Saturday, 1 June 2019

Climate News - June 2019

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

Alan Moran
1 June 2019
Scientific Developments
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) is one among many politicians claiming global warming is causing increased tornado activity. Roy Spencer shows that modest global warming, contrary to activist claims, reduces the number of tornadoes because their formation needs unusually cold air. Evidence supporting this is that tropical cyclones impacting Australia are on a flat or downward trajectory. 
The UN has published work that says due to climate change one million species are threatened.  Leveraging on this, another study sees a need to expel human influence from half of the planet in order to prevent a massive extinction that threatens the planet itself. It is claimed a “Global Deal for Nature” would prevent damage to 30 per cent of land and oceans by 2030 and 50 per cent by 2050.

Toby Young assesses the species claim. He points out that the number of mammals known to have become extinct in the past 500 years, when temperatures rose and fell, is around 1.4 per cent of those identified. The chart belowderived from the IUCN “red list”, shows recorded extinctions having declined over the past 100 years (and being in the hundreds rather than millions).
Graham Lloyd recalls an earlier catastrophian forecast, “In 1970, S. Dillon Ripley, the secretary of the Smithsonian Institution assessed that before the turn of the 21st century between 75 per cent and 80 per cent of all the species of living animals would be extinct.”

Humans are also unlikely to become extinct.  Damping down AOC’s declarations that the world will end in 12 years, Tony Heller produces the following more optimistic picture.
Failing to corroborate the alarmist trends, Switzerland saw snowfalls in May which broke the previous record falls set in 1945.  Many places in Queensland also logged record low temperatures during May just prior to former US Vice President Al Gore’s arrival for “Climate Week”, which has reportedly cost the state government $320,000. 

Australia, due to drought, is to import wheat this year for the first time in decades. But, though the global warming scare is supposed to bring crop reductions, Global wheat production sets new records almost every year.
A new paper by Barber et al, out in time to influence the EU elections, and the upcoming IPCC Sixth Assessment report, claims sea levels could rise by two metres by the end of the century.  Ocean expert Nils-Axel Morner, calling the paper “pals reviewed”, demonstrates that such a rate is inconceivable – even with a much larger increase in temperatures 12,000 years ago the ice melt was less than half that projected by the Barber paper.  Principia Scientific accuses the upcoming IPCC Sixth Assessment Report of cherry-picking in citing a 1.32 to 1.93 mm/year rise for 1980-2000 and claiming this is faster than during any preceding 20-year period over the past 1000 years. Principia Scientific itself puts the ocean rise 1901-2015 at 0.33 mm per year.

Geoff Sherrington provides this handy paper trail of the fraud in climate change propaganda development. Starting with the Club of Rome’s 1972 forecast that by 1982 all oceanic life would have disappeared, this progressed through Agenda 21, a framework for the systemic, co-operative action required to bring about the transition to ‘sustainable development’, to more recent forecasts of dire climatic changes that have failed to come about.

Vijay Jayaraj offers this rebuttal of the catastrophian meme. He shows:
  • No significant warming for 18 years and, contrary to former Vice President Al Gore's predictions, polar bears are thriving, Arctic Ice is not retreating and there’s no increase in hurricanes, floods, droughts, and wildfires
  • Green policies in abandoning fossil fuels will destroy modern lifestyles involving transport and production
  • Scientific fraud seeks to distort the data, as best documented by release in 2009 of the University of East Anglia “Climategate” emails (and in the James Cook University attack on Peter Ridd)
CNN informed us that the window for action to save humanity is closing.  While, according to The Lancet, zero carbon emissions by 2050 will bring UK health savings from auto pollution of £17 billion over 20 years plus other health benefits from a shift towards plant based food as well, of course, as saving some of the mythical million species said to be facing extinction.

And, led by autistic Swedish 16 year old activist, Greta Thunberg, (who has met the Pope and been nominated for a Nobel prize) almost two million deluded schoolchildren protested on 24 May about the coming climate Armageddon.  Self-designated weather oracle, Bill Mckibben, tells us they are supported by many adults. 

