Sunday, January 22, 2017



2016 Global Temperature: The Pause Never Went Away

Interesting to see that someone in the climate establishment has at long last put a number on the influence of the recent El Nino.  And the Met figure of two tenths of a degree is substantial in the context of the very small changes in the climate record.  

Even so, the figure is far too low in the context of the accompanying CO2 stasis, making it difficult to see the figure as anything but a guess.  But David Whitehouse below takes it as read and shows that subtracting those two tenths leaves us with the familiar "hiatus" -- no statistically significant temperature change across this century.  There is NO ongoing global warming.


The [British] Met Office yesterday confirmed that the warm record of 2016 was mainly driven by a very strong El Nino.

Not that you would have heard this fact in the news. But Peter Stott, Acting Director of the Met Office Hadley Centre, said in no uncertain terms that, “a particularly strong El Nino event contributed about 0.2°C to the annual average for 2016.”

By removing this temporary El Nino contribution from the Met Office’s 2016 data, it becomes obvious that global average temperatures would be essentially identical to where they were in 2014 (see fig 1). Since the El Nino warming is fading and global temperatures are dropping rapidly, they are close to being back to where they were before the latest El Nino started.

There are two ways to look at the just released global temperature of 2016 and press releases from NASA, NOAA and the Met Office work hard to reflect only one of them.

The emphasis is on long-term warming with the press releases stressing that we are living in the warmest decade of the past 150 years (since instrumental records began) concluding that global warming is continuing unabated. This is one way of seeing the data, but it is not the main lesson which comes out of studying what 2016 adds to the picture of recent warmth.

2016 was clearly among the warmest of years, but what distinguishes it from the previous years in this century? Everyone agrees it is the strong El Nino. But how strong was its influence?

The NASA GISS dataset has the global temperature of 2016 at 0.99 +/- 0.1°C compared to 0.87 +/- 0.1°C for 2015, a difference of 0.12°C. However, NASA’s Gavin Schmidt said that their estimate of the boost to global temperatures given by the El Nino in 2016 was 0.12°C, that is the difference between 2015 and 2016.

The press release from the Met Office says that 2016 is one of the warmest two years on record and that according to the HadCRUT4 dataset it was 0.77+/- 0.1°C above what it calls the long-term average, which is actually calculated between 1961-1990. 2015 was 0.76+/- 0.1°C making 2016 and 2015 statistically indistinguishable from one another.

However, Peter Stott, Acting Director of the Met Office Hadley Centre said, “A particularly strong El Nino event contributed about 0.2°C to the annual average for 2016.” This means that without the El Nino 2016 would have had a global temperature of about 0.57+/- 0.1°C which is the same as 2014 and within the errors of 2010 (0.56) and 2005 (0.54). It would also have been in the 95% confidence range of 2013, 2010, 2009, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2003 and 2002. In other words, using the Met Office’s 0.2°C El Nino (ENSO) correction 2016 has not been a record warm year but statistically in the same region as the previous 15 years. Gavin Schmidt of NASA disagrees, saying on Twitter, “Oh my. What tosh. In ENSO corrected data-sets 2016 is still record warm.”

According to NOAA 2016 was 0.07°F warmer than 2015, which is 0.04°C. Considering the error in the annual temperature is +/- 0.1°C this makes 2016 statistically indistinguishable from 2015, making any claim of a record using NOAA data specious.



Fig 1 shows the HadCRUT4 data for the so-called “hiatus” period. The recent El Nino years of 2015-16 are prominent. Also on the graph is the 2016 temperature without the El Nino contribution, as calculated by the Met Office. 2015 – a year with an equally strong El Nino effect – is cautiously interpolated – although the 2016 El Nino estimate is the main datapoint, (NASA Giss says that the correction for 2016 is 0.12°C and 0.05°C for 2015. The Met Office has a figure almost twice as much for 2016 which represents a significant difference of opinion between the Met Office and NASA).

However, even with just the 2016 El Nino compensation the data shows that the pause hasn’t gone away. It has simply been interrupted by two very strong El Nino years. Note that there were moderate El Ninos in 2002-3 and 2009-10.

Compensating for those El Ninos as well as the one in 1998 would make very little difference to the graph, and certainly would not invalidate the pause in the data. In fact it would make the temperature flatter.

Time will tell how far global temperatures will drop in the next couple of years. But there is a good chance that the pause will be re-established once the El Nino warmth tails off.

SOURCE (See the original for links)





RSS Satellite Data Confirm 2016 Is Tied With 1998 As Warmest Year



Source of graph

RSS have also now released their temperature data for December, which, as with UAH, shows a big drop from the month before.

Annually, RSS come to the same conclusion as UAH, that 2016 was 0.02C warmer than 1998.

As Roy Spencer has pointed out, the margin of error is 0.1C, so statistically 2016 is tied with 1998 as the warmest year in the satellite record.

The fact that there has been no warming for the last 18 years is a massive blow to the credibility of climate science.

SOURCE




Colder, not warmer, leads to more conflict:

Contrary to what Warmists always claim

Winter is Coming: The Long-Run Effects of Climate Change on Conflict, 1400-1900

Murat Iyigun et al.

NBER Working Paper No. 23033

We investigate the long-run effects of cooling on conflict. We construct a geo-referenced and digitized database of conflicts in Europe, North Africa, and the Near East from 1400-1900, which we merge with historical temperature data. We show that cooling is associated with increased conflict. When we allow the effects of cooling over a fifty-year period to depend on the extent of cooling during the preceding period, the effect of cooling on conflict is larger in locations that experienced earlier cooling. We interpret this as evidence that the adverse effects of climate change intensify with its duration.

SOURCE





Misleading New Republic Hit on EPA Nominee Scott Pruitt Demonstrates Ignorance of Subject Matter

In The New Republic today, Abby Rabinowitz predicts that “you can expect to hear a lot about mercury” during upcoming confirmation hearings for Donald Trump’s nominee to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt. According to Rabinowitz, the mercury push is “part of a larger strategy by Senate Democrats to frame his nomination as the culmination of a cynical, years-long attack on science and reason whose purpose was to protect the interests of the fossil fuel industry—and his own.”

That’s a big charge to level! Surely the reporter didn’t merely regurgitate political talking points and instead vetted these accusations. After all, this is The New Republic, which at one point long ago was the in-flight magazine of Air Force One. But in the next paragraph, Rabinowitz demonstrates a profound ignorance of her subject:

Opposing mercury pollution is a no-brainer. Its harms include serious damage to the nervous, pulmonary, digestive, and immune systems and developmental brain defects. In 2011, after years of study, the EPA limited how much mercury oil-fired and coal-fired power plants can emit. The agency’s Mercury and Toxic Air Standards (MATS) will save thousands of lives and prevent an estimated 11,000 premature births a year. Great, right? Not according to Pruitt, who joined more than 20 states in suing to block the rule—an appeal that was ultimately declined by the Supreme Court last summer, leaving the rule in place.

Let’s unpack this paragraph. For starters, Rabinowitz claims that the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards will “prevent an estimated 11,000 premature births a year.” She apparently didn’t read the source material for this claim, because the hyperlinked EPA fact sheet doesn’t mention “premature births.” Instead, the fact sheet claims that the rule would prevent “11,000 premature deaths.” I can understand why Rabinowitz would make this mistake, because the term “premature death” doesn’t make much sense. To wit, does it count if death is staved off for one second? So I suspect her mind automatically substituted “birth” for “death.”

Whatever it is, a “premature death” is a lot different from “saving lives,” as the latter phrase is understood in the real world. The upshot is that Rabinowitz is wrong twice—over when she claims that the rule would “save thousands of lives and prevent an estimated 11,000 premature births.” The latter assertion is plainly incorrect; the former is misleading.

But she’s even more wrong! In the first three sentences of the paragraph, Rabinowitz makes clear she’s talking about mercury. She says that “opposing mercury pollution is no-brainer,” and notes that mercury can damage “nervous, pulmonary, digestive, and immune systems and developmental brain defects.” She explains that the EPA promulgated the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards to “limit[] how much mercury oil-fired and coal-fired power plants can emit.” After these three sentences, all of which addressed mercury emissions, she botches a claim that the rule would prevent “11,000 premature deaths,” as described above.

Here’s the thing: These supposed “11,000 premature deaths” have nothing to do with mercury! Rather, they are putative “co-benefits” to the rule. As we explain here and here, it is grossly disingenuous for the EPA to trumpet these co-benefits, the existence of which are hotly contested. Suffice it to say for this post, mercury pollution has nothing to do with the alleged benefits of the rule. So Rabinowitz is wrong to connect one to the other.

Again, I can understand why she would make this mistake. “Mercury” is in the name of the rule, and the EPA’s ultra-well-funded public relations shop did its best to mislead the public, media, and policymakers into conflating speculative “co-benefits” with mercury pollution. The reason for all this misdirection is simple: Mercury from power plants did not endanger the public. As I recently noted in the course of debunking a different hatchet job on Pruitt:

EPA’s own analyses demonstrate that the emissions controlled by the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards pose no public hazard. According to EPA, the “benefits” of mercury reductions attendant to the rule were accruable to a supposed population of pregnant subsistence fisherwomen who eat more than 200 pounds of self-caught fish from only the top ten percent most polluted bodies of fresh inland water. Of course, no such woman exists. Indeed, EPA never identified such a voracious pregnant angler. Instead, they were modeled to exist.

