Sunday, September 24, 2017



Two New Boosts For Healthy Climate Scepticism

Two new boosts for skeptics recently.  We have already noted that the Warmist models are now acknowledged to have "run hot" (overestimated warming) but there are also now good indications that the influence of El Nino is over and temperatures are sinking back to their C20 norm.

Even using the corrupt NASA/GISS data it is clear that 2017 is much cooler than 2016.  With only one small exception, in every month so far, 2017 has been cooler than the equivalent month in 2016.  The cooling has not yet got back to the C20 mean but it is clearly trending in that direction


Image from NASA/GISS


Confidence is rising in two key aspects of healthy climate scepticism. First, climate models have run “hot” and been wrong in predicting the speed and extent of warming. Second, the extended slowdown in the rate of warming since the turn of the century was real.

The jury is out on whether the so-called pause has ended but the bigger looming battle is whether machine learning and artificial intelligence will challenge the models on which much of the world’s climate understanding is built.

The British Met Office announced this week that temperature rises did slow for the 15 years to 2014.

More remarkable was a paper published in Nature Geoscience, by a team of international climate scientists, that says climate models have been “running hot”.

As a result, the team led by Richard Millar from the University of Exeter say the climate budget or amount of carbon dioxide that humans can emit before pushing warming past the aspirational 1.5C threshold is three times bigger than previously thought. This translates to a reprieve of at least 20 years — but the task still will be difficult and remains urgent, they say.

A report on the findings, also published in Nature, says the implications of the new research for global policymakers are significant. “Humanity is poised to blow through the IPCC’s (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) carbon budget for a 1.5 C rise within a few years, leading many scientists to declare the goal impossible,” the report says. “But the new analysis suggests that it could be met with a modest strengthening of the current Paris pledges up to 2030, followed by sharp cuts in carbon emissions thereafter.”

The findings, together with the pause — which took place against a background of sharply rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere — and the failure of climate models to predict it, leave a question mark over exactly how sensitive the climate is to rising levels of carbon dioxide.

The issue of climate sensitivity remains hotly debated, as is the role of natural cycles, particularly in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

Critics of the latest Nature Geoscience paper argue its findings are fundamentally flawed because they centre on a period of slower warming because of the “hiatus” when “natural variability in the climate system temporarily suppressed temperatures”.

The Met Office says the end of the pause is marked by rising temperatures across the past three years. But sceptics argue this uptick in temperatures coincided with El Nino weather conditions and may itself prove temporary.

Alongside debate about the pause, climate sensitivity, ocean cycles and model precision is new research analysing long-term natural cycles and proxy records — sometimes with artificial intelligence computer programs — to take a fresh look at what the past can tell us about the future.

A paper by Geli Wang of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, examines natural cycles to try to answer the key question of whether natural events or carbon dioxide are mainly responsible for driving temperatures.

“Causality analysis in climate change is an active and challenging research area that remains highly uncertain,” the paper says.

“The IPCC advocates that human activity is the most important driving force of climate change, while some researchers have argued that natural forces might be the main cause.”

Wang analysed the Central England Temperature record, the world’s longest instrumental temperature record, for clues. “This investigation into the driving forces of climate change reproduces a 3.36-year cycle and a 22.6-year cycle, which may be connected to the El Nino–Southern Oscillation cycle and the Hale sunspot cycle, respectively,” the paper says. “Moreover, these driving forces were modulated in amplitude by signals with millennial timescales.”

Other researchers have used proxy records and artificial intelligence computer programs to look for patterns in warming.

One paper, by John Abbot published in GeoResJ, uses a series of historic temperature proxy data sets such as tree rings to project what 20th-century warming would have been if there had not been an industrial revolution. Abbot found the IPCC methods over-estimate the role of human carbon dioxide emissions in temperature increase by a factor of six.

The use of proxy data, markers that scientists use for temperature change including coral, ice cores and tree rings, is widely accepted and formed the basis of the “hockey stick” predictions of runaway warming.

The findings of the Abbot paper, co-authored by Jennifer Marohasy, are supported by other international research.

German researchers Horst-Joachim Ludecke and Carl-Otto Weiss analyse other 2000-year-long proxy records. Like Abbot, they break the record into its component cycles and come to the same conclusion.

Another paper published by the Chinese Academy of Sciences collected a large number of proxies and used them to reconstruct a 2000-year temperature series.

Led by Quansheng Ge, the research found the most rapid warming in China was from 1870-2000, but “temperatures recorded in the 20th century may not be unprecedented for the last 2000 years, as data show records for the periods AD981-1100 and AD1201-70 are comparable to the present”.

Published in Advances in Atmospheric Sciences, the research illustrates the long-term natural oscillations in global temperatures across the past 2000 years. It clearly shows there was a Medieval Warm Period and then a Little Ice Age, with the medieval period about as warm as temperatures today.

“There is no reason to believe that cycles that have been present for thousands of years suddenly ceased to operate about a century ago,” Abbot says.

The key is to separate the natural cycles from the human influence. Abbot’s work suggests that even if there had been no industrial revolution and burning of fossil fuels, there still would have been some warming through the 20th century — to at least 1980. In short, he says it is possible to argue there was some impact from human activity but it was a lot less than the amount the IPCC required.

SOURCE




Germany’s $800 Billion Merkel-Made Climate Disaster

Germany has spent some 650 billion euros ($780 billion) on subsidies for green power in recent decades. But the country’s climate targets “won’t be a near miss but a booming failure.”

By 2030, the eastern German town of Poedelwitz will likely be razed to get at the rich veins of coal beneath its half-timbered houses. The reason: Chancellor Angela Merkel’s effort to steer Germany toward greener energy, which has unexpectedly meant booming demand for dirty coal.

While Merkel aims to wean the country from nuclear power and boost renewable energy, the shift has been slow—Germany’s 140-plus coal-fired plants last year supplied 40 percent of the country’s electricity—and Poedelwitz is flanked by open-pit lignite mines that feed a 2 gigawatt power plant a few miles away.

“This is unparalleled destruction of the environment,” says Jens Hausner, a farmer who has seen 17 of his 20 hectares consumed by digging equipment that looks like something out of a Mad Max movie. In a bit more than a decade, the hulking machines are expected to claw through the town’s 13th-century church and 40 or so remaining homes.

Fine-tuning the shift toward cleaner energy will be near the top of Merkel’s to-do list if she wins a fourth term as chancellor, as expected, in Sept. 24 elections. Germany began subsidizing wind and solar in 2000, but the pace picked up after 2011, when Merkel initiated her “Energy Shift” in reaction to the meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima plant.

Merkel aims to cut CO2 emissions by 40 percent by 2020 from 1990 levels, and Germany has spent some 650 billion euros ($780 billion) on subsidies for green power in recent decades. But the country will at best get to 30 percent by 2020, according to Berlin climate researcher Agora Energiewende. Emission reductions “won’t be a near miss but a booming failure,” Agora researchers write.

That’s not to say Merkel’s policy has been a failure. Wind power alone has spawned 143,000 jobs, according to the BWE wind industry lobby, versus 135,000 who work in the traditional power sector and coal mining. More than a third of Germany’s electricity now comes from wind, solar and biomass, up from a quarter four years ago. And Germany is ahead of the European average, with emissions down 27 percent from 1990 levels, versus 22 percent for the 28 members of the European Union.

Merkel’s government says clean power investments will make Germany a global leader in the technologies, giving its manufacturers an edge for decades to come.  “For all the challenges of the Energy Shift, we’re on track to be at the forefront of a radical switch from a carbon-powered economy, ” her chief of staff, Peter Altmaier, said in an Aug. 29 speech in Leipzig.

The upside to the Energiewende can be seen in the North Sea port of Cuxhaven. Within a couple of years, about 1,000 people will work at Siemens AG’s new $240 million plant that manufactures massive turbines there. Those will be towed out into the windswept waters of the North Sea, where they’ll be mounted atop towers made a few hundred meters away by Ambau GmbH.

“We’ve benefitted from the Energy Shift, no doubt,” says Ulrich Getsch, mayor of Cuxhaven, which prevailed over scores of bidders to win the Siemens plant. There’s plenty of room for other green energy companies at the site, says Getsch, who aims to make the town “the hub of a boom.”

Yet the prosperity enjoyed by Cuxhaven and a handful of other towns has been fueled by generous government funding. Klaus Schaefer, chief executive officer of German utility Uniper SE, says subsidies have done little to rein in carbon emissions while forcing German companies to abandon valuable equipment. “It’s difficult to see a lot of winners from the energy transition,” Schaefer says.

Consumers bristle at the cost as Germany has the European Union’s second-highest rates for electricity after Denmark. A green surcharge raises German power bills by some 25 percent, to an average of about 29 euro cents (34.6 U.S. cents) per KW-h this year—more than triple the level in the U.S.

SOURCE




Unplugging the Electric Vehicle Summer of Love

It’s been a summer of unrequited love for electric vehicles. In July, Tesla finally rolled out its massively hyped Model 3. That same month, Volvo announced ambitious plans to go all-electric, or at least, all hybrid-electric. The British government declared it would ban the sale of “new conventional petrol and diesel cars and vans” by 2040. The French government did the same, with the country’s new ecology minister, Nicolas Hulot, declaring the move to EVs a “veritable revolution.”

Don’t buy the hype. The history of the electric vehicle is a century of failure tailgating failure.

There are three main problems with all-electric cars. Most important: they cost too much. Second, EVs compete with oil, which is cheap, and could get cheaper. Third, EVs compete with internal combustion engines, which are also cheap and getting cheaper.

