Thursday, August 04, 2022

Current drought in the Colorado river basin is nothing new

Tree Rings Reveal Unmatched 2nd Century Drought in the Colorado River Basin

Subhrendu Gangopadhyay et al.


The ongoing 22-year drought in the Upper Colorado River Basin (UCRB) has been extremely severe, even in the context of the longest available tree-ring reconstruction of annual flow at Lees Ferry, Arizona, dating back to 762 CE. While many southwestern drought assessments have been limited to the past 1,200 years, longer paleorecords of moisture variability do exist for the UCRB. Here, gridded drought-atlas data in the UCRB domain along with naturalized streamflow data from the instrumental period (1906–2021) are used in a K-nearest neighbor nonparametric algorithm to develop a streamflow reconstruction for the Lees Ferry gage starting in 1 CE. The reconstruction reveals a second-century drought unmatched in severity by the current drought or by well-documented medieval period droughts in the UCRB. Although data are sparse, analysis of individual long tree-ring records and other paleoclimatic data also support the occurrence of an exceptional second-century drought.

Plain Language Summary

The Colorado River drought we currently are experiencing is severe in the context of the 116-year gage record (1906–2021), but how severe is it in a long-term context? Existing tree-ring based reconstructions of Colorado River streamflow have suggested that the 22-year period 2000–2021 could be the worst drought in the southwestern United States in 1,200 years. The purpose of this study is to extend the Colorado River reconstruction back 2,000 years and to evaluate the current drought in a long-term context. We find that an even more extreme drought occurred and persisted over much of the second century. Data are sparse this far back in time, but evidence from both tree-ring data and paleoclimate data from lakes, bogs, and caves supports the existence and severity of this drought in the context of the last two millennia. Additional work is needed to learn more about this drought and its causes, but we now know that drought more persistent than even the well-documented medieval period droughts occurred in the past, expanding our understanding of the range of natural climate variability.


Biden’s carbon energy starvation plan contains $369 billion green subsidies, $25 billion of carbon taxes

By Robert Romano

President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda has sprung back to life amid consideration of Senate Democrats’ budget reconciliation bill for 2022 that will contain $369 billion of green subsides for solar, wind and electric vehicles, and another $25 billion of additional taxes on the fossil fuel industry, all in a bid to reduce carbon emissions by 40 percent by 2030.

The goal is to reduce carbon-based energy consumption and eventually, to bury carbon for good, even as sky-high energy inflation brought upon by artificial reductions in energy production of oil and gas during Covid that have still not fully recovered.

The rest of the inflation was similarly brought about by economic lockdowns, labor shortages and other production shortfalls that once demand recovered has driven prices quite high.

The truth is, it won’t get any better, any time soon unless we boost oil and gas production in the U.S. Biden’s budget will do the opposite, eliminating oil, coal and gas tax credits, resulting in an additional $25 billion of revenue over the next ten years, reports the Joint Committee on Taxation.

Additionally, the Environmental Defense Fund reports a breakdown of the $369 billion of green subsidies, including, “$250 billion for new refinancing and investment tools to reduce consumer electricity costs through reinvestment at existing and retired energy infrastructure sites,” a $27 billion green infrastructure bank, and “$40 billion in loan authority to help innovative energy technologies, like energy storage, battery and building efficiency technologies reach commercial deployment.”

Also, there is another $9 billion for consumer home rebates, $2 billion for newt transmission lines for solar and wind and $18 billion for Indian tribes energy development.

But there’s no money for new oil refineries, even though we desperately need them.

The bill will not complete the Keystone XL pipeline, even though it would boost North American oil output considerably.

The budget will not expand federal oil and gas leasing or subsidize it in any way, even as carbon-based energy shortages are strangling Europe’s economy and emboldening Russia, which just cut gas output to Europe via the Nordstream pipeline in half.

In fact, oil production in the U.S. is still below pre-Covid levels, and natural gas has only just caught up, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports. Coal production peaked in 2008 at 1.17 billion short tons, according to EIA. By 2020, it was down to 535 million short tons.

There is no provision to eliminate environmental, social and other non-fiduciary considerations in tax-free retirement investments, even though those subsidies are absolutely strangling the movement of capital into carbon that we desperate need.

The goal is to strangle the U.S. carbon energy industry, and it’s already working.

If for no other reason than the war in Ukraine, Biden’s green economic transformation should have been postponed, but sensing Congress is slipping through his grasp with the November midterms rapidly approaching — Republicans are favored to win back the House this year — he is proceeding apace with his anti-carbon agenda.

In the latest Economist-YouGov poll only 11 percent said climate change and the environment was their most important issue. 22 percent say inflation, and prices, and another 11 percent say the economy and jobs.

That might call into question just how sustainable Biden’s plan is politically, if it poses so many risks abroad and here at home. In that sense, this is all a huge gamble — that the public won’t overwhelmingly turn against this carbon energy starvation plan in 2022 — and again in 2024.


