Climate News - November 2018

A review and commentary on topical matters concerning the science, economics, and governance associated with climate change developments.

By Alan Moran

4 November 2018
The politics of climate change
Starting the ball rolling for December's 24th Conference of Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Katowice (COP24), the conference Executive Secretary, Patricia Espinosa, addressed diplomats and other drones and subsidy-seekers saying, “people of the world want us to achieve results at COP24 and we intend to reach those goals.”

To set the COP24 agenda the IPCC issued its latest piece of alarmist agitprop on October 8.  Its theme is, "Every extra bit of warming matters, especially since warming of 1.5°C or higher increases the risk associated with long-lasting or irreversible changes, such as the loss of some ecosystems".  It argues, limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require "rapid and far-reaching" transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities. Global human-caused net emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) would need to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching 'net zero' around 2050.

The latest IPCC review claims all net warming is caused by humans – a view that is unfounded and at odds with the IPCC’s own findings in the AR5 Working Group 1 Report of just 5 years ago!  Here is some history of alarmism
The IPCC worries are driven by climate models but John McLean has found serious errors in their central (hadCRUT4) database, the correction of which the UK Met Office says will have a trivial effect.  However, as Rafe Champion says, "this begs the question of why a PhD student working from home can find mistakes that the £226 million institute with 2100 employees could not”. Small changes are magnified in climate models and, citing James Delingpole, McLean says, “If the warming since 1950 was really 0.4C rather than about 0.7C, then even if it was all man-made would it really be worth the money that's being spent on climate?”

Others, including some warmista scientists, have criticised the latest IPCC report for extreme bias against nuclear power. 

Donald Trump refuted Politically Correct climate alarmist tropes (hurricanes increasing, Greenland ice mass declining and self-interested scientists support the IPCC etc), from a 60 Minutes reporter.  Here is a point-by-point rebuttal from Marc Morano.  For his part, Al Gore was perhaps over-candid in saying, “The language that the IPCC used in presenting it was torqued up a little bit, appropriately – how [else] do they get the attention of policy-makers around the world?” 

Naturally, in light of the new IPCC report, the mendicant least developed countries expressed, “grave concern at the increasingly severe climate impacts already experienced” and that this can only be rectified by “predictable, accessible, adequate and sustained financial, capacity building and technological support from developed countries and international partners.”  A Chinese attempt to get some of the free money under the Paris Agreement was thwarted by the US.  But, in a shocking waste of global resources, some $1 billion was actually approved for other finance proposals.

Professor Richard Lindzen, one of the world’s most respected atmospheric physicist, said the IPCC report had reduced the alleged tipping point from 2C to 1.5C because there had been no significant warming for 20 years. ‘Warming of any significance ceased about 20 years ago, and 2C warming was looking increasingly unlikely.’ Professor Lindzen also said that there was no threat to the Great Barrier Reef and, referring to Australian antipathy to coal, added, ‘I can’t imagine what suicidal instincts reside in Australia’s political class.’

The Australian government has however rejected the IPCC message of a coal-free system by 2050, though predictably, Greenpeace has urged people to vote against the government to reverse this.
Economist Joseph Stiglitz is coming to Australia to collect the human rights activist “Sydney Peace Prize”.  He warned the nation that climate change was not a liberal conspiracy and that a carbon tax is necessary.  Whatever!

Australian company directors have no expertise on climate matters but virtue signal by proclaiming this the greatest issue.  Only 7 per cent of regular people agree. 

Norman Rodgers' highly readable “Dumb Energy: A Critique of Wind and Solar energy” shows that the cost of wind/solar is 7 US cents per kWh but needs backup of a gas plant. Even with saving 2 US cents per kwh in gas usage, this brings a net cost of 5 US cents per kwh, which is the equivalent of a carbon tax of $US140 per tonne.  Australia’s gas, due to government policies, is dearer but this still results in a net tax effect.  

The Australian electricity policy has provided a wonderful windfall for generation businesses (at the expense of their customers).  The CLP-owned EnergyAustralia saw an increase in profits of 200 per cent as a result of renewable energy-induced price increases but the Australian CEO claimed, “we’re not bandits”.  The chairman of the Coalition’s backbench energy committee, the outspoken conservative Craig Kelly, says as a first step the government needs to axe current subsidies to households and businesses for solar panels.

Having previously pledged to leave the Paris Agreement, Brazil’s new President Jair Bolsonaro says he will stay in but dilute Brazil's application of climate inspired regulatory policies and allow fracking. These measures, according to green activist group, 350 Org, “would be deeply unpopular and dangerous”!

In the UK, 36 per cent of people think climate change is mainly human-induced and 25 per cent are very or extremely worried about it. The BBC is a shameless propagandist for the cause and the regulator, OFCOM, is to investigate whether the institution is being impartial.  Meanwhile, a new group Extinction Rebellion, whose members include former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, is commencing a civil disobedience campaign in which 500 have pledged to get themselves arrested.

In Canada, an intensifying debate on carbon tax is taking place.  On Oct. 23, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the federal government will impose a carbon tax on all Canadians, but will provide rebates.  Starting in April 2019 “carbon pollution” will initially cost C$20 ($15.27) a tonne, rising by C$10 a year until it reaches C$50 in 2022.  The Conservatives will scrap the tax if elected in October 2019. Ontario Premier Doug Ford says it will take Ottawa to court over the plan. 
Real and imagined effects of climate change
Talismanic warming indicators, Swiss glaciers, were thought to have started retreating after 1850 with the onset of some industrialisation but are now found to have retreated much earlier in a process that had nothing to do with industrialisation (and associated increased atmospheric soot). 

Here is a scary chart from UN data:
But costs have fallen once figures are adjusted for inflation and rising global income levels!
Interestingly, the latest IPCC report notes (p.60) there is no evidence of increased cyclonic activity. 

The Economist produced this welcome news
Updates 
On catallaxy, I published this, this, and this on climate and associated energy matters. I also published this and this in Quadrant and this piece for the Spectator.
Whimsy
Far left NZ Prime Minister attacks those with “extremist” positions on climate change, meaning anyone – are you listening Mr Trump? - opposing an acceleration away from fossil fuels.

Yet another alarmist piece about extinctions of small animals from climate change – they are considered too unadaptable or incapable of relocating. Correcting such specious notions, the Australian Environment Foundation made a submission to an Australian Parliamentary Inquiry debunking the myths of widespread extinctions caused by human activities.
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