To be sure, global EV sales are rising, they jumped 38 percent last year, and totaled 750,000 vehicles, worth $6 billion. Another $6 billion was spent on EV recharging spots. But drivers have been hearing about the promise of electric cars since the days of Thomas Edison, who in 1896 declared the EV won’t succeed because “the storage battery is too heavy.”

EV’s are still too expensive. Tesla’s Model 3 costs $35,000 before rebates. Why would the Benz and Beemer crowd buy a Tesla when a new BMW 3-series sedan can be had for $34,445? Oh, and that new Beemer gets 34 miles per gallon on the highway. And unlike the new Tesla, that BMW has effectively unlimited range, as it can be quickly refueled at tens of thousands of locations across the country, a luxury not afforded to subsidy-fueled EVs, which must be replenished, sometimes for hours, at special recharging stations.

Oil is cheap. The current price of gasoline is about $2.60 per gallon. That’s the same price as 2006. Plus, cars are getting more efficient, so drivers don’t need to buy as much gasoline to fuel their travels. Further, even if EVs gain significant market share, that would reduce gasoline demand, which would reduce prices and thereby make the liquid fuel even more competitive against EVs, whatever their range and price.

That doesn’t square with the “peak oil” crowd, which has been warning of doom for decades. Nor does it please the we-hate-foreign-oil-and-OPEC crowd.

Nevertheless, history shows that the global market has always had too much oil, not too little. That was proved by Hurricane Harvey. The catastrophic storm caused oil prices to fall, not rise. That’s the opposite of what is supposed to happen. Nevertheless, it showed just how much oil is sloshing around the global economy.

While EVs had a summer of romance, pundits are ignoring the fact that global automakers have been continually improving the engines first conceived of by Nickolaus Otto and Rudolf Diesel. Things like electronic ignition systems, better lubricants and improved metallurgy have made engines smaller, lighter, denser and more powerful.

They are also getting cleaner and more efficient. In 2015, Toyota introduced a new turbo-diesel that is 15 percent more efficient than its predecessor. The Japanese automaker is now cranking out 700,000 of the new diesels every year — a number equal to the global sales of EVs.

In 2019, Mazda will begin selling cars with HCCI engines, which stands for homogeneous charge compression ignition, a technology that allows gasoline engines to act like diesels under low-power demand thereby improving efficiency by 20 percent to 30 percent.  At the August unveiling of the new powerplant, Mazda said it aims to “perfect the internal combustion engine,” which “will help power the majority of cars worldwide for many years to come and can therefore make the greatest contribution to reducing carbon dioxide emissions.”

To be sure, the electrification of the automobile is continuing. Hybrid vehicles are here to stay and will account for a growing share of auto sales. But it’s also obvious that the car of the future will look a lot like the ones we’re driving now. That is, they won’t be plugging in, they will be gassing up.

SOURCE




Irma illusions – and realities

If human emissions made Irma worse, did they also bring the 12-year lull in Cat 4-5 hurricanes?

Paul Driessen

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma brought out the best in us. Millions of Americans are giving money, toil and sweat to help victims rebuild. Unfortunately, the storms also highlighted some people’s baser instincts.

Some advanced ideological commitments to campaigns to “keep fossil fuels in the ground,” raise energy costs and reduce living standards. Others hyped Harvey’s record rainfalls, claiming carbon dioxide emissions made the Gulf of Mexico warmer and its air more moisture-laden. A few were just obnoxious.

These storms are a product of “this administration’s climate denial, racism and callousness,” 350.org activist Jenny Marienau fumed. “How many once-in-a-lifetime storms will it take, until everyone admits manmade climate change is real?!” Daily Show comedian Trevor Noah fulminated.

Perhaps these newly minted “experts” received mail-order degrees in climatology or meteorology – or recently stayed at a Holiday Inn Express. They should at least take a few minutes to review hurricane and climate history, and talk to real climatologists and meteorologists, before launching tirades.

My geology, ecology and other studies taught me that climate change has been “real” throughout history. I’ve learned to be humble, respectful and vigilant in the face of nature’s power; to recognize that climate shifts can range from beneficial or benign to harmful or unbelievably destructive; and to understand that the sun and other powerful natural forces totally dwarf whatever meager powers humans might muster to alter or control Earth’s climate and weather.

Harvey marked the end of a record 12-year absence of Category 3-5 hurricanes hitting the US mainland. The previous 8-year record was set 1860-1869. NOAA’s Hurricane Research Division counts ten Category 4-5 monsters 1920-1969 (50 years) hitting the USA, but only three 1970-2016 (46 years). This year has brought two more, and the hurricane season isn’t over yet.

If Harvey and Irma were caused or intensified by human greenhouse gas emissions, shouldn’t those gases be credited for the 12-year lull and half-century decline in Cat 4-5 landfalling storms? For Irma’s changed intensity and route as it reached Florida and headed north? Certainly not.

If fossil fuels caused Harvey’s rainfall, were previous deluges like Hurricane Easy (45 inches in Florida, 1950), Tropical Cyclone Amelia (48 inches in Texas, 1978) and Tropical Storm Claudette (a record 43 inches in 24 hours on Alvin, Texas, 1979) the result of lower fossil fuel use back then? Highly unlikely.

Indeed, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) concludes that neither the frequency of North Atlantic tropical storms and hurricanes, nor their energy level, has displayed any trend since 1950. Despite slightly warmer ocean waters in some regions, global Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) levels in recent years have been at their lowest levels since the late 1970s.

When the [jisao.washington.edu/pdo/]Pacific Decadal Oscillation is in its cyclical positive phase, the tropics, west coast of North America and our Earth overall get warmer; cooling occurs during the PDO’s negative phase. The Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO) also cycles between warm and cool phases, affecting regional and planetary temperatures, as well as hurricane formation, strength and duration.

Any link between hurricanes and human carbon dioxide/greenhouse gas emissions is nebulous, tenuous and very poorly understood at this time. Asserted links to recent hurricanes are ideological illusions.

Hurricane Irma remained symmetrical and grew in size and intensity into the massive Category 5 hurricane seen in satellite photos, because it remained over warm water for a week as it crossed the Atlantic and Caribbean – and was not pulled apart by mid-altitude wind sheer – weather experts explained. Its encounter with Cuba’s coastal lands and mountains finally reduced its wind speeds and disrupted its symmetry.

Over Florida, strong north-to-south winds high in the atmosphere clipped the top off the hurricane. That further disturbed Irma’s shape and intensity, and steered the storm westward as it traveled north up the Citrus State. As is usually the case with storms moving north over Florida and parallel to its west coast, Irma’s front wall began to pull in both drier air and upwelling water. The bigger the storm the more it does this, WeatherBELL Analytics chief forecaster Joe Bastardi explained.

All these factor combined to slow whirling winds in the storm’s eyewall still more. It began wobbling on its axis, and Irma gradually became a disorganized tropical storm after it pounded Fort Meyers.

As to Hurricane Harvey, consulting meteorologist Joe D’Aleo notes that “hurricanes entering Texas are almost always very wet and often stall or meander.” This year, a large cool trough trapped Harvey and kept it from moving inland, enabling the Gulf of Mexico to feed it trillions of gallons of water for days, said Bastardi. It was “an unusual confluence of events,” said Weather Channel founder John Coleman, “but it was certainly not unprecedented.”

If there was a “human factor” in Harvey and Irma, climate alarmists need to explain exactly where it was, how big it was and what role it played. They must present hard evidence to show that fossil fuels and carbon dioxide emissions played a significant role amid, and compared to, the hundreds of natural forces involved in these storms. Their loud rhetoric only highlights their failure and inability to do so.

In fact, the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico are warm enough every summer to produce major hurricanes, says climatologist Dr. Roy Spencer. But you also need other conditions, whose origins and mechanisms are still unknown: pre-existing cyclonic circulation off the African coast, upper atmospheric calm, sea surface temperatures that change on a cyclical basis in various regions, to name just a few.

The combination of all these factors – plus weather fronts and land masses along the way – determines whether a hurricane arises, how strong it gets, how long it lasts, and what track it follows.

Damage from hurricanes has certainly increased over the years. But that is because far more people now live and work in far more expensive communities along America’s Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Since 1920, Greater Houston has grown from 138,000 people to 5.7 million; Miami from 43,000 to 6.1 million; Tampa from 50,000 to 3 million.

Meanwhile, death tolls have declined – at least in countries where fossil fuels, highways and modern technologies enable us to construct stronger buildings, track storms, warn, evacuate and rescue people, and bring in water, food, clothing, and materials to rebuild power lines and buildings in stricken areas.

Over 6,000 people perished in the 1900 Category 4 Galveston Hurricane, 2,500 in the 1928 Okeechobee, Florida Category 4 hurricane and storm surge. More than 1,800 died in Katrina (Category 3), due largely to corrupt and incompetent local and state governments.

Thanks to better preparation, warning and evacuation, overall tragic deaths were kept to 82 from Harvey and 93 from Irma. Incredibly, despite the vicious 185-mph winds that reduced most of Anguilla and Barbuda to rubble, Irma killed only one person on those Caribbean islands.

Even in recent years, cyclones and hurricanes have brought far more death and destruction to poor nations where modern energy and technology are still limited or nonexistent: 400,000 dead in Bangladesh in 1970, 138,000 in Myanmar in 2008, and 19,000 from Hurricane Mitch in Central America in 1998.

