Monday, 1 October 2018

Climate News - October 2018

A review and commentary on topical matters concerning the science, economics and governance associated with climate change developments.
By Alan Moran
1 October 2018
Three conferences and a reality check
In Bangkok the UN Paris Agreement confronted its nemesis – reality.  The global warming collectivists reported the outcome as another triumph, where all that is required is further controls by wise governments.  Patricia Espinosa, the head of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, however acknowledged "limited progress" on the issue of contributions from developed nations to developing countries, but was hopeful about future discussions.  And possible US Presidential candidate, former New York mayor Bloomberg, who has chipped in $4.5 million of his own money to foster the cause, was appointed UN Envoy for Climate Change.

Gloomily, the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, forecast a doomed world unless emissions stop in two years.  Sharing such sentiments, the UK Labour Party has announced it “is ready to step up today to reclaim our future and protect our planet”.  A Labour Government will surpass the 80 per cent reduction in emissions by 2050, which passes for the Conservative’s policy, with a zero emissions pledge.  Tallbloke characterised this as Labour saying they’ll create 400,000 green jobs and destroy one million in the commercial economy.

Coinciding with the UN conference, Californian Governor Jerry Brown organised the “Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS)”.  Contributors included Al Gore, Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry, Michael Bloomberg, Van Jones, Tom Steyer, Alec Baldwin, and Harrison Ford.  Heartland did some fine work rebutting the fanciful and alarmist claims by speakers at this conference.  Eye-catching positions included John Kerry’s descent into madness – the spouse of the Heinz fortune’s widow says he will sue Trump for lives lost due to climate change. But just to illustrate how far California has moved off-the-planet, a group protested that the ‘Governor Moonbeam’ is in the pocket of big oil!

Hurricanes were topical at the time of the Californian conference and an increased frequency was claimed and attributed to anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions, a theme endorsed by the Washington Post which blames Trump for hurricanes. But the true story is their reduced frequency.
Refreshingly, another conference held in Porto actually discussed and debated the issues.  Among the papers was that of Nils Morner examining climate information (temperatures, precipitation, hurricanes, etc.) and concluding that there was little of concern to humankind from increased greenhouse gas emissions. This graphic showed the natural ebb and flow of Arctic ice.
Further ruining the warmista narrative, the most recent data shows Arctic ice on the increase. But The Guardian found a paper purporting to identify the occurrence of more “warm” ice that moves and melts faster and will likely bring net melting and a rising of oceanic levels by one foot.  Sigh!

Among the Porto papers was one by Professor Peter Ridd, the outstanding Australian scientist sacked by James Cook University for questioning the Climate Change Orthodoxy, with its lucrative government funding, on the iconic Great Barrier Reef (GBR).  Rebutting alarmist notions of a loss of 30 per cent from one episode of warmer water, far from a distressed reef, Ridd’s findings are that the GBR is expanding.  As one former titan of the bureaucracy put it, “If we keep losing 30 per cent of the GBR to each episode of global warming, how come it hasn’t shrunk?”

A mathematical analysis presented by Christopher Monckton suggested that not only do the climate models persistently over-forecast warming but their theoretical basis is fatally flawed in a way that the doomsters will need to accept.  Perhaps!  Karl Zeller presented on the controversial theory that carbon dioxide is irrelevant to planetary warmth, which is due to two things: distance from the Sun (determining how much solar energy we get), and the atmospheric pressure on the surface.

I delivered this paper that addressed the costs of combating climate change, including the replacement of dependable supplies by intermittent wind and solar; I argued that ideologically based subsidies to renewables would be undermined by the Trump revolution bringing unsubsidised fossil-fuelled cheap power, thereby enhancing the US comparative advantage. Ironically, President Macron recognised this in a Canute style UN address where he said, “Let's stop signing trade agreements with those who don't comply with the Paris Agreement."  Exhibiting an elitist ignorance of all things economic, he also called for one third of global finance to be diverted to replacing fossil fuels and, always happy to absorb governments’ money, BlackRock is collaborating in allocating global renewable outlays!  Gallic pragmatism was however also evident with France ceasing to expand its renewable energy budget

Roy Spencer’s highly readable new book carefully and accurately demonstrates the scientific frailties and exaggerations of the global warming con. 
Policy Developments
One nation that never adopted the climate change policy religion is China and, as Benny Peiser shows with this graphic on its increase in coal use, any pious claims China makes are belied by its actions.

And green activist site, Coalswarm, reports 259 Gigawatts (GW) of new capacity are under development in China. This is comparable to the entire U.S. coal capacity (266 GW) and almost tenfold that of Australia and represents a 25% increase in China’s coal power fleet.

Indeed, Michael Bastasch suggests that the sum total of CO2 reduction amounts to little more than the developed world subcontracting its emissions to China.  Superannuated climate worrier The Guardian’s George Monbiot seems to agree and has adopted the view, silently shared by many, that the only solution is to reverse the economic growth process, especially that involving “pointless consumption”!  

Australia is set to hit its renewable energy target of 9000 MW by 2020.  Such a destructive waste as the regulatory contribution is over one half of the costs and the poor quality of intermittent renewables poisons the entire network.

The ideologues’ march through the institutions has placed warmist zealots at the helm of financial regulatory agencies and, hardly surprisingly, firms in the UK and Australia are less worried about climate change than the regulators appointed to supervise them!

As part of a debate with warmist scientists, Will Happer, recently appointed to the White House National Security Council, provides this graph which illustrates ambiguity in warming measurements which depend on the altitude temperature levels at various altitudes.
And, though good news is seldom reportable news, atmospheric CO2 levels, having declined to abnormally low levels over the past centuries, have recovered with the release of CO2 embedded in fossils and the past 28 years has seen an average 11 per cent regreening of the planet.
The height of grasses in the tundra has also reportedly increased.
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.

In addition to the papers to the Porto Conference and the submission on Species Extinctions, I published pieces on renewable policies on Quadrant and Catalaxy.
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