Not Only Does Banning Straws Not Help The Environment Much, It Hurts Disabled People
Last June, an organization I’ve been affiliated with for a long time — since high school, in fact — held its semi-annual meeting. Allowed a guest, I invited a retiree I know to join me and my then-infant daughter.
Everywhere I walked in the hotel ballroom that day, fellow members greeted me warmly and cooed over my baby. But my guest, who entered with us and was beside me all day, was completely ignored.
Over and over again, people saw his walker and looked away, walked away, or talked only to me, even after I’d introduced him.
It was eye-opening. People I’ve long known and think of as “good people” did this. It showed me how blind we can all be to the disabled, both to their existence and their different needs.
A perfect example of that obliviousness on a large scale is the new push for plastic straw bans. These bans sound eco-friendly, they’re trendy, and they completely disregard the needs of the disabled who live in, work in, or visit strawless locales.
New York City introduced a ban bill in May. Seattle’s ban went into effect on July 1. Starbucks announced their plan to eliminate plastic straws by 2020 on July 9.
And on July 10, Washington DC’s city council introduced its own ban bill, while American Airlines announced its intention to ban “straws and stir sticks from its flights and lounges.”
In case you were wondering, Seattle’s newly implemented ban isn’t going well. Having never discussed the ban proposal with the Seattle Commission for People with disAbilities, a group that exists specifically to advise the city about such issues, implementation has been chaotic.
“[City leaders] seem to be telling restaurant owners in Seattle there’s a total ban and telling disability organizations that there are exemptions,” Lawrence Carter-Long, communications director for the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund, told me. “They haven’t taken the time to ask for public comment. It’s pretty clear they haven’t thought it through.”
It’s not clear Washington’s leaders thought their proposed ban through either.
“I need to have access to straws because of muscle weakness. I can’t lift a cup to my mouth,” Andrea LaVant, who works in the District told me. She uses a power wheelchair full-time because she has Muscular Dystrophy. “I’m upset hearing the news, especially because Washington, in particular, is a city that has been recognized for its accessibility in so many different ways, and because of that, the population of people with disabilities is very high, and so it’s an insult, I believe, to completely ignore the needs of a significant part of the population.”
Straw bans have other negative ripple effects. Curt Decker, executive director of the National Disability Rights Network, notes that any ban impacts individuals with medical issues as varied as Cerebral Palsy, Quadriplegia, and Dementia.
As for proposed alternatives, Carter-Long told me there is no real replacement. “Paper straws tend to get soggy and increase the risk of choking … they’re not good for people who chew involuntarily, have excess saliva, or can’t bend because of limited mobility. Silicone straws aren’t flexible … Metal, glass, and bamboo aren’t flexible, which poses obvious dangers for people with Parkinson’s or Cerebral Palsy who can’t control movement.”
Even wheat and silicone straws are problematic — they pose allergy risks. In short, he concludes, “If somebody tells you the options available don’t work for them, listen to them.”
A ban would also seriously inconvenience young families. With three young children, my family doesn’t eat out often. However, when we do, it’s straws (and high chairs) that make those meals possible.
Straws enable my toddler to drink independently, without soaking herself or the restaurant floor. If the District bans straws, we’d travel elsewhere for those family outings.
Personally, I remain somewhat perplexed as to why banning disposable straws has become so urgent. “At most, straws account for about 2,000 tons of the 9 million tons of plastic that are estimated to enter the ocean each year, according to the Associated Press — .02 percent of all plastic waste,” Reason reported. In other words, there are bigger environmental fish to fry.
But here we are. So, in the interest of moderation and sanity, I’d like to offer a proposal.
First, let’s press pause on straw bans until a true alternative exists that won’t inconvenience the disabled.
Second, environmental groups should sponsor a contest, encouraging innovators to create an affordable and environmentally friendly alternative that meets everybody’s needs.
Third, if you live or work in the Washington area, contact the City Council with any concerns. When the Council reconvenes in mid-September and holds hearings, be prepared to testify about ways to improve this bill.
Finally, let’s lead with kindness and common sense. If cities or businesses still want to reduce straw usage, the best short-term strategy is a reduction, rather than complete elimination. As Lawrence Carter-Long suggests, “Say flexible straws are available to people on request.”
Protecting the Earth we’ll eventually leave our children is laudable. But we must also see the people who are in front of us today. Policies intended to help the planet that harms the most vulnerable among us are neither noble nor real long-term solutions.
Renewable energy seeks demand, investment to survive Trump squeeze
The wind and solar industries hope demand for carbon-free power from U.S. cities, states and corporations can offset headwinds from President Donald Trump’s tax policy and tariffs, developers said this week.
The Trump tax overhaul trimmed production and investment tax credits, and the administration also slapped a 30 percent tariff on imported solar panels. The moves, aimed at boosting manufacturing and economic growth, also dimmed prospects for renewables.
But Trump’s withdrawal of federal support for Obama-era climate goals indirectly helped the industry by inspiring a backlash among U.S. cities, states and corporations, which have grown more ambitious about installing cleaner forms of energy.
Also, investors with years of deals under their belts are less wary about financing solar and wind than they were years ago, and socially responsible funds are actively seeking projects to invest in, according to executives and investors at the Renewable Energy Finance Forum-Wall Street in New York.
Gregory Wetstone, president and chief executive officer of the American Council on Renewable Energy, noted that two big solar projects worth about $2.5 billion total have been canceled or stalled since the tariffs were announced in January. The Solar Energy Industries Association has said the tariffs would result in the loss of 23,000 U.S. jobs.
But some manufacturers and developers have announced new projects in the face of the tariffs. Wetstone noted that solar led all generation sources with 2.5 gigawatts of new capacity in the first quarter of 2018.
‘SEA CHANGE’ IN DEMAND
“There is a sea change in grass-roots demand for renewable energy,” Susan Nickey, managing director at Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Capital Inc (HASI.N), which invests about $1 billion a year in the sector, said in an interview on the sidelines of the conference on Tuesday.
“More and more corporations and consumers are saying ‘We want 100 percent renewable energy,’” she said, adding city and state governments are adopting renewable-friendly policies to reflect that growing demand.
She cited a survey of financial institutions that showed two-thirds of respondents planned to boost renewable investments this year. Some 89 percent said they would sharply increase planned investments from now to 2030 unless government policies slow demand for renewable energy. (bit.ly/2lsBoRI)
Craig Cornelius, president of NRG Energy Inc’s (NRG.N) NRG Renewables, told a panel at the conference that while Trump’s tax bill was initially worrying, “it has been ultimately easier to work through the repercussions than we anticipated.”
As the bill moved through Congress, Republican lawmakers from states with renewable projects joined Democrats to make changes. The final version kept 80 percent of the investment tax credit and production tax credit values, and dropped a proposed corporate alternative minimum tax that would have made the tax credits less valuable.
“Members on both sides of the aisle stepped out to support us,” Laura Beane, president and chief executive officer of Avangrid Renewables, said on Wednesday. Avangrid is developing the 800-megawatt Vineyard Wind project off the coast of Massachusetts.
Quick action helped many developers dodge harm from U.S. tariffs on solar cells, noted Stacey Kusters, president of Berkshire Hathaway Energy Co’s [MEHC.UL] BHE Solar.
“A lot of the projects that were planned went in and bought two years’ worth of panels” before the tariffs, she said.
Meanwhile, the industry is bracing for the scheduled reduction and ultimate expiry of lucrative subsidies on solar and wind power over the coming years, including a 30 percent tax credit on solar installations.
This will make it trickier to finance some renewable projects, said Robert Sternthal, managing director at Rubicon Capital Advisors, who is putting together a team of bankers to advise on renewable deals in North America.
Without the incentives, “pricing may have to go up on the electricity side” for some projects, he said on Tuesday. Yet he also expects growing demand from tech corporations that have pledged to be carbon-neutral and will not rely on wind or solar energy for profits.
“Google, Facebook and Apple don’t have to make 6 to 7 percent returns on these assets,” he said.
Improvements in technology could help make wind and solar more competitive “in terms of cost and sustainability” after tax credits expire, said Rafael Gonzalez, president and chief executive officer of Enel Green Power North America, whose projects include wind, solar, geothermal, and hydropower.
Beane said Avangrid Renewables is betting on prospects for “a lot of demand for offshore wind power in the U.S. Northeast.” The company starts construction on the Vineyard Wind project next year, and it is slated to come online in 2021.
By then, she said, the project may be competitive on its own thanks to improved technology and expertise: “You’ll be very surprised at the prices.”
Warmists see conspiracy in Trump/Putin dialogue: It's all about them
Whether Russia meddled in the U.S. presidential election in 2016 is not up for serious debate — numerous intelligence agencies, both foreign and domestic, concluded it did.
During a joint press conference with President Donald Trump in Helsinki on Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin went a long way toward answering why.
“I did [want Trump to win] because he talked about bringing the U.S.-Russia relationship back to normal,” Putin said.
That statement was widely covered, but I’m convinced something else Putin said during the press conference is more important.
“I think that we as a major oil and gas power, and the United States as a major oil and gas power, as well, we could work together on regulation of international markets,” he said. “We do have space for cooperation here.”
Some close observers have drawn this connection before, but it’s worth saying again explicitly: There’s no way to understand Trump’s relationship with Russia without putting oil and climate politics at its center. If you’re upset at Trump and Putin for undermining our democracy, just wait until you find out that they are likely colluding to destroy our planet’s climate system, too.
After Monday’s meeting in Helsinki, it’s clearer than ever that we are at a crucial moment in our American democracy as well as in the biggest and most important fight we’ve ever had — the fight against climate change.
Fossil fuels still power 80 percent of the world’s economy, and the leaders of that dying industry might start acting in desperation to stave off its decline. You can see why rapidly eliminating dirty energy sources — exactly what science says we have to do — might be fiercely opposed by politicians who have a substantial stake in their success.
Russia is a petrostate, and the U.S. is now, too. In fact, the two countries are the world’s largest non-OPEC oil producers, extracting nearly as much as all OPEC countries combined. They also own an even greater share of the global natural gas market: Added together the two countries produce six times more natural gas than the rest of the world.
By working together, they can keep the global economy swimming in oil and gas.
And what’s the primary force working against the fossil fuel industry these days? Climate activists. It’s not difficult to see the Trump-Putin alliance as a deliberate attempt to delay action on climate change.
For the well-off in both rich and poor countries around the world, lives are enriched by plentiful access to energy that provides light, fresh food, and clean water, and that powers technology and allows the ability to control the temperature.
Abundant energy provides the same life-transforming labor as hundreds of servants: Without a refrigerator, we would need to locate fresh food daily, store shelves would be half-empty, and a lot of food would go bad before we could eat it – one reason why, in 1930, stomach cancer was the leading cancer in the United States.
Without synthetic fertilizer, which is produced almost entirely with fossil fuels, half the world’s food consumption would be imperiled. Without modern stoves and heaters, we would need to find our own firewood, and we would risk being poisoned in our own houses by killer air pollution. And without fuel-powered trucks, ships, and machines, humans would need to do nearly all the hard labor.
Worldwide, fossil fuels produce two-thirds of all electricity, with nuclear and hydro producing another 27%. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), solar, wind, wave, and bio-energy produce just 9.8% of electricity in the OECD, and this is possible only because of huge subsidies, cumulatively totaling more than $160 billion this year. Even ultra-environmentally aware Germany still produces more than half its electricity with fossil fuels.
Yet there is a disturbing movement in the West to tell the 1.1 billion people who still lack these myriad benefits that they should go without. A familiar refrain suggests that instead of dirty, coal-fired power plants, poor countries should “leapfrog” straight to cleaner energy sources like off-grid solar technology. Influential donors – including even the World Bank, which no longer funds coal energy projects – endorse this view.
The underlying motivation is understandable: policymakers must address global warming. Eventually moving away from fossil fuels is crucial, and innovation is required to make green energy cheap and reliable. But this message to the world’s poor is hypocritical and dangerous. While fossil fuels contribute to global warming, they also contribute to prosperity, growth, and wellbeing.
There is a strong, direct connection between power and poverty: the more of the former, the less of the latter. A study in Bangladesh showed that grid electrification has significant positive effects on household income, expenditure, and education. Electrified households experienced a jump of up to 21% in income and a 1.5% reduction in poverty each year.
Reliance on coal is not ending soon. While we would wish otherwise, it often remains the cheapest, most dependable energy source: the IEA estimates that, by 2040, coal will still be cheaper, on average, than solar and wind energy, even with a sizeable carbon tax.
Over the past 16 years, nearly every person who gained access to electricity did so through a grid connection, mostly powered by fossil fuels. And yet donors say that many of the 1.1 billion people who are still without electricity should instead try solar panels.
Compared with expensive grid expansion, providing an off-grid, solar cell is very cheap. But for the recipient, it is a poor substitute. It offers just enough power to keep a lightbulb going, and to recharge a mobile phone, which is better than nothing – but only barely. The IEA expects that each of the 195 million people with off-grid solar will get just 170kWh per year – or half of what one US flat-screen TV uses in a year.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the first rigorous test published on the impact of solar panels on the lives of poor people found that while they got a little more electricity, there was no measurable impact on their lives: they did not increase savings or spending, they did not work more or start more businesses, and their children did not study more.
Little wonder: 170kWh is not what most of us would consider real access to electricity. Off-grid energy at this level will never power a factory or a farm, so it cannot reduce poverty or create jobs. And it will not help fight the world’s biggest environmental killer: indoor air pollution, which is mostly caused by open fires fueled by wood, cardboard, and dung, and claims 3.8 million lives annually. This is not a concern in rich countries, where stoves and heaters are hooked up to the grid; but because solar is too weak to power stoves and ovens, recipients of off-grid solar panels will continue suffering.
In 2016, the Nigerian finance minister called out the West for its “hypocrisy” in attempting to block Africa from using coal to solve its power shortages. “After polluting the environment for hundreds of years,” she said, “now that Africa wants to use coal, they deny us.”
A Copenhagen Consensus study for Bangladesh found that building new coal-fired power plants there would, over the next 15 years, generate global climate damage eventually costing around $592 million. But the benefits from electrification through higher economic growth would be almost 500 times greater, at $258 billion – equivalent to more than an entire year of the country’s GDP. By 2030, the average Bangladeshi would be 16% better off.
Denying Bangladesh this benefit in the name of combating global warming means to focus on avoiding 23 cents of global climate costs for every $100 of development benefits we ask Bangladeshis to forgo – and this in a country where energy shortages cost an estimated 0.5% of GDP, and around 21 million people survive on less than $1.25 per day.
There is no choice: we must fight energy poverty and fix climate change. But that requires a huge increase in green-energy research and development, so that clean sources eventually outcompete fossil fuels. And it means recognizing that it is hypocritical for the world’s wealthy, who would never accept survival on a tiny amount of power, to demand this from the world’s poorest.
McDonald’s move to ban plastic straws angers Australians
There is NO justification for this. Ocean detritus comes from Africa and Asia, not Australia
FIRST it was plastic bag ban rage — now Australians are turning to McDonald’s to take out their anger and frustration.
News the fast-food giant is going to make sipping a thickshake harder has outraged people across the country — and the world — who say the plastic ban is being taken too far, causing them too much inconvenience.
The environmental impact speaks for itself — more than 10 million plastic straws are used in Australia every day.
They contribute to the estimated 150 million tonnes of plastic filling our oceans and by 2050 experts estimate there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.
But news of the McDonald’s move to phase out plastic straws over the next two years has caused people to flood social media in anger, with many joking it is the “last straw”.
One Facebook user said it was “overkill looking for public praise”.
“What about the lid on the drinks that uses so much more plastic,” he said.
“Then we have plastic spoons and knives and forks they give you. This campaign is bordering on insane.”
Many agreed the plan to roll out the change to all 970 restaurants nationwide by 2020 was more about the company’s corporate image than the environment.
“Plastic straws make up less than 0.003 per cent of the plastic in the ocean. The straw ban is f*****g pointless and shifts the blame from corporations systemically destroying the environment to individuals,” said one Twitter user.
Paul Harvey, an environmental scientist at Macquarie University, has previously said without appropriate exemptions, a federal legislative ban on single-use plastic straws could prevent people in need from “accessing a basic medical aid”.
“We need to ensure that we have the right strategy to accommodate those who still depend on single-use plastics,” he said.
Disability rights groups across the world have been vocal in their views, highlighting people with conditions such as cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis need straws to eat and drink.
“Other types of straws simply do not offer the combination of strength, flexibility, and safety that plastic straws do,” said one US group after the move to ban straws there.
Worldwide people have been active in their straw ban campaigns, claiming success when companies announce their changes.
Campaigners claimed victory when Starbucks announced it would stop using plastic straws in its stores by 2020, with a petition to encourage them gaining 150,000 supporters.
Even kids have started their own petitions to encourage giants such as Disney World to ban straws and lids.
Others include a petition to stop Subway with more than 95,000 signatures, and ongoing McDonald’s pushes around the world.
In Australia, McDonald’s will start trialling paper straws in August in two outlets.
The move comes as supermarket giants Woolworths and Coles get rid of free plastic bags.
Woolworths has also said it will stop selling plastic straws by the end of 2018 and will remove plastic packaging from a further 80 fruit and vegetable lines in a bid to appease increasingly environmentally conscious customers.
McDonald’s says the trial is part of a larger, long-term global effort to identify viable, sustainable alternatives to its single-use plastic straws.
“We know plastic straws is a topic our customers are passionate about and we will find a viable solution,” McDonald’s Australia supply chain director Robert Sexton said.
Greenpeace Australia applauded the decision.
“It’s wonderful McDonald’s is making a commitment to reducing consumption of single-use plastic and we look forward to seeing more detail around this proposal to see the overall..
IPCC’s Kangaroo Science…Will Ignore Over 600 Papers Showing Sun’s Impact On Climate
The upcoming 6th IPCC Sixth Assessment Report will be a “comprehensive assessment of the science” related to climate change and published in 2022.
However, don’t expect it to be “comprehensive” at all as hundreds of scientific publications showing profound impacts by sun and oceans will go ignored.
Climate science has turned into a religion that centers on a single act of faith. Human CO2 is changing our climate.
In the past, it was always understood that climate was impacted by a vast array of factors, such as oceanic cycles, solar cycles, aerosols, cloud cover, etc. to name a few.
But over the years tremendous resources have been poured into an effort aimed at pinning the blame on man-made greenhouse gases. Models have been grossly distorted and corrupted to make CO2 the 90%+ climate driver.
Despite global temperatures falling by more than 0.5°C over the past two years due to the ending of an El Nino event, IPCC scientists continue to insist that trace gas CO2 is the main driver behi9nd climate warming.
In the IPCC 5th summary report for policymakers, for example, solar and oceanic factors described as having little effect on global temperatures:
With such a disregard for natural factors, it is no surprise that we are already observing the spectacular failure of the climate models.
Not only have ocean cycles been grossly ignored in climate models, but so have solar factors. The sun is not constant in its behavior and has been shown to act in cycles that have profound impacts on the earth’s climate system.
Research showing sun’s impact piles up
Despite all the effort to frame CO2, scientists are still conducting a formidable amount of research on the sun’s impact.
Indeed since the last IPCC report was released in 2013, there have been literally hundreds of scientific peer-reviewed publications showing that the sun, directly and indirectly, has a great impact on the Earth’s climate. Yet IPCC scientists obstinately continue to refuse to acknowledge these in their models.
Back in 2013, I produced a list of 123 paper showing that the sun impacts global climate.
NTZ guest author Kenneth Richard has been busy listing the papers as well. What follows is the list of papers showing the sun impacts global climate.
2012 123 papers had been published and ignored by IPCC 4AR
In 2014, 93 papers were published.
In 2015, 95 peer-reviewed papers were published
In 2016, 133 papers were published.