It may be fashionable to focus on alleged “social costs of carbon” and asserted fossil fuel contributions to extreme weather events. But it is essential that we never forget the enormous benefits these fuels bring.

Our Earth is a complex, wondrous, resilient planet. But it can unleash incredible fury. Wealthy, technologically advanced nations fueled by oil, natural gas, coal and nuclear power are far better able to avoid, survive and recover from those disasters. We must count our blessings, but always be prepared.

Via email





Are DAMS the solution to "renewable" power?  You've got to be joking!  Dams are the original hate-object of the Greens

Notice that the word "dam" is not mentioned below.  They talk of "pumped hydro" without saying what the water will be pumped into.  Quite hilarious!  A pumped hydro scheme in fact requires TWO dams.  Is there no limit to deceptive journalism from the Green/Left?

Australia has more than 22,000 sites around the country that could be suitable for pumped hydro storage, according to a study by the Australian National University.

The report, details of which were obtained by Fairfax Media ahead of a public release on Thursday, extends work published last month. That partial study found 5000 suitable sites in Queensland and Tasmania.

The additional data shows that NSW has the most prospective locations in the country, with about 8500 identified by the ANU team led by Professor Andrew Blakers. Victoria had about 4400 sites, placing it second among the states.

Australia would only require a tiny fraction of these sites - for about 450 gigawatt-hours worth of storage - to underpin a 100 per cent renewable electricity system, Professor Blakers said in a statement.

"Fast tracking the development of a few of the best sites by 2022 could balance the grid when Liddell and other coal power stations close," he said, referring to the 1680-megawatt coal-fired power plant the federal government is trying to strong-arm AGL Energy to keep open five years beyond the 2022 scheduled close.

"We found so many good potential sites that only the best 0.1 per cent will be needed," he said. "We can afford to be choosy."

Interest in pumped hydro has increased in the wake of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's much-publicised twin visits to the Snowy Hydro scheme since March.

The ANU study, though, highlights the possibility of many alternative, smaller projects that could be completed sooner than the Snowy upgrade. Such ventures may also be less challenging than drilling many kilometres of tunnels under the Snowy region.

"Instead of propping up dirty old coal-fired power stations like Liddell, Malcolm Turnbull should be investing in energy storage now," Adam Bandt, Greens spokesman for climate change and energy, said.

"Snowy 2.0 is years away, but there are plenty of sites for smaller, flexible dispatchable pumped hydro that could be up and running in a couple of years if [he and energy minister] Josh Frydenberg showed some real leadership," Mr Bandt said.

Of the other states to be revealed in the new report, Western Australia has about 3800 prospective pumped hydro locations, and the Northern Territory 1500. Queensland has about 1770 and Tasmania 2050 and South Australia 185.

Fairfax Media sought comment from Mr Frydenberg's office, which declined to release the ANU report.

A spokesman pointed to comments made by the PM earlier this month, saying that keeping Liddell open for another five years would give time for Snowy 2.0 - with its proposed 2000 MW capacity - to come on line.

Making 100 per cent possible

With pumped storage, water is kept in an upper reservoir and run through a turbine at a lower altitude to provide electricity during periods when supplies are otherwise low. The water can later be pumped uphill from a lower reservoir when electricity supplies are in surplus.

Typically, the height difference between upper and lower reservoirs measured for the prospective sites was at least 300 metres.

"All the potential sites we have found are outside national parks and urban areas, and like all hydro power can go from zero to full power very quickly," Professor Blakers said in August when the initial study results were released.

That partial research, funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, identified pumped storage sites with capacity ranging from 0.9 to 100 gigawatt-hours – or as much as 1000 times being proposed for a giant battery being built for South Australia by Tesla.

At the time Professor Blakers said batteries also had the disadvantage of lifetime use of eight to 15 years at current technology, compared with 50 years for hydro plants.

Pumped hydro is one of the possible technology solutions to firming up renewable energy for when the sun is not shining or the wind blowing.

The Finkel Review identified the need to provide back-up capacity as one of the potential road blocks hindering much greater penetration of clean energy as a share of national electricity supplies.

The extended atlas of sites will build on the partial study of the states to reinforce the view that Australia could shift to 100 per cent renewable if enough pumped storage is made available.

 "About 3600 hectares of reservoir is required to support a 100 per cent renewable energy grid for Australia, which is five parts per million of Australia's land mass," Matthew Stocks from the ANU Research School of Engineering said in August. "Annual water requirements would be less than one per cent of annual extraction from the Murray River."

SOURCE

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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   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

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Friday, September 22, 2017



Climate Models Stink

Skeptics have been pointing out for years that Warmist climate models "run hot"  -- i.e. predict much more warming than ever happens -- but they were ignored.  Now that the gap has become unmistakeable and mainstream climate scientists admit it, big "attitude adjustments" are needed.  Do the models have any correspondence with reality at all?  

Climate alarmists and “settled science” extortionists have a rather incredulous response to a new study appearing in Nature Geoscience. The study takes a fresh look at the “carbon budget,” or how much emissions the earth can take and still maintain endurable temperatures. According to the study, compiled by a consortium of scientists from all over the world, the doomsday clock remains, but it’s been extended by quite some time.

The Washington Post calls the finding “a potential whiplash moment” that “was published by a number of researchers who have been deeply involved in studying the concept, making it all the more unexpected.” According to the study, contrary to previous disquisitions, it is possible to cap global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit), or what most scientists concur is a critical —but largely out-of-reach — global warming threshold. “It had been widely assumed that this stringent target would prove unachievable,” the Post reports, “but the new study would appear to give us much more time to get our act together if we want to stay below it.”

The Post says that, based on new calculations, “We have more than 700 billion tons left to emit to keep warming within 1.5 degrees Celsius, with a two-thirds probability of success.” According to co-author Richard Millar, “That’s about 20 years at present-day emissions.” The hope is that this buys enough time to more robustly mitigate global warming’s effects. Predictably, however, the study is already being downplayed. But it’s important to understand why the researchers came to this conclusion. For us so-called climate skeptics, it’s not surprising in the least.

According to researcher Joeri Rogelj, “The most complex Earth system models that provided input to [the IPCC] tend to slightly overestimate historical warming, and at the same time underestimate compatible historical CO2 emissions. These two small discrepancies accumulate over time and lead to an [sic] slight underestimation of the remaining carbon budget.” Rogelj’s colleague Pierre Friedlingstein echoed this point: “The models end up with a warming which is larger than the observed warming for the current emissions. … So, therefore, they derive a budget which is much lower.” In other words, the models were too rambunctious.

The problem of overly ambitious global warming projections is well known. Climatologists like Dr. Roy Spencer and John Christy have found that climate models are grossly exaggerating future warming. What’s interesting is that some mainstream scientists are finally — perhaps because the facts leave them with no alternative — addressing this reality. How the rest of their peers are likely to respond is less encouraging. It’s also worth repeating that the true effects of global warming are still unknown and probably excessively dramatized. But at least this study tries to incorporate some authenticity.

SOURCE




Cut Green Taxes Now! Scientists Admit Overstating Global Warming

Green taxes on families’ energy bills should be cut in light of a scientific report that said global warming was less drastic than feared, experts claimed yesterday.

Around 10 per cent of a family’s energy bill – roughly £111 a year – is used to subsidise renewable energy, according to official figures.

But critics now say this should be reduced because it is based on outdated information. They point that out the taxes further push up the cost of living as companies and the public sector pass the costs on to consumers.

Nearly all of the world’s governments are signed up to the 2015 Paris Agreement, which pledged to limit global warming to 1.5C higher than pre-industrial levels. Many commentators believed this was practically impossible.

 Green taxes on families¿ energy bills should be cut in light of a scientific report that said global warming was less drastic than feared, experts claimed yesterday (file photo)

 Green taxes on families’ energy bills should be cut in light of a scientific report that said global warming was less drastic than feared, experts claimed yesterday.
But now a leading group of climate researchers has said that projections used in previous studies were too pessimistic and the 1.5C target was achievable, provided strict cuts to carbon dioxide were made.

The Committee on Climate Change, which advises the Government on climate policy, claimed there was no reason to change its targets for cutting carbon in the light of the new paper.

But critics said that, as these estimates formed the basis of UK energy policy, it was also time to rethink the green taxes on energy intended to address them.

John Constable, [GWPF Energy Editor and] chief executive of the Renewable Energy Foundation, which opposes subsidies to wind farms said: ‘This research has confirmed what a lot of people have known.

‘What is significant is establishment figures are now admitting it. [Policy-makers] should stop panicking and focus on cutting costs to consumers.’ The researchers, in an article in the journal Nature Geoscience, had said the world can emit around 240billion tonnes of carbon dioxide – around 20 years of current emissions – and still meet the 1.5C target.

Michael Grubb, professor of international energy and climate change at University College London, admitted his predictions had been too pessimistic.

 Around 10 per cent of a family¿s energy bill ¿ roughly £111 a year ¿ is used to subsidise renewable energy, according to official figures (file photo)

Around 10 per cent of a family’s energy bill – roughly £111 a year – is used to subsidise renewable energy, according to official figures (file photo)
‘When the facts change, I change my mind, as [economist John Maynard] Keynes said,’ Dr Grubb told The Times.

‘It’s still likely to be very difficult to achieve these kind of changes quickly enough but we are in a better place than I thought.’

Bjorn Lomborg, author of the Skeptical Environmentalist, said: ‘What we really need to [ask] is how do we spend our money, how much should we spend on cutting CO2, compared to all the other things we should spend on [such as] the NHS. Are we spending too much on achieving too little?’

