Thursday, March 30, 2017

CO2 was not cause of Global Warming between 1979-1993

I’ve been examining how global planetary temperature can be predicted from various things like pressure and tropospheric height. The reason for this is that planets appear to have their tropopause at a constant 0.1bar pressure. And like a thermometer as the temperature of the atmosphere increases, the “bulb” of the atmosphere should expand. And if the tropopause is at a fixed pressure with increasing temperature, the tropopause should rise in height – but at the same pressure because the weight of atmosphere above it remains the same.

This paper: "Behavior of tropopause height and atmospheric temperature in models", reanalyses, and observations: Decadal changes. Most of the paper is the standard revolting non-science of regurgitating the output from failed climate model – which tell us nothing except the failure of those involved to model the real climate.

But hidden away there was a section of a graph which shows actual measurements as shown to the right. (originally the graphic was much bigger – but I removed all the misleading dross).

The key figure is the top value from which we see the tropopause pressure has dropped by about 4mb from 1979–1993.


This either means the tropopause is at the same height and pressure dropped (which would occur with cooling of the atmosphere) or it means the troposphere has moved up with no change in global temperature (or a mixture of both).

What it does not show is global warming!!

This is because the signature of global warming would be either:

The tropopause stayed at the same physical height but  pressure INCREASES because due to gas expansion there is more weight of air above this height

The tropopause would move up physically with the expanding atmosphere and be at the same pressure but this pressure level would be further from the ground (due to expansion).
From this we can conclude that between 1979-1993 there was:

⇒ No global warming

So, we now have fairly strong evidence that there was no net global warming in the period of this research (1979–1993). Instead, this seems to support overall net cooling of the atmosphere. But how could this happen when measurements on the ground and particularly 3-8 days downwind of major 1970s polluting areas shows warming?

The most likely answer is that there must have been warming, but that warming occurred in only the very lowest portions of the atmosphere. In the rest it must have cooled.

Is this Consistent with the REDUCTION in low level pollution?

In order to get overall cooling in of the troposphere in this period when the ground warmed, the majority of the troposphere must have experienced cooling. Half the bulk of the troposphere lies below 4.7km so if the cooling were a similar magnitude to the warming, the warming would be below 4.7km. Typically rain clouds form up to about 6500feet or 2000m.

Therefore this change in the tropopause together with apparent increased ground temperature particularly downwind of major 1970s polluting areas suggests that we have seen an increase in these areas below 2000 or the cloud forming region.

This is consistent with EAIW (Environmental Action Induced Warming) stemming from reducing low-level pollution after the 1970s clean air acts. Because this only warms the very lowest parts of the atmosphere (in the hot spots shown)

It is not compatible with CO2 warming which would be much more widely spread throughout the atmosphere and would not be localised.


It's done: Trump signs order ditching Obama’s curbs on carbon

Vowing to end the “war on coal”, President Trump signed an executive order last night that will dismantle American efforts to combat climate change.

The order scrapped curbs on carbon emissions from American power plants, which had been a cornerstone of President Obama’s environmental legacy and a critical part of America’s plan to meet its commitments under the Paris climate accord.

It rescinds a ban on leasing federal lands for coal production, reverses rules to limit methane emissions from oil and gas production and reverses a policy that forced federal agencies to weigh the likely effect on climate change when drafting regulations.


If Global Warming Is Real, Why Do Government Scientists Have To Keep Cheating?

A few decades back, an upstanding member of the global warming alarmist community said that if the public was going to take the threat of man-caused climate change seriously, the alarmists were going to have to exaggerate the evidence.

It was in 1989 that Stephen Schneider wrote in Discover magazine that in order "to capture the public's imagination . . . we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have."

Let's not forget that the late climatologist was first a believer in global cooling in the 1970s. He was worried that a new ice age was coming.

Of course the alarmist community has followed Schneider's script. It's spent much of the last three decades trying to spook the public into a panic.

One example of this agenda to drive fright into our brains was the ClimateGate scandal at Britain's University of East Anglia. A series of email threads between climate scientists showed that they were torturing the temperature data to produce evidence of warming that wasn't occurring.

Who can forget their conspiracy to "hide the decline"?

Don't think this is an isolated incident. News out of the United Kingdom over the weekend tells us that "world leaders were duped into investing billions over manipulated global warming data."

"A high-level whistleblower has told this newspaper that America's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) breached its own rules on scientific integrity when it published the sensational but flawed report, aimed at making the maximum possible impact on world leaders including Barack Obama and David Cameron at the United Nations climate conference in Paris in 2015," the Daily Mail reports.

"The report claimed that the 'pause' or 'slowdown' in global warming in the period since 1998 — revealed by U.N. scientists in 2013 — never existed, and that world temperatures had been rising faster than scientists expected."

The Daily Mail identifies the whistleblower as "John Bates, a top NOAA scientist with an impeccable reputation." His strong objections to the publication "of the faulty data were overridden by his NOAA superiors in what he describes as a 'blatant attempt to intensify the impact.' "

Bates blames Thomas Karl, the paper's lead author, whom he said insisted "on decisions and scientific choices that maximized warming and minimized documentation . . . in an effort to discredit the notion of a global warming pause."

Please don't be surprised. Government-paid researchers are desperate to perpetuate the climate shock. They know that if there is no warming as they have predicted, the generous public funds that support their work will eventually dry up.

It is in their financial interest to keep the public tied up in knots of anxiety and to dupe politicians, who are eager to assume the posture of caring guardians of the environment so they'll to continue to hand them money

And it fits right in with the other evidence problems that undermine the global warming narrative, such as the hopelessly flawed temperature record, the unreliable models that can't even predict the past, and the possibility that as many half of the alarmist research papers could be wrong.

Instapundit Glenn Reynolds is fond of saying that he'll believe there's a warming crisis when the people who are saying it's a crisis start acting like it is. Maybe we'll start believing there's a warming problem when government scientists quit cheating to make it look like a problem exists.


Coal hatred behind South Australian blackout

Windmills are given huge subsidies but a small subsidy for a much more useful generator was denied

The owner of the now-defunct Port Augusta power station made a secret offer to keep generating electricity until mid-2018 in return for $25 million from the State Government — 22 times less than its $550 million power plan.

Extensive details of Alinta Energy’s bid to subsidise the 520 megawatt Northern plant’s operation are revealed in a May, 2015, letter from the company to the Government.
The Port Augusta power station. Picture: Kelly Barnes

Seizing on the explosive revelations, Opposition Leader Steven Marshall branded the rejection of an affordable deal to keep power prices down and prevent blackouts as the State Government’s biggest failure since the 1991 State Bank disaster.

In the six-page letter supplied to The Advertiser by the Liberals, Alinta warns of significant risk to the security of South Australia’s power supply and a surge in electricity prices — costing the state $56 million to $112 million a year — if the power station and associated Leigh Creek brown coal mine were to close.

Other sources have told The Advertiser that Alinta made another bid for $30 million to the government, which made a rejected counter-offer of only $8 million. Alinta then announced in June 2015 that it would close the station.

The secret Alinta letter revealed also warned that closure of Flinders Power, which included the Northern power station and Leigh Creek, would trigger a $150 million annual blow to regional GDP and cost 450 jobs.

The bulk of Alinta’s demand was for a 70 per cent subsidy of maintenance costs for the 250km Leigh Creek railway, which supplied brown coal to the power plant — equivalent to about $8 million over three years.

SA has been hit by three major blackouts, including a statewide outage last September, since the closure last May of Alinta’s Flinders Power operation.

Businesses across the state took an estimated $450 million hit because of the statewide blackout and mining giant BHP Billiton has said that outages at Olympic Dam cost it $137 million.
The Port Augusta power station on a clear day, in 2008. Picture: Supplied

Electricity prices for forward contracts in SA have jumped from about $80 per megawatt hour in mid-2016 to about $140MW/h.