In 2017, 121 peer-reviewed solar papers were published.
In 2018, so far, ca. 60 papers.
That brings the total of scientific peer-reviewed papers that will be completely ignored by the IPCC to 625. If that isn’t fraudulent “science-based” policymaking, then what is?
Aim: Human society in shackles
The aim of the IPCC is to ignore recognized standards of science, frame mankind for a nonexistent crime, and shackle human society. It’s the next planned slavery. The developing countries, who will be denied cheap and reliable energy, will bear the heaviest chains.
Green Energy Campaign Has Been a Humanitarian Disaster
Millions of lives were at stake. Hillary Clinton was on board. Money poured in. And yet the big aims behind an effort to tackle the plague of third-world cooking fires has produced only modest gains.
For many decades, it was one of the globe’s most underappreciated health menaces: household pollution in developing countries, much of it smoke from cooking fires.
The dangerous smoke — from wood, dung or charcoal fires used by 3 billion people in villages and slums across Africa, Central America and Asia — was estimated by health officials to shorten millions of lives every year. The World Health Organization in 2004 labeled household pollution, “The Killer in the Kitchen.” Women and children nearest the hearth paid the greatest price.
If the health costs were not ominous enough, many environmental advocates worried that what was known as “biomass” cooking also had potentially grave consequences for the planet’s climate. Emissions from the fires were contributing to global warming, it was feared, and the harvesting of wood for cooking was helping to diminish forests, one of nature’s carbon-absorbing bulwarks against greenhouse gases.
In 2010, the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves was formed to help mount a sustained effort at tackling the threats posed by household pollution. The alliance pledged to help engineer the distribution of 100 million cookstoves, small-scale appliances designed to cut fuel use and toxic emissions in impoverished households worldwide by 2020.
The United Nations Foundation was a founding partner in the effort. Hillary Clinton, then the U.S. Secretary of State, lent the support of the American government, promising money and the resources of a handful of agencies. “Millions of lives could be saved and improved,” Clinton said when the alliance’s formation was announced, adding that clean stoves could be as transformative as vaccines.
Eight years and $75 million later, however, the Alliance has fallen well short of its ambitious health and climate goals.
An array of studies, including some financed by the Alliance itself, have shown that the millions of biomass cookstoves of the kind sold or distributed in the effort do not perform well enough in the field to reduce users’ risk of deadly illnesses like heart disease and pneumonia.
The stoves also have not delivered much in the way of climate benefits. It turns out emissions from cooking fires were less of a warming threat than feared, and that — outside of some de-forestation hot spots — the harvesting of wood for cooking fires only modestly reduces the sustainability of forests. […]
The Alliance’s plans for the future come with something of an ironic twist: It will now make greater efforts to promote and distribute stoves that use propane, a fossil fuel, the same blue-flamed byproduct of gas drilling contained in cylinders under countless American backyard grills. (Outside of the U.S. propane is most commonly called liquefied petroleum gas, or lpg.) These stoves, it turns out, burn much more cleanly and efficiently than nearly all biomass stoves, reducing the harmful smoke given off during cooking while having a negligible impact on the climate.
In an interview last summer, Radha Muthiah, then the Alliance’s chief executive, said the Alliance was never against propane stoves, but should have been more direct about its openness to a fossil-fuel solution. “We really should have been launched as the Global Alliance for Clean Cooking,” she said. “You cannot talk about stoves without talking about fuels. It’s half the equation.”
Climate change is contributing to the migration of Central American refugees
Here is the evidence presented in the article: "He heard stories from farmers who had faced drought or damaging hurricanes that devastated local communities". There you have it ladies and gentlemen. THE SCIENCE OF CLIMATE SCIENCE
As immigration issues along the US southern border continue to roil the country, one driving force of migration from troubled Central American countries has received relatively little notice: climate change.
Author and journalist Todd Miller, who has written a new book called, "Storming the Wall: Climate Change, Migration, and Homeland Security," says climate change is a key factor forcing families to flee from Central America and Mexico — and deadly droughts, hurricanes, floods and mudslides are projected to intensify further in the region as global warming increases, which will hit small farmers especially hard.
Miller says statistical data already document the devastating effects of NAFTA and CAFTA (Central American Free Trade Agreement) on small farmers who were suddenly put into direct competition with highly subsidized US agribusinesses and grain movers. Around 2 million small farmers, particularly in southern Mexico, were displaced or could no longer make ends meet, Miller says.
During his research, however, he encountered farmers fleeing for ecological, not just economic, reasons. He heard stories from farmers who had faced drought or damaging hurricanes that devastated local communities, and some people told him that natural disasters and changing climate situations were the primary reason they were heading north.
“In the region that extends from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras into Nicaragua, which is filled with many poor, small farmers who depend on seasonal rainfall, the farmers were expecting rain and there was no rain,” Miller says. “One mayor in a nearby town where these farmers are from said, ‘We are facing an unprecedented calamity.’”
A climate scientist who studies the area told Miller the drought conditions were not an anomaly, but had been occurring for 10 years and were connected to a warming globe. “So, we're looking at a situation in Central America, which already has a number of factors that are displacing people, and we have to look at this ecological aspect to give a holistic analysis of it,” Miller says.
The climate scientist called Central America “ground zero” for climate change in the Americas, Miller says. It is an isthmus, meaning it has large bodies of water on two sides, so it is more vulnerable to sea level rise, powerful storms, hurricanes and large swings between too much and too little rain.
A report on Mexico showed the potential for an equally unstable future. The report predicted that by the year 2050, 1 in 10 Mexicans would be displaced due to climate-related hazards such as sea level rise, hurricanes and drought.
Water scarcity also presents severe problems for Central America and Mexico. Northern Mexico and Arizona, where Miller lives, are in a severe drought already and “the projections for drought going forward are dire,” he says. “Some people don't have running water most of the day or it will run only for a couple hours a day, so they’re already adjusting to really awful situations."
During his research, Miller looked at “a binational … water harvesting project” happening on the US-Mexico border. Guides took him to Silver Creek, which is what’s known as a “dry wash:” no water runs through it for much of the year and then it flows strongly during the monsoon or rainy season. The guides showed him a series of gabions embedded in the stream bed.
A gabion is essentially a steel cage filled with rocks that acts as a kind of sponge, Miller says. The gabions slow down the water during the rainy season and release it at a lower rate while allowing the surrounding landscape to soak in the water and sediment.
Around these gabions, desert grasses and willows and other trees were growing back. Wildlife is also returning to the region. “They told me the most amazing thing that I had ever heard — that [while] this region of Arizona and Sonora was in a 15-year drought, they had raised the water table, due to these gabions, by 30 feet," Miller says. "They were literally reversing a drought in a very small-scale sort of way.”
Miller believes the US would do well to invest in these kinds of projects in the countries that are sending environmental refugees north in search of a means to survive, rather than spending $25 billion building a wall to keep them out. Otherwise, there is no stopping what could be a uniquely troubled future.
Global projections for the number of people displaced by climate change by 2050 range from about 150 million to 1 billion, Miller notes. The precise numbers are still a matter of debate among scientists who do empirical research connecting climate with displacement, but, Miller says “one of the researchers told me, ‘Whatever it is, it's going to be staggering, and it's going to be without precedent in human history.’”
The Feds Don’t Have A Plan For Hundreds Of Species It’s Supposed To Be Protecting
The federal government has yet to craft a recovery plan and set standards for delisting on nearly a third of species protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead testified Tuesday.
Mead sat before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works during a hearing discussing amendments to the ESA. The draft legislation would be the first “substantive” updates to the law in three decades if it is passed.
Mead, a Republican, has “witnessed some of the ESA’s greatest failings” firsthand from his position in Wyoming.
“It took five lawsuits and fifteen years to delist a recovered gray wolf population in Wyoming. Grizzly bears are embroiled in litigation for the second time,” Mead testified. “Canada Lynx were listed more than 18 years ago and still have no discernable path to recovery. Nearly 30 percent of all listed species have no recovery plan, and litigation dictates U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) priorities and workload.”
More than 1,600 species native to the U.S. have been listed as endangered or threatened under the ESA. Of those species, roughly two percent have been taken off the list as recovered, extinct or erroneously listed because flawed data was used to justify the listing decision.
The ESA has saved 99 percent of the listed species from extinction, supporters of the current law argue.
“We should not forget that the ESA as written has a 99 percent success rate at preventing the extinction of listed species and that 90 percent of species with recovery plans are on track to meet their goals on schedule,” Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Matthew Strickler testified at Tuesday’s hearing.
The proposed legislation gives state and local research greater weight in listing decisions but leaves the final decision in the hands of the secretary of the interior. The legislation also prevents lawsuits seeking to overturn a delisting decision for five years after a species is officially removed from the list.
Keep Australia’s coal-fired power plants operating, says AEMO report
The nation’s independent energy market operator yesterday called for Australia’s fleet of coal-fired power stations to remain in operation for as long as possible.
Extending the operation of this fleet for as long as they are economically viable represents the “ least-cost option” for the next twenty years, according to the recommendation. It is thought the move would ward off any future price shock, as Australia transitions to a more renewables-involved grid.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack says the report speaks a lot of sense.
“I certainly know that the ACCC report and the AEMO report, they do give hope for investment in coal. Certainly other technologies as well, but coal has to be party of the mix,” he says.
“But we also need to as a nation, know and understand there are some of those coal-fired power stations which could be enhanced, which could be revitalised and expanded. That could also provide a solution if the investment isn’t there for new coal-fired power stations.”
The report and this kind of sentiment is predicted to flare up debate around AGL’s planned 2022 closure of the Liddell power station. McCormack says government should not “ rush in and nationalise things” when it comes to privately operated assets, also reiterating his technologically agnostic stance.
“The ACCC chairman said only last week, that only a technology neutral approach will get prices down. Whenever government prescribes that the technology should be one thing or another, that is when you get higher prices.”
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 *****************************************
U.S. CO2 Levels Drop Again — So Why Aren't Green Groups Rejoicing?
Global Warming: Once more, science provides bad news for global warming alarmists. U.S. CO2 levels again declined during 2017, despite overall global output again rising. Credit U.S. fracking and the natural gas boom. But don't worry: the hysteria won't end.
The new report, based on U.S. data, shows clearly the U.S. continuing downward trend.
"The U.S. emitted 15.6 metric tons of CO2 per person in 1950," wrote the Daily Caller. "After rising for decades, it's declined in recent years to 15.8 metric tons per person in 2017, the lowest measured levels in 67 years."
That's right. 67 years. Green groups and leftist climate extremists should be exulting. The U.S. has found a way to produce more GDP — making all of us better off — with less energy.
Meanwhile, Europe has imposed massive economy-deadening regulations on its economies in order to reduce CO2 output. How has that worked?
Last year, European output of CO2 rose 1.5%, while U.S. output fell 0.5%. For the record, the disaster predicted when President Trump left the Paris climate agreement and rejected draconian EPA restrictions on power plants hasn't materialized. On the contrary, the U.S. model has been shown to be superior.
This isn't the first time we've reported the ongoing decline in U.S. CO2. And if current trends hold, it won't be the last. And, to be sure, it is a long-term trend.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration's latest energy report notes that, from 2005 to 2017, U.S. energy related emissions of carbon dioxide plunged by 861 million metric tons, a 14% drop. It's both a result of the decline due to the Great Recession and the fracking revolution.
The EIA forecast expects a slight uptick over the next two years in the U.S. as the economy continues its Trump boom. But it will still be way below where it was 13 years ago.
Question: Over the same period, how did the rest of the world do? Emissions rose by 21% to 6.04 billion metric tons over the 12 years, mostly due to booming economic growth in India and China, where coal-fired energy output continues to expand.
The truth, and it's proven by the hard data, is that CO2 made in the USA will not choke the world to death or cause it to massively overheat. And you can thank capitalism for that.
Because capitalism, unlike socialism and its welfare-state kin, hates waste. So it does all it can to be efficient. That means using as little energy as possible to make things. And this predates any of the current CO2 hysteria.
In the U.S., the data are clear and utterly convincing: In 1949, it took 1,098 metric tons of CO2 emissions to produce $1 million in GDP in the U.S., after adjusting for inflation. Today, it takes just 301 metric tons to produce that same million dollars, after inflation — a 73% gain in carbon-efficiency.
Indeed, we're actually decarbonizing our economy, and rapidly.
As new technologies continue to emerge, including better battery storage for alternative energy sources, safer nuclear power plants, and the fracking revolution that continues to make natural gas the energy of choice for conventional power plants, U.S. CO2 output is likely to continue to decline for every dollar of GDP produced.
Instead of being harshly criticized by green groups and Euro-socialists, as has been the case for three decades now, we should be the model for green growth. When it comes to CO2, the U.S. is the leader. The rest of the world is the laggard. That's a fact.
If any green groups have had the guts to come forward and laud this truly phenomenal development, we haven't heard it. We did a Google search and couldn't find a single instance of an identifiable green group applauding the U.S.' extraordinary performance on CO2. None.
Instead, we continue to hear the same dark grumblings and prognostications of doom that never come true. That includes the mainstream media, too.
You might remind your less-than-informed friends the next time they criticize America's greenhouse gas output: Not only is the U.S. the only major country that is cutting output, but it is providing a roadmap for how to do it.
Time for the green hypocrites to stop talking, and start doing. Or to admit that it has nothing to do with climate change at all, and everything to do with an extreme-left political agenda masquerading as earth-friendly environmentalism.
Italian forecasters connect solar minimum and global cooling
“It seems something can not be hidden longer…” says Italian geologist Dr Mirco Poletto.
“On ‘Il meteo’, an Italian weather forecast website, they continue talking about solar minimum and cooling,” says Dr Poletto. “The funny thing: they say the sun is “unusually” weak, showing no knowledge about long term solar cycles. Going on in the article, however, they mention Maunder minimum, the little ice age, and other cold periods.”
Here’s my (Robert’s) attempt to paraphrase the Italian website:
The Sun appears unusually tired, because sunspots on its surface are not visible and seems destined to remain rather low for the next days. This continues a trend since the beginning of 2018, because there have already been 108 days this year without stains (without sunspots). That makes us reflect, because all of 2017 had only 110 “spotless” days (without stains ).
Should we be concerned? Well, scholars say there is a close correlation between solar activity and our climate, and an “off” sun could have quite negative repercussions. This is not a fantasy, as it has happened in the past.
Between 1645 and 1715 our planet lived through what was called the ” Maunder minimum “, named after Eward Maunder , a British astronomer. During the Maunder minimum the average global temperature dropped by 1.5 ° C , and it was precisely in those years that Europe endured the harshest winters in memory. In 1709 the port of Genoa froze , the Venetian lagoon turned into a single slab of ice. The consequences were catastrophic, with heavy snowfall in the winter and abnormally cool summers that completely overturned the agricultural activities and breeding .
At present there are no conditions for the return to a ” Little Ice Age “, but climatologists say that we could return to a period similar to that experienced in the 60s of nine hundred (I don’t know what that means), with average global temperatures below current levels.
The implications for Italy may be immediate. There are increasing possibilities of a rather cool and rainy autumn , especially in the northern regions and parts of the central ones, while the South could enjoy a prolonged summer, at least during the month of October. The winter could then present greater snowfall and cold, a bit as happened in the 60s and 70s of the 900, years, in which the activity of the sun was less, just like now .
The climate could be at a really crucial crossroads over the next few years. Big changes seem to be waiting for us, and we could all be witnesses to something very unusual.
Germany’s “Ticking Time Bombs”…Technical Experts Say Wind Turbines Posing “Significant Danger” To Environment!
As much of Germany’s nearly 30,000 strong fleet of wind turbines approach 20 or more years in age, the list of catastrophic collapses is growing more rapidly. The turbines are now being viewed by technical experts as “ticking time bombs”.
According to a commentary by Daniel Wetzel of online German Daily ‘Die Welt’, the aging rickety wind turbines are poorly inspected and maintained and thus are now posing a huge risk.
Over the past months alone there’s been a flurry of reports over wind turbines failing catastrophically and collapsing to the ground, e.g. see here, here and here.
As the older turbines age, their components and electronic control systems are wearing out and beginning to gravely malfunction. And according to Wetzel, these turbines are not even subject to strict technical monitoring by Germany’s TÜV (Technical Inspection Association), which provides inspection and product certification services.
In Germany industrial systems are required to regularly undergo technical inspections and approvals in order to ensure that they operate safely. However wind turbines are exempt from this strict requirement and so many wind park operators are neglecting to properly inspect, maintain and repair the systems, which is costly. And so it surprises no one that the aging turbines are beginning to fail catastrophically.
As a result, the TÜV is calling for turbines to be treated like any other industrial system, and be required to undergo rigorous inspections as well, Wetzel writes.
In 2016, near in the region of Paderborn, a 100-tonne turbine and its rotors plunged to the earth. The turbine was nearly 20 years old.
“Razor-sharp shards” threat to grazing animals
In another case, earlier this year, near Bochern, Wetzel reports, a brakeless 115-meter tall turbine spun wildly out of control before “two of the 56-meter blades “ripped to shreds ‘in a cloud of glass, plastic and fill material’.”
“Razor-sharp fiberglass shards flew 800 meters,” the Westfalen Blatt reported.
The debris from exploded turbine now poses a threat to the environment. The sharp fiberglass pieces injure grazing animals, says the Hanover School of Veterinary Medicine. “For cattle they can even perforate the stomach.”
Hazard to ground water
Another hazard comes from the hundreds of liters of transmission oil the turbines that seep into the groundwater. Moreover the huge reinforced concrete foundations require tremendous energy for their manufacture and they penetrate deep into the ground, which adversely effects soil and groundwater.
Growing list of disasters
The number of wind turbine disasters is mounting, reports Wetzel. Wind energy opposition group Vernunftkraft keeps a list, which has grown to be pages long. But the German Association of Wind Energy (Bundesverband Windenergie) downplays the incidents, calling them “isolated cases”.
Dealing with “ticking time bombs”
Yet the situation has in reality grown so serious that TÜV is now urgently calling for rigorous inspections and regulations in order to assure operational safety. TÜV expert Dieter Roas says that we dealing with “ticking time bombs.”
Wetzel writes that many turbines are now approaching their 20-25 year lifetimes and that extending their operating time should require technical approval.
The technical and structural integrity of the turbines in most cases is completely unknown.
TÜV expert Roas warns: “Here we are dealing with significant dangers”.
We've all heard about "shop local" and "get your food from local farmers, not distant corporate farms." Lots of people have apple trees in their backyards. Often they can't begin to eat or give away all the apples. In the meantime, big supermarkets sell corporate apples for one dollar a pound and up. I propose that people with backyard apples be able to take them to the supermarket and sell them to the supermarket for the same price at which the supermarket is selling apples. Furthermore, they should be able to take them at any time and receive payment. If the store gets too many local apples, it can reduce its purchase of corporate apples.
My apple proposal may seem ill advised, but that is exactly how rooftop solar power works. The homeowner gets to displace power from the power company, and if the homeowner has more power than he needs, the power company is obligated to purchase it, often for the same retail price at which it sells electricity. That policy is called net metering. In order to accommodate the homeowner's electric power, the utility has to throttle down some other power plant that produces power at a lower wholesale price.
The exact arrangements for accepting rooftop solar vary by jurisdiction. In some places, net metering is restricted in one way or another.
A large-scale natural gas-generating plant can supply electricity for around 6 cents per kilowatt-hour. Rooftop solar electricity costs, without subsidies, around 30 cents per kilowatt-hour, or five times as much. Average retail rates for electricity in most places are between 8 cents and 16 cents per kilowatt-hour. Yet, paradoxically, the homeowner can often reduce this electric bill by installing rooftop solar.
