Climate News - September 2018




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

By Alan Moran
1 September 2018


Climate Science

Much is made of record temperatures being set but Tony Heller demonstrates that for the US the past year has seen the least number of record temperatures set.



Noted meteorologist, formerly of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, Bill Kininmonth, has estimated that the warming that has occurred in the 38 years since satellite data became available is much lower than any of the climate models’ estimates and by analysing el ninio events concludes, “The likelihood is that the observed warming of recent decades is largely a consequence of internal variability of the climate system and has little to do with atmospheric carbon dioxide.”

Kenneth Richard identifies 89 scientific papers published in 2018 that demonstrate the current climate is either not unusual or is cooler than in earlier eras. Among them is Zheng et al’s temperature reconstruction from Gushantun peat indicates that mean annual air temperatures in NE China 8,000 years ago were 5–7°C higher than today.



Jo Nova reminds us that megadroughts are not a new phenomena either in Australia or in Europe.



Even prior to Australia’s warmist former Prime Minister’s replacement, CNN reported that Australia won’t budge on climate change policy but is engulfed in a drought. The gullible reporter heard what she wanted to hear: that warmer climates mean less precipitation and that the current drought is unprecedented. But to the displeasure of activists, unlike his predecessor, new Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, refused to attribute the current drought in parts of Australia to climate change.

Alarmists, however, are getting even shriller in predicting doomsday. Serial doomster Will Steffen led a group claiming a “tipping point” of sea rise, species depletion and hurricanes was likely even if the Paris Agreement target of 2 degrees warming were met. Nothing less than “a deep transformation based on a fundamental reorientation of human values, equity, behavior, institutions, economies, and technologies is required.” One wonders how catastrophe was avoided during the hundreds of occasions when the world was much warmer than this. As David Whitehouse says, there is no new science supporting these alarmist predictions. And Judith Curry notes “Speculations about possible scenarios in ~1000 years are not useful for policy making in a prescriptive sense in context of the precautionary principle”.

Fires have added to concerns stemming from drought. John Christy maintains that exacerbating fires, particularly in California, is human mismanagement that prevents low-level fires from burning. He said, “If you don’t let the low-intensity fires burn, that fuel builds up year after year,” And added, “Our most serious heatwaves were in the 1930’s. We have not matched those at all.”


Australian political turmoil

For the third time in 5 years, climate change issues have resulted in the deposing of an Australian Prime Minister. Malcolm Turnbull, who 10 years ago was sacked from the leadership of the Opposition on this same issue, electricity taxation supposedly to combat climate change. The outcome has been the nation with the cheapest sources of electricity in the world has the highest prices.



Anti-fossil fuel campaigner Perry Sioshansi reproduces Bloomberg data showing the increasing number of negative electricity prices as a result of growing levels of wind power.  These negative prices actually bring increased costs to consumers since they force despatchable plant to back-off.  On balance this causes higher prices.



Turnbull’s attempt to back away from the economy-destructive policy he devised was not enough to save him.  I joined in the debate including urging an end to subsidies and measures to offset their harmful effect in investor confidence for new coal stations in articles published on catallaxy here and here and in Quadrant.  

The New York Times had a typically agitprop editorial comment about the impending global warming disaster and how this would affect Australia more than elsewhere and that the nation was being short-sighted with the deposal of Turnbull.  It cited a poll claiming overwhelming support of renewables over coal, a support as demonstrated by the national turmoil over energy policy, which evaporates once the different costs are factored-in. Like other mainstream media, the Financial Times also advised Australia to undertake an emission reduction program – citing the present drought as symptomatic of human induced global warming and favouring something even more radical than the National Energy Guarantee, at the heart of which is a form of carbon tax.

Turnbull lost his Prime Ministership because of his adherence to forms of renewable subsidies.  Journalist Terry McCrann pointed to the complicity of the senior levels of the business community with these policies.  The new PM, Scott Morrison, has shown a willingness to lampoon those who oppose coal and the new Energy Minister Angus Taylor had, prior to being elected to Parliament, campaigned against wind subsidies. In his first speech he placed priority on reducing prices rather than emissions.  At the same time, to gushing media approval, green subsidy seekers issued yet another report stating black is white, weak is strong, renewables bring lower prices. Meanwhile, the Labor Opposition published this chart tracking Australian emission reductions.



CNN opined that the US "Affordable Clean Energy" rule in dismantling the carbon emission restraints on coal is not just vindictive, but dangerous.  And that it would harm our health.  Trump’s policy was described as deluded and motivated by hatred of Obama and Californian fruit loop Jerry Brown blamed the policy on Trump’s insanity!

The new US climate proposal for coal-burning power plants gives states wide latitude to write their own modest regulations for coal plants or even seek permission to opt out. That’s a sharp contrast from the aims of Obama’s Clean Power Plan, a 2015 regulation that would have sped a shift away from coal use and toward less-polluting sources such as natural gas, wind and solar.  But as Eric Worrall illustrates, the Sierra Club frets that even the Democrats are losing interest in climate change and are more focussed on energy prices.  This is not obvious in California where the Natural Resource Agency has issued a terrifying report on how the land will burn, the people will die, the seas will rise and the dams will empty. 

This is at variance with the record which actually shows a relative decline in losses as a result of weather events.



Unsurprisingly, President Trump does not share California’s concerns; his pick as chief scientist, Kelvin Droegemeier, unlike the activist predecessor John Holdren, is not a climate alarmist.

Leading Brazilian Presidential candidate, Jair Bolsonaro, is threatening to take Brazil out of the Paris Agreement if he wins the October election.  

The Canadian Climate change catechism is also crumbling.  Trudeau has been forced to water down the nation’s carbon tax to keep competitive with US and two provinces seek court action to force its total abandonment.

Though attributing current weather conditions to climate change, Germany’s Angela Merkel, a major protagonist of emission cuts has been forced to declare an increase on the already agreed 40 per cent reduction on 1990 levels by 2030 should not be adopted. 

Nicolas Hulot, the French Environment Minister, has quit saying that Macron's government has paid little more than lip service to environmental issues.

Astonishingly, the Australian Financial Review suggests that an Australian exit from the Paris Agreement would jeopardise overseas investment thereby harming the economy.  And an Agitprop puff piece by CSIRO and other paid propagandists says failure of Paris Agreement will cost Australia $126 billion per year.

As Stephen Moore points out, China, the economy with the largest emissions, has no medium term plans to abate (it had met is ultra-soft goals prior to signing Paris) and that almost all the nations admonishing the US over the Paris Agreement themselves seem unlikely to meet their commitments.  


Whimsy

Stevie Wonder blames the death of Aretha Franklin from cancer on human induced climate change. (ED Actually not on AGW but on those who don’t believe in global warming) (LINK)

Two recent studies have come to opposite conclusions about carbon dioxide. Compared to the world’s 500 ppm CO2, one study suggested pilots had impaired judgement when in 1,500 ppm environments, while the other showed submariners had BETTER judgement when in an atmosphere of 15,000 ppm!

Roy Spencer discusses a set of windmills located between traffic lanes that generate electricity.  But not so fast!  The windmills, in turning, create extra drag on vehicles with a net negative outcome for greenhouse gas emissions. 




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