End Carbon Imperialists’ Impoverishment of Africa

When citizens in London, Vienna, and Berlin are at risk of blackouts due to energy shortages, their governments turn to coal-fired plants to rescue them. We witnessed this as the Russian gas embargo forced European states to suppress their revulsion to coal — a bit like a produce shortage causing vegans to run to steak houses.

But what about Africa? Millions of Africans are being systematically forced by the elites of Europe and North America into a future free of fossil fuels and rife with poverty. This is carbon imperialism where Western leaders, who have embraced climate superstitions, control what kind of energy people in Africa use.

Philosopher Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò calls the phenomenon climate colonialism, defining it as the

“deepening or expansion of foreign domination through climate initiatives that exploit poorer nations’ resources or otherwise compromises their sovereignty.”

The story of economic success is the same regardless of where one looks: North America and Europe during the industrial era or the India and China of recent decades. In all cases, fossil fuels have been the predominant drivers behind meaningful, long-term economic development.

To expect Africa to produce the same out of thin air (literally wind technology) is to display an arrogance that denies the physical realities of generating electricity and the energy poverty of millions.

“Sub-Saharan Africa has the lowest energy access rates in the world,” reports the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. “Electricity reaches only about half of its people; roughly 600 million people lack electricity and 890 million cook with traditional fuels (polluting and harmful).”

The online publication ESI Africa points out that

“a kettle boiled twice a day by a family in Britain uses 5x as much electricity as a person in Mali uses per year. A Tanzanian takes 8 years to consume as much electricity as an American consumes in 1 month, while a freezer in the United States consumes 10x more electricity than a Liberian in North Africa uses in 1 year.”

Africans thus have the barest of energy supplies, far less than what is regarded as a basic convenience in rest of the world. And no end to abject poverty in sight.

The solution to Africa’s immediate energy needs and long-term economic improvement is more investment in coal, oil, and natural gas — fuels that offer reliability and affordability.

“It is through manufacturing goods, be it value addition in agriculture, high tech components, tractors, machine tools, household goods or even bread that sub-Saharan African economies will reduce poverty by supplying productive employment and enabling economic growth,” explains PD Lawton, a researcher committed to the continent’s restoration.

The International Energy Agency notes that current investments in the power sector, especially fossil fuels, is well below the required levels, though easily achievable. However, Africa, already under-financed, faces campaigns to prohibit funding of fossil-fuel projects.

Climate crusaders accomplish their objectives both through international policies and domestic measures. Internationally, carbon imperialists use devices such as the Paris Agreement to ban hydrocarbons. Further suffocating development, major funding institutes are halting the flow of funds to fossil-fuel projects. The World Bank, African Development Bank, and numerous large donor organizations in Europe have stated that they won’t finance any new such initiatives in Africa.

This is condemning African states to perpetual poverty and to dependence on pathetically unreliable renewable energy installations. At the domestic level, the climate crusade is led by environmentalists and and so-call climate-justice groups.

In South Africa for example, activists in 2021 told Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe to abandon plans to develop 1,500 megawatts of new coal-fired generation or be taken to court. Grassroot activism and propaganda are key tools of global carbon imperialists to sway public opinion.

However, more and more leaders are standing up to the imperialists. In June, Niger President Mohamed Bazoum said,

“Africa is being punished by the decisions of Western countries to end public financing for foreign fossil-fuel projects by the end of 2022…We are going to continue to fight, we have fossil fuels that should be exploited.

“Let the African continent be allowed to exploit its natural resources. It is frankly unbelievable that those who have been exploiting oil and its derivatives for more than a century prevent African countries from reaping the value of their resources.”

President Bazoum is right. To use naturally available energy sources is an inalienable right of every sovereign nation. Africa’s destiny should be decided by its people.


Electric vehicles no good for towing anything

Australia is a nation of ute [pickup] and 4WD enthusiasts, and this is the market EV makers need to focus on if they want to win us over.

Chinese electric car maker BYD says it plans to introduce five models in Australia within the next two years, including an electric dual-cab ute.

“We love the ute. We have a product that’s been in development for some time,” EVDirect managing director Luke Todd told Drive.

“We will hold back on announcing actual timing, but what I can say is when the BYD electric ute does come to the country, it will be a game-changer.

“It’s coming. I know it’s coming. There’s a whole factory prepping to build this thing.

But the first electric ute to be sold in Australia will probs be the Chinese LDV eT60, which is already being sold in NZ.

Drive says the same model with a slightly different name is due in Australian showrooms within the next six months or so at an estimated cost of $60,000.

And yet these pioneering EV utes have nothing on the tried-and-true diesel models.

“Maximum towing capacity for the LDV eT60 electric ute is rated at 1500kg (versus 3000kg for the diesel variant),” Drive says.

“However, LDV advises driving range is cut in half when towing at the maximum 1500kg capacity.




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