Saturday, January 01, 2022

UK: Quest for Net Zero has left us with a failed energy policy

If Boris Johnson has seen his approval ratings dip recently, they'll go into freefall when we receive our inflated household fuel bills in April, yet this has been a crisis waiting to happen. Governments across Europe should have been preparing for it but buried their heads in the sand, preferring ideology over common sense.

Increased winter fuel allowances and a relaxation of green levies could help those most vulnerable to plunging temperatures and rocketing bills. Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng met energy bosses on Monday and the news was dire. Wholesale energy prices are peaking just as storage facilities are at their lowest for years and wind power generation has hit a ten-year low, falling by 15 percent this year despite there being more turbines. Russia playing politics with gas supply lines has not helped, just as the EU and UK is embracing a Net- Zero policy that puts all their eggs in a renewables basket.

It's a perfect storm that is going to hit consumers and industry hard next spring when price caps are raised by Ofgem. Already 30 energy suppliers have collapsed this year in the UK and many experts say this is only the beginning of an energy crisis similar to 2008's financial crash that rocked the world.

If Boris Johnson has seen his approval ratings dip recently, they'll go into freefall when we receive our inflated household fuel bills in April, yet this has been a crisis waiting to happen. Governments across Europe should have been preparing for it but buried their heads in the sand, preferring ideology over common sense.

Even the USA, a net exporter of energy just a few years ago, has seen President Joe Biden forced to beg Arab states to pump more oil to bring down gas pump prices at home or face annihilation in next year's midterm elections. The UK, however, appears to have been more blind than other nations, and for longer, to the problems we now face.

Energy expert Clive Moffatt has warned governments since 2010 to take a more balanced approach to decarbonisation, but a Conservative fixation with green targets has skewed their judgment. "We were getting the message very clearly from [government] officials they were very reluctant to endorse any possibility there was even a medium-term future for natural gas," he says.

But with North Sea production of gas and oil going down and imports going up "we become extremely vulnerable," says Moffatt. Add to that a plunging energy storage capability of just 1.7 percent when anything goes wrong with European pipelines or failing renewables, and our present crisis was inevitable whatever else was going on in the world.

"You have to look at it in terms of carbon reduction, affordability and security," says Moffatt. "You can't simply dump two of those and focus on one. If you do that the least well off in society will suffer most." After ten years of such advice, you can't say the Government wasn't warned and yet it merrily carried on its path towards Net Zero, depending more and more on importing energy to allow it to offshore its carbon emissions.

Despite shale gas being put on hold from 2019 and energy giants such as Shell discouraged from exploring the North Sea, latest figures from National Grid ESO reveal that in 2021 we depended more on carbon energy to keep our lights on than previous years.

Wind declined to 19 percent of our energy mix, while nuclear power fell by 10 percent to its lowest proportion since 1982. The gap was filled by natural gas which, of course, is now subject to rocketing international prices as we import almost twice as much from abroad.

FOR a nation that made its industrial wealth from a lucky access to cheap carbon energy beneath our feet, it's an energy policy that is unsustainable. As a result, our government is now having to use taxpayers' money to subsidise power providers to lessen the impact on customers.

"Expecting consumers to shoulder that volatility without any support from government is unrealistic," said Stephen Fitzpatrick, founder of Ovo Energy, this week. "It's a £25billion hit to consumer spending." Potentially the single biggest hurdle to growth next year, it could easily have been avoided by government taking a longerterm, common-sense approach to energy production.

Taking years to build up our storage capacity and a greater variety of energy generation, the Government is now left with little choice but to cut VAT, reduce green tariffs and widen winter fuel allowances or face a hurricane of resentment from voters.


Solar influences show up in sea level rise, El Nino events and oceanic climatic cycles

The Sun’s energy effects our climate but its influence is often ignored as changes in its intensity are very small. Its effect might be subtle but over decadal periods it adds up to being significant as a series of recent papers show.