The Government has ordered a review of energy bills, headed by Oxford academic Professor Dieter Helm, although detailed recommendations of tax cuts do not form part of his brief.

SOURCE



     
Leftist Global Warming Mythology

By Bruce Walker

The left's response to the natural disasters in Florida was to raise again the bogeyman of man-made global warming.  The left blames every natural disaster or significant change in weather on man-made global warming.  So if the weather is unseasonably hot, man-made global warming is the culprit, but if the weather is unseasonably cold, the man-made global warming is to blame as well.  The "science" of the left simply plugs in man-made global warming to every natural disaster or significant change in the weather.

This is anti-science in its purest form.  Totalitarianism – and the left is utterly totalitarian – always claims to base its actions upon "science."  So the Nazis insisted and persuaded many scientists involved in genetics, psychology, biology, and so forth to agree with Nazi racial policies as "scientific," and almost everything that happened was accounted for by the Nazis as part of racial "science."  So the Soviets coerced all scientists to accept as an overarching "science" Marxism, and so geneticists and physicists were sent to the Gulag or worse if their scientific discoveries conflicted with Marxist "science."

The settled "science," which is to say anti-science, is screeched by the left despite the fact that more than 4,000 scientists, including 72 Nobel Prize winners, from more than 100 nations signed the Heidelberg Appeal, which explicitly challenged politically correct science and warned against "irrational ideology" and "pseudoscientific arguments of false and nonrelevant data."

Even more interesting is the Oregon Petition from the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, which explicitly stated that there was "no convincing scientific evidence" of global warming and noted that rising carbon dioxide is beneficial to plants and animals.  This petition has been signed by more than 30,000 scientists in America.

The left assumes global warming when a truly scientific analysis of the data could mean a stable climate, a cooling climate (which is what the great scientist Sir Fred Hoyle believed was the case at the end of the last century), or global warming.  The left not only prostitutes science into insisting upon man-made global warming, but ignores any explanation for climate change, assuming that climate change is real, which conflicts with its politically correct theory of man-made global warming.

So the left ignores dramatic changes in global climate about which we have abundant evidence, scientific and documentary, based upon people living in these periods.  During the Roman Warm Period, the climate was 2℃ to 6℃ hotter than it is today.  The Dark Age Cold Period saw a significantly cooler climate than today.  The Medieval Warming Period, which lasted centuries, saw the climate 3℃ warmer than it is today, and the Little Ice Age, which ended shortly before the American Civil War, saw temperatures 2℃ lower than today.

None of these climatic changes in temperature can be explained by human activity, and all of them produced changes greater than what the Chicken Little leftists claim will produce the end of civilization.

The left also ignores explanations for any global warming that do not involve human activity.  Henrik Svensmark, director of the Center for Sun-Climate Research in Denmark, proposes a new theory for possible global warming and a new discipline, cosmoclimatology.  Svensmark shows how cosmic rays have affected the climate on Earth over thousands of years.  Perhaps even more persuasive, Svensmark notes that the climate changes of Mars track very closely the climate changes on Earth and that these changes fit closely into his theory that climate change is caused by cosmic rays and other forces of nature operating outside Earth.  This does not preclude global warming; rather, it finds that natural forces, cosmic forces, in this case, account for global warming and not human activity.

So why does the left love its silly theory of man-made global warming?  Why does the left violently resist scientific opinions to the contrary?  Because all the left really cares about is power, just like its close cousins, Marxism and Nazism.  Man-made global warming demands – or rather, the left demands on behalf of its pet theory – a concentration of power away from the people and to remote, insulated, arrogant political bosses.

Whatever happens in any area of life produces the same shrill cry for statist power by the left, no matter what the problem may be or how badly the left's "solution" to the problem may have failed in the past.  Power, power, power and power is all the left loves.

SOURCE





How Obama's EPA Nearly Bankrupted John Duarte's Farm

A controversial rule on water pollution allowed the agency to micromanage private land use

EPA Chief Scott Pruitt has set out to transform the agency he leads to a greater extent than any of Trump's other cabinet appointees, pledging to end what he dubbed the agency's "anti-energy agenda" by loosening requirements on carbon emissions and eliminating land use restrictions.

In his first speech to EPA employees, Pruitt laid out his goal of returning the agency to its core focus of protecting the environment while following what he called "the letter of the law."

"I believe that we as an agency, and we as a nation, can be both pro-energy and jobs and pro-environment," Pruitt told his staff.

Environmentalists vehemently opposed Pruitt's appointment, depicting him as a climate change denier determined to undermine the EPA's core mission of protecting the environment.

One of Pruitt's first targets is a controversial rule on water pollution put in place by the Obama administration that he deemed a "power grab" by environmental regulators.

To better understand why property rights advocates applauded the move, consider the case of fourth-generation farmer John Duarte, who has fought a protracted and costly legal battle with federal regulators over how to till his 450-acre farm in Tehama County, California.

In 2012, the Army Corps of Engineers, working in conjunction with the EPA, accused Duarte of damaging wetland features on his property. He was hit with $30 million in fines and restoration fees.

Duarte's troubles stemmed from a 2015 provision in the Clean Water Act known as the Waters of the United States rule that was meant to better protect large bodies of water by regulating use of the streams, ponds, and ditches that flow into them. The EPA has used this provision to micromanage private land use.

The agency accused Duarte of mismanaging the wetland areas located on his property, claiming that his four-inch plow furrows created small mountain ranges. They contend Duarte should have obtained a permit before tilling his own land.

"The average time to obtain a Clean Water Act permit is close to two years, and the average cost just to hire the consultants and do the studies to get permits approaches a quarter of a million dollars," says Anthony François, a lawyer with the Pacific Legal Foundation who represented Duarte in his case against the government. "Clearly if you had to undertake that kind of cost and time just to get the necessary permit to plow your fields every year you're not going to grow a lot of food."

In 2016, attorneys general from 31 states (including Pruitt) challenged the Obama administration's overreach on the Clean Water Act. The case is still active in federal court.

University of Virginia Law Professor Jason Scott Johnston, who is also an adjunct scholar at the libertarian CATO Institute, believes it's likely the Supreme Court would strike down the 2015 water regulation. He says that the Obama administration expanded the definition of wetlands beyond the parameters set by the Court in the 2007 Rapanos v. United States decision.

"The broad trend of environmental regulation during the Obama administration was to use the coercive threat or reality of regulation simply to try to shut down entire industries and entire types of economic activity," says Johnston. "They have promulgated a definition of wetlands which clearly contradicts what the Supreme Court said."

In February, President Donald Trump signed an executive order instructing the EPA to repeal the Waters of the United States rule, but getting the regulation off the books could take several years and be delayed by legal challenges from environmental groups.

Meanwhile, Duarte settled his case in August for $1.1 million to avoid paying a significantly larger fine. He hopes Pruitt's focus on regulatory rollback will restore farmers' property rights.

"We become peasants where these federal prosecutors can come in like the Sheriff of Nottingham, decide for themselves what they think a family can pay," Duarte says. "If the federal prosecutors can come on this land with this set of facts, there is no farm in America that is safe from this kind of prosecution."

SOURCE




The UN Climate Panel Cannot Be Trusted

In his Opening Statement on September 6 at the 46th Session of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in Montreal, IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee asserted that “Science underpins the negotiating process and provides the evidence base for sound policy.”

Nothing could be further from the truth. The IPCC is highly biased and simply ignores findings that do not conform with the climate alarm.

This is because, contrary to its original purpose of studying all climate change, the IPCC role is now:

to assess …the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced [bold added] climate change…
The problem is, you cannot determine the human effect unless you know the extent and cause of natural climate change. And, of course, if human-induced climate change was found to be trivial, there would be no reason for the IPCC to exist. The IPCC therefore always supports the climate scare, no matter what the science reveals.

The IPCC’s narrow mandate is one of the results of the definition of climate change given by the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The Convention asserts:

“Climate Change means a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over considerable time periods.”

Since the IPCC is required to support the Framework Convention, the IPCC had to adopt the UNFCCC’s political definition of climate change. This results in policy-makers, not scientists, leading the process. Indeed, IPCC vice-chair Thelma Krug admitted as much when, according to the Canadian Press (Sep 6, 2017), she said that scientists are guided by policy-makers in 195 member states. Massachusetts Institute of Technology meteorology professor Richard Lindzen was not exaggerating when he said that the supposed scientific consensus was reached before the research had even begun.

SOURCE

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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   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

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Thursday, September 21, 2017



Trump administration working toward renewed drilling in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

The Trump administration is quietly moving to allow energy exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for the first time in more than 30 years, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post, with a draft rule that would lay the groundwork for drilling.

Congress has sole authority to determine whether oil and gas drilling can take place within the refuge’s 19.6 million acres. But seismic studies represent a necessary first step, and Interior Department officials are modifying a 1980s regulation to permit them.

The effort represents a twist in a political fight that has raged for decades. The remote and vast habitat, which serves as the main calving ground for one of North America’s last large caribou herds and a stop for migrating birds from six continents, has served as a rallying cry for environmentalists and some of Alaska’s native tribes. But state politicians and many Republicans in Washington have pressed to extract the billions of barrels of oil lying beneath the refuge’s coastal plain.

Democrats have managed to block them through votes in the Senate and, in one instance in 1995, by a presidential veto.

In an Aug. 11 memo, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service acting director James W. Kurth instructed the agency’s Alaska regional director to update a rule that allowed exploratory drilling between Oct. 1, 1984, and May 31, 1986, by striking those calendar constraints.

