he couldn’t even open a door to get inside the vehicle.

Zelaya, in a video posted to TikTok that has garnered over 660,000 “likes,” explained that he purchased the Tesla new in 2013. In it, he described an alleged design flaw: “They made it so the air conditioning condenser unit dumps all the water on top of the battery, so my battery is full of water, which is why it needs a new one. And now they’re saying it’s not covered under warranty, even though it started happening during the warranty period.”

According to Fox Business, Zelaya said, “I got Transport Canada involved, and they actually did an investigation on the car. Not only did they do an investigation on this car, they’re gonna be doing one that Tesla doesn’t realize is coming up.”

“Tesla’s trying to sweep it under the rug,” he said. “They won’t give them any explanation of why their battery died.”

Zelaya argued that when Tesla vehicles are serviced, the battery is not inspected. He said that Tesla has no incentive to do so, according to Fox Business.

Acknowledging that he was one year beyond his warranty, Zelaya told viewers that he wanted to sell the car and had a $20,000 offer, but was struggling. His ownership papers were in the car and he couldn’t get into it.

In the end, he would have to spend $30 for new papers before he could sell the car.

“I’ll never buy another Tesla again,” Zelaya said. “That’s the long way of me saying stay the (expletive) away from Teslas. They’re brutal cars, brutal manufacturing, and even worse, they’re a 10-year-old company.”

Fox Business wrote that in a video update, Zelaya said he finally sold the car and someone was going to pick it up from his home. The buyer is allegedly shown taking off the front bumper of the electric vehicle and charging it.

“That’s going to be the end of my Tesla journey. It’s out of my life. Keep it out of yours,” he said.


Electric vehicles might be booming in cities but diesel remains king on the land

How do you run a battery-powered machine for 24 hours straight?

While passenger car manufacturers are rapidly moving to electric power to meet emissions regulations and market demand for cleaner urban transport, machinery dealers in Western Australia are raising concerns that similar pressure to switch their equipment to electric will prove unworkable in remote and regional areas.

Diesel still powers the majority of machinery in the state's agricultural sector, and dealers do not see that changing anytime soon.

Dealers and buyers of agricultural equipment also are concerned about what will eventually replace the current generation of conventionally powered tractors and headers sourced from US and European manufacturers.

"It will be determined by what happens overseas," Farm Machinery and Industry Association of WA executive officer John Henchy said.

"Because Australia is a relatively small market, manufacturers aren't going to develop something specifically for us, so it just depends on what happens overseas."

Electricity supply a challenge

Mr Henchy said the state's agricultural sector was unique in many respects.

Tractors, headers and self-propelled sprayers around Western Australia operate around the clock during seeding and harvesting, something existing electric systems would not currently be able to do.

"The size of our operation, particularly in WA, where we have big farms, there are distance challenges, and critically, electricity supply challenges," he said.

"So overseas might develop something but it's got to be compatible with the way we do things in WA."

Athol Kennedy, from an Esperance machinery dealer, said there were no signals from government about the future of fuel in agriculture.

"We hear and see nothing to guide us," he said. "I don't think they have a plan for us."

Mr Kennedy said there were concerns about using batteries in agriculture, particularly given 24-hour working cycles and pressure on regional power grids.

"I cannot see how we in Australia can use electricity to run our agricultural sector," he said.

"Our infrastructure through the whole of WA wheatbelt is struggling to run our houses and our workshops."


The failures that led to the UK’s energy crisis

Our energy market has not looked this bleak since the Winter of Discontent in the 1970s, a period seared into the memories even of those of us that are too young to actually remember it. For the past year, the chaos has been building, with rising gas and electricity prices, scores of failing suppliers, subsidies for just about every part of the market, and the prospect of, if not blackouts, then energy rationing this winter.

We’re told that the market is ‘broken’, that energy companies are ripping us off with profit maximising behaviours, that price formation in the wholesale markets is ‘frankly ludicrous’, and that Putin’s evil war in Ukraine is largely to blame. The public is both mystified and appalled, seeing ever more expensive bills, grappling with the fallout of their suppliers going bust, and hearing about the possibility of rationing or even blackouts.

So how did we get here and what can be done about it?

There are two things that have coincided to create the current situation: a set of long-term policy failures which are now crystallising, and the war in Ukraine – the timing of which may well be linked to the growing vulnerability of several European countries which have pursued poorly thought out energy policies. Putin can identify these policy failures as much as any other market observer.

