Thursday, February 24, 2022

Aluminium shortages to deter blanket sanctions on Rusal - analysts

Mainly because of its lightness, aluminium is a crucial metal in meeting Greenie objectives

LONDON (Reuters) - The United States and European Union countries are unlikely to impose blanket sanctions on Rusal if Russia invades Ukraine as that would exacerbate aluminium shortages, propel prices to new records and damage manufacturing, analysts say.

Russia has repeatedly denied it is preparing to invade Ukraine.

Rusal, which accounts for about 6% of global aluminium supplies estimated by analysts at around 70 million tonnes this year, is the world's largest producer outside China.

U.S. sanctions on Rusal imposed in April 2018 - and lifted in early 2019 - created major disruption for firms in the transport, construction and packaging industries. The resulting scramble for aluminium saw prices jump 30% in just a few days.

"It is important to note that lawmakers initially underestimated the impact of the Rusal sanctions," said CRU analyst Eoin Brophy. "Aluminium inventories are so low today that a replay of that error would be explosive for prices."

"To limit disruptions to manufacturing, it is highly likely that any existing contracts would sit outside of sanctions."

In response to requests for comment, EU spokesperson Peter Stano said it was premature to speculate about specific measures, since "no decisions have been made about any new sanctions against Russia".

Oil market could plunge into crisis as spare capacity remains tight and Russia-Ukraine tensions linger
"Our sanctions will be suggested, discussed and adopted only in reaction to further violation or aggression against Ukraine," he said.


Greenland’s Melting Ice Is No Cause for Climate-Change Panic

One of the most sacred tenets of climate alarmism is that Greenland’s vast ice sheet is shrinking ever more rapidly because of human-induced climate change. The media and politicians warn constantly of rising sea levels that would swamp coastlines from Florida to Bangladesh. A typical headline: “Greenland ice sheet on course to lose ice at fastest rate in 12,000 years.”

With an area of 660,000 square miles and a thickness up to 1.9 miles, Greenland’s ice sheet certainly deserves attention. Its shrinking has been a major cause of recent sea-level rise, but as is often the case in climate science, the data tell quite a different story from the media coverage and the political laments.

The chart nearby paints a bigger picture that is well known to experts but largely absent from the media and even from the most recent United Nations climate report. It shows the amount of ice that Greenland has lost every year since 1900, averaged over 10-year intervals; the annual loss averages about 110 gigatons. (A gigaton is one billion metric tons, or slightly over 2.2 trillion pounds.) That is a lot, but that water has caused the planet’s oceans to rise each year by only 0.01 inch, about one-fifth the thickness of a dime.

In contrast, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projects that for the most likely course of greenhouse-gas emissions in the 21st century, the average annual ice loss would be somewhat larger than the peak values shown in the graph. That would cause sea level to rise by 3 inches by the end of this century, and if losses were to continue at that rate, it would take about 10,000 years for all the ice to disappear, causing sea level to rise more than 20 feet.

To assess the importance of human influences, we can look at how the rate of ice loss has changed over time.

In that regard, the graph belies the simplistic notion that humans are melting Greenland. Since human warming influences on the climate have grown steadily—they are now 10 times what they were in 1900— you might expect Greenland to lose more ice each year. Instead there are large swings in the annual ice loss and it is no larger today than it was in the 1930s, when human influences were much smaller. Moreover, the annual loss of ice has been decreasing in the past decade even as the globe continues to warm.

While a warming globe might eventually be the dominant cause of Greenland’s shrinking ice, natural cycles in temperatures and currents in the North Atlantic that extend for decades have been a much more important influence since 1900. Those cycles, together with the recent slowdown, make it plausible that the next few decades will see a further, perhaps dramatic slowing of ice loss. That would be inconsistent with the IPCC’s projection and wouldn’t at all support the media’s exaggerations.

Much climate reporting today highlights short-term changes when they fit the narrative of a broken climate but then ignores or plays down changes when they don’t, often dismissing them as “just weather.”