Premier Jay Weatherill this month branded the Port Augusta plant a “clunky, old, coal-fired power station”, declared Alinta’s temporary offer did not secure SA’s energy future



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   main.html or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

New study shows that the human contribution to CO2 in the atmosphere is trivial (4.3%) -- and it goes away after 4 years anyway

Scrutinizing the carbon cycle and CO2 residence time in the atmosphere

Hermann Harde


Climate scientists presume that the carbon cycle has come out of balance due to the increasing anthropogenic emissions from fossil fuel combustion and land use change. This is made responsible for the rapidly increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations over recent years, and it is estimated that the removal of the additional emissions from the atmosphere will take a few hundred thousand years. Since this goes along with an increasing greenhouse effect and a further global warming, a better understanding of the carbon cycle is of great importance for all future climate change predictions. We have critically scrutinized this cycle and present an alternative concept, for which the uptake of CO2 by natural sinks scales proportional with the CO2 concentration. In addition, we consider temperature dependent natural emission and absorption rates, by which the paleoclimatic CO2 variations and the actual CO2 growth rate can well be explained. The anthropogenic contribution to the actual CO2 concentration is found to be 4.3%, its fraction to the CO2 increase over the Industrial Era is 15% and the average residence time 4 years.

Global and Planetary Change Volume 152, May 2017, Pages 19–26

Trump takes aim at Obama climate efforts

President Donald Trump will sign an executive order on Tuesday that will suspend, rescind or flag for review more than a half-dozen measures that were part of Barack Obama's sweeping plan to curb global warming.

It includes a review of the Clean Power Plan, which restricts greenhouse gas emissions at coal-fired power plants.

The president's order will also lift a 14-month-old moratorium on new coal leases on federal lands.

Trump, who has called global warming a "hoax" invented by the Chinese, has repeatedly criticised the power-plant rule and others as an attack on American workers and the struggling US coal industry.

The contents of the order were outlined to reporters in a sometimes tense briefing with a senior White House official, whom aides insisted speak without attribution, despite President Trump's criticism of the use of unnamed sources.

Trump accused his predecessor of waging a "war on coal" and boasted in a speech to Congress that he has made "a historic effort to massively reduce job-crushing regulations," including some that threaten "the future and livelihoods of our great coal miners".

The order will also chip away at other regulations, including scrapping language on the "social cost" of greenhouse gases.

The administration is still in discussion about whether it intends to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change.

But the moves to be announced Tuesday will undoubtedly make it more difficult for the US to achieve its goals.


The Northeast’s carbon trading system works quite well. It just doesn’t reduce much carbon

The danger of climate change has been understood for decades, but the US still has no coherent national climate policy. That has left climate-friendly states to fend for themselves amidst an inconsistent patchwork of federal subsidies and regulations. It’s a daunting task given the scope and complexity of the problem.

One of the oldest and most enduring state efforts is the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI, pronounced “reggie”), a carbon cap-and-trade system operating in nine Northeastern states: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. (New Jersey was also involved, but dropped out in 2011 at the insistence of Gov. Chris Christie.)

RGGI is currently undergoing a thorough review and evaluation, which will shape its course from 2020 forward, so it’s a good time for everyone interested in state carbon policy to get to know the program and its considerable virtues and limitations. (There will, ahem, be no federal carbon policy for a while.)

The bad news: RGGI isn’t reducing carbon emissions much, if at all

What RGGI does, it does well. But the sad truth is that it doesn’t do the main thing carbon policy is supposed to do. It raises money to fund good programs, but the relatively small carbon price it imposes on a relatively narrow slice of the economy does not, in and of itself, drive many (or possibly any) carbon reductions that wouldn’t have otherwise occurred.

As the MJB&A report notes, during the policy development process, a modeling exercise was run to assess the economic impacts of various design choices. It showed “generally within two-hundredths of 1 percent change in economic indicators.” It is not a knock on RGGI to say that a program with 0.02 percent impact on the economy is not going to spark a new industrial revolution.

The amount of carbon emissions covered by RGGI is relatively small. A 2016 report from the Congressional Research Service found that “the total CO2 emissions from the nine RGGI states account for approximately 7% of U.S. CO2 emissions” and “the CO2 emissions from covered entities in the RGGI states account for approximately 20% of all GHG emissions in the RGGI states.”

Twenty percent of 7 percent is 1.4 percent of US emissions — not nothing, but modest.

What’s more, while carbon emissions from the electricity sector in the Northeast have indeed been falling, there’s little evidence that RGGI had much to do with it. Instead, as happened across the country, coal was replaced by natural gas, while renewable energy and energy efficiency also grew. (Northeast states also got a big boost in hydro.)

When they first set the cap, regulators completely underestimated these trends. They capped emissions based on 2005 estimates of what 2009 emissions would be.

By the time 2009 rolled around, emissions were already well under the cap. They remained under the cap until 2014, when RGGI states agreed to reduce the cap by 45 percent, from 165 mtCO2 to 91 mtCO2, from whence it will decline by 2.5 percent each year between 2015 and 2020.

The cap itself didn’t force any emission reductions between 2009 and 2014. It was way above actual emissions! The auction reserve price — “originally set at $1.86 per allowance for the first RGGI auction in 2008, increasing 2.5 percent annually, standing at $2.10 in 2016,” according to MJB&A — acted as a small carbon tax, but not one large enough to shape broader market dynamics.

CRS’s somewhat dismal conclusion is that “from a practical standpoint, the RGGI program’s contribution to directly reducing the global accumulation of GHG emissions in the atmosphere is arguably negligible.”


The Warmist wet dream require huge disruptions

Back in 2015, the world’s governments met in Paris and agreed to keep global warming below 2°C, to avoid the worst risks of a hotter planet. See here for background on why, but that’s the goal. For context, the planet’s warmed ~1°C since the 19th century.

One problem with framing the goal this way, though, is that it’s maddeningly abstract. What does staying below 2°C entail? Papers on this topic usually drone on about a “carbon budget” — the total amount of CO2 humans can emit this century before we likely bust past 2°C — and then debate how to divvy up that budget among nations. There’s math involved. It’s eye-glazing, and hard to translate into actual policy. It’s also a long-term goal, easy for policymakers to shrug off.

So, not surprisingly, countries have thus far responded by putting forward a welter of vague pledges on curbing emissions that are hard to compare and definitely don’t add up to staying below 2°C. Everyone agrees more is needed, but there’s lots of uncertainty as to what “more” means. Few people grasp how radically — or how quickly — we’d have to revamp the global economy to meet the Paris climate goals.

Surely there’s a better, more concrete way to think about this. So, in a new paper for Science, a group of European researchers try to do just that — laying out in vivid detail what would have to happen in each of the next three decades if we want to stay well below 2°C. Fair warning: It’s unsettling.

They start with the big picture: To hit the Paris climate goals without geoengineering, the world has to do three broad (and incredibly ambitious) things:

1) Global CO2 emissions from energy and industry have to fall in half each decade. That is, in the 2020s, the world cuts emissions in half. Then we do it again in the 2030s. Then we do it again in the 2040s. They dub this a “carbon law.” Lead author Johan Rockström told me they were thinking of an analogy to Moore’s law for transistors; we’ll see why.

2) Net emissions from land use — i.e., from agriculture and deforestation — have to fall steadily to zero by 2050. This would need to happen even as the world population grows and we’re feeding ever more people.

3) Technologies to suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere have to start scaling up massively, until we’re artificially pulling 5 gigatons of CO2 per year out of the atmosphere by 2050 — nearly double what all the world’s trees and soils already do.

“It’s way more than adding solar or wind,” says Rockström. “It’s rapid decarbonization, plus a revolution in food production, plus a sustainability revolution, plus a massive engineering scale-up [for carbon removal].”

So, uh, how do we cut CO2 emissions in half, then half again, then half again? Here, the authors lay out a sample “roadmap” of what specific actions the world would have to take each decade, based on current research. This isn’t the only path for making big CO2 cuts, but it gives a sense of the sheer scale and speed required:

2020-2030: Now the hard stuff begins! In this decade, carbon pricing would expand to cover most aspects of the global economy, averaging around $50 per ton (far higher than seen almost anywhere today) and rising. Aggressive energy efficiency programs ramp up. Coal power is phased out in rich countries by the end of the decade and is declining sharply elsewhere. Leading cities like Copenhagen are going totally fossil fuel free. Wealthy countries no longer sell new combustion engine cars by 2030, and transportation gets widely electrified, with many short-haul flights replaced by rail.

In addition, spending on clean energy research increases by “an order of magnitude” this decade, with a sustained focus on developing new batteries, drastically reducing the cost of carbon capture and storage (CCS), and perfecting low-carbon processes for producing steel and concrete, plus improving smart grids, greener aircraft systems, and sustainable urbanization techniques.

Meanwhile, efforts to start pulling carbon dioxide out of the air start this decade. That means reforesting degraded land and deploying technologies such as direct-air capture or bioenergy with CCS to pull CO2 out of the atmosphere. By 2030, we’d need to be removing 100 to 500 megatons of CO2 each year and have a sense of how to scale up.