Here is a picture of youthful wisdom from the Melbourne demo, where ‘11 years left’ was a popular slogan, although new research has shown the ancient Mayans adapted to live through far more draconian climate change than any presently envisaged for hundreds of years! 
Illustrating the frailty of political acumen, the demonstrators have the support of the UK Parliamentwhich voted that there is a climate change emergency and did so in spite of opposition from Michael Gove, the warmista Environment Minister.

Environmental activists put the disconnect between climate fears and actions down to “a continuing campaign by Big Oil to confuse, obfuscate and delay.”  This view was echoed by losing Australian Labor Party leader Bill Shorten in his valedictory speech.  However the view cannot be reconciled with the support voiced for carbon taxes by leading Australian energy firms, including BHP and Woodside.  Nor, on the global stage, is it consistent with BP's caving into shareholder demands to set out a business strategy consistent with achieving net zero emissions by 2050, (a position rejected by Exxon and Chevron). 

Investor Group activists argue that firms' directors must act on climate change to meet their fiduciary duties.  But going green and relying on unreliable and expensive power sources could be a much greater threat to directors in sending companies into insolvency.

The Wall Street Journal and the Washington Examiner among many other news outlets attributed the Australian May 2019 election result to the failure of the Labor Party/Green’s climate change policies, seeing this as part of a global trend. 

My own assessment, in Canada’s Financial Post, recognised the importance of climate policy issues. It also noted that the Liberal/National Party (LNP) went to the election with policies that included subsidies and regulations to reduce CO2 emissions with Treasurer Josh Frydenberg suggesting that there is an “inevitable” transition to low-emissions sources.  Moreover, Labor got over 48 per cent of the two party preference vote in spite of compounding its green manifesto with a high taxation policy. 

Terry McCrann pointed out that Queensland, where opposition to climate-oriented regulatory restraints on energy is most prominent, elected 23 LNP MPs and 6 Labor, while the rest of Australia voted in 55 LNP to 61 Labor. An immediate reaction to the election result was panic by the Queensland state government which reversed its position of opposing the proposed Adani coal mine.  

The EU elections showed an increasing polarisation with the greens making major gains (taking their voting share to 11 per cent) but the gains were confined to the more affluent countries.  Groups that are generally opposed to green policies made even bigger gains.  Traditional left/right parties now have less than half the vote with anti and pro EU parties each with one quarter

In the US, Democratic Party hopefuls are vying for the most ambitious spending proposals. Washington Governor Jay Inslee calls for zero emissions by 2035, with a 10 year plan to invest $9 trillion in modern manufacturing and green infrastructure to “revitalize America’s economy for the 21st century.”

Democratic Senators Brian Schatz of Hawaii, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Martin Heinrich of New Mexico wrote a letter to NBC News calling for its initial presidential debate, scheduled for two nights in June, to focus solely on climate change.

Presidential candidate John Delaney released a $4 trillion plan to fight climate change that calls for a carbon tax, contrasting himself with Democrats who have not endorsed carbon pricing. The tax starts at $15 per ton rising by $10 per ton annually; he says it would reduce carbon emissions 90% by 2050.

Meanwhile, Alberta is to end its provincial carbon tax which the Governor says will save $1.4 billion annually. The pro-carbon tax Trudeau Federal Government may replace Alberta’s tax with a national measure but is expected to lose Canada's national elections in October.
Economic Issues
Mark Mills asks: What if Green Energy Isn’t the Future? Noting that Warren Buffett has just made a $10 billion bet on fossil fuels and none of the wealthy nations that are parties to the Paris Accord have come close to meeting their green aid pledges, he shows that fossil fuels remain much cheaper than renewables and are abundant.

Last year was the first time since 2001 that growth in renewable power capacity failed to increase year on year. And the International Energy Agency (IEA) warns that the global 180 GW figure is “only around 60 per cent of the net additions needed each year to meet long-term climate goals”.

Ed Hoskins traces the EU decline in renewable energy investment
Unblushingly, The Economist speculates that tyrants ruling Darfur and Damascus might in future find themselves on trial for genocide for which their defence might be to claim it was global warming that caused their actions.

A bit of humour on adaptability of climate change fears by Will Franken.
In addition to the article in the Financial Post, see my articles on the growth-inhibiting nature of green policies in Catallaxy Files and Quadrant.