Scientists from the University of California, Irvine, the National Taiwan Normal University, and the Institute of Atmospheric Physics, of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, find that the 11-year solar cycle has a significant correlation with sea surface temperature variations in the North-eastern Pacific. They believe that the Sun’s influence is first seen and then amplified in the lower stratosphere, but it then alters the circulation in the troposphere which then affects the temperature of the ocean.

They note that the changes have a structure similar to that of the Pacific meridional mode – an interaction between trade winds and ocean evaporation which is an important trigger of the central Pacific (CP) type of the El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO).

It seems that the 11-year solar cycle modulates the CP ENSO and, in particular, is associated with more CP El Nino events during the active phase of the cycle and more La Nina events when the solar cycle undergoes a downturn.

The solar influence is also apparent in other aspects of airflow in the tropics. A team from Oxford University, Aarhus University, the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg, Germany; Imperial College London, and the Gantham Institute, of Imperial College London, recently provided observational evidence that the solar cycle affects atmospheric circulation over the Pacific on decadal timescales finding that there is a reduction of east–west sea-level pressure gradients over the Indo-Pacific Ocean during solar maxima and the following few years.

This reduction is associated with westerly wind anomalies at the surface and throughout the equatorial troposphere in the western/central Pacific as well as an eastward shift of precipitation that brings more rainfall to the central Pacific. It’s an effect that shows up in some climate models that use simulations considering only solar irradiance variations.

A missed connection

Another recent study shows a correlation between the end of solar cycles and a switch from El Nino to La Nina conditions suggesting that solar variability can drive seasonal weather variability on Earth. If the connection outlined in the journal Earth and Space Science holds up, it could significantly improve the predictability of the largest El Nino and La Nina events. According to Scott McIntosh, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and co-author of the paper.

“The scientific community has been unclear on the role that solar variability plays in influencing weather and climate events here on Earth. This study shows there’s reason to believe it absolutely does and why the connection may have been missed in the past.”

The paper does not examine what physical connection between the Sun and Earth could be responsible for the correlation, but that there are several possibilities such as the influence of the Sun’s magnetic field on the incidence of cosmic rays that bombard Earth.

A team from the Australian National University, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology and Australian Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes find a solar influence on the Southern Annular Mode (SAM) – an important pattern of climate variability in the extratropical Southern Hemisphere, with major regional climate impacts.

Whilst the available evidence shows changes in the SAM since the 1960s can be accounted for by climate models earlier trends in palaeo-climate SAM reconstructions cannot be reconciled with more recent simulations.The researchers find that the mean SAM state can be significantly altered by solar irradiance changes. They suggest that the effects of solar forcing on high-latitude climate may not be adequately incorporated in most last millennium simulations.

Researchers from the Jeju National University in Korea and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory have looked at the various factors that influence the rate of increase of global mean sea level and detect the influence of the global temperature hiatus.One suggestion for the hiatus was that the oceans absorbed more heat reducing the heating of the surface. Recently however observations have shown that ocean uptake actually slowed down during the hiatus.

They found a “distinct decade-long fluctuation with a peak period of ~12 years,” that was in phase with the hiatus. They also saw a “strong relationship” between global mean sea level and the PDO – a pattern of ocean-atmosphere climate variability centred over the mid-latitude Pacific – with the PDO undergoing a change around 2011 coincident with what they consider to be the end of the hiatus. Others consider that the hiatus went on somewhat longer.

They conclude, “there is an oceanic response to the solar cycle on decadal timescales.”


Environmentalists' propaganda pics backfire after people notice something fearmongers missed

image from

Now that Democratic fearmongering policies have failed to stem the pandemic as promised and have instead resulted in more COVID-19 deaths under President Joe Biden than under former President Donald Trump, the left is amping up its climate alarmism — only to be lampooned for its frivolous propaganda.

The hilarity erupted Sunday on Twitter after the left-wing blog DCist ominously warned, “This is what D.C. will look like if the world continues on its current trajectory of greenhouse gas emissions.”

