Friday, October 20, 2017



World’s First Offshore Wind Farm Retires: A Post-Mortem

It barely paid for its construction and maintenance

The first-ever offshore wind farm, Vindeby, in Danish waters, is being decommissioned after twenty-five years, DONG Energy has announced. By its nature it was an experiment, and we can now see whether or not is has been a successful alternative to fossil or nuclear-fuelled electricity.

It consisted of eleven turbines, each with a capacity of 0.45 MW, giving a total export capacity for the wind farm of 5 MW. The hub height of each turbine was 37.5 m and blade height 17 m, small by today’s standards. Because of its date of construction, it would have been all but totally reliant on conventional energy for its manufacture and installation. The original stated project cost was £7.16 million in 1991, which is equivalent to approximately £10 million today.

During its lifetime, it delivered 243 GWh to the Danish electricity grid. This means that the actual amount of electricity generated was 22% of that which would have been generated if it had delivered 5 MW all the time for 25 years. In technical terms, it had a load factor of 0.22.

From the same source we see the initial expectation was that 3506 houses would be powered annually, with a saving of 7085 tonnes of carbon dioxide per annum. There was no clear indication of Vindeby’s expected lifetime. Since the average household’s annual use of energy in Denmark[4] is 5000 kWh, we can calculate that the windfarm’s anticipated energy output was 438 GWh over its 25-year lifetime. The actual total of 243 GWh was therefore only 55% of that expectation.

The (annual average) spot price for electricity from both the European Energy Exchange and Nordpool quoted over the period 2006–2014 dropped approximately linearly from €50–55/MWh in 2006 to €32–37/MWh in 2014.[5] If we assume that this trend was constant over 1991–2017, we can see that the average wholesale price paid for the Vindeby electricity was of order of €50/MWh. On this basis the revenue of the windfarm was approximately €12 million: perhaps €15 million at today’s prices.

This means that the windmill spent 75% of its life paying off the £10 million cost of its construction, and most of the rest paying for maintenance. In terms of effective energy revenue, the return on input cost was close to 1:1. The individual project may have been just profitable, but the project is insufficiently productive as will be seen below.

Other windfarms have performed even worse. Lely, an smaller farm sited off the Netherlands coast, was decommissioned last year.[6] It consisted of four turbines of 0.5 MW capacity, and cost £4.4 million in 1992. One nacelle and blades failed in 2014 because of metal fatigue.[7] It produced 3500 MWh per year, implying a load factor of 20%. At the same €50/MWh as above, it would have earned €4.2 million, less than the initial project cost, let alone the additional cost of any maintenance, by any way of reckoning.[8]

The reader should note that the analysis above assumes that the scrap value of the wind turbines will pay for the decommissioning process, and so does not degrade the ratio any further: presumably the bases will remain in the sea. This assumption has been made explicit for the Cowley Ridge wind farm in Alberta, Canada, for which the actual electricity energy delivered into the Canadian grid is not in the public domain, so this similar exercise cannot be repeated.

For a typical fossil-fuel plant, effective energy revenue return on input cost is of the order of 50:1 if one considers the plant alone and about 15:1 when one includes the cost of the fuel. For a nuclear plant the ratio is more like 70:1, and the fuel is a negligible part of the overall cost. The energy generation and distribution sector makes up approximately 9% of the whole world economy, suggesting that the global energy sector has an energy return ratio of 11:1.[10] It is this high average ratio, buoyed by much higher ratios in certain areas (e.g.15:1 in Europe), that allows our present world economy to function.

The lesson learned from the considerations discussed above is that wind farms like these early examples could not power a modern economy unless assisted by substantial fossil-fuelled energy.

Interestingly, DONG Energy, which built Vindeby, is proposing the much newer and bigger Hornsea Project One in the North Sea. This wind farm will have 174 turbines, each with a hub height of 113 m, 75 m blades and a nameplate capacity of 7 MW. It is due to be commissioned in 2020. The project capacity is 1218 MW, and it has a current cost estimate of €3.36 billion. No clear statement of expected lifetime has been provided, but DONG has stated that 862,655 homes will be powered annually. Assuming the average per-household electricity use in the UK[12] to be 4000 kWh, this implies a constant generation of 394 MW over the year, which is 32% of capacity, which is probably realistic.

The agreed wholesale price of the Hornsea energy over the next twenty-five years is £140/MWh. Even assuming a very generous load factor of 50%, Hornsea’s lifetime revenue would be about £20 billion, suggesting a ratio of revenue to cost of 6:1 (reduced further by any maintenance costs), still barely half the average value that prevails in the global economy, which is more than 85% fossil-fuel based.

The secret of the fossil fuel success in the world economy is the high calorific value of the fuel. A ton of coal costing £42.50 produces of the order of 2000 kWh of electricity in a new coal-fired power plants (up 30% from older plants). This sells for £400 wholesale, with an energy return on energy invested (EROEI) of 10:1. A therm of natural gas costs £0.40, and produces 30 kWh of electricity, which sells for £6, representing an EROEI of 15:1.  Fuel-less technologies do not have this advantage.

The disappointing results from Vindeby, and the likely results from Hornsea and similar projects must be seen in the context of the increasing wealth of a growing world population. If all the world’s 10.3 billion people alive in 2055 were to lead a European (as opposed to American) style of life, we would need 2.5 times the primary energy as used today. If, say, half of the energy is suddenly produced with an energy return on investment of 5.5:1 (i.e. half the present world average), then for the same investment we would get only 75% of the energy and we would need to cut energy consumption: the first 10% reduction could come by curtailing higher education, international air travel, the internet, advanced medicine and high culture. We could invest proportionately more of our economy in energy production than we do now, but that will still mean a step backward against the trend of the last 200 years of reducing the proportion of the total economy taken by the energy sector.[13] To avoid this undesirable scenario we would need new forms of energy to match the fossil/nuclear fuel performance.

In this context it is useful to remember that global economic growth is very sensitive to the cost of energy. The energy cost spikes in the mid-1970s and in 2010 form the boundaries between the 5% growth rate of the global economy from 1950–1975, the 3% from 1980–2008, and the 2.5% since 2012. There is a lot at stake in the choice between cheap fossil fuels and expensive renewables.

SOURCE




Will Tesla Be A