Monday, 2 March 2020

Climate News - March 2020

by Alan Moran
A review and commentary on topical matters concerning the science, economics, and governance associated with climate change developments.
Alan Moran
1 March 2020
Politics
Climate change may be front of mind among the political class but in the US Pew Survey it came 16th out of 18 issues in 2019, just as it had in the previous 7 years. Even among 18-29-year old’s it was only 7th.

Democrat Presidential candidates are trumpeting their climate action credentials.  Only Bernie Sanders gets full marks from activists favouring economic destruction but Warren and Buttigieg are not far behind. Klobuchar (who I think may eventually be the Democrat’s choice) and Bloomberg would be regarded as tokenistic in merely seeking to end new fossil fuel leases.
Meanwhile, President Trump has rolled back as many regulations impacting upon fossil fuels as he has been able.   Columbia University's Sabin Center for Climate Change Law counts 131 actions toward federal climate deregulation since Trump took office.

Republicans in Congress are however inclined to retain carbon emission-reducing subsidies and other sops to the activists.  The Republicans are fashioning their own set of subsidies to reduce net emissions in the US: those suggested for tree planting come on top of existing ones like the $35 per ton subsidy for reinjecting CO2 from oil and gas production. 

Many politicians would be unnerved by agitprop funds in favour of suppressing emissions.  Billionaire candidate Tom Steyer sold his fossil fuel shares to bankroll his Presidential run, while the Rockefeller Foundation, funded by oil money, is revealed as secretly bankrolling the litigation efforts against energy by several antinomian activist groups.

IEA data shows US with massive reduction in emissions in 2019.  Ironically in “saving the planet” by lowering CO2 emissions (due to gas replacement of coal) the US still gets damned by a green left interested only in goals that also entail poverty!
At the November climate change conference in Glasgow, zero net emissions by 2050 is the clarion call.  According to a British Court of Appeals decision on Heathrow, even the virtue signalling Paris Accord rules out airport expansions. China and India are planning to open hundreds of new airports. 

UK Government asked the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), to estimate the costs of this and their answer was just a few per cent of GDP.  CCC is an organisation chaired by Lord Deben, who was notoriously in receipt of funding from the renewables industry. The Global Warming Policy Foundation estimates the cost of zero net emissions for the UK at  £100,000 per household. The Competitive Enterprise Foundation puts the cost of the US Green New Deal (which includes education and health care costs as well as zero emissions) at $74,000 in the first year and a long term of $40,000 a year.

This piece by Melanie Phillips demonstrates that the science of global warming is based on distortions of data and poor logic, while the cost of the “zero emissions” target will be a reduction of living standards to those of the Middle Ages.

The Canadian government environmental policy has brought the termination of a $20 billion project to tap the world’s third largest reserves of oil sands in Alberta. The company concerned, Teck Resources, has taken a $1.3 billion hit. 
Renewables versus fossil fuels
Larry Bell Professor of Space Architecture at the University of Houston reminds us that wind and solar are now approaching maximum theoretical efficiency in converting wind and sun to energy; he also adds $200,000 worth of Tesla-type batteries weighing over 20,000 pounds are needed to store the energy equivalent of one barrel of oil. A barrel of oil that weighs only 300 pounds can be stored in a $20 tank.

Coal plants are becoming more popular (except in Australia where the plan is to close them). 
BP has proclaimed it will get to zero emissions (presently 52 million tonnes of CO2 a year) from its production. The Chairman was unable to say how this will be done but promised detail in September. 

Black Rock is yet another preachy organisation calling for emission controls, “every government, company and shareholder must confront climate change”, said its CEO, who travels the world in a private jet.

Australia’s Energy Security Board addresses the "challenge" from wind/solar energy:
• supply when solar and wind are not available,
• new markets for services like frequency, voltage control, inertia, and system strength
• network reconfiguration to accommodate wind, solar and rooftop generation.
Thus, government regulations have created subsidies for wind/solar, bringing these generation sources to a 16 per cent market share and they now need further subsidies to allow them to operate!
Emissions, temperatures and weather disasters
Over the past 5 million years average global temperatures have ranged between -6 and +4 degrees from those of today but a “disturbing new study” published in a major journal makes the absurd statement that a 0.5 degree temperature rise over the next 50 years would bring about the extinction of half the world’s plant and animal species.

Antarctic sea ice extent is currently running at its long-term levels but Arctic sea ice extent has been running generally at lower than average levels since the middle 1990s at which time there was a cyclical phase shift from cold-to-warm. 
Data on Australia’s bushfire season on the year to January 3 showed NSW at record levels and Victoria at near record levels but Queensland was about average. 
Here is Wikipedia's Australia-wide data of the ten most extensive hectares burned by year recorded over the past 170 years.  
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) is, without explanation, revising century-old data on Australian temperatures.  Jo Nova shows how Marble Bar’s 1924 recordings, previously showing the site as the hottest in the world, have been inexplicably revised down so that the site now conforms with the prevailing view that the world is getting hotter.  

Judith Curry, in a lengthy analysis of the Australian fires, also notes that the BoM has modified historical temperature readings upwards, creating a semblance that temperatures have risen, while analysis of remote stations unaffected by urbanisation show no such trend.  She further notes “The strong Niño of 2016 and the weaker event of 2019 had created a significant rainfall deficit: in 2018, rainfall over southeastern Australian mainland was in the lowest 10% of historical observations, particularly from April onwards.  And goes on to say “Fire reduction burning had been done in only 1% of the Victoria woodlands when at least 10% was required according to the government”.
Whimsy

Just another insane spore from the climate change host: dam the North Sea to combat a mythical sea rise. Cost is a snip at 500 million Euros but just think of all the CO2 from the steel and concrete it will require!

It had to be said and Time was early off the mark: if climate change did not trigger coronavirus it made it spread faster and will cause others. 

RIP
Former chief of the IPCC, serial sexual harasser and phoney climate expert, Rajendra Pachauri, died in January aged 79. Feted by the climate alarmists, Tony Thomas describes him as “an exemplar of the carpet-baggers aboard the catastrophic-warming bandwagon”.