Tuesday, October 17, 2017


House Dems Accuse Pruitt, Trump of Catering to Big Ag on Pesticide

The Greenie war on pesticides continues.  There is no pesticide that Greenies like -- even ones that have been in widespread use for 50 years without obvious health consequences.  There have been studies indicating problems with chlorpyrifos but only at high doses.  It is true of any chemical that the toxicity is in the dose and there has been no demonstration that normal use of chlorpyrifos leads to any harm

A pair of House Democrats on Wednesday accused EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and the Trump administration of catering to big-business agriculture at the cost of human safety by refusing to ban a widely used pesticide known to cause developmental disorders among children.

“The EPA is not supposed to be an agent of big business and industry,” Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) said during a press conference on Capitol Hill. “They are supposed to be an agent of public good, and yet under Scott Pruitt and the Trump administration, they’re doing the bidding of companies and polluters to advance their interests and not the interests of the American people.”

Ellison joined Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-N.Y.) in introducing the Pesticide Protection Act of 2017 this past July. The legislation, which would cancel the registration of the pesticide in question – chlorpyrifos – has garnered 42 co-sponsors, including one Republican, Rep. Chris Smith (N.J.).

Chlorpyrifos is a pesticide that has been in use since 1965, when the Dow Chemical Co. began selling it. According to the EPA, the pesticide is used for agricultural uses and non-agricultural uses, with the largest market being the corn industry. About 6 million pounds of the pesticide is sprayed on American crops each year, including asparagus, peaches, strawberries, apples, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cranberries and walnuts. The pesticide is also used on golf courses, turf and greenhouses, and as a poison for mosquitoes, roaches and ants, according to the EPA.

Chlorpyrifos has had harmful impacts on children, as well as farm workers. According to the EPA, it can cause nausea, dizziness and confusion, as well as respiratory paralysis and even death in high doses.

The Obama administration in 2015 moved to eliminate use of chlorpyrifos after fielding a petition from the Natural Resources Defense Council and Pesticide Action Network North America. In November 2016, EPA scientists concluded in a risk assessment memo that there is “a breadth of information available on the potential adverse neurodevelopmental effects in infants and children as a result of prenatal exposure to chlorpyrifos.” According to an Associated Press report from June, Pruitt met with Dow Chemical leadership in March about 20 days before reversing course on Obama’s 2015 directive.

“Pruitt has ignored his own scientists’ recommendations to withdraw it as an acceptable chemical,” Pesticide Action Network executive director Kristin Schafer said on Wednesday.

According to Schafer, the EPA studied chlorpyrifos’ application in four key states -- Iowa, Minnesota, California and Hawaii – and determined that the pesticide was contaminating water supplies and that it can cause harm even in low-level doses.

“This administration’s agenda is radically anti-environment and willfully ignores science,” Velázquez said.

Ellison said that Pruitt’s refusal to restrict the use of chlorpyrifos and Trump’s repeal of Obama’s Clean Power Plan are just two instances in which the administration has set the country back decades in terms of environmental stewardship. The EPA’s core mission is to protect the environment and American communities, he added.

Dow Chemical Co. recorded about $48 billion in sales in 2016, according to Forbes. The Associated Press report noted that CEO Andrew Liveris’ leads a White House manufacturing working group, and the company pledged $1 million for Trump’s inauguration.

Ellison accused the administration of placing corporate profits ahead of the health and safety of American families, citing examples of the chemical infiltrating Minnesota homes following aerial sprays on nearby farms. He said that the administration has an obligation to determine the health impacts of the chemical, and if they are hazardous the pesticide needs to be controlled.

SOURCE




Misleading Costs for Wind and Solar

Recently the media has reported that wind and solar were competitive with coal and natural gas for generating electricity.

The Wall Street Journal, for example, published an article with a headline, Economic impact of wind farms is changing the political dynamics of renewable energy.

These media reports could lead people to believe that wind and solar were competitive with coal-fired and natural gas power plants, which is not the case. Electricity generated by coal-fired power and natural gas combined cycle power plants remain the lowest cost methods for generating electricity, especially when the unreliability of wind and solar are taken into consideration.

In trying to determine the source of the media claims, two sources became apparent.

Contract purchase agreements

Studies performed by financial firms such as Lazard

In the first instance, the lower contract prices were the result of subsidies. The lower prices did not accurately reflect the true costs for wind and solar: The subsidies resulted in low prices and low LCOEs.

In the second, some assumptions in the studies performed by financial groups  resulted in low LCOEs (Levelized Cost of Energy).

Furthermore, equating LCOEs of wind and solar with those of coal and natural gas power plants is fallacious. Beyond a certain point, it’s impossible to replace coal and natural gas with wind and solar on a one for one basis, interchanging them as though they were LEGO pieces.

A review of the Lazard study established why the study produced very low LCOEs for wind and solar: LCOEs that were atypical of previously determined LCOEs.

Lazard study is for New Construction

It’s important to point out that the LCOEs determined by Lazard were for new power plants, something not mentioned in their report.

Existing coal-fired and natural gas power plants have LCOEs of around three cents per kWh because their construction and financing costs have already been amortized.

It makes no economic sense to deliberately replace existing coal-fired and natural gas power plants with wind and solar units even if the LCOEs of new wind and solar power plants are below six cents per kWh.

Lazard Assumptions

Lazard held financial costs, such as the cost of debt and equity, constant when making calculations for each type of facility.

This was an effort to ensure that calculations between facility types were fair. However, there were at least two instances where this assumption was misleading.

Natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) plants were assumed to have a life of twenty years, which is half the life that should have been used. Financial costs should have been amortized over 40, not 20 years.

The investment cost for a coal-fired power plant was assumed to be $3,000 per KW. This is higher than actual historical costs for supercritical plants and slightly higher than for ultra-supercritical plants. This imposed a financial penalty for coal-fired power plants.

There were two important assumptions in the Lazard study that were either questionable or that slanted conclusions unfairly to the benefit of wind and solar. These are addressed in a and b. A third factor was omitted from the study and is addressed in c.

a) Capacity Factor

Capacity factor (CF) is defined as the amount of electricity produced over a year by an installation, compared with the amount that could theoretically be produced based on the facility’s nameplate rating.

The Lazard study refers to “resource availability”, and it is unclear whether the CFs used in the study are true CFs or ersatz CFs based on some undefined resource availability calculation.

Because this is unclear, both possibilities are addressed for wind.

Alt 1: Traditionally Defined CFs

The capacity factor (CF) for wind used in the Lazard study was significantly higher than experience from existing installations. The study used 55% in one instance and 38% in another.

Actual CFs, as reported by DOE in its 2015 Wind Technology Report, averaged 32.8%, between 2011 and 2015; 31.8% between 2006 and 2010; and 30.3% between 2000 and 2005.

New, taller units with longer blades will probably have higher CFs, but not anywhere near 55%.

Wind installations in high wind areas, such as Montana where CFs could be higher, require long and expensive transmission lines, the costs of which are not included in the Lazard or many other studies.

The use of higher CFs and lower capital costs in the Lazard study, skewed the LCOEs for wind, making them unreasonably low.

Alt 2: Ersatz CFs

The Lazard study may have used a specially designed “capacity factor as a proxy for resource availability”.

Why this would be done is unclear since actual wind resources have been carefully mapped across the United States for heights of 30 meters, 80 meters and 100 meters above ground level.

The best winds for generating electricity are predominantly in the upper plains states such as Montana, and across the front range of the Rocky Mountains.

The regional factors used in the Lazard study do not appear to align with the wind maps available from NREL, though these regional factors were apparently used to represent wind availability across the country.

The Lazard study did not explain how these ersatz capacity factors were determined, so there is no way to determine their appropriateness or accuracy.

For this reason, the LCOEs developed by Lazard using ersatz CFs for wind are suspect, and not comparable to traditionally determined LCOEs.

b) Solar

The Lazard study seems to have used a specially designed “capacity factor as a proxy for resource availability” when determining LCOEs for solar.

Presumably “resource availability” refers, in some manner, to insolation levels.

“Resource availability” was apparently used to establish, what can best be described as ersatz capacity factors for solar installations.

Insolation levels are readily available for all areas of the world, so it begs the question of why Lazard chose to create a “resource availability” factor for solar.

Insolation levels for the Southwestern United States are twice those for the Midwestern United States, yet the LCOEs arrived at for solar by the Lazard study did not reflect these substantial differences.

For this reason, the solar LCOEs developed by Lazard are suspect, and not comparable to traditionally determined LCOEs.

Again, The Lazard study did not explain how these ersatz capacity factors were determined, so there is no way to determine their appropriateness or accuracy.

The report did confirm that rooftop PV solar is uncompetitive. As demonstrated in Nothing to Fear, PV rooftop solar is uneconomic in every state except possibly Hawaii.

c) Reliability

Both wind and solar are intermittent, and in some respects unreliable.