Doing so would eliminate an obstacle that was the subject of a court battle as recently as two years ago.

“When finalized, the new regulation will allow for applicants to [submit] requests for approval of new exploration plans,” Kurth wrote in the memo.

If the rule is finalized after a public comment period, companies would have to bid on conducting the seismic studies. The U.S. Geological Survey estimated in a June 27 memo, obtained by Trustees for Alaska through a federal records request, that this work would cost about $3.6 million.

With oil prices averaging around $50 per barrel, potentially too low to justify a significant investment in drilling in the refuge, it is unclear how much interest companies would have. Some might consider proceeding with those studies to get a better sense of the area’s potential.

The behind-the-scenes push to open up the refuge — often referred to by its acronym, ANWR — comes as longtime drilling proponents occupy key positions at the Interior Department.

Its No. 2 official, David Bernhardt, represented Alaska in its unsuccessful 2014 suit to force then-Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to allow exploratory drilling there. Joseph Balash, President Trump’s nominee to serve as Interior assistant secretary for land and minerals management, asked federal officials to turn a portion of the refuge over to the state when he served as Alaska’s natural resources commissioner. The state’s plan was to offer the land for leasing.

During a stop in Anchorage on May 31, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said he hoped to jump-start energy exploration on Alaska’s North Slope in part by updating resource assessments of the refuge.

“I’m a geologist. Science is a wonderful thing. It helps us understand what is going on deep below the surface of the Earth,” Zinke said at the time. “We need to use science to update our understanding of the [coastal plain] of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as Congress considers important legislation to responsibly develop there one day.”

The Fish and Wildlife memo notes that the Interior Department asked it “to update the regulations concerning the geological and geophysical exploration” of that coastal area but does not identify who issued the directive.

An Interior official said in an email Friday that the department is “required by law — the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act — to allow for seismic surveys in wildlife refuges across Alaska.”

“Hundreds of seismic surveys have been conducted on Alaska’s north slope — many of them on ANWR’s borders,” the official added.

Both the Clinton and Obama administrations concluded that the department was legally barred from permitting seismic studies in the refuge. And environmentalists have consistently opposed such activity, which sends shock waves underground. They say it would disturb denning polar bears, which are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, as well as musk oxen and other Arctic animals.

Environmental groups would be likely to challenge any decision to conduct seismic work in the refuge in federal court.

SOURCE




What's With the Paris Climate Accord?

Is Trump out or still in? That depends on what happens with ongoing negotiations for a "better" deal.

This weekend The Wall Street Journal published a “bombshell” report in which it alluded to President Donald Trump’s reneging on his previous decision to exit the Paris climate accord. The Journal’s initial headline, “Trump Administration Won’t Withdraw from Paris Climate Deal,” suggested that a major shift had occurred. The truth is that there is less “news” here than what’s implied — yet at the same time, it indicates that more skepticism was warranted when Trump made his initial announcement.

The Journal began its report: “The Trump administration is considering staying in the Paris agreement to fight climate change ‘under the right conditions,’ offering to re-engage in the international deal three months after President Donald Trump said the U.S. would pull out if it didn’t find more favorable terms. During a climate-change meeting Saturday of more than 30 ministers led by Canada, China and the European Union, in Montreal, U.S. officials broached revising U.S. climate-change goals, two participants said, signaling a compromise that would keep the U.S. at the table even if it meant weakening the international effort.”

None of this is inconsistent with the president’s initial proclamation. On June 1, Trump stated: “In order to fulfill my solemn duty to protect America and its citizens, the United States will withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord … but begin negotiations to reenter either the Paris Accord or a really entirely new transaction on terms that are fair to the United States, its businesses, its workers, its people, its taxpayers. So we’re getting out. But we will start to negotiate, and we will see if we can make a deal that’s fair [emphasis added].”

In this sense, Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters is correct in saying, “There has been no change in the U.S.‘s position on the Paris agreement. As the president has made abundantly clear, the U.S. is withdrawing unless we can re-enter on terms that are more favorable to our country.” Trump is doing exactly what he said he would do in June. The Journal headline now reads less assertively, “Trump Administration Seeks to Avoid Withdrawal From Paris Climate Accord.”

Perhaps the lesson here is that conservatives should have been more skeptical from the get-go. As his statement proves, Trump hinted in June that the U.S. wasn’t necessarily walking away from the Paris climate accord. The bigger concern is whether any final decision will contradict Trump’s campaign pledge. In May 2016, he said, “We’re going to cancel the Paris Climate Agreement and stop all payments of U.S. tax dollars to UN global warming programs.” He should be reminded that any U.S. partnership with the UN on this matter would betray his constituency.

Of course, we don’t know what the terms or conditions of a refined deal would look like. But Trump also needs to understand that global accords, particularly environmental ones, are a dangerous game. His advisers need to be very direct and insistent on the fact that partner nations cannot be trusted to fulfill their end of the bargain. The Paris accord’s biggest advocates have their eyes set on the redistribution of wealth, which is what the accord would facilitate. Whatever his end game is, it’s imperative that Trump refuse any “deal” that harms business or uses any tax dollars to fund a statist scheme.

And, oh, by the way, the science isn’t settled. Oxford researchers have released some interesting findings on the so-called “carbon budget,” or how much emissions the earth can take and still maintain temperatures. The Washington Post notes, “Any substantial revision to the carbon budget would have major implications, changing our ideas of how rapidly countries will need to ratchet down their greenhouse gas emissions in coming years and, thus, the very workings of global climate policymaking.” Well, how about that?

SOURCE




Bad Policies Make Hurricane Disasters Worse

Natural disasters, it’s often said, bring out the best in people. Unfortunately, the very same people who act as Good Samaritans during times of crisis often advocate government policies that unintentionally make such disasters worse. In the case of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the counterproductive policies include National Flood Insurance and laws against “price gouging.”

Most people intuitively grasp that lowering the cost of certain behaviors encourages more of it—a phenomenon called “moral hazard”—but they often fail to grasp the scope and power of such inducements. National Flood Insurance, which subsidizes flood insurance premiums, has had a profoundly undesirable effect: it has encouraged construction in flood-prone Houston, whose population has increased 23 percent since the massive flooding caused by tropical storm Allison in 2001. “Congress should get rid of [National Flood Insurance],” write Independent Institute Senior Fellow Benjamin Powell and Berry College economist Phillip Magness in an op-ed at CNBC.com. “It encourages bad choices, which produce bad results.”

Laws against so-called price gouging are another well-meaning disaster policy with disastrous consequences. A price is a signal wrapped up in an incentive (as one economics textbook eloquently put it). Thus, when Florida’s attorney general Pam Bondi announced that sellers who hiked prices of useful goods during Irma would face a fine of $1,000 per violation, she was disrupting the signals and incentives that would have communicated the relative importance and scarcity of those goods, encouraged their conservation, and helped bring forth additional supplies. In other words, she encouraged shortages. “Keeping prices low is pointless if there’s nothing left to buy,” write Independent Institute Research Fellow Abigail R. Hall and University of Tampa economist Michael Coon in an op-ed in Florida’s Sun-Sentinel. Such price controls, they conclude, “harm the very people they are intended to help.”

SOURCE





Forest Stewardship vs. Environmental Fanaticism

Trump addresses the growing problem of western forest fires via the promotion of responsible logging practices.

The West is on fire. While Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have held much of the nation’s attention, folks living in the more sparsely populated western states have been enduring another natural disaster. This summer alone some 47,000 wildfires have destroyed eight million acres — that’s an area the size of Maryland. Not only have forests, homes and wildlife habitat been destroyed but air pollution levels have spiked in the West’s normally pristine mountain air. And the ugly truth is that over the past several years the frequency and size of these western forest fires have been increasing.

What has caused this problem? While ecofascists like to blame climate change, the real culprit is misguided government policy. During Bill Clinton’s time in office, new Forest Service policies were enacted to appease environmentalists. These policies sharply reduced logging and roadbuilding in national forests. It is this mismanagement practice by the Forest Service that can be tied to the increase in disease- and insect-infested forests, which have become literal tinderboxes ready and waiting to be ignited.

Not only have the Clinton-era policy changes proven destructive to America’s forests, they have been financially costly. Before Clinton, the Forest Service spent 16% of its annual budget fighting wildfires; in 2015, it was over 50%. Since 1990, more than 450 firefighters have lost their lives fighting wildfires, many of which could have been prevented had responsible logging been allowed.

The solution to poor logging practices is not to shut down logging but to promote responsible logging. Forests are valuable renewable resources that should be constructively managed, not left as tinder for the next devastating and massively polluting wildfire.

This is a bipartisan issue within local communities affected by these fires, precisely because the cause of the problem is undeniable and the solution is an obvious one. However, that hasn’t stopped out-of-state environmentalist groups from seeking to stop responsible national forest stewardship. In Montana, the Alliance for the Wild Rockies and Friends of the Wild Swan are suing to stop the state from thinning the Flathead National Forest. One would think that these environmentalists would embrace practical solutions for protecting the environment and decreasing air-pollution, but no. Once again an illogical emotional ideology trumps any rational solutions for these ecofascists.

Thankfully, Donald Trump’s interior secretary, Ryan Zinke, who is from Montana, is aggressively acting to correct the Forest Service’s mismanagement problem. Last week, Zinke issued a memo to park and land management officials instructing them to aggressively begin clearing out dead and dying trees on federal lands. The memo states that the aim is to “proactively work to prevent forest fires through aggressive and scientific fuels reduction managements to save lives, homes and wildlife habitat.” It will take time, but hopefully, through proper forest management the threats posed by these massive forest fires will significantly decrease, and the West’s forest will be healthier for it.