It is actually worse than forcing the power company to take 30-cent electricity that it could get from a natural gas plant for 6 cents. When the company throttles down a natural gas plant to make room for rooftop electricity, it is not saving six cents, because it already has paid for the gas plant. All it saves is the marginal fuel that is saved when the plant is throttled down to make room for the rooftop electricity. The saving in fuel is about 2 cents per kilowatt-hour. So 30-cent electricity displaces grid electricity and saves two cents.
But where does the other 28 cents come from? Who pays for that? Part is paid for by the federal 30% subsidy for solar energy construction cost. That takes care of about nine cents per kilowatt-hour. That leaves the homeowner with electricity costing him 21 cents per kilowatt-hour. The cost comes from his monthly payments on the loan to build the solar system divided by the number of kilowatt-hours generated that month. If he pays cash for the solar system, then the monthly cost is his lost investment return on the cash he paid. If he lives in a jurisdiction where electricity costs 11 cents, then he is losing 10 cents for each kilowatt-hour generated (21 cents minus 11 cents). But if he lives in California, where larger home users of electricity pay 53 cents per kilowatt-hour if they consume beyond a baseline limit, he saves 32 cents for each kilowatt-hour of solar electricity generated. In that case, the power company is losing kilowatt-hours it could have sold for 53 cents. Other customers have to pay more to make up the lost revenue.
From the standpoint of society, rooftop solar substitutes 30-cent electricity in order to save two cents. If the homeowner is at least breaking even, as he usually is, he hasn't lost anything due to the substitution. The money to pay for the 30-cent electricity comes from the taxpayer-provided subsidy and revenue that is no longer paid to the power company. The taxpayers and power company pay for 30-cent electricity that could have been obtained for two cents by burning a little more natural gas. If the homeowner makes a profit on the solar power, then the burden on everyone else is even greater. Since the power company is guaranteed a rate of return, or at least has to break even, rates have to be raised enough to pay for the overpriced rooftop electricity. The burden falls on society to pay for the scheme. The purveyors of rooftop solar, crackpot environmentalists and rooftop solar-owners, are happy. Everyone else is screwed.
Here is an example of rooftop solar that costs 30 cents a kilowatt-hour. A 5-kilowatt rooftop system costs about $21,000 installed. It will generate 7,000 kilowatt-hours per year. If it is financed over 20 years at 8% interest, the annual payment will be $2,139. The cost per kilowatt-hour is $2,139/7,000 = $0.306, or 30.6 cents per kilowatt-hour. Of course, costs and interest rates vary, as does sunshine. If you think 8% is too high for the interest rate, ask yourself if you would loan your neighbor $21,000 for 20 years for less. Rooftop solar is expensive compared to utility-scale solar, because it is a small custom installation. The orientation and slope of the house roof may be less than ideal. Large-scale utility solar, in contrast, can be as cheap as seven cents per kilowatt-hour.
An increasing problem, already present in California, is too much solar. The electric grid has a combination of base load power and additional peaking loads. The base load runs 24 hours a day and is not easy to throttle down. Solar power peaks around midday. If there is so much solar as to threaten the base generation, solar has to be curtailed. In California, this happens in the spring, when sunshine is plentiful but the air-conditioning load is not yet large. When solar dies, in the hour before sunset, peak power consumption is often being reached. In that case, solar aggravates the rate at which the rest of the grid has to increase power output to handle the early evening peak. If the homeowner is at least breaking even, he is probably generating surplus electricity during the middle of the day, adding more solar during the critical midday period and increasing the size of the sudden surge in power demand when the sun fades.
Utility-scale solar costing seven cents is a big waste of money. Rooftop solar costing 30 cents is insane. Special interests – the solar industry and environmentalist crackpots – have convinced legislatures and public utility commissions to stack the deck with net metering and absurdly high tiered electric rates. The result is to make it profitable for homeowners to invest in what otherwise would be very expensive electricity. Society as a whole pays for the economic waste, amounting typically to 28 cents per kilowatt-hour of rooftop electricity.
It is foolish to justify rooftop solar on the grounds of reducing CO2 emissions, because if you work the numbers, it costs about $800 to avoid emitting a metric ton of CO2 using rooftop solar. You can buy a carbon offset that does the same thing for $10. Reducing CO2 emissions is dubious in any case. Global warming-climate change ideology is struggling because warming is not remotely meeting expectations. Believers are starting to lose their faith in global warming. It is dawning on them that global warming is another scary disaster in a long parade of scary disasters that never materialize but make money for interested parties. Fewer people want to waste billions on a quixotic quest for renewable power.
The most prominent remaining global warming believers are now advocating nuclear power as the best means of reducing CO2 emissions. CO2 is plant food that makes plants grow better with less water. It greens deserts and increases agricultural productivity. Bring it on.
Two North Texas wind projects cancelled due to military concerns
Sheppard Air Force Base and the military community is celebrating a win this week as a wind farm company decides to not build near the base.
The base announced that Innergex, a renewable energy company, was considering building wind farms near Byers and Bluegrove.
After information campaigns from the base and Sheppard Military Affairs Committee (SMAC) about how the developments would negatively impact Sheppard’s training routes, the company removing themselves from the permitting process – meaning their interest in the area is essentially over.
“We are grateful for the decision Innergex has made regarding proposed wind projects in Byers and Bluegrove," George Woodward, SAFB Public Affairs spokesperson, said Friday.
"These projects would have had serious negative impacts on our ability to safely manage both civilian and military air traffic in those areas and would also have reduced the overall number of effective flying training days we have each year."
The process, he said, was an effort of both the base and local officials.
“We appreciate the continued support of local civic, business and government leaders on this issue as we continue to work with them and with wind energy advocates to balance military readiness and economic development,” he said.
SMAC President Glenn Barham said this is good news for the Sheppard area.
Wind turbines near low-level military training routes can cause radio interference and be a hazard to the aircraft themselves when the craft are 1,000 feet or closer to the ground.
Barham said Sheppard has focused efforts on keeping turbines out of the low-level flight routes for training pilots at the base.
Currently, there are 17 of these flight routes – three have already been abandoned because of wind farm encroachment.
“There are others proposed that we have learned about that could cause the closure of two more routes. We are looking to educate everybody about encroachment,” Barham said.
Renewable energy is a great innovation that benefits people, but, Barham said, their aim is to mitigate any issues that may arise between the military and wind farm companies.
SMAC, Sheppard and other military bases are testing a more proactive approach with these wind farm companies to help alleviate any unnecessary animosity between the groups.
They are not against renewable energy, Barham said, but want to be part of the planning process sooner to inform companies as to the best locations that will not impact training missions.
For instance, he said, flight training routes are 10 miles wide and companies could chose to locate a farm closer to an edge, rather than the middle, of a training route.
“One day they might fly five miles left of the center line. The next day, two miles right of the center line. They need plenty of maneuvering space,” he said.
When talking with a wind farm company, they may ask them to consider not placing a wind farm right in the middle of a training route, but rather to an extreme edge of the route.
“We believe that, by working together and communicating early in the process, we can reach mutually compatible solutions not only in and around military bases, but also around FAA-designated military training routes and operating areas in Texas and Oklahoma,” Woodward said.
State legislators are already taking notice of the need to change regulation of wind farms to better protect military training bases.
Oklahoma Senate Bill 1576, approved in early May by Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin offers far-reaching regulation to protect routes from encroaching turbines.
Barham said SMAC representatives will be meeting with Rep. James Frank and the next senator-elect after November to consider proposition of similar legislation in Texas.
Such a bill would be “immensely useful” to Sheppard and other military training bases, Barham said.
Japanese Scientists: IPCC Models Sloppy And Lopsided, Major Factors “Not Adequately Represented”
Another paper titled The Solar Wind and Climate: Evaluating the Influence of the Solar Wind on Temperature and Teleconnection Patterns Using Correlation Maps lends great support to the claim that solar activity plays a major role in driving the Earth’s climate, and that CO2’s impact is being grossly overstated.
The paper, authored by a team of researchers led by Japanese physical chemist Dr. Kiminori Itoh, photo right, examined the influence of changes in solar activity (solar wind in particular) on surface temperatures and major oceanic oscillations such as the Arctic Oscillation and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, which have great impacts on regional and global climate.
The researchers feel that the major drivers of the Earth’s climate are more related to the sun and the oceans, and CO2’s role has been exaggerated.
Sun and oceans play great role
The paper cites, for example, Levitus et al., which found multidecadal temperature oscillations with magnitudes as large as 4°C for the Barents Sea at depths of 100–150m and that the timing of the oscillation coincided with the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), a major factor in the Atlantic Ocean.
IPCC models shoddy, major factors “not adequately represented”
The team of scientists found a clear influence of the solar wind on climate, and thus solar activity “should be considered much more than conventionally believed”.
The authors state, “once its mechanism becomes clearer and incorporated into climate models, it will greatly contribute to policy development.”
“The effectiveness of climate models is greatly reduced when the influence of the sun (and moon) is not adequately represented,” they state in the paper’s conclusion.
Dr. Kimimori Itoh has been a harsh critic of the mainstream, narrow scientific view that trace gas CO2 acts as the main driver behind global climate. He once called it “the worst scientific scandal in history” and that “when people come to know what the truth is, they will feel deceived by science and scientists.”
African Development Bank breaks with anti-fossil fuel banks to fund coal power, prosperity
Paul Driessen and David Wojick
We recently explained how Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) use manmade climate change alarmism to justify lending policies that reject funding for fossil fuel electricity generation, promote expensive and unreliable renewable sources, and thereby help keep impoverished nations poor.
Now, in a daring show of humanity and common sense, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has broken ranks with the World Bank and its like-minded carbon colonialist brethren. The AfDB has announced that it will once again finance coal and natural gas power generation projects. As AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina puts it, “Africa must develop its energy sector with what it has.”
In a formal statement, Adesina noted: “The key challenge for Africa is the generation of power. The continent has the lowest electrification rate in the world. Power consumption per capita in Africa is estimated at 613 kWh per annum, compared to 6,500 kWh in Europe and 13,000 kWh in the United States. Power is the overriding African priority.
“The investment is expensive, yes, but the long-term returns will be much greater. To fast track universal access to electricity, the Bank is investing US$12 billion in the power sector and seeks to mobilize $45-$50 billion from other partners.”
Put in understandable everyday terms, those numbers mean the electricity that makes modern lives, jobs, productivity, living standards, health, communication, computers, entertainment and life spans possible is available to Africans a paltry 4.7% per capita of what Americans rely on. Just imagine having electricity available only 1 hour a day … 8 hours a week … 411 hours per year – at totally unpredictable times, for a few minutes, hours or days at a stretch when you have power. And at three times what Americans pay.
Try running your life that way – or with wind and solar systems that are just as sporadic and unreliable – and might increase your per capita electricity to 10 or 15% of US levels.
Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa, Zimbabwe and many other sub-Sahara African countries have vast coal deposits. South Africa’s state-owned utility Eskom estimates that South Africa’s 53 billion tons of coal reserves could meet its needs for 200 years! Many also have enormous natural gas resources.
Those fossil fuels must not be ignored and “kept in the ground,” to appease eco-imperialists.
The AfDB is being encouraged by the Trump Administration, which may partly account for the new policy. The Trump USAID is now running the Power Africa 2.0 program, a vital upgrade of the Obama era program that promoted renewable energy and strongly discouraged the use of affordable fossil fuels.
USAID says Power Africa 2.0 is “one of the largest public-private partnerships in development history, with more than $54 billion of commitments from its more than 150 public- and private-sector partners.”
The Obama program managed to facilitate financing for just 7,300 MW of electrical generating capacity (15% of what Germany generated with coal in 2016) – and most of that was from expensive, unreliable wind and solar units. Even Bloomberg said President Obama’s “signature initiative for Africa” fell “well short” of its goals, producing less than 5% of the new electricity it promised; and virtually all that power was intermittent, expensive wind and solar – leaving hundreds of millions of Africans “in the dark.”
The only fossil fuel theoretically allowed under the Obama Power Africa con was natural gas. And even then his Overseas Private Investment Corporation refused to support construction of a 130-MW power plant in Ghana that would burn clean natural gas that was being “flared” and wasted.
USAID Administrator Mark Green says the new Power Africa goal is 20,000 MW by 2020, using “affordable, reliable energy,” meaning coal in many cases. More broadly the Trump Administration has spearheaded creating a “global fossil fuel alliance.” Energy Secretary Rick Perry often refers to this as “new energy realism” in global power development, noting that fossil fuels are absolutely essential for developing countries, especially in those where many people still have no electricity. How refreshing.
Even in South Africa, the most electrified and advanced nation in sub-Saharan Africa, insufficient electricity means too frequent brownouts that hamper factory and mining output, and keep hospitals and schools far below optimal levels. Its maternal mortality rates are some 35 times higher than in the US, tuberculosis rates 230 times higher, and thousands still die every year from lung and intestinal diseases.
But World Bank carbon colonialists still rebuffed South Africa when it applied for a loan to finish its coal-fired Medupi power plant, despite its advanced clean coal and pollution control technologies. Claiming the project violated climate change and sustainability goals, the Center for American Progress, Sierra Club and other agitator groups pressured the bank to deny funding. The Obama Administration ultimately voted “present” and the loan was approved by a bare majority of other bank member nations.
Excluding South Africa, sub-Saharan nations “enjoy” a minuscule 181 kWh annual per capita electricity consumption – 1.4% of the average American’s! In fact, Africa is home to 16% of the world’s population – and 53% the world’s people without electricity. It’s no wonder Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania and other countries are taking charge of their own destinies and building dozens of coal-fired power plants.
As Professor Rosemary Falcon points out, clean coal is not just feasible; it is also about the cheapest way to generate electricity on a continent where twice as many people as live in the United States are without power. Her “sustainable coal research group” developed a process that separates poor-quality coal from better fuel, crushes it and removes components that don’t burn well. Burning it in advanced power plants generates more electricity with “less ash, less fumes, more heat and a longer burn.” That’s clean coal.
Every country could do this, if they had the “political will” to do so, says Nigerian Sam Bada, a member of Falcon’s team. “I am tired of being lectured by people in rich countries who have never lived a day without electricity. Maybe they should just go home and turn off their fridge, hot water, laptops and lights. Then live like that for a month and tell us, who have suffered for years, not to burn coal.”
All this helps explain why the AfDB is doing what all MDBs should do. It has committed $12 billion to a “New Deal on Energy for Africa” program. As Mr. Adesina says, “Africa has a lot of energy potential, but potential doesn’t create anything. We cannot continue to accept Africa being referred to as the ‘dark continent.’ We need to … accelerate our plans to light up and power Africa.”
It helps explain why Africa, China, India, Indonesia and others refuse to reject coal and gas – and rely on “green” energy technologies that don’t exist … except in classrooms, computer models, IPCC reports, Al Gore lectures, and renewable energy company promotional literature.
Claims that 97% of scientists agree that we face a manmade climate change “tipping point” are right only if they are talking about the bureaucrats, activists and climatologists who take taxpayer and foundation money and blame humans for supposed climate chaos. Beyond their narrow confines, rational scientific discussions rage over global warming and cooling, floods, droughts, extreme weather, carbon dioxide enrichment and a host of related issues: here, here, here, here, here and here, to cite just a few places.
And how can anyone compare alleged climate problems with very real, immediate, lethal Third World problems caused and perpetuated by being forced to continue relying on wood, charcoal and dung – the fuels of poverty, misery, disease and early death? People in these countries are not expendable laboratory animals, on which to test renewable energy schemes. They must no longer be treated that way.
Many countries signed the Paris treaty because they were promised countless billions in “mitigation, adaptation and compensation” payments. The Green Climate Fund is now all but defunct. Its director has resigned, and virtually no one is contributing to it. That should be another loud global wake-up call.
Developing countries increasingly realize they are largely on their own. Other nations should follow their lead, and end this tragic fascination with green energy pixie dust. The world still needs oil, gas, coal, nuclear and hydroelectric power – the fuels of modern living standards, prosperity, health and life!
Meaning Nothing – Ireland To Entirely Divest From Fossil Fuels
By Tim Worstall
Ireland has proudly announced that it is the first country to entirely – no, totally – divest from fossil fuels. This means rather less than nothing, as it doesn’t actually mean that Ireland won’t be using any fossil fuels. It just means that the State itself, the funds it controls, won’t be buying shares in fossil fuel companies. Not buying Shell or BP stock is not a great blow against climate change:
"Ireland is set to become the first country to stop public investments in fossil fuels.
The Fossil Fuel Divestment bill was passed by the lower house of parliament, Dáil Éireann, on Thursday.
The bill is expected to pass relatively quickly through the Seanad (senate), and will force the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund to end any investments in non-renewable energy in five years.
Environment activists have welcomed the news"
It’s feel good trivia rather than anything important.
The text of the bill calls for the complete divestment of the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund of fossil fuel companies within five years from the commencement of the bill’s approval. The aim, as expressed in the bill, is “to precipitate a timely decarbonisation process in line with Ireland’s climate change commitments under Article 2 of the Paris Agreement.”
Not buying shares and not using fossil fuels are two rather different things. Owning or not owning Exxon stock makes no difference whatsoever to which fuel people top up with at the petrol station now, does it?
Ireland has lagged behind other European countries in cutting emissions and Irish households emit 60 per cent more carbon than the average EU home, in part because of the use of peat and coal for heating, according to a government study.
“We have had a very carbon-based economy and society for a number of years, so this is a huge change for us, but it has to happen,” said Thomas Pringle, the independent parliamentarian who sponsored the legislation.
“The bill sends a very clear message . . . that the Irish government sees the transition away from fossil fuels as very important,” he added."
The difference this will make to the use of peat and coal is precisely nothing, isn’t it? Unlike, say, that digging up of County Down* going on to put natural gas pipelines in. You know, investing in fossil fuels so as to reduce carbon emissions?
The full bill is here. Signifies nothing, just wind.
*Yes, I know, different country-- In Northern Ireland
Disposal Of Wind Turbines Proving To Be A Major Environmental Concern
Thousands of aging wind turbines will eventually need to be decommissioned, but the disposal of this “green” technology could prove to be a dirty job for environmental regulators.
Besides a host of problems that occur during a wind turbine’s lifetime — such as intermittent power production and the killing of thousands of large, rare birds — Germany is now dealing with a another pressing issue: What is to be done with a wind turbine once it’s reached the end of its life cycle? There are over 28,000 onshore wind turbines in Germany. More than one-third of these aging turbines will need to be decommissioned by 2023.
Many in the general public consider wind energy technology to be a completely operable without environmental degradation. However, this is not the case.
The high-tech blades used in wind turbines contain exotic compounds that are laborious to recycle. These rotor blades use carbon fibers and glass, and give off toxic gases and dust — which means burning them is not an option. Additionally, the concrete bases used to uphold wind turbines can go as far as 30 meters deep into the ground, making them very difficult to fully remove.
“The operators of wind farms in Germany [are] beginning to have to ask themselves, ‘What do we do with the assets that come up to the lifetime?'” said Giles Dickson, a wind energy lobbyist in Europe. The problem isn’t just on the horizon, but something that has already been plaguing German regulators for years. The country was forced to deal with 54,000 tons of waste from rotor blades in 2014. (RELATED: Here’s How Renewable Energy Actually Hurts The Environment)
“It will probably be a challenge for technology. It will really be an issue over the next years and decades probably to get old turbines off the field, so I expect industry will find technologies to cope with it,” said Dr. Jan Tessmer, an energy expert, during an interview with Deutsche Welle.
Australia: Victoria’s Western Front Erupts: Locals Launch All-Out Attack On Hawkesdale Wind Farm Plans
A community meeting at Hawkesdale on Wednesday concerning wind farm growth in the south-west, left local MPs, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) representatives and the national windfarm commissioner in no doubt as to the position of the majority of locals.