When we began our energy transition away from fossil fuels the government correctly identified three conflicting requirements for the electricity system which would need to be held in balance: security of supply, affordability and de-carbonisation, which came to be known as the ‘energy trilemma’. At the time, we had a degree of over-capacity in the market which was a hangover from the last days before privatisation and the 1990s ‘dash-for-gas’. We also had been enjoying a prolonged period of energy prices which were both low in value and volatility.

This encouraged a false sense of security: de-carbonisation and the pursuit of net zero became the priority, and the trilemma was neglected. In 2018 then Business Secretary, Greg Clark declared that the trilemma was over, and the government, cheered on by the other main political parties, pressed ahead with the deployment of intermittent renewable generation and allowed conventional power stations running on oil, coal, gas and nuclear to close. Over time that spare capacity disappeared, meaning that now, at times when wind generation is low, we can struggle to meet demand even in the summer when we use much less electricity (while winter demand might be around 55 GW, in summer it is nearer to 35 GW).

At the start of the transition, all kinds of assumptions were made along the lines of ‘it will always be windy somewhere’. It was also believed that energy imports together with battery storage would smooth out the intermittency problems with wind and solar power. Unfortunately, experience has shown us that this is not the case. There can be low wind across wide areas, and low wind can persist for days or even weeks – last September there was low wind output across Northern Europe for about three weeks. Of course, there is also no solar power at all at night-time, and the sun sets before there is peak energy in the evenings in winter.

Imports are proving less reliable than expected as well. Two countries in Europe that have typically enjoyed electricity surpluses which they export to Britain and elsewhere, France and Norway, are both experiencing problems that are likely to restrict their ability to provide electricity this winter. Half of the French nuclear fleet is offline following the identification of problems in the cooling circuits of the reactors, while Norwegian reservoir levels are now so low that its ability to export hydro power is at risk.

Battery storage is also not up to the task – the total amount of grid connected batteries currently deployed can back up wind power for 10 to 15 minutes, which is clearly inadequate when there is little wind for days or weeks.

The solution to this problem is to build more nuclear power and to ensure that there are enough gas power stations to fill the gap. The government has belatedly recognised this and has said in a recent consultation that more unabated gas (i.e. without carbon capture technology) will need to be built in the medium term to support security of supply. It is also trying to deliver new nuclear, but again it is making poor choices, relying exclusively on EDF to deliver a new type of reactor that it has spent 20 years trying to build and has yet to deliver in Europe (there are two similar reactors in China, but the lack of transparency over their costs and construction methods means little comfort can be drawn from them).

Earlier this month the Prime Minister unveiled a new energy support package to help both domestic and business consumers with the rising cost of energy. She also stated her renewed commitment to the energy trilemma, announcing two new reviews – one into the regulatory structures needed to deliver long-term energy security and affordability and another into ensuring that the 2050 net zero target is achieved in a way that is ‘pro-business and pro-growth’.

Britain is to rediscover its enthusiasm for oil and gas, which will boost income to the Treasury (something which is much needed to fund the new support package). It is also planning to build new nuclear reactors, with a commitment to meet 25 per cent of electricity demand through nuclear power by 2050. Alongside an accelerated deployment of green technologies, there is a new ambition for the country to become a net energy exporter by 2040.

Energy is vital to our society, but it is also a complicated system. The operation of gas and electricity markets is closely linked with physics, particularly in electricity where a lack of storage means that supply and demand must be closely matched in real time. We expect our lights to come on as soon as we press a switch, regardless of how many other people are also pressing their switches at the same time. But this becomes increasingly difficult when the supply of electricity is based on the weather, with each gust of wind or passing cloud affecting output.

It is essential that policymakers get back to basics and remember that each component of the energy trilemma is important, and that none can be ignored if we are to avoid cold, dark and expensive winters. For too long our energy security has been neglected, and we are going to be paying the price for this in the months to come.


The picture that shows what it's REALLY like to have an electric car

image from

A photo of a 'tangled mess' of extension cords hanging over a wet public footpath on a drizzly day shows the lengths Australian electric car drivers are having to go to charge their Teslas.

The alarming photo, taken in Millers Point, in Sydney, exposes the potential safety issues raised by charging electric vehicles for some drivers - a problem only set to get worse as ownership increases.

The makeshift charging set-up involves a a yellow extension lead hanging off an upstairs balcony, then looped around the branch of a tree and plugged into a powerboard.

From there another lead lays in some bushes and in a gutter before being plugged into the Tesla.

The photo was posted by 2GB's Ben Fordham on his Facebook page, who described it as 'plate of spaghetti' and argued that makeshift set-ups like this are an 'accident waiting to happen'.