Beyond small amounts, it’s impossible to replace coal and natural gas power plants with wind and solar on a one for one basis. As mentioned earlier, these are not interchangeable LEGO pieces.

For example, wind and solar must also include expensive storage if the evening ramp-up is to be minimized. Coal and natural gas power plants must be retained to provide power at night and for when the sun stops shining or the wind stops blowing.

These limitations become increasingly worse as greater amounts of wind and solar are placed on the grid.

At the very least, LCOEs for wind and solar are misleading because wind and solar require the use of costly storage. More about the CAISO Duck curve is found in Nothing to Fear.

Conclusion

If an undefined “resource availability” is used to calculate LCOEs, the resulting LCOEs can’t be compared with a traditionally derived levelized cost of electricity (LCOE): It’s like comparing cashews with apples.

Pawning these LCOEs off as equivalent to traditionally calculated LCOEs is misleading at best, and at worst, could be considered deceptive.

In addition, wind and solar are unreliable, and LCOEs do not reflect the extra costs associated with having to compensate for their intermittency and unreliability.

The Lazard report and virtually all media articles attempting to compare LCOEs between wind and solar and coal and natural gas are fallacious and meaningless.

Wind and solar cannot replace coal and natural gas on a one for one basis … They are not interchangeable LEGO pieces.

Coal-fired and natural gas combined cycle power plants continue to be the least costly methods for generating electricity, notwithstanding the latest Lazard study.

SOURCE




Don’t Call Climate Skeptics ‘Deniers,’ Call Us ‘Correct’

Lord Monckton comments below on a rather silly article which essentially proclaims that the consensus is always right. It reminds me of a 1930s slogan:  "Mussolini ha sempre ragione" (Mussolini is always right).  I put up a brief comment on it on 5th but Monckton really goes to town on it below

If it’s totalitarian and unresearched, it’s not a consensus.

Arturo Casadevall and Ferric Fang, two academic microbiologists with no special knowledge of climate, recently used their article in the Hill to commit the repellent but now commonplace hate-crime of describing researchers skeptical of the sillier exaggerations of the climate-change establishment as “denialists.”

This disfiguring hate-word, calculated to invite an invidious comparison between climate skeptics and those who say the Nazis did not murder six million Jews, is not fit to be uttered by any serious academic. Here, as always, its misuse by intellectual pygmies indicated more than a little nervousness on the part of the establishment, for the world continues to warm at a rate well below what was originally predicted, and, as it turns out, there is a good explanation for the discrepancy.

The two hate-speakers tediously trundled through the history of challengers to the scientific establishment who were proven right (Hypatia, Giordano Bruno, Galileo, Benjamin Franklin, and John Scopes), but they did so without appreciating that it is we climate skeptics today who are the sciconoclasts, and it is the entrenched and generally totalitarian academic elite with which they pietistically identify themselves that is as wrong today as the mob that is said to have murdered Hypatia for her nonconformist astronomical notions and the cardinals who condemned Bruno to death.

The two microbiologists have missed the point entirely. They talk of “virtually unanimous consensus” that Earth is facing a period of anthropogenic climate change. Yet the largest sample of academic papers on climate ever studied — an impressive 11,944 papers over the 21 years 1991–2011 — showed only 0.3 percent “consensus” explicitly supporting the proposition recent global warming was mostly manmade. The question whether the small warming that is to be expected will prove dangerous was not even asked; the “consensus” on that question is even smaller.

Even if there were a “virtually unanimous consensus,” science is not advanced by consensus but by informed dissent. The instances the microbiologists themselves cite make it quite clear that where there is a “consensus,” it is nearly always wrong, at least at the margins.

Newton’s celestial mechanics was universally regarded as correct for three centuries, but relativity has replaced it — thanks to the work of a skeptical patent clerk from Switzerland.

And what was the response of the scientific “consensus” then? In Germany, 100 scientists wrote a book against Albert Einstein and his “Jewish science.” Where are they now?

The microbiologists indulge in the rebarbative mantra of the hard left to the effect that “the Trump administration has repeatedly belittled the value of scientific expertise and eliminated scientists from panels that advise the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice.”

No, but the Trump administration has eliminated political activists posing as scientists, replacing them with scientists who are willing to put science first and totalitarian politics nowhere.

The microbiologists ignorantly assert “no one is denying … the standard model of particle physics.” Actually, there is a lively debate among speculative cosmogonists as to the origin of the universe and, therefore, as to the emergence and influence of various particles, whose number and properties seem to change with bewildering rapidity as new theories are advanced.

The microbiologists do not seem to appreciate the reason why climate skeptics are skeptical is that, in numerous respects, climate science and mitigation economics are simply wrong. It is now clear to all but an irredentist minority the climate models, in their predictions, have exaggerated the rate of global warming, perhaps by as much as threefold.

And, since the two microbiologists adore “consensus,” there is near-unanimity in the journals of mitigation economics to the effect that it is two to three orders of magnitude costlier to attempt to mitigate largely non-existent global warming than to let it happen and adapt to its consequences.

Without any evidence, the microbiologists indolently assert “the denial of climate science is centered on resistance to economic and lifestyle changes that would bring about major disruption to certain ways of life, as we switch away from carbon-based fuels.”

First, the world is not “switching away” from coal, oil, and gas — very far from it, in fact. Secondly, the academic resistance to the party line on climate is based on a number of downright errors of official climatology.

One example: Only one-third of the global warming predicted by the usual suspects arises directly from greenhouse gases. The remaining two-thirds, they say, comes from consequential amplifications of the direct warming, known as “temperature feedbacks.” Official climatology’s mid-range estimate of the “feedback fraction” — that is, the fraction of the global temperature after the direct warming that is fed back to the input of the global-warming calculation — is 0.65. Yet, given a pre-industrial surface temperature of 287.5 Kelvin, the maximum theoretically possible value of the feedback fraction — obtained by assuming, impossibly, that the entire 32 K natural greenhouse effect is feedback-driven — is 32/287.5, or 0.11. Absurdly, the official best estimate is about six times this absolute maximum.

What that means is that there will not be more than 1.5 K global warming for each doubling of CO2 concentration, not the 3.3 K that is the models’ current mid-range estimate. And 1.5 K of warming, not much more than 2.5 Fahrenheit, is just not enough to worry about.

Tellingly, the two microbiologists do not include even a single scientific quantity in their purely partisan political shriek against those who do not share their drearily dismal, cloyingly totalitarian outlook on science. So little science do the two scientists know that they say, “Science… always considers its knowledge to be provisional.”

A single counter-example will demonstrate the unwisdom of their use of the universal quantifier (not that they would know it if they bumped into it). On a hyperbolic as well as on a Euclidean surface, the square on the hypotenuse of a right triangle is always equal to the sum of the squares on the two catheti. Perhaps they were not paying attention when they were taught this as schoolboys. Some scientific hypotheses, though by no means all, are indeed definitively demonstrable. We have, for instance, definitively demonstrated above, with indefeasible simplicity, that the global warming to be expected in response to doubled CO2 cannot exceed 1.5 K.

To turn the prissy-preachy language of the two microbiologists upon them, it would “behove” totalitarian scientists such as they to consider the maxim of all scientists: “I may be wrong.”

They were wrong to blame the recent hurricanes in the Caribbean on global warming, for the good and sufficient reason that worse and more frequent hurricanes have occurred before — as they would have discovered if they had remembered that scientific opinion is valueless unless it is based on at least a little elementary research.

Don’t call us skeptics “deniers,” call us “correct.” It is official climatology’s party line that is more and more obviously false, as well as self-serving.

Nobody pays me to ask scientific questions where so many others, bullied and hectored by a handful of bossy conformists, fear to tread. I and those like me ask questions because, unlike the faithful who bang their heads on the floor and say “I believe!” when informed of the party line, our approach to the natural world is a holy marriage of the curiosity and awe that are embodied in the two words, followed by a question mark, that are the fons et origo of all true science: “I wonder?”

SOURCE




Energy Policy in Minnesota: The High Cost of Failure

Summary

In recent years, the state of Minnesota has pursued a series of increasingly aggressive renewable energy and “clean energy” policies that cost electricity consumers billions of dollars, without achieving its ambitious environmental protection goals.

Minnesota law sets out ambitious state energy policy goals. The primary goal would have the state reduce greenhouse gas emissions 15 percent below 2005 levels by 2015, 30 percent by 2025, and 80 percent by 2050.  State law incorporates a number of additional energy policy goals aimed largely at supporting these greenhouse gas reduction targets. In particular, the state’s renewable energy standard requires utilities to generate a substantial portion (25 to 30 percent) of electricity from renewable sources, mostly wind.

Historically, Minnesota enjoyed the advantage of relatively cheap electricity, with rates typically 18 percent less than the national average. However, since spending an estimated $10 billion on building wind farms and billions more on new and upgraded transmission lines, Minnesota has lost this competitive advantage with little to show for it, except higher electric bills.

