Tuesday, March 05, 2024

Sea levels around NYC could surge up to 13 inches in 2030s due to climate change: state study

This was first predicted as imminent in the '80s by Jim Hansen, one of the early prophets of global warming, but there is still no sign of it happening

Sea levels surrounding New York City are expected to rise at least 6 to 9 inches in the 2030s and potentially up to 13 inches in some areas due to climate change, according to state projections.

The assessment done by the state Department of Environmental Conservations also claims that sea levels in the lower Hudson River could swell by 23 inches in the 2050s and up to 45 inches in the 2080s.

“Sea level rise is one of the most direct and observable effects of climate change in New York and DEC is required by law to develop science-based sea level rise projections to guide decision making and permitting in the areas most at risk,” the DEC said in a statement.

By the year 2100, downstate sea levels could surge by 25 inches to 65 inches. A worst-case scenario could see a staggering 114-inch rise by the end of the century under rapid ice melt projections.

Such a dramatic rise in sea levels could decimate low-lying residential areas in the Big Apple that were pummeled during Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

The DEC posted its projections of sea levels in the New York State Register, based on studies of global climate models. The agency is required to periodically post sea-level projections under the Community Risk and Resiliency Act.

“New York is leading the nation to address the impacts of climate change, which include heatwaves, floods, more frequent storms, and sea level rise,” the DEC said.

The sea level projections do not create any edicts or compliance obligations on local governments — though they are intended as a guide to assist state and local planners and regulators in making decisions to address more storm-related floods.

Ultimately, both the rate of sea level rise and the level of rise over time will be determined by the severity of global greenhouse gas emissions, officials said.

Continued high emission rates will lock in continued rapid warming of the ocean and lead to higher rates and levels of sea level rise, DEC said.

Addressing climate change without hurting businesses and consumers is easier said than done.

Gov. Kathy Hochul has faced criticism this year over a green push targeting a key chemical used in refrigerators and air conditioners that critics say could force business owners to shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars in new equipment.

Small business owners warned the aggressive timetable to phase out hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, starting next year, could cripple businesses, icing out jobs and triggering price hikes on food items and other consumer products, as they attempt to comply with the costly mandate.


The American revolt against green energy has begun

In a story filled with all the standard climate alarmist narratives, USA Today recently reported on the rising movement by local governments in the United States to refuse to permit unwanted wind and solar industrial sites in their jurisdictions.

After setting the stage by parroting the Biden administration goals of “100 per cent clean energy by 2035, a goal that depends on the building of large-scale solar and wind,” USA Today points to the reality that such big, intrusive, ugly, and destructive industrial sites have been rejected by twice as many county governments as approved them. The writers complain that the rejections come about by some combination of “outright bans, moratoriums, construction impediments and other conditions that make green energy difficult to build,” but don’t go on to describe why the rejections are taking place.

Simply put, these huge industrial sites – we simply must stop using the friendly-sounding term “farms” to describe them – create all manner of negative consequences for local communities. Consequences like loud noise from wind turbines, hundreds of dead birds and bats sprinkled across the countryside, thousands of acres of productive farm or ranchlands taken out of production for many years if not permanently, spoiled views, enormous “graveyards” filled with 150-foot blades and solar panels popping up all over the place, and impacts to local wind and weather patterns that are only now beginning to be understood.

Those consequences and more have become increasingly clear as time has progressed, and that is making it harder for developers to gain acceptance from the communities that would serve as hosts. Such pushback is likely to grow more strident in the coming years as it becomes clear to citizens that their state governments have failed to enact effective regulatory structures requiring timely and full retirement and remediation of these industrial sites when their useful life has expired. By that time, these sites will most likely have been sold off by the big developers who built them to smaller companies that will be unlikely to be able to bear the enormous costs involved in full removal and remediation.

But by then, it will be too late for the communities to protect their rights. The only real way to protect a city or county from these myriad impacts is to refuse to allow them to be built.