Fordham claimed the 'bizarre' scene raises the question of whether the infrastructure exists for people who don't have garages, or designated parking spots, to own EVs.

The man who took the photo told Fordham it looked like a scene from a third world country. 'I was walking down the street to work and couldn't believe my eyes

The radio host said a pattern is emerging of people trying to get involved in the EV 'revolution' but facing 'roadblocks'.

Those include people who don't have off-street parking to charge their car at night.

Fordham said scenes such as the 'bizarre' scene in the photograph will be even more common when millions of EVs are on the roads.

'Tangled power lines from people's houses - hanging along fences and dangling down trees. 'It's something you'd expect in a third world country.'

Even when charging stations are attached to power poles demand for access would cause problems, Fordham said.

NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean responded to the photo, saying 'fast charging infrastructure' would avoid owners having to take such drastic measures.

Fordham also claimed power supply would also be an issue. He said with coal fired power stations set to close the already overloaded system might not cope with millions of EVs charging at once.




Monday, September 19, 2022

This should be the absolute peak of hurricane season—but it’s dead quiet out there

To state the obvious: This has been an unorthodox Atlantic hurricane season.

Everyone from the US agency devoted to studying weather, oceans, and the atmosphere—the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration—to the most highly regarded hurricane professionals predicted a season with above-normal to well above-normal activity.

For example, NOAA’s outlook for the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30, predicted a 65 percent chance of an above-normal season, a 25 percent chance of a near-normal season, and a 10 percent chance of a below-normal season. The primary factor behind these predictions was an expectation that La Niña would persist in the Pacific Ocean, leading to atmospheric conditions in the tropical Atlantic more favorable to storm formation and intensification. La Niña has persisted, but the storms still have not come in bunches.

All quiet

To date the Atlantic has had five named storms, which is not all that far off "normal" activity, as measured by climatological averages from 1991 to 2020. Normally, by now, the Atlantic would have recorded eight tropical storms and hurricanes that were given names by the National Hurricane Center.

The disparity is more significant when we look at a metric for the duration and intensity of storms, known as Accumulated Cyclone Energy. By this more telling measurement, the 2022 season has a value of 29.6, which is less than half of the normal value through Saturday, 60.3.

Perhaps what is most striking about this season is that we are now at the absolute peak of hurricane season, and there is simply nothing happening. Although the Atlantic season begins on June 1, it starts slowly, with maybe a storm here or there in June, and often a quiet July before the deep tropics get rolling in August. Typically about half of all activity occurs in the 14 weeks prior to September 10, and then in a mad, headlong rush the vast majority of the remaining storms spin up before the end of October.

While it is still entirely possible that the Atlantic basin—which includes the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean Sea—produces a madcap finish, we're just not seeing any signs of it right now. There are no active systems at the moment, and the National Hurricane Center is tracking just one tropical wave that will move off the African coast into the Atlantic Ocean in the coming days. It has a relatively low chance of development, and none of the global models anticipate much from the system. Our best global models show about a 20 to 30 percent chance of a tropical depression developing anywhere in the Atlantic during the next 10 days.

This is the exact opposite of what we normally see this time of year, when the tropics are typically lit up like a Christmas tree. The reason for this is because September offers a window where the Atlantic is still warm from the summertime months, and we typically see some of the lowest wind-shear values in storm-forming regions.


Renewables will save us a billion trillion pounds! Yeah, right

As readers here know, I keep a close eye on the cost of renewables, and have published papers on both offshoreand onshorewind, showing that the financial accounts of operators in both sectors show no sign of significant cost reductions. It’s not just me either: my findings closely match those of the energy economist, Professor Gordon Hughes, the energy analyst Kathryn Porter, and an important paperin the peer reviewed literature.

So the idea that renewables are going to save us lots of money is, at first sight, pretty implausible. I decided to take a look at the underlying paper, which comes from the Martin School, at Oxford University.

The methodology is, in essence, extremely crude: it involves extrapolating historic cost trends out along an expected curve (Wright’s law, apparently), while jazzing it up a little with what they call a stochastic methodology, which seems to just generate an uncertainty window. The latter details are, for the purposes of this post, largely irrelevant, however – it’s all gazing at tea-leaves in my opinion. What interested me was that they were generating predictions of future cost reductions from historic falling cost trends. As already noted, lots of people find no such cost reductions in windfarm accounts (and in fact, I have some limited data on solar, which tells a similar story).

Where are the Oxford Martin team getting this data from? Buried deep in the supplementary information to the paper, I learned that it came from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). I have been trying to get to the bottom of IRENA’s claims of cost reductions for some time, and recently worked out what I think is the underlying reason.

