Thursday, February 09, 2023

World’s coral reefs not declining, new paper reveals

A new paper published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation refutes alarmist claims about the state of the world's coral reefs.

According to the author, eminent reef scientist Peter Ridd, the official data show no signs of any long-term trends in reef health. Indeed, the best records - for Australia's Great Barrier Reef - suggest that coral cover is at record highs.

Dr Ridd said:

"The public are constantly told that reefs are being irreparably damaged by global warming, but bleaching events, about which there is so much doom-mongering, are simply corals' natural response to changes in the environment. They are an extraordinarily adaptable lifeform, and bleaching events are almost always followed by rapid recovery."

Dr Ridd suggests that rather than being seen as under threat from climate change, corals should actually be recognised as one of the organisms least likely to suffer harm in a warming world.

"Corals get energy from a symbiotic relationship with various species of algae. When environmental conditions change, they can rapidly switch to a different species that is better suited to the new conditions. This shapeshifting means that most setbacks they suffer will be short-lived."

Dr Ridd says that the real risks to reefs come from overfishing and pollution.

The GWPF invited responses to this paper from authors likely to dissent from its conclusions. None of the authors who were contacted accepted this invitation.


UK Govt Deploys ‘Nudge Unit’ To Brainwash People Into Embracing ‘Net Zero’

The UK government has launched a new program to manipulate and goad people into accepting “a net zero society” as the solution to so-called ‘climate change’

The Behavioural Insights Team (BIT), as it is called, was launched by the UK government in 2021 and eventually taken over by Nesta, a self-described independent charity focused on innovation.

Nesta recently put out a “guide” outlining some of the techniques that are being used to psychologically provoke the general public into accepting a new normal to ‘fight global warming’.

‘Greenhouse gas’ emissions, the report states, are evil and must be done away with by the government.

One way to do this is by launching a “nudge unit” to corral the human herd into embracing a future filled with green fascism and the loss of all freedoms, which we are told destroy the planet.

The stated purpose of the nudge unit is to brainwash people into living shackled lives for fear that if they don’t, the planet will melt, the oceans will rise, and everyone will die.

“These choices concern and consume people’s everyday lives: what they wear, what and how much they eat, how they travel to work, whether that job is ‘climate-friendly,’ how they travel just in general and where to, for example, for a vacation,” explains Reclaim the Net.

“These are all examples of what the report aims to affect from the behavioral perspective, and clearly, the ‘solution’ is to actively push citizens toward ‘social transformation’.”

Net Zero Means Zero Freedoms

The report also mentions trying to redirect people’s behaviors through their smartphone apps by reminding them, as one example, to order less takeout food because the packaging pollutes the earth.

A “net zero society” also means that people will have to eat far less food – and especially far less meat. So, the nudge unit might inform a user via his or her smartphone that ordering a smaller portion of “plant-based” items as opposed to real food is optimal for stopping ‘climate change’.

Social media influencers also play a role in this as they can instruct their followers about how to adopt more “green behaviors” that are ‘environmentally friendly’.

A celebrity, for instance, might avoid flying on her private jet for a day and instead film herself riding a bike to the store to show her followers what “saving the planet” looks like.

Individual car ownership is a no-no in the net zero society of the future, and the BIT report addresses this as well with a case study about a new “Mobility as a Service” app that is designed to encourage people to take public transportation or to just not leave their homes all that often in order to minimize ‘greenhouse gas’ emissions.

Another case study included in the report discusses “encouraging” dining establishment customers to order smaller portions of “sustainable” food items as defined by the globalists.

One concept is to create a “sustainable food easy” app that “gives many opportunities to provide timely substitution prompts, or encourage personalized goals and tips linked to product filters and ranking.”

Some of the listed partners for these case study interventions include HMG, the French government, the Crown Prince Court of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the World Wildlife Forum, Unilever, Tesco, Sky, Gumtree, and Cogo, among others.


Mainstream gets extreme weather wrong again

“If it [a scientific hypothesis] disagrees with experiment, it’s WRONG.” – Nobel Prize winner Richard Feynman

The popular but mistaken belief that weather extremes are worsening be­cause of climate change has been bolstered in recent years by ever increasing hype in nearly all mainstream media coverage of extreme events, despite a lack of scientific evidence for the assertion. This month’s story by NPR (National Public Radio) in the U.S. is just the latest in a steady drumbeat of media misinformation.

Careful examination of the actual data reveals that if there is any trend in most weather extremes, it is downward rather than upward. In fact, a 2016 survey of extreme weather events since 1900 found strong evidence that the first half of the 20th century saw more weather extremes than the second half, when global warming was more prominent. More information can be found in my recent reports on weather extremes (here, here and here).

To be fair, the NPR story merely parrots the conclusions of an ostensibly scientific report from the AMS (American Meteorological Society), Explaining Extreme Events in 2021 and 2022 from a Climate Perspective. Both the AMS and NPR claim to show how the most extreme weather events of the previous two years were driven by climate change.

Nevertheless, all the purported connections rely on the dubious field of extreme-event attribution science, which uses statistics and climate models to supposedly detect the impact of global warming on weather disasters. The shortcomings of this approach are twofold. First, the models have a dismal track record in predicting the future (or indeed of hindcasting the past); and second, attri­bution studies that assign specific extremes to either natural variability or human causes are based on highly questionable statistical meth­odology (see here and here).

