Thursday, 2 May 2019

Climate News - May 2019

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

Alan Moran
2 May 2019
Scientific Developments
A paper in Nature, Pep Ciais et al, shows that most of the additional CO2 emitted over the past forty years is being absorbed into land and oceans, the former causing some greening.  Predictably, the authors claim more work is needed to examine whether these beneficial effects are sustainable.

Tony Heller digs up news stories from the 1930s about the disappearance of Arctic ice and provides this graph showing a recent increase in ice. 
Global political and economic developments
In order to meet more stringent EU CO2 emissions standards Europe’s car manufacturers face a cost of $7.4 billion. Peugeot, Fiat and VW, having pledged to reduce sales of diesel and with a low share of electric cars in their mix, are hit hardest. But according to the IFO institute, a Tesla emits 156 to 180 grams of CO2 per kilometre, which is more than a comparable diesel vehicle produced by the German company Mercedes, for example.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) says the world will save $160 trillion by 2050 if we adopt renewable energy.  The Agency sees, “An unprecedented decline in renewable energy costs, new opportunities in energy efficiency, digitalisation, smart technologies and electrification solutions”. However, it still advocates subsidies to enable this transition.

The Washington Post claims the crisis on the southern border is a result not of civil strife, a wish to get on board of US living standards but by CLIMATE CHANGE. Something about “coffee rust” caused by lower rainfall and increased heat in Guatemala, which Trump’s policies of cutting off aid is, of course, exacerbating.   A German study reckons that for most poor countries there is >90% likelihood that per capita GDP is lower today than if global warming had not occurred. Commenting on this, WattsUpWithThat drily asks “perhaps a follow up study in Venezuela might shed some light on the hypothetical impact of not using fossil fuels”.

David Wojick does the maths on batteries and estimates a cost of $25.2 billion, just to make a $150 million wind farm reliable. Announced storage schemes make a trivial contribution to making wind/solar reliable.

The David Attenborough Netflix series claims walruses in Siberia were plunging over cliffs due to global warming.  But the deaths are either due to Polar Bears driving them over the cliffs to feast on them or to the film crew itself.  The series was financed by and is a revenue raiser for WWF. 

Alarmism prevails from agencies dependent on continued taxpayer funding for their jobs in managing the Great Barrier Reef.  Hysterics have been ramped up with a claim that the reef will collapse if a1.5ºC temperature increase takes place.  Sacked by James Cook University, for exposing grant-chasing science on this matter, Professor Peter Ridd won his case against all 17 claims that the university used as its justification. Donna Laframboise shows how the University was corrupted by a need to maintain its funding and to keep its star fund-raiser, reef alarmist Professor Terry Hughes. 

Notables, from the Pope to Jeremy Corbyn, are lauding Swedish Asperger's syndrome afflicted teenager Greta Thunberg, who leads a schoolchildren’s strike against climate change inaction.  Thousands of other children have paralysed London in an “extinction rebellion”. 

A study of 29 US states that mandate increased levels of renewable energy found that after 12 years the average increase in electricity prices was 17 per cent in response to a net increase in renewable wind and solar of 4.2 per cent.  Another study estimated a shift from the envisaged 25 to 50 per cent renewables in Minnesota would bring a 40% increase in the price of electricity, a $3 billion annual decline in the state’s GDP, and destruction of 21,000 permanent jobs.

Analyses like this have not stopped Democrat Presidential hopefuls adopting zero emissions goals with Beto O’Rourke costing his proposal at $5 trillion, a cut-price version of the $93 trillion Ocasio-Cortez solution.  These schemes are in response to badly informed public opinion - a Politico poll puts support for the comprehensive Ocasio-Cortez Green New Deal at 46 in favour to 31 against, with even larger majorities favouring greater action on reducing CO2 emissions.

In response to candidate Elizabeth Warren, the Government Accountability Office is to review how climate change impacts military contractors’ ability to respond to national security threats.

Alberta saw a landslide victory for the conservatives on a platform that featured scrapping the province’s carbon tax, combating anti-oil-sands campaigners and threatening to cease doing business with banks that boycott energy projects. The Ford government in Ontario was elected on a similar platform.  The Trudeau Government recently introduced a carbon tax.
Climate news in the May 18 Australian election
The Labor Party and the Greens are seeking to accelerate the departure from coal and oil with a faster forced take-up of solar/wind and a Norwegian style 50 per cent share for electric cars. The Liberals have a diluted version of these measures. 

The Liberals put the cost of Labor’s 2030 targeted 50 per cent renewable energy share and 45 per cent emissions reduction (compared with its own 27 per cent emission reduction target) at $387 billion.  Liberal Party estimates draw from the Fisher study, which put the 2030 cumulative cost of its own policy at $89 billion; that of Labor is an additional $264 billion to $542 billion depending upon the use of overseas credit purchases. While all such modelling of radical policy changes are unreliable, Labor has not attempted to cost its policies.    

I covered the car policy here. The Australian Institute for Progress estimates the cost of Australia converting to 50 per cent electric cars is $614 billion.  Among other issues is the loss of $547 per motorist in gas and diesel fuel taxes hypothecated to road construction. Elsewhere, estimates are that the policy will reduce federal revenue by $10 billion a year. Labor has since backed away from making its policy mandatory.

The two Left parties also plan to force lower emissions from agriculture by preventing land clearing and reducing irrigation water usage - I covered the demerits of the latter here. I also published this on launching Mark Lawson’s book, Climate Hysteria.   

The Adani coal mine has assumed a major role, with a well-funded Guardian/GetUp campaign against it. There is opposition to the mine in wealthy urban areas and support in regional areas. The Coalition Government has endorsed the mine’s go-ahead with the myriad of conditions placed on it, while the Labor Party continues to vacillate due to grass roots opposition counterbalanced by support for the project by influential mining unions.

In the 2019 budget, Australia made its final $19 million contribution (bringing total given since 2015 to $187 million) to the UN Green Climate Fund in December. This was a basis for the Paris Climate Accord. Oxfam Australia protested saying, “We have entered an era of brutal climate damage, fuelled by the reckless inaction of developed countries.”
By allegedly being forced to eat seaweed through climate change, reindeers at least escape the fictitious suiciding of David Attenborough’s walruses!

Robert Redford says impeaching Trump won’t matter if we lose the planet through climate change.  But this is now less likely as Californian cafes may now add one per cent to bills to combat it and Al Gore’s promotion of vegan hamburgers might also assist.

Blowing the lid on a major scandal, Newsweek reports that former EPA Director, Scott Pruitt, accepted free books from people opposed to dramatic emission restraining action! The EPA itself. persists with new alarmist publications.

Former VW executives are being prosecuted for cynically distorting their cars’ CO2 emission levels, bringing a $33 billion fine to the firm. Perhaps, once the myth of human induced global warming is punctured, they will emerge as unwitting heroes in combatting a specious policy.

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