Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Ozone scare still staggering on

If you read the report carefully below, you will see that the hole has been EXPANDING in recent years, not shrinking and that it is "still large" compared to the 1980s. So their optimism about it shrinking is just speculative modelling. It is 35 years since the agreement designed to close the hole was made but on the actual measurements the hole is clearly going nowhere

Earth's ozone layer is healing at a pace that would see the layer between the polar regions reach pre-1980 levels by 2040, the United Nations revealed Monday.

Scientists said that global emissions of chlorofluorocarbon-11 (CFC-11), a banned chemical used as a refrigerant and insulating foams, had declined since 2018 after increasing for several years.

The assessment found that the 8.91-million-square-mile hole over Antarctica will close by 2066 and the atmospheric layer above the Arctic will return to normal by 2045.

The announcement comes more than 35 years after every nation in the world agreed to stop producing chemicals that chop on the layer of ozone in Earth's atmosphere that shields the planet from harmful radiation linked to skin cancer, cataracts and crop damage.

The ozone layer is a natural layer of gas located in the stratosphere – the second layer in Earth's atmosphere.

Although warmer-than-average stratospheric weather conditions have reduced ozone depletion during the past two years, the current ozone hole area is still large compared to the 1980s - when the depletion of the ozone layer above Antarctica was first detected.

In the 1970s, it was recognized that CFCs were destroying ozone in the stratosphere. In 1987, the Montreal Protocol was agreed upon, which led to the phase-out of CFCs and, recently, the first signs of recovery of the Antarctic ozone layer.

According to the report, the first signs of ozone healing were observed four years ago.

Chlorine levels are down 11.5 percent since they peaked in 1993, and bromine, which is more efficient at eating ozone but is at lower levels in the air, dropped 14.5 percent since its 1999 peak, the report said.

That bromine and chlorine levels 'stopped growing and is coming down is a real testament to the effectiveness of the Montreal Protocol,' Paul Newman, co-chair of the scientific assessment, said.

Natural weather patterns in the Antarctic also affect ozone hole levels, which peak in the fall.

And the holes have been a bit bigger the past couple of years because of that, but the overall trend is one of healing, Newman said.

The recovery is 'saving 2 million people every year from skin cancer,' United Nations Environment Program Director Inger Andersen told The Associated Press earlier this year in an email.

The Ozone layer sits in the stratosphere 25 miles above the Earth's surface and acts like a natural sunscreen
Ozone is a molecule comprised of three oxygen atoms that occurs naturally in small amounts.

In the stratosphere, roughly seven to 25 miles above Earth's surface, the ozone layer acts like sunscreen, shielding the planet from potentially harmful ultraviolet radiation that can cause skin cancer and cataracts, suppress immune systems and also damage plants.

It is produced in tropical latitudes and distributed around the globe.

Although warmer-than-average stratospheric weather conditions have reduced ozone depletion during the past two years, the current ozone hole area is still large compared to the 1980s, when the depletion of the ozone layer above Antarctica was first detected.


Attention Aspiring Chefs: The Government Is Coming for Your Gas Stoves

For some time now, environmentalists and their allies in state and local government have been ratcheting up their efforts to ban the use of gas stoves in American homes in the name of fighting climate change. Now, the federal government is stepping into the fray by claiming that those stoves are a health hazard and need to be banned in the interest of consumer safety.

According to a Bloomberg report, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is contemplating a complete ban on natural gas-powered cooktops in American homes because several recent studies suggest that they emit harmful levels of pollutants that can cause respiratory problems or other health issues. An agency commissioner, Richard Trumka, called gas stoves a “hidden hazard” and said that “products that can’t be made safe can be banned.”

Gas stoves, which some 40 percent of American households rely on, are already under fire from climate alarmists who believe they contribute to global warming. New York is one of as many as 100 cities across the country that have restricted gas hookups in new residential buildings following pressure from the climate lobby, and the California Air Resources Board recently voted to ban the sale of natural gas-fired furnaces and water heaters by 2030.

Activists in New York are pressuring the state’s governor, Kathy Hochul, to enact a statewide ban similar to New York City’s. A Brooklyn-based member of the state assembly, Emily Gallagher, is leading the charge. “Every new building that is built with gas hookups is making us poorer, sicker, and closer to climate catastrophe,” Ms. Gallagher said at a December rally promoting the ban.