The meeting, organised by community members, invited DEWLP members and windfarm commissioner, Andrew Dyer, to town to address community concerns about the planning and application processes for proposed windfarms in the region. The vocal room of around 100 people projected their questions to the panel, which included Mr Dyer, DELWP Executive Director statutory planning services, Jane Homewood and senior planner, Tim Doolan.
“You’ve heard these people today, everything is negative, you should get that from the feel of the meeting,” one attendee said, followed by a large round of applause, showing the panel the united belief of those in the room.
“Nobody wants you here … Go away.”
People travelled from around the region to express concerns and ensure the health, agriculture and social impacts of wind towers was clearly understood.
Mr Doolan began the evening with a presentation on the planning process for windfarm approval.
He explained that windfarm applications had to meet a number of requirements, including a noise assessment, landscape and visual impact assessment, safety, environmental impacts, traffic and road infrastructure impacts, electromagnetic interference and shutter flicker.
“These are all the different types of technical reports that need to be provided for any application for a windfarm” Mr Doolan said.
The senior planner said there were three stages of the windfarm approval process; the application stage, post-approval and amendment.
He said all wind turbines needed to comply with a noise limit of 40-decibels and could not be erected less than 1 km of any dwelling.
Turbines within this range needed consent. If consent was not given, the application was prohibited.
Local residents were advised that the town boundary is not a consideration during planning stages, but that the nearest turbine, which in Hawkesdale will sit around 1 km from the nearest dwelling, was enough to meet Victorian requirements.
Mr Dyer quashed any thought, risen by Penshurst District Pharma and windfarm opponent, Annie Gardner, That There Was a Bill in Parliament’s Upper House to Remove Noise Nuisance under the Victorian Public Health and Well-Being Act.
“The act is an act of Parliament, I don’t think councils had thought about how to make a complaint under the health and well-being act,” Mr Dyer said.
“The act is still there, you can make a complaint this afternoon under the act and Council needs a procedure in place to receive an address that complaint properly.”
Ms Gardner said that she had experienced a number of health issues as a result of the Macarthur windfarm which neighbours her property, and asked the Commissioner to consider low-frequency noise and infrasound when having an acoustician measure turbine noise.
“In the guidelines there is nothing about low-frequency noise or infrasound and this is what is affecting most of us in the sense we are sensitised when we go away from home,” Ms Gardner said. “When we go into a café with air-conditioning or supermarket, our symptoms come back because the issue is cumulative. The low-frequency noise is what we feel in our chest and in our hearts.”
When questioned why the compulsory distance of turbines from dwellings has changed from 2 km to 1 km when the Andrew’s Labor government was elected in 2014, no panel member could provide a satisfactory answer.
“I don’t know why it was changed from 2 to 1 km, but there is a noise decibel level that is based on the New Zealand standard and I’m hearing that it is totally inadequate for you, so we will take that on notice,” Ms Homewood said.
One Cape Bridgewater resident, who lives within 640 m of wind turbines told the Commissioner she was “living a life of misery” as her house was now worthless, to which the Commissioner advised her to move out.
The Cape Bridgewater windfarm was erected before any minimal distance between dwellings was enforced in 2011.
Hawkesdale resident, Liana Blake, told the room the proposed Hawkesdale windfarm would allow for wind towers to be built within 2 km of her house, the closest at 1.1 km.
“That’s our home, that’s where we decided to live and build our business,” she said.
“What are we going to do? Do we just move out because the noise is too much for us?
“You’ve wrecked our lives … these windfarms are wrecking people’s lives.”
Residents also raise concerned about the future growth of the Hawkesdale community, believing windfarms would deter people from moving to the area, “unfortunately, the panels look for evidence and that is difficult if you’ve got a new windfarm,” Ms Homewood told the room.
“It is a requirement of the panel to consider the social and economic impact of the windfarm, when they are considering whether or not the windfarm will go ahead.”
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 *****************************************
Climate researchers are airy-fairy types while the public are more down to earth
This is rather delicious. As a retired academic I can decode academic bafflegab and my heading above is good summary of the findings below. I think I could have predicted that finding. That Greenie academics focus on theories while ignoring reality does in fact encapsulate all of Warmism as far as I can see
Personality type differences between Ph.D. climate researchers and the general public: implications for effective communication
C. Susan Weiler et al.
Effectively communicating the complexity of climate change to the public is an important goal for the climate change research community, particularly for those of us who receive public funds. The challenge of communicating the science of climate change will be reduced if climate change researchers consider the links between personality types, communication tendencies and learning preferences. Jungian personality type is one of many factors related to an individual’s preferred style of taking in and processing information, i.e., preferred communication style. In this paper, we demonstrate that the Jungian personality type profile of interdisciplinary, early career climate researchers is significantly different from that of the general population in the United States. In particular, Ph.D. climate researchers tend towards Intuition and focus on theories and the “big picture”, while the U.S. general population tends towards Sensing and focuses on concrete examples and experience. There are other differences as well in the way the general public as a group prefers to take in information, make decisions, and deal with the outer world, compared with the average interdisciplinary climate scientist. These differences have important implications for communication between these two groups. We suggest that climate researchers will be more effective in conveying their messages if they are aware of their own personality type and potential differences in preferred learning and communication styles between themselves and the general public (and other specific audiences), and use this knowledge to more effectively target their audience.
Record late Snowpack Signals a Lost Summer for Greenland’s Shorebirds
Sanderlings, red knots and ruddy turnstones failed to breed this year along the Arctic island’s east coast due to record snow cover. And Greenland is one of the iconic places for Warmists. They are always proclaiming its imminent melting. It seems the shorebirds missed the message
Millions of shorebirds descend on the Arctic each year to mate and raise chicks during the tundra’s brief burst of summer. But that burst, which usually begins in mid-June, never arrived this year for eastern Greenland’s shorebirds, a set of ground-nesting species. Instead, a record late snowpack—lingering into July—sealed the birds off from food and nesting sites. Without these key resources avian migrants to the region will not reproduce in 2018, experts say. Breeding failures like this may grow more common because some climate change models predict increased springtime snow in the shorebirds’ nesting habitat.
Snowmelt usually allows shorebirds to begin nesting on eastern Greenland’s treeless tundra during the first half of June, says Jeroen Reneerkens, an avian ecologist at the University of Groningen who has studied these birds since 2003. However, when he arrived this year at Zackenberg Station on June 14 to survey sanderlings, a species of Arctic-breeding shorebird, he found they had nowhere to construct their nests. “The tundra was 100 percent covered in snow, and it was a very deep layer,” he says, estimating an average depth of about one meter. “It was a big shock to see the place like that,” he adds.
Most years, mid-June is also a time of song in eastern Greenland—shorebirds croon to attract mates and defend breeding territory. But this year the tundra was “truly silent,” Reneerkens says. “That was very unusual.” The few shorebirds he did encounter, including sanderlings, ruddy turnstones and red knots, wandered the snow-free patches outside the station’s buildings in search of food. “They were just starving,” he says. “I realized these birds were not getting ready to breed at all. They’re just in survival mode.”
Reneerkens’s research team weighed the sanderlings and found they were 20 percent lighter than normal for this time of year. In such condition the birds can neither reproduce nor escape to better feeding grounds. “They got trapped at Zackenberg,” he says. “They couldn’t just fly south without the [fat] reserves to do so.” His group discovered three carcasses of sanderlings that had apparently starved. Researchers elsewhere along Greenland’s east coast also report extensive snow cover and hungry birds. The region’s tundra was still 80 percent covered in snow as of July 10, according to observations provided by a staff member at Zackenberg.
Although shorebird breeding success fluctuates by 20 percent or more from one year to the next, a nonbreeding summer appears to be unprecedented. “This year broke all records,” Reneerkens says. “I know my literature about Arctic shorebirds very well and I have never come across something like this.” He is uncertain how this “disastrous” incident will affect the overall populations of these shorebird species. But “given the scale that this happening [on],” he says, “I do expect that this will have large consequences.” He estimates the record-late snowmelt impacted half of the global breeding area for sanderlings, red knots and ruddy turnstones.
Nathan Senner, an ornithologist at University of Montana–Missoula not affiliated with Reneerkens’s research, agrees this summer’s reproductive crash in Greenland is exceptional: “A nonbreeding year is pretty extreme.” Senner says the case is reminiscent of 1992, when shorebirds suffered poor reproductive success after Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines erupted the prior year. The tropical volcano belched atmosphere-cooling particles over the planet—including the far north, causing cold summer temperatures in the Arctic. Nevertheless, a study of the eruption showed some birds did successfully reproduce that year.
Researchers elsewhere in the Arctic are also reporting unusually late snowmelt this year, with repercussions for shorebirds. Richard Lanctot, a researcher for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, believes record late snowmelt inhibited nesting near Utqiavik (formerly Barrow) on the northern coast of Alaska. His group’s nest count this summer so far is among the lowest since they began monitoring in 2003. Shiloh Schulte, an avian ecologist who works in northeastern Alaska for the conservation nonprofit Manomet, says snowmelt was more than two weeks later than normal in his region. He noticed flocks of long-billed dowitchers and American golden plovers gathering to migrate south without breeding. “Everything needs to be timed perfectly for these birds to be successful,” Schulte says of the short Arctic summer. On Southampton Island in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, shorebirds nested at less than half their typical densities due the late snowmelt, according to research scientist Paul Smith of Environment and Climate Change Canada. Even with similar trends throughout the North American Arctic, nowhere has been hit harder than eastern Greenland.
The region’s reproductive failure this summer exacerbates a global nosedive in migratory shorebird numbers. North American populations have halved since the 1970s. Climate change and hunting have contributed to this decline, Senner says. But he emphasizes the single biggest threat to shorebirds is the destruction of “stopover” habitat—areas where the birds rest and refuel while migrating between their Arctic breeding grounds and their southern wintering habitats. One study found that in the past 50 years, 65 percent of tidal flats have been lost to development around the Yellow Sea in east Asia, which had previously served as key stopover point. Climatic challenges like late snowmelt in their breeding grounds only compound the birds’ plight.
Senner fears this nonbreeding year in eastern Greenland could herald an alarming trend. Climate models predict the Arctic atmosphere will hold more moisture as global temperatures rise, he notes. A wetter atmosphere means more snow in winter and spring, potentially causing late snowmelt to interfere with shorebird reproduction. He says the bird populations should be resilient to a single poor breeding year like 2018 but worries what might happen if this year’s catastrophe becomes standard. “Even though things aren’t normally as extreme as the current situation in Greenland,” he says, “this is the kind of thing that seems to be happening more and more frequently across the Arctic”—which is probably bad news for birds.
Incoming EPA chief: ‘This is the right job for me.’
In some ways, Andrew Wheeler — former Environmental Protection Agency career staffer, Republican Senate aide, energy lobbyist — could hardly be more different from the man he is replacing as head of the EPA.
Where Scott Pruitt was a career politician who enjoyed the limelight, Wheeler has worked behind the scenes on energy and environmental law. Pruitt filled his time at the agency by traveling the country, speaking to groups of industry executives and praising President Trump. As the EPA’s deputy administrator, Wheeler has spent much of his short tenure meeting with career staffers and delving into the policy weeds at the agency’s headquarters.
But this much is clear: Wheeler intends to pursue many of the regulatory rollbacks Pruitt put in motion and to carry out Trump’s promises of a more efficient, less powerful EPA. A day after the president asked for Pruitt’s resignation amid a flurry of ethics scandals, the EPA’s acting administrator spoke with The Washington Post about what comes next. The interview has been edited for length and clarity:
Washington Post: How do you feel arriving as administrator under these circumstances? And what’s the message you’re giving to employees who have been through a tumultuous time?
Andrew Wheeler: I sent out an all-hands statement to all the employees yesterday evening. One, thanking the administrator for his service, and then telling everybody that it’s work as usual — we’re all working together — and that I share the core mission of the agency, which is to protect public health and the environment.
WP: Can you expand a little on that and what you’re going to do in terms of continuing the policies that Scott Pruitt put in motion? As you can imagine, Democrats and environmentalists are making the argument that you’re an even more skilled deregulator.
Wheeler: A more skilled deregulator?
WP: Do you reject that notion?
Wheeler: I don’t get that notion. I’ll have to think about that. I’ve actually seen a lot of things about me in print the last day or two. But I would say that the agenda for the agency was set out by President Trump. And Administrator Pruitt has been working to implement that. I will try to work to implement the president’s agenda as well. I don’t think the overall agenda is going to change that much, because we’re implementing what the president has laid out for the agency. He made several campaign promises that we are working to fulfill here. But there will probably be a little bit of difference in the way Administrator Pruitt and I will talk about some issues. There have already been some differences in how I’ve talked to EPA employees since I’ve been here.
You know, I had the benefit of having the longest confirmation process for a deputy administrator in EPA history. So I had some time to think about what I wanted to do as the deputy. I took a hard look at the major criticisms that the agency has received over the last 20 some years. What can be changed? What can be fixed? What can be put in a different direction? And how does all that fit under cooperative federalism, return to rule of law and getting back to basics of the agency?
Since I’ve been here, I’ve been going around talking to groups of career employees. I’ve been to three of our regions, and I’ve been to our Research Triangle Park lab in North Carolina. I’ve talked about what I want to try to accomplish on behalf of the administration, on behalf of the president. I really think we need to provide more certainty to the American public. And I look at certainty in three different areas. The first is certainty on permits. The second is certainty on enforcement actions. And the third — the one that’s most important to me — is certainty on risk communication.
WP: As you know well, one of the criticisms of Mr. Pruitt was a lack of transparency in who he was meeting with and what he was doing with his time at the agency. Do you plan to put in place mechanisms to be more transparent, in letting the public be aware of the work that’s being done?
Wheeler: I’m not going to criticize my predecessor in any way. But I will answer by saying this: I cut my teeth as a career employee here at the EPA in the early ’90s working on the Community Right-to-Know Act. And I believe that my time on the Hill and in the legislation I worked on — how I addressed all statutes, how I addressed all laws — was that the more information we make available to the American public, the more transparency we have, the better our decisions will be. The more open we are, the better it is for everyone.
That’s how I cut my teeth on environmental law. And that’s been part of my core beliefs in the agency and how I look at environmental issues. The more transparent we are, the better understood our decisions will be.
WP: On climate change, that’s been a key issue. As staff director, one of the things you did working with [Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman James M.] Inhofe was, while he talked a lot about questioning climate science, you expanded what he talked about to really include things like the economic costs of these regulations. Can you talk a little about how you see your approach to climate, as well as science, including the changes we’ve seen to the Scientific Advisory Board?
Wheeler: Sure. There are a couple questions embedded in that. You’re right, when I went over to the Senate, I personally focused more on the cost side on the climate debate — the cost-benefit and the different aspects of the legislation.
I did do my undergraduate work in biology. I do not consider myself to be a scientist, and I’ve always deferred to career scientists on issues of science. I’ve done that in the two and a half months I’ve been here, and I’ll continue to do that. On the Science Advisory Board, I think it’s important to be very transparent, and I think it’s important to make sure people who serve on the science advisory boards don’t have conflicts of interest.
While I was not here last year when the Science Advisory Board was reconfigured . . . I understand the desire to make sure that the people serving on the board weren’t also benefiting from science grants from the agency. I do think that’s important to make sure that there are not conflicts of interest. Hopefully, you saw my recusal statement where I did not seek any waivers, and I don’t plan to seek any waivers. I think it’s important to make sure that we address conflicts of interest very openly and upfront.
WP: Can you summarize where you stand on climate change and, more importantly, EPA’s role in dealing with that problem?
Wheeler: I do believe climate change is real. I do believe that people have an impact on the climate. What’s the most important — and I’m glad you asked it that way — is the second half of your question is, what is EPA’s role there?
I think our role is to follow the statutes that are provided to us by Congress. And I think that the statutory directives are very small. My criticism of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan was that it was outside the four corners of the Clean Air Act. And I think the fact that the Supreme Court took the unprecedented move of issuing a stay showed the fact that the law probably would not have held up in court. So I think as we move forward on a potential replacement for the Clean Power Plan, you’re going to see us taking a hard look at what the act says and the authorities the act gives us, and we’ll put something forward that follows the law.
I know that there’s a number of senators that would like us to go much further, but of course environmental organizations would love us to go much further. But you’re not going to see the EPA, at least under my direction, make up a lot as we go along. We’re going to follow the law that Congress has given us.
WP: To follow up on that, do you hold that, for example, the “endangerment finding” [that created the basis for regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant] is settled law? Or would you say that there’s also an open question about whether that is a proper interpretation of the Clean Air Act?
Wheeler: On the endangerment finding, I was very critical of the method that the agency used to come up with the endangerment finding, that they did not do independent analysis, that they relied upon the [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change]. And that was litigated; it was taken to the U.S. Circuit Court, and the Circuit Court upheld the EPA position. So I consider that to be settled law. There would have to be a major, compelling reason to try to ever reopen that. I don’t think that’s an open question at this point.
WP: Before coming to the EPA in recent years, you worked as a lobbyist for some of the industries that you’ll now be responsible for regulating. How will you approach regulating those industries, many of which are heavily invested in what comes out of EPA?
Wheeler: You’re right, I did work for a number of different industries, a number of different companies. I did not lobby the EPA for at least the last two years. In fact, our communications team today has tried to press me to remember how long ago it was that I actually lobbied the EPA, and I can’t remember. It’s been at least three or four years, maybe longer. The only EPA issue that I’ve actually lobbied on the last couple of years was the Energy Star program, and that was on behalf of a client who was fighting to keep the integrity of the EPA program intact. It was to defeat a Senate Republican amendment that wanted to do away with third-party certification.
So, I mean, anybody could take a look at any one of my clients and say, “Well, you might be biased this way or you might be biased that way.” I’ve spent a career working on multiple issue areas and multiple sides of different issues. Having started my career at EPA, having worked on the Hill for two different members who didn’t agree on every issue, and then working in the private practice, where I’ve worked on behalf of different clients — I don’t think I’m biased.
I certainly have no fiduciary arrangements with any of my former clients or my former law firm. I don’t benefit financially from anything like that. And I think there’s been enough distance on the EPA issues that I’ve worked on in the past where I don’t believe I have bias in any particular way on any of these issues. But I think the experience that I’ve had working as a consultant, working on the Hill, working as a career employee of the agency, has really prepared me well for this job at this point in my life.
WP: For someone who is so often described as low-profile, this doesn’t seem the type of job that you can really avoid the spotlight. How do you feel about that part of it?
Wheeler: I really did not seek this job out, to be acting administrator. I was very content being the deputy. So I’m going to have to deal with that. But I have been in D.C. now for over 25 years. I realize that I’m walking into a job that’s going to be a lot more high-profile than I would have wanted. But I really do think [that] my background, at this point in time, that this is the right job for me.
The Trump Administration’s Likely Unwillingness to challenge the "consensus"
It has become evident that the Pruitt EPA did not want to challenge the scientific climate “consensus,” either because they did not think that they could win the ensuing battle or because they wanted to avoid angering voters who accept the scientific “consensus” on climate. As pointed out repeatedly in my climate book and this blog, it is evident that the “consensus” is wrong in terms of satisfying the scientific method, that the eminent scientific and government organizations that have supported it are wrong, that the mainstream press is usually wrong on this issue, and that the main losers are those that are forced to pay the resulting higher bills and taxes and reduced reliability, all for negative net benefits.
Getting the world to admit this monumental failure of the scientific establishment, the governmental supporters, and the mainstream media is more difficult. The likely result is that more countryside will be covered with expensive, unreliable “renewable” energy farms as a result of continuing Federal and state subsidies, and then abandoned when the subsidies run out and maintenance costs increase with time.
The issue is now coming to a head in an obscure but important proposed revision of an Obama Administration proposed regulation. The EPA has sent the Office of Management and Budget a replacement for the Obama EPA Clean Power Plan (CPP). It is reported that the replacement requires “inside the fence” reductions of CO2 emissions from power plants. This provides support for the ideology that supports reducing CO2 emissions. It will not require as much of a reduction, I assume, but it will indirectly support the ideology, wrong though it is.