So the NPR claim that “scientists are increasingly able to pinpoint exactly how the weather is changing as the earth heats up” and “how climate change drove unprecedented heat waves, floods and droughts in recent years” is utter nonsense. These weather extremes have occurred from time im­memorial, long before modern global warming began.

Yet the AMS and NPR insist that extreme drought in California and Nevada in 2021 was “six times more likely because of climate change.” This is completely at odds with a 2007 U.S. study which reconstructed the drought pattern in North America over the last 1200 years, using tree rings as a proxy.

The reconstruction is illustrated in the figure below, showing the drought area in western North America from 800 to 2003, as a percentage of the total land area. The thick black line is a 60-year mean, while the blue and red horizon­tal lines represent the average drought area during the periods 1900–2003 and 900–1300, respectively. Clearly, several unprecedently long and severe megadroughts have occurred in this region since the year 800; 2021 (not shown in the graph) was unexceptional.

The same is true for floods. A 2017 study of global flood risk concluded there is very little evidence that flooding is becoming more prevalent worldwide, despite average rainfall getting heavier as the planet warms. And, although the AMS report cites an extremely wet May of 2021 in the UK as likely to have resulted from climate change, “rescued” Victorian rainfall data reveals that the UK was just as wet in Victorian times as today.

The illusion that major floods are becoming more frequent is due in part to the world’s growing population and the appeal, in the more developed countries at least, of living near water. This has led to more people building their dream homes in vulner­able locations, on river or coastal floodplains, as shown in the next figure.

Depicted is what has been termed the “Expanding Bull’s-Eye Effect” for a hypothetical river flood impacting a growing city. It can be seen that the same flood will cause much more destruction in 2040 than in 1950. A larger and wealthier population exposes more individuals and property to the devastation wrought by intermittent flooding from rainfall-swollen rivers or storm surges. Population expansion beyond urban areas, not climate change, has also worsened the death toll and property damage from hurricanes and tornadoes.

In a warming world, it is hardly surprising that heat waves are becoming more common. However, the claim by the AMS and NPR that heat waves are now “more extreme than ever” can be questioned, either because heat wave data prior to 1950 is completely ignored in many compilations, or because the data before 1950 is sparse. No recent heat waves come close to matching the frequency and duration of those experienced worldwide in the 1930s.

The media are misleading and stoking fear in the public about perfectly normal extreme weather, although there are some notable exceptions such as The Australian. The alarmist stories of the others are largely responsible for the current near-epidemic of “climate anxiety” in children, the most vulnerable members of our society.


Realism hits oil company

BP’s record profits and its decision to slow down its sector-leading emissions-reductions push has infuriated activists, but delighted its shareholders.

Along with the other oil giants, BP had an earnings bonanza last year as the war in Ukraine caused oil and gas prices to soar as Russian gas was taken out of the market and Europe scrambled to source energy elsewhere in conditions, particular for gas, which were already tight. BP’s profit more than doubled to $US27.7 billion ($40 billion), from $US12.8 billion in 2021.

Three years ago, its CEO Bernard Looney unveiled the most ambitious response of any of the oil majors to climate change, pledging to cut BP’s oil and gas production by 40 per cent by 2030 and reduce its emissions and those of its customers by 35 to 40 per cent, compared with 2019 levels, by the end of this decade.

This week, however, along with the result, he announced a pivot from that strategy.

The company now plans to reduce oil production by “only” 25 per cent by the end of the decade, and to cut its carbon dioxide emissions by “only” 20 to 30 per cent.

It will also spend $US8 billion more than previously budgeted on new oil and gas investments and will match that figure with a similar investment in its “transition” businesses – biofuels, convenience outlets, electric charging stations, renewables and hydrogen.

By 2030, BP expects to be producing about 2 million barrels a day of oil equivalent. Its previous target was 1.5 million barrels a day.

Shareholders cheer

Unsurprisingly, the dilution of its climate goals drew fierce criticism from environmental activists, but was applauded by shareholders and market analysts who have been frustrated that BP (and Shell) shares trade at earnings multiples nearly half those of their US peers Exxon and Chevron.

The US majors are largely sticking to their knitting, investing little in renewable energy or other clean energy-related projects while maximising profits from their legacy assets and showering their shareholders with cash via dividends and share buybacks.

There is an obvious financial rationale for BP’s dialling back of its climate-related goals.

It’s not just the short-term opportunity to generate bumper profits from strong oil prices and the big spike in gas prices that a combination of the pandemic-related dearth of investment in new production and then Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have created.

According to BP, it can generate returns on investment of 15 per cent to 20 per cent from its fossil fuel projects. The returns from bioenergy are about 15 per cent, but only 6 to 8 per cent for renewables such as solar and wind. Within the new strategy and the additional investment in non-fossil fuel projects is a tilt towards biofuels, electric vehicle charging and its convenience business.

But BP would argue that there’s also a social rationale to its revised plan.

The war in Ukraine, the choking off of access to the Russian gas that supplied 40 per cent of Europe’s gas requirements and the embargoes Europe and the US imposed on Russian oil was a potential “lights off” moment for Europe and its governments.

They scrambled to secure alternate supplies, paying whatever it took to compete with the traditional Asian buyers for LNG, re-opening mothballed coal mines and expanding the production of existing mines, restarting dormant nuclear facilities and buying oil from non-Russian producers.




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