A number of Republican-led states have moved in the opposite direction in the name of “energy choice.” At least 19 states have passed legislation prohibiting local jurisdictions from banning gas hookups, and four more have such legislation pending.

Lobbying by pro-gas energy companies has ramped up almost as quickly as the protests against it. Gas utilities have mounted ad campaigns, hired robo-calling companies, and organized rallies to remind Americans and their legislators what most cooking enthusiasts already know: that cooking over gas is cleaner, more efficient, and more precise than cooking over superheated electric coils. They also remind customers that gas-powered appliances such as hot water heaters, furnaces, and stovetops work even when the electricity fails.

The action by the Consumer Product Safety Commission is less about climate politics and more about public health, according to the agency. Multiple recent studies have concluded that the particulates released by gas stoves indoors may be hazardous. One study suggested that the appliances may exacerbate asthma in children, according to the climate change activists at RMI.

The commission will likely begin seeking public comments on the potential ban in the coming months. Other measures being contemplated reportedly include setting bans on emissions from gas-powered stovetops. A group of Democrats in Congress suggested last month that the agency also consider warning labels on the appliances or requiring range hoods that absorb and filter any contaminants.

In a December letter to head of the commission, Alexander Hoehn-Saric, the members suggested that Black, Latino, and low-income people are most vulnerable to the impact of gas stoves.

“The CPSC has broad authority under the Consumer Product Safety Act to regulate consumer products that pose an unreasonable risk of injury,” the letter, which was signed by Senator Booker of New Jersey and 19 other members of Congress, said. “We urge the Commission to protect consumers from these harmful emissions.”


Massive Wind and Solar Farms Imperil European Tourism

In the Galician countryside of northwest Spain, Maria Martin and her husband opened an inn six years ago offering vacationers a tranquil refuge. The ocean is a few miles away, and the Basilica de San Martiño de Mondoñedo, Spain’s oldest cathedral and an attraction for pilgrims walking the famed Camino de Santiago, lies in the same valley.

The couple and other residents are fighting a proposal to build a cluster of 345-foot tall wind turbines near the inn. The turbines are among more than 200 that Pittsburgh-based Alcoa Corp. is counting on to power the restart of a hulking aluminum smelter it owns in San Ciprian, 14 miles to the west. Alcoa idled the smelter in 2021 because of soaring electricity prices as Russia began to cut the flow of natural gas ahead of its invasion of Ukraine.

Galicia’s regional government approved the wind farm in November despite local opposition by designating it a project of strategic interest for the territory. The park also needs the approval of Spain’s national government because of its large size.

“No one can live so close to a wind farm,” Ms. Martin said. Critics say the turbines are a blight on the landscape, make noise and cast shadows. “Probably my business, my way of life, will disappear,” Ms. Martin said.

European Union governments have been replacing coal-generated electricity with natural gas and renewables such as wind and solar in recent years to cut emissions. Still, bureaucratic hurdles and local opposition meant projects take years to complete.

In 2021, the bloc’s executive arm proposed a major expansion of renewable energy over the next decade, from around 20% to 40% of the EU’s total energy consumption by 2030. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which more than tripled natural-gas prices last summer compared to before the war, led the EU to raise that target to 45%.

France, Germany, Spain and other governments in Europe are passing legislation that would declare renewable energy an overriding public interest, sweeping aside obstacles that have slowed wind and solar investment and reducing the power of interest groups to delay or block projects.

High energy prices have already forced the closure of scores of factories that form the region’s industrial backbone and employ tens of thousands. Many more are at risk, threatening the supply chains of auto makers, aerospace firms and other industrial giants. Economists at the European Commission expect the EU economy to contract 0.5% in the quarter that ended Dec. 31 and 0.1% the following quarter as factories curb production.

“If the wind farms don’t get approved, there will be problems,” said Jose Antonio Zan, a union leader at the Alcoa plant in San Ciprian. “In Spain, we don’t have oil or gas, but we have wind, and we should use it.”

In Italy, lawmakers have reined in the power of the Ministry of Culture to challenge renewable energy projects under a new law that has slashed permitting times for new solar farms in Italy to under a year. As a result, the number of projects seeking connection to the grid has soared.

