Saturday, 1 August 2020

Climate News - August 2020

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

Alan Moran
1 August 2020
Climate change scepticism: a central target of the establishment elites 
Establishment media institutions like Australia’s ABC, The Age, SMH and AFR, the UK’s BBC and mainstream US media are dominated by climate alarmists.  Belief in climate change is a fundamental rationale for the elites' belief in increased government controls. Joining the established media in using this ideological framework are new media outlets and educational and government institutions. 

The Australian judiciary are also involved. Former Professor Peter Ridd, in criticising the concoctions of warmist colleagues at James Cook University about coral reefs, was attacking one piece of the global warming scaremongering. The University’s sacking of him for “disrespect” is an abuse of academic freedom but that action was endorsed by sympathetic activists comprising an appeals court majority. 

Nominally an issue of free speech versus the legitimacy of an employer's directions to employees, the court's decision also signifies that the establishment has a  priority on gagging research findings that conflict with climate catastrophe dogma.  In addressing the decision, Janet Albrechtsen, maintains government support for universities should be contingent on them rigorously maintaining free speech. Henry Ergas says without this, universities have no point.  Peter Ridd is to appeal to the High Court; here is a link to support.
Censorship by Forbes of former climate activist, Michael Shellenberger, (Time Magazine “Hero of the Environment,” and Green Book Award Winner) is followed by a letter signed by Obama, and climate activist luminaries including Stacey Abrams, and his former environment lieutenants Carol Browner and Gina McCarthy plus, of course, billionaire activist Tom Steyer. The letter calls upon Facebook to cease allowing access to those who disagree with the mob. Perhaps as a consequence, Shellenberger’s apostasy in illuminating climate change falsities attracted a Facebook fact check by activists and vested interests. Facebook has also blocked his article’s re-transmission.
Government policy developments
Though some members have resisted this, the EU said it would dedicate 25 per cent of its COVID recovery package to climate action and has proposed a new investment fund to focus on clean energy technologies such as wind, solar and battery storage. The bloc will invest around $17 billion in the fund, according to the European Commission. 

The EU's proposed placing of 30 per cent of its budget funding to climate change is far less than was expected. And, according to Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, “Part of it is reshuffling money that would have been spent anyway. The rest is spread thin over many years”. The “Just Transition Fund” to wean countries off fossil fuels was reduced from $53 billion to $17.5 billion.  The European Parliament has however rejected a deal that would reduce funding for green measures.

The EU, recognising its carbon tax will destroy its competitiveness, is planning a border adjustment import tax from countries that do not share its zeal. Work by KPMG for Russia estimates an EU tax would cost its exporters €5 billion a year. It could easily bring countermeasures and destroy the world trading system. 

Rather than adopt radical moves to cut emissions from aircraft, the Trump administration has adopted existing international rules which manufacturers comfortably meet. The International Air Transport Association has called on the international Energy Agency to expedite the development of sustainable aviation fuels and the EU remains committed to the European Green Deal objectives, including reducing transport emissions by 90% by 2050

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden released his long-awaited plan for clean energy and infrastructure, which includes spending $2 trillion over four years and setting the goal of 100 percent clean power by 2035. This represents a stronger approach on climate than his initial plan, which was rolled out last summer and called for $1.7 trillion in spending over 10 years and a zero-emissions target of 2050. 

Insisting that “there’s no more consequential challenge” today than climate change, Biden disappointed some by refusing to ban fracking for gas but aims to spur the installation of “millions of solar panels and tens of thousands of wind turbines”.  Advocates of the “Green New Deal” want to use the tax code to put into effect the necessary subsidy provisions in order to prevent having the goals thwarted by Senate budget reconciliation procedures.  Mr Trump accused Mr Biden of launching a “hard-left crusade against American energy” and pushing a platform “that would demolish the US economy”.  

US lawsuits using youth plaintiffs to force government action on the climate change agenda, are failing.  The latest was brought by eight Florida youths against the Governor and Agriculture Commissioner. It follows failed cases brought by climate activist law firms on behalf of youths in Alaska, Montana, Oregon, Washington State, and a federal case.  

UN Secretary General Antonio Gutteres, also seeks the counsel of the young and has a Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change.  He castigated China over its plans for engaging in massive new coal generation developments, saying “By seizing the mantle of leadership” and taking bold action quickly, China could reap “vast competitive advantage” creating more jobs, boosting growth and providing cleaner air and better health to its citizens.  The Chinese avoided offering a decarbonisation timeline. 

Gutteres's predecessor at the UN, Ban Ki-moon, now heading the Global Center on Adaptation is "bewildered", claiming to the Guardian faithful that Trump abandoning Paris will imperil America.