As electricity generation from carbon free wind approaches 20 percent of total generation, Minnesota has not experienced any appreciable reduction in greenhouse gas emissions relative to the U.S. average.

This report evaluates Minnesota’s energy policy and reaches five main findings that buttress one conclusion: Minnesota’s aspirational energy policy is a grand exercise in virtue signaling that does little to reduce either conventional pollution or greenhouse gas emissions.

* Minnesota has lost its advantage on electricity pricing.

Between 1990 and 2009, the retail price of electricity in Minnesota was, on average, 18.2 percent lower than the national average. However, in just seven years, this price advantage has completely disappeared. February 2017 marked the first month the average retail price of electricity in Minnesota rose above the U.S. price. (Data are available dating back to 1990.) If in the past seven years Minnesota would have maintained its historic price advantage versus the rest of the country, the state’s consumers would have paid nearly $4.4 billion less than what the actual cost of electricity turned out to be.

* Minnesota’s energy policy primarily promotes wind power.

Minnesota’s energy policy emphasizing renewable energy is mostly an electricity policy, which represents only about 40 percent of the state’s total energy consumption. Because Minnesota’s geography is not suitable for large-scale solar power, it aims, to date, for only modest increases in solar. As such, Minnesota’s energy policy is primarily a wind-energy policy.

* Minnesota’s energy policy is failing on its own terms, as it has not achieved a significant reduction in CO2 emissions.

 While Minnesota was losing its advantage on electricity pricing, it did not see any significant decreases in CO2 emissions. CO2 emissions in Minnesota declined by 6.6 percent from 2005 (the peak year for CO2 emissions in both the U.S. and Minnesota) to 2014 (before starting to rise again).

This decline is one-third less than the decline experienced by the nation as a whole, which saw greenhouse gas emissions drop 9.3 percent during the same time period.

Looking at just emissions from the electric power sector, emissions in Minnesota dropped by slightly more than the U.S. However, since 2009, the state has made little to no progress on emissions even as electricity generation by wind increased by 92 percent.

* To satisfy Minnesota’s renewable energy standard, an estimated $10 billion dollars has been spent on building wind farms and billions more on transmission.

In the past five years, Minnesota utilities have reported using wind power from wind farms totaling 5,000 megawatts of nameplate capacity to meet the requirements of the state’s renewable energy standard.

Based on industry cost estimates for building new generating capacity, ratepayers are committed to covering an estimated $10 billion for constructing these wind farms and billions more for the transmission needed to move this new power to market. On top of these upfront costs, ratepayers are on the hook for ongoing wind energy maintenance costs, property taxes, and replacement power needed when the wind doesn’t blow.

SOURCE




Head of Australia's anti-immigration party says 'Climate change isn't because of humans'

Pauline Hanson has clashed with a Greens senator after rubbishing climate change and claiming everyday Australians can't afford clean energy.

The One Nation leader told South Australian MP Sarah Hanson-Young she was very 'skeptical' about the link between pollution and climate change. 'I'm very skeptical of this (climate change) because the science isn't there, and that's been proven,' Ms Hanson said on Sunrise.

'Climate is changing, but it's not from humans Sarah – get this through your head.'

Ms Hanson-Young hit back in disbelief, accusing Ms Hanson of living in 'La La Land.' 'Thank goodness most Australian's disagree with you. Are you really lining up with the tin-foil hat brigade Pauline?,' she asked.

Interrupting the heated discussion, host David Koch pointed out the government's Chief Scientist Alan Finkel believed in climate change.

But Ms Hanson said everyday Australians were sick of paying enormous power bills, stressing her party would not support the Coalition's proposed clean energy target.

'People can't afford it, it's putting so much pressure on families and businesses,' she said. 'How can a fish and chip shop afford $14,000 a quarter in electricity? How can these pubs in outback Longreach afford $20,000 electricity a quarter? Wake up.

'We can't do it at the moment, I won't see any more people lose their jobs and I won't see any more businesses shut down because of this.'

Taking to social media after the interview, Ms Hanson-Young posted a link to the debate and wrote: 'On Sunrise this morning Pauline Hanson tells me get it through your head Sarah climate change 'isn't because of humans' #OneNationFail.'

Cabinet on Monday is expected to discuss the government's new energy policy, including whether to adopt a version of the clean energy target recommended by Mr Finkel. The coalition party room could examine the proposal on Tuesday.

It follows a new report from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which highlights huge increases in power bills over the past decade. The report says power is putting unacceptable pressure on Australian households and businesses.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims cautioned the clean energy target was designed to cut emissions, but it was hard to say whether it would also bring down prices.

It was important to understand the trade-offs between the various objectives if the nation was to have an effective energy policy.

SOURCE 

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

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Monday, October 16, 2017



Trump to Nominate Climate Doubter as Environmental Adviser

President Donald Trump will nominate a climate change skeptic with ties to the fossil fuel industry to serve as a top environmental adviser.

The White House on Thursday announced the selection of Kathleen Hartnett White of Texas to serve as chair of the Council on Environmental Quality. White served under former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, now Trump's energy secretary, for six years on a commission overseeing the state environmental agency.

White was fiercely critical of what she called the Obama administration's "imperial EPA" and pushed back against stricter limits on air and water pollution. She is a senior fellow at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative think tank that has received funding from fossil-fuel companies that include Koch Industries, ExxonMobil and Chevron.

In a 2014 policy paper titled "Fossil Fuels: The Moral Case," White praised the burning of coal and petroleum for "vastly improved living conditions across the world" and credited fossil fuels with ending slavery.

She also likened the work of mainstream climate scientists to "the dogmatic claims of ideologues and clerics." White is a member of the CO2 Coalition, a group that seeks to educate "thought leaders, policy makers, and the public about the important contribution made by carbon dioxide to our lives and the economy."

In an op-ed published in The Hill newspaper last year, White took aim at Obama-era policies that sought to slow global warming by limiting carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. Climate scientists point to the rising concentrations of carbon emitted into the atmosphere through burning fossil fuels with a corresponding increase in global average temperatures.

"The truth is that our bodies, blood and bones are built of carbon!" White wrote. "Carbon dioxide is a necessary nutrient for plant life, acting as the catalyst for the most essential energy conversion process on planet earth: photosynthesis. Carbon dioxide is an odorless, invisible, harmless and completely natural gas lacking any characteristic of a pollutant."

A native of Kansas, White holds degrees from Stanford University in East Asian studies and comparative literature.

SOURCE



Carbon capture in doubt after Norway buries 90pc of budget

The latest bid to develop technology which traps and stores carbon emissions is already in doubt after a key European partner scaled back its plans, days after UK ambitions were reignited.

Norwegian ministers slashed the expected state investment in a trailblazing industrial carbon capture project by 90pc in response to growing political doubts over its costs. The swingeing cut emerged the same day UK ministers pledged to work with international partners in a second bid to develop a carbon capture and storage (CCS) industry, after the failure of its £1bn scheme two years ago.

The Norwegian move spells trouble for Britain’s fresh plans because its ambitious linchpin project is considered a key template for the burgeoning industry, in which international collaboration is vital to bring down costs.

“Norway has always been seen as a leader on CCS so it is concerning that there is a proposal to cut the budget,” said Luke Warren, the chief executive of the UK’s CCS Association. “The timing is also unfortunate in a week which has seen both the Netherlands and UK governments set out ambitious new CCS programmes.”

The UK’s clean growth strategy promised the £100m funding to ­develop CCS as part of a raft of 50 low-carbon policies and plans – but government is clear that full-scale CCS will not go ahead unless costs come down. At stake are the carbon-cutting plans of industrial clusters in Teesside, Merseyside, South Wales and Grangemouth which all hope to safeguard their future in the UK’s future low-carbon economy by fitting the new technology.

UK tech developers are understood to have approached Norway about collaborating on its plans to learn more about the technology. The International Energy Agency estimates that the global CCS market could be worth over £100bn.

Capturing even a modest share of this sector could provide a boom of between £5bn to £9bn a year for the UK by 2031. The UK was also expected to consider shipping carbon dioxide across the North Sea to store the gas permanently in Norway’s subsea salt caverns.

But a prominent Norwegian NGO, Bellona, said the “incomprehensible” budget cut signals that Norway “is no longer serious about CCS”. Earlier this year a study of a full-scale Norwegian CCS system was estimated to cost NOK360m (£34m) but the government has proposed just under £2m for the capture phase of the project which was expected to take place at three of Norway’s most polluting factories.

Gassnova, the state enterprise spearheading Norway’s CCS drive, believes that within the next five years the country could develop a system to rid the whole of Europe of its unwanted carbon emissions. Under the scheme, CO2 from factories all across Europe could be piped on to ships and brought to Norway before the gas is injected into carbon storage sites under the seabed.