So if this is the case, it shows that even the independent-thinking Trump Administration will not challenge the “consensus.” Then who will? Apparently no one but a few climate skeptics. So the climate “consensus” will live on to create more disasters another day. Only if the climate actually cools enough so that the weather agencies cannot hide the truth will the truth come out in such a way that the climate-industrial complex (CIC) may finally be discredited and the public subsidies (either through taxes or higher energy bills) will end. When the subsidies end, of course, the CIC will finally collapse.
But the Trump Administration is apparently currently willing to lead the way towards publicly discrediting the “consensus” even though many members of the Administration appear to be climate skeptics. It rather appears to want to reduce the cost of the climate scam while they are in power, with little concern for what is likely to happen after they are gone and the EPA greenhouse gas Endangerment Finding is still on the books, ready to be used by climate activists to force the country to do their bidding.
This suggests one of the underlying problems created by government intervention into what should be the free market. Once enough public resources are diverted to private gains, it becomes very difficult to fix the resulting mess. And that is what we have.
Global Cooling: Global Temps Have Dropped By 0.65 C Since 2016
The failure of the atmosphere to warm in accordance with alarmist predictions is making it harder and harder to come up with a bona fide story that can scare you. In a post a few days ago, I noted that “the whole climate issue seems to have mostly disappeared from the news lately.” Commenter niceguyeddie responded by giving me a link to the Washington Post (eddie called it “the ‘other’ Pravda”), and an article of July 5 by a guy named Jason Samenow headlined “Red-hot planet: All-time heat records have been set all over the world during the past week.”
In the intervening week since this article, a few people on the internet have been busy making mincemeat of Samenow’s rather pitiful effort. For MC readers who don’t go out searching the internet regularly for real information on climate to combat the propaganda from the various Pravdas out there, I thought I would do the public service of presenting some of this real information here.
First, some basic background is needed to develop appropriate bullshit radar on this subject. If you follow climate or weather information even a little, you will already know that on any given day, somewhere in the world, some weather station, or more likely multiple stations, is recording an “all time high” temperature for the particular day in question, while some other weather station, or maybe multiple stations, is recording an “all time low.” It follows that the fact that multiple “all time high” records were set during the course of a week tells you nothing about climate change. There could have been even more all time lows, and the overall average could have gone down, no matter how many “all time highs” were recorded.
Any reader of any intelligence whatsoever will immediately be asking, don’t just tell me about “all time highs,” but tell me what is the overall picture? How many all time lows were there? What is happening with the “average” temperature? You will not be surprised to learn that Samenow does not provide the answers to those questions. In other words, his article is not intended to provide useful information to the intelligent reader, but rather to propagandize those lacking in either basic background information or critical thinking ability or both.
There is an obvious source for the answer to the last question as to what is happening with the “average,” and that is the easily-available UAH global lower troposphere record, derived from satellite sensors. That record exists from 1979 to present. Here is the latest chart from UAH going through the end of June 2018:
So with that simple first step, we know that the “average” world temperature for June 2018 was +0.21 deg C above the 1981 – 2010 mean. That represented a decline of about 0.65 deg C from the all time high of this 39-year record, which was reached in early 2016. The 0.65 deg C decline represented more than 75% of the amount by which the average temperature had exceeded the 1981 – 2010 mean at the highest point. Suddenly the fact that some large number of “all time highs” was being set at the end of June does not seem very significant.
But it’s still fun to look at what Samenow claims for his “all time highs,” to see how real they are, or whether we are dealing with more of the usual “fake news.” This gets pretty bad. […]
As you can see, the failure of the atmosphere to warm in accordance with alarmist predictions is making it harder and harder to come up with a bona fide story that can scare you. They are reduced to cherry-picking some unrepresentative data points and leaving out all of the relevant context. It’s no wonder the reporting on this is becoming increasingly scarce.
For you, the moral of the story is, if you want some real information as to whether the world is warming or cooling, and by how much, skip the propaganda at the various Pravdas, and go for the UAH lower troposphere satellite record. It is available in the form at the top of this post, at drroyspencer.com, updated monthly.
Christopher Booker: Groupthink On Climate Change Ignores Inconvenient Facts
Since we’ve now been living with the global warming story for 30 years, it might seem hard to believe that science could now come up with anything that would enable us to see that story in a wholly new light. But that is what I am suggesting in a new paper, just published in the UK by the Global Warming Policy Foundation, thanks to a book called Groupthink, written more than 40 years ago by a professor of psychology at Yale, Irving Janis.
What Janis did was to define scientifically just how what he called groupthink operates, according to three basic rules. And what my paper tries to show is the astonishing degree to which they explain so much that many have long found puzzling about the global warming story.
Janis’s first rule is that a group of people come to share a particular way of looking at the world which may seem hugely important to them but which turns out not to have been based on looking properly at all the evidence. It is therefore just a shared, untested belief.
Rule two is that, because they have shut their minds to any evidence which might contradict their belief, they like to insist that it is supported by a “consensus”. The one thing those caught up in groupthink cannot tolerate is that anyone should question it.
This leads on to the third rule, which is that they cannot properly debate the matter with those who disagree with their belief. Anyone holding a contrary view must simply be ignored, ridiculed and dismissed as not worth listening to.
What my paper does is look again at the entire global warming story in the light of Janis’s rules, and to show how consistently they explain so much of the way it has unfolded all the way through.
The alarm over man-made climate change was first exploded on the world in 1988 by a tiny group of scientists who had become convinced that, because both CO2 levels and global temperatures were rising, one must be the cause of the other. Unless something very drastic was done, they urged, the planet was heading for catastrophe.
In November that year two of these fervent believers in what they called “human-induced climate change” were authorised to set up the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC. This would report to the world’s politicians on the basis of computer models programmed, according to their theory, to predict just how fast the world was likely to heat up over the next 100 years.
With startling speed, their theory was soon proclaimed as being supported by a scientific “consensus”, backed by governments, all the main scientific journals and institutions, environmental pressure groups and the media.
In fact right from the start, many scientists, like the eminent physicist Richard Lindzen of MIT, were highly sceptical, both of the theory itself and of those computer models. These, as Lindzen wrote, were so narrowly focused on CO2 that they were far too simplistic to allow for all the other natural factors which shape the earth’s climate.
But such dissenters were ignored. And for nearly 20 years the “consensus” rolled on, ever more extreme in its apocalyptic claims, with each new IPCC report scarier than the last. By 2006 Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth was outdoing them all.
Anyone daring to question the “consensus” was now being vilified as just an “anti-science denier”, no better than those crazies who deny the reality of the Nazi Holocaust.
Just then, however, the story was beginning to change. It was noted that, since the abnormally hot year of 1998, caused by a record El Nino, global temperatures had not risen at all. Those computer models had not predicted this.
Even more significant, thanks to the internet, expert science blogs were now appearing, able to show that not a single one of the claims from the “consensus” – vanishing Arctic ice, disappearing polar bears, unprecedented hurricanes, floods, droughts etc – was supported by the factual evidence.
By 2009, the “consensus” was facing considerable embarrassment, with the highly damaging Climategate emails between the little group of scientists at the heart of the IPCC, followed by the collapse in disarray of the great Copenhagen climate conference.
Then there was the spate of scandals surrounding the IPCC itself, when it was revealed some of the scariest predictions of its latest report had not been based on proper science at all, but only on more hysterical claims by climate activists.
Finally, in Paris in 2015, came what I describe as the crux of the whole story. This was yet another great global conference to decide what the world must do to avert catastrophe.
Every nation had been asked in advance to submit its energy plans for the years up to 2030. The West, led by President Obama and the EU, dutifully pledged that it would be cutting its “carbon emissions” by up to 40 per cent.
But from the rest of the world a totally different story emerged. China, by now the world’s largest CO2 emitter, was planning to build so many new coal-fired power stations that by 2030 its emissions would have doubled. India, the third largest emitter, was planning to triple them. Altogether global emissions by 2030 were set to rise by a staggering 46 per cent.
The rest of the world was just giving two fingers to the “consensus”, and planning to carry on regardless, But not one Western leader mentioned this until 2017, when President Trump gave it as his reason for pulling the US out of that meaningless “Paris Accord”.
CO2 Emissions Hit 67-Year Low In Trump's America, As Rest-Of-World Rises
We suspect you won't hear too much about this from the liberal mainstream media, or the environmental movement, or even Al Gore - but, according to the latest energy report from The Energy Information Administration (EIA), under President Trump, per-capita carbon dioxide emissions are now the lowest they’ve been in nearly seven decades.
Even more interesting is the fact that US carbon emissions dropped while emissions from energy consumption for the rest of the world increased by 1.6%, after little or no growth for the three years from 2014 to 2016.
The U.S. emitted 15.6 metric tons of CO2 per person in 1950. After rising for decades, it’s declined in recent years to 15.8 metric tons per person in 2017, the lowest measured levels in 67 years.
And as The Daily Caller reports, in the last year, U.S. emissions fell more than 0.5% while European emissions rose 2.5% (and Chinese emissions rose 1.6% along with Hong Kong's 7.0% surge), according to BP world energy data - an ironic turn of events given Europe’s shaming of Trump for leaving the Paris climate accord
DC Council Dems Likely To Pass Most Stringent And Costly Green Energy Bill In US
Residents living within the nation’s capital should expect to see their living costs rise if D.C. Council members pass what appears to be the most aggressive climate change bill to date.
Democrat council member Mary Cheh is pushing comprehensive legislation that calls for a litany of environmental proposals.
Most notably, her bill mandates that Washington, D.C., derive 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2032, a requirement more ambitious than a new law in Hawaii — the only U.S. state to pass a 100-percent mandate.
Cheh’s bill would also fund more energy efficiency updates by slapping ratepayers with higher utility bills.
Additionally, the legislation calls for tying the vehicle excise tax to fuel efficiency as a means to encourage people to buy more fuel-efficient cars.
While many bills never see the light of day, this proposal is different: It touts support from a majority of the D.C. Council. Out of the 13 members who sit on the D.C. Council, seven have already backed Cheh’s bill.
“Through this bill, D.C. can lead the nation on climate protection legislation that can benefit D.C. families and businesses,” stated Mark Rodeffer, D.C. Chapter Chair of the Sierra Club, according to WAMU.
The Sierra Club has worked extensively to push renewable energy mandates in other state capitals.
Other environmentalists, however, were disappointed with the bill because it did not also include a fee on carbon emissions.
“Disappointed and surprised,” stated Camila Thorndike, a leader of the carbon tax campaign for the Chesapeake Climate Action Network.
“There’s been no analysis done on this package,” Thorndike said. “That was one of our points of frustration, is that we’ve provided so much modeling, and consideration of what the economic impacts, what the emission impacts, what the equity impacts were going to be of what we were putting forward.”
If passed, Washington, D.C., would have a more stringent renewable energy mandate than anywhere else in the U.S.
Hawaii became the first in the country to pass a renewable mandate in June. However, its bill was more lax, with a 100% renewable energy target by 2045 — 13 years later than the D.C. proposal.
Other states might soon be following Hawaii’s example — California is also likely to pass a 100-percent mandate, and other Democrat-controlled state capitals are considering their own targets.
Globally, nuclear power, in case you were wondering, generates just over 2,000 terawatt-hours of electricity annually, about 8 times more than solar and more than double wind power.
Now let’s run some basic numbers and compare the ecological impact of renewables with that of nuclear power.
First let’s deal with the inevitable cry from people who are anti-nuclear without ever having thought much about it: “Nuclear isn’t clean, think about the mining and the waste!!!”.
Mines? Nuclear power is miserly on mines. The amount of mining required for hydro, solar or wind is many times greater. The recent ACOLA report made this point, let me repeat the relevant graph from a previous article.
As you can see, nuclear requires minimal mining.
So why do so many people seem to think mining is some kind of nuclear achilles heel? That’s an interesting question. I’ll try to answer it later. But the graph massively underestimates the mining required for renewables on two fronts; it ignores mining for batteries and it ignores mining for all the extra transmission lines needed by wind and solar. I’ve dealt with the relative ease of nuclear waste handling many times in the past … most recently here.
But mining is a minor issue compared to the massive habitat destruction associated with renewables.
Hydro-electricity, as we’ve seen produces roughly 4,000 terawatt hours per year globally from reservoirs covering 343,000 square kilometres, so, using global averages, you need to flood about 82 square kilometres per annual terawatt-hour. Let’s compare that with the land used by nuclear power. The power station itself uses very little land, but what about the mines?
The Ranger Uranium mine is about 16 square kilometres of open cut mine (including the tailings dam) producing enough uranium on average each year during the past decade to generate 148 terawatt hours of electricity per year. To get that using hydro electricity, you’d need to flood, on average, about (148×82) 12,136 square kilometres.
And what about generating 148 terawatt hours with wood? Vaclav Smil is an expert’s expert on energy. He estimates that using wood to power a 1 gigawatt electric power plant with a 70 percent capacity factor requires about 3,300 square kilometres of fast growing tree plantations. That works out at about 538 square kilometres per annual terawatt-hour. Which means that matching the output of the 16 square kilometre Ranger mine, you’d need to be harvesting 79,647 square kilometres of tree plantations; and considerably more if you were harvesting non-plantation forests.
How much uranium do you need to power a 1 gigawatt reactor for a year? With current reactors, about 200 tonnes. With those of the future? About 2 tonnes.
We can summarise the relative land use impacts of nuclear and renewables in one simple image. When the Fukushima Daiichi reactors failed in 2011 the Japanese effectively lost 4.7 gigawatts of power from their grid. Should the Japanese rebuild with new reactors on or near the site? New reactors of the same power but modern reliability could deliver about 37 terawatt-hours of electricity annually. So how much land would renewables need to generate 37 terawatt-hours annually?
The following figure tells the story. If you wanted to use solar, then you’d need to level most of the 20 km “evacuation” zone to install panels. I’ve seriously underestimated the land required by assuming Japan had Australian levels of sunshine!
If you used hydro power, you’d be flooding a semicircle with a radius of 44 kms.
And what if you did what Germany and the UK are doing, and just started burning forests? Then the semicircle would have a radius of 114 kms.
Here’s a summary map. You can imagine the size of the biggest possible uranium mine (open cut) required to supply uranium to a plant like this. It’s about a square with sides of 2km.
Remember when the environment movement was about protecting forests and rivers? Remember when they cared about maximising habitat for wildlife? Not anymore.
The obvious alternative to hydro and biomass electricity is nuclear, but globally and locally the Green movement is either anti-science or counts far too many in that group among its voting base. Either way it bases its rejection of nuclear power on science formulated in the DNA dark ages; meaning well before the most basic of information on radiation, DNA and cancer was understood.
At the dawn of the anti-nuclear movement, nobody knew anything about the daily churn of normal DNA damage and repair; they didn’t even know that repair of DNA damage was possible; let alone an essential part of staying alive.
The best scientists back in the 1950s and 60s thought DNA damage was an incredibly rare chance event which was permanent and cumulative. But those who study such things now know that both damage and repair are ongoing during every second of your life; due to the entirely normal processes of energy metabolism, simply staying alive.
Let’s suppose you wanted to raise background radiation levels to the kinds of levels that would cause the level of serious DNA damage caused by normal energy metabolism. What do I mean by serious? Breaks across both strands of DNA. Those kinds of breaks are tough to fix and may go on to cause cancer. You get about 50 of these in every cell every day.
How much would you need to increase background radiation to cause this level of double strand breaks? About 219,000 times.
When Japanese Prime Minister Nato Kan ordered the evacuation of Fukushima, he was acting contrary to the best expert opinion, based on 30 years of science, as specified in the IAEA guidelines.
The result of Nato Kan’s fear, ignorance and defiance of the best available science, was cruel and deadly. Sick, frail and elderly people died after being shunted onto busses in the middle of the night in a crazy and totally unnecessary panic spawned by decades of anti-nuclear propaganda; some younger people committed suicide. One radiation expert called the Japanese handling of the Fukushima accident “stark staring mad”; which it was. And continues to be.
No radiotherapist, geneticist, oncologist or DNA biologist trained in the past 40 years believes the assumptions that were used back in 1959 by Linus Pauling to predict cancer and birth defects from weapons test radioactive fallout… except the anti-nuclear movement which those predictions spawned.
Look at any textbook on DNA or cell biology and you’ll find a chapter or two or three on DNA repair. There are whole textbooks on DNA repair. The IAEA guidelines didn’t spring out of the imagination of the nuclear industry, but from bog-standard science. But it’s only bog-standard science if you are paying attention and not stuck in the oral tradition of Green policy which involves passing down mantras about radiation that go back to the 1950s.
Environmentalist George Monbiot called the movement out for its misleading claims about radiation back in 2011, during the Fukushima meltdowns. He began what was a devastating critique of Helen Caldicott as follows:
"Over the past fortnight I’ve made a deeply troubling discovery. The anti-nuclear movement to which I once belonged has misled the world about the impacts of radiation on human health. The claims we have made are ungrounded in science, unsupportable when challenged and wildly wrong."
When he questioned Helen Caldicott over her many failed disaster predictions, she retreated to a grand conspiracy theory about a cover up by the United Nations.
Starting some time before Monbiot’s devastating critique, many environmental scientists had already rejected the fear-mongering and were shifting toward nuclear as simply the cleanest, greenest, safest energy on the planet, including some of the world’s leading climate scientists. Many, like me, had gone back to the basic science and found, like Monbiot, that the anti-nuclear position was built on, at best, misinformation and obsolete science.
What do you say of people that simply refuse to read any kind of information which may challenge their radiation slogans? Technically it isn’t lying if you believe it, but deliberate ignorance is arguably worse; particularly when it threatens so many horrid consequences.
The Green movement has been incredibly effective in using misinformation to make people frightened of nuclear power. Which has been an absolute godsend for those who love building dams, pelletising forests, fracking gas and, yes, even digging coal.
The climate needs fixing and wildlife habitat needs protecting. The latter has been shrinking for decades as wildlife is replaced by more and more animals for those who eat them. The global environment movement doesn’t get that either.
The consequences of basing policy on slogans and populist ignorance rather than evidence are dire for the planet. It’s time for the global Green movement to move to rational evidenced-based policies. Many luddite supporters may abandon it in the short term, but it has to lead and transform it’s support base rather than pander to dangerous ignorant populist bullshit.
We desperately need a strong global evidence-based environmental movement, given that both politics-as-usual and the Trump/Brexit alternative are both just minor variations on poll-based populism.
We Could Have a Serious Air Conditioning Problem By Mid-Century (?)
This all depends on the passionate Greenie belief that PM2 air pollution kills you. But, despite many attempts to prove that over the years, the evidence is elusive. Most studies of it were poorly controlled and in the better ones only the tiniest effects are ever found -- too tiny to be the basis for any generalizations. I have been pointing that out for years as I have looked at the various studies in the area. My most recent critique is here
One day, in the not-so-far future, the Earth will be hotter. It already gets really freaking hot, but this is just the beginning. With heat becoming ever more unbearable, there’s one thing that’s certain: Air conditioners will save us all.
Right? Well, not quite.
A new study published recently in PLOS Medicine reminds us that lives will be lost elsewhere as long as air conditioners draw their energy from oil, gas, or coal. Why? Blame air pollution—our addiction to dirty fuels throws particulate matter and ozone into the air. Electricity production is already the second-largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, and as our ACs eat up more of it, we get more emissions.
The authors believe their study is the first to estimate how many people may die from an increased dependence on AC as temperatures rise. The conclusion? The increased air pollution could lead to an average of 654 more deaths annually in the U.S. from particulate matter, and 315 additional deaths from ozone by midcentury. Per the study, this could amount to a $9 billion annual drain on the economy.