It’s all to do with the way currency is handled. IRENA’s work is all demoninated in USD (and as a result, so is the Oxford Martin paper). But the problem of using a single currency is that the final cost figures will be affected by any currency fluctuations. And boy, have there been some big currency fluctuations in the last ten years. In particular, against the dollar, sterling has depreciated by 30%, the Euro by 25%, the Yen by nearly half, and the Brazilian Real by two thirds. When reporting in USD the costs of operators in any of these places, any reduction of less than these values represents an underlying increase in costs. Take the UK for example. According to IRENA, onshore wind costs fell from 0.086c/kWh in 2010 to 0.071c/kWh in 2019

But during that time, the exchange rate went from roughly 1.60 to 1.28, so in Sterling terms the equivalent figures are 5.3p and 5.5p – a small increase! This is exactly the situation I reported for UK onshore windfarms in my paper at the start of this year (Their absolute figures are much lower than mine though, presumably because they are using different assumptions to me).

This is clearly going to completely undermine IRENA’s overall figures for renewables cost trends. The UK, the Eurozone, Japan and Brazil between them have a very significant proportion of the world’s renewables. The only major centre for renewables that doesn’t seem to have suffered a depreciating exchange rate against the dollar is China, for which, interestingly, IRENA doesn’t detect much of a reduction in wind costs and for which the solar trend seems to have bottomed out

It didn’t have to be like this, of course. IRENA could have created some sort of an index (1990 = 100, or something) which would eliminate the currency effect. But they didn’t, and now the Oxford Martin School guys have picked it up without understanding it, and have extrapolated what is, in essence a foreign exchange fluctuation out to 2050 and have concluded that renewables will save the world.

Experts, eh?


Pakistan’s floods and the climate attribution con

Climate alarmism and journalistic bias have reached new heights of misleading hype on the catastrophic flooding in Pakistan which is reported to have received more than three times its annual rainfall in August.

The question is, of course, if human-induced climate change has had anything to do with making the floods more dramatic that could reasonably have been expected in the absence of human influences, i.e, as a result of a natural disaster that have been hitting the Indian subcontinent for centuries.

The answer (as given in the small print) by climate scientists at the world weather attribution project is ‘no’ – although it is quite obvious that they, the BBC and much of the news media, don’t like this answer. As a result, they go all around the scientific and journalistic houses to give the contrary impression. When the case they want to make cannot be made they claim that the picture is “complex.” How can scientists think that this sort of thing is acceptable?

The BBC report says that “global warming is likely to have played a role in then devastating floods that hist Pakistan, say scientists.” On the face of it “likely” might, or might not, mean a better than 50% chance, but in this case it doesn’t. Far from it.

Consider the revealing statement by Friederike Otto of Imperial College London, one of the World Weather Attribution team,

Our evidence suggests that climate change played an important role in the event, although our analysis doesn’t allow us to quantify how big the role was.”

So now we have “important role,” added to “likely!” Are you being nudged in the right direction yet? Then we have the admission they don’t know how big this “important role” is? And it gets even stupider.

The world weather attribution website analysis has as its main conclusion the rather unsurprising conclusion that the flooding occurred as a direct consequence of the extreme monsoon rainfall. Then it long-windedly goes on to explain why climate models are no good when it comes to analysing the event or its connection to climate change, concluding that the existence of natural variability means it is actually

infeasible to quantify the overall role of human-induced climate change.”

Well, you don’t say. But wait, there’s more confusion.

What we saw in Pakistan is exactly what climate projections have been predicting for years.”

But then they admit the event is well within the range of historical natural variability pointing out that 2022 was the wettest years since err…1961! And let’s not forget that only a few years ago climate scientists claimed that “our analysis found that the summer monsoon rainfall is decreasing over central South Asia – from south of Pakistan through central India to Bangladesh.”

So the real story is, “There is no solid evidence climate change had anything to do with Pakistan’s flooding” — in sharp contrast to the BBC’s headline of “Climate Change: Pakistani Floods ‘likely’ made worse by flooding.”

How can the scientific community, and those interested in the subtleties and realities of climate communication justify being so misleading? How can journalists stand to distort scientific ambiguity using faux certainty to support a climate narrative abandoning any sense of journalistic rigour?


Potemkin emission controls in Australia

They are not nearly as tough as they seem. Loopholes mean that lots of big polluters will skate

Labor may fail to hit its 2030 climate target because flaws in the Albanese government’s proposed safeguard mechanism have created a “large hole” in its emissions reduction policy, the firm which modelled the target has warned, with half of all major polluters gaining a financial benefit from the scheme.