Finally, by 2050, we’d need to be removing more than 5 gigatons of CO2 per year from the atmosphere. It’s possible this is simply impractical — if we tried to do that all by burning biomass for energy and sequestering the resulting carbon (a “negative emissions” process), we might well run into serious land constraints that hinder agriculture. If, in the 2020s, we realize this will be the case, then we’ll have to revamp the road map to cut CO2 emissions from energy and industry even faster.

This road map is staggering. That’s the point.


A Handy Primer for Deluded Warmists

We all have them, friends who believe the planet is on a CO2-fuelled collision course with a catastrophe that can only be averted by directing large sums to rent-seeking wind farmers and the like. If you know someone like that, here's a simple, handy guide to the climate scam

A school teacher I know tells his pupils that ‘Saying does not make it so’, that facts are the key to knowledge, not opinions.  Nowhere is this truer today than in the so-called ‘climate debate’.  Here, much  fails the facts test. Topping the list are claims of unprecedented warming from increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2).   Resultant droughts, rising sea levels, more frequent and severe storms and other catastrophes are assumed.  A switch from CO2-producing fossil fuels to renewable energy, especially wind and solar, is deemed essential.

Similar dire climate predictions have been around since the late 1970s. And in all that time, none has come true.  None at all.  Undeterred, the climate soothsayers ignore their failures and carry on as if nothing had happened. The fact that good science should produce good predictions, and this is not happening, is also largely ignored. Instead, impending climate doom, and what must be done to avoid it, is orthodox thought in much of government, academia and environmental groups everywhere.  This thinking is much at odds  with key facts.

A most important fact is that Earth’s four and a half billion year history tells us we are now cooler than average, not warmer.  Indeed, for 80% of that history Earth had no ice caps and dinosaurs lived near the South Pole for millions of years. There were ice ages, too, with thick ice down to the Canadian border and across northern Eurasia.  Indeed, this was the norm for the last 800 000 years, with ice ages, separated by warmer interglacial periods, coming and going each 100 000 years or so.

We are in the Holocene inter-glacial period now. It officially began 11 700 years ago, but not in a clear-cut way.  Gradual warming followed the ice age peak about 25,000 years ago until a cold spell 14,000 years ago chilled things down again and temperatures swung wildly by 5C or so until the current warmer times began about 12,000 years ago.

During the last ice age, sea levels were some 130 metres lower than today, thanks to water locked-up in ice caps.  With warmer times, some ice melted and seas rose to near current levels in just a few thousand years.  Today, they are rising by only 16cm or so per century; a tiny change compared with the rapid changes in the early Holocene days and some contrary claims today. The lower sea levels exposed our continental shelf, joined Australia to Tasmania and PNG and left the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) high and dry for tens of thousands of years.  Then, as the ice melted, Tasmania and PNG became islands and the GBR re-generated some 8,000 years ago in its previous position.

Similar things happened throughout the world.  Rising Holocene waters separated England from Europe, formed the Dardanelles and the Black Sea and remade the world map.  Humans flourished in the warmer climate, with 60% of the Holocene averaging 2C higher than today.  The hottest time was some 7 000 years ago, with other peaks at 4000, 2000 and 1000 years back. Although there were no thermometer readings in these times, reliable proxies are available using lake sediments, pollen fossils and such, and evidence of what crops grew where and tree-lines on hills and in marginal areas. Indeed, the old joke that the Roman Empire went only as far north as wine grapes would grow has some truth to it. In fact, they grew grapes and citrus in parts of England that until recently would not  support either crop.  The Chinese too grew crops along the Yellow River in those times that won’t grow there today.  And, for history buffs, Hadrian’s route across the Alps could not be used today as it is permanently closed with ice and snow.

Thus, we know that Holocene temperatures were often warmer than now and varied constantly – and wild temperature swings occurred just prior to the Holocene period.  When we take this longer view, the recent temperature increase of about 0.8C since 1880 falls well within the limits of previous natural change, and is neither unprecedented nor dangerous.

We also know another vital fact: CO2 levels were steady during these wild swings and throughout the Holocene at roughly 280 parts per million (ppm) until 130 years ago when a stuttering increase to 400 ppm today began. In other words, Holocene temperature changes, and the wild variations that preceded them, were not linked to CO2 changes. This prompts the question: if CO2 changes did not drive these temperature shifts, why all the fuss about CO2 emissions?

The answer owes much to the complexity of the climate system and the wish for simple explanations to explain its variability and with which to make predictions. But climate is not simple.  There are many interacting parts that make it a ‘coupled non-linear chaotic system’ in which small variations of any part can create big, unpredictable changes. In the search for something simple to blame, like increasing CO2 levels, this ‘coupled non-linear, chaotic’ nature of climate is often played-down, overlooked or ignored. Things like solar variations, ocean heat transfers, cloud cover and the like – things that may well be the main drivers of climate – seldom get the respect they deserve.

The effect of the sun, the sea and clouds on climate is known and accepted – the Gulf Stream being a well known example – but more precise knowledge suitable for computer models is a different thing altogether. But what can be said for sure, is that the sun, the sea and the clouds are all very important and CO2 is only one player in a big game, not the control knob on the Earth’s thermostat. It is true that CO2 contributes to the greenhouse effect, but its heating effect is small (when compared with water vapour, the main contributor) and drops off logarithmically as its concentration increases. The more there is, the less additional heating effect it has.

The generally warmer history of the Earth, the serious shortcomings of climate models and the minor role of CO2 in climate are not well known in the community and frequently ignored by climate alarmists in government, academia, the media and the wider public. As a result, many Australians still feel ‘something must be done’ to curb CO2 emissions, and believe that ‘something’ is renewable energy, mainly from solar and wind.  These beliefs have caused much debate, for while we all know the sun doesn’t shine at night, or the wind blow on demand,  just what that means for wind and solar energy is not agreed.

Reliable, on-demand power from intermittent wind and solar requires storage (usually batteries) or back up power – a fact all agree on.  But here again, facts take second place to wild claims for future storage potential and denial of serious problems with back-up power. Batteries are now available for household solar systems (panels, inverters and batteries) costing twenty thousand-or-so dollars.  But even if the cost is ignored – which it can’t be – batteries are still way, way short of providing the capacity needed to power a large town, let alone a city. Consequently, the biggest problem with wind and solar today is the need for back-up power, mostly from coal and gas. This greatly increases the number of power sources needed, and with it cost. The efficiency of back-up coal and gas plants designed to run full-time, but used only intermittently, is also seriously degraded.

In Germany, intermittent use made back-up power stations so unprofitable they are now subsidised along with renewables.  South Australian may well be heading the same way.  With the unprofitable local coal plant closed, the gas plant partly closed and the interstate power link unreliable, subsidised gas or coal is now the main option. And the problem would spread though out the eastern states if the very high state and federal renewables targets are applied. With all power generation subsidised, much increased power costs and lower reliability would inevitably result.

Also, integration of wind and solar into the grid is not simple.  Phasing and voltages must be matched precisely and power surges can unbalance the grid.  These are not minor problems and need considerable effort and expertise to manage.

But perhaps the most important fact – seldom admitted but very real – is that in total power system terms, few if any CO2 savings result.  Energy is needed to make, transport and install windmills and solar systems and connect them to the existing grid, adding CO2 to the overall total. Intermittent running of fossil fuel back-up plants adds more CO2, and total savings over efficient, full-time, modern coal or gas plants are few if any – despite the much greater cost.  These facts are almost never mentioned when ‘clean energy’ claims are made.

The developing world knows all this.   Like my teacher friend they know that: ‘saying does not make it so’ and look at the facts.  They know the influence of CO2 on climate has been greatly exaggerated and other possible contributors played down or dismissed.  Not fearing their people will overheat, they happily look to cheap coal as their main power generator. India is buying into Australian coal mines to ensure supplies and China recently approved construction of up to 200 super-efficient coal plants.  Vietnam and the Philippines too are turning to coal and a 2016 study by Calgary University showed Asian coal consumption now greatly exceeds that in the West and will keep increasing until mid-century.