Ola Elvestuen, the chairman of Norway’s parliamentary committee on energy, told The Sunday Telegraph that overturning the cut “will definitely be part of the forthcoming budget negotiations with the government” before a final decision is reached in May.

SOURCE



The Obama EPA’s crooked prosecutors

The agency’s carbon dioxide climate “endangerment finding” was a kangaroo court process<>/i>

Paul Driessen

Suppose a crooked prosecutor framed someone and was determined to get a conviction. So he built an entire case on tainted, circumstantial evidence, and testimony from witnesses who had their reasons for wanting the guy in jail. Suppose the prosecutor ignored or hid exculpatory evidence and colluded with the judge to prevent the defendant from presenting a robust defense or cross-examining adverse witnesses.

You know what would happen – at least in a fair and just society. The victim would be exonerated and compensated. The prosecutor and judge would be disbarred, fined and jailed.

What you may not know is that the Obama EPA engaged in similar prosecutorial misconduct to convict fossil fuels of causing climate chaos and endangering the health and wellbeing of Americans.

EPA then used its carbon dioxide “Endangerment Finding” to justify anti-fossil fuel regulations, close down coal-fired power plants, block pipeline construction, and exempt wind and solar installations from endangered species rules. It put the agency in control of America’s energy, economy, job creation and living standards. It drove up energy prices, killed numerous jobs, and sent families into energy poverty.

EPA’s egregious misconduct inflicted significant harm on our nation. Having acted to repeal the Obama Clean Power Plan, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt must reverse carbon dioxide’s conviction and scuttle the Endangerment Finding that serves as the foundation and justification for the agency’s war on coal, oil and natural gas. Any harm from fossil fuels or carbon dioxide is minuscule, compared to the extensive damages inflicted by the decision and subsequent regulations.

President Obama and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson took office determined to blame carbon dioxide for “dangerous” and “unprecedented” manmade global warming and climate change. They then used that preordained decision to justify closing coal-fired power plants and dramatically restricting fossil fuel use. Mr. Obama had promised to “bankrupt” coal companies. Ms. Jackson  wasted no time in decreeing that CO2 from oil, natural gas coal burning “endanger” human health and welfare. It was a kangaroo court.

Their Environmental Protection Agency did no research of its own. It simply cherry-picked UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports and wrote a Technical Support Document to make its case. The TSD ignored studies that contradicted its predetermined Endangerment Finding – and relied on circumstantial evidence of climate and extreme weather disasters generated by computer models.

The models were programmed on the assumption that rising atmospheric CO2 levels are the primary or sole factor determining climate and weather. They assumed more carbon dioxide meant more planetary warming and worsening climate chaos. The role of the sun, cosmic rays, changing ocean currents and numerous other powerful, interconnected natural forces throughout Earth’s history was simply ignored.

The models predicted steadily increasing global temperatures and more frequent and intense storms. Instead, even as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels continued to rise, except for a noticeable temperature spike during the 2015-2016 super El Niño, there has been no planetary warming since 1998. Harvey finally ended a record 12-year drought in Category 3-5 hurricanes making landfall in the USA.

Tornado deaths are far less frequent than in the 1950s. Floods and droughts differ little from historic trends and cycles. Antarctic land ice is at record highs, and Arctic sea ice is again within its “normal” levels for the past 50 years. Seas are rising at just seven inches per century, the same as 100 years ago.

The models also assumed more warming meant more clouds that trapped more heat. They ignored the fact that low-lying clouds trap heat but also reflect solar heat back into the atmosphere. Humans might be “contributing” to temperature, climate and weather events, at least locally. But there is no real-world evidence that “greenhouse gases” have replaced natural forces to cause climate chaos or extreme weather – and no evidence that humans can control Earth’s fickle climate by controlling emissions.

In fact, with every passing year, climate model temperature forecasts have been increasingly higher than those actually observed over most of the lower atmosphere.

The EPA approach amounted to saying, if reality conflicts with the models, reality must be wrong – or to deciding that real world evidence should be homogenized, adjusted and manipulated to fit model results.

Indeed, that’s exactly what EPA, the IPCC and other alarmist researchers have done. Older historic records were adjusted downward, modern records got bumped upward a bit, and government-paid scientists ignored satellite data and relied increasingly on measurements recorded near (and contaminated by) airport jet exhaust, blacktop parking lots, and urban areas warmed by cars, heating and AC vents.

The IPCC also claimed its referenced studies were all peer-reviewed by experts. In reality, at least 30% were not; many were prepared by graduate students or activist groups; and some of its most attention-getting claims (of rapidly melting Himalayan glaciers, for example) were nothing more than brief email messages noting that these were “possible” outcomes. Moreover, most IPCC peer reviewers were scientists who fervently promote catastrophic manmade climate change perspectives, receive government and other grants for writing reports confirming this thesis, and take turns reviewing one another’s papers.

Despite these inconvenient facts, a steady barrage of Obama EPA press releases and statements from alarmist regulators and “experts” insisted that fossil fuels were causing planetary cataclysms. Anyone who tried to present alternative, realistic data or views was ridiculed, vilified and silenced.

Even one of EPA’s most senior experts was summarily removed from the review team.  “Your comments do not help the legal or policy case for this decision,” Alan Carlin’s supervisor told him.

Two additional facts dramatically underscore the kangaroo court nature of EPA’s 2009 proceedings.

First, oil, natural gas and coal still provide over 80% of America’s and the world’s energy. The International Energy Agency says they will be at least this important 25 years from now. Indeed, fossil fuels are the foundation for modern industries, transportation, communication, jobs, health and living standards. Emerging economic powerhouses like China and India, developing countries the world over, and even industrialized nations like Germany and Poland are using more of these fuels every year.

The Obama EPA studiously ignored these facts – and the tremendous benefits that fossil fuels bring to every aspect of our lives. Those benefits outweigh any asserted dangers – by orders of magnitude.

Second, carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, as defined by the Clean Air Act – and was never listed in any legislation as a pollutant. It was turned into an alleged pollutant by dishonest, ideological EPA prosecutors, who needed to justify their anti-fossil fuel regulatory agenda.

In reality, carbon dioxide is the miracle molecule without which most life on Earth would cease to exist. It enables plants of all kinds to convert soil nutrients and water into the fibers, fruits and seeds that are essential to humans and animals. The more CO2 in the air, the faster and better plants grow, and the more they are able to withstand droughts, disease, and damage from insects and viruses. In the process, crop, forest and grassland plants, and ocean and freshwater phytoplankton, exhale the oxygen we breathe.

In rendering its endangerment decision, EPA ignored these incalculable CO2 benefits. It ignored experts and studies that would have provided vital information about the tremendous value to our planet and people from fossil fuels and carbon dioxide.

Finally, having a slightly warmer planet with more atmospheric CO2 would be hugely beneficial for plants, wildlife and humanity. By contrast, having a colder planet, with less carbon dioxide, would be seriously harmful for arable land extent, growing seasons, crops, people and wildlife habitats.

The EPA Endangerment Finding is the foundation for the Obama era Clean Power Plan and other rules. Reversing it is essential to moving forward with science-based energy and climate policies.

Via email

                                                         



PennEast Pipeline Backers Tout Lower Energy Prices in Fighting Well-Funded Green Groups

Anyone traveling along the roadways that run parallel to that part of the Delaware River where George Washington staged his famous Christmas night crossing in 1776 is sure to encounter signs that take aim at an energy project known as the PennEast Pipeline.

Some of those signs invoke revolutionary language with statements that claim “We the People Say No to PennEast.”

Other signs say: “Don’t Let them Poison Our Water! Stop PennEast,” “Pipeline Blast Zone, Stop PennEast,” “Just Say No! Stop PennEast,” and “Stop the Fracking Pipelines.”

The messages opposing the natural gas pipeline can be spotted along roadways on both the Pennsylvania and New Jersey sides of the river.

Any day now, the six energy companies that are part of the PennEast Pipeline project expect to get a green light to proceed from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which regulates the interstate transmission of natural gas, oil, and electricity. That approval would come in the form of a certificate allowing construction and operation of the pipeline.

The anti-pipeline signs and mailings mention ReThink Energy NJ, a coalition of environmentalists who have received substantial funding from the Philadelphia-based William Penn Foundation.

Under current plans, the proposed 120-mile-long, 36-inch-diameter, underground pipeline would originate just north of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, in an area that interconnects with other major interstate pipelines that serve markets on the East Coast, including New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

Wilkes-Barre, the county seat of Luzerne County, sits on the outskirts of the Pocono Mountains in the northeastern part of Pennsylvania.

If the federal commission OKs it, a year from now a new pipeline will be poised to transport natural gas across Eastern Pennsylvania and the Delaware River into Mercer County, New Jersey, where it will interconnect with the Transco Pipeline in the borough of Pennington.

The PennEast Pipeline would draw from natural gas produced in the Marcellus shale formation that cuts across Pennsylvania, New York, and parts of Ohio and West Virginia.

