Thursday, May 12, 2022

India relaxes environment rules for coal mines, citing heatwave

India has relaxed environmental compliance rules for coal mines seeking to ramp up production as power outages exacerbate a sweltering heatwave, a government notice showed.

Coal makes up more than two-thirds of India's energy needs, even as unseasonably hot weather illustrates the threat from climate change caused by burning fossil fuels.

Soaring temperatures have prompted higher energy demand in recent weeks and left India facing a 25-million-tonne shortfall at a time when coal spot prices have skyrocketed since the start of the year.

In a letter dated May 7 seen by AFP, the Environment Ministry said it has allowed a "special dispensation" to the Ministry of Coal to relax certain requirements -- like public consultations -- so mines could operate at increased capacities.

The relaxation comes after it received a request from the Ministry of Coal "stating that there is huge pressure on domestic coal supply in the country and all efforts are being made to meet the demand of coal for all sectors".

Coal mining projects previously cleared to operate at 40-percent capacity may now increase capacity to 50 percent without undertaking fresh environment impact studies, the authority said.

The letter coincided with the government launching a new scheme last week to lease abandoned state-owned coal pits to private mining companies, assuring them of fast-track environment approvals.


WCVB Is Wrong, Climate Change Isn’t Destroying East Coast Lighthouses

A Google news search for the term “climate change” today revealed a post by WCVB5, Boston’s ABC affiliate, claiming lighthouses along the U.S. east coast are being threatened with destruction from rising seas caused by climate change. Rising seas may threaten some lighthouses, but data indicates climate change is not to blame.

In the story, titled “Rising sea levels, climate change putting beloved New England lighthouses at risk,” meteorologist Mike Wankum, links climate change, rising sea levels, and the threat the latter pose to some New England lighthouses.

“Lighthouses are beloved beacons of New England’s rugged coast built to protect vessels approaching our rocky shoreline,” writes Wankum. “But historic lighthouses now are in danger as sea levels rise steadily — a result of our changing climate.”

Wankum notes that while many lighthouses lie atop peninsulas or jetties jutting out from the coast, others reside on barrier islands of various sizes, other don’t even have an island beneath them but rather were built upon a solid granite shelf jutting out from the sea. Many of these lighthouses, Wankum reports, have become eroded by storms, tides, massive waves, and rising seas over time, which he implies is due to climate change enhancing storms and contributing to sea level rise.

Wankum presents no evidence for his claims, and the evidence that does exist refutes the idea that climate change is causing worsening storms or greater sea level rise.

The closest the WCVB article comes to citing data is when Wankum notes that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) global sea levels have risen on average eight inches over the past 100 years. Wankum leaves out context. Global sea level has risen approximately 400 feet since the beginning of the end of the most recent ice age between 20,000 and 12,000 years ago. The eight inch rise is much lower than the rate of rise over much of the Holocene. The rate of sea level rise has increased and decreased at various times since then, slowing and accelerating on the order of tens, hundreds, and thousands of years over the past 20,000 years. None of that variance had anything to do with human activities. Indeed, as NASA reports, sea level always rises between ice ages as ice sheets retreat. During the last interglacial period between ice ages, seas were four to six meters higher than we are experiencing today.

As explored in Climate Realism here, here, and here, for example, there has been no increase in the rate of rise over the past 30 years, but rather the purported increase is an artifact of poor accounting for switching between satellite data records.

Indeed, Climate Realism and Climate at a Glance: Sea Level Rise have repeatedly debunked claims that climate change enhanced sea level rise is threatening locations up and down the Eastern Seaboard, for instance, Maine, Massachusetts, Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida.

In short, the rate of rise in sea levels hasn’t definitively increased during the period of modern, modest warming, so it can’t be increasing the threat to coastal lighthouses.

Concerning storms, data from NOAA and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change show no increase in the number or intensity of hurricanes striking the United States. If global warming isn’t causing a worsening of storms striking the U.S. East Coast, it also cannot be causing an unnatural amount of erosion to lighthouses from those storms.

The fact that some lighthouses have, overtime, become so threatened by erosion and rising seas that, to preserve them they must be moved, is unfortunate but not surprising. Any structure located in the path of continual wave action and repeated hurricane force winds would naturally be expected to erode overtime. Seas rise during interglacial periods and will continue to do so during the present interglacial until the next ice age comes. Rather than jumping on the “climate crisis” bandwagon, WCVB, as a news organization, should present the facts: there is limited or no hard data indicating human influences on climate are exacerbating the threats nature poses to lighthouses.


Team Biden Is Fueling Food Inflation With His Climate Agenda

Going food shopping feels like getting punched in the gut. You pick up a whole roasting chicken, hoping it will feed four, and see the price — more than $10 in many New York-area stores.

A staggering $18 if the bird’s organic. Apples are close to $3 a pound. And forget buying a steak — you might have to take out a mortgage.

The Biden administration’s woke policies are to blame for food-flation, making your trip to the supermarket sheer agony.