These are just estimates based on models, and there’s a great deal of uncertainty in them. The analysis is, however, a cautionary exploration of how our dependence on oil, gas, and coal will become more deadly as we rev up our energy demand to cool entire buildings to avoid heat stress.
“Air conditioning saves lives from heat waves,” said Jonathan Patz, a co-author on the study who directs the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Global Health Institute, to Earther. “But if the electricity to run air conditioners requires coal-fired power plants, then we have a problem.”
The researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison looked at how climate change itself would affect air pollution and, in turn, human health before turning their attention toward how air conditioning will make this even worse. The model fast-forwards to “the most realistic scenario” for our energy system, as Patz put it, in the year 2069. Here, our buildings haven’t changed much (in terms of structure and energy efficiency), and our electricity system has transitioned to more natural gas use and the retirement of some nuclear power plants. The team worked carefully to produce a future that seems most realistic given current energy and building trends.
However, the researchers were only able to use temperature data from a single month—July—and based a three-month summer on that.
The findings aren’t intended to scare people away from enjoying their summer days or to shame them from using their air conditioners. They’re really to highlight that these potential impacts are one possibility. A shift toward renewables and better-insulated buildings would make energy production 1) cleaner and 2) more efficient. Luckily, solar and renewables are winning around the world even if the federal government attempts to thwart their success. “Getting to clean energy can happen quite quickly,” Patz said.
Summers are growing warmer, and we’ll need cooler air—especially for our young students to focus during school hours, and for the sick and elderly. But using air conditioners shouldn’t be a careless act, not when some people are dying from the air pollution they create—and especially when these people are more likely to be low-income or of color.
That can change. Keep that in mind next time you crank your central cooling system to high.
New Research Finds Sea Level Rise Claims “Definitely Conjecture”…”Highly Erroneous”…Coastlines Stable Or Growing!
Accelerating sea level rise due to global warming is supposed to eat away at the shorelines across the globe. However a recent paper published in the journal Nature here authored by a team scientists led by Arjen Luijendijk found that some 75% of the world’s sandy shorelines are stable or growing!
An analysis of satellite-derived shoreline data indicates that 24% of the world’s sandy beaches are eroding at rates exceeding 0.5 m/yr, but 28% are accreting and 48% are stable.
Also erosion rates exceed 5 m/yr along 4% of the sandy shoreline and are greater than 10 m/yr for 2% of the global sandy shoreline.
According to the paper, the application of an automated shoreline detection method to the sandy shorelines resulted in a global dataset of shoreline change rates for the 33 year period 1984–2016.
The scientists also found that Australia and Africa are the only continents for which net erosion (−0.20 m/yr and −0.07 m/yr respectively) is found, with all other continents showing net accretion.
What’s surprising is that another researcher has determined that melting ice caps from global warming induced ice melt does not contribute to sea level rise, and that sea level rise is mostly caused by the Earth’s shape.
In a scientific paper published by the journal Geoscience Frontiers, Aftab Alam Khan at the Department of Geology, University of Dhaka in Bangladesh found: “thermal expansion only explains part (about 0.4 mm/yr) of the 1.8 mm/yr observed sea level rise of the past few decades.” and that the claim and prediction of 3 mm/yr rise of sea-level due to global warming and polar ice-melt “is definitely a conjecture”
He added that the prediction of 4–6.6 ft sea level rise in the next 91 years between 2009 and 2100 is “highly erroneous”!
Khan then concludes that though global warming, both polar and terrestrial ice melts, and climate change might be a reality, all these phenomena are not related to sea level rise and fall.
Ice melt would not contribute to sea level rise
According to Khan, “Geophysical shape of the earth is the fundamental component of the global sea level distribution. Global warming and ice-melt, although a reality, would not contribute to sea-level rise.”
If Kahn’s assertion turns out to be correct, then IPCC scientists will have some major scientific revamping to do
Eliminating Plastic Straws Is About The Stupidest Thing Starbucks Can Do For The Planet
This week, Starbucks, not to be outdone in the eco-woke competition, announced it will ban all plastic straws in their stores to combat ocean pollution.
According to news reports, Starbucks will transition from customary plastic straws to paper or compostable straws and change beverage lids from the traditional flat, plastic lids to lids with a raised lip.
One news article called these new lids an “adult sippy cup,” which seems fitting for an increasingly infantilized American public.
These corporate gestures are popular nowadays as we see companies increasingly eager to please their critics and social media-savvy activists.
There’s the cereal company that, in trying to satisfy the anti-GMO activists (who don’t buy “big” brands anyway), removed GMOs from one brand of cereal but left GMOs in the rest of its product line.
The company was shocked when the activists weren’t satisfied and left flat-footed when activists asked the obvious question: “If you can take GMOs out of one brand of cereal, why not all of them?”
Or, like the soup company that, in trying to placate the anti-sodium activists, reduced sodium in every single can of its much-loved soups despite already offering a low-sodium line, only to reverse course when sales tanked because consumers preferred the old, tastier formulations.
Or, like the large discount store that, in trying to secure the support of Obama-era nutrition scolds, initiated a new in-store labeling regime featuring a small green man, which was placed only on items the store and activists deemed “healthy.”
Corporate executives were shocked when activists weren’t satisfied with just the label and seemed befuddled when activists demanded stores go further by simply ridding store shelves of items that didn’t earn the “green man” label.
The big box store declined to stop stocking ice cream, cheese, salty crackers and chips, whole milk, hummus, candy, and many other items their customers enjoy.
And of course, there’s the fast food restaurant that, while trying to satisfy the childhood obesity activists, decided to take the toys out of happy meals and only provide kids with ten French fries, leading parents to simply buy extra fries or scrap the happy meal altogether in favor of regular menu items that contained more calories.
The reason these corporate gestures are so popular is that these problems—fears of GMOs, unhealthy eating habits in adults and children, easy access to processed and fast food, food labeling and corporate transparency, and, yes, ocean pollution—are complex issues.
Gestures resolve only one thing: the corporation’s public relations problem of how to look sufficiently concerned. Yet these gestures do nothing to actually solve the problem itself.
Marine pollution is indeed a complex issue, but it is solvable. According to the United Nations’ Environment Programme’s (UNEP) report on marine pollution, the solution lies with the improvement of waste collection and management, which the report states “presents the most urgent short-term solution to reducing plastic inputs (into oceans and waterways), especially in developing economies.”
Those developing economies are precisely where these efforts should focus because the rivers within developing nations are where the vast majority of the pollution originates.
According to an exhaustive study of waterway pollution published last November in Environmental Science and Technology, just 10 rivers—all in Asia and Africa—carry 93 percent of the trash that ends up in the ocean.
The UN Report acknowledges waste management is a worthwhile area on which to focus, reporting:
There are very significant regional differences in the extent to which wastewater is collected and in the degree of subsequent treatment. In some European countries nearly 100% of municipal wastewater is collected and subject to some form of tertiary treatment.
In contrast, it is estimated that approximately 90% of all wastewater generated in developing countries is discharged without primary treatment (Corcoran et al. 2010).
Primary wastewater treatment is usually designed to remove relatively large solids and would not be expected to capture microplastics. Secondary treatment is designed to remove dissolved and suspended biological matter.
Perhaps then, instead of American companies gesturing their concern by banning straws in American coffee houses, they might focus their energy and money (money Starbucks is currently using to transition each store’s straw and lid stocks), to real solutions—like helping to better develop and modernize wastewater treatment in Asia and Africa.
President Trump Has Rendered The Green Climate Fund Nearly Useless
The Green Climate Fund (GCF) has continued to falter since President Donald Trump announced the U.S. withdrawal of the Paris Agreement — and taking with it billions in pledged dollars.
The United Nations launched the GCF in 2010 to promote environmentally friendly initiatives in developing countries.
Based in Songdo, South Korea, the GCF employs 250 people and has committed nearly $4 billion in international projects that aim to help third-world countries mitigate the effects of climate change.
Former President Barack Obama was a major supporter of the GCF and had pledged the U.S. would donate $3 billion over the course of several years. His administration had given $1 billion before the end of his second term.
The GCF, however, never attracted the same level of support from the succeeding administration.
Trump fulfilled a major campaign promise when he withdrew the U.S. from the Paris Agreement in 2017 and has not given another dollar since. Trump’s moves mean the GCF is $2 billion short of what it expected its slush fund to be.
“Now with the United States pulling from this Paris agreement, I’m concerned now how to mobilize the necessary financial support for many developing countries who do not have the capacity to address this climate change issues,” former U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon stated to CNBC on Tuesday. “They do not have any responsibilities historically speaking. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that the international community uses its political will to work on this matter.”
Unfortunately for the GCF, it has lost money elsewhere. Instead of doling out cash, the United Kingdom provided promissory notes — pledges to pay when money is needed — to the group.
This arrangement proved devastating after anxiety over Brexit greatly reduced the value of the Euro and the British pound. The devaluation of both currencies has resulted in the GCF losing another $1 billion.
The lack of cash has made green-lighting new, expensive projects nearly impossible.
Howard Bamsey abruptly resigned his position as GCF’s executive director following a June 4 meeting where no new projects were approved. Bamsey, an Australian diplomat, left after less than two years on the job.
“I have been considering the best timing for my departures from the secretariat,” he explained in a letter. “Pressing personal issues meant I would simply not be able to stay until the end of next year which is when replenishment is likely to conclude.”
The collapse of negotiations will ultimately mean 11 different projects, costing nearly $1 billion, will simply have to wait. Projects such as water management in Guatemala, solar panels in Tonga and climate initiatives in 17 countries will have to wait at least three months before moving forward.
Beyond a lack of cash, a lack of experience from board members has also been cited as a major contributor to the GCF’s failure.
“Many of these people did not know how to navigate the minefield and the dynamics of the board, so there were a lot of little things that triggered people — and then those things spiraled into an hour-long argument that could’ve been very easily avoided,” Brandon Wu, a director of policy and campaigns at Action Aid USA, said in a statement to Devex, a global development publication.
Germany is building coal-fired generators so why not Australia?
A proposal for the federal government to financially guarantee the construction and operation of new dispatchable power generation, which could include clean coal-fired plants, is expected to be taken to cabinet with the backing of the Prime Minister.
Malcolm Turnbull yesterday confirmed he would seriously consider the key recommendation of a report by the competition watchdog to underwrite and potentially subsidise new “firm” and cheap power generation for industrial and commercial users.
Signalling a possible end to the energy wars within the Coalition partyroom, the recommendation was immediately endorsed by Nationals MPs, who have interpreted it as a green light for government to intervene in supporting the future of coal generation.
Tony Abbott, one of the most vocal opponents of the government’s national energy guarantee, also backed the recommendation, saying it was a “vindication” of calls for more baseload power in the national electricity market.
Senior government sources said Mr Turnbull was personally “very supportive” of the idea and it could be considered by cabinet before the end of the year. A formal position from the government is not expected until after a meeting of the Council of Australian Governments next month, which will seek to ratify agreement for the national energy guarantee.
The recommendation was among 59 handed down in a 400-page report yesterday by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission, which said nothing less than a radical shake-up of the national energy market would bring down prices for households and businesses.
Local energy stocks were hit by the call for pricing reform, falling 1.04 per cent as a sector. It slashed almost $1.6 billion from the market valuations of the two biggest listed power players, AGL Energy and Origin Energy.
Among key recommendations, the ACCC said elevated prices had been driven by “high and entrenched levels of concentration in the market’’ and singled out Queensland for a major overhaul. The watchdog said the state’s power generators should be split into three entities, leaving open the possibility of a sale.
State and territory governments did not escape the blowtorch, with inflated networks costs caused by unrealistic, government-imposed reliability standards identified as still being the chief culprit in rising power prices.
The report recommended writing down the asset value of the network companies to limit the rate of return on investment which dictated the annual cost recovery the companies sought, or offer rebates on network charges of up to $100 a year to customers.
The report, led by ACCC chairman Rod Sims, is being examined closely by Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg, who yesterday said he would not rule out any of the recommendations, having privately signalled to colleagues last month that there would be a deal for new coal or gas in addition to the NEG.
A source within government told The Australian the recommendation to underwrite new generation was almost certain to be adopted.
Mr Turnbull yesterday signalled the government’s intent in a speech in Brisbane.
“We’ll look further at this proposal over the coming months … but this recommendation has the distinct advantage of being thoroughly technology-agnostic and, well-designed, should serve our goal of cheaper and reliable energy.”
Resources Minister Matthew Canavan said the report had vindicated the Nationals’ position on pushing back on the NEG and arguing for high-efficiency, low-emissions coal-fired power.
“Many of my colleagues had raised genuine and heartfelt concerns over the current adequacy of investment in power generation. Those concerns have been vindicated,” Senator Canavan said. “The ACCC has now recommended the government underwrite baseload power investments. If people didn’t want to listen to the Nationals, then they should definitely listen to Rod Sims.”
Nationals leader Michael McCormack also welcomed the ACCC report, signalling it could end the internal dispute over the NEG and allow the Coalition parties to reach a consensus.
The ACCC said there was a case for government support in the financing of new large-scale generation projects that required considerable up-front investment and carried significant risk. “Where private-sector banks are unwilling to finance projects due to uncertainty about the future of an industrial or manufacturing business, the ACCC considers there is a role for the Australian government in providing support for such projects in appropriate circumstances,” the report said.
“This can be achieved at little cost to government. Specifically, the ACCC proposes the government introduce a program under which it will guarantee offtake from a new generation asset (or group of assets) in the later years of the project (say years six-10 or six-15) at a low fixed price sufficient to enable the project to meet financing requirements.”
As the fallback customer, it has not been determined whether the government would actually buy the power to on-sell to another customer or simply bankroll the operation until it found new commercial customers.
But if the spot price were to fall as low as $45 per megawatt hour, as a senior government source said, the “government would have done its job”.
The ACCC report said the recommendation, which would apply only to new market entrants and require they have at least three commercial customers, would involve “little cost”, as energy prices would have to fall significantly for the government to be disadvantaged.
In recommendations on the behaviour of the energy giants and the lack of competition, the report called for a prohibition on acquisitions to limit the market share of any one generator to 20 per cent in any NEM region.
EnergyAustralia, a major wholesale and retail power company, said “artificial limits on ownership of generation capacity seem unnecessary when the ACCC already has the authority to review proposed mergers and acquisitions for impacts on competition”.
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 *****************************************
Sea Ice Model Projections In A Death Spiral! Arctic Ice Volume Holds Steady For A Decade!
Al Gore's fantasy of no Arctic ice by 2013 gets crushed by reality!
Arctic sea ice volume data show earlier projections of ice-free Arctic summers were a sham. Sea ice now steady 10 years. Lately Arctic sea ice volume has been a topic which climate skeptics have been looking at quite closely.
According to Al Gore and a number of climate ambulance chasers, Arctic sea ice in late summer should have long disappeared by now, see here..
But then just a few years after, the Arctic sea ice area began to recover from its lows of 2007 and 2012. So immediately alarmists shouted that area was not really what mattered, but rather sea ice volume is what really counted. Okay, that made perfect sense. Mass is in fact what’s important, and not area, when worrying about polar ice disappearing.
So naturally skeptics have since then been watching volume, which we were told by alarmists would shrink, and shrink, and shrink – until totally gone in late summer. In 2007 one US climate official declared the Arctic sea ice was in a “death spiral”.
Those alarmist projections have since turned up totally false
First, looking at peak ice, which occurs around April 1st, using the data from the Danish meteorological Institute (DMI) here, we find that Arctic sea ice VOLUME has totally defied the downward death spiral trend projected by experts and their models.
The chart above depicts Arctic sea ice volume on April 1st for the years 2003 to 2018, using the data from the DMI. Note the growing chasm between alarmist projections and reality.
Humiliation of the alarmists
The most closely watched measure of Arctic sea ice magnitude is the minimum that is typically reached in very late summer, i.e. around September 20.
Here as well using the DMI data, I’ve plotted the September 20 Arctic sea ice going back to 2003.
Here’s the result of the plot:
Al Gore’s hysterical projections of ice-free Arctic late summers are exposed as an absolute sham. 2018 uses a conservative projected value.
Today the doomsday scenarios and projections made 10 years ago have yet to show any signs of materializing. Late summer Arctic sea ice has been surprisingly stable over the past decade. Gore and alarmists fell into the trap of applying an idiotic polynomial curve extrapolation into the future.
In fact there are indications that Arctic sea ice may be starting an upward trend as oceanic and solar cycles enter their cooler phases.
Low sea ice also occurred in the past
There’s no doubt that Arctic sea ice has dwindled considerably since it peaked back at around 1980, a time when climate scientists had warned the globe risked cooling into an ice age.
Also, today’s Arctic sea ice amount is in the same neighborhood as it was back in the 1930s. Moreover, today’s levels are considerbly higher than they were over a large part of the Holocene, which saw periods that were far warmer than today.
Even As Energy Costs Soar, Gore Says Germany Must Embrace More Green Energy
International climate activist Al Gore says Germany must further push its domestic energy markets to embrace green energy or risk getting “left behind,” Politico reports.
Within the last decade, Germany has pursued an aggressive strategy to transition its energy grid away from fossil fuels and toward renewable sources such as solar and wind.
German politicians have used subsidies to encourage new investment and regulations to cut down on emissions, Fortune Magazine reports.
“Germany was a model for the rest of the world and a narrative took hold here in Germany that might be summarized as ‘Germany leads and everyone follows,’” former Vice President Gore told Politico in an interview. “But that narrative is now out of date.”
The German people have funded the green revolution through taxes and a surcharge on energy bills that caused the average German’s energy costs to skyrocket more than 50 percent from 2006 to 2016.
“For us, it’s a very good business, but for the German people it’s very bad,” German farmer and entrepreneur Dieter Dürrmeier told Fortune for a March 2017 article.
Dürrmeier is enrolled in a government program that pays his family about $42,000 annually to produce solar energy from panels attached to the roof of his barns and house.
The aggressive national policy is pricing natural gas and nuclear energy plants out of markets. Plants are shuttering in towns where energy production is a major segment of the economy, Fortune reports.
German politicians are also phasing out nuclear energy because of fears of another Fukushima disaster. In 2011, a tsunami hit the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan, causing a nuclear meltdown in three reactor cores.
Fears spread that nuclear fallout and radiation could kill thousands, though no cases of sickness or death related to radiation have been recorded.
Pushing out carbon-neutral nuclear plants have put more reliance on German coal plants to burn increasing amounts of cheap lignite coal, which is plentiful in Germany. Germany produced 40 percent of its energy from coal in 2016, Fortune reports.
“Germany is in danger of being left behind as more aggressive EU governments seize the lead,” Gore told Politico. “The competitive advantages and job creation advantages of the sustainability revolution put Germany at risk of being left behind. Of course, the subsidies for coal in Germany are enormous.”
These 8 words are the death of climate change: It violates the Equivalence Principle, therefore it’s wrong.
At its very core, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) violated a key principle of physics. Therefore, all IPCC climate claims and models are wrong.
IPCC’s Big Idea (its fundamental hypothesis) is that nature treats human CO2 emissions differently than it treats nature’s CO2 emissions.
That Big Idea is impossible because it violates the Equivalence Principle of physics. The Equivalence Principle says if data cannot distinguish between two things, then the two things are identical.
Einstein used the Equivalence Principle to develop his General Theory of Relativity. He realized that data cannot tell the difference between gravity and inertial forces. Therefore, they are the same thing. This equivalence is the foundation of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity that we use today.
Nature cannot treat human and natural CO2 differently because nature cannot tell the difference between CO2 molecules from the two sources.
The IPCC claims human CO2 emissions will linger in the atmosphere for hundreds of years and 15 percent of it will remain forever. That claim is a result of IPCC’s Big Idea and it violates the Equivalence Principle. Nature’s CO2 has a half-life in the atmosphere of only 2.8 years. Human CO2 also has a half-life of 2.8 years.
