Wednesday, January 26, 2022

An Australian perspective on sea levels

Australia is a good place to study sea level change. Unlike Britain, Australia wasn’t covered in an ice sheet during the last ice age. Ice sheets complicate things because when all the ice melts – as Scotland’s ice sheet did a little over 9,000 years ago – part of the landmass may gradually rebound dragging its bottom half under. So, the north of the British Isles is rising, while the south has been sinking up to 0.6mm per year for the last 1,000 years – about 60 centimetres in total since the time of William the Conqueror. The sinking of this landmass is sometimes confused with rising sea levels, and it is claimed that this is occurring due to rising carbon dioxide emissions since the Industrial Revolution.

Where I live, about halfway down the east coast of Australia, sea levels began to rise about 16,000 years ago with the melting of Antarctica. By 9,000 years ago, sea levels around the world had risen by 12,000 centimetres, or 120 metres, the equivalent of a 25-storey building! The extent of this rise dwarfs the 36-centimetre rise that occurred over the last 150 years and the subsidence in places like Lincolnshire which adds up to just a few centimetres over the same period, both of which are worrying the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Indeed, it is uncontroversial, at least in peer-reviewed journals, that global sea level rise at the end of the last ice age occurred at a rate 10 times faster than the modern rate of about 3mm per year – which is about how much Scotland is rising due to isostatic rebound.

After being buried under several kilometres of ice, much of Europe and North America is experiencing uplift. For example, the ice retreated from Sweden 9,900 to 10,300 years ago and large-scale uplift is still occurring to the extent that the tidal gauge in Stockholm shows sea levels have fallen by about 50 cm over the last 129 years — an average annual rate of fall of 3.9mm per year. The uplift at Juneau, in Alaska, is even more extreme: in just 80 years sea levels have fallen by 120cm at a steady rate of minus 15mm per year. This reality jars with the notion of catastrophic sea level rise, so the IPCC ‘detrends’ the measurements from these tidal gauges, until they show sea level rise.

These numbers don’t make easy reading and may seem extraordinary, but sea levels really did rise globally by 120 metres at the end of the last ice age. Yet this inconvenient fact tends to be excluded from political summaries on climate change that rely on remodelled data.

According to the latest IPCC report on climate change – Assessment Report 6, published just before the 26th Conference of Parties (COP26) in Glasgow late last year – global temperatures are the warmest they have been for at least the last 125,000 years. There is no mention that in between it got quite cold, and Scotland (where that meeting was held) was covered in a lot of ice.

Given the landmass of Australia has not sunk or risen much over this time period, if the IPCC report is correct the waves should cover my favourite 125,000-year-old platform each high tide and I should be washed away.

The highest tide for this year was forecast for Monday 3 January at 8.27am. A four-metre-high swell was also forecast because ex-tropical Seth was lingering just off-shore. That morning, I wondered: am I finally going to be washed away?

I scrambled down from the lookout and put my drone up. It captured footage of the huge swells, which did make it to the very bottom of the cliff face and washed over the very wide platform I usually stand on.

But I wasn’t washed away. I had positioned myself up a ledge. There are ledges at three different heights in Noosa National Park – and along the coastline all the way to Sydney. This is evidence etched in stone that there have been times in the past when sea levels were even higher than they are now. Why? Because the climate has always changed.


EPA Finalizes Aggressive Vehicle Emissions Standards for 2023 and Beyond

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced new, more stringent emissions regulations on everyday passenger cars and light duty trucks to be imposed on the model years 2023 through 2026.

The EPA says the updated standards were necessary to carry out President Joe Biden’s August 2021 Executive Order 13990 “Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis,” and to meet the goals contained in his August 5 Executive Order, “Strengthening American Leadership in Clean Cars and Trucks.” The latter order set a goal of 50 percent of all new passenger vehicle sales in the United States being zero emission vehicles by 2030.

The revision represents a shift from the Trump administration’s ‘‘The Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule for Model Years 2021–2026 Passenger Cars and Light Trucks,’’ which focused on moderate carbon dioxide emission reductions while keeping affordability and vehicle safety at the forefront.

Toughest Emissions Standards Yet

The EPA’s news release says the new standards are more stringent than any in American history.

Under the new rules average fleet emissions would have decline substantially each year between model years 2023 to 2026, for cars, SUVs, and pickup trucks releasing an average of 161 grams of carbon dioxide per mile by 2026. This is equivalent to a roughly 40 mpg fuel economy standard across the fleet of vehicles sold.

“The standards finalized today are the most ambitious vehicle emissions standards for greenhouse gases ever established for the light-duty vehicle sector in the United States.” The EPA Press Office said.

The final rule emphasizes the EPA’s efforts to concentrate more on greenhouse gas emissions, and less on the costs of implementation and compliance.

“In this rule, the agency is changing its 2020 position and restoring its previous approach by finding … that it is more appropriate to place greater weight on the magnitude and benefits of reducing emissions that endanger public health and welfare, while continuing to consider compliance costs, lead time, and other relevant factors” the EPA said in the rule.

The EPA estimated the rule will result in sales of zero emission car sales rising from approximately 5 percent of all sales today to 20 percent by 2026.

EPA Ignores Safety Concerns

In pursuit of the Biden administration’s climate goals, the EPA ignored long-recognized safety concerns related to increasing fuel economy standards, says Devin Watkins, an attorney with the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI).