The Ministry of Culture, which is charged with preserving a landscape that is sprinkled with ancient ruins, often objects to wind and solar projects, fearing they could damage antiquities or degrade the landscape’s beauty. Preservation officials within the ministry are pressing for new restrictions on development to safeguard the Italian landscape, which is listed in the Italian constitution as a protected asset.

One proposal would forbid large solar farms on more than 40,000 acres of countryside in the Lazio region around the Arrone river basin, a center of the Etruscan civilization that was dominant in Italy before the rise of Rome. The proposed restriction prompted an outcry from solar industry executives and some Italian lawmakers who say dozens of planned solar farms would be delayed indefinitely. Cultural preservation officials postponed the proposal for further consultations after Lazio’s regional government opposed it.

In Galicia, one of the most blustery corners of Europe, the regional government is accelerating the construction of wind farms to provide electricity for local factories. It has pledged expedited reviews of projects that have signed contracts with manufacturers in Galicia for at least 50% of their output.

Spain already has one of the world’s highest wind-energy capacities, with more than 28,000 megawatts installed across the country. Wind was its second-leading electricity source in 2021, after natural gas, accounting for 23% of electricity production, according to the International Energy Agency. Galicia’s powerful winds have attracted much of that investment: There are more than 4,000 wind turbines spread over a region slightly smaller than the state of Maryland.

Critics say the turbines have marred Galicia’s natural vistas and cultural sites that date back to the Roman empire. Tourism accounted for 10% of GDP and 11% of total employment in the region, according to 2019 data.

The turbines can be seen in many places along the Camino de Santiago, one of the most important pilgrimages in Christianity. Since the Middle Ages, pilgrims have been walking its various routes through Galicia to the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela. Legend has it that St. James’ bones were taken there after he was beheaded in Jerusalem by King Herod.

Some routes of the camino run so close to turbines that pilgrims say they can hear the whoosh they make spinning. Priscilla White, who runs an inn on one of the routes, said the turbines change the ambience of the pilgrimage. “Because we walk an ancient path, we like to think it looks the same way as it always looked, but you can’t do that anymore,” said Ms. White, vice chair of the Confraternity of St. James, a British organization that helps pilgrims.


Vital Energy Lessons For Virginia and America

When they open their 30-day session on January 11, Virginia’s Senate and House of Delegates must correct some serious energy mistakes they made two years ago, when Democrats controlled nearly the entire state government and passed the “Virginia Clean Economy Act.”

One of those party-line decisions requires that Virginia adopt California’s requirement that only low-emission vehicles (LEVs) be sold by the model year 2025 and only zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) by MY 2035. That means in barely twelve years only new electric vehicles (EVs) could be sold in Virginia.

Again mimicking California, in addition to EVs, the VCEA also requires a massive shift from affordable, reliable coal and natural gas-generated electricity to expensive, weather-dependent, land-intensive wind and solar electricity, stabilized and backed up by huge batteries.

As I’ve explained previously (here, here, here, and here), this is unworkable. Texas, Buffalo, and the Midwest have demonstrated that heavy reliance on wind and solar can bring deadly blackouts during blizzards. California told residents not to charge their soon-to-be-mandatory EVs during last summer’s heat waves, to prevent blackouts. Switzerland might ban EV charging this winter for the same reason.

The Suburban Virginia Republican Coalition PAC (SUVGOP) recognizes these realities and understands that the wind turbines, solar panels, and transmission lines will not be in Democrat strongholds like Alexandria, Arlington, Falls Church, and Richmond. They will be in beautiful rural Virginia, which will also be hardest hit by bans on gasoline and diesel vehicles. SUVGOP has therefore gotten the ball rolling on reversing these ill-advised laws, by launching a campaign to repeal LEV/ZEV mandates.

SUVGOP calls its campaign “Don’t CA my VA.” (When I lived in the Centennial State, bumper stickers proclaimed a crasser version of this message: “Don’t Californiacate Colorado.”)

Arguments for avoiding or terminating LEV/ZEV mandates are compelling – for Virginia and America.

* While great for short hauls, EVs don’t get you far along on your 800-mile vacation trip; recharging can take hours, depending on multiple factors; and charging stations are more limited off main highways.

* You don’t want to get caught in your EV during a hurricane evacuation or blizzard, especially since already limited battery life decreases in cold weather and with heater or AC use.

* EVs (and backup batteries) can burst into chemical-fueled infernos, especially if they get immersed in water. That can be catastrophic and deadly if the EV is in a home or underground garage (or on a cargo ship loaded with EVs).