The illusory benefits of the mercury rule get to the heart of Rabinowitz’s final big error in this short excerpt. In the last sentence of her woebegone paragraph, she notes that Pruitt “joined more than 20 states in suing to block the rule—an appeal that was ultimately declined by the Supreme Court last summer, leaving the rule in place.” Pruitt et al challenged the rule based on, inter alia, the claim that it was inappropriate for the EPA to refuse to consider the costs and benefits when it decided it was “appropriate and necessary” to regulate mercury emissions from power plants. For its part, the EPA didn’t want to perform such an analysis because doing so would draw attention to the fact that the mercury “benefits” of the mercury rule were nonexistent.

In a landmark 2015 ruling, the Supreme Court agreed, and ordered the EPA to undertake such a cost-benefit review. However, the Court kept the rule in place (in whas is called a “remand without vacatur”) while the agency did so. For her part, Rabinowitz provides a link to a write-up of a subsequent decision by the Supreme Court that denied a request by the states to pause the rule until their legal challenge (to the reasonableness of EPA’s cost-benefits review) runs its course. By omitting this highly relevant legal context, Rabinowitz misses the mark when she implies that the Supreme Court has vindicated the underlying science of the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards.

All told, there were four big errors in the second paragraph of this hit job of Pruitt. I’d present the remaining errors, but you get the idea. This article is as mistaken or misleading as the previous attacks on Pruitt that I’ve blogged about of late.

SOURCE





Australian Greens pressured over Australia-hating protests

Outspoken Coalition MP George Christensen has called for Greens leader Richard Di Natale to expel party members who are planning a seven day campaign of flag burning and barbecue disruption in protest against Australia Day.

Senator Di Natale has refused to condemn radical NSW Greens faction Left Renewal, which has called upon supported to steal and burn the “Aus rag” (Australian flag), disrupt barbecues, erect protest banners and spray paint walls and roads in a week-long show of “resistance” against Australia Day.

The group includes party members­, candidates and polit­ical staffers. Senator Di Natale yesterday declined to comment. The Australian has contacted his office again today.

Mr Christensen said members of the Greens who wanted to disrupt Australia Day should be expelled from the party.

“The far left faction of the NSW Greens are actively promoting disruption of our national day of celebration and I call on Greens leader Richard di Natalie to show some spine and expel party members who are encouraging theft and acts of desecration of our national flag,” he said.

Mr Christensen put up a bill last year to criminalise burning of the Australian flag.  “That bill will need to be reintroduced as we now have a new parliament,” he said.

“The need for such a bill is being demonstrated yet again as the vast majority of Australians get ready to enjoy a day of celebrating this great country of ours, and we have this pack of ratbags wanting to grandstand and denigrate what we stand for.”

NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge, whose staffer Tom Raue is a Left Renewal supporter, told the Daily Telegraph the broader party did not support Australia Day anarchy.

However, he said that January 26 was an “extreme­ly controversial day to celebrate Australian nationhoo­d” because “for our first peoples” it ­“commemorates the invasion of their land and two and a quarter centuries of violenc­e, oppression and dispossession”.

Resigning NSW Premier, Mike Baird, condemned Left Renewal’s actions.

“Australia Day is a day for all Australians,’’ he said. “Anybody setting out to disrup­t those celebrations, or promote disrespect for our flag, will be unsuccessful.”

Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese, whose inner Sydney seat of Grayndler is being targeted by the Greens, said the radical group was “out of touch”.

Fellow Labor MP Nick Champion said Australia Day should be about the Australian values of liberty, justice, mateship and democracy and condemned both the Left Renewal group and far right groups who had lobbied to have a billboard depicting two Muslim girls celebrating Australia Day taken down.

“Both of these groups are really sort of missing out on that basic tenet of Australian life of mateship, giving people a fair go and treating people as you would want to be treated yourself,” Mr Champion said.

He suggested both groups should “take a chill pill”.  “Don’t try and take your extreme politics into a day that should be about national unity,” he said.

SOURCE

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

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

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Friday, January 20, 2017



Media worldwide report another "hottest year"

The report below is from a major Australian news source.  Once again we have an example of how to lie with statistics. It appears to be true that ON AVERAGE, 2016 was unusually warm.  But my favourite graph below shows that the warm months were all at the beginning of the year during the El Nino weather phenomenon.  By the end of the year and the end of El Nino, temperatures had slumped, with December 2016 COOLER than December 2015 -- with an anomaly of 81 compared to 111 -- According to the NASA raw data here



And how sad for Australia's BOM, that they could only report that the year was only 4th hottest for Australia,  Australia is a rather large lump of real-estate so the warming we are looking at is not exactly global is it?

Two amusing things to note below:

1). The high temperatures reported are nowhere in the article attributed to "climate change". The BOM know that what was at work was El Nino and not CO2 and have become too embarrassed to lie outright about it.

2).  The BOM carefully define the record they are dealing with as:  "the 137-year history of modern accurate and standardised meteorological observation".  The point of that, of course is to avoid confronting the careful and validated 1790 observations of Watkin Tench, which show that Sydney has had near-unbearable hot temperatures long before the modern era


It's official: 2016 set another record for being the world's hottest. Three international agencies have confirmed today that last year was the hottest on record.

NASA reported that 2016 was 0.99 degrees Celsius hotter than the 20th-century average, while the US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) called it at 0.94 degrees Celsius. NOAA also calculated that global land temperatures were 1.43 degrees Celsius higher. The UK Met Office, using its own data, also reported that 2016 is one of the two hottest years on record.

The figures vary slightly, depending on the baseline reference period used.

Heat records don't linger for long any more. 2016 surpassed the 2015 record, which surpassed the 2014 record. Three record hot years in a row sets yet another record in the 137-year history of modern accurate and standardised meteorological observation.

For Australia, the Bureau of Meteorology described 2016 as a "year of extreme events" and the fourth hottest at 0.87 degrees Celsius above the 1961-1990 average. The warming trend is clear.
BOM's key 2016 climate facts and events

Australia is already on average 8 degrees Celsius hotter than the average global land temperature, so further warming means our heat risk is far greater than for other industrialised countries.

This dangerous warming trend sends a dire warning, as average warming delivers many more extreme heat events, as we're currently seeing in Queensland and New South Wales. These are the killers.

As Australia lurches from heatwave to heatwave, the message is clear: extreme heat is the new norm - so Australia needs to get "heat smart".

Rising extremes

In Australia the number of days per year over 35 degrees Celsius has increased and extreme temperatures have increased on average at 7 per cent per decade.

Very warm monthly maximum temperatures used to occur around 2 per cent of the time during the period 1951-1980. During 2001-2015, these happened more than 11 per cent of the time.

This trajectory of increased temperature extremes raises questions of how much heat can humans tolerate and still go about their daily business of commuting, managing domestic chores, working and keeping fit.

SOURCE




Richard Muller's "Berkeley Earth" at least mentions El Nino

And they also admit that temperatures dropped in the second half of 2016.

But there's still some very squishy language below if you know what is going on.  They say El Nino was "imposed on top of a long-term global warming trend that continues unabated".  How can something be imposed on a trend?  It can't.  You could impose an El Nino effect on another source of warming, such as an increase in CO2, but the pesky fact is that there was a complete stasis in CO2 levels during the whole of the El Nino period. There was NO  temperature rise traceable to anthropogenic global warming.  The "imposed" claim is bunk.

And, rather hilariously, note the proud boast that Arctic temperatures are "interpolated" in their dataset -- "guessed", in other words.  Their entire data body and claims derived from it are rubbish


2016 was the warmest year since humans began keeping records, by a wide margin. Global average temperatures were extremely hot in the first few months of the year, pushed up by a large El Nino event. Global surface temperatures dropped in the second half of 2016, yet still show a continuation of global warming. The global warming “pause”, which Berkeley Earth had always stressed was not statistically significant, now appears clearly to have been a temporary fluctuation.

Robert Rohde, Lead Scientist with Berkeley Earth, said “The record temperature in 2016 appears to come from a strong El Nino imposed on top of a long-term global warming trend that continues unabated.”

In addition, 2016 witnessed extraordinary warming in the Arctic. The way that temperatures are interpolated over the Arctic is now having a significant impact on global temperature measurements. Zeke Hausfather, Scientist at Berkeley Earth said, “The difference between 2015 and 2016 global temperatures is much larger in the Berkeley record than in records from NOAA or the UK’s Hadley Centre, since they do not include the Arctic Ocean and we do. The arctic has seen record warmth in the past few months, and excluding it leads to a notable underestimate of recent warming globally.”

Headlines that claim storms, droughts, floods, and temperature variability are increasing, are not based on normal scientific standards. We are likely to know better in the upcoming decades, but for now, the results that are most solidly established are that the temperature is increasing and that the increase is caused by human greenhouse emissions. It is certainly true that the impacts of global warming are still too subtle for most people to notice in their everyday lives.”

SOURCE




MIT climate scientist on `hottest year'

Dr. Richard Lindzen, the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at MIT and a member of the National Academy of Sciences ridiculed the media hyped claims that 2016 was the "hottest year" on record. Lindzen was on The Howie Carr Show on January 18 to discuss "global warming" and the latest science and the political motivations behind the movement.

"What happens if your body temp goes up a tenth of a degree, how much do you worry about that? To imply that a rise of temperature of a tenth of a degree is proof that the world is coming to an end has to take one back to the dark ages."

"They are talking about temperature data that is rather uncertain. How do you average? You have to make adjustments. That gives them an opening, you can always adjust it up to a quarter of a degree and you will notice that all of the adjustments that are frequently made, always make the temperature seem steeper. They lower the low, they increase the high. In this case (hottest year) they had to depress the high in 1998 to make this one (2016) look a little larger.

But when you are finished you are talking about 2/10ths of degree. No one can feel it.