Fortunately, the US legal system has been built in a way that protects the rights of all stakeholders to any industrial development. Those stakeholders include local citizens, their businesses, their local infrastructure, their archeological sites, and their government entities – those are givens. But US society has seen fit over the decades to extend similar protections to animals, plants, the water, and the air as well.

Whenever we hear developers of energy or any other industrial projects complain of lengthy and complex permitting processes with which they must comply, we must remember that almost all the hurdles they must overcome to obtain their permits relate to regulations designed to protect these stakeholder rights. In the US, those regulations relate to major environmental statutes like the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and others, like the Antiquities Act. The term “streamlining permitting” is in fact code for scaling back on those stakeholder protections.

This is the clear trade-off with which the US and other western democracies must grapple if they are to achieve their climate goals. We must recognize that essentially every “solution” that has been advanced by the climate alarmist community and the globalist elites pushing their agenda requires the implementation of authoritarian policies designed to scale back stakeholder rights, pick winners and losers in the marketplace, and force reluctant consumers to pay the price.

These kinds of forced solutions are in fact incompatible with the maintenance of a free society that protects the rights of all stakeholders. That reality is the central conundrum of this forced, heavily subsidized energy transition – which is not, in fact, a transition at all – and it is the reason why so many local governments are rejecting these proposed industrial sites. The climate alarmists understand this, which is why their rhetoric has grown more shrill and heated over time.

In democracies, we decide major issues like this through elections. So long as we ensure those elections are conducted freely and fairly, it seems unlikely voters will be willing to surrender their rights in favor of achieving nebulous climate goals.


Electric cars release more toxic emissions than petrol-powered vehicles and are worse for the environment

Electric vehicles may release more pollution than petrol-powered vehicles, according to a report that has recently resurfaced.

The study, which was published in 2022 but has begun circulating again after being cited in a WSJ op-ed, found that brakes and tyres release 1,850 times more particulate matter compared to modern exhaust pipes which have filters that reduce emissions.

It found that EVs are 30 percent heavier on average than petrol-powered vehicles, which causes the brakes and tyre treads to wear out faster than standard cars and releases tiny, often toxic particles into the atmosphere.

Hesham Rakha, a professor at Virginia Tech told Dailymail.com that the study is only 'partially correct' because even though EVs are heavier, their tyres will emit more microplastics into the air, but this could also be true for sedans versus SUVs.

Rakha said it is very challenging to determine the difference between the amount of microplastics emitted from EV tyre treads and petrol-powered vehicles because you have to separate the microplastics that are already in the air from other sources with what's coming off the tyres.

Rakha and his team at Virginia Tech are in the process of conducting field tests to determine how much microplastics are emitting from EV and petrol cars by using traffic simulators that will mimic an urban setting.

He added that he doesn't expect there to be a major difference between the EV and petrol-powered vehicles, saying that they haven't measured it yet, but expect the difference to be about 20 percent.

This doesn't mean that people should gravitate away from electric cars because they 'are more efficient depending zero emission,' Rakha said, but added the caveat that 'it also generates a lot of CO2 when charging your vehicle.'

EV batteries weigh about 453kg, and can result in tire emissions that are nearly 400 times more than exhaust pipe emissions.

Particle pollution can increase health problems including heart disease, asthma, lung disease and in extreme cases, can lead to hospitalisation, cancer, and premature death.

New petrol-powered cars are created to be 'cleaner,' by updating the trims of their internal combustion engines to include particulate filters that reduce emissions.

The EVs increased weight due to their lithium-ion batteries cause the tyre treads to wear faster, ultimately producing more emissions.

The study, conducted by the firm Emissions Analytics, said the main difference between exhaust pipe and tyre emissions is that the majority of particulate emissions released from the tyre go directly into the soil and water, while exhaust negatively affects the air quality.

The effects of tire composition come down to the materials the tyre is made from, the study reported.

Light-duty tyres are typically made from synthetic rubber which is developed using crude oil natural rubber adds fillers and additives, some of which are recognised carcinogens.

Emissions Analytics tested the tire wear on both EV and gas-powered vehicles after driving them at least 1,600km.