* EVs require 3-4 times more metals than internal-combustion cars: copper, iron, nickel, aluminum, cobalt, lithium, rare earth, and others. Those materials don’t just appear via Materials Acquisition for Global Industrial Change mechanisms (MAGIC). They must be dug out and processed, somewhere.

China’s BYD Auto company alone used 13,000 tons of copper to make EVs in 2016. Based on average porphyry ore deposits today, every 100,000 tons of copper requires processing 23,000,000 tons of copper ore, after removing 35,000,000 tons of overlying rock – using explosives and fossil fuels!

Start calculating how many billions of tons of copper and other metals and minerals would be required for all the EVs, wind turbines, solar panels, transmission lines, and grid-stabilizing and backup batteries in Virginia, your state, or the United States, or the entire world, are planning to mandate. Then calculate how many trillions of tons of ore would require – and how much mining, blasting, processing, and fuel.

Where will all that work take place? In whose backyards? With how much ecological destruction, air and water pollution, hazardous waste generation, slave and child labor, and human health risks?

“Clean” energy and vehicles? There may be zero emissions out of Virginia EV tailpipes – maybe even at the electricity source, if it comes from wind or solar power when the wind is blowing and the sun is shining.

But there are no “zero emissions” for mining, processing, and manufacturing. It just happens somewhere else, often in Africa or Asia, often by Chinese companies – affecting someone else’s air and water quality, scenery, croplands, wildlife habitats, wildlife, health, and well-being.

Meanwhile, millions of acres of Virginia and US lands would be covered with turbines, panels, transformers, and transmission lines; millions of birds, bats, and other animals would be killed annually.

Bottom line: There is no such thing as “clean, green, renewable, sustainable” energy or vehicles. It’s just a matter of where and how and how much the mining and materials processing, manufacturing, and emissions take place. It’s just a matter of how good the “green” PR programs are; and whether US environmentalists, journalists, and politicians recognize or censor these realities.

Earth’s atmospheric, oceanic and climate systems are global. The loss of habitats and species is a global problem. We should act locally, and think globally.

Regarding backup batteries, the VCEA mandates the acquisition of 3,100 megawatts of storage. Assuming legislators meant 3,100 megawatt-hours, this would require some 36,000 Tesla half-ton 85-kWh modules, and it would still meet less than 1% of Virginia’s average daily electricity consumption (and less than 0.5% of its peak demand). This doesn’t include batteries to stabilize wind-solar grid fluctuations.

Virginia legislators also need to address these vitally important issues:

* How many wind turbines, solar panels, transformers, backup/grid-balancing battery modules, and miles of new transmission lines will The Old Dominion need to replace existing coal and gas generation?

* How many more will it require after half of all cars, trucks, and buses are electric? After families are forced to convert gas home and water heating, stoves, and ovens to electricity – and upgrade home and neighborhood electrical systems to handle the added loads?

* Where and on whose property will all these “renewable” systems and power lines be installed? How many millions of acres of land and coastal areas will be impacted? Will residents or local governments be able to veto developments? How often will the eminent domain be employed?

* How many millions (billions?) of tons of metals, minerals, carbon-fiber composites, plastics, concrete, and other materials will be needed? How much ore, overburden, and fuel?

* How many of these materials (and turbines, panels, battery modules, and transformers) will come from China or other adversarial nations, or their surrogates?

* Under what pollution control, wildlife habitat and endangered species protection, workplace safety, slave and child labor, and other “responsible sourcing” laws will all this work be done?

* Where will worn-out, broken, and obsolete solar panels, wind turbine blades, and other non-recyclable equipment be landfilled?

* How many billions or trillions of dollars will all this cost ratepayers and taxpayers?

It takes more than declaring that actions taken under “clean economy” laws are “in the public interest” to make it so. Legislators must look beyond tailpipes, and beyond Virginia or US borders, to avoid destroying the planet with wind and solar, to save it from fossil fuels and climate change.

The 2023 legislative session is a perfect opportunity to start reexamining “clean economy” assumptions and mandates – and implementing reality-based Environment-Social-Governance (ESG) principles. Are Virginia’s legislators up to the task?


My other blogs. Main ones below

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM )

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)

http://jonjayray.com/blogall.html More blogs


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