With this simple elimination of IPCC’s Big Idea, the truth becomes clear. Human CO2 emissions are not a threat to the planet. Human emissions hardly make a dent in the level of CO2 in our atmosphere. The whole climate charade is based upon an error in physics.
The IPCC claims human emissions have caused all the rise in the level of CO2 in the atmosphere since 1750. The IPCC uses a six-step core argument to support this claim, but its core argument violates the Equivalence Principle and simple logic. The truth is nature has caused most of the increase in CO2 since 1750.
Nature’s CO2 emissions are 21 times greater than human CO2 emissions. Simple physics, and even common sense, shows nature’s CO2 emissions add 21 times more CO2 to the atmosphere than do human CO2 emissions. Thus, human emissions add only 18 ppm to today’s 410 ppm level of CO2 and nature adds the remaining 392 ppm.
Even if we were to stop all human CO2 emissions and nature remained constant, the level of CO2 in our atmosphere would fall by only 18 ppm. Nature’s level of 392 ppm would remain.
Continuation of present human and natural emissions does not further increase the CO2 in the atmosphere. Continued emissions maintain rather than add to the level of CO2 in the atmosphere.
The same physics applies to a lake with inflow from a river and outflow over a dam. If inflow remains constant, the lake level will remain constant. The height of the water level above the dam will be just enough to make outflow equal to inflow.
Al Gore and the IPCC received a Nobel Peace Prize by violating the Equivalence Principle. It is time to teach people, university students, national park visitors, and voters the truth.
Human emissions do not change climate, and the futile attempt to reduce human emissions will not change climate.
Citing Environmental Risk, Terror Group Al-Shabaab Bans Plastic Bags
Is this a spoof?
The terror group Al-Shabaab has banned single-use plastic bags in areas of Somalia under its control, arguing that the waste is bad for the environment.
Al-Shabaab's Radio Andalus reported that the terror group's governor in the Jubaland region, Mohammed Abu Abdullah, said discarded plastic bags "pose a serious threat to the well-being of humans and animals alike." How the ban would be implemented was not detailed.
The group also banned, effective immediately, the logging of indigenous trees.
Ironically, as the al-Qaeda allies pretend to care about the environment, they've been long funding their nefarious activities through the illegal ivory trade.
Al-Qaeda and its allies have previously promoted environmental policy. In November 2016, a special issue of Inspire, published by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula's Al-Malahem Media, slammed the Obama administration for being all talk and no action on climate change and protecting the environment.
"The environment has suffered from America’s policies. In latest official statistics of International [sic] Health Organization, it mentions that 92% of the world population are breathing polluted air. Moreover, 6.5 million people are dying annually because of air pollution," the magazine said. "One of the main cause of pollution results from American factories, which produce 36.1% of greenhouse gases. Despite that, up to this day America hasn’t taken any tangible steps to reduce these harmful gases."
"In addition to this America opposed some laws that were imposed so as to reduce the use of materials that produce greenhouse gases. It is astonishing and deceptive to hear Obama talk about the necessity of acting boldly in combating the danger of greenhouse gases, yet his own state has not responded and dealt adequately in reducing these deadly emissions."
In March, the Taliban's Department of Agriculture and Agronomics directed jihadists to start planting trees as soon as the weather allows in order to curry favor with the local populace.
The Taliban noted that a "key component of public welfare works for the prosperity of our people and homeland is agriculture and tree plantation, and cited last year's tree decree from Taliban leader Hibatullah Akhundzada that "was widely welcomed by the people and a multitude of trees were planted throughout the country."
In that message, Akhundzada called on jihadists and civilians in occupied areas to "plant one or several fruit or non-fruit trees for the beautification of Earth and the benefit of almighty Allah's creations."
The Taliban reminded everyone to comply with that decree and asked the "mujahideen to plant trees for the prosperity our homeland so that our nation and people can benefit from the abundant advantages of trees and greenery."
Taste of the future: Australia’s southern states at 50% renewables
How to lie with statistics again. Tasmania has had big hydro resources from a time before Greenies were even thought of. So including them inflates the renewable share. South Australia also has a big windmill base -- but that is only good if you like all their blackouts -- of up to 2 weeks long
Here’s a taste of the future: Last week, over the three southern states of Tasmania, Victoria and South Australia, the share of renewable energy was above 50 per cent for most of the time.
Prices were low, observes Hugh Saddler, the leading energy analyst from The Australia Institute, who provided these graphs. And in South Australia, where there was a very high share of wind energy, only four gas units operated on days such as Thursday and Friday.
Note that wind, from Monday on, accounted for a minimum 60 per cent of supply, and on occasions more than 100 per cent. Gas went up and down as needed – but note how little was needed from Wednesday through Friday.
The balance was maintained by the inter-connector, with exports as the wind blew hardest, and some imports when it pulled back slightly and offered a cheaper option than gas.
And here’s what the prices showed us. By and large, prices stayed around $50/MWh and below, apart from the occasional spike. And there were some negative pricing events, not including the midday negative pricing that was recorded in Queensland as a result of its solar production late last month.
Sadly, such low prices don’t last. As we saw on Monday, when the wind and solar back off, and the fossil fuel generators can create an artificial network constraint, they then have the market power to bid prices to the market cap in order to extract maximum value from the market.
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 *****************************************
All-Renewable Energy Is a Prescription for Disaster
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stunned the Democratic establishment by crushing incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley in the primary race in New York’s 14th Congressional District.
She successfully portrayed Crowley as out of touch with his constituents. “He works for corporations, and I work for people,” she said. But for all of Ocasio-Cortez’s woman-of-the-people claims, her energy politics are completely disconnected from reality. More important, they’re deeply regressive and, if implemented, would hurt the very same poor and middle-class voters she claims to champion.
Ocasio-Cortez’s website says: “In order to address runaway global climate change, Alexandria strongly supports transitioning the United States to a carbon-free, 100 percent renewable energy system.”
By endorsing an all-renewable scheme, Ocasio-Cortez... shows that she doesn’t care how the pursuit of that agenda will drive up electricity costs.
Perhaps it’s not surprising that Ocasio-Cortez, who campaigned for Bernie Sanders, has endorsed the same all-renewable agenda that Sanders pushed in his failed bid for the White House. What is surprising is that for all her apparent political savvy, she didn’t bother to see if such a scheme is workable or affordable.
It isn’t. Last year, an all-star group of scientists thoroughly debunked the work of Mark Jacobson, the Stanford engineering professor who for years has been claiming the US can run solely on renewables. In 2016, Sanders adopted Jacobson’s entire renewable scheme and made it his energy platform.
In a paper last June in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the scientists — including Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution, Dan Kammen of the University of California, Berkeley, former EPA Science Advisory Board chairman Granger Morgan and Jane Long of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory — concluded that Jacobson’s all-renewable scheme used “invalid modeling tools, contained modeling errors, and made implausible and inadequately supported assumptions.”
Those errors “render it unreliable as a guide about the likely cost, technical reliability, or feasibility of a 100-percent wind, solar and hydroelectric power system.”
The scientists also concluded that Jacobson’s all-renewable proposal would require covering about 500,000 square kilometers — a land area larger than the state of California — with nothing but wind turbines.
The idea of covering that much land with wind turbines is preposterous on its face, particularly given that rural residents from New York and numerous other states are already rejecting the encroachment of Big Wind.
Furthermore, by endorsing an all-renewable scheme, Ocasio-Cortez, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, shows that she doesn’t care how the pursuit of that agenda will drive up electricity costs. Indeed, major renewable-energy mandates usually result in soaring electricity prices.
Consider Germany, which is pushing to have 80 percent of its electricity coming from renewables by 2050. According to a recent report by Agora Energiewende, a think tank that focuses on Germany’s energy sector, between 2007 and 2018, residential electricity prices in Germany jumped by 50 percent.
German residential customers now have some of the highest-priced electricity in Europe: about $0.37 per kilowatt-hour. That’s nearly three times the price of residential electricity in the US.
Pruitt might be gone, but the work of reining in the out of control EPA must continue
By Natalia Castro
From his nomination to his resignation, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt was under constant attack by the left. Whether you believe the countless accusation the left threw at the Administrator or not, one thing is clear: just because Pruitt is gone, does not mean the EPA can stop the massive regulator rollback they have embarked upon with Pruitt as their leader. Pruitt helped size back one of President Obama’s most intrusive and overstepping agencies, whoever President Trump appoints as the new EPA Administrator must continue on this course no matter what the left throws at them.
The left repeatedly scrutinized Administrator Pruitt’s security expenses, despite the fact that those expenses were necessary considering the abundance of threats Pruitt began receiving after taking his position.
As Pruitt did his job better and better, the attacks got stronger and stronger.
In his first year in office, Pruitt’s EPA began receiving public comments to replace the Clean Power Plan and blocked the implementation of the Waters of the U.S. rule. These were two rules, both enacted under the Obama administration, dramatically expanded the federal government’s control over local waterways and imposed impossible emissions regulations on businesses.
Under Pruitt, the EPA also ended the practice of sue and settle lawsuits as a means of broadening the EPA’s authority. Previously, an environmental group would sue the EPA for not protecting the environment in some way, and rather than fighting the case; the EPA would settle. This effectively expanded the EPA’s scope of authority through litigation.
Sue and settle lawsuits allow the judicial branch and the executive branch to work together to sidestep the authority of the legislative branch, a violation of Article 1 of the Constitution.
With a directive signed in November 2017, Pruitt required the Agency to publish notice to the public whenever they receive an intention to sue, as well as publish complaints against environmental law and a list of all consent decrees and settlement agreements that govern Agency actions within 30 days.
During the Obama Administration, the EPA utilized the Clean Air Act to settle 137 legal cases, as compared to the Bush era EPA which only settled 66.
Through promoting transparency and Article 1 accountability, Pruitt took significant steps to rein in the growing agency so businesses and individuals can thrive without government intervention.
Internally, Pruitt’s EPA has also implemented a new, agency-wide EPA Lean Management System (ELMS).
Until this year, the EPA did not track the time it took to complete permit requests, did not track legal deadlines set by Congress, did not measure correction and compliance rates following known violations of agency guidelines, and did not measure the number of drinking water systems out of compliance with EPA rules.
Essentially, EPA management has had little to no accountability. As Pruitt has explained, this caused vast inconsistencies between regional branches, created a disengaged workforce, and fueled mismanagement.
ELMS universalizes agency standards by creating clear metrics for success across all EPA programs and regional offices, integrates monthly business reviews for all senior leaders to review their office’s performance, and seeks to eliminate waste in each agency.
The newly created Office of Continuous Improvement will oversee the implementation of ELMS in 80 percent of agency units by September 30, 2020.
EPA Administrator Pruitt led the charge in rolling back an out of control agency that was drunk with power under the Obama Administration. Even without Pruitt, the agency must continue the reforms Pruitt began. President Trump must tell his next nominee to expect a war from the left because Pruitt only lost his for being extremely effective at his job.
New British homes will be fitted with electric car chargers
New homes will have to be built with electric car chargers as part of a plan to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles, it will be announced today.
Building regulations will be overhauled to require developers to include external chargepoints outside houses, flats and offices. All new streetlights will also be expected to have charging systems to ensure more drivers can power up their car battery by the roadside and the government will invest in trials of “wireless” charging technology.
The measures will be outlined in a “road to zero” strategy that will set out the government’s policy to end the sale of new conventional petrol and diesel cars or vans by 2040.
Air pollution contributes to 40,000 early deaths a year and an estimated £6 billion a year is spent on the wider health impact of toxic roadside fumes.
The blueprint being published by the Department for Transport is likely to be criticised by environmental groups for lacking ambition. The document will only commit to making new cars “effectively zero emission” within the next 22 years, leaving the door open to some cars with limited exhaust emissions.
The government also confirmed that it “sees a role” for hybrid cars, which are capable of operating through a battery and a petrol or diesel engine. It follows arguments from the car industry that an all-out ban on combustion engine cars risks “undermining” confidence in a sector which supports more than 800,000 British jobs. Some 5.5 per cent of new cars sold since the start of the year have been ultra-low emission models. Most are likely to be hybrids.
Chris Grayling, the transport secretary, will say today that the plan will pave the way “for the biggest overhaul in road transport technology since the development of the Benz patent motorcar 130 years ago”. The government wants electric car drivers to “find it easier to recharge their vehicles than motorists today who have to visit a filling station”. The strategy will commit to “making sure houses being built are electric vehicle ready”. The government will consult on a requirement for charge points to be fitted to new homes “where appropriate”. This usually involves fitting wall-mounted sockets to the outside of buildings.
The strategy will include “future-proofing streets by ensuring all new street lighting columns have charging points in areas with on-street parking” and £400 million will be spent funding companies that produce and install the charge point technology.
The government is set to reject appeals made by mayors and council leaders to bring the 2040 target forward by ten years. However, the strategy is expected to include an interim target requiring car makers to sell a proportion of zero-emission cars by 2030.
Andy McDonald, shadow transport secretary, said: “It is dangerous to row back on commitments to clean up road transport. This isn’t a road to zero, it’s a road to nowhere.”
Working With Green Groups, Local Governments Use This Kind of Lawsuit to Get Cash From Oil Giants
Cities and counties across the country are teaming up with environmental groups to drill for revenue by using public-nuisance lawsuits against some of the world’s largest energy companies.
These local governments claim oil giants, such as Exxon Mobil, Chevron, and others, have caused global warming that they say is damaging their communities, and they want to be compensated for those damages—in most cases an undisclosed amount.
Since last summer, New York City, one county in Washington state, eight cities and counties in California, and three Colorado jurisdictions have challenged the oil giants through public-nuisance lawsuits.
However, some legal experts contend these lawsuits are a misuse of public-nuisance law—which is intended to protect the public from a safety or health hazard, rather than advance regulations.
Last week, U.S. District Judge William Alsup for the Northern District of California dismissed a lawsuit brought by San Francisco and Oakland against Chevron, Shell, BP, ExxonMobil, and ConocoPhillips.
The two cities wanted the five energy companies to pay for infrastructure improvements to protect their residents from sea-level rise and other purported effects of climate change.
In April, 15 Republicans state attorneys general, led by Curtis Hill of Indiana, filed an amicus brief supporting the dismissal of the case.
The states of Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming joined Indiana in the amicus brief regarding the San Francisco and Oakland lawsuit.
“We oppose any type of overreach, whether by the federal government, state governments, or municipal governments,” Hill told The Daily Signal.
Hill said his office is monitoring the other lawsuits.
“These municipalities were seeking to regulate what was out of their nexus,” Hill said. “This was a shakedown. These nuisance lawsuits are used to hold up industry, specifically the energy-manufacturing industry.”
Alsup cited U.S. Supreme Court precedent, finding the Clean Air Act gives the Environmental Protection Agency authority over emission standards, which displaced nuisance claims on emissions. The judge, an appointee of President Bill Clinton, also said other branches of government should decide the matter.
The National Association of Manufacturers has led the effort against public-nuisance lawsuits through legal action and advocacy.
“Other municipalities around the country who have filed similar lawsuits should take note, as those complaints are likely to end the same way,” NAM President Jay Timmons said in a statement. “New York City, [Boulder, Colorado], and the other California municipalities should withdraw their complaints and follow the lead of others that are focused on meaningful solutions.”
But with an appeal on the way from San Francisco and Oakland, the other pending cases aren’t likely going anywhere.
Richard Wiles, executive director of the Center for Climate Integrity, an advocacy group backing the lawsuits, told Reuters, “This fight is just getting started, and we expect to win.”
Federal law defines a public nuisance as a circumstance that injures or endangers the safety, health, comfort, or property of others. More broadly, a public nuisance at the state or local level could be defined as an activity affecting the health or safety of an entire community.
In either case, it’s distinguished from a private nuisance that would affect relatively few. The contrast would be the public nuisance of a factory spewing toxic chemicals into an entire city, as opposed to the private nuisance of playing loud music at 3 a.m., waking up the neighbors.
The municipalities are twisting an area of the law that has no application to climate issues, said Hans von Spakovsky, senior legal fellow with The Heritage Foundation.
“They are trying to use the courts in an area where it is up to the legislature, particularly Congress, to legislate,” von Spakovsky told The Daily Signal.
“They have no chance of winning if the judges in the case follow the law,” von Spakovsky said. “If they get an ideological judge who doesn’t care about the law—well, they might have some success. But, ultimately, any case like this, if it goes to the Supreme Court, is going to get thrown out.
“Eventually one of them will eventually get to the Supreme Court if the plaintiffs are foolish enough to keep appealing the decisions,” he said.
In January, New York City sued Chevron, BP, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and Shell in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
The city announced it also would divest its $189 billion public pension fund of investments in fossil-fuel companies over the next five years. The lawsuit claims the companies knew carbon emissions caused climate change, but were dishonest about the risks. The suit seeks to hold the oil companies liable for an undisclosed amount.
“New York City is standing up for future generations by becoming the first major U.S. city to divest our pension funds from fossil fuels,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in announcing the legal action. “At the same time, we’re bringing the fight against climate change straight to the fossil-fuel companies that knew about its effects and intentionally misled the public to protect their profits.
“As climate change continues to worsen, it’s up to the fossil-fuel companies whose greed put us in this position to shoulder the cost of making New York safer and more resilient,” he said.
The first hearing was held on June 13 before federal Judge John Keenan of the Southern District of New York, who was reportedly skeptical of the city’s position that oil companies are to blame for purported global-warming damage.
“The firehouses all have trucks. The sanitation department has trucks. If you open the door and go out to Foley Square, you’re going to see five police cars,” said Keenan, an appointee of President Ronald Reagan. “Does the city have clean hands?”
In April, the litigation moved to Colorado. The city of Boulder, the county of Boulder, and the county of San Miguel together filed a lawsuit against ExxonMobil and Suncor for damages related to climate change.
EarthRights International, one of the environmental groups representing the three Colorado governments, said in a statement last week it wasn’t deterred by the court ruling in the San Francisco-Oakland case.
“Other lawsuits—including ERI’s own lawsuit on behalf of communities in Colorado—are proceeding and will not necessarily follow the same path,” the statement says. “Meanwhile, evidence continues to emerge of the oil industry’s role in misleading the public and delaying the shift toward carbon-neutral energy sources.”
Back in California, cases were filed separately in July 2017 by the city of Imperial Beach, Marin County, and San Mateo County—initially, in California state court—against Chevron, Exxon Mobil, BP, Shell, and other energy companies.
The cases were being heard together by federal Judge Vince Chhabria of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, who accepted the plaintiffs’ motion to remand the case back to state court.
But the defendants filed an appeal, asking the court to stay the proceedings until the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decides if all of the climate cases should be heard at the state or federal level. Chhabria, an appointee of President Barack Obama, granted the defendants’ stay, and the 9th Circuit will hear the matter later this month.
Separately, the city of Santa Cruz and county of Santa Cruz in December sued Chevron, Exxon Mobil, BP, Shell, and other companies. They are seeking damages for extreme flooding the plaintiffs blame on the harvesting and burning of fossil fuels.
The city of Richmond, California, filed another climate public-nuisance lawsuit in January against Chevron, Exxon Mobil, BP, Shell, and 25 other companies, alleging that harvesting natural resources and producing fuel has led to rising sea levels that threaten the city’s property.
Both cases were filed in state courts, but moved to federal court, where Chhabria is also deciding whether to send them back to state court.
In May, King County, Washington, filed a lawsuit against BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil, and Shell, claiming public nuisance. It wants to force the companies to fund an abatement program.
Conservative candidate in Australian by-election fails to bow down before global warming
The Liberal National party candidate for Longman, Trevor Ruthenberg, has refused to clarify whether he believes climate change is happening, after telling a group of environmentalists he had a different “understanding of the science” when confronted about the link between burning coal and global warming.