Tony Cox, project manager for PennEast, told The Daily Signal in an interview that he expects energy consumers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey to begin to see the benefits of the pipeline beginning in the winter of 2018-2019.

With approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission expected this fall, the seven-month construction phase would begin next spring, and the pipeline would become operational in the second half of next year, according to PennEast’s projected timeline.

“September is what we call a ‘shoulder month’ in the gas industry, because you are past the summer months, but you are not yet in the winter. This means you are in a period of low energy consumption,” Cox said, adding:

But we still see a vast disparity between the price of gas in the Marcellus region and in New Jersey. These price differences around the country are one of the drivers for natural gas infrastructure, and one of the obligations that gas utilities have is to procure the least cost of gas available.

Right now, as it relates to New Jersey, that gas is located 100 miles away in Pennsylvania. But as we can see from the price difference, there is not ample infrastructure to get the gas to where it needs to go.

As of late September, Cox noted, the price for natural gas delivery in the Marcellus Shale region was $1.79 per dekatherm (a unit of energy measurement), compared with $3.16 per dekatherm in New Jersey, according to Gas Daily, a publication that provides the oil and gas industry with analytical reports on prices in the energy markets. That’s a difference of $1.37, or 76.5 percent higher, in New Jersey.

“Right now, there’s not enough capacity to meet the energy demands of New Jersey residents during peak periods, as evidenced by the large price differentials between these two areas,” Cox said. “With PennEast, we will have the ability to dampen the impact of high-demand periods and provide cost savings.”

When the $1.37 price difference for natural gas between the Marcellus area of Pennsylvania and New Jersey is “amplified by the capacity PennEast will have to transport natural gas,” Cox said, he anticipates “more than a half of a billion dollars in savings” to New Jersey consumers.

Despite the intense opposition of environmental activists, who view the pipeline as a danger to the region, PennEast appears set to secure the necessary regulatory approval to move forward.

In April, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a favorable final environmental impact statement for PennEast that said any potential impact would be “adequately minimized” through mitigation efforts.

In August, the U.S. Senate confirmed the Trump administration’s nominees to the commission, providing the agency with the quorum needed to approve projects such as PennEast.

But Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, disputes the figures PennEast has circulated that show energy consumers stand to benefit financially from the new infrastructure. Instead, he anticipates the pipeline actually would raise costs.

“Individually, these companies [that are part of PennEast] have been seeking rate hikes to pay for the pipelines, because they cost money,” Tittel said. “They have to pay back investors. How does this save people money?”

Tittel also cited a report from Stephanie Brand, director of the New Jersey Division of Rate Counsel, who has expressed reservations about the pipeline’s cost and utility. The division’s mission is to advocate for energy consumers.

“PennEast is dangerous and unnecessary, and the PennEast companies are just trying to make money for themselves. This has nothing to do with consumers and their energy needs,” the Sierra Club leader said. “Natural gas is a commodity, and the price is set by commodity markets, and it’s just not true to say that the pipeline will lower prices.”

“The other problem is that the pipeline will pass through environmentally sensitive and scenic areas, and pass through quaint, bucolic little towns that depend on ecotourism. This is also a historic area, where [George] Washington crossed the Delaware.

“Now you’re going to have this big, ugly pipeline cutting through, and it’s going to hurt the economy,” Tittel said.

In the “Frequently Asked Questions” section of its website, PennEast provides readers with detailed answers to questions about the project’s size and scope, potential economic benefits to consumers, environmental safeguards, and restoration efforts that will take place once the pipeline is completed. A separate report from PennEast describes how natural gas development will bring both economic and environmental benefits.

Pat Kornick, a spokeswoman for PennEast, said “well-funded” anti-pipeline activists who have maintained a constant presence in the public eye and in the media are not looking out for the best interests of the people they claim to represent.

“When people question the need for a new pipeline, they are not seeing the big price discrepancies that exist between the New Jersey marketplace and the Pennsylvania portions of the Marcellus, where natural gas is produced,” she said. “Pipelines are the cheapest, most effective way to bring natural gas to market. The alternatives to pipelines, which involve the trucking and transportation of liquefied natural gas, are much more expensive.”

The funding that stands behind the environmental activism directed against natural gas development is evident from the signs littering the roadways in New Jersey, and from mailings delivered to area residents.

Every member of the coalition called ReThink Energy, cited on the opposition materials, has received substantial funding from the William Penn Foundation, a private, nonprofit charity.

Grants the foundation distributed to ReThink Energy members in recent years include $395,000 in 2017 and $582,000 in 2015 to the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, $82,500 in 2016 to the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association, and $227,400 in 2016 to the Pinelands Preservation Alliance.

Tom Shepstone, who operates the Natural Gas Now blog, a product of his research firm based in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, told The Daily Signal that the William Penn Foundation is not permitted to do any lobbying as a private charity. But, he argued,  the organization is making an end run around the prohibition by distributing grants to environmental activists and compliant media outlets that do its bidding.

“As a private foundation, they shouldn’t be doing any lobbying, but when you think about it that’s all they do at the foundation,” Shepstone said. “When they pass out money year after year to certain groups, they are doing this to influence public policy.”

SOURCE




High energy costs slash small business investment in Australia
 
The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman has expressed dismay that politicians continue to argue over energy policy while small businesses suffer.

Ombudsman Kate Carnell said the latest East & Partners SME survey* of 1280 businesses showed 70 per cent would reduce investment in capital expenditure because of higher energy prices.

The survey shows that:

39.5 per cent of SMEs would scale back in the short term (long-term capex unchanged);

20.8 per cent would scale back in the long term (short-term capex unchanged); and

9.9 per cent would scale back capital expenditure in the short and long term.

Ms Carnell said that despite evidence of spiralling energy costs and reduced business confidence, politicians had not provided investment certainty.

In particular, she criticised State Governments for failing to agree with a national approach.

“The ACCC has revealed the impact of gas exploration bans on supply and distribution in Victoria and New South Wales, but these governments continue to shift the blame elsewhere,” she said.

“The Labor states talk about going alone on a clean energy target, which is putting politics ahead of the national interest.

“Meanwhile, businesses in South Australia may have to use dirty diesel generators to keep the lights on over summer.

“The Finkel Report provided a roadmap to repair the long-term damage of failed policies.

“All parties and all governments should endorse the report, remove bans on gas exploration and adopt a bipartisan approach to provide investment certainty.

“The danger with continued political bickering is that businesses will go to the wall, jobs will move offshore and be lost and consumers will feel even greater pain.”

* The energy question was asked as part of the East & Partners SME Transaction Banking survey, which examines and forecasts demand for transaction banking product lines and service offerings within Australia’s Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) segment (A$1-20 million turnover per annum).

Media release from Michael Gorey michael.gorey@asbfeo.gov.au

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

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

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Sunday, October 15, 2017



Australia: Surf Life Saving Queensland boss says swimmers not safe from crocodile attack

A warning now amplified by the apparent death of an elderly lady at Port Douglas -- apparently the result of a croc attack.

Since crocodiles were made protected under Greenie influence, their numbers have spiralled, with at least 100,000 of them in Australian waters now.  So there is no sense in continuing protection across the board.  I would argue that they be de-protected South of Daintree.  That would still leave them a large safe habitat.  Once an area had been cleared, some crocs would move South into it but that would simply make good targets for sporting shooters.  The core population would continue to thrive and human users of the waters would be safe from them

And what is this nonsense about relocating them?  Relocating them to zoos does stop them but relocating them to other areas and releasing them is a crock (Pun admitted).  They just swim back to their old stamping ground.  One croc that was relocated to the Western side of Cape York peninsula swam back all the way around Cape York to his old habitat well South on the East coast -- a journey of perhaps 1,000 km



A SURF Life Saving boss is warning swimmers they should no longer feel safe in some of our most popular waterways — as crocodile numbers keep rising.

A SURF Life Saving Queensland boss says swimmers can no longer feel safe in the state’s waterways due to the increased threat of crocodile attack.

SLSQ chief operating officer George Hill yesterday told a public hearing into Katter’s Australia Party’s proposed Safer Waterways Bill there was a growing risk to both Surf Life Saving staff and the general public at Queensland beaches.

“We have seen a growing trend and a higher risk to our community,” he said.  “The reality is that there’s tourists sunbaking and there’s crocodiles (basking) less than 30m apart.  “It’s a risk that has the potential to have a catastrophic result for the community.”

The revelation comes after The Courier-Mail this week revealed crocodile sightings in the state have increased by more than 38 per cent in the past two years.

Mr Hill said while the service did not support killing crocodiles, it did want to see them removed from popular swimming areas.

“Both those levels (life guards and life savers) have identified a trend of seeing larger crocodiles in what we call public space, waterways where people can frequent. And when I say larger crocodiles, over the past five years the trend has certainly grown to see 3m to 4m crocodiles.