President Joe Biden is prioritizing climate preservation over your ability to feed your family affordably.

His policies are driving up the costs of fertilizer, energy, and farm-to-store transportation. Add to that overall inflation driven by excessive federal-government spending. The result is sky-high food prices.

There’s no relief in sight. You can expect record-breaking food-flation through the rest of 2022, according to Bank of America market analysts.

On Tuesday, Biden spoke to the nation on what he billed as his plan to remedy inflation. But in fact, he just repeated the same list of unsubstantiated excuses for why prices keep rising.

Americans have been whiplashed with a series of phony White House explanations for soaring prices. First Biden blamed profiteering oil producers, then colluding meatpackers, then “Putin’s price hike.”

The president’s media cheerleaders are covering up the actual causes. Washington Post columnist Heather Long announced Sunday that Americans are entering a “new age of scarcity” when “a lot of everyday life remains out of control.”

As if food inflation is as inevitable as lunar eclipses. Wrong.

Biden’s damaging policies can be reversed.

Start with fertilizers and pesticides, which are costing American farmers 50% more than just a year ago.

Chemical fertilizers are made largely from natural gas. Ending Biden administration restrictions on domestic natural-gas production, including opening up exploration and production on federal lands and offshore, will help bring down fertilizer prices, say Heritage Foundation agricultural experts Daren Bakst and Joshua Loucks.

Biden’s war on fossil fuels pushed up the cost of fertilizer before Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine. True, Russia is a fertilizer producer, but the war in Ukraine is merely making a self-imposed problem worse.

Reducing fertilizer costs is critical to making fruits and vegetables affordable, and also meat. Feed prices for livestock and poultry went up 12.7% last year, largely because of soaring fertilizer prices. If feeding beef cattle costs less, steaks will too.

Energy inflation drives up food prices in another way. Shipping goods within the United States costs nearly 25% more than a year ago, per St. Louis Federal Reserve data, thanks to the trucker shortage but also fuel prices.

You’d think Biden would be bending over backward to tackle the food-price crisis. Instead, he’s doubling down on climate extremism — food shoppers be damned.

The federal Conservation Reserve Program pays farmers to leave farmland idle. Agricultural groups asked Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack for permission to cultivate idle land, but Vilsack said no, predicting a “detrimental impact on … efforts to mitigate climate change.”

Not all the factors pushing up food prices are within Biden’s control. Avian flu is ravaging poultry and egg producers.

Drought is curbing production in California. Putin’s war is diminishing wheat production in Ukraine. But Biden has the power to tame food-flation, by standing up to the climate extremists in his own party.

He should also curb overall inflation by calling for tight monetary policy (the Federal Reserve’s job) and halting out-of-control federal spending, including shelving even a pared-down Build Back Better.

Sadly the president offered none of these remedies in Tuesday’s speech.

What can average Americans do? Shop smart. Those precooked supermarket chickens are loss leaders — a bargain designed to lure you into the store. They actually cost less than uncooked chicken, though they tend to be smaller.

You can vote smart too. There’s a direct relationship between who governs in Washington and what you’re paying at the checkout.

Biden must be channeling Marie Antoinette, who dismissed public anguish over the price of bread by saying, “Let them eat cake.”


A clean future or merely greenwashing? Critics claim Coalition's hydrogen plans are a 'fig leaf' for fossil fuels

Plans by the federal government to develop a "clean" hydrogen industry in Australia have been branded greenwashing by critics who say taxpayer money is being used to subsidise fossil fuel activities.

The government says every technology that could help decarbonise the economy should be available for use

The government has announced plans for a series of hydrogen hubs around the country as part of efforts to kickstart production of the fuel and decarbonise the economy.

About $500 million has been earmarked for hydrogen hubs for industrial centres in places including Western Australia, the Northern Territory, Queensland and Tasmania.

But the spending has drawn fire amid claims much of the money would be invested in so-called blue hydrogen, which is made using natural gas rather than renewable energy.

The Australia Institute, a left-leaning think-tank, argued the funding defeated the purpose of building a hydrogen industry.

The institute's climate and energy program director, Richie Merzian, said clean hydrogen could "be one of two things".

"You can make it using renewable energy, which is a zero-emissions process," Mr Merzian said.

"Or you can make it using fossil fuels, which is a really dirty process." 'Might as well use the fossil fuels'

Climate Energy Finance director Tim Buckley backed the concept behind hydrogen hubs, which were aimed at putting producers of the fuel alongside big users such as industrial customers.

But Mr Buckley described as greenwashing the government's support for blue hydrogen, which he said was a "fig leaf" to hide the continuation of the natural gas industry.

The former investment banker said producing hydrogen from gas instead of renewable energy made no sense.

"At the end of the day, if you are going to make hydrogen from fossil fuels, you might as well just use the fossil fuels," Mr Buckley said.

"Why go through the extra processing steps, the extra cost, to use hydrogen?

"You might as well just use the gas, the coal, the electricity in the first place."




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