“In issuing these new rules, EPA has failed to even address what its own independent scientific experts said,” Watkins said, “The EPA’s claims of PM 2.5 harms had ‘unstated, untested, unverified, or mistaken assumptions’ including the failure ‘to distinguish between true exposure values and estimated exposure values in analyzing and presenting information,’ the agency’s expert reviewers wrote.

The EPA also ignored the unnecessary injuries and deaths research has shown past increases in fuel economy standards have resulted in, an issued raised by CEI during the comment period on the rules and in lawsuits, says Watkins.

“Additionally, EPA fails to even mention, let alone explain, the thousands of additional lives that could be saved with a less stringent standard.” Watkins said. “EPA inappropriately dismissed safety concerns raised by CEI in our public comments on the proposal.

“CEI sued EPA to have it address these safety concerns, and EPA asked the court to put that case on hold, allowing it time to addresses this problem in this new rulemaking, which it has now failed to do,” Watkins said.


Australia's wind leader is actually running on gas and coal

Approaching breakfast-time SA is importing half of its power from Victoria and 94% of the local generation is gas. The turbines are running at 2% of capacity and providing 5% of demand.

Victoria is generating a small excess of power but not enough to prop up SA without help from Tasmania and NSW. The Victorian windmills are running at 12%, just above wind drought level, and providing 8% of local generation, with coal delivering three quarters of the supply and gas 5%.

Across the NEM the wind is delivering 3.7% of consumption, running at 8% capacity and the fossils are giving 83% (coal 75%).

RE enthusiasts need to realise that SA is the leader in demonstrating that we will never run on wind and solar power until the storage issue is resolved and that is nowhere in sight, certainly not in the next decade or three.

The International Energy Agency (a green organization) is projecting record coal consumption this year with coal consumption holding up past 2040. The fossil fuel contribution to worldwide energy use has declined all of 2% from about 87% to 85% over recent years despite the tens of billions that have been spent to make power more expensive and less reliable


Team Biden seeks to stop yet another pipeline even as gas prices rise

If you needed any more proof that the anti-American, pro-Russia, pro-Iran, pro-China, anti-Israel wing of the Democrat Party has captured the White House flag, last week we learned Team Biden plans to put the kibosh on a natural-gas pipeline with US involvement that would reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian energy.

The Eastern Mediterranean Gas Pipeline, which would carry Israeli and Cypriot natural gas, is yet another energy resource serving America’s strategic interests that the Biden White House wants gone. EastMed joins a long list that started on Day One with the Keystone XL pipeline, a ban on oil and gas leases on public lands and the October federal court ruling that ended drilling in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska.

All these actions, demanded by “climate change” alarmists, have reversed America’s long-sought energy independence won at great political cost by President Donald Trump.

They have not only made us dependent once again on foreign oil; they have sent oil prices skyrocketing, enriching America’s adversaries in Russia and Iran.

The EastMed pipeline would offset supplies that otherwise would come from Russia.

The Trump administration backed the $7 billion EastMed pipeline, a project of Israel, Cyprus and Greece, well before it was signed in January 2020. The 1,200-mile-long pipeline would bring 10 billion cubic meters of natural gas from Israel’s Leviathan and Tamar offshore to Europe, offsetting supplies that otherwise would come from Russia. Plans called for doubling capacity in future years.

US oil major Chevron is the main operator of the Israeli gas fields. And thanks to the Abraham Accords that opened trade and diplomatic relations between Israel and four of its Arab neighbors, the United Arab Emirates bought a 22% stake in the Tamar field from Israeli interests in May.

But Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan sought to undermine the deal from the start. His foreign ministry called it “the latest instance of futile steps, aiming to exclude Turkey and the [Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus] from the region. Any project disregarding Turkey . . . cannot succeed.”

Erdogan sent warships and deep-sea exploration vessels to put teeth into that threat, conducting military patrols in disputed waters between Greece and Turkey. In December 2019, he signed an agreement with the disputed government in Tripoli, Libya, that created a “maritime corridor” between Turkey and Libya that essentially cut off Israel from any access to Europe.

So Erdogan flexed his muscles at both Israel and Cyprus — and Team Biden’s move is to reward him.

The State Department sent its newly minted adviser for global energy security, Amos Hochstein, to Israel in November to give a heads up on the administration’s plans to ditch support for the pipeline.

And this month, it quietly sent a “non-paper” to the government of Greece, which leaked to the Greek and Turkish press, warning that the pipeline posed a security threat to the region. The US embassy in Athens finally clarified the American position: “We remain committed to physically interconnecting East Med energy to Europe,” its statement read, but “are shifting our focus to electricity interconnectors that can support both gas and renewable energy sources.”

Funny: The president didn’t have a problem giving waivers to Russia’s non-green pipeline to Europe, Nord Stream 2.

Erdogan crowed out loud. If Israeli gas “will be brought to Europe, it can only be done through Turkey,” he told journalists last week, saying Israeli President Isaac Herzog “could visit us in Turkey” to discuss the pipeline.

America’s relationship with Turkey soured mightily during the final Trump years when it booted Turkey from the F-35 program because Ankara was buying Russian S-300 and S-400 missile-defense systems and could not provide guarantees it would not share sensitive US technology with the Kremlin.

While Erdogan revels in throwing his weight around, he also is desperate to get back in America’s good graces, meeting with Biden at the G20 summit in Rome in October in an attempt to patch things up.

And Biden? His woke national-security and foreign-policy B-team seem more eager to subsidize electric cars for the rich than to provide cheap oil and gas to the American middle class or to deter America’s adversaries.




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