Friday, June 17, 2022

How millions of lives can be saved if the US acts now on climate

Utter rubbish. Warming would SAVE lives. Winter is the time of dying, not summer

The rapidly shrinking window of opportunity for the US to pass significant climate legislation will have mortal, as well as political, stakes. Millions of lives around the world will be saved, or lost, depending on whether America manages to propel itself towards a future without planet-heating emissions.

For the first time, researchers have calculated exactly how many people the US could save by acting on the climate crisis. A total of 7.4 million lives around the world will be saved over this century if the US manages to cut its emissions to net zero by 2050, according to the analysis.

The financial savings would be enormous, too, with a net zero America able to save the world $3.7tn in costs to adapt to the rising heat. As the world’s second largest polluter of greenhouse gases, the US and its political vagaries will in large part decide how many people in faraway countries will be subjected to deadly heat, as well as endure punishing storms, floods, drought and other consequences of the climate emergency.

“Each additional ton of carbon has these global impacts – there is a tangible difference in terms of death rates,” said Hannah Hess, associate director at the research group Rhodium, which is part of the Climate Impact Lab consortium that conducted the study. “There’s a sense of frustration over the lack of progress at the national level on climate but every action at state or local level makes a difference in terms of lives.”

The lab’s new “lives saved calculator” uses a model of historical death records and localized temperature projections to come up with an estimate for the number of lives saved if emissions are eliminated. The analysis just looks at lives at risk from extreme heat, meaning the true climate toll would be higher due to other growing threats such as flooding and strong storms.

Just 10 US states could save 3.7 million lives worldwide by cutting their emissions to net zero, largely due to their high consumption of fossil fuels. Texas alone could save 1.1 million lives. But even action in less populous states would have a benefit: Idaho is capable of saving about 68,000 lives, Kansas could save 126,000 lives and Hawaii could save about 16,000 lives.

Hess said that rising heat this century will cause an uneven distribution of deaths around the world, mainly focused on areas such as north and west Africa, as well as south Asia. India and Pakistan recently endured a brutal heatwave of temperatures reaching 122F (50C) in some places, which killed several hundred people and was made 30 times more likely by the climate crisis.

“People have different abilities to adapt depending on the resources they have to protect themselves from extreme heat,” said Hess. “The hottest places don’t all face equally elevated risk of death; it’s closely tied to economic growth. Within the US there are impacts in places like southern California and Texas, but the US is really eclipsed by poorer regions of the world when it comes to these sort of deaths.”


Climate change may NOT kill polar bears: Scientists discover a population THRIVING in the ice-free sea as the animals adapt to rising temperatures

While polar bears are often used as the poster child for climate change, a new study has cast doubt on whether rising temperatures will really kill off the animals.

Researchers from the University of Washington have discovered a new population of polar bears thriving in the ice-free sea in Southeast Greenland.

The population is genetically distinct and uniquely adapted to the ice-free environment – and could help to shed light on the future of the species amid rising temperatures.

'Polar bears are threatened by sea ice loss due to climate change,' said Dr Kristin Laidre, who led the study.

'This new population gives us some insight into how the species might persist into the future.

'But I don't think glacier habitat is going to support huge numbers of polar bears. There's just not enough of it. We still expect to see large declines in polar bears across the Arctic under climate change.'

The population has access to sea ice for four months of the year – from February to late May.

During the other eight months, the polar bears hunt seals from chunks of freshwater ice breaking off the Greenland Ice Sheet.

'The marine-terminating glaciers in Southeast Greenland are a fairly unique environment,' said co-author Twila Moon.

'These types of glaciers do exist in other places in the Arctic, but the combination of the fjord shapes, the high production of glacier ice and the very big reservoir of ice that is available from the Greenland Ice Sheet is what currently provides a steady supply of glacier ice.'

Based on historical records and Indigenous knowledge, the researchers knew there were some bears in Southeast Greenland.

However, until now, the region hasn't been studied in detail because of its unpredictable weather, jagged mountains, and heavy snowfall.

'We wanted to survey this region because we didn't know much about the polar bears in Southeast Greenland, but we never expected to find a new subpopulation living there,' Dr Laidre said.

'We just didn't know how special they were.'