The International Energy Agency 2015 report shows renewables – biofuels, solar and wind –  supplied only 1.2% of world power in 2013.  Fossil fuels – oil, coal and gas – produced 81.4%.   This tells us that most of the world knows the facts, and is acting accordingly. It also tells us that our energy policies are not only mistaken, but futile.  Nothing we do will change the climate.   Increasing atmospheric CO2 is not a problem – and if it was, wind and solar would not fix it.  It’s time we followed the Asian example and acted according to facts instead of fears and fantasies.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   main.html or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Analysis finds NOAA satellite data is incompatible with theory of man-made global warming

Previous posts by Dr. Noor van Andel have demonstrated that the theory of anthropogenic global warming [AGW] is falsified by observations over the past 62 years which show outgoing radiation from greenhouse gases has significantly increased, rather than decreased as predicted by the AGW theory. The observations instead show the 'greenhouse effect' has decreased over the past 62 years instead of increased due to an exponential rise in greenhouse gases.

In a new post at Australian biologist Jennifer Marohasy's site, spectroscopist and engineer Michael Hammer comes to the same conclusion finding the last 30 years of NOAA satellite data is incompatible with AGW theory:

ANTHROPOGENIC Global Warming (AGW) theory claims the earth is warming because rising CO2 is like a blanket, reducing Earth’s energy loss to space. However, data from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows that at least for the last 30 years, Earth’s energy loss to space has been rising.

The last 30 years of NOAA data is not compatible with the theory of AGW. It would appear that either 30 years of NOAA data is wrong or the theory of AGW is flawed. This is Michael Hammer’s conclusion following analysis of the official outgoing long wave radiation

The research uncovers some interesting trends and most importantly highlights that:

1. Earth can only warm if the rate of energy input exceeds the rate of energy loss;
2. Thus earth would warm if energy absorbed from the sun increased or energy loss to space (outgoing longwave radiation or OLR for short) decreased – or of course both;
3. The theory of AGW claims that Earth is warming because rising CO2 is reducing the energy loss to space i.e. is causing OLR to decrease;
4. Thirty years of experimental data published by NOAA (one of the prime AGW reference sites) shows OLR has been rising progressively between 1980 and 2010 and is now 2.5 watt/sqM higher than in 1980; and
5. The period between 1980 and 2010 is when almost all the CO2 induced warming is supposed to have taken place.

“If the corner stone of AGW theory says earth is warming because outgoing long wave radiation is decreasing yet 30 years of experimental data shows OLR is rising (remember 30 years is the time AGW proponents claim is the interval necessary to separate climate from weather) it would seem the theory of AGW is as a minimum extremely seriously compromised.”



Wot?  No Hubbert's peak?

Hurricane Energy has made a further oil discovery west of the Shetland Islands days after Royal Dutch Shell and BP won exploration licences in an area the UK is counting on to breathe new life into its struggling oil and gas industry.

The latest find adds to a series of successful wells drilled by Hurricane in a geological formation that analysts say looks likely to be the biggest new oil discovery beneath UK waters this century.

Shell and BP were last week awarded licenses to drill in nearby exploration blocks in a sign of renewed interest among large oil and gas groups in the west of Shetland region even as they withdraw from more mature parts of the North Sea.

Hurricane is expected to announce that initial data from its Halifax well indicates the presence of a 1km-deep oil column and that, crucially, it appears to be part of “a single large hydrocarbon accumulation” connected to the company’s adjacent Lancaster field.

This would increase confidence behind the London-listed explorer’s claim to be sitting on the largest undeveloped discovery on the UK continental shelf and aid efforts to attract investment in the field from international oil majors.


Are the Climate Change People Right?

The Environmental Community is apoplectic over Scott Pruitt becoming the head of the EPA and the proposed Trump budget cuts. They tell us 97 percent of all scientists believe that climate change is real. And the point is? A few years back I read a rather long list of these scientists and most of them had no tie to climate science. This was one of the major issues of the Women’s March the day after President Trump’s Inauguration.

Let’s look at some of the facts and ask some questions:

1. Climate Change Deniers – That is one of the statements I love to hear from supporters. It is itself an ad hominem attack since there really are not any of consequence. As previously discussed, the climate is always changing so the name in itself is quite silly. When discussing this with supporters I always ask why they keep using that term. The Climatologists that I have read or interviewed have been consistent. They state the climate is changing and add that man has some portion of that effect, but we just cannot prove the models that are used by climate change supporters to back up their claims of projecting out decades from now and man’s effect on the climate.

One would think if legitimate climate scientists come forth and state they cannot verify the models then others would question the models. But that is a no.

2. Global Warming vs. Climate Change – When all this attention started to happen, it was referred to as “global warming.” Now it is “climate change.” Why the change in nomenclature? Try to get a coherent answer from supporters. That is not possible. I think it was because they were being brutalized because there had been a cooling trend from 1940 through the mid-70s.

3. Discrediting Opponents – One of the things that brings into question the creditability of the supporters of this movement is their need to denigrate the people who express a non-conforming opinion. It starts with point one above, but there are multiple cases of scientists who varied from the orthodoxy who were attacked and belittled:

Lennart Bengtsson, a Swedish Meteorologist, came out and questioned Global Warming in 2014. Fifteen days after he joined the Global Warming Policy Foundation he quit because he was being harassed. Bengtsson stated he had come under "an enormous group pressure. I see no limit and end to what will happen. It is a situation that reminds me about the time of McCarthy. I would never have expecting anything similar in such an original peaceful community as meteorology. Apparently it has been transformed in recent years. I had not expecting such an enormous world-wide pressure put at me from a community that I have been close to all my active life."

Judith Curry is an American climatologist and former chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She recently quit her position fed up with the tribal nature of the climate-science community and the stonewalling over the release of data and its analysis for independent review.

This is just two examples, but if the strength of your case is there then why would you need to take actions against people like these to suppress legitimate questioning or peer review.

4. Settled Science – Yes, gravity is settled science; this is not. The Theory of Relativity was something we lived with all our lives. Who does not know Einstein’s theory? We accepted it as is, but it was just recently proven. The entire idea of using this term questions the scientific basis of the arguments being made and is just another way to browbeat the opponents.

5. Funding Sources – The supporters frequently question the veracity of the opponents because of their funding sources. The implication is that the scientists supporting the climate change orthodoxy are pure of heart and wallet. That could not be any further from the truth. They do their own back flips to receive funding and the creditability of their sources are just as questionable as the ones who don’t support the orthodoxy.

6. Hottest Years on Record – I am sure you recently heard that 2016 was the hottest year on record. They will cite 16 of the 17 warmest years have been in this century. But did you know that the survey they cite goes back a total of 136 years. And the earth is 4.5 billion years old. I don’t know about you, but I really don’t trust the temperature measurements done in the 19th century. In fact, I trust them very little until after 1950. Stating these are the hottest years on record means exactly what? And did you know that the increase last year, which was affected by El Nino, was .04 degrees Celsius. That means if everything continued on with similar increases it would take 25 years to increase one degree.

7. The Climate Models – The scientists who question the orthodoxy of climate change often cite they cannot prove the models that are used by the supporters. But you don’t even need to be a famous climatologist to question this. Do you believe that these people can predict the weather at the end of this century – 83 years from now? La Nina was supposed to hit in Southern California in 2016. It appears to have shown up this year. They cannot even get that right. Yet they want to significantly reorient the energy sources in our society. And what happens 83 years from now if they are wrong – do they just say “sorry”?

8. Rigged Numbers - The recent revelation by a whistleblower that the head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) provided rigged numbers to the people behind the Paris Accord shocked everyone except for those who blindly believe all regarding climate change. This validated that the supporters have ulterior motives that drive their interests beyond good science.

This isn’t to say that man has not had some effect on the atmosphere or that we are not going through a period of global warming. These are just some points to bring in to question the militant orthodoxy of the current climate change universe.


Greenwire reports on Heartland conference

The most important message to send the Trump administration and Capitol Hill right now: The 2009 finding that carbon dioxide endangers public health "must go."

Advisers to the Trump administration's transition team at U.S. EPA and other long-established climate contrarians repeated that mantra for the past 36 hours at the Heartland Institute's 12th annual International Conference on Climate Change.

"You need to contact your members of Congress, and you need to make noise and — particularly the scientists here — that the endangerment finding needs to be reopened," said Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and former head of President Trump's EPA transition team.

"President Trump said that he would do it," Ebell told the crowd, after listing about a dozen Trump campaign promises related to energy. Ebell also explained some of the hurdles he believes are holding Trump back, including a shortage of staff in his personnel office.

With Trump expected to take action next week on an executive order that will begin the process of unwinding parts of the Obama administration's climate agenda, the energy industry, environmental community and conservative activists are gearing up for legal and legislative action.