"As long as you can get people excited as to whether it's a tenth of a degree warmer or cooler, then you don't have to think, you can assume everyone who is listening to you is an idiot," he added, noting that "the temperature of the last 20 years is way below what any of the models predicted."

As to to 2/10ths of degree or a tenth of a degree, nobody can really feel it, not even the New York Times with their immense sensitivity," Lindzen joked. He also noted that "sea level rise has been going on for 10,000 years, what's the big deal?"

Adjusting data: "The whole point is so crazy because the temperature is always going up or down a little. What is astonishing is that in the last 20 years it hasn't done much of anything. What they don't mention is there has been a big El Nino in 2016 and in recent months the temperature has been dropping back into a zero trend level."

"There is a really simple test. If your data is uncertain, there will be corrections and roughly speaking it will be 50/50, one way the other way. When they are all in one direction, you know something is fishy.

"The hysteria over this issue is truly bizarre. It depends on who you are. If you are interested in big government, this is, they hope this is the easy way to nationalize energy. If you are less attuned to these policy issues, I guess it gives you something to believe in. It's a religion.

How long will "global warming" movement last?

"It's got to come to an end. It's doing so much damage. I mean we are really getting to the point where it's trillions of dollars of wasted money."

"I am surprised it lasted this long. I thought in 1988, when I saw this, I thought `this can't last.' I was mistaken. Between 1988 and 1993, the budget for broadly speaking climate science, went from $300 million to about $3 billion.

SOURCE





Greenland Glaciers putting on weight

Or so the latest data from the Danish meteorological organization show.  The Danes take a close interest in Greenland because Greenland is under the Danish crown.  Check the purple line below.  Warmists usually love Greenland because you can at times see various changes there.  So how awkward that Greenland, like Australia, is not co-operating with their claims of global warming



SOURCE





Obama admin injects another $500M into global climate fund

The Obama administration has made a second $500 million payment into an international climate change adaptation fund, the State Department announced Tuesday.

With the announcement, the Obama administration has now spent $1 billion on the Green Climate Fund (GCF) despite broad GOP opposition to U.S. financing for the fund.

The fund is the driving force behind a United Nations' goal to raise $100 billion to help poor countries adapt to the changing climate and cut their greenhouse gas emissions.

Obama in 2014 pledged $3 billion for the program by 2020, but he couldn't get congressional Republicans to agree to the plan.
Congress never appropriated money for the GCF, but lawmakers didn't explicitly block the State Department from finding funding for the program elsewhere in its budget, which is what the Obama administration did to pay for the two $500 million payments.

"The GCF is the world's largest multilateral finance institution dedicated to advancing low-emission, climate-resilient development," State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement Tuesday.

"The GCF was created to help protect vulnerable populations and drive clean energy deployment, all with a special focus on engaging the private sector and mobilizing private capital."

President-elect Donald Trump opposes President Obama's climate work and has said he would "stop all payments of the United States tax dollars to U.N. global warming programs." Senior Republicans on Capitol Hill also oppose the funding, raising doubts about future U.S. payments to the GCF.

Democrats on Tuesday, though, praised the State Department's payment to the GCF.

"These funds will help countries mitigate their climate change impacts and adapt to the devastating droughts, floods, and other weather extremes we are already experiencing," Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said in a statement. "In helping to advance this global effort, it will serve our own national security interests."

"The Green Climate Fund is exactly the kind of international partnership we need to tackle this major challenge," Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) said.

"I thank President Obama for establishing America as a world leader on the frontlines of climate action and taking another major stride toward fulfilling America's $3 billion commitment to the fund."

SOURCE

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

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

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Thursday, January 19, 2017




Are there enough fossil fuels in the ground to do what Warmists predict?

I had my suspicions about this paper but it has been around for 6 months now so if it is a hoax, I think I would have heard of it by now. The claim is that there is not enough hydrocarbons in the ground to generate the volume of CO2 that would be needed to trigger global warming.  If true that is quite a body blow to Warmism.  Not that Warmists would care.  No facts matter to them.

The authors seem to have taken more or less at face value existing estimates of fossil fuel reserves but that is nuts. New oil and gas reserves are being proven up almost daily. So there is NO known upper bound to the amounts that are in the ground.  Nice try but no cigar


The implications of fossil fuel supply constraints on climate change projections: A supply-side analysis

Jianliang Wang et al.

Abstract

Climate projections are based on emission scenarios. The emission scenarios used by the IPCC and by mainstream climate scientists are largely derived from the predicted demand for fossil fuels, and in our view take insufficient consideration of the constrained emissions that are likely due to the depletion of these fuels. This paper, by contrast, takes a supply-side view of CO2 emission, and generates two supply-driven emission scenarios based on a comprehensive investigation of likely long-term pathways of fossil fuel production drawn from peer-reviewed literature published since 2000. The potential rapid increases in the supply of the non-conventional fossil fuels are also investigated. Climate projections calculated in this paper indicate that the future atmospheric CO2 concentration will not exceed 610 ppm in this century; and that the increase in global surface temperature will be lower than 2.6 °C compared to pre-industrial level even if there is a significant increase in the production of non-conventional fossil fuels. Our results indicate therefore that the IPCC’s climate projections overestimate the upper-bound of climate change. Furthermore, this paper shows that different production pathways of fossil fuels use, and different climate models, are the two main reasons for the significant differences in current literature on the topic.

SOURCE





All hail Donald Trump: slayer of the Great Green Blob

Middle America doesn’t believe in man-made climate change and it will believe it even less now

James Delingpole

Just before Christmas I popped over to Washington DC to test the waters of the Trump administration. I spoke to key members of his transition teams; I hung out with thinktankers, journalists, scientists, conservative activists; I wangled an invitation to a top-secret lunch hosted by card-carrying members of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy; I drank cocktails, lots of cocktails, from the Four Seasons in Georgetown to the new Trump Hotel in the Old Post Office; I went to that Americans for Tax Reform meeting that Grover Norquist hosts every Tuesday. And I came back feeling very positive indeed.

Why? The fact that I even have to ask this question in a conservative publication speaks volumes about anti-Trump prejudice, even from many right-wing commentators who ought to know better. To read some of my fellow scribes — no, scrub that, most of them — you’d imagine that the world would be a better place if instead of the Donald, the raddled, slippery, mendacious, corrupt, politically correct and hypocritical Hillary were about to be inaugurated as US president.

But they’re wrong. Trump is going to be the best US president since Ronald Reagan and for at least one of the same reasons: he was never the GOP establishment’s preferred candidate, which means he has the attitude, the independence and the leeway to be much more radical — and effective — than any of his rivals would have dared to be.

Nowhere will this become more evident than in the fields of energy and climate change. It’s true that there were other climate–sceptical presidential candidates, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio among them, but it’s unlikely that when push came to shove any Republican other than Trump would have had the will to take on the powerful and entrenched green establishment once in office.

Partly it’s down to temperament: Trump relishes confrontation and, unlike most conservative politicians, feels under no pressure to moderate his position on the environment lest he be perceived as nasty or uncaring. Partly it’s because as a property developer he has much personal experience of the way environmental red tape impedes business. Partly, as one admiring DC insider explained to me, it’s because he’s the first US president since Reagan who doesn’t identify with the ‘bicoastal urban elite’.

‘The Democrats have been waging a war on rural America for decades. And the Bushes didn’t do a damn thing to help them. Trump actually promised he would do something and rural America got that. These are his people and he gets their problem. If you dig up stuff, if you make stuff or you grow stuff, then Donald Trump has got your back.’

How does Trump mean to Make America Great Again? He spelled it out in May last year in a speech in North Dakota. As well as withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement, he would allow fracking on federal lands, ‘save’ the US coal industry, revoke environmental regulations like the ‘Waters of the US rule’ (a massive assault on property rights by the Environmental Protection Agency), revive the Keystone XL pipeline and put all future regulation to a simple test: ‘Is this good for the American worker?’ If it doesn’t pass this test, the rule will not be approved.

To sophisticated centrists this might come across as empty populist rhetoric; and to those on the green liberal-left as something worse: a scientifically illiterate, ideological recipe for unfettered capitalist greed and ecological disaster. In truth, though, it’s probably the most sensible, courageous and well-informed environmental policy plan articulated by any conservative leader anywhere in the world in decades. If that sounds like hyperbole, you can’t have understood the extent to which environmental policy has damaged the global economy in the past few decades. Obama famously boasted that electricity rates would ‘necessarily skyrocket’ under his rule. The very fact that he thought this a good thing shows just how out of touch the world’s governing elites had grown. Why would any sane person — unless presented with an overwhelmingly compelling reason — think it desirable to have their cost of living ramped up by government fiat?

To the ‘bicoastal urban elite’ the answer might have been a no-brainer: duh, climate change. But middle America doesn’t believe in that (not the man-made variety at any rate) and it’s likely to believe in it even less once Trump has had his wicked way with the various US government-affiliated institutions which have done so much to prop up the global warming scare story.

Take Nasa and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: both have been caught red-handed doctoring raw data to make 20th-century global warming look more dramatic, for reasons which probably have more to do with ideology than science. Trump simply won’t tolerate this. Nasa will likely be returned to its day job of exploring space, while NOAA and its climate data will be put in the hands of a sceptical scientist: someone, perhaps, like John Christy of the University of Alabama, Huntsville, who has long infuriated warmists by noting that the satellite records show much less warming than the (-rather patchy) surface temperature records do.

Until now, green propagandists have been able to point to their tame scientists at Nasa, NOAA, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Office of Science and Technology and so on, and say: ‘Look. All the experts agree…’ With this option off the table the repercussions will be enormous. I’d go so far as to say it’s the beginning of the end of the Green Blob.