“(This) is in public spaces such as Port Douglas Beach, Four Mile Beach, there was one there last week that we closed the beach for, Palm Cove, Trinity Beach, Forest Beach in Ingham, Townsville’s Strand.”

Mr Hill said members were becoming hesitant to patrol waterways north of Townsville and that he was particularly concerned for the safety of SLSQ staff manning stinger nets in north Queensland.

“Unfortunately crocodiles can enter those (nets) and ... we have situations where every morning in summer our lifesavers and lifeguards will drag those nets for stingers.

“But they’re going in knowing there may or may not be a crocodile in there.”

Mr Hill said he supported changes to the state’s crocodile management plan if it meant safer waterways for swimmers.

“We need to protect our environment but certainly we need to protect the public and our users and future surf life savers and people that frequent our waters,” he said.

“While we don’t want to see the crocs harmed in any way, we certainly do support the removal of any crocodile that’s in a public space that could be a risk to anyone in the community whether it’s a bite or a fatal attack.”

The proposed KAP Bill would introduce a number of new measures including controlled crocodile culls and egg harvesting.

A spokesman for Australia Zoo also spoke at the hearing and slammed the Bill saying it was poorly researched and would not make waterways any safer.

“This legislation will be disastrous for humans and for crocodiles,” he said. “The environmental research has been basic and sketchy.”

SOURCE




 
NASA Satellite Reveals Source of El Niño-Fueled Carbon Dioxide Spike

Some interesting admissions below.  Nobody knows what portion of CO2 emissions will remain in the atmosphere, for instance.  That being so, their climate models are pure guesswork

For every ton of carbon dioxide emitted by a power plant's smokestack or a car's exhaust pipe, some portion will stay in the Earth's atmosphere, raising global temperatures, while the rest is absorbed by the oceans or ecosystems on land.

But which parts of the ocean or biosphere act as net sources of carbon dioxide (CO2) and which take up more than they emit into the atmosphere, has been an open question. Figuring that out, as well as understanding what mechanisms govern that interplay and how they might change along with the climate, has been an open question and one that is key to understanding how global warming will progress.

The 2014 launch of the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 satellite was aimed at beginning to piece together some answers by monitoring the comings and goings of CO2 from the atmosphere with unprecedented precision and over large regions. [The Reality of Climate Change: 10 Myths Busted]

So far, the mission has done that and has turned up some surprises along the way. The mission serendipitously coincided with one of the strongest El Niños (an ocean and atmosphere cycle that impacts global weather) on record, allowing scientists to see how the carbon cycle responded and pinpoint exactly where the resulting record pulse of CO2 that entered the atmosphere came from. The satellite's instruments also unexpectedly proved capable of distinguishing the relatively small CO2 signatures of cities and even volcano plumes.

"We're very, very happy with these results," deputy project scientist Annmarie Eldering, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, told Live Science.

But the findings, described in series of five papers in the Oct. 13 issue of the journal Science, are just the first steps at getting a better handle on the carbon cycle (how carbon flows through land and sea ecosystems and the atmosphere), as OCO-2 heads into an expected extended mission and other space-based projects are scheduled to follow in its wake.

Luck and surprises

Carbon dioxide is added to and removed from the atmosphere by a range of competing processes. On land, for example, the photosynthesis of plants takes up CO2, while the decay of plant matter and wildfires release it back into the atmosphere. [Here's How Carbon Dioxide Warms the Planet]

Scientists knew that El Niños were another factor that caused more CO2 to build up in the Earth's atmosphere, and from the 1997-1998 major El Niño, they had some suspicions on why that was. For one thing, El Niño tends to lead to drying in parts of the tropics, resulting in less photosynthesis and less uptake of carbon dioxide.

What project scientists couldn't know when the satellite rocketed into space on July 2, 2014, was that it would be perfectly poised to observe how one of the strongest El Niños in the books affected the carbon cycle.

"Sometimes you get really lucky," said Galen McKinley, a carbon cycle scientist at Columbia University's Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory.

These effects were in evidence during the 2015-2016 event, which caused the biggest year-over-year jump in global CO2 concentrations on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. But OCO-2 revealed, as is so often the case in science, that the picture was more complicated than previously thought.

The satellite's observations let project scientists piece together the sequence of events of the carbon cycle's response as the El Niño geared up and then reached its peak. They saw that at first there was a tiny dip in carbon dioxide levels over the tropical Pacific because of changes in the structure of the underlying ocean that meant waters gave off less CO2. But that slight decrease was quickly overtaken by the much larger response from terrestrial biomass as drought, heat and wildfires took a toll and caused less CO2 to be absorbed and more to be released.

The ocean signal "was really a big surprise to us," said Abhishek Chatterjee, a scientist with University Space Research Association working at NASA's Goddard Spaceflight Center. The response had been inferred before, "but it was never observed to the degree that we could" with OCO-2, he said.

The team was able to take the analysis a step further by using OCO-2's capability to detect a signature of photosynthesis, which is a marker of the productivity of land plants. Together, the data showed that while the tropical areas of Southeast Asia, South America and Africa all added about the same amount of CO2 into the atmosphere, they did so for different reasons. In Southeast Asia, the hot, dry conditions brought on by El Niño made the region more vulnerable to fire, which releases CO2 into the atmosphere. In South America, dry conditions tamped down plant productivity, meaning the biosphere took up less carbon dioxide, so that the region became a net source of CO2. And in Africa, while rainfall was about normal, exceptional heat increased plant respiration, which caused more CO2 emissions.

SOURCE




Germany Temperatures Baffle: September Mean Shows Hardly Any Warming In 70 Years

Temperatures are rising and rising and rising. That’s what we read in any case in the daily newspaper, and that’s what some television professors, activists and climate scientists are telling us. Strangely rarely are temperature curves ever shown. Why is this so? One example is the September mean temperature for Germany, which we use to illustrate this peculiar media documentation gap.

Here we use the official DWD German Weather Service data. When we look at the past 100 years we see a very modest warming of just a few tenths of a degree (Fig. 1). This is no surprise as we find ourselves in the warming phase since the Little Ice Age, the coldest phase of the last 10,000 years. It would have been terrible had the climate stayed at this non-representative low level.



Figure 1: Chart depicting Germany September mean temperature over the past 100 years. Data source: DWD.

It is easy to see the long cycles in the temperature curve. Above we a cold phase between 1920 and 1930, followed by a warm period during the Nazi time, and then followed by a long-term cold dip.

Beginning in 1985, September began to warm up again before reaching a plateau that took hold just before the year 2000 and at which we currently find ourselves. Based on the past development one could speculate that we are headed towards a slight cooling.

Now let’s look at the period from the end of WWII until today, more than 70 years, the time of the last temperature plateau until today. Immediately we see that we are far from worrisome climate warming (Fig. 2):



Figure 2: Chart depicting Germany September mean temperature over the past 70 years. Data source: DWD.

Finally we take a look at the past 13 years (Fig. 3), i.e. the development since 2004. Again there has not been any significant warming. In fact there’s been some cooling. Everything other than a climate catastrophe.



Figure 3: Chart of September mean temperatures in Germany over the past 13 years. Data source: DWD.

Getting back to the primary question of why isn’t the German media showing the real German temperature curve, obviously the real facts are just too inconvenient. A pert of the public could even lose its faith in the much-preached climate catastrophe and end up sharply criticizing the harsh sacrifices now being made because of the climate fear that has been instilled by policymakers.

It’s high time for the issue to be made transparent and to push back against the activism. What’s needed is a new environmental protection ethic, one which addresses all the problems.

The excessive focus on the climate question is no longer sustainable and is even counterproductive. Other more important problems that can be solved over the short term require greater attention — clean water, clean air and clean food being evenly distributed — would be a common ethical goal for mankind to strive for. The fear-mongering climate protection issue is a repeat of the earlier business model of sin and the sale of indulgences.

SOURCE





No Impact of Ocean Acidification on the Behavior of Juvenile Damselfish
 
Paper Reviewed: Kwan, G., Hamilton, T.J. and Tresguerres, M. 2017. CO2-induced ocean acidification does not affect individual or group behavior in a temperate damselfish. Royal Society Open Science 4: 170283, http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsos.170283.

Introducing their study, Kwan et al. (2017) write that most ocean acidification (OA) studies tend to be conducted in laboratory settings under constant pH values that are projected to occur by the end of this century. However, they note that "this situation does not adequately represent the large, natural variability of coastal environments caused by near shore processes such as upwelling, water advection and primary production," which often produce coastal CO2/pH changes that exceed the predicted pH changes over seasonal and even daily timescales. As an example of this variability, they point to the La Jolla kelp forest, off the coast of San Diego, USA, where seawater pH "can range from 8.07 (pCO2 ~ 246 µatm) to 7.87 (pCO2 ~ 820 µatm) and from 7.80 (pCO2 ~ 353 µatm) to 7.67 (pCO2 ~ 1016 µatm)" at depths of 7 and 17 m, respectively. Sadly, however, they report that "to date there are no reports of fish behavioral or physiological responses to current environmentally relevant CO2/pH variability." And thus they set out to conduct the first such experiment.