Demonstrating their political entrepreneurship supplicant agencies have persuaded the Australian government to finance yet another initiative to reduce emissions, this one focussing on the latest business-jargon, “supply chains”.  Big name corporate virtue signallers have signed onto the 2050 deadline!

2050 is also the year when the UK plans to be carbon neutral.  To achieve this the National Grid says major breakthroughs will be needed in carbon capture and hydrogen technology. The UK regulator plans to spend £25 billion on renewables-friendly transmission lines, which it says will eventually save consumers an average of £20 per year!  Small as it is, the saving is more than offset by the associated requirement for high cost unreliable electricity.

Australia is also forcing consumers to finance new spending to shore up costly and unreliable wind/solar facilities, which are incorrectly assumed to be lower cost than gas or coal plant.  The market manager foreshadows plans for 34 “Renewable Energy Zones” and other transmission assistance to these already subsidised renewables. The new proposals come on top of billions of dollars proposed for the conversion of hydro facilities into supportive supplies for wind and solar. 

Climate activist and IT billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes has joined iron ore magnate “Twiggy” Forrest to promote a $22 billion scheme to collect solar power in the Australian outback and export it to Singapore.  It has been given “fast track” approval with the Industry Minister claiming,  It’s a strong statement to all Australians that despite the immediate challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic ...  industry is still investing in opportunities that will drive our economic recovery and create much needed jobs,”  The sponsors have committed only $50 million of their own money.  
Developments in climate science
Another day another new study. “25 leading scientists” say a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide (likely in about 50 years) will lead to 2.6-3.9°C warming rather than the IPCC’s 1.4-4.5°C.  A hip spokesperson said, “Honestly, we have, like, negative 30 years to save the planet.” Ultra-alarmists suggest that the lower maximum is only because the new report defers the ultimate warming date.

A paper in Geophysical Research Letters by Chylek et al, demonstrating the fragility of climate model forecasts, shows them underestimating the effects of the sun and of volcanic activity causing their simulations of temperature to diverge from the observational record. 

Nailing the fraudulent nature of Michael Mann’s confected “hockey stick’s" depiction of modern times as uniquely warming is new research. This confirms that compared with today, the Mediterranean was 2C warmer in the first 500 years AD.
A paper published in Nature Climate Change presents yet another version of the populist old saw ‘polar bears will be extinct unless we stop driving cars’ prediction. 

GWPF points to the logical flaw in recent news from the World Meteorological Organisation(WMO), prepared by the UK Met Office. The WMO says that there is a 20% chance that one of the next five years will exceed 1.5°C of global temperature above pre-industrial levels, and a 70% chance a single month will during the same period. Another way of saying this is that there is an 80% chance that global annual average temperatures will not increase statisticallysignificantly over the next five years. There are no headlines saying that! 
Developments in the economics of climate change
All this catastrophic human induced global warming and the pandemic - yet world grainharvests are setting records.

China, which presently has fortyfold Australia's coal generating plant, plans to add 153 GW to its coal generating fleet (six times the total Australian capacity).  Other nations, similarly unconstrained by climate change ideology, including Turkey, India, Indonesia, Vietnam Bangladesh and the Philippines, are each planning to add more than 10 GW.

Even so, at the latest Clean Energy summit, agitator-in-chief Fatih Birol of the International Energy Agency continued to push for a COVID-19 recovery that substitutes coal with high cost renewables.  In its coverage of the summit, the Australian clean energy propaganda publication RenewEconomy said that Birol urged an expedited closure of all Australian coal plants, saying, “if they continue to operate as they are, we can forget our climate targets”. 

Carbon Capture and Storage (CSS) is heavily hyped as a solution for coal in a carbon consrained world but can never seem to be commercial.  Petra Nova, the largest US CSS plant just has been mothballed because a low oil price cruels its economics in spite of it receiving a $US195 million grant.

Fantasy land for IT entrepreneur Mike Cannon-Brookes does not end with proposals to build transmission lines to carry Australian sunpower to Singapore. In a statement that out-hypes all others, a “think tank” he finances has claimed that Australia will create a million manufacturing jobs if we subsidise renewables enough.
By improving the “welfare” of its chickens, Nandos is to slash its carbon footprint by 50 per cent by 2030. One approach apparently is to feed them more insects.

China demonstrates its ruthless sense of humour by refusing 17-year-old Howey Ou, its copycat Greta, access to schooling if she continues wagging classes to demonstrate.
In July, I published the following climate related articles:

Correction to Climate News - August 2020
Correction to Climate News - August 2020
1 August 2020
Although at least five of the 19 signatories to an open letter calling on Facebook to censor "climate deniers" were direct Obama associates, Obama himself did not sign the letter.  He has however on many occasions declared "climate deniers" a serious threat.