Yes, I appreciate some of your squeamishness about Trump, and if you’re on the greenie liberal left or part of the smug elite whose nose was put out so badly by Brexit, then you’ve good reason to be terrified. Not otherwise, though. He’s going to be great.

SOURCE




CANADA: FOLLOWING THE LOGIC OF “PHASING OUT OIL SANDS”

At a town hall event in Peterborough, Ontario on Friday, January 13, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responded to a question concerning his Government’s recent decision to approve the expansion of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline by saying it was a matter of trying to balance economic and environmental concerns. He went on to say that, “We can’t shut down the oil sands tomorrow. We need to phase them out. We need to manage the transition off of our dependence on fossil fuels but it’s going to take time and in the meantime we have to manage that transition.”

One might be forgiven for wondering about the logic that would lead the Prime Minister of Canada to say that, as a matter of national policy, we should phase out one of the most important sources of economic and industrial development in the country, a source of literally tens of billions of dollars annually in government revenues, business and personal incomes, employment and export revenues. The case, one can only surmise, rests on accepting the thesis that humans are causing catastrophic global warming, that Canada’s actions will remove that threat, and that the commitments that Canada made at the December, 2015 Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP21) in Paris oblige the government to make massive reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Each of those points is highly questionable, but let us follow their logic to see where they lead. The COP21 Agreement contained no commitments with respect to emissions reduction targets. It contained only a loose political expression of support for collective action to keep global temperatures from rising more than 2.0 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels and specific commitments to file periodic reports on the nationally-determined actions that governments were taking to achieve that goal. Separately, the Government of Canada agreed to set targets – a 17% reduction from 2005 emission levels by 2020 and a 30% reduction from 2005 emission levels by 2030. Canada has not yet enunciated a goal for 2050, but the targets set to date are consistent with the view propounded by many environmental lobby groups that emissions in the industrialized countries should be reduced by 60 to 80% below 2005 levels by 2050.

Achieving major emissions reductions will be especially difficult given that normal economic growth would lead to their increase. Environment Canada, in its most recently published review of Canada’s GHG emissions trends in 2014, projected that, after declining from 736 megatonnes (Mt) of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2 eq) in 2005 to 699 Mt in 2012, emissions would grow to 727 Mt in 2020. The fastest growing source of emissions at the sectoral level is the upstream oil and gas industry, including both conventional and non-conventional (i.e. oil sands) sources.

Looking at the numbers, reducing emissions from the projected 2020 levels to the targeted ones would mean a reduction from 727 to 611 Mt, or 116 Mt; reducing emissions from projected 2020 levels (there are no authoritative projections of 2030 levels) by 2030 would mean a reduction from 727 to 515 Mt, or 212 Mt; and reducing emissions from projected 2020 levels by 2050 would mean reductions ranging from 433 Mt (60% target) to 580 Mt (80% target).

Environment Canada projects the emissions from all oil and gas production in Canada to be 204 Mt by 2020. That includes emissions from not only the oil sands but also the conventional oil and gas production in Alberta, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Ontario, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador and the territories. If that could be done by 2030, it would almost attain the national emissions reduction target for that year. It would not come even close to meeting the much more ambitious targets the environmental lobby seeks for 2050.

But why focus on oil and gas? The logic, one can only presume, arises not only from the fact that present emissions represent a large share of the Canadian total. It is also the fact that, comparatively speaking, the oil and gas upstream industry is considered emissions-intensive.

A great irony is that, viewed on a total fuel cycle (”wellhead to tailpipe”) basis, 80 to 85% of the GHG emissions associated with oil occur at the tailpipe, or point of combustion stage. Yes, it is the downstream use of fossil fuels that causes the most intensive emissions! So, which are some of the other emissions-intensive parts of the Canadian economy? Here’s a list:

Electricity Generation
Freight Transportation
Aviation
Metal and non-metal mining
Smelting and refining
Petrochemicals
Fertilizer production
Motor vehicle and parts manufacturing
Aluminum
Pulp and Paper
Iron and Steel
Cement

The fact is that governments will not be able to achieve the large emissions reduction now committed to or contemplated unless they address, cut back or “phase out” emissions in all these economic activities.

The next time Prime Minister Trudeau announces in Ontario that, in the national interest, we will have to phase out an emissions-intensive industry, maybe he should substitute “motor vehicle and parts manufacturing” for oil sands. It would only be logical.

SOURCE





'Green guzzler' power plant is blamed after 1,000 fish die at one of Britain's best-loved salmon and trout rivers

A supposedly 'green' power plant has been blamed for killing more than 1,000 fish on one of Britain's best-loved salmon and trout rivers.

Officials are investigating if a fault caused hundreds of thousands of gallons of toxic waste to be discharged from an anaerobic digester and into the picturesque River Teifi in West Wales, killing every single fish along an eight-mile stretch.

Two weeks ago The Mail on Sunday highlighted the growing risk to the environment posed by the 'green guzzlers', which convert slurry from dairy herds into methane.

They have been responsible for 12 serious pollution incidents since 2015, but the contamination of the River Teifi just before Christmas could be the worst yet, according to anglers and environmentalists.

Natural Resources Wales confirmed more than 1,000 fish carcasses had been counted following the spillage, and a source told The Mail on Sunday that investigators were focusing on an anaerobic digester in the area.

Local angler Steffan Jones said: 'I don't know what went wrong with the unit but clearly something did for so much effluent to have been discharged. 'This is absolutely tragic.'

The farmers who own the plant have not responded to requests for comment.

Critics of anaerobic digesters claim there is not enough slurry and waste, so thousands of tons of feed, including maize, is used to fuel the digesters as farmers chase massive Government subsidies.

SOURCE





The hypocrisy goes on:  Australian Green party big spenders on air travel

Greens leader Richard Di Natale and the party’s community ­services spokeswoman Rachel Siewert are among the top 10 spenders on taxpayer-funded flights despite loudly condemning excesses by Coalition and Labor politicians.

Senator Siewert claimed more expenses for domestic flights in the first half of 2016 than her fellow West Australians, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann.

Her travel spending was the fifth highest, while Senator Di Natale’s was 10th of the 226 members of both houses of parliament. Senator Siewert claimed $63,934 in travel expenses in six months while Senator Di Natale racked up $56,526.

The Greens leader has sought the moral high ground on expenses claims following the controversy over Health Minister Sussan Ley’s Gold Coast travel claims, and has called for a new national anti-corruption watchdog to identify and punish politicians rorting the system. Ms Ley, who was forced to stand aside from her portfolio on Monday pending an inquiry into her travel claims, could discover her fate as soon as today, with Malcolm Turnbull keen to bring the travel expenses debate to an end.

Senator Di Natale criss-crossed the country in the lead-up to the July 2 election while the long flight across the Nullabor means West Australian politicians generally have higher expense claims. However, Senator Siewert’s claims exceed those of many of her state counterparts, notably Ms Bishop ($51,212), Senator Cormann ($50,683), fellow Green Scott Ludlam ($46,692), and Assistant Health Minister Ken Wyatt ($46,353).

Her spending was only topped by three West Australians — Justice Minister Michael Keenan ($83,808), Social Services Minister Christian Porter ($77,469), Employment Minister Michaelia Cash ($73,550) — and Labor leader Bill Shorten ($71,182).

Senator Di Natale described the government’s commitment on Tuesday to implement long-promised changes to the parliamentary expense system within the next six months as “anaemic”. “What parliamentarians should recognise is that if they’re going to claim a workplace expense, then they should be working. It’s a pretty basic test,” he told the ABC.

Senator Di Natale told The Australian his flights and those of all the Greens were all work expenses. “They reflect the fact that we have some of the hardest-working senators in the whole parliament,” he said.

“We recognise that it is absolutely critical that expenses are only claimed when members of parliament are doing their jobs, which is why we support much stronger reform measures than those put forward by the government this week.”

A spokeswoman for Senator Siewert, who is overseas, said that as a member for Western Australia, she was required to travel on parliamentary business along the most expensive routes in the country.

“Her work as the Greens’ spokesman for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues often requires her to travel to the country’s most remote and isolated communities,” the senator’s spokeswoman said. Senator Siewert is also chairwoman of the community affairs reference committee and a member of other committees that require travel to attend hearings around Australia.

SOURCE

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

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

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Wednesday, January 18, 2017



Greenie climate models fail on a regional scale too

Are General Circulation Models Ready for Operational Streamflow Forecasting for Water Management in the Ganges and Brahmaputra River Basins?

Safat Sikder, et al.

Abstract

This study asks the question of whether GCMs are ready to be operationalized for streamflow forecasting in South Asian river basins, and if so, at what temporal scales and for which water management decisions are they likely to be relevant? The authors focused on the Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Meghna basins for which there is a gridded hydrologic model calibrated for the 2002–10 period. The North American Multimodel Ensemble (NMME) suite of eight GCM hindcasts was applied to generate precipitation forecasts for each month of the 1982–2012 (30 year) period at up to 6 months of lead time, which were then downscaled according to the bias-corrected statistical downscaling (BCSD) procedure to daily time steps. A global retrospective forcing dataset was used for this downscaling procedure. The study clearly revealed that a regionally consistent forcing for BCSD, which is currently unavailable for the region, is one of the primary conditions to realize reasonable skill in streamflow forecasting. In terms of relative RMSE (normalized by reference flow obtained from the global retrospective forcings used in downscaling), streamflow forecast uncertainty (RMSE) was found to be 38%–50% at monthly scale and 22%–35% at seasonal (3 monthly) scale. The Ganges River (regulated) experienced higher uncertainty than the Brahmaputra River (unregulated). In terms of anomaly correlation coefficient (ACC), the streamflow forecasting at seasonal (3 monthly) scale was found to have less uncertainty (less than 0.3) than at monthly scale (less than 0.25). The forecast skill in the Brahmaputra basin showed more improvement when the time horizon was aggregated from monthly to seasonal than the Ganges basin. Finally, the skill assessment for the individual seasons revealed that the flow forecasting using NMME data had less uncertainty during monsoon season (July–September) in the Brahmaputra basin and in postmonsoon season (October–December) in the Ganges basin. Overall, the study indicated that GCMs can have value for management decisions only at seasonal or annual water balance applications at best if appropriate historical forcings are used in downscaling. The take-home message of this study is that GCMs are not yet ready for prime-time operationalization for a wide variety of multiscale water management decisions for the Ganges and Brahmaputra River basins.