The fish chosen for their analysis was blacksmith (Chromis punctipinnis), a damselfish that inhabits southern California waters year-round among the rocky reefs and kelp forests. Juveniles of this species were subjected to three experimental conditions in two separate months of the year: control (January: pCO2 = 549 ?atm, 7.91 pH units; September: pCO2 = 530 ?atm, 7.93 pH units), constant acidification (January: pCO2 = 983 µatm, 7.68 pH units; September: pCO2 = 859 µatm, 7.74 pH units) and oscillating acidification (January: day: pCO2 = 587 µatm, 7.89 pH units; night: pCO2 = 1066 µatm, 7.65 pH units; September: day: pCO2 = 532 µatm, 7.93 pH units; night: pCO2 = 845 µatm, 7.75 pH units). Testing included an evaluation of both individual and group behaviors after CO2/pH treatment exposure of 7 and 11 days, respectively. And what did their study reveal?

In the words of the authors, and as illustrated in the figure below, "neither constant nor oscillating CO2-induced acidification affected blacksmith individual light/dark preference, inter-individual distance in a shoal or the shoal's response to a novel object, suggesting that blacksmiths are tolerant to projected future OA conditions." As for why there was no impact, Kwan et al. opine that it "could be due to a variety of not mutually exclusive reasons," including (1) "blacksmiths may be able to regulate the acid/base status of their internal fluids, so OA relevant elevations in CO2 levels do not affect neuronal function," or (2) "they may be able to regulate neuronal membrane potential to offset potential effects of OA on the chemistry of their internal fluids." Whatever the case may be, one thing is certain, ocean acidification will not be a problem for juvenile blacksmith in the future.

SOURCE




Green Activists Face Up To 21 Years In Prison As Judge Rejects Climate Change Excuse

A lawyer for an environmental activist convicted of targeting an oil pipeline in North Dakota said he doesn’t think a judge’s decision disallowing the threat of global warming as a defense to justify the crime would be grounds for an appeal.

Defendant Michael Foster, of Seattle, said he has not decided whether to appeal his jury conviction to the North Dakota Supreme Court, and part of him wants “to honor the judge and the jury and their verdict.”

Foster took part in effort on Oct. 11, 2016, to draw attention to climate change by turning off valves on five pipelines that bring Canadian oil south. Foster targeted the Keystone Pipeline in North Dakota. Other activists targeted pipelines in Minnesota, Montana and Washington state.

A jury in North Dakota’s Pembina County on Friday convicted Foster after a weeklong trial of criminal mischief, criminal trespass and conspiracy. He faces up to 21 years in prison when he’s sentenced Jan. 18. The man who filmed his protest action, Samuel Jessup of Winooski, Vermont, was convicted of conspiracy and faces up to 11 years.

Foster had hoped to use a legal tactic known as the climate necessity defense — justifying a crime by arguing that it prevented a greater harm from happening. Prosecutors objected, saying they didn’t want a trial on global warming.

SOURCE

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

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

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Friday, October 13, 2017



Ya gotta laugh! Plastic rubbish in oceans due to "large rivers"

That almost all of the plastic rubbish in oceans comes from Third World countries they could not bear to say.  Western countries dispose of their garbage properly.  Banning plastic bags from Western supermarkets will achieve nothing as they were not the problem in the first place


Up to 95 per cent of plastic polluting the world's oceans pours in from just ten rivers, according to new research. The top 10 rivers - eight of which are in Asia - accounted for so much plastic because of the mismanagement of waste.

About five trillion pounds is floating in the sea, and targeting the major sources - such as the Yangtze and the Ganges - could almost halve it, scientists claim.

Massive amounts of plastic bits that imperil aquatic life are washing into the oceans and even the most pristine waters.

But how it all gets there from inland cities has not been fully understood.

Now a study shows the top 10 rivers - eight of which are in Asia - accounted for 88 to 95 per cent of the total global load because of the mismanagement of waste.

The team calculated halving plastic pollution in these waterways could potentially reduce the total contribution by all rivers by 45 per cent.

Dr Christian Schmidt, a hydrogeologist at Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) in Leipzig, Germany, said: 'A substantial fraction of marine plastic debris originates from land-based sources and rivers potentially act as a major transport pathway for all sizes of plastic debris.'

His team analysed data on debris from 79 sampling sites along 57 rivers - both microplastic particles measuring less than 5 mm and macroplastic above this size.

Rivers which flow from inland areas to the seas are major transporters of plastic debris but the concentration patterns aren't well known. The findings could help fill in this knowledge gap.

Dr Schmidt pooled data from dozens of research articles and calculated the amount in rivers was linked to the 'mismanagement of plastic waste in their watersheds.' He said: 'The 10 top-ranked rivers transport 88-95 per cent of the global load into the sea.'

The study follows a recent report that pointed the finger at China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam for spewing out most of the plastic waste that enters the seas.

The Yangtze has been estimated in previous research to dump some 727 million pounds of plastic into the sea each year. The Ganges River in India is responsible for even more - about 1.2 billion pounds.

A combination of the Xi, Dong and Zhujiang Rivers (233 million lbs per year) in China as well as four Indonesian rivers: the Brantas (85 million lbs annually), Solo (71 million pounds per year), Serayu (37 million lbs per year) and Progo (28 million lbs per year), are all large contributors.

Previous research has also suggested two-thirds of plastic comes from the 20 most contaminated rivers. But Dr Schmidt reckons this can be narrowed down even further.

He said: 'The rivers with the highest estimated plastic loads are characterised by high population - for instance the Yangtze with over half a billion people.

'These rivers are also in countries with a high rate of mismanaged plastic waste (MMPW) production per capita as a result of a not fully implemented municipal waste management including waste collection, dumping and recycling.

'The data shows large rivers are particular efficient in transporting plastic debris. Large rivers like the Yangtze transport a higher fraction of the MMPW that is generated in their catchments than smaller rivers.

'These three factors lead to the estimated concentration of most of the plastic load to large rivers with a large population living in their catchment.

'Countries with high MMPW generation such as China or India could greatly reduce the plastic pollution of rivers by implementing proper waste management.

'In industrial countries, although they have a well developed waste management infrastrcuture, one way for plastic waste entering the environment is littering.'

More than half of the plastic waste that flows into the oceans comes from just five countries: China, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam and Sri Lanka.

The only industrialized western country on the list of top 20 plastic polluters is the United States at No. 20.

The U.S. and Europe are not mismanaging their collected waste, so the plastic trash coming from those countries is due to litter, researchers said.

While China is responsible for 2.4 million tons of plastic that makes its way into the ocean, nearly 28 percent of the world total, the United States contributes just 77,000 tons, which is less than one percent, according to the study published in the journal Science.

SOURCE




Obama’s Climate Plan Was a Failure on All Ways

The Trump administration is dismantling President Barack Obama’s climate legacy piece by piece, and this week it’s taking an axe to arguably the biggest piece.

In an expected move, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt officially began the process of rolling back the incorrectly named Clean Power Plan.

If the Trump administration is intent on achieving 3 percent economic growth and rescinding costly regulations that carry negligible climate benefits—and if it is concerned about preserving our energy grid—the Clean Power Plan is a must-go.

Under section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act, the Obama EPA formalized regulations to reduce carbon dioxide from existing power plants.

Using a name that surely message-tested well, the Clean Power Plan had nothing to do with eradicating hazardous pollutants from power generation. The U.S. already has laws on the books to protect Americans’ health from emissions that have adverse environmental impacts.

Instead, the Clean Power Plan regulated carbon dioxide, a colorless, odorless, nontoxic gas, because of its alleged contribution to climate change.

From Day One, Obama’s Clean Power Plan was fraught with problems—economically, environmentally, and legally.

For starters, families and businesses would have been hit with more expensive energy bills.

How so? The plan set specific limits on greenhouse gas emissions for each state based on the states’ electricity mix and offered “flexible” options for how states could meet the targets.

But no matter how states would have developed their plans, the economic damages would have been felt through higher energy costs, fewer job opportunities, and fewer energy choices for consumers.

The EPA’s idea of flexibility would not have softened the economic blow. It merely meant that Americans would have incurred higher costs through different mechanisms.

Environmentally, the climate impact of the Clean Power Plan would have been pointless. According to climatologist Paul Knappenberger:

Even if we implement the Clean Power Plan to perfection, the amount of climate change averted over the course of this century amounts to about 0.02 C. This is so small as to be scientifically undetectable and environmentally insignificant.

Legally, the Clean Power Plan was on shaky ground, to say the least. The regulation grossly exceeded the statutory authority of the EPA, violated the principles of cooperative federalism, and double-regulated existing power plants, which the Clean Air Act prohibits.