The researchers used a sampling system to collect particles immediately behind each tire and then measured the size of the particles emitted from the tread.

It found that the greater the vehicle's mass and weight, the more rapidly the tyre particulate emissions would be released due to the increased torque between the tires and the road.

A separate 2020 report by the Emissions Analytics firm said that tyres are likely to be a major concern in the coming years as ‘consumers switch to bigger and heavier cars.’

‘Research shows they contribute to microplastic marine pollution, as well as air pollution from finer particles,’ the report continued.


A reality check for climate alarmists: net zero is impossible

A stable energy supply sourced from wind and sunshine was obviously impossible from the beginning but the Left have always had big problems with the obvious

One of Australia’s richest mining magnates, Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest, says you can already feel climate change, it has caused “deaths, devastation and hardship” all around the world already, Australia has “run out of time” and he knows how to fix it.

Forrest’s prescription promises “economic growth over generations” along with “full employment” and a “pristine environment” with “cheap energy being produced everywhere in our country”. Too easy; the only resource lacking, he says, is the “courage to get on with it”.

To deliver this energy and environmental nirvana he wants the coal, oil and gas industries to be “taxed out of existence”. Strangely, he does not include his own iron ore industry, which relies on fossil fuels for extraction, transport and blast-furnacing into iron and steel.

This simplistic combination of rampant alarmism and magic pudding economics is not rare. It is omnipresent in the rantings of Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg, Greens leader Adam Bandt, Extinction Rebellion and the teals, but it is unusual coming from a titan of industry, albeit one in receipt of substantial government subsidies here and abroad for “green hydrogen” projects.

We were warned by the weather bureau and climate alarmists last spring that this summer would be extraordinarily hot and dry. Given that all turned out to be a damp squib, they are turning their forecasts a little further afield with the Nine Entertainment newspapers (in cahoots with the Climate Council) offering an online tool this week to show us how many days over 35C we can expect in our suburbs in 2050 and 2090.

It is as if these people have become so bored by the lack of public debate about their Chicken Little claims that they have opted for self-parody to amuse themselves. Not only do they seek to raise the fear of Gaia over these long-range predictions, they implore us to “take action” to make sure our particular postcode can keep the mercury below 35C for a day or two more in the summer of 2090.

The Greens voters of Penrith and Broadmeadows might be pretty cheesed off in 2090 when it still turns out that it’s only those affluent coastal postcodes that get the sea breeze. The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald might encounter some sweaty subscribers with buyer’s remorse in the autumn of 2091.

In this climate of fearmongering and idiocy we need more reality checks. For starters we might ease the sense of crisis by levelling with the public that the prime reason many heat records have been broken in Australia in recent decades is because the Bureau of Meteorology revised most of its early temperature records downwards and because it ignores any records before 1910, thereby eradicating from calculations known hot periods such as the Federation drought. (It argues this was scientifically valid and necessary, but the fact it has been done is worth sharing more widely, for context if nothing else.)

Still, temperatures will do what they will, and global emissions are still rising. It is a scientific fact that whatever Australia does on emissions cannot affect global climate, and natural climate variations can easily override any human interventions, good or bad. From the upper echelons of state and federal governments we are fed two strands of argument that are seldom challenged. The first is the alarmism and the other tells us renewables are the only way to deliver the emissions cuts required.

“So, while moving towards a renewable grid is a massive transformation,” Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen says, “it is necessary for our economy, for our energy security and for the climate. Stop the delay, distraction, deception and denial. Get with the program.”

Clearly we need to address the practical reality of moving to net zero, and the pretence that this can be done easily without a heavy economic cost. We can start with the International Energy Agency, which works closely with the UN and is all on board with the net zero zeitgeist. In its Global Energy Transitions Stocktake it recognises that “half the emission reductions needed to reach net zero come from technologies not yet on the market”. Got that? We cannot ever get to net zero unless we develop technologies that are “under development” or yet to be invented.