SOURCE





Prominent Australian conservative to vote against "clean" energy

Tony Abbott has warned he'll vote against the coalition government if it tries to legislate a clean energy target, with up to six backbenchers tipped to follow him. "He has let the government know his position. He won't vote for a clean energy target," a government source told The Australian on Wednesday.

In an opinion piece, Mr Abbott argues the recommendation by the chief scientist for such a target should be dropped.

"It would be unconscionable for a government that was elected promising to scrap the carbon tax and to end Labor's climate change obsessions to go down this path," he writes.

Mr Abbott claims it is bordering on absurd for a country with the world's largest readily available reserves of coal, gas and uranium it should have some of the world's highest power prices.   "But that's what happens when policy is driven by wishful thinking and green religion."

On Tuesday, Mr Abbott told 2GB the Turnbull government could send a strong signal to AGL by dumping all subsidies for renewable energy and encouraging coal-fired power.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull wants to keep the company's NSW Hunter Valley power station Liddell open beyond its planned 2022 closure.

SOURCE

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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   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

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017



Newspaper criticized for climate skepticism

Paper criticized for including data from an El Nino year -- but Warmists almost universally did that recently.  I wonder will they be criticized by press regulators?  The "Mail" should haul the "Guardian" before the same regulators


Claims in the Mail on Sunday that global warming data had been exaggerated in order to secure the Paris climate change agreement have been criticised by the UK’s press regulator.

The Independent Press Standards Organisation censured the newspaper for publishing a story in early February that was flawed in key aspects. The news story suggested that data from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), one of the world’s gold-standard sources of weather and climate research, had been treated in such a way as to suggest greater warming than had really occurred.

The research hinged on the "pause" in global warming that had been seized on by dismissers of climate change as evidence that the concerns of mainstream scientists had been overblown. The so-called pause or hiatus has long been a contentious issue in climate science. The outlier year of 1998 was exceptionally hot, owing to a strong El Niño, and these record temperatures were not surpassed for several years.

This allowed sceptics to claim that global warming had stopped until 2013. However, as mainstream scientists pointed out, the years following 1998 still exhibited an upward temperature trajectory compared with the long-term average, so while the upward march of temperatures was slightly slower, and some years were cooler than others, talk of a "pause" that suggested an end to global warming was misleading.

The Mail on Sunday article alleged that the NOAA had taken data that was "unverified" and used it to suggest the pause had not happened.

Ipso ruled that the Mail on Sunday had "failed to take care over the accuracy of the article and had then failed to correct these significantly misleading statements". Further, a graph published with the article that purported to show large differences between NOAA’s published data and data on warming from other sources was found to be wrong, owing to the newspaper’s "failure to plot the lines correctly".

Some of these examples were deemed to constitute breaches of the editorial code to which newspapers sign up.

David Rose, the author of the original story, frequently writes on global warming, often reporting on sceptics’ views on climate science. He is a respected journalist and won the British Press Awards’ prestigious reporter of the year title for 2015. He writes frequently on issues such as police corruption and miscarriages of justice.

Bob Ward, policy and communications director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics, pursued the Ipso claim against the newspaper. He said: "Fake news stories about climate change are a significant threat to the public interest in the UK, US and other countries. The expert community must continue to fight back against the deluge of propaganda from climate change deniers."

He said several other media outlets had repeated the false claims, and they had even been cited in a letter to NOAA from a leading committee chairman in the US Congress. He called the Ipso ruling "a significant victory".

A spokesman for the Mail on Sunday said: "The subject of the rate of climate change is fiercely debated, with reputable scientists taking positions on both sides. The Mail on Sunday has published articles that challenge some widely held opinions. The complainant in this case is a professional spokesman for two academic institutions involved in the debate. He has complained to the press regulator on three previous occasions about our articles on climate change, but those complaints were rejected."

The spokesman added: "This newspaper is fully committed to the principle of independent press regulation and is a member of Ipso. We are disappointed with this finding, but we accept it and are publishing the adjudication with prominence in the newspaper and online."

Not all of the complaints made by Ward against Rose’s article were upheld, and some of those upheld reflected narrow technical points, for instance over the archiving of data.

SOURCE




Climate change not as threatening to planet as previously thought, new research suggests

Big climbdown

Climate change poses less of an immediate threat to the planet than previously thought because scientists got their modelling wrong, a new study has found. New research by British scientists reveals the world is being polluted and warming up less quickly than 10-year-old forecasts predicted, giving countries more time to get a grip on their carbon output.

An unexpected "revolution" in affordable renewable energy has also contributed to the more positive outlook.

Experts now say there is a two-in-three chance of keeping global temperatures within 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels, the ultimate goal of the 2015 Paris Agreement.

They also condemned the "overreaction" to the US’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord, announced by Donald Trump in June, saying it is unlikely to make a significant difference.

According to the models used to draw up the agreement, the world ought now to be 1.3 degrees above the mid-19th-Century average, whereas the most recent observations suggest it is actually between 0.9 to 1 degree above.

The discrepancy means nations could continue emitting carbon dioxide at the current rate for another 20 years before the target was breached, instead of the three to five predicted by the previous model.

"When you are talking about a budget of 1.5 degrees, then a 0.3 degree difference is a big deal", said Professor Myles Allen, of Oxford University and one of the authors of the new study.

Published in the journal Nature Geoscience, it suggests that if polluting peaks and then declines to below current levels before 2030 and then continue to drop more sharply, there is a 66 per cent chance of global average temperatures staying below 1.5 degrees.

The goal was yesterday described as "very ambitious" but "physically possible".

Another reason the climate outlook is less bleak than previously thought is stabilising emissions, particularly in China.

SOURCE.  Journal abstract below.

Emission budgets and pathways consistent with limiting warming to 1.5 °C

Richard J. Millar et al.

Abstract

The Paris Agreement has opened debate on whether limiting warming to 1.5 °C is compatible with current emission pledges and warming of about 0.9 °C from the mid-nineteenth century to the present decade. We show that limiting cumulative post-2015 CO2 emissions to about 200 GtC would limit post-2015 warming to less than 0.6 °C in 66% of Earth system model members of the CMIP5 ensemble with no mitigation of other climate drivers, increasing to 240 GtC with ambitious non-CO2 mitigation. We combine a simple climate–carbon-cycle model with estimated ranges for key climate system properties from the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report. Assuming emissions peak and decline to below current levels by 2030, and continue thereafter on a much steeper decline, which would be historically unprecedented but consistent with a standard ambitious mitigation scenario (RCP2.6), results in a likely range of peak warming of 1.2–2.0 °C above the mid-nineteenth century. If CO2 emissions are continuously adjusted over time to limit 2100 warming to 1.5 °C, with ambitious non-CO2 mitigation, net future cumulative CO2 emissions are unlikely to prove less than 250 GtC and unlikely greater than 540 GtC. Hence, limiting warming to 1.5 °C is not yet a geophysical impossibility, but is likely to require delivery on strengthened pledges for 2030 followed by challengingly deep and rapid mitigation. Strengthening near-term emissions reductions would hedge against a high climate response or subsequent reduction rates proving economically, technically or politically unfeasible.

SOURCE




Interior secretary proposes changes to 10 national monuments

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has recommended that President Trump modify 10 national monuments created by his predecessors, including shrinking the boundaries of at least four western sites, according to a copy of the report obtained by The Washington Post.

The memorandum, which the White House has refused to release since Zinke submitted it late last month, does not specify exact reductions for the four protected areas Zinke would have Trump narrow — Utah’s Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante, Nevada’s Gold Butte, and Oregon’s Cascade-Siskiyou — or the two marine national monuments — the Pacific Remote Islands and Rose Atoll — for which he raised the same prospect. The two Utah sites encompass a total of more than 3.2 million acres, part of the reason they have aroused intense emotions since their designation.

The secretary’s set of recommendations also would change the way all 10 targeted monuments are managed. It emphasizes the need to adjust the proclamations to address concerns of local officials or affected industries, saying the administration should permit "traditional uses" such as coal mining and grazing.

If enacted, the changes could test the legal boundaries of what powers a president holds under the 1906 Antiquities Act. Although Congress can alter national monuments easily through legislation, presidents have reduced their boundaries only on rare occasions.

The memorandum, labeled "Final Report Summarizing Findings of the Review of Designations Under the Antiquities Act," shows Zinke concluded after a nearly four-month review that both Republican and Democratic presidents went too far in recent decades in limiting commercial activities in protected areas. The act, signed into law by President Theodore Roosevelt, gives the president wide latitude to protect public lands and waters that face an imminent threat.

"It appears that certain monuments were designated to prevent economic activity such as grazing, mining and timber production rather than to protect specific objects," the report reads, adding that while grazing is rarely banned "outright," subsequent management decisions "can have the indirect result of hindering livestock-grazing uses."

Zinke said Trump should use his authority under the Antiquities Act to change each of the 10 sites’ proclamations to permit activities that are now restricted. These include "active timber management" in Maine’s Katahdin Woods and Waters and commercial fishing in the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts off New England.

In most of his recommendations, Zinke suggests Trump amend the existing proclamations "to protect objects and prioritize public access; infrastructure upgrades, repair and maintenance; traditional use; tribal cultural use; and hunting and fishing rights."

The White House is reviewing the recommendations and has not reached a final decision on them. At several points, the memo bears the marker "Draft Deliberative — Not for Distribution."