SOURCE





Safe and healthy (not pristine) air

Federal air quality rules must be based on science – not used to stifle energy and industry

Paul Driessen

It’s called the Clean Air Act, but it was never intended to ensure pure, pristine air. Congress wanted America to have safe, healthy air, and regulations based on solid scientific and medical studies.

The law says costs cannot be considered where human health and safety are actually at stake. But legislators also understood that efforts to bring emissions to zero are unnecessary, technologically impossible, extremely expensive, harmful to electricity generation, factory output, job creation and retention, and living standards – and thus likely to reduce human health, wellbeing and longevity.

The Obama Environmental Protection Agency ignored these facts and employed highly dubious analyses to justify stringent new emission standards that impose enormous costs for no health benefits. The new Congress and Trump Administration must now restore integrity, rigor and balance to the process.

A good place to begin is with EPA’s rules for fine particulates: PM2.5, soot particles smaller than 2.5 microns (a fraction of the size of pollen and mold spores). EPA claims reducing PM2.5 emissions from power plants, factories, refineries, petrochemical plants, cars, light trucks, and diesel-powered vehicles and heavy equipment will save countless lives. In fact, it says, nearly all the (supposed) benefits from its Clean Power Plan and other recent rules are actually “ancillary benefits” from reducing PM2.5 levels.

Premature mortality is “associated with” fine particle pollution “at the lowest levels measured,” Obama EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy has said. “There is no level at which premature death does not occur.” If we could further reduce particulate pollution, previous Obama EPA chief Lisa Jackson told Congress, it would be like “finding a cure for cancer” – hundreds of thousands of lives saved.

These assertions have no basis in reality. Even EPA’s own studies show they are predicated on two things: epidemiological analyses that count deaths within normal variations in death rates and attribute them to soot emissions; and experiments that unethically exposed humans to PM2.5 concentrations at levels which EPA says cause cardiovascular and respiratory disease, cancer and people “dying sooner than they should.”

The agency’s air pollution epidemiological studies are compromised by uncontrollable “confounding factors.” No data exist on actual individual exposure levels, so researchers cannot reliably attribute specific deaths to particulates, emergency room physician John Dunn explains. Moreover, PM2.5 particles emitted by vehicles, power plants and factories cannot be separated from particles from volcanoes, forest fires, construction projects, dust storms, agricultural activities, and even cigarettes that send hundreds of times more tiny particles into lungs than what EPA says is lethal if they come from sources it regulates.

Nor does a death certificate determine whether a death was caused by airborne particles – or by viruses, bacteria, dietary and exercise habits, obesity, smoking, diabetes, cold weather or countless other factors.

If particulates are a short-term cause of death, there should be a clear association between bad air and deaths within clusters of similar areas, and effects should be consistent across clusters, notes statistician Stan Young in discussing causation versus association.  However, a recent re-analysis of 1969-1974 data from 533 US counties confirmed the previous conclusion: improved air quality did not reduce mortality.

Similarly, in 2002, Canadian forest fires sent massive amounts of smoke (composed largely of PM2.5 particles) into Boston and New York City. EPA doctrine says deaths should have shot up, but they did not. 2008 forest fires in California engulfed Los Angeles in smoke and PM2.5 soot, but again deaths did not increase. In fact, they were below normal as soot levels soared during the fires.

EPA has not proposed a plausible medical explanation to support its claim that super-tiny particles cause multiple diseases and kill people by getting into their lungs or bloodstreams. It just counts deaths during arbitrarily chosen intervals of days, and says differences in the number dying in relation to air pollution levels represents “premature” deaths – rather than the fact that more people die on some days than others.

People certainly did die during some atmospheric inversions that trapped large quantities of airborne chemicals in urban areas like London in 1952. However those pollutants have been dramatically reduced in America’s air. For example, since 1970 US cars have reduced tailpipe pollutants by 99% and coal-fired power plants have eliminated over 90% of their particulate, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions.

EPA thus sponsored 20 years of lab experiments that exposed human test subjects to high air pollution levels. That raises legal, ethical and scientific problems. US laws, the Nuremberg Code, the Helsinki Accords and EPA Rule 1000.17 make it unethical or illegal to conduct toxicity experiments on humans.

In addition, researchers failed to advise volunteers that EPA claims the pollution they were going to breathe is toxic, carcinogenic and deadly. Moreover, many of the human guinea pigs were elderly, asthmatics, diabetics, people with heart disease and even children – the very people EPA claims are at greatest risk and most susceptible to getting sick or dying from the pollutants volunteers would breathe.

Finally, test subjects were exposed to eight, thirty or even sixty times more particulates per volume of inhaled air – for varying periods of time: up to two hours – than they would breathe outdoors during routine physical activities. And yet, they did not get seriously ill or die. That raises important questions:

* If PM2.5 particulates are dangerous or lethal when emitted by factories or vehicles, and there is no safe threshold – how can those same pollutants be harmless to people who were intentionally administered pollution many times higher, and for longer periods, than they would encounter in their daily lives? Why didn’t those test subjects have seizures, develop lung, cardiac or cancer problems, or die?

* If they did not, how can EPA say there is no safe level, all PM2.5 particulates are toxic, its regulations are saving countless lives, and regulatory benefits vastly outweigh their multi-billion-dollar annual costs?

Simply put, there is no basis for these claims – or for the Obama EPA’s war on fossil fuels and factories.

America’s air is healthy and safe. EPA’s PM2.5 emission standards and regulations are clearly based on bald assertions, rank conjecture, epidemiological studies that provide no scientific support for the agency, and human testing that actually proves small particulates pose no toxic or lethal risk to risk to human health, even at levels dozens of time higher than what EPA claims are dangerous or lethal in outdoor air.

Any computer models based on these assertions and studies are thus garbage in-garbage out game playing that provide no valid basis for claims about lives saved or regulatory benefits exceeding costs.

(A thorough analysis of this untenable situation can be found in JunkScience.com director Steve Milloy’s new book, Scare Pollution: Why and how to fix the EPA, which documents the ways EPA uses deceptive tactics to frighten people into believing the air they breathe is likely to sicken or kill them.)

The incoming Trump EPA needs to conduct its own internal review of existing agency PM2.5 claims, documents, emission levels and regulations – and fund an independent review by respected medical experts – to determine whether they are based on honest, replicable science. If they are not, everything based on the fraudulent PM2.5 pollution narrative should be subjected to a total do-over.

While all that is being done, EPA should suspend implementation of all policies, guidelines and rules based on the scheme. It must also inform legislators, journalists and citizens about the facts – and clearly and vigorously address inevitable environmentalist objections and denunciations.

The new EPA and Congress should also require that all past, current and future researchers make their raw data and methodologies available for outside peer review. They should stop funding activist groups that have engaged in collusive lawsuits or rubberstamped EPA actions, including the American Lung Association. Last, they should fully reform the agency’s supervisory panels, board of scientific counselors and Clean Air Act Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) – and repopulate them with experts who do not have government grant or other conflicts, and will bring integrity and rigor to the scientific process.

These steps will help make EPA credible and accountable, and its actions based on solid science.

Via email





In EPA rebuke, judge orders quick evaluation on coal jobs

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A judge has ordered federal regulators to quickly evaluate how many power plant and coal mining jobs are lost because of air pollution regulations.

U.S. District Judge John Preston Bailey in Wheeling made the ruling after reviewing a response from outgoing U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy.

McCarthy had responded to the judge’s previous order in a lawsuit brought against her by Murray Energy Corp. that the EPA must start doing an analysis that it hadn’t done in decades.

According to Wednesday’s order, McCarthy asserted it would take the agency up to two years to devise a methodology to use to try to comply with the earlier ruling.

“This response is wholly insufficient, unacceptable, and unnecessary,” Bailey wrote.

The judge said the EPA is required by law to analyze the economic impact on a continuing basis when enforcing the Clean Air Act and McCarthy’s response “evidences the continued hostility on the part of the EPA to acceptance of the mission established by Congress.”

Bailey ordered the EPA to identify facilities harmed by the regulations during the Obama presidency by July 1. That includes identifying facilities at risk of closure or reductions in employment.

The EPA had contended that analyzing job loss won’t change global energy trends.

The judge also set a Dec. 31 deadline for the EPA to provide documentation on how it is continuously evaluating the loss and shifts in employment that may result from administration and enforcement of the Clean Air Act.

The EPA said it was reviewing the ruling, first reported by the Wheeling Intelligencer and News-Register. A Murray Energy spokesman didn’t immediately offer comment.

Murray Energy and other coal companies have blamed thousands of layoffs this decade on President Barack Obama’s anti-global-warming push that imposes limits on carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants. The U.S. Supreme Court has delayed implementation of Obama’s Clean Power Plan until legal challenges are resolved.