The operators of 215 large ­industrial facilities – contributing 28 per cent of Australia’s emissions – are weighing up Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen’s overhaul of the mechanism, which anchors Labor’s 2030 pledge to cut emissions by 43 per cent and is due to kick in from July 2023.

Carbon and electricity adviser RepuTex, which initially modelled the 2030 target, said a government plan to provide free carbon credits to high emitting companies – without requiring them to represent pollution cuts – could see Labor fail to hit its flagship climate change policy goal by the end of this decade.

According to RepuTex, companies would not be required to demonstrate any emissions reductions and would instead receive credits simply for being better than average. The credits would be used by the government to provide a financial subsidy to “cleaner” facilities.

“The plan to provide free credits to facilities where their emissions are below an ‘industry average’ could lead to other undesirable outcomes, with half of Australia’s 215 largest emitting facilities in line to receive a financial windfall – instead of being required to reduce their emissions,” RepuTex said.

The modelling firm said the financial benefit would seek to make ‘cleaner’ products and processes cheaper, but in reality it would be spread across the board. It would mean half of Australia’s giant LNG export industry – which makes up 10 of Australia’s top 20 highest-emitting facilities – would be given free credits and would not be penalised for emissions increases.

“By definition, half of all LNG facilities perform better than an industry average, even though they are among the country’s largest-emitting facilities,” RepuTex managing director Hugh Grossman said.

“These facilities would not be accountable for their emissions. Instead they would receive free credits, which could be banked, or sold to realise a windfall gain. While this aims to reward ‘cleaner’ processes, in practice, half of all fossil fuel producers could simply receive a financial benefit, instead of any emissions constraint.”

Amid an intensifying debate over the long-term use of oil and gas in Australia’s energy mix, the move could lock in fossil fuel production by creating a new ­subsidy. Current definitions suggest nearly 80 per cent of covered emissions and over half or 118 of all safeguard facilities could be classified as emissions-intensive and trade-exposed industries, with exemptions potentially undermining climate change goals.

Mr Bowen, who is expected to finalise the government’s plan within four to six months, said high-emitting companies, many with their own net zero by 2050 targets, must get on board to drive emissions 43 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.

Australia’s $4.5bn carbon market is also under the spotlight, with former chief scientist Ian Chubb leading a review probing integrity issues after whistleblower Andrew Macintosh described the scheme as a rort.

The review of Australian Carbon Credit Units follows allegations from Mr Macintosh, the former chairman of the Emissions Reduction Assurance Committee, that a majority of carbon credits issued by the Clean Energy Regulator were flawed.

“Integrity of crediting is key to any emissions market,” Mr Grossman said. “If credits used by industry do not represent one tonne of emissions abatement, and that credit is used to offset emissions – as is the case here – then we would not see any real emissions reductions. Emissions reductions would occur in accounting terms only.”

The Morrison government made a major change to the carbon offsets market in March, allowing owners of land-based schemes to sell ACCUs on the open market rather than at lower prices to the Commonwealth. As a result the price of ACCUs crashed by more than a third, given market fears of an oversupply of the carbon units over the next few years. Prices have recovered by about a quarter and are trading at $30 per tonne.

The Minerals Council of Australia has warned the Albanese government against adopting a “one size fits all” safeguard mechanism amid concerns that exporters could be left behind by international competitors. Whitehaven Coal chief executive Paul Flynn has warned that Labor’s plan to drive down emissions in the industrial sector was a “carbon levy by stealth”.




Sunday, September 18, 2022

Climate Change Transformed India Into An Agricultural Superpower — Just Ask My Grandparents

By Vijay Jayaraj

My grandparents survived a nationwide famine in the 1960s that pushed many Indians into abject poverty. Little did they know then that they would go on to become farmers producing some of the best rice and coconuts on the planet.

Starting with purchases of small paddies, my grandparents supplemented income from professional occupations and other businesses with profits from rice and eventually invested in coconut farms. Their story is part of India’s agricultural revolution — a transformation partly made possible by the warmer temperatures and higher concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide of today’s climate.

According to researchers, poverty and a scarcity of food grains caused the famine of 1960-65, which had been preceded by many similar calamities that killed tens of millions over the centuries.

However, much changed in the 1970s when India’s government invited American agronomist Norman Borlaug to work alongside Indian scientists to introduce genetically modified crop varieties that were more resistant to diseases and produced higher yields.