To stoke climate hysteria, the website attached a hypothetical reimagining of a majestic Lincoln Memorial surrounded by water.

Essentially, DCist — citing research from the nonprofit group Climate Central — suggested that “global warming” would cause ocean levels to rise at alarming rates if left unchecked.

“These images represent predictions of the longterm sea-level rise that will eventually result, if the globe warms 3 degrees,” the article said.

Of course, the irony is that many Americans would be thrilled if the D.C. swamp were engulfed by water.

Moreover, the liberal cesspool actually looks better in the “after” image.

The article conceded that the hypothetical effect of global warming “could take centuries” and there’s nothing we can do to mitigate its supposed future impact.

“This rising of the oceans could take centuries, even after carbon emissions stop, as glaciers and ice sheets melt,” DCist said. “Even if global carbon emissions were to magically end tomorrow, the oceans would still rise several feet due to the greenhouse gasses already in the atmosphere.”

Basically, DCist fomented panic over a hypothetical scenario that it says cannot be stopped no matter what we do.

So what’s the point of breathlessly stoking terror and hysteria? There is no point, and that sums up the left’s propaganda war in a nutshell.

But the fearmongering grift is up, as evidenced by how brutally mocked DCist was when its propaganda backfired in epic fashion.

Tony Shaffer, a former U.S. intelligence officer, tweeted: “LOL- in 50 thousands years…more fear porn from the progressive left death cult…”


Australia: ANZ bank’s climate policies stand up to scrutiny after activist attack

A bid by Friends of the Earth and three bushfire victims to have ANZ censured over its climate change disclosures and actions has failed, with a determination handed down that the bank’s actions are consistent with international guidelines.

In early 2020, Friends of the Earth and Jack Egan, Joanna Dodds and Patrick Simons lodged a complaint with the Australian National Contact Point (ANCP) – a government office responsible for promoting adherence to the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.

The complaint alleged “aspects of ANZ’s disclosures, target-setting and scenario analysis’’ breached the OECD’s guidelines, and that it had failed to be fully transparent about its “indirect emissions”, or those it contributes to by financing the fossil fuel industry.

Following a failed mediation on the issue, an examiner looked at the bank’s disclosure practices, and had found that while there is ambiguity in the guidelines, ANZ had been “undertaking actions and conduct consistent with (them)’’.

At the time the complaint was lodged, Mr Egan, who on New year’s Eve 2019 lost his home at North Rosedale, south of Bateman’s Bay in NSW to a bushfire, said holding large corporations to account on climate change was deeply personal.

“I saw our front deck catch on fire … the flames of the deck were licking into the window spaces and around the doors,” he said.

While he acknowledged Australia had always had droughts and bushfires, he said he was convinced global warming played a role in the severity of the drought and the fierceness of the blazes.

“Many scientists are saying this is well-predicted and it’s a consequence of the global heating,” he said.

The complaint was based on a similar one brought by Friends of the Earth Netherlands against ING Bank, which it said resulted in the bank committing to stronger climate action.

Friends of the Earth said at the time ANZ “remains the biggest financier of fossil fuels among the big four Australian banks, and it has neglected a number of opportunities to improve its direct and indirect environmental impact’’.

“ANZ’s lack of full disclosure about its climate change impacts prevents consumers from making informed decisions about whether or not to engage with the bank,’’ the complaint said.

The determination from the ANCP said the guidelines themselves did not mention climate change, and greenhouse gas emissions featured in only two paragraphs, which said organisations should seek to improve the environmental performance of themselves and their supply chain, and also “encourage” broad disclosure practices in areas where reporting standards are still evolving.

“There is limited explicit direction about climate change in the guidelines,’’ the determination says.

“There is, however, potential relevance from the guidelines’ statement that an enterprise’s environmental management system should include ‘where appropriate, targets … consistent with relevant national policies and international environmental commitments’.’’

It was recognised in the determination that climate change reporting was evolving in Australia, with the ASX, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission addressing the corporate management of climate risk.




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