Ruthenberg, a former Queensland state MP, is contesting the marginal electorate on Brisbane’s northern fringe for the LNP at the upcoming byelection.
In a video recorded on Saturday and seen by Guardian Australia, Ruthenberg is shown talking to members of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, who were campaigning in Longman before the 26 July super Saturday byelection.
On the same day, his Queensland-based party’s conference supported motions including removing subsidies for renewables, committing to build a new coal-fired power station in the north and bankrolling a rail link to the Galilee basin. Mark Latham voices robocall for One Nation urging voters to punish Shorten Read more
In the video, Ruthenberg is challenged by AYCC campaigners who say: “You can’t mine and burn coal responsibly.”
Ruthenberg responds: “There you and I will fundamentally disagree.”
One campaigner says science shows that coal is a major contributor to climate change and is fuelling global warming.
“I’m saying that your understanding of science, and wherever you’re getting science, and my understanding of science, are not the same science,” Ruthenberg says.
He is then asked by another campaigner: “I just want to clarify, do you mean that you do not believe in climate change?”
“No, not at all,” Ruthenberg says.
The campaigner says: “But 99% of scientists agree that climate change is happening.”
“Yeah, OK,” the candidate responds.
Ruthenberg has been contacted and asked to clarify his comments, including whether he believes that climate change is human-made. He was also offered the opportunity to explain the alternative understanding of the science he was referring to.
Briana Collins from the Australian Youth Climate Coalition said the comments were “outrageous” especially given Longman includes Bribie Island, where the local council says 63% of homes are at risk to sea level rises.
“Young people are tired of politicians who refuse to protect our future from dangerous global warming,” she says. “If Trevor Ruthenberg wants to represent the people of Longman, he cannot support climate-wrecking coalmines and giving public money to Adani’s mine.”
Longman is notionally a Labor electorate with a margin of 0.8%. Susan Lamb won the seat for Labor in 2016 and is contesting the byelection, after she resigned in May under a dual citizenship cloud.
The Moreton Bay region has pockets of strong One Nation support.
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..
North Atlantic Ocean Rapidly Cooling…Cool Down And Growing Arctic Sea Ice May Follow
Very recent scientific publications show that the North Atlantic heat content and surface temperatures have been cooling significantly, and so may lead to a rebound in Arctic sea ice in the region. Already Arctic sea ice has stabilized over the past 10 years and Greenland has shown a surprising ice mass gain.
Climate scientists agree that variations in the North Atlantic temperatures and ocean currents have a great impact on sea ice in the North Atlantic Arctic region and Europe’s climate.
Dramatic fall in North Atlantic heat content
For example recent findings published in Nature by a team led by David J. R. Thornalley of Department of Geography, University College London, show that the heat content of the North Atlantic from zero to 700 meters depth has cooled the most dramatically since the 1950s:
North Atlantic ocean heat content (OHC) dives. Source: Thormalloy et al, Nature.
In the 1970s most scientists believed an ice age was approaching after the surface temperature of the North Atlantic had cooled sharply from its 1950s peak.
Another very recent publication appearing in the Geophysical Research Letters by a team of researchers led by D.A. Smeed of National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, UK shows that surface and subsurface temperatures of the North Atlantic have fallen to their lowest levels in in more than 30 years:
The researchers suspect that the decreased lower temperatures are related to the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), which is a powerful system of currents in the Atlantic involving the northward flow of warm water in the upper layers of the Atlantic and a southward flow of colder, deep waters which are part of the thermohaline circulation.
Changes in the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) have significant impacts on North Atlantic climate. Source: R. Curry, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution/Science/USGCRP
The scientists theorize that melting Arctic sea ice may be responsible for the recent changes, but this remains highly speculative as the data to support this is extremely sparse. Meanwhile other scientists believe it has all more to do with multidecadal scale ocean cycles that have occurred throughout history.
Warming changes over to cooling
Another team of scientists led by Christopher G. Piecuch published a study in the journal Geophysical Research Letters here which shows that the subpolar North Atlantic (SPNA) upper ocean and sea‐surface temperature trends reversed from warming during 1994–2004 to cooling over 2005–2015.
The authors write that the region “is subject to strong decadal variability”, meaning natural cycles are at play. The authors present the following chart, which shows that the North Atlantic heat content has fallen sharply since 2010.
So is it any surprise that Arctic sea ice has stabilized in the wake of the North Atlantic cooling and that Greenland is putting on gigatons of added ice?
Veteran meteorologist Joe Bastardi of WeatherBell Analytics has said repeatedly that when ocean heat content in the regions adjacent to the Arctic falls, it’s only natural for sea ice to recover, and vice versa when ocean heat content rises. Arctic ice extent fluctuates along with the natural Atlantic and Pacific ocean cycles. It has little to do with trace gas CO2.
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Climate: Failed Prognostications
“If the current pace of the buildup of these gases continues, the effect is likely to be a warming of 3 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit [between now and] the year 2025 to 2050…. The rise in global temperature is predicted to … caus[e] sea levels to rise by one to four feet by the middle of the next century.” — Philip Shabecoff, “Global Warming Has Begun.” New York Times, June 24, 1988.
It has been 30 years since the alarm bell was sounded for manmade global warming caused by modern industrial society. And predictions made on that day—and ever since—continue to be falsified in the real world.
The predictions made by climate scientist James Hansen and Michael Oppenheimer back in 1988—and reported as model projected by journalist Philip Shabecoff—constitute yet another exaggerated Malthusian scare, joining those of the population bomb (Paul Ehrlich), resource exhaustion (Club of Rome), Peak Oil (M. King Hubbert), and global cooling (John Holdren).
Erroneous Predictive Scares
Consider the opening global warming salvo (quoted above). Dire predictions of global warming and sea-level rise are well on their way to being falsified—and by a lot, not a little. Meanwhile, a CO2-led global greening has occurred, and climate-related deaths have plummeted as industrialization and prosperity have overcome statism in many areas of the world.
Take the mid-point of the above’s predicted warming, six degrees. At the thirty-year mark, how is it looking? The increase is about one degree—and largely holding (the much-discussed “pause” or “warming hiatus”). And remember, the world has naturally warmed since the end of the Little Ice Age to the present, a good thing if climate economists are to be believed.
Turning to sea-level rise, the exaggeration appears greater. Both before and after the 1980s, decadal sea-level rise has been a few inches. And it has not been appreciably accelerating. “The rate of sea level rise during the period ~1925–1960 is as large as the rate of sea level rise the past few decades, noted climate scientist Judith Curry. “Human emissions of CO2 mostly grew after 1950; so, humans don’t seem to be to blame for the early 20th century sea level rise, nor for the sea level rise in the 19th and late 18th centuries.”
The sky-is-falling pitch went from bad to worse when scientist James Hansen was joined by politician Al Gore. Sea levels could rise twenty feet, claimed Gore in his 2006 documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, a prediction that has brought rebuke even from those sympathetic to the climate cause.
In the same book/movie, Al Gore prophesied that unless the world dramatically reduced greenhouse gasses, we would hit a “point of no return.” In his book review of Gore’s effort, James Hansen unequivocally stated: “We have at most ten years—not ten years to decide upon action, but ten years to alter fundamentally the trajectory of global greenhouse emissions.”
Time is up on Gore’s “point of no return” and Hansen’s “critical tipping point.” But neither has owned up to their exaggeration or made new predictions—as if they will suddenly be proven right.
Another scare-and-hide prediction came from Rajendra Pachauri. While head of a United Nations climate panel, he pleaded that without drastic action before 2012, it would be too late to save the planet. In the same year, Peter Wadhams, professor of ocean physics at the University of Cambridge, predicted “global disaster” from the demise of Arctic sea ice in four years. He too, has gone quiet.
Nothing new, back in the late 1980s, the UN claimed that if global warming were not checked by 2000, rising sea levels would wash entire countries away
There is some levity in the charade. In 2009, then-British Prime Minister Gordon Brown predicted that the world had only 50 days to save the planet from global warming. But fifty days, six months, and eight years later, the earth seems fine.
Climate Hysteria hits Trump
The Democratic Party Platform heading into the 2016 election compared the fight against global warming to World War II. “World War III is well and truly underway,” declared Bill McKibben in the New Republic. “And we are losing.” Those opposed to a new “war effort” were compared to everything from Nazis to Holocaust deniers.
Heading into the 2016 election, Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson warned that “a vote for Trump is a vote for climate catastrophe.” In Mother Jones, professor Michael Klare similarly argued that “electing green-minded leaders, stopping climate deniers (or ignorers) from capturing high office, and opposing fossil fueled ultranationalism is the only realistic path to a habitable planet.”
Trump won the election, and the shrill got shriller. “Donald Trump’s climate policies would create dozens of failed states south of the U.S. border and around the world,” opined Joe Romm at Think Progress. “It would be a world where everyone eventually becomes a veteran, a refugee, or a casualty of war.”
At Vox, Brad Plumer joined in:
Donald Trump is going to be president of the United States…. We’re at risk of departing from the stable climatic conditions that sustained civilization for thousands of years and lurching into the unknown. The world’s poorest countries, in particular, are ill-equipped to handle this disruption.
Renewable energy researcher John Abraham contended that Trump’s election means we’ve “missed our last off-ramp on the road to catastrophic climate change.” Not to be outdone, academic Noam Chomsky argued that Trump is aiding “the destruction of organized human life.”
Falsified Alarms, Compromised Science
If science is prediction, the Malthusian science of sustainability is pseudo-science. But worse, by not fessing up, by doubling down on doom, the scientific program has been compromised.
“In their efforts to promote their ‘cause,’” Judith Curry told Congress, “the scientific establishment behind the global warming issue has been drawn into the trap of seriously understating the uncertainties associated with the climate problem.” She continued:
This behavior risks destroying science’s reputation for honesty. It is this objectivity and honesty which gives science a privileged seat at the table. Without this objectivity and honesty, scientists become regarded as another lobbyist group.
Even DC-establishment environmentalists have worried about a backfire. In 2007, two mainstream climate scientists warned against the “Hollywoodization” of their discipline. They complained about “a lot of inaccuracies in the statements we are seeing, and we have to temper that with real data.” To which Al Gore (the guilty party) responded: “I am trying to communicate the essence [of global warming] in the lay language that I understand.”
“There has to be a lot of shrillness taken out of our language,” remarked Environmental Defense Fund’s Fred Krupp in 2011. “In the environmental community, we have to be more humble. We can’t take the attitude that we have all the answers.”
Most recently, Elizabeth Arnold, longtime climate reporter for National Public Radio, warned that too much “fear and gloom,” leading to “apocalypse fatigue,” should be replaced by a message of “hope” and “solutions” lest the public disengage. But taxes and statism don’t sound good either.
If the climate problem is exaggerated, that issue should be demoted. Enter an unstated agenda of deindustrialization and a quest for money and power that otherwise might be beyond reach of the climate campaigners. It all gets back to what Tim Wirth, then US Senator from Colorado, stated at the beginning of the climate alarm:
We have got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.
“Right thing” in terms of economic and environmental policy? That’s a fallacy to explode on another day.
Donald Trump UK visit: US president is ‘putting British national security at risk’, say over 100 top climate scientists
The UK’s top climate change researchers have issued a desperate plea to Theresa May, urging her to challenge Donald Trump over climate change during his visit.
In a letter signed by over 100 scientists from across the country, they said the US president is putting the UK’s national security at risk by ignoring climate change and allowing carbon emissions to continue unabated.
Mr Trump famously withdrew his country from the historic Paris climate agreement in 2017, claiming it was “very unfair to the US”. As a result, emissions from the US energy sector are projected to rise rapidly over the next two years.
Trump faces frosty reception when he arrives in UK, poll suggests The letter states: “As the US is the world’s second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, President Trump’s policy of inaction on climate change is putting at risk the UK’s national security and its interests overseas.”
The UK is already feeling the effects of a changing climate, with increasingly extreme and unpredictable weather hitting the nation’s shores in recent years.
Since 2000, the country has experienced its warmest and wettest years since records began, and scientists think this extreme weather trend will only get worse.
The 135 signees of the open letter point to the UK government’s own “National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review” as evidence for the existential threat posed by climate change.
That document, published in 2015, describes climate change as “one of the biggest long term challenges for the future of our planet”.
It outlines how rising sea levels and more frequent extreme weather events will cause havoc both in the UK and on a global scale.
Written when Barack Obama was still president, the review also describes how the UK “will work with the US to deliver more for global stability and our shared interests”.
Mr Trump has previously revealed a misunderstanding of some of the basic tenets of climate change, suggesting that the ice caps were now at “a record level”. He has even suggested that climate change is a “hoax” perpetrated by the Chinese.
Though Ms May has yet to raise the issue of climate change with Mr Trump, the UK’s has made considerable progress in tackling the issue, especially when compared to the US.
While both nations have seen their GDP per capita increase by around the same amount since 1990, the UK’s emissions have been slashed by over 40 per cent while across the Atlantic they increased by 2.4 per cent.
The scientists said this achievement should prove to Mr Trump that it is “possible to achieve economic growth while strongly reducing annual emissions of greenhouse gases”.
Other national leaders such as Emmanuel Macron of France have publicly criticised Mr Trump’s stance, and the researchers said the UK “should take advantage of its special relationship” to do the same.
“We do not believe that the best interests of the UK, or the rest of the world, would be best served by attempting to appease President Trump on this issue,” they concluded.
USA finances prolonged poverty, misery, disease, and death through international banks
Paul Driessen and David Wojick
“Foreign Operations” appropriation bills now working their way through Congress supposedly provide funding to “advance U.S. diplomatic priorities overseas,” “increase global security,” and continue “life-saving global health and humanitarian assistance programs for the world’s most vulnerable populations.”
The bills include handsome funding for the World Bank and other so-called Multilateral Development Banks: some $1.8 billion in total. The United States is by far the World Bank Group’s largest donor, and a major funder of four other MDBs: the African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, Inter-American Development Bank and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
In recent years, these banks have embraced manmade climate change alarmism as a key foundation for their lending policies. In particular, they refuse to fund the development of electric power generation via fossil fuels – thereby starving impoverished nations and families of desperately needed electricity.
Instead, the MDBs are pouring money into solar and wind power schemes that simply cannot produce affordable, reliable electricity on a large enough scale to help raise their client countries out of poverty.
In fact, they are ramping up their green madness. The five just-named MDBs, along with the European Investment Bank and Islamic Development Bank, recently released a joint report on what they call “climate finance” – which last year jumped a whopping 30% – to a staggering $34 billion dollars!
With over $13 billion in its coffers, the World Bank has the lion’s share of this green oppression money. But every one of these banks has greatly increased its climate focus, some even doubling it.
That is not just appalling. It is immoral and contrary to the supposed purposes of the appropriation bills. The MDBs have become anti-development banks, anti-vulnerable people banks. Their virtue-asserting “climate finance” terminology is more accurately described as climate callousness.
These tens of billions of dollars should help support projects that provide real, affordable, dependable power for the nearly 1.2 billion people around the world who still do not have electricity. Another 2 billion have electrical power only sporadically and unpredictably. In India alone, almost as many people as live in the USA still lack electricity. In Sub-Saharan Africa, nearly 700 million people (the population of Europe) rarely or never have electricity, and still cook and heat with wood, charcoal, and animal dung.
Every year, hundreds of millions become ill and 5 million die of lung and intestinal diseases from inhaling pollutants from open fires, and from lack of clean water, refrigeration and bacteria-free food. Largely because their nations lack energy to power modern economies, nearly 3 billion survive on a few dollars per day, and more millions die every year from preventable or curable diseases.
But the anti-development banks simply double down on their lethal policies. Their new report asserts: “The joint methodology for tracking climate change mitigation finance recognizes the importance of long-term structural changes such as the shift in energy production to renewable energy technologies, and the modal shift to low-carbon modes of transport.”
They’ve served notice that they stopped financing coal-fired power in 2010. Now they intend to stop financing oil and gas exploration by poor countries, and instead will push for total “decarbonization.”
Just like that. Fossil fuels gone from developing nation energy funding. No discussion. No vote. No actual evidence for climate cataclysms. No recourse. Just a policy decision by unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats – supported by self-serving pressure groups, politicians and “green” energy companies.
These bankers, pols and activists couldn’t even run their own operations (or their homes) on sporadic, unpredictable, 14/4/265 wind and solar power. The companies couldn’t even manufacture their wind turbines and solar panels. Yet they demand that entire developing nations accept whatever jobs, medical facilities, schools, homes and living standards can be supported by this fairy tale energy.
It is an obscene global tragedy. These MDB policies condemn billions to poverty and millions to slow, agonizing death. America should no longer support any of this. No decent country should.
Thankfully for the sidelined nations, Chinese banks have begun helping to finance coal- and gas-fired power in Asia and Africa. In the process, they have gained tremendous political and strategic leverage, at the expense of the United States, Europe and MDBs. Other banks can and should do likewise.
All developing countries should avoid doing what rich nations are doing now that they are rich. Instead, they should do what rich nations did to become rich. They should remember that wealthy industrialized countries did not have MDBs to help them. They created institutions to finance the power generation and factories that created the jobs, middle classes, health and prosperity that paid for it all – and far more.
China, India and other emerging economies are doing the same thing. They are effectively telling the World Bank and other MDBs: “Get lost. We don’t need your funding, with all your anti-development strings. You eco-imperialist banks and activists will not hold us bank any longer. We are going to chart our own destiny, and take our rightful places among Earth’s healthy and prosperous people.”
The MDBs claim their policies reflect Paris Climate Treaty vision of “making financial flows consistent with low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development” – by coordinating climate “mitigation” (prevention) and “adaptation” programs. This moral preening ignores critical realities.
To be resilient in the face of climate change (natural or manmade), countries must be wealthy and technologically advanced. That is impossible with existing or foreseeable renewable energy on scales required to replace today’s fossil fuel energy and power up countries that are still in the dark ages – especially if the banks and their allies remain opposed to nuclear (and hydroelectric) power.
Moreover, the obsessive, unbending focus on alleged fossil-fuel-driven climate chaos ignores the enormous social, economic, health and other benefits that fossil fuels have bestowed on humanity over the past 150 years. It ignores the ways actual temperature and weather observations have been revised, “homogenized” and exaggerated to reflect alarmist narratives and computer models.
It ignores the unsustainable amounts of metals, hydrocarbons, concrete, and especially scenic and habitat land that would be required to convert the world to wind, solar, battery and biofuel power. And for what?
At this point, there is no convincing evidence (observations instead of models) demonstrating that carbon dioxide levels drive climate and weather; today’s temperatures, polar ice, sea level rise, storms or droughts are dangerously or profoundly unprecedented; humans can control all of this by limiting CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions; or anything on the horizon can replace fossil fuels anytime soon.
Indeed, on what basis was it decreed that a crisis or tipping point would be reached if Earth experienced 1.5 or 2.0 degrees Celsius (2.7 or 3.6 Fahrenheit) in higher average global temperatures since 1850, when the Little Ice Age ended and the modern industrial age began? Where is the real-world evidence?
For MDBs to remain focused on alleged climate and weather chaos, mostly in the distant future – while ignoring today’s massive, horrendous poverty, disease, malnutrition and death – is morally depraved.
President Trump, Senate Majority Leader McConnell, House Speaker Ryan and Secretary of State Pompeo need to end the insanity and manslaughter. They need to give this money to agencies and programs that will support fossil fuels and real life-saving actions for the world’s most vulnerable people.
Congress and the White House are a short trek from the World Bank headquarters. They should have no trouble delivering the message – and making it resonate with the other Multilateral Development Banks.
If Congress isn’t up to the task, perhaps Mr. Trump can redirect some of this money – or other..