Along with crops that failed less frequently and provided greater profits, the green revolution of the latter 20th century was helped by moderate increases in both temperatures and CO2 levels — the latter likely a result of emissions from human activities.

Contrary to the popular narrative of a changing climate being an “existential threat,” Earth’s green plants have been recovering from the “browning” of the Little Ice Age, which occurred from the 14th to 19th centuries. Modern warmth and CO2 levels are facilitating a greening that shows up on satellite photos and contributes to record crop harvests.

British Meteorologist Hubert Lamb, founder of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, said that the Little Ice Age devastated economies with crop losses. In a widely accepted paper, he writes that a “notably warm climate in many parts of the world” existed between A.D. 1000–1200, then was followed by a cooling that culminated with the coldest temperatures between 1500 and 1700 — “the coldest phase since the last ice age occurred.”

Lamb says these changes in climate were “undoubtedly upsetting for the human economies of those times (and perhaps of any time).”

The cold eventually gave way to rising temperatures in the 18th century, well before the modern industrial revolution in Europe and North America.

The positive of effects of the modern climate are found in arid climatic zones like those in India. NASA reports: “For rain-fed wheat grown in more arid climates, such as southern Africa and India, results show that doubled carbon dioxide levels, and their associated climate change impacts, increase yield by eight percent, an increase that’s driven by decreased crop water needs of up to 50 percent. As with rain-fed maize crops in arid climates, without the carbon dioxide boost these rain-fed wheat crops do not cope as well because of the greater water stress imposed on them, resulting in a 29 percent reduction in yield.”

Despite its population doubling to 1.3 billion since the 1960s, India can now produce enough food crops for both domestic needs and exports. In fact, since 2017, the country has been registering successive record harvests of food crops.

For the 2021-22 crop year, “a record output is estimated for rice, maize, gram, dry grains, rapeseed and mustard, oilseeds and sugarcane.” At 315.72 million tons, it is 5 million tons higher than the previous crop year.

According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, “India is the world’s largest producer of milk, pulses, and jute, and ranks as the second largest producer of rice, wheat, sugarcane, groundnut, vegetables, fruits, and cotton. It is also one of the leading producers of spices, livestock, and plantation crops.”

A recent Australian study reports that “CO2 fertilization correlated with an 11 per cent increase in foliage cover from 1982-2010 across parts of the arid areas studied in Australia, North America, the Middle East and Africa.”

Today’s warmth and CO2 levels are a boon to human civilization, not a bane. Just ask my grandparents.


Is net zero emissions the Trojan horse for society?

Well intended passions for lower emissions may be contributing to the downfall of today’s society and the products that supports the eight billion on earth.

The transition to electricity generation from breezes and sunshine has proven to be ultra-expensive for the wealthy countries of Germany, Australia, and the USA representing 6 percent of the world’s population (505 million vs 7.8 billion). Those wealthy countries now have among the highest cost for their electricity, while the poorer developing countries, currently without the usage of the 20th century products manufactured from crude oil, are experiencing about 11,000,000 child deaths every year due to the unavailability of the fossil fuel products used in wealthy countries.

High electricity costs trickle down to everything in our daily lives, from the cost of food, lumber, and services, and ultimately to the high cost of living and housing and perpetuates the rise in homelessness and poverty.

The intermittency of weather generated electricity has resulted in the “nameplate” generating capacity of wind turbines and solar panels being a farce capacity to replace continuous uninterruptible electricity generation from coal, natural gas, and nuclear.

Those with a passion to rid the world of crude oil are oblivious to the fact that crude oil is virtually useless, it’s manufactured (refineries) into something usable. Those oil derivatives manufactured from crude oil are the basis of more than 6,000 products in our daily lives that did not exist before the 1900’s, and the fuels to move the heavy-weight and long-range needs of aircraft for military, commercial, private and the President’s Air Force One, and merchant ships, and the military and space programs.

Those so-called renewables of wind turbines and solar panels cannot manufacture fuels for the:

50,000 heavy-weight and long-range merchant ships that are moving products throughout the world.

50,000 heavy-weight and long-range jets used by commercial airlines, private usage, and the military.

The 290 million registered vehicles in the U.S. as of 2021, that were comprised of about 56 percent trucks, 40 percent cars, and 4 percent motorcycles.

The cruise ships that now move twenty-five million passengers around the world.

The space program.

Advocates of a carbon-free world underestimate not only how many products and fuels manufactured from crude oil the world already uses, but how much more the world will yet demand. In America, there are nearly as many vehicles as people, while in most of the world, fewer than 1 in 20 people have a car. More than 80 percent of the world population has yet to take a single flight.