West Virginia’s economy is reliant on coal mining and gets 96 percent of its electricity from coal-fired plants.

McCarthy has said no administration has interpreted federal law to require job impact analysis for rulemaking since 1977. She said the most that the EPA does is “conduct proactive analysis of the employment effects of our rulemaking actions,” but that has not included investigating power plant and mine closures and worker dislocations on an ongoing basis, according to the order.

Bailey wrote that the EPA can recommend amendments to Congress if it feels strongly enough.

“EPA does not get to decide whether compliance with (the law) is good policy, or would lead to too many difficulties for the agency,” Bailey wrote. “It is time for the EPA to recognize that Congress makes the law, and EPA must not only enforce the law, it must obey it.”

President-elect Donald Trump, who has selected Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the EPA, has promised to overturn many of the EPA’s regulations on coal.

President-elect Donald Trump’s EPA nominee, Scott Pruitt, has repeatedly sued the EPA since becoming Oklahoma’s attorney general in 2011, including joining with other Republican attorneys general in opposing the Clean Power Plan.

SOURCE





Scrutinizing Sen. Carper's Questions for EPA Nominee Pruitt

Yesterday, The Hill’s Timothy Cama reported that Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, is unwilling to hold a confirmation hearing on President-elect Trump’s choice for Environmental Protection Agency administrator until the nominee, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, answers a seven-page questionnaire.

Below, I’ve answered 13 representative questions, in no particular order. A few of Carper’s questions don’t make a lick of sense (see questions 2, 3, 10). Others were based on factual inaccuracies or otherwise demonstrate the Senator’s ignorance of how the EPA works (see questions 8, 12, and 13). Some questions served to demonstrate the excesses of the EPA during the Obama era (see questions 9 and 11). Finally, at least one of his questions serves no purpose other than to gum up the nomination process (see question 7).

Question #1: Do you agree with this statement from NASA: “97% or more of actively publishing climate scientists agree: Climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities.”? If not, please explain why you do not agree.

Response #1: According to Professor Richard Tol, who has been involved with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change since 1994, the “97% consensus” claim is a “bogus” number that is based on a statistical manipulation. But assuming for the sake of argument that it’s true, the statement is of minimal utility for policymaking at the EPA. For starters, it tells us nothing about how a changing climate influences human well-being, which must be the primary metric from a policymaking standpoint. In fact, there is great uncertainty regarding the magnitude and effect of projected climate change. Finally, the statement tells us nothing about costs and feasibility of greenhouse gas controls, which must be considered under the Clean Air Act. As such, the nominee’s agreement or disagreement with the statement is immaterial.

Question #2: What is your definition of sound science?

Response #2: Carper is asking Pruitt to define the modifier “sound,” which is inherently subjective. Personally, I believe that there must be at least a 98% consensus before science is “sound”; a 97% consensus is insufficient. But seriously, this question is impossibly imprecise. It’s like asking someone to define the color blue.

Question #3: Prior to your nomination, how have you acquired scientific information relevant to the missions of the EPA? And since your nomination?

Response #3: Again, this is a strangely imprecise question. Does it count when Pruitt watches Shark Week with his kids? I assume Pruitt processes “scientific information” constantly, in addition to “legal information” and “family information” and “sports information.”

Question #4: Please list all undergraduate and postgraduate science courses that you have taken. Please describe any other science education that you have completed over the years beyond high school.

Response #4: Is this some sort of litmus test? If so, does this mean that Janet McCabe, the head of EPA’s Office of Air & Radiation—which is the most powerful public health regulatory body at EPA—is unfit for the job? According to her bio, she went to Harvard Law School and then worked as an Assistant Attorney General in Massachusetts, which is a very similar background to Pruitt. In a similar vein, does Al Gore’s science-free tertiary education render him unfit to head the EPA?

Question #5: What degree of scientific certainty should the EPA have about a potential health or environmental threat before acting to protect people from that threat?

Response #5: Of course, the answer depends on the statutory provision at question. The EPA only exists to the extent it has been created by Congress through organic laws that empower the agency with its authorities. So the necessary degree of scientific certainty, and whether or not costs factor into policymaking decisions, are determined by the law. I suspect it is Pruitt’s intention as EPA head to follow the law, unlike the current administration, which has expansively interpreted the law so as to grow the agency’s authority at the expense of Congress and the states.

Question #6: Please provide a list of all financial contributors to your attorney general and state senate campaigns, including their total donations and affiliations.

Response #6: I presume the silly logic behind this question is that Pruitt has been bought. Does this mean that Obama was bought by “Big Oil” when he took $900,000 from them in 2008? Better yet, let me see a list of all financial contributors to your campaigns, Senator Carper.

Question #7: Please provide a list of all the cases, briefs and other legal actions that your office has filed while you have served as attorney general.

Response #7: This looks suspiciously like a tactic to bog down the nomination process. After all, why would Carper want the non-environmental “cases, briefs, and other legal actions” filed by the Oklahoma Attorney General? After all, we’re talking about the nominee for the Environmental Protection Agency, and Sen. Carper is the ranking member of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee. Why would Sen. Carper want documents relating to larceny or murder? This would likely entail hundreds of thousands of pages, none of which have anything to do with environmental policy. Does that make sense?

Question #8: Every year during your tenure as Oklahoma Attorney General, the American Lung Association gave Oklahoma counties a failing grade for not meeting ozone air pollution health standards. In fact, your home town of Tulsa is ranked 18th out of 228 metropolitan areas for high alert ozone days. Are you concerned about the impacts of soot and smog pollution on Oklahoma citizens? What efforts have you undertaken as Oklahoma Attorney General to protect Oklahomans from soot and smog pollution?

Response #8: EPA is required to set ambient air quality standards for smog and soot at a level that is “requisite to protect public health” with an “adequate margin of safety.” That is, national standards have to be beyond what is necessary to protect public health. According to the EPA, no counties in Oklahoma fail to attain these stringent health standards. So I don’t have any idea what the American Lung Association is talking about. I should note that the accuracy of ALA’s annual air quality grades was recently challenged by Colorado air quality officials.

Question #9: In your joint brief against the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, it stated “human exposure to methylmercury from coal-fired electric generating units is exceedingly small.” What is the scientific basis for this statement?

Response #9: The scientific basis for this statement is the EPA, according to which it was “necessary and proper” to regulate mercury from power plants in order to protect a putative population of pregnant subsistence fisherwomen who during their pregnancies eat more than 200 pounds of self-caught or family-caught fish from exclusively the top ten percent most polluted bodies of fresh inland water, despite all of the signs that say “DO NOT EAT FISH FROM THIS RIVER IF YOU ARE PREGNANT.” I don’t believe these women exist, and EPA did not provide any examples. Instead, they were modeled to exist. While the rule’s “benefits” are indeed “exceedingly small,” its costs--$10 billion annually—are exorbitant.

Question #10: Who serves as your scientific advisor for climate change related issues during your time as attorney general? Please provide their name, their title and when they served as your science advisor.

Response #10: This is a very silly question. Why would the Oklahoma Attorney General have a climate change science advisor? Oklahoma is litigating one case related to climate change—should it have a discrete science advisory for each case it undertakes? What role would such a climate science advisor play? I fail to see how interpreting the limits of EPA’s statutory authority under the Clean Air Act requires knowledge of climate science.

Question #11: In 2013, you argued that the EPA’s decision to impose a Federal Implementation Plan on Oklahoma to address Regional Haze would cost more than $1 billion over 5 years. It is three years later. Do you still agree with this cost assessment? If not, why not?

Response #11: The $1 billion referred to the cost of four sulfur-dioxide scrubbers at four coal-fired power plants operated by the Oklahoma Gas & Electric. Indeed, the primary justification for EPA’s federal plan was that the agency disagreed with the state’s cost estimate of what the scrubbers would cost. In 2014, the utility proposed a $1.1 billion plan for the 4 scrubber retrofits, but the plan was rejected by state regulators. As a result, the utility re-submitted a different plan to spend $500 million on 2 scrubbers, and to spend about $70 million on converting the other two coal-fired power plants to gas-fired plants. Due to these changes, the current cost of the EPA federal plan is about $570 million.

However, the actual costs of the scrubbers aligns with what Oklahoma had estimated—i.e., the basis for EPA’s federal plan was disproved. More importantly, the “benefits” of the rule are literally imperceptible to the human eye. Thus, EPA’s takeover of the Oklahoma Regional Haze program demonstrates much that was wrong with the Obama-era EPA.

After the state of Oklahoma spent countless hours and resources putting together a visibility strategy, EPA rejected the state plan and then imposed a federal plan which cost $570 million more in order to achieve a visibility “improvement” that is literally invisible. Afterwards, events demonstrated that Oklahoma had been right all along.

Question #12: As attorney general, what types of environmental justice cases have you pursued? Please provide a list of cases and outcomes.

Response #12: I can’t find any evidence that Obama’s EPA brought a single environmental justice case. Given that environmental justice is a federal concept, and that EPA hasn’t brought any such cases during Obama’s tenure, I don’t understand why the Attorney General of Oklahoma would have done so.

Question #13: Would you explain your recent challenges to EPA’s finding that it is appropriate and necessary to regulate the emissions of carbon dioxide and hazardous air pollutants from power plants?

Response #13: This question gets the Clean Air Act wrong. Along with more than 20 other states in addition to Oklahoma, Pruitt did indeed challenge EPA’s determination that it was “appropriate and necessary” to regulate the emissions of hazardous air pollutants from power plants. He did so based on the EPA’s own science, as I explain in Response #9. Almost two years ago, the Supreme Court sided with Pruitt and the other challengers in determining that EPA was required to take costs into account when it rendered this “appropriate and necessary” determination.