In an e-mail Sunday, White House spokeswoman Kelly Love said she would not discuss in detail a review that is still underway: "The Trump Administration does not comment on leaked documents, especially internal drafts which are still under review by the President and relevant agencies."

The majority of the monuments listed in the report were established by either President Clinton or President Obama, but the two Pacific Ocean sites were created by President George W. Bush and later expanded by Obama.

"No other administration has gone this far," Kristen Brengel, vice president of government affairs for the National Parks Conservation Association, said of the Trump White House in an interview. "This law was intended to protect places from development, not promote damaging natural and cultural resources."

SOURCE





Solar Power Death Wish

Billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies haven’t made the U.S. solar industry competitive, and now two companies want to make it even less so. Suniva Inc., a bankrupt solar-panel maker, and German-owned SolarWorld Americas have petitioned the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) to impose tariffs on foreign-made crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells.



Solar cells in the U.S. sell for around 27 cents a watt. The petitioners want to add a new duty of 40 cents a watt. They also want a floor price for imported panels of 78 cents a watt versus the market price of 37 cents. In other words, they want the government to double the cost of the main component used in the U.S. solar industry. Solar electricity prices could rise by some 30% if the ITC says they’ve been injured by foreign competition—a decision is due by Sept. 22—and the Trump Administration goes along with the tariff request.

U.S. manufacturers won countervailing and antidumping duties against imports from China and Taiwan in 2012 and in 2015. But now they’re resorting to Section 201 of the Trade Act of 1974 because they don’t need to show they are victims of dumping or foreign government subsidies. They only need to show that imports have harmed them.

The harm is real but that’s due to changes in the marketplace. The U.S. solar industry has discovered that its comparative advantage lies not in making panels, a basic product, but in adding value to imported cells and modules. This involves making and installing racking or framing systems and incorporating innovations like trackers that orient toward the sun.

To turn sunshine into energy requires inverters that translate the energy captured on a solar panel into something that can be sent on the electrical grid. While there are fewer than 1,000 jobs in U.S. panel manufacturing, some 260,000 jobs rely on access to imported panels.

SOURCE




Australia's fraudulent Bureau of Meteorology

Enough is enough. The Bureau of Meteorology yet again stands charged with fabricating temperature records.

This time, thanks to the diligence of scientist Jennifer Marohasy, the bureau has been caught red-handed regulating temperatures to keep them above a predetermined minimum — at least for two NSW automatic weather stations, one located in Goulburn, the other at Thredbo.

The BOM initially admitted it had set an arbitrary limit of minus 10C for the Goulburn station, but then changed the story to the equipment being "not fit for purpose" — because it got too cold — even though the same instruments are used in the Antarctic. The actual temperature measured was a record July low for Goulburn, at minus 10.4C, so why, if the equipment was faulty, didn’t the bureau leave a blank instead of rounding up to minus 10C?

Allowing the bureau to defend itself, Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg called for an internal review.

In 77 pages, it acknowledged that, indeed, Goulburn and Thredbo were governed and, minimum limits were set. This was blamed on a filter being installed into these weather stations 15 and 10 years ago respectively. No limits were imposed on maximum temperatures. Yet implicitly, we are asked to believe that the historical temperature record has not been compromised.

Before filters were installed, Goulburn recorded minus 10.9C in August 1994 and, in that cold winter, Thredbo went down to minus 13.6C and nearby Charlotte Pass to minus 23C on June 29, a record low for Australia. Charlotte Pass weather station was decommissioned in March 2015.

Ironically, the bureau’s newest location, near White Cliffs in NSW, home to some of the nation’s hottest temperatures, last August recorded minus 62.5C, due to a "hardware fault".

A BOM-friendly technical forum, part of former minister Greg Hunt’s plan to buy time and "kill off" a proposed Abbott government probe, has foreshadowed "the need for a major revision of the dataset".

Predictably, though, it did not address specific claims by Marohasy and others, and seems satisfied the bureau’s dataset is well maintained. Really? This may fool ministers, but for a sceptical public, time has run out.

British author and journalist Christopher Booker says: "When future generations look back on the global warming scare of the past 30 years, nothing will shock them more than the extent to which the official temperature records — on which the entire (global warming) panic ultimately rested — were systematically ‘adjusted’ to show the Earth as having warmed much more than the actual data justified." He says this practice has been observed by experts around the world and "raises an ever larger question mark over the entire official surface temperature record".

He is joined by John Theon, retired chief of NASA’s Climate Processes Research Program and responsible for all weather and climate research, who testified before congress that "some scientists have manipulated the observed data to justify their model results. In doing so, they neither explain what they have modified in the observations, nor explain how they did it."

Take the article NASA published in 1999 showing 1934 was the US’s warmest year. Across the ensuing decade, by cooling the past and warming the present, 1998 jumped five places to become the warmest. Whistleblower John Bates, recently retired principal scientist at US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, described how his agency manipulated data to manufacture a non-existent increase in global temperatures.

Why should Australia be any different? We remember the Climategate emails from despairing programmer Ian Harris: "Getting seriously fed up with the state of the Australian data, so many new stations have been introduced, so many false references".

Science writer and blogger Joanne Nova has raised scandal after scandal concerning the BOM’s record-keeping.

She refers to historic data being destroyed, and the influence of adjustments on Australia’s warming trend. She reports private auditors advising the bureau of almost a "thousand days where minimum temperatures were higher than the maxes".

Taxpayers outlaying $1 million a day for reliable temperature data deserve better than this.

When Australia’s bureau transitioned from mercury thermometers to electronic sensors more than 20 years ago, to ensure readings from these devices were comparable with the old thermometers and complied with World Meteorological Organisation guidelines, parallel studies were undertaken at multiple sites.

A key conclusion was that readings from the new electronic sensors needed to be averaged over one to 10 minutes. However, rather than implement practices consistent with their finding, the bureau records one-second extremes (or noise), which can be announced as new record highs.

Inherent inconsistency aside, this calls into question whether Australian data is WMO compliant. Marohasy discovered this as part of her investigation and believes it is more damning than even the imposition of minimum limits, as it affects the recording of temperatures from all 695 automatic stations.

Marohasy is a respected scientist, known for her forensic work. While attempts will be made to dismiss her evidence as an arcane academic skirmish over recording methodology, it is a smoking gun that threatens the integrity of global temperature records.

It affects every Australian. It strikes at the heart of renewable energy policies. Globally, trillions of taxpayer dollars are at stake.

The government has a duty to inform the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, should it have sufficient grounds, that the bureau is not complying with WMO guidelines. Sooner or later, closed eyes must open.

Now, with Marohasy’s evidence adding to the credible findings of other experts, there can be no confidence in any future official assurances. Further delay of a proper independent audit, which includes dissidents, can be interpreted only as a cover-up. One way or another, the truth will out.

SOURCE

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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   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

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017



More nonsense from the Ivory Tower

Is rising CO2 making food less nutritious? It may be.  Increasing the supply of one nutrient without increasing the supply of others would seem logically to dilute the proportion of those other nutrients in any plant.  But the idea that this is a problem is laughable.

In our technological world that the Greenies hate, the problem is OVER nutrition, otherwise known as obesity.  Individual foods may be less nutritious but we have and eat lots of them.  There is no nutrition shortage.  Glut is the besetting problem in the supply of food basics and there is no end to that in sight


Irakli Loladze is a mathematician by training, but he was in a biology lab when he encountered the puzzle that would change his life. It was in 1998, and Loladze was studying for his Ph.D. at Arizona State University. Against a backdrop of glass containers glowing with bright green algae, a biologist told Loladze and a half-dozen other graduate students that scientists had discovered something mysterious about zooplankton.

Zooplankton are microscopic animals that float in the world’s oceans and lakes, and for food they rely on algae, which are essentially tiny plants. Scientists found that they could make algae grow faster by shining more light onto them—increasing the food supply for the zooplankton, which should have flourished. But it didn’t work out that way. When the researchers shined more light on the algae, the algae grew faster, and the tiny animals had lots and lots to eat—but at a certain point they started struggling to survive. This was a paradox. More food should lead to more growth. How could more algae be a problem?

Loladze was technically in the math department, but he loved biology and couldn’t stop thinking about this. The biologists had an idea of what was going on: The increased light was making the algae grow faster, but they ended up containing fewer of the nutrients the zooplankton needed to thrive. By speeding up their growth, the researchers had essentially turned the algae into junk food. The zooplankton had plenty to eat, but their food was less nutritious, and so they were starving.

Loladze used his math training to help measure and explain the algae-zooplankton dynamic. He and his colleagues devised a model that captured the relationship between a food source and a grazer that depends on the food. They published that first paper in 2000. But Loladze was also captivated by a much larger question raised by the experiment: Just how far this problem might extend.

“What struck me is that its application is wider,” Loladze recalled in an interview. Could the same problem affect grass and cows? What about rice and people? “It was kind of a watershed moment for me when I started thinking about human nutrition,” he said.

In the outside world, the problem isn’t that plants are suddenly getting more light: It’s that for years, they’ve been getting more carbon dioxide. Plants rely on both light and carbon dioxide to grow. If shining more light results in faster-growing, less nutritious algae—junk-food algae whose ratio of sugar to nutrients was out of whack—then it seemed logical to assume that ramping up carbon dioxide might do the same. And it could also be playing out in plants all over the planet. What might that mean for the plants that people eat?