Czech-Canadian scientist Vaclav Smil is the author of 40 books mainly focused on outlining complex realities and dilemmas. His 2022 book How the World Really Works contains bad news for those climate activists who just want to “do something” about climate change and believe the solution is easy – just decarbonise.

“The real wrench in the works,” warns Smil, is that “we are a fossil-fuelled civilisation whose technical and scientific advances, quality of life and prosperity rest on the combustion of huge quantities of fossil carbon, and we cannot simply walk away from this critical determinant of our fortunes in a few decades, never mind years.”

He is not a complete pessimist, just anchored in the reality: “Complete decarbonisation of the global economy by 2050 is now conceivable only at the cost of unthinkable economic retreat, or as a result of extraordinarily rapid transformations relying on near miraculous technical advances.”

This is because we rely on fossil fuels not just to generate most of our electricity but to fuel our road, rail, air and sea transport, heat homes, power industry, mine minerals, create chemical and plastic products, manufacture fertilisers and grow food. While wealthy countries such as ours can make some expensive changes to improve efficiency and reduce emissions, more than half of the world’s population is still racing to get the energy it needs, massively expanding global energy demand.

“Annual global demand for fossil carbon is now just above 10 billion tons a year,” writes Smil, “a mass nearly five times more than the recent annual harvest of all staple grains feeding humanity, and more than twice the total mass of water drunk annually by the world’s nearly eight billion inhabitants – and it should be obvious that displacing and replacing such a mass is not something best handled by government targets for years ending in zero or five.”

Other practical realities deepen the dilemma. The challenges for renewables relate largely to scale and efficiency. Smil again: “Large nuclear reactors are the most reliable producers of electricity, some of them now generate it 90-95 per cent of the time, compared to about 45 per cent for the best offshore wind turbines and 25 per cent for photovoltaic cells in even the sunniest of climates – while Germany’s solar panels produce electricity only about 12 per cent of the time.”

Other researchers have tried to quantify the mineral resources needed to manufacture enough turbines, solar panels, batteries and electric engines to get to net zero.

In his paper Mining for Net Zero: The Impossible Task, Alan G. Jones finds we will have to dramatically increase the mining effort, which is already higher than at any time in history.

“For example,” Jones writes, “one estimate is that there needs to be as much copper mined over the next 20-25 years as has been mined to date.”

Another geoscientist who has been based in Finland and Australia, Simon Michaux, has warned about the scale of replacing fossil fuel energy with renewables and hydrogen. “So, we are discussing bringing in a power system significantly larger than the one we have now,” Michaux reminds us, “with power systems that are not as effective and more expensive.”

Michaux has run detailed calculations on all the key resources such as lithium, nickel, copper and cobalt required globally, and the amount we are capable of extracting. The results are sobering.

“We don’t have enough mining production or mineral reserves to manufacture the first generation of renewable technology,” he finds.

But it is even worse than that because, as he points out, all the kit, from wind turbines to solar panels, from electric engines to batteries, will have to be replaced within 10 to 25 years, and again and again.

Chris Greig, a senior research scientist from Princeton University in the US, has costed the transition for Net Zero Australia. “Such is the level of investment required to build out new-generation storage facilities such as batteries and pumped-hydro, and transmission lines, that up to $1.5 trillion will need to be deployed by 2030 to put Australia on track to meet its 2050 commitments,” declares the study he co-authored. That is an amount proximate to the size of our entire GDP to be invested over just the next six years. Good luck.

And if the resources, innovation and funding required do not make this all fanciful enough, try considering the land, approvals and practicality of installing it. Bowen has boasted about needing to install 22,000 500-watt solar panels every day for eight years, as well as more than one 7-megawatt wind turbine every day connected by at least 10,000km of new transmission lines across the same period.

Most of this will be in regional and coastal communities that do not want them. And all of it, spread diffusely across the country, will be vulnerable to disruption by storms and bushfires.

Yet they seriously try to argue that nuclear power, sited compactly on existing industrial/generation sites, requiring no additional transmission lines, will be too slow and expensive.

It is time to take the ideology and fantasy out of energy policy and address the reality.

The climate and renewables zealots are in denial.


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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