Climate unfolds over decades. Although short-term changes might be deemed news, they need to be considered in a many-decade context. Media coverage omitting that context misleadingly raises alarm. Greenland’s shrinking ice is a prime example of that practice.

If Greenland’s ice loss continues to slow, headline writers will have to find some other aspect of Greenland’s changes to grab our attention, and politicians will surely find some other reason to justify their favorite climate policies.


A "preference cascade" for global warming

Writing in the Daily Telegraph James Morrow referred to something called a preference cascade which he said was a term used by political scientists.

This term (new to me) set my wordsmith’s whiskers tingling so I did a bit of digging. It appears that preference cascade was coined by Turkish economist Timur Kuran, It means that average people behave the way they think they ought to, even though that behaviour might not reflect their own personal feelings. Given a sufficient ‘A-ha!’ moment when they discover that their personal feelings are overshadowed by a large portion of the population their behaviour may change dramatically—as they feel compelled to fall in line with others.

I wonder if this is what has happened to the climate debate? From the 1980s (when climate hysteria began) most ordinary Australians applied their common sense to the issue. They thought that ‘global warming’ sounded a lot better than ‘global freezing’. On top of which, there’s no point is worrying about it because governments can’t control the climate any more than they can control next Wednesday’s weather.

But as the years have gone on, school children have been brainwashed, the hysteria has become more and more alarmist and I now wonder if many are not thinking, ‘Well, it makes no sense to me, but if that’s what most people think…’. At which point the dominoes start to tumble and a preference cascade happens? If that really is what has occurred, then the irresponsible, alarmist media has a lot to answer for.


Yamaha Gets Busy Crafting A 5-Liter V8 Hydrogen Engine For Toyota

Is internal combustion dead? Not if some companies have anything to say about it

In November, 2021, five major automotive and motorcycle companies announced their plans to collaborate on carbon neutrality. Kawasaki, Yamaha, Mazda, Subaru, and Toyota all pledged to work together on projects they didn’t spell out in detail just then. Their joint press release also voiced the eventual expectation that Honda and Suzuki would join at some yet-to-be-determined point in the future.

Now it’s February, 2022, and Yamaha and Toyota announced plans to jointly develop a 5.0-liter V8 engine powered entirely by hydrogen. The goal, the two companies say, is to not give up entirely on the internal combustion engine while still pursuing all the companies’ stated carbon neutrality goals. It’s the next phase in that previously-announced multi-company collaboration, and it certainly won’t be the last.

“We are working toward achieving carbon neutrality by 2050,” Yamaha Motor president Yoshihiro Hidaka said in a statement. “At the same time, ‘Motor’ is in our company name and we accordingly have a strong passion for and level of commitment to the internal combustion engine.”

Also Betting Big On Hydrogen:

Why France May Be Pushing Hard For Hydrogen-Powered Scooters
Segway Introduces Apex H2 Electric-Hydrogen Hybrid Prototype
“Hydrogen engines house the potential to be carbon-neutral while keeping our passion for the internal combustion engine alive at the same time. Teaming up with companies with different corporate cultures and areas of expertise as well as growing the number of partners we have is how we want to lead the way into the future,” Hidaka concluded.

The carbon neutrality of hydrogen as a fuel is a possibility—but as we’ve mentioned previously, a whole lot of things have to happen end-to-end for it to be more than a pipe dream. That’s the goal of so-called green hydrogen, but the complexity and expense are two reasons why so-called blue hydrogen is presently the more popular option. (Well, that and the fact that blue hydrogen production still utilizes natural gas, and gas companies don’t exactly want to get left out in the cold.)

Anyway, Yamaha's V8 hydrogen engine is intended for use in automobiles. It makes a claimed 450 horsepower at 6,800 rpm, as well as peak torque of 540 newton-meters (or 398 pound-feet) at 3,600 rpm. We’re all for combining performance, usability, fun, and environmental sustainability whenever possible—but can manufacturers really have it all? That remains to be seen.




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