"We need to make it possible to go in and litigate every bit of science — I don't care how long it takes," said Steve Milloy, an attorney and longtime legal foe of EPA, who participated in the Trump transition (Greenwire, Feb. 24).

Milloy urged the "cowards" in Congress to get busy working to "overrule the terrible decision" made in Massachusetts v. EPA, one of three Supreme Court decisions that now have affirmed EPA's authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's conclusion in a widely panned interview with CNBC that carbon dioxide is not the main driver behind climate change encouraged some GOP lawmakers who want the agency to revisit the finding (E&E News PM, March 10).

Those include Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.), head of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment; Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Chairwoman Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.); and, most recently, Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), who served as an energy adviser to Trump during last year's campaign.

House Science, Space and Technology Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) may also join the list of gavel-wielding members of Congress keen on examining the endangerment finding.

Smith was asked yesterday during the conference whether he would hold a hearing on the topic.

"Probably, but it hasn't been set yet. ... We can add that to our list. It will be about 14 or 15 on the ideas that we have coming up that we think are good ones," Smith said.

Long-established climate contrarian Pat Michaels of the Cato Institute rallied the like-minded audience yesterday around vacating the finding, alleging major flaws in the models that support the finding authored by former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.

"When the president eviscerates the Clean Power Plan ... it has to go," Michaels said, warning that otherwise every "tentacle" of the "green blob" would be petitioning the courts for a stay of the White House's expected executive action.

"There are people I have heard that are trying to finesse their way around it. There is no way to finesse around a monster, so let's go forward," Michaels said in his keynote address to the two-day conference.

Ebell speculated that lawyers from the right-of-center Federalist Society, who are said to have affected Trump's pick for the Supreme Court vacancy, are pressuring the administration against reopening the endangerment finding.

Ebell speculated those lawyers are advising: "It's too much work, and you don't really need to do it."

Environmental attorneys are girding for defense of President Obama's initiatives, with a multipronged strategy in the works (E&E News PM, March 7).

"It was certainly a revealing moment when Scott Pruitt confessed or slipped up and said what he really thought on CNBC," said David Doniger, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council's climate and clean air program, on a panel earlier this week previewing climate action under Trump.

"I know that certain gadflies from think tanks and [others] have been urging that EPA during his tenure revisit the endangerment determination," Doniger said, but a "mountain of evidence, thousands of peer-reviewed studies stretching back over now several decades," and courts support it, he said.

Whether EPA chooses the administrative route or Congress revisits the Clean Air Act amendments, Doniger predicted the chances of overturning the finding are "nil."  He sounds like those who predicted that Trump would never be President

"That is a doomed effort, but that isn't to say it won't be attempted," he said.


Australia's conservatives looking to Asia to build new coal-fired power station in north

The Turnbull government has opened talks with Asian investors to build a coal-fired power station backed by its $5 billion northern Australia fund, as half the nation’s voters endorse the use of taxpayer funds to develop the project and improve energy security.

Resources Minister Matt Canavan is fast-tracking the plan amid a growing fight with Labor and the Greens over support for coal power, as cabinet ministers prepare to decide how to encourage big investors into the market.

Senator Canavan told The Australian there was a “high ­degree of interest” from Asia helping to develop the new power station in northern Queensland, arguing that finance from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund would be needed to give the project long-term certainty.

A special Newspoll, conducted exclusively for The Australian, ­reveals that 47 per cent of voters favour the use of federal government funds to help construct a new coal-fired power station to improve energy security, while 40 per cent are opposed and 13 per cent undecided.

Amid a push by environmental groups to block new coalmines and coal-fired power stations, the national survey finds that 35 per cent of Labor voters and 15 per cent of Greens voters support using public funds to ­develop more coal-fired power.

It also shows that 59 per cent of Coalition voters favour public ­financial support for the new power station, lending weight to Malcolm Turnbull’s declaration that coal must be one of the options in a “technology neutral” approach to fixing energy ­security.

The findings come as the Prime Minister and Scott Morrison crack down on electricity ­retailers in a new move to act on fears about rising prices, ordering the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission to review the sector in order to get a better deal for consumers.

The Prime Minister and Treasurer will announce today that their response to the ACCC’s ­review will consider new measures to improve “reliability, security and pricing” across the sector.

As the imminent close of the ageing Hazelwood power station reignites debate about electricity shortages and price spikes, Labor climate change spokesman Mark Butler has declared there is no support from industry to build new coal-fired power stations in Australia.

The Australian Energy ­Council, which represents companies supplying electricity to 10 million homes, warns it has become “very difficult” to finance coal-fired power stations when investors are ramping up wind and solar projects as well as gas generators that provide baseload power with lower greenhouse gas emissions than coal.

But the government is determined to keep the coal proposal on the agenda by raising the prospect of funding from the northern Australia fund, which is also a potential source of support for the controversial coalmine planned for central Queensland by Indian company Adani.

Senator Canavan said there was “no doubt” of the rudimentary economic and commercial case for a coal-fired power station in northern Queensland but that the government’s challenge was to set the energy market rules to offer certainty.

“There’s clearly a risk of government policy changes in this area, and I think that’s a risk that’s been created by the Labor-Green(s) movement,” he said.

“Until last year there was bipartisan support for the future of coal in Australia but it was last year when Labor supported the Senate inquiry that said we should shut down all coal-fired power stations in Australia. That wasn’t the position of Kevin Rudd or Julia Gillard.

“The decision by Labor and the Greens to move to the radical fringes of our energy debate and turn their back completely on coal, on our second-biggest export, has introduced an element of risk to potential new coal-fired power stations.

“It’s now a sovereign risk and the only people who can get rid of sovereign risks are the sovereigns.”

A Senate inquiry led by a Labor and Greens majority last year argued for an “orderly retirement” of the nation’s coal-fired power stations but the government believes there is strong support in northern Queensland for a new coal project at a time of rising electricity prices.

Senator Canavan is examining options for a new power station near the Adani coalmine in the Galilee Basin, in Collinsville, to add to an existing power station or in Gladstone near an existing power station and taking advantage of transmission lines that are already in place.

The Resources Minister, who is also the Minister for Northern Australia and oversees the infrastructure fund, rejected suggestions that the help for a coal-fired power station would be a “subsidy” that meddled with the market.

“I wouldn’t characterise it as a subsidy, it’s an investment. Governments for decades have invested in energy infrastructure; all the energy infrastructure in Queensland is owned by the state government,’’ Senator Canavan said.

“It’s not unusual and generally those investments have paid off very well. I think most Australians see the central role of government as being investing in infrastructure — roads, rail and energy.”

Senator Canavan said the investment would be comparable to Mr Turnbull’s decision 10 days ago to offer government support for a $2bn expansion of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme.

The energy security committee of cabinet is waiting on a report into the electricity market from Chief Scientist Alan Finkel before deciding any changes to the sector, with energy security expected to gain a priority so that baseload power generators — including coal-fired ones — are assured a long-term return.

Senator Canavan is talking to Japanese companies that believe they could transfer their “high efficiency, low emissions” technology to the northern Queensland project.

Mr Butler is warning against the use of taxpayer funds for the rail line to the Adani mine or a new power station, claiming the long-term future for coal is one of decline.

“This is something the coal industry needs to deal with. We’ve said as a federal Labor Party we will not support taxpayers’ money going in to support infrastructure or pay for infrastructure around this (Adani) mine,” he said last week.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   main.html or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

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Monday, March 27, 2017

Greenie writer for hire is full of vitriol but neglects the underlying facts

Graham Readfearn is a "freelance" writer who earns his keep by writing scary stories for Left-leaning publications.  And he gets a lot of gravy from "The Guardian".  The article below is just one of his typical hit-pieces that treat as gospel all that Warmists have said and sedulously avoids real critical thinking.  He criticies James Delingpole only.  He shows no signs of critical thinking about what Warmists say.  He protects his funding.

So it's all rather a riot below.  It sounds great if you don't know what he leaves out.  Green/Leftists always leave things out. It is their modus operandi.  They take the facts and utterances that seem to support their conclusions and ignore the rest.  They would have no case if they considered all the facts.  So let me give an example of that.  Comrade Readfearn says:

"The Great Barrier Reef has suffered mass coral bleaching three times – in 1998, 2002 and 2016"

That's true as far as it goes but it creates the false impression that those were the ONLY bleaching events.  The fact of the matter is that there have ALWAYS been bleaching events on the reef.  I grew up in and near Cairns, the main access point to the reef, and for 60 years I have been hearing that the reef  is damaged and in danger.  Yet the tourist operators are still having no difficulty taking people out to see coral in all its glory. Comrade Readfearn lies by omission. Reef tourism is in fact booming in Cairns.