Take it from Laurence Tribe, Harvard University professor of constitutional law and a “liberal legal icon” who served in Obama’s Justice Department.

Tribe stated in testimony before Congress that the “EPA is attempting an unconstitutional trifecta: usurping the prerogatives of the states, Congress, and the federal courts—all at once. Burning the Constitution should not become part of our national energy policy.”

It’s no surprise that more than half the states in the country petitioned the Supreme Court to pause implementation of the regulation, and judges obliged, issuing a stay in 2016.

Pruitt, who led the charge against a rogue EPA as attorney general in Oklahoma, will respect the limits of the EPA as head of the agency. The EPA will now go through the formal rule-making and public comment period in order to repeal the Clean Power Plan.

What comes after that remains to be seen. State attorneys general in New York and Massachusetts, as well as environmental activist groups, are lining up to sue. The EPA could offer a far less stringent replacement regulation, which some industry groups are pushing for to buttress against lawsuits.

If members of Congress are fed up that policy continues to be made through the executive branch with a phone and a pen, they should step to the plate and legislate.

In this case, the solution is clear. The Clean Air Act was never intended to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions.

Congress should pass legislation prohibiting the EPA and other agencies from implementing harmful regulations that stunt economic growth and produce futile climate benefits.

SOURCE



Rolling Back Obama EPA Rule Could Save $33 Billion

Scott Pruitt, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, answers a question during the Concordia Summit on Sept. 19 in New York. (Photo: Jeenah Moon/Reuters/Newscom)
Reversing an Obama administration energy regulation will save energy companies $33 billion in compliance costs through 2030—costs that would have otherwise been borne by consumers, senior Trump administration officials said in providing details about scrapping the plan.

The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday proposed to repeal the Clean Power Plan, placing the proposed repeal in the Federal Register and giving stakeholders 60 days to submit public comment.

The Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan aimed to reduce carbon emissions by one-third by 2030. However, it ran into multiple lawsuits from more than 150 entities, including 27 states, 24 trade associations, 37 rural electric cooperatives, and three labor unions, according to the EPA. On top of that, 34 senators and 171 House members filed an amicus briefing arguing the Clean Power Plan was illegal. On Feb. 9, 2016, the Supreme Court halted the implementation of the program.

The Trump administration argues the Obama policy intruded on “cooperative federalism.” Previously, the EPA would set the process for regulating carbon emissions and states would decide on standards and implementation. Under the Obama rule, the EPA decided on state standards and implementation, the Trump EPA contends.

The EPA will review what the next step after the repeal of the rule is and if any further regulation is warranted, according to a summary from the agency. The agency states that the Clean Air Act is a source for authority but is also carefully crafted to limit what the agency does.

On March 28, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to establish a national policy on energy independence. The executive order was to promote the developing U.S. energy sources and reduce regulation. That day, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt signed four Federal Register notices in response to the executive order that included a review of the Clean Power Plan.

On Monday, Pruitt was in coal country in Hazard, Kentucky to announce the plan to roll back the regulation, where he reportedly said, “The war on coal is over. … I’ll be signing a proposed rule to withdraw the so-called Clean Power Plan of the past administration and thus begin the effort to withdraw that rule.”

The environmental lobby reacted angrily, as Greenpeace Climate Director Kelly Mitchell called Pruitt “a dangerously corrupt fossil fuel errand boy” in a prepared statement.

“Pruitt is trying to gut the EPA’s Supreme Court-confirmed power to regulate dangerous climate pollution so these same companies can avoid accountability for fueling climate chaos,” Mitchell said. “Fortunately, utilities, cities, Fortune 500 companies, and people around the world are all moving towards renewable energy despite Scott Pruitt’s cynical attempt to delay the inevitable.”

SOURCE




Environmentalist Lobby Goes After Another Trump Nominee For Being A Christian

It looks like it’s open season for anti-Christian bigots to hunt down and destroy any Christian nominated to public office—especially environmental free thinkers.

Remember when Bernie Sanders passionately attacked budget office nominee Russell Vought because Vought believes salvation comes only by faith in Jesus Christ—something Christianity has taught for two millennia?

It looks like it’s open season for anti-Christian bigots to hunt down and destroy any Christian nominated to public office—especially if that Christian doesn’t toe the line of environmental political correctness. Forget Article 6 of the Constitution insisting “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

Michael Dourson, whom Trump has nominated to head the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) chemical safety office, is taking the same kind of fire. Dourson is an environmental health professor in the University of Cincinnati’s College of Medicine. He’s a “board-certified toxicologist with an international reputation for excellence in environmental risk assessment.” He’s co-published more than 150 papers on risk assessment methods and chemical-specific analyses.

But he’s also a Christian who, like any serious Christian, tries to integrate his faith with all his life. That just doesn’t sit well with some folks.

Cue the Outrageous Outrage

Raymond Barfield, a professor of pediatrics and Christian philosophy at Duke University, is upset. It seems Dourson wrote that chemical analysis provides some evidence that the Shroud of Turin—which allegedly wrapped Jesus in his burial—might be authentic. Dourson’s not sure. Sounds like the attitude of a good scientist to me.

But there’s more. Dourson isn’t convinced that the chemical risks from flame-retardant fabrics outweigh the fire-prevention benefits. He points out that “exposures from consumer products were much lower” than those involved in a study claiming significant risk. That’s a fairly typical weakness of many environmental risk studies. They expose laboratory animals to extremely high levels of a suspect chemical, discover ill effects, then try to extrapolate to human risk at much lower exposure levels.

Barfield disagrees, and seeks to discredit Dourson because he made $10,000 consulting for a flame retardant industry group. Dourson had questioned a study warning of potential harm from flame retardant chemicals because it hadn’t been replicated yet. That’s confusing, because replication is the hallmark of good science.

As a professor of philosophy, which usually requires some knowledge of logic, Barfield should know that attacking Dourson’s motives because of money commits the fallacy of argumentum ad hominem circumstantial. He further labeled Dourson’s argument that the risks from fires are higher than the risks from fire-retardant chemicals as “pure utilitarianism.” That label’s red meat for Christians.

At the root of the philosophy of utilitarianism is a denial of moral absolutes, which makes it incompatible with Christian faith. But Christian ethics doesn’t forbid all consideration of consequences.

Yes, Christianity teaches that some acts are wrong in principle because they transgress the moral law (1 John 3:4) and therefore cannot be justified by any appeal to consequences. But it also teaches that attention to consequences is part of wisdom: “For which of you,” Jesus said, “intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it?” (Luke 14:28, New Revised Standard Version). “The prudent see danger and hide; but the simple go on, and suffer for it” (Proverbs 22:3).

SOURCE





Weather-company CEO is Trump's pick to lead climate agency

Barry Myers would bring private weather-forecasting experience to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Barry Myers, the chief executive of weather-forecasting firm AccuWeather, is US President Donald Trump's pick to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the White House said on 11 October.

Myers, an attorney by training, has led AccuWeather — based in State College, Pennsylvania — since 2007. This experience could prove useful if the US Senate confirms Myers as NOAA's chief, given that the agency includes the US National Weather Service. But some scientists worry that Myers' ties to AccuWeather could present conflicts of interest, and note that Myers has no direct experience with the agency’s broader research portfolio, which includes the climate, oceans and fisheries.

“I think the science community has real cause for concern,” says Andrew Rosenberg, head of the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Rosenberg notes that Myers was an early proponent of carving out a larger role for the private sector in providing weather services. And in 2005, while Myers served as executive vice president and general counsel, AccuWeather lobbied for legislation to prevent the National Weather Service from competing with private firms in providing products including basic weather forecasting. “Is he going to recuse himself from decisions which might potentially be of interest to his company down the road?” asks Rosenberg.

A different perspective

Myers will probably advance efforts to bring commercial weather data into the national weather-forecasting system, says Bill Gail, chief technology officer for the Global Weather Corporation in Boulder, Colorado. Still, Gail says, Myers respects the importance of the public sector in such activities. “I’ve got a lot of respect for him, and I think he could do a pretty good job,” adds Gail, the co-chair of a decadal survey of US Earth-science satellites being conducted by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

If Myers ascends to NOAA's top job, he will lead an agency facing an uncertain financial future. Trump has proposed slashing NOAA's budget by 17% in fiscal year 2018, compared to the 2017 level of $5.7 billion. While Congress has so far rebuffed Trump's attempts to cut funding for several key science agencies, funding for the 2018 budget year — which began on 1 October — is still up the air. The government is currently running on a stopgap spending bill that will expire on 8 December, prompting another round of budget negotiations.

Ultimately, Myers will need to build a solid team to handle the full NOAA portfolio, says Antonio Busalacchi, president of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research in Boulder. “He’s going to face a lot of challenges, but the bottom line is that Barry does bring a lot of relevant experience to the table.”

SOURCE

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