However, contrary to Sen. Carper’s query, the EPA never issued a finding that it is “appropriate and necessary” to regulate greenhouse gases from power plants. Instead, EPA issued a determination at the end of 2009 that tailpipe emissions of greenhouse gases from cars and vehicles “endangered” the environment. This was the determination that Pruitt unsuccessfully challenged based, inter alia, on the argument that the structure and design of the Clean Air Act strongly suggests that it was not intended to regulate greenhouse gases.

SOURCE






Australia: Unhinged electricity policy of the Leftist Queensland government

Everyone remembers the slogan: Queensland — beautiful one day, perfect the next. I have to inform you there has been an update: Queensland — beautiful one day, insane the next.

The idea that the state could achieve a target of 50 per cent of electricity generated by renewable energy by 2030 is bizarre, unachievable and mischievous — in a word, it is insane. And it is not just because such a target would drive up electricity prices for households and businesses to the high levels of South Australia — probably higher. It also would destroy the value of most of the electricity assets held by the Queensland government. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.

Given Queensland’s extreme level of government debt, there is no doubt that, in due course, most of the government-owned cor­porations will be sold, particularly if the cost of servicing the debt were to escalate. The tragedy is that it is likely the value of most of these assets will have fallen through the floor by then.

In the meantime, the flow of dividends that the government is relying on to create the appearance of fiscal rectitude will dry up, even if the present unconventional directive of ordering a payout ratio of 100 per cent of profits of the government-owned corporations continues.

An important question is: why would the Palaszczuk government opt for such an economically harmful and foolish policy? We should not forget that Queensland has the lowest percentage of electricity generated by renewable energy — at just more than 4 per cent.

So the policy involves an increase of 46 percentage points in the penetration of renewable energy as a source of electricity generation in the space of 13 years. Pull the other one.

To provide cover for this madcap policy, the Queensland government appointed a “renewable energy expert panel” to provide a veneer of credibility to the feasibility of the target.

With carefully chosen panel members, the draft report — unsurprisingly — concluded that there were no problems with reaching the target and that electricity costs to households and businesses in Queensland would probably stay steady. Again, pull the other one, but I am running out of other ones.

We should just take a look at the figures. There will need to be between 4000 megawatts to 5500MW of new large-scale renewable energy capacity between 2020 and 2030, something that has not even been achieved for Australia as a whole across the same period. The consensus view is that 1500MW of additional renewable energy a year is the top of the range for Australia and Queensland is only 15 per cent odd of that total.

And don’t you just love the prediction of the panel that electricity prices will remain steady for households and business in Queensland as a result of the government’s bold, go-it-alone policy? The background to this, as noted by the Queensland Productivity Commission, is that “since 2007, Australian residential retail electricity prices have increased faster than any other OECD country and Queensland prices have increased faster than any other state or territory”.

Mind you, it is clear why the Palaszczuk government didn’t simply ask the Queensland Productivity Commission to analyse the feasibility of the 50 per cent state renewable energy target. That would be because it wouldn’t be seen as “reliable”, having made the wholly rational suggestion last year that the state government withdraw the generous and unjustified subsidies to households with solar panels on their roofs.

Premier Annastacia Palasz­czuk was not having a bar of that idea. How could she continue to conflate small-scale solar panels with large-scale renewable energy, thereby buttressing the support of the public (well, the better-heeled part of the public that can afford solar panels) for anything called renewable energy? If X is good, 2X must be better and 12X must be a blast. Continuing to subsidise households with solar panels is part of the political game, hang other electricity users.

So what does that “independent” panel conclude about the impact of the 50 per cent renewables energy target on electricity pricing? The answer is “broadly cost neutral to electricity consumers where the cost of funding the policy action is recovered through electricity market mechanisms”. (This is code for: we could always skin taxpayers or ask Canberra to chip in.)

But here’s the rub: “This occurs as a result of increased renewable generation placing downward pressure on wholesale electricity prices, which is projected in the modelling to offset the payments to renewables.”

Mind you, the point is added that “the pricing outcome is not guaranteed and could differ, for example, if existing generation capacity is withdrawn from the market, especially coal-fired generation”.

Think about this. What the panel is saying is: if existing generators, which are owned by the government in Queensland, are driven out of the market, which is likely because of the renewables energy target — see the South Australian and Victorian cases as live examples — then prices will rise. And the capital value of these withdrawn government-owned generators will be close to zero, having probably experienced years of underinvestment in maintenance.

This leaves the question: why would the Queensland government decide on such a dimwitted, self-defeating and economically damaging policy position?

In keeping with the rule of following the money, it is clear that the lobbying efforts of the clean energy rent-seekers have been directed at the Queensland government, in particular.

After all, the large energy providers generally have a foot in both camps — conventional electricity generation plus renewable energy assets.

But they don’t stand to lose anything in Queensland by virtue of the astronomical state renewable energy target because the conventional electricity generation assets are all owned by the government. If these generators are driven out of business, it’s a big plus for them, not a negative.

Silly estimates of the gains in employment and billions of dollars of investment, mainly in the regions, associated with renewable energy make gormless politicians simply salivate. The sad thing is that it will be lose-lose for Queenslanders down the track.

The challenge for federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg is to convince state governments to junk their vacuous, go-it-alone renewable energy targets that will lead to even higher electricity ­prices and further threaten the reliability of the grid.

SOURCE

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

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

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Tuesday, January 17, 2017



Vatican Invites ‘Population Bomb’ Hoaxer Paul Ehrlich to Address Biodiversity Conference

The Vatican has invited the most notorious population alarmist in recent history to speak at an upcoming Vatican-run conference titled ‘Biological Extinction.”

The conference, sponsored jointly by the Pontifical Academy of Science and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, will address issues of biodiversity, “great extinctions” of history, population and demographics.

Dr. Paul R. Ehrlich—who has defended mass sterilization, sex-selective abortion and infanticide—will speak on “Causes and Pathways of Biodiversity Losses: Consumption Preferences, Population Numbers, Technology, Ecosystem Productivity.”

To allow women to have as many children as they want, Ehrlich has said, is like letting people “throw as much of their garbage into their neighbor’s backyard as they want.”

Ehrlich became famous through the publication of his 1968 doomsday bestseller, The Population Bomb, which generated mass hysteria over the future of the world and the earth’s ability to sustain human life.

In the book, Ehrlich launched a series of frightening predictions that turned out to be spectacularly wrong, creating the myth of unsustainable population growth.

He prophesied that hundreds of millions would starve to death in the 1970s (and that 65 million of them would be Americans), that already-overpopulated India was doomed, and that odds were fair that “England will not exist in the year 2000.”

Ehrlich concluded that “sometime in the next 15 years, the end will come,” meaning “an utter breakdown of the capacity of the planet to support humanity.”

Mankind stood on the brink of Armageddon, the book proposed, because there was no way to feed the exponentially increasing world population. The opening line set the tone for the whole work: “The battle to feed all of humanity is over.”

Despite Ehrlich’s utter failure to predict humanity’s ability to feed itself, his theories will be dusted off and re-proposed in the Vatican in late February.

In its brochure for the upcoming workshop, the Vatican asserts in Ehrlichian doomspeak that “Earth cannot sustain” our desire for “enhanced consumption.”

Humanity is presently using about 156 percent of “the Earth’s sustainable capacity” every year, the text contends, and it is therefore essential to address “the question whether the Earth system is able to support the demands that humanity has been making on it” and “how global inequality and poverty relate to that.”

The conference will also feature a speaker from an environmental advocacy group called the Global Footprint Network (GFN), which each year calculates the day when the year’s available resources supposedly run out and mankind begins overconsuming nature.

“We use more ecological resources and services than nature can regenerate through overfishing, overharvesting forests and emitting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than forests can sequester,” the group exclaims on its website.

“On August 8, 2016, we will have used as much from nature as our planet can renew in the whole year,” GFN announced last summer.

In their brochure, the Pontifical Academies make the counterintuitive claim that biodiversity means “everything” for the human race, but then proceed to acknowledge that only 103 species of plants out of an estimated 425,000 species produce about 90 percent of our food worldwide. Moreover, just three kinds of grain, maize, rice, and wheat, produce about 60 percent of the total, the text notes.

Since none of these species are under any danger of extinction, one wonders how biodiversity can mean “everything” for humanity.

Just why the Vatican would wish to showcase the purveyor of debunked, apocalyptic theories is anybody’s guess, but it certainly cannot bode well for the relationship between faith and science.

SOURCE





Where's that food shortage Warmists are always predicting?

A lot of grain silos are so full there is no room for more.  Many grains are in glut (oversupply), driving the prices down -- and causing farmers to switch to other crops

United States farmers have planted their smallest winter wheat crop in 108 years, according to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Its monthly World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) revealed winter wheat plantings were down 1.5 million hectares to just over 13 million hectares.

The report also contained projections of cuts to US and global soybean production as well as lower-than-expected ending stocks, which sent Chicago Board of Trade March soybean contracts soaring to a three and a half week high.

The USDA's latest report echoes similar reports from global agencies detailing the globe's enormous stocks of grain, with wheat stocks tipped to reach levels not seen in three decades.

"Global wheat supplies for 2016/17 are raised 1.3 million tonnes on a production increase that is only partially offset by lower beginning stocks," the report said.

"The largest increases are for Argentina, Russia and the European Union."

The cuts to soybean production and wheat plantings reflect farmers' moves to plant higher value crops during a period of major over-supply, according to Chicago trader and PRICE Futures Group vice-president Jack Scoville.