And here's something else you would never guess from comrade Readfearn's report.  It is from a recent report by three prominent reef scientists:

"The bleaching, and subsequent loss of corals, is very patchy."

If the bleaching events were due to global warming you would think that the bleaching would be uniform.  Or is global warming sometimes not global?

Such cynicism is in fact well justified.  Here are some VERY awkward facts for comrade Readfearn:

Cape Grim tells us that CO2 levels have been plateaued on 401ppm since last July (midwinter)  So anything that has happened in the recent summer is NOT due to a rise in CO2.

And NASA/GISS tell us that the December global temperature anomaly is back to .79 -- exactly where it was in 2014 before the recent El Nino event that covered the second half of 2015 and most of 2016.  So there has been no global warming in the recent Southern summer and there was no CO2 rise to cause anything anywhere anyway.

The claim that this summer's bleaching was an effect of global warming is a complete crock for both reasons.  The data could not be clearer on that.  The seas around Northeast Australia may or may not be unusually warm at the moment but if they are it is some local effect of air and ocean currents etc. The warming in NOT a part of global warming

So that takes all the excitement away for comrade Readfearn.  He has told us at great length what a bad state the reef is in -- and a few parts ARE apparently stressed -- but his only  explanation for it is false

Breitbart's James Delingpole says reef bleaching is 'fake news', hits peak denial

A claim like this takes lashings of chutzpah, blinkers the size of Trump’s hairspray bill and more hubris than you can shake a branch of dead coral at

It takes a very special person to label the photographed, documented, filmed and studied phenomenon of mass coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef “fake news”.

You need lashings of chutzpah, blinkers the size of Donald Trump’s hairspray bill and more hubris than you can shake a branch of dead coral at.

It also helps if you can hide inside the bubble of the hyper-partisan Breitbart media outlet, whose former boss is the US president’s chief strategist.

So our special person is the British journalist James Delingpole who, when he’s not denying the impacts of coral bleaching, is denying the science of human-caused climate change, which he says is “the biggest scam in the history of the world”.

Delingpole was offended this week by an editorial in the Washington Post that read: “Humans are killing the Great Barrier Reef, one of the world’s greatest natural wonders, and there’s nothing Australians on their own can do about it. We are all responsible.”

Delingpole wrote:

Like the thriving polar bear, like the recovering ice caps, like the doing-just-fine Pacific islands, the Great Barrier Reef has become a totem for the liberal-left not because it’s in any kind of danger but because it’s big and famous and photogenic and lots and lots of people would be really sad if it disappeared. But it’s not going to disappear. That’s just a #fakenews lie designed to promote the climate alarmist agenda.

Now before we go on, let’s deal with some language here.

When we talk about the reef dying, what we are talking about are the corals that form the reef’s structure – the things that when in a good state of health can be splendorous enough to support about 69,000 jobs in Queensland and add about $6bn to Australia’s economy every year.

The Great Barrier Reef has suffered mass coral bleaching three times – in 1998, 2002 and 2016 – with a fourth episode now unfolding. The cause is increasing ocean temperatures.

“Is the Great Barrier Reef dying due to climate change caused by man’s selfishness and greed?” asks Delingpole, before giving a long list of people and groups who he thinks will answer yes, including “the Guardian” and “any marine biologist”.

“Have they been out there personally – as I have – to check. No of course not,” says Delingpole.

Yes. James Delingpole has been out there “personally” to check, but all those other people haven’t. He doesn’t say when he went but he has written about one trip before. It was back in late April 2012. Everything was fine, he said, based on that one visit. I can’t find any times when he has mentioned another trip since.

So here’s the rhetorical question – one that I can barely believe I’m asking, even rhetorically.

Why should there not be equivalence between Delingpole’s single trip to the reef (apparently taken 10 years after a previous severe case of bleaching and four years before the one that followed) at one spot on a reef system that spans the size of Italy [takes breath] and the observations of scientists from multiple institutions diving at 150 different locations to verify observations taken by even more scientists in low-flying aircraft traversing the entire length of the reef?

I mean, come on? Why can those two things – Delingpole making a boat trip with mates and a coordinated and exhaustive scientific monitoring and data-gathering exercise – not be the same?

So it seems we are now at a stage where absolutely nothing is real unless you have seen it for yourself, so you can dismiss all of the photographs and video footage of bleached and dead coral, the testimony of countless marine biologists (who, we apparently also have to point out, have been to the reef ) and the observations made by the government agency that manages the reef.

Senator Pauline Hanson and her One Nation climate science-denying colleagues tried to pull a similar stunt last year by taking a dive on a part of the reef that had escaped bleaching and then claiming this as proof that everything was OK everywhere else.

This is like trying to disprove to a doctor that you have two broken legs by showing him an MRI scan of your head (which may or not reveal the presence of a brain), and then being annoyed when he doesn’t accept your evidence.

It’s as though we’ve reached peak denial.

Last year’s bleaching on the reef was the worst episode recorded to date. The current fourth mass bleaching has scientists again taking to the field.

This month a study published in Nature, and co-authored by 46 scientists, found these three episodes had impacted reefs “across almost the entire Great Barrier Reef marine park”. Only southern offshore reefs had escaped.

Corals bleach when they are exposed to abnormally high ocean temperatures for too long. Under stress, the corals expel the algae that give them their colour and more of their nutrients.

Corals can recover but, as the study explains, even the fastest growing and most vigorous colonisers in the coral family need between 10 and 15 years to recover.

After the 2016 bleaching, a quarter of all corals on the reef, mostly located in the once “pristine” northern section, died before there was a chance for recovery.

In a further blow, the study looked at factors such as improving water quality or reducing fishing pressure and asked if these had helped corals to resist bleaching. In each case, they found they did not (although they do give reefs that survive a better chance to recover).

Essentially, the study found the only measure that would give corals on the reef a fighting chance was to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The lead author of the study, Prof Terry Hughes of James Cook University (who is this week carrying out aerial surveys of the current bleaching episode), told my Positive Feedback podcast:

We can’t climate-proof reefs. Sure, there’s stuff we need to do be doing locally around water quality and fisheries management, but doing these two things alone is not going to protect the reefs in the long term. The elephant in the room here is climate change.

Some commentators have suggested a key cause of the 2016 bleaching was the El Niño weather pattern that tends to deliver warmer global temperatures.

But Hughes says that before 1998, the Great Barrier Reef went through countless El Niños without suffering the extensive mass bleaching episodes that are being seen, photographed, filmed and documented now.

Dr Mark Eakin, head of Coral Reef Watch at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said the cause of the modern-day mass bleaching episodes on reefs across the world was the rise in ocean temperatures.

This, says Eakin, is “being driven largely by humans and our burning of fossil fuels”.


New Maine anti-discrimination bill would protect. climate change skeptics

If you live in Maine you already enjoy the normal complement of protections against discrimination based on religion, race, gender, sexual orientation and all the usual demographic pigeonholes. But if a new bill being introduced next month manages to be passed into law you can also be protected from the government based on your position on the subject of climate change. This sounds like satire, but apparently it's not. (Yahoo! News)

Rep. Larry Lockman has introduced a bill that would limit the attorney general's ability to investigate or prosecute people based on their political speech, including their views on climate change. It would also prohibit the state from discriminating in buying goods or services or awarding grants or contracts based on a person's "climate change policy preferences."

Lockman, an independent business consultant, said there is a "faith-based ideology of climate change hysteria and anybody who is a skeptic is immediately labeled a heretic who must be silenced," the Portland Press Herald reported.

In his bill, Lockman says that the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United "continued the protection of protected political speech, no matter the source or message." That case allowed corporations and unions to make unlimited independent expenditures in U.S. elections.
I suppose the first question to ask is, protection from what? The author of the bill is bringing up some investigations launched by the state attorney general into whether or not Exxon Mobil "misled" people on the possible consequences of climate change. It sounds as if that's where this bill is heading, but isn't that already covered under the general concept of free speech?

It doesn't seem to me as if the government can really discriminate against you based on the position you take in an ongoing scientific debate. If that were the case we probably could have locked up all the flat earth people by now. And if you can't show some actual damages to someone it becomes difficult to get a law approved to protect them. Granted, the amount of taxpayer money which has been flushed into environmentally sensitive initiatives put in place by the EPA under Brock Obama might certainly be considered "damages." But again, that's really not discrimination so much as just bad policy.