The few wealthy countries have short memories of petrochemical products and human ingenuity being the reasons for the world populating from 1 to 8 billion in less than two hundred years. Efforts to cease the use of crude oil will be the greatest threat to civilization, not climate change, and lead the world to an era of guaranteed extreme shortages of fossil fuel products like we had in the decarbonized world in the 1800’s. It can only lead back to shorter life spans, diseases, malnutrition, and weather-related deaths resulting from the elimination of fossil fuels that are benefiting society.

The reasons why subsidized wind and solar electricity are not replacing fossil fuels, is that they can only generate electricity intermittently. Wind turbines and solar panels cannot manufacture anything for society. In fact, all the parts for wind and solar are made from the oil derivatives manufactured from crude oil. Ridding the world of crude oil would eliminate wind turbines and solar panels!


California Governor Signs ‘Most Aggressive’ Package of Green Laws

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday announced a sweeping package of what he called the country’s “most aggressive” climate measures to “accelerate the state’s transition” to non-conventional energy sources.

The package includes 40 bills that appear to provide new green rules on laws related to things ranging from large-scale industry to the family home and private and public transportation.

The Democratic governor’s office said in a statement the package of climate change-focused measures aims to cut pollution and target “big polluters.”

It comes as America’s most populous state has struggled to provide stable electricity for residents amid a heat wave, which saw the state asking residents to use less power and suggest the best times to use air conditioners or charge electric cars.

“This month has been a wake-up call for all of us that later is too late to act on climate change. California isn’t waiting any more,” Newsom said in a statement. “Together with the Legislature, California is taking the most aggressive action on climate our nation has ever seen.”

“We’re cleaning the air we breathe, holding the big polluters accountable, and ushering in a new era for clean energy,” he continued. “That’s climate action done the California Way—and we’re not only doubling down, we’re just getting started.”

In July, Newsom called for “bold actions” to combat climate change. He declared his climate-focused vision for California involves a push to achieve 90 percent “clean energy” by 2035, “carbon neutrality” by 2045, “setback measures” to target oil drilling, carbon capture programs, and to “advance nature-based solutions” to remove carbon from “natural and working lands.”

40 Green Bills

Newsom’s office said his sweeping package of measures will create four million new jobs over the next 20 years, cut air pollution by 60 percent, and reduce state oil consumption by 91 percent.

How this would be achieved was not explained in the governor’s news release.

The package of measures, the governor’s office said, will save the state $23 billion by avoiding damage from pollution. It further aims to cut fossil fuel use in buildings and transportation by 92 percent and refinery pollution by 94 percent.

The governor named a list of the 40 new green bills, which touch on things from the broad scope of the climate to more everyday matters such as community air quality, electricity supply, vehicle permits, and gas pricing.

Some of the bills, which were all named in the governor’s news release, include:

AB 1279: “The California Climate Crisis Act”
AB 1389: “Clean Transportation Program: project funding preferences”
AB 1749: “Community emissions reduction programs: toxic air contaminants and criteria air pollutants”
AB 1857: “Solid waste”
AB 1909: “Vehicles: bicycle omnibus bill”
AB 2075: “Energy: electric vehicle charging standards”
AB 2622: “Sales and use taxes: exemptions: California Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project: transit buses”
AB 2836: “Carl Moyer Memorial Air Quality Standards Attainment Program: vehicle registration fees: California tire fee”
SB 529: “Electricity: electrical transmission facilities”
SB 1063: “Energy: appliance standards and cost-effective measures”
SB 1205: “Water rights: appropriation”
SB 1230: “Zero-emission and near-zero-emission vehicle incentive programs: requirements”
SB 1322: “Energy: petroleum pricing”
SB 1382: “Air pollution: Clean Cars 4 All Program: Sales and Use Tax Law: zero emissions vehicle exemption”

How the package of new green laws and regulations might impact, for example, standards required for cars to be permitted on Californian roads; how and when homes can be cooled; the source of electricity allowed to be supplied to homes; the manufacturing of everyday appliances and products, etc., were not outlined in the governor’s news release.

This latest pronouncement comes on the heels of Newsom enacting regulation to phase out sales of new gas-powered cars by 2035.


If you’re told ESG is the next big thing, beware of greenwashing

Joe Kennedy famously said that when the shoeshine boy gives stock tips, it’s time to get out of the market. The story goes that the investor exited the market just ahead of the great Wall Street crash of 1929, clued in to a bubble created by dilettantes piling in.

More recently, an ad popped up in Australian bus shelters, which read “this is the sign you’ve been looking for to get into crypto”. Shortly after, cryptocurrency tanked.