"I think a lot of producers are very unhappy with the wheat price here in the United States.

"They're looking for alternatives, and given where the reductions are out in the great plains, I'm sure we're going to hear about more cotton in the coming growing season, this US summer, and also maybe some more soybeans and perhaps a little bit more sorghum."

Mr Scoville said despite a good session on the CBOT, wheat, corn and soybean prices were all trading near four or five year lows.

"That's creating quite a problem for producers, they really need more money than that."

SOURCE





Global Temperature Trend Propaganda Video: Who Needs Peer Review?

Ronald Bailey

I repeat, once again, that I believe that the balance of the evidence suggests that man-made global warming could become a significant problem for humanity as this century unfolds. OK, that is now out of the way. So let's turn to a sleazy attempt by some climate scientists (activists?) to undercut scientific findings by other researchers that call into question their assertions about global temperature trends.

University of Alabama at Huntsville climate scientists John Christy and Roy Spencer have been reporting data from NOAA satellites that measure the temperature of the mid-troposphere since 1979. Their data show that global average temperature has been essentially flat for the past 18 years. This is very inconvenient for rival researchers whose climate models have projected that significant warming should have occurred during this period as humans continue to burn more fossil fuels and load up the atmosphere with global-warming carbon dioxide. In addition, there is a significant mismatch between the surface temperature data sets that show higher rates of warming than do the satellite data.

So what to do? What good scientists would do is try to reconcile the datasets and debate the issues in the scientific journals. Well, that's messy, slow, and the results are not pre-determined. So what a trio of climate scientists - Michael Mann, Kevin Trenberth, and Ben Santer - have evidently decided to do is participate in a video project funded by an climate activist foundation whose chief aim is to cast doubt on the satellite data.

Why now? Because various government agencies are shortly going to declare that 2015 is the warmest year ever in the historical surface temperature records. The climate scientists in the video evidently fear that "climate deniers" will dismiss these dire declarations by pointing to the satellite data which show a considerably slower rate of warming. Solution: Deny data that contradicts their preferred narrative. This is not science!

Over at Breitbart, Christy responds to the video:

There are too many problems with the video on which to comment, but here are a few.

First, the satellite problems mentioned here were dealt with 10 to 20 years ago. Second, the main product we use now for greenhouse model validation is the temperature of the Mid-Troposphere (TMT) which was not erroneously impacted by these problems.

The vertical “fall” and east-west “drift” of the spacecraft are two aspects of the same phenomenon – orbital decay.

The real confirmation bias brought up by these folks to smear us is held by them.  They are the ones ignoring information to suit their world view.  Do they ever say that, unlike the surface data, the satellite datasets can be checked by a completely independent system – balloons? Do they ever say that one of the main corrections for time-of-day (east-west) drift is to remove spurious WARMING after 2000?  Do they ever say that the important adjustment to address the variations caused by solar-shadowing effects on the spacecraft is to remove a spurious WARMING?  Do they ever say that the adjustments were within the margin of error?

In addition, another group, Remote Sensing Systems, established explicitly to independently evaluate the satellite temperature data finds the same overal temperature trend as the folks at the University of Alabama. See Christy's version of the mismatch between model projections and satellite and weather balloon temperature trends below.



If these researchers have any real arguments showing that the satellite data are wrong, the place to prove that is in the peer-reviewed scientific literature - not a propaganda video.

SOURCE




Venezia ghiacciata per il freddo. Prima volta nella storia (Venice canals freeze for the "1st time in history")



Nelle ultime settimana l’Italia è stata invasa da freddo e neve, persino al sud si sono verificate abbondanti nevicate. Ma questo inizio 2017 verrà ricordato soprattutto per un evento che non ha precedenti nella storia. La laguna e alcuni canali di Venezia si sono completamente congelati [The lagoon and some canals of Venice are completely frozen], l’acqua è diventata ghiaccio e si prevede che questo “congelamento” duri ancora per un paio di giorni. Venezia è solita ad abbondanti nevicate durante l’inverno, tuttavia le basse temperature, insieme a una particolare umidità, hanno creato un totale congelamento dei canali.

I turisti, e anche gli abitanti, sono tanto sorpresi quanto affascinati. Magari dovranno rinunciare a qualche giro in gondola nei canali più grandi (la maggior parte di essi è comunque navigabile) ma lo spettacolo a cui stanno assistendo non ha precedenti. La bassa profondità delle acque e la loro limpidezza ha fatto in modo che il ghiaccio sia dotato di una luminosità incredibile, specie in alcuni punti più centrali della città. Esso appare quasi azzurro con tinte biancastre, e particolarmente lucente. Il meteorologo, Tenente Colonnello Giovanni Piastrucci, ha spiegato che il fenomeno è dovuto alle proprietà igroscopiche delle acque veneziane, che insieme alla temperatura sotto lo zero, creano uno strano effetto di rifrazione dei raggi luminosi.

SOURCE

Whoops! The above pic is a photoshop.  The canals did ice up in 2012 however.  The pic below is from Feb. 6, 2012






Australian energy bills soar in shift from coal power stations

Electricity companies have begun hiking consumer prices around the country, blaming the closure of coal-fired generators and the increased cost of renewable energy for higher-than-predicted increases of more than $130 this year.

EnergyAustralia and AGL have increased electricity tariffs in Victoria by $135 and $132 on average for the year respectively — greatly exceeding state government modelling that concluded bills would rise by $27 to $100.

The Victorian price rises will flow from this week but the companies’ customers in other states, including South Australia and NSW, face a yet-to-be announced price rise in June.

Red Energy, the retailing arm of Snowy Hydro, informed customers in NSW its rates would increase this week because of “increases in the wholesale cost of electricity and the large-scale renewable energy certificates”.

Some tariffs were raised by almost 25 per cent.

The consumer price rises will increase political pressure on state and federal governments to deal with escalating energy costs that have sparked business warnings that rising power charges are undermining competitiveness.

The Australian Energy Council has warned the impact will be greatest in Victoria and South Australia, which face the biggest wholesale price increases.

The South Australian government is under pressure over its heavy reliance on renewable energy, particularly with the closure of the Northern power station and blackouts sparked by severe storms. Queensland, which has a regulated market, is reviewing its energy tariffs with results expected by the middle of the year.

The Energy Council’s corporate affairs general manager, Sarah McNamara, said the Victorian wholesale price increases were a “byproduct of the reduction in the state’s generation capacity by around 20 per cent, a direct consequence of the upcoming closure of the Hazelwood power station in March”. The Energy Council, which represents major electricity and gas producers, has repeatedly called for a national strategy to deal with supply issues and price volatility as older power stations are retired and an increasing amount of large-scale renewable energy is made available.

An EnergyAustralia spokesman said the average $11 a month increase in Victoria reflected “higher generation, general business and government green-scheme costs”. In that state, there was an increase in the cost of buying electricity for 2017 from about $40 a megawatt hour in January to more than $60 a megawatt hour in November, he said.

“The closure of the Northern power station in South Australia, increased demand for gas by large LNG projects in Queensland, reliability issues and … the market’s reaction to the closure of Hazelwood were among the main factors,” he said.

AGL, through a spokesman, said residential electricity prices would rise by $2.59 a week, on average, or a 9.9 per cent increase, while small and medium-size businesses would see costs increase by 13.4 per cent.

Despite the higher charges, the closure of Hazelwood could boost earnings at AGL, which owns the Loy Yang A power station, by up to 10 per cent, according to analysts at investment bank JP Morgan. That analysis, released late last year, assumed the closure of Hazelwood would increase wholesale prices by 15 per cent in Victoria and 10 per cent in NSW.

Victorian coal generators will also face increased royalty costs this year, with the subsidy intended on making renewable energy more attractive rising to 22.8c a gigajoule for companies mining brown coal from 7.6c, netting the government about $250 million over four years.

The Minerals Council’s Victorian executive director, Gavin Lind, said the brown coal royalty increases introduced by the Andrews government were harmful and ignored the practicalities of the electricity market.

“The expected increase in electricity costs will hit Victorian businesses hard, especially the manufacturing sector where uncertain economic conditions are already placing the industry under strain,” he said. “The Victorian government seems intent on increasing the state’s dependence on expensive and part-time energy sources and committing Victorian households and industry to higher energy prices. It will pass the cost of the scheme on to electricity users via their energy bills. In so doing, it will subsidise uneconomic renewable energy projects while driving out affordable, reliable coal-fired energy.’’

A government spokesman defended the increase. “The royalty rate has not changed in a decade, and this will simply bring Victoria into line with the other states. We are ensuring Victorians get a fair return for the use of our state’s natural resources,” he said.

In Queensland, the state’s Competition Authority is in the final stages of setting electricity tariffs for 2017-18, with the Palaszczuk government unveiling a 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030 that could slash earnings at the government-owned electricity generators.

Renewable energy schemes were blamed by Red Energy for this week’s increase in retail prices, although Snowy Hydro declined to provide details about the increases. “There are a number of factors that can push energy prices higher for consumers and the need to source renewable energy certificates to cover a portion of the energy consumed by customers is one of them,” a spokesman said. “We cover the resulting REC liability through a combination of RECs generated by the Snowy Scheme with the remainder sourced from the market.”

The price of those certificates has jumped in recent months, netting some electricity retailers windfall gains, as concerns grow that Australia will not reach its 2020 renewable energy target.

The spot price of those certificates rose to about $87 at the end of last month compared with an average of $54 in 2015, although the largest retailers can obtain RECs as part of the normal course of business or at lower contract rates.

SOURCE

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

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

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