But what the heck. We can let the state of Maine be the test bed for this particular experiment. If this manages to fly, who knows what might be next? I've been endorsing some form of protection for proper martini drinkers for years. Perhaps we could turn this thing around 180 degrees and start penalizing people who insist on calling drinks made with vodka "martinis."


Earth Hour: A Dissent by Ross McKitrick

In 2009 I was asked by a journalist for my thoughts on the importance of Earth Hour. Here is my response.

I abhor Earth Hour. Abundant, cheap electricity has been the greatest source of human liberation in the 20th century. Every material social advance in the 20th century depended on the proliferation of inexpensive and reliable electricity. Giving women the freedom to work outside the home depended on the availability of electrical appliances that free up time from domestic chores. Getting children out of menial labour and into schools depended on the same thing, as well as the ability to provide safe indoor lighting for reading.

Development and provision of modern health care without electricity is absolutely impossible. The expansion of our food supply, and the promotion of hygiene and nutrition, depended on being able to irrigate fields, cook and refrigerate foods, and have a steady indoor supply of hot water.

Many of the world's poor suffer brutal environmental conditions in their own homes because of the necessity of cooking over indoor fires that burn twigs and dung. This causes local deforestation and the proliferation of smoke- and parasite-related lung diseases. Anyone who wants to see local conditions improve in the third world should realize the importance of access to cheap electricity from fossil-fuel based power generating stations. After all, that's how the west developed.

The whole mentality around Earth Hour demonises electricity. I cannot do that, instead I celebrate it and all that it has provided for humanity. Earth Hour celebrates ignorance, poverty and backwardness. By repudiating the greatest engine of liberation it becomes an hour devoted to anti-humanism. It encourages the sanctimonious gesture of turning off trivial appliances for a trivial amount of time, in deference to some ill-defined abstraction called “the Earth,” all the while hypocritically retaining the real benefits of continuous, reliable electricity.

People who see virtue in doing without electricity should shut off their fridge, stove, microwave, computer, water heater, lights, TV and all other appliances for a month, not an hour. And pop down to the cardiac unit at the hospital and shut the power off there too.

I don't want to go back to nature. Travel to a zone hit by earthquakes, floods and hurricanes to see what it’s like to go back to nature. For humans, living in "nature" meant a short life span marked by violence, disease and ignorance. People who work for the end of poverty and relief from disease are fighting against nature. I hope they leave their lights on.

Here in Ontario, through the use of pollution control technology and advanced engineering, our air quality has dramatically improved since the 1960s, despite the expansion of industry and the power supply. If, after all this, we are going to take the view that the remaining air emissions outweigh all the benefits of electricity, and that we ought to be shamed into sitting in darkness for an hour, like naughty children who have been caught doing something bad, then we are setting up unspoiled nature as an absolute, transcendent ideal that obliterates all other ethical and humane obligations.

No thanks. I like visiting nature but I don't want to live there, and I refuse to accept the idea that civilisation with all its trade-offs is something to be ashamed of.

Ross McKitrick
Professor of Economics
University of Guelph

U.S. Energy Boom Depends On Team Trump Continuing To Deregulate

Across the country, oil and gas production is gaining momentum, thanks to innovative technologies and practices that have led to ongoing reductions in costs, dramatic improvements in productivity — and a resurgence in U.S. manufacturing.

Yet oil and gas producers are encumbered by some long-running legal roadblocks that, by many measures, have barely changed over the last century, if at all. Examples of these outdated regulatory barriers include a ban on exports of crude oil, regulatory constraints on access to federally controlled lands, and the 1920 Merchant Marine Act's absurd restrictions on transporting domestic products by ship.

The maritime law — known as the Jones Act — puts the scope of the regulatory problems into clear focus. It nonsensically mandates that any products, including oil, shipped between U.S. ports must be transported on a U.S.-built, U.S.-flagged, and at least 75%-U.S.-crewed vessel.

The Jones Act keeps otherwise uncompetitive elements of the American shipping industry afloat, but it carries a stiff price. The Jones Act harms the U.S. economy by driving up shipping costs, stifles competition, and hampers energy production by making it more difficult and costly for producers to send crude oil to refineries.

The Trump administration can do something about this archaic statute. Its focus on regulatory reform — resurrecting the Keystone pipeline, allowing the Dakota Access pipeline to continue, and repealing Obama's rules for hydraulic fracturing on federal land — is an opportunity for the administration to take further significant steps to ensure the U.S. derives full benefit from its enormous oil and natural gas resources.

The Jones Act is the epitome of an outdated protectionist measure. Originally legislated to sustain the Merchant Marine fleet after World War I, the Jones Act has become the support system for domestic commercial shipping.

Repealing the statute would reduce the cost of transporting oil by vessel because foreign-flagged ships can currently transport oil for an estimated one-third of the cost of U.S.-flagged vessels. Open competition is a critical component of any efficient marketplace. By being denied access to competitive shipping, American consumers pay higher prices for many goods, including gasoline.

Next, lifting the ban on U.S. exports of crude oil is long overdue. The Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 signed by President Ford blocked exports of U.S. crude oil at a time when the country was becoming increasingly dependent on imported oil.

But with the continuing surge in domestic oil production resulting from the shale revolution (daily crude production is now back above 9 million barrels and will reach 10 million barrels by the end of next year), the export ban is no longer in our national interest. The ban is a vestige from a price-controls system that ended in 1981.

In contrast, there are no limits on U.S. exports of refined energy products such as gasoline and diesel fuel that are made from crude oil, so a ban on crude oil exports makes no sense.

With such deregulation and changes in policy, there would be an opportunity for U.S. oil and gas production to reach its full potential. There would be greater incentives for more domestic exploration and production. Some studies say that allowing U.S. crude oil exports could generate up to $15 billion in annual revenue for oil producers.

And if conducted in tandem with increased investments in infrastructure and the repeal of the Jones Act, unrestricted exports would provide a boon for domestic oil development, generating economic growth, income, jobs and revenue along the production chain.


The Problem With Climate Catastrophizing: The Case for Calm

Climate change may or may not bear responsibility for the flood on last night's news, but without question it has created a flood of despair. Climate researchers and activists, according to a 2015 Esquire feature, "When the End of Human Civilization is Your Day Job," suffer from depression and PTSD-like symptoms. In a poll on his Twitter feed, meteorologist and writer Eric Holthaus found that nearly half of 416 respondents felt "emotionally overwhelmed, at least occasionally, because of news about climate change."

For just such feelings, a Salt Lake City support group provides "a safe space for confronting" what it calls "climate grief."

Panicked thoughts often turn to the next generation. "Does Climate Change Make It Immoral to Have Kids?" pondered columnist Dave Bry in The Guardian in 2016. "[I] think about my son," he wrote, "growing up in a gray, dying world-walking towards Kansas on potholed highways." Over the summer, National Public Radio tackled the same topic in "Should We Be Having Kids In The Age Of Climate Change?" an interview with Travis Rieder, a philosopher at Johns Hopkins University, who offers "a provocative thought: Maybe we should protect our kids by not having them." And Holthaus himself once responded to a worrying scientific report by announcing that he would never fly again and might also get a vasectomy.

Such attitudes have not evolved in isolation. They are the most intense manifestations of the same mindset that produces regular headlines about "saving the planet" and a level of obsession with reducing carbon footprints that is otherwise reserved for reducing waistlines. Former U.S. President Barack Obama finds climate change "terrifying" and considers it "a potential existential threat." He declared in his 2015 State of the Union address that "no challenge-no challenge-poses a greater threat to future generations." In another speech offering "a glimpse of our children's fate," he described "Submerged countries. Abandoned cities. Fields that no longer grow. Political disruptions that trigger new conflict, and even more floods of desperate peoples." Meanwhile, during a presidential debate among the Democratic candidates, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders warned that "the planet that we're going to be leaving our kids and our grandchildren may well not be habitable." At the Vatican in 2015, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio shared his belief that current policy will "hasten the destruction of the earth."

And yet, such catastrophizing is not justified by the science or economics of climate change. The well-established scientific consensus that human activity is causing the climate to change does not extend to judgments about severity. The most comprehensive and often-cited efforts to synthesize the disparate range of projections-for instance, the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Obama administration's estimate of the "Social Cost of Carbon"-consistently project real but manageable costs over the century to come. To be sure, more speculative worst-case scenarios abound. But humanity has no shortage of worst cases about which people succeed in remaining far calmer: from a global pandemic to financial collapse to any number of military crises.