What Loladze found is that scientists simply didn’t know. It was already well documented that CO2levels were rising in the atmosphere, but he was astonished at how little research had been done on how it affected the quality of the plants we eat. For the next 17 years, as he pursued his math career, Loladze scoured the scientific literature for any studies and data he could find. The results, as he collected them, all seemed to point in the same direction: The junk-food effect he had learned about in that Arizona lab also appeared to be occurring in fields and forests around the world. “Every leaf and every grass blade on earth makes more and more sugars as CO2 levels keep rising,” Loladze said. “We are witnessing the greatest injection of carbohydrates into the biosphere in human history―[an] injection that dilutes other nutrients in our food supply.”

He published those findings just a few years ago, adding to the concerns of a small but increasingly worried group of researchers who are raising unsettling questions about the future of our food supply. Could carbon dioxide have an effect on human health we haven’t accounted for yet? The answer appears to be yes—and along the way, it has steered Loladze and other scientists, directly into some of the thorniest questions in their profession, including just how hard it is to do research in a field that doesn’t quite exist yet.

SOURCE




Trump Will Pull Out Of Paris Climate Agreement, White House Confirms

Donald Trump is still planning to pull out of the Paris climate change agreement unless the UN can offer ‘better terms,’ despite claims to the contrary, the White House has said.

Two members of a recent international meeting said that a White House representative had said the US would maintain the accord, The Wall Street Journal  reported earlier on Saturday.

But the White House says that’s nonsense – and that Trump is still planning his climate exit unless he gets the changes he wants.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the initial remarks about Trump reversing his decision to pull out of the agreement were made at an international meeting in Montreal.

That meeting had seen ministers from 30 countries, including Canada and Britain, discussing US climate-change goals with White House senior adviser Everett Eissenstat.

Two people at the meeting said that they were told America would instead seek compromises within the existing framework rather than renegotiating it. ‘They are seriously considering the terms on which the US could re-engage,’ one of the officials at the meeting.  ‘They have also made clear that they have no intention to renegotiate or develop a parallel track to Paris.’

Those remarks were reiterated by Miguel Arias Canete, European commissioner for climate action and energy. He said: ‘The US has stated that they will not renegotiate the Paris accord, but they will try to review the terms on which they could be engaged under this agreement.’

That would contradict Trump’s promise in June that he would pull out unless it was either renegotiated or scrapped and started again.

‘The Paris accord is very unfair at the highest level to the United States,’ Trump claimed on June 1.

SOURCE





Climate skeptics may soon join a key science advisory panel at U.S. EPA

A number of people who reject the findings of mainstream climate science are being considered by the Trump administration for spots on EPA’s Science Advisory Board, a voluntary but influential panel that reviews science used in environmental regulations.

The selection of any of those researchers would be the beginning of a very different advisory board that would bear the hallmark of the Trump administration’s position on climate change, said Steve Milloy, an attorney and longtime EPA foe who worked on President Trump’s transition team for the agency.

Heartland Institute spokesman Jim Lakely said in an email: “We applaud any effort by Administrator Pruitt to bring qualified non-alarmist scientists onto the EPA’s advisory boards. There is a vigorous debate over the causes and consequences of climate change, and it’s vital that EPA acknowledge that fact and have a more balanced approach to the agency’s rule-making.

The deadline for public comment is set to expire Sept. 28. After that, EPA boss Pruitt will have final approval on the candidates. The board has 48 member slots, 15 of which expire at the end of the month. It’s not clear how many positions will be filled.

SOURCE




ARCTIC SEA ICE ENDS MELTING SEASON AT LEVELS ABOVE 5 AND 10 YEARS AGO



Arctic sea ice extent has likely just reached its low point of the melting season and is above levels from 2012 and 2007 at this same time of year.  Arctic sea ice generally shrinks every year during the spring and summer seasons until it reaches its minimum yearly extent around this time of year. Sea ice then typically regrows during the frigid fall and winter seasons when the sun is below the horizon in the Arctic. The apparent end to this year’s melting season in the Arctic is right around the mid-point of September.

While Arctic sea ice extent appeared to be headed for record lows earlier this year, the melting rate changed pace and actually slowed down in the summer months.  The low point just reached is clearly still below the normal value for the 1981-2000 time period, but it is actually a tad higher than the last couple of years (not shown) and safely above the record low seen during 2012 and also above levels seen ten years ago.

The Arctic sea ice extent has been generally below-normal since the middle 1990’s at which time the northern Atlantic Ocean switched sea surface temperature phases from cold-to-warm and it is likely to return to pre-mid 1990’s levels when the ocean cycle flips back to cold in coming years.

Meteorologists track oceanic temperature cycles in the northern Atlantic Ocean with an index value known as the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO).  The AMO flipped from negative-to-positive in the mid 1990’s signaling an important long-term sea surface temperature phase shift from cold-to-warm and it has stayed generally positive ever since. Typically, oceanic temperature cycles in the Atlantic Ocean have lasted for about 20 to 30 years.

SOURCE





AGL gets more from Greenie subsidies than it get from burning coal

No wonder it wants to shut down its coal generators -- thus leaving Australia with insufficient base-load power

Australians are on track to pay more than $500 million to AGL to fund its flagship solar generators, as the energy giant prepares to shut down its Liddell coal power station, a move that has prompted warnings of a power shortfall that could lead to blackouts and price hikes.

The company has already ­secured $230m in direct grants and is forecast to gain far more under the renewable energy ­target, deepening the political divide on energy policy as the federal government considers cutting ­future aid to make coal more competitive.

The scale of the subsidy is now a key question in the government’s debate on whether to ­embrace a clean energy target, as opponents of the idea challenge AGL and others to prove that wind and solar schemes can work without taxpayer handouts.

Malcolm Turnbull and his cabinet ministers are yet to decide on whether to adopt a clean ­energy target but are unwilling to continue the heavy subsidy, ­putting a priority on more reliable power supplies, including coal and gas.

The two AGL solar farms in western NSW generate a combined 359,000 megawatt hours of electricity, just 4 per cent of the ­capacity of Liddell, but have ­secured more long-term investment than the coal power station under laws that continue the ­renewable subsidy until 2030.

Investors are warning the ­government against a halt to the taxpayer assistance for renewables, arguing this would lead to an investment freeze that would ­intensify the energy shortages in the decade ahead.

Former resources minister Matt Canavan said the subsidy going to AGL from taxpayers and electricity consumers contrasted with claims that renewables would be more efficient than coal regardless of government assistance.

“AGL keeps telling everybody that renewables no longer need a subsidy — well, if that’s the case, why do we need a clean energy target?” Senator Canavan said.

The Australian understands the government is aiming to encourage more investment in reliable power with a “capacity pricing” structure that could favour coal and gas and meet Mr Turnbull’s stated aim of improving the ability to “dispatch” power at short ­notice.

Even so, AGL is seeking to shut Liddell in 2022, rejecting a ­government push to keep it open a further five years, and is planning to replace it with renewable power and “peaking” gas that can fire up when electricity supply is low.

AGL chief financial officer Brett Redman told The Australian the subsidies for the solar farms would shrink in the decade ahead as the value of renewable energy certificates declined.

Mr Redman also sent a clear warning that the government’s looming decision on a clean ­energy target would not change the company’s assessment that a new coal-fired power station was not viable.

“The economics are now somewhat overwhelming — the world of electricity generation is heading down the renewables path,” Mr Redman said.

“Even without the impact of carbon-emissions policies, we would absolutely be heading down the path of building more renewables. Coal-fired power will not be built in that world.”

The AGL solar projects at ­Nyngan and Broken Hill received $166.7m in direct grants from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and another $64.9m from the NSW government, as well as qualifying for credits under the renewable energy target.

The Australian estimates the Nyngan project receives more than $18m a year for its 233,000 megawatt hours given an $80 price for renewable energy ­certificates, while the Broken Hill project receives about $10m a year for its 126,000 megawatt hours.

While taxpayers funded the initial grants, households pay for the renewable certificates because the cost is passed on to them in their electricity bills.

TFS Green analyst Marco Stella wrote in RenewEconomy on September 4 that the spot price for these certificates rose above $85 in late August.

AGL stands to receive $589m from the original grants and consumer subsidies for the two solar projects over the period to 2030 if the price holds at $80 until 2020 and then falls to $60 for the ­subsequent decade, an outlook described as conservative by two sources familiar with the market. This falls to about $480m if the renewable certificates fall to $30 in the next decade. It drops to $375m in the unlikely event the certificates fall to zero from 2021.

AGL sold the two projects to its Powering Australian Renewables Fund last November, making no cash profit in the sale. It owns 20 per cent of the fund while 80 per cent is held by Queensland Investment Corporation for clients including the Future Fund.

Mr Redman said the two projects were built in response to government calls for early investors to demonstrate large-scale solar and when the cost of the technology was much higher than it is today.

He said “we’d build a wind farm in every backyard” if the spot price of certificates stayed at today’s levels, but added this was unrealistic and the values were likely to fall in the early 2020s as they had in the past.

The government is weighing up whether to embrace a “reliability energy target” or a “strategic reserve” to offer financial rewards to AGL and others to build gas power, given the industry belief that major new coal power stations will not be viable.

This will get a higher priority than new schemes to subsidise renewables.

However, the rewards to AGL and others for their existing solar or wind projects cannot be altered because the Senate is highly unlikely to allow a change to the renewable energy target rules that apply until 2020 and continue payments until 2030.

The government has decided it has nothing to gain from ­starting a fight over the RET that it cannot win, leading it to keep the rules as they were agreed by Tony Abbott as prime minister in 2015.

SOURCE

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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   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

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