So when a public relations conference told me this week that ESG is the next big thing, I took it as a warning that it’s about to be over.

In the last few years, environmental, social and (corporate) governance, or ESG, has become an increasing concern for companies which realise that securing their long-term profitability depends on the wellbeing of the environment and the societies in which they operate. The “governance” part is monitoring that the organisation isn’t making decisions which deliver profit right now but run counter to actual laws or implicit norms. Banks turning a blind eye to the money trail leading to paedophiles, for instance, or casinos knowingly participating in money laundering.

ESG can seem simple: commit to reducing emissions, develop a modern slavery statement and, above all, become a values-led organisation. Only, anyone who believes it’s that simple is almost certainly doing it wrong.

That has always been the case, but the war in Ukraine and growing concerns over China’s activities at home and abroad are making it more obvious how just how wrong the simplistic approach is.

Germany is the poster child of half-baked ESG. Under former Chancellor Angela Merkel, Europe’s largest economy began shutting down its nuclear power plants, planning to use gas as a “bridge” while transitioning entirely to renewables. Many analysts warned against the move, pointing out the strategic dangers of relying on Russian gas. But Merkel persisted and many German investors fell in line, in the name of ESG.

Of course, we now know how that turned out. The ESG value of the nuclear shutdown was one-dimensional: it failed to balance the pros and cons of nuclear against other potential fuel sources, or take into account the geopolitical context. As a result, when Putin invaded Ukraine, Germany continued to pay for Russian gas and, in doing so, funded a war it opposes. In fact, it wasn’t until the beginning of September, when President Putin retaliated against NATO sanctions by shutting off gas supply to Europe, that many European countries, Germany included, stopped handing hard currency to Putin.

Now it can no longer rely on hypocrisy to keep the lights on, the power crisis is sending the German economy into recession. Companies face insolvency due to soaring energy prices and people are facing huge bills for heating their homes. “Warming centres”, or heated community halls, are being established across Europe to prevent people freezing to death in their apartments. If a new strain of COVID appears, these could also become hubs of transmission. The poor, naturally, will be hardest hit. If this is environmentally and socially responsible, what on earth is not?

In another ESG complication, building greater renewable energy capacity can lead to an increase in slavery and child labor. That’s because 80 per cent of solar panels are manufactured in China and a significant share of the materials for them comes from companies in Xinjiang Province, using forced Uighur labour. Climate change versus slavery – is there an acceptable trade-off? And if so, who decides what it is?

Even the fashionable expressions of organisational “values” can quickly lead from sublime intention to ridiculous action. Late last year, the legal faculty of a major Australian university proposed that the academics make a public resolution of support for the Indigenous Voice to parliament. While personally in favour of a Voice, my legal academic friend recalls her acute discomfort at being called on to make a public statement of this kind despite her lack of constitutional expertise. Expressing her values in this way forced her to breach a professional ethic.

Real ESG is as complex and layered as the world it is practised in.

The result of overly superficial ESG action is sometimes called greenwashing. “Greenwashing businesses routinely underinvest in their ESG reporting, using corporate spin as a proxy for a real strategy and progress against it,” according to Luke Heilbuth, CEO of BWD Strategic, a consultancy focused on helping businesses navigate the complexities of ESG.

Company regulator ASIC defines greenwashing as “the practice of misrepresenting the extent to which a financial product or investment strategy is environmentally friendly, sustainable or ethical” and has issued advice that the practice falls under its ban on misleading or deceptive statements. Given the current fashion for ESG-as-advertising, it seems almost inevitable that an increasing number of companies boasting of their ESG credentials will find themselves in breach.

Heilbuth, a former diplomat, believes companies serious about ESG need to appreciate the geopolitical context, but can realise opportunities in doing so. As the world splits into two major powers, responsible countries will focus on building green manufacturing in Australia to take advantage of our minerals and other natural resources. We must.

“Beijing also controls much of the infrastructure required to refine the minerals critical to the energy transition,” he says. “Chinese refineries supply 50 to 70 per cent of the world’s cobalt and lithium and over 90 per cent of rare-earth minerals.”

While the far-sighted Chinese look to harness the commodities of developing nations connected to the Belt and Road, and export expensive services to them, it will be strategically and ethically necessary to ensure we aren’t reliant on them.

Chinese President Xi Jinping told Putin grandly this week that we must “play a guiding role to inject stability and positive energy into a world rocked by social turmoil”. See, it’s easy to make war and unethical practices sound good. It’s harder to actually practice ESG. The spin is no longer enough.