What, then, explains the prevalence of climate catastrophism? One might think that the burgeoning field of climate psychology would offer answers. But it is itself a bastion of catastrophism, aiming to explain and then reform the views of anyone who fails to grasp the situation's desperate severity. The Washington Post offers "the 7 psychological reasons that are stopping us from acting on climate change." Columbia University's Center for Research on Environmental Decisions introduces its guide to "The Psychology of Climate Change Communication" by posing the question:"Why Aren't People More Concerned About Climate Change?" In its 100-page report, the American Psychological Association notes that "emotional reactions to climate change risks are likely to be conflicted and muted," before considering the "psychological reasons people do not respond more strongly to the risks of climate change." The document does not address the possibility of overreaction.

Properly confronting catastrophism is not just a matter of alleviating the real suffering of many well-meaning individuals. First and foremost, catastrophism influences public policy. Politicians regularly anoint climate change the world's most important problem and increasingly describe the necessary response in terms of a mobilization not seen since the last world war. During her presidential campaign, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton promised a "climate map room" akin to Roosevelt's command center for the global fight against fascism. Rational assessment of cost and benefit falls by the wayside, leading to questions like the one de Blasio posed in Rome: "How do we justify holding back on any effort that may meaningfully improve the trajectory of climate change?"

Catastrophism can also lead to the trampling of democratic norms. It has produced calls for the investigation and prosecution of dissenters and disregard for constitutional limitations on government power. In The Atlantic, for example, Peter Beinart offered climate change as his first justification for an Electoral College override of the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president. The Supreme Court has taken the unprecedented step of halting implementation of the Clean Power Plan, Obama's signature climate policy, before a lower court even finished considering its constitutionality; his law-school mentor, professor Larry Tribe, likened the "power grab" of his star pupil's plan to "burning the Constitution."

The alternative to catastrophism is not complacency but pragmatism. Catastrophists typically condemn fracked natural gas because, although it results in much lower greenhouse-gas emissions than coal, it does not move the world toward the zero-emissions future necessary to avert climate change entirely. Yet fracking has done more in recent years to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions in the United States than all renewable energy investments combined. It has boosted U.S. economic growth as well.

The idea that humanity might prepare for and cope with climate change through adaptation  is incompatible with catastrophists' outlook. Yet if the damage from climate damage can be managed, anticipating challenges through research and then investing in smart responses offers a more sensible path than blocking the construction of pipelines or subsidizing the construction of wind turbines. Catastrophists countenance progress only if it can be fueled without carbon-dioxide emissions. Yet given the choice, bringing electricity to those who need it better insulates them from any climate threat than does preventing the accompanying emissions.

The cognitive fault lines separating catastrophists from others cause both sides to reach radically different conclusions from the same information. Catastrophists assume that their interpretation is correct, and so describe other thinking as distorted. But if the catastrophists have it wrong, perhaps the distortions are theirs.


A strong scientific consensus holds that human activity is producing climate change. But from that starting point, scientists have produced a range of estimates in response to a variety of complicated questions: How quickly will greenhouse gases accumulate in the atmosphere? What amount of warming will any given accumulation cause? What effect will any given level of warming have on ecosystems and sea levels and storms? What effect will those changes in the environment have on human society? The answers to all of these questions are much debated, but broad-based efforts to synthesize the best research in the physical and social sciences do at least offer useful parameters within which to assess the nature of the climate threat.

On scientific questions, the gold-standard summary is the Assessment Report created every few years by thousands of scientists under the auspices of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). By averaging widely varying projections and assuming no aggressive efforts to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, they estimate an increase of three to four degrees Celsius (five to seven degrees Fahrenheit) by the year 2100. The associated rise in sea levels over the course of the twenty-first century, according to the IPCC, is 0.6 meters (two feet).

Most of the rise in sea levels results not from melting glaciers, but from the thermal expansion of ocean water as it becomes warmer. Melting ice from Greenland and Antarctica, which may eventually threaten a dramatic increase in sea levels, will barely begin in this century-in the IPCC analysis, the Antarctic ice sheet will have almost no effect and may even slow sea level rise as increased precipitation adds to its snowpack. Meanwhile, melting from Greenland's ice sheet will contribute 0.09 meters (3.5 inches). In fact, "the near-complete loss of the Greenland ice sheet," which could raise sea levels by seven meters, the IPCC reports, "would occur over a millennium or more."

What about ecology? Predicting or quantifying damage to vulnerable ecosystems and specific species is notoriously difficult, but the IPCC offers a helpful heuristic for the likely magnitude of damage from climate change: "With 4øC warming, climate change is projected to become an increasingly important driver of impacts on ecosystems, becoming comparable with land-use change." In other words, the impact should be similar to that which human civilization has imposed on the natural world already. Substantial and tragic, to be sure; but not something that modern society deems intolerable or a threat to human progress.

Economic tools called "integrated assessment models" attempt to convert the potential effects of climate change-on sea level and ecosystems, storms and droughts, agricultural productivity, and human health-into tangible cost estimates. This exercise is as much art as science, but it represents the best available exploration of how the impacts of climate change will likely stack up against society's capacity to cope with them. Three of these models form the basis of the Obama administration's analysis of the "Social Cost of Carbon"-the U.S. government's official estimate of how much climate change will cost and thus what benefits come from combatting it. Economists and policymakers who want to place a price (that is, a tax) on carbon-dioxide emissions to force emitters to pay for potential damage resulting from climate change typically embrace the analysis as well.

According to the assessment models, a warming of three to four degrees Celcius by 2100 will cost the world between one and four percent of global GDP in that year. To put the high end of that range concretely, the Dynamic Integrated Climate-Economy (DICE) model developed by economics professor William Nordhaus at Yale University estimates that in a world without climate change, the global economy's GDP would grow from $76 trillion in 2015 to $510 trillion in 2100 (an annual growth rate of 2.3 percent). A rise in temperatures of 3.8 degrees Celcius would cost 3.9 percent of GDP ($20 trillion) that year, effectively reducing GDP to $490 trillion.

Twenty trillion dollars is a very large number-representing a cost greater than the entire annual economic output of the United States in 2016. But from the perspective of 2100, such costs represent the difference between the world being 6.5 times wealthier than in 2015 or 6.7 times wealthier. In the DICE model, moreover, the climate-change-afflicted world of 2105 is already more prosperous than the climate-change-free world of 2100. And because the impacts and costs of climate change emerge gradually over the century-0.3 percent of GDP in 2020, 1.0 percent in 2050-in no year does the model foresee a reduction in economic growth of even one-tenth of a percentage point. Average annual growth over the 2015-2100 period declines from 2.27 percent to 2.22 percent.

To be sure, economic estimates are incomplete. They cannot incorporate the inherent value to a community of remaining in its ancestral lands or any obligation humanity might have to protect other species and habitats. Even within the economic sphere, the assessment models depend on subjectively chosen inputs and averages across disparate forecasts; they rest atop numerous other models, each with their own subjectively chosen inputs and averages. Among the three models the Obama administration picked for its analysis alone, the range of outputs is enormous: the DICE model's four percent-of-GDP estimate is near the 95th percentile of the projections from the middle-case model, while the low-case model's one percent-of-GDP estimate is below the middle-case's 5th percentile. But nowhere is catastrophe to be found.

Limitations and all, such estimates remain the best available. Further, the shortcomings of the integrated assessment models have little to do with their lack of support for catastrophism. The gap between what the models describe and what catastrophists fear does not emerge because the models disregard the heritages of indigenous cultures or the intangible value of every species. Nor do catastrophists disagree with particular inputs or outputs, expecting that tweaks to certain assumptions might validate their views. Rather, the societal collapse that catastrophists envision-one that poses an "existential" threat beyond the scope of other human problems, one that makes procreation an ethically dubious proposition-is simply irreconcilable with the outlook the science and economics offers.

Indeed, the logic of catastrophism seems to run backward: from the conclusion that significant human influence on the climate must portend unprecedented danger to the search for facts to support that narrative. But forecasts on these scales of time and magnitude exceed common experience and thus defy intuition, which facilitates misinterpretation and frustrates self-correction.

Placing the problem in proper perspective requires appreciating the long-term costs in the context of the distant future when they will arise, distinguishing costs spread over long time periods from those borne all at once and, finally, applying separate analyses to expected outcomes and worst case scenarios. Catastrophists get these things wrong.



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