In the study, the team combined 36 years of movement, genetic and demographic data to assess the population for the first time.

Their results showed that this group is comprised of a few hundred bears and is genetically distinct from any of the 19 previously known polar bear populations.

'They are the most genetically isolated population of polar bears anywhere on the planet,' said co-author Professor Beth Shapiro.

'We know that this population has been living separately from other polar bear populations for at least several hundred years, and that their population size throughout this time has remained small.'

Body measurements suggest that the adult females are smaller than other regions, and have fewer cubs, which may reflect the challenge of finding mates in the complex environment, according to the team.

Satellite tracking of adult females within the population shows that the bears are homebodies – unlike most other polar bears, who travel far over sea ice to hunt.

This group walks on ice inside protected fjords, or scramble over mountains to reach neighbouring fjords over the Greenland Ice Sheet, according to the team.

Of the 27 bears tracked, half accidentally floated an average of 120 miles south on small ice floes caught in the East Greenland coastal current, before hopping off and walking home on land.

'In a sense, these bears provide a glimpse into how Greenland's bears may fare under future climate scenarios,' Dr Laidre said.

'The sea ice conditions in Southeast Greenland today resemble what's predicted for Northeast Greenland by late this century.'

The population has access to sea ice for four months of the year – from February to late May.

During the other eight months, the polar bears hunt seals from chunks of freshwater ice breaking off the Greenland Ice Sheet.


The Revenge Of The ‘Fossil Fuels’

Energy prices across the board — from thermal coal and natural gas to diesel and gasoline — have surged over the past year and have only been accentuated by the financial sanctions on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine.

On Monday, Goldman Sachs published a report that revised its oil price outlook higher (again), raising its peak summer price forecast for Brent crude from $125/barrel to $140/barrel. But it is not only crude oil prices that are likely to remain stronger for longer.

Countries around the world are struggling with energy shortages and price spikes as energy security and affordability are propelled to the policy centre-stage after Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine.

Yet it would be myopic to view surging energy prices merely as a result of the Russian invasion.

The recent price spikes in fuels are a cumulative result of government policies in the West that have focused obsessively with the speculative, model-based forecasts of the climate impacts of carbon emissions.

The climate industrial complex has vilified ‘fossil fuels’ over the past few decades in the name of a presumed impending climate apocalypse. It starved the oil, gas and coal sectors of capital investments and diverted trillions of dollars of public funds to subsidize wind, solar and electric vehicle industries.

What Stranded Resources?

Mark Carney, the “rock star” ex-central banker, is a member of the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum and became the UN Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance in 2019.

He was appointed finance advisor for the UK presidency of the COP26 United Nations Climate Change conference in Glasgow held in November. Mr. Carney spent the last few years persuading the world’s financial institutions that ‘fossil fuels’ – accounting for over 80 per cent of global primary energy supply – are “stranded assets” on a one-way trajectory to zero value as the world races to “net zero (carbon emissions) by 2050”.

Mr. Carney isn’t the only illustrious professional on the “fossil-fuels-are-stranded-resources” bandwagon.

A short list would include U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, BlackRock BLK -2.4% chief executive Larry Fink and Fatih Birol, the Executive Director of the International Energy Agency.

They assert an “existential threat” of ‘climate change’ caused by the combustion of ‘fossil fuels’. These leaders in finance and public policy circles are joined in the popular media by climate Jeremiahs such as Al Gore, Bill McKibben and Prince Charles who have used their bully pulpits to encourage divestment from fossil fuel companies.

One year ago, ExxonMobil gained much media attention as it was forced to concede three board seats to climate activist investor Engine No. 1 in the industry’s biggest and most closely watched corporate contest.

Critics of the company’s business strategy railed against the company’s “lack of attention” to alarmist climate concerns. The company had fallen out of favour of the “Woke Inc.” Wall Street hedge funds and was ditched from the Dow Jones index in 2020.

And now, the company is the darling of Wall Street as it spews cash for shareholders. According to analyst Stephen Richardson cited by a Bloomberg piece on ExxonMobil’s remarkable turnaround in its stock price, “every conceivable headwind has become a tailwind” given the “structural deficit” in crude oil markets.

The Green Pain Is “Worth It”

But the revenge of the ‘fossil fuels’ is hardly restricted to ExxonMobil’s resurgent stock value. It is no small irony that a vast swath of the U.S. — from the Great Lakes to the West Coast, covering some two-thirds of the world’s richest country — is at risk of blackouts this summer according to the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC).

As expected, progressive commentators and NERC itself blame this on predicted extreme heat and drought. Yet the US has had extreme weather before.

After decades of shutting down reliable (i.e. dispatchable power 24/7) coal and nuclear generating plants and replacing them with erratic, weather-dependent solar and wind power, the US national grid is now destabilized and vulnerable to surges in demand and supply.

Last year’s near-catastrophic blackouts in Texas after a sudden cold snap is illustrative. As one editorial of a major national newspaper put it after NERC’s warning: “Summer is around the corner, and we suggest you prepare by buying an emergency generator, if you can find one in stock… Welcome to the ‘green energy transition’.”

Europe and the UK, global leaders in the “energy transition” efforts, also face potential blackouts as aggressive retirements of nuclear, coal and gas-fuelled plants have been replaced by unreliable renewables over the past two decades.

A shortage of gas this winter could leave six million homes in the UK without power, the UK government recently warned.

True to “the revenge of fossil fuels” theme, the government has asked coal power stations it had previously ordered to close down to remain open.

As if putting salt into an open wound, the IEA’s executive director Fatih Birol warned that Europe could be forced to start rationing energy this winter especially if the winter is cold and China’s economy rebounds.

This is the same person who announced the astonishing Net Zero “roadmap” — published by the IEA with much fanfare in May 2021 — which called for the global cessation of all new investments in ‘fossil fuels’.


Australia: Green lunacy

He mentions storage but shows no awareness of its monstrous cost if it were to replace much generating

Chris Bowen has furiously dismissed suggestions that prolonging coal-fired power is the solution to Australia's energy crisis

The Energy Minister Minister fired-up in a press conference when he was challenged by a journalist about the unreliability of renewable energy.

One of the reasons given for the National Electricity Market suspension on Wednesday was a lack of wind and solar power.

The journalist asked: 'Isn't part of the supply problem the fact that you cannot direct wind into the market?

'The only thing you can do is to keep the coal-fired generators going to their end of life and to fix the ones that you have got now and include them in the capacity market, isn't that the short-term fix?'

Minister Bowen said the solution is to rapidly invest in renewable energy and storage - not more unreliable coal power.

'The problem is there is not enough investment in renewable energy. There hasn't been enough investment in storage,' he said.

'Yes, you can say the wind doesn't always blow and the sun doesn't always shine. The rain doesn't always fall either but we can store the water and we can store renewable energy if we have the investment.

'That investment has been lacking for the last decade. That is the problem.'

Mr Bowen said the current crisis has 'largely' been caused by unexpected outages at coal-fired power stations which are nearing the end of their lifespans.

Opposition leader Peter Dutton cautioned Labor against moving into renewables too quickly, risking further power shortages down the track.

'Labor is rushing toward a new system when it's not at a sensible pace,' he told 2GB.

'They went into the election promising electricity bills would be cheaper and that is not going to happen.'

Last night hospitals were ordered to reduce electricity use and millions of people urged not to use basic appliances.

The potential for mass blackouts has increased with about 1800MW of coal-fired power not operating in Queensland and 1200MW of capacity offline in the states of NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.

The Tomago aluminium smelter in NSW, the country's biggest electricity user, was also forced to cut production to reduce the chance of a blackout.

NSW Treasurer Matt Kean on Wednesday evening begged residents not to run dishwashers until late at night, and Sydney hospital staff were ordered to conserve power in all non-clinical settings.

'This is the result of two-and-a-half decades of policy failures by all sides of politics,' Victorian state Liberal MP Tim Smith said on Wednesday night. 'Like a third world country, we are rationing power in the two first weeks of winter.'

Former Victorian Liberal Party President Michael Kroger said Australia had become 'an international laughing stock' over the crisis.

'We've got more uranium, oil, gas, gold, diamonds, whatever. We are the most energy rich country on the globe,' he told Sky News on Wednesday night. 'We're exploding with natural resources, yet we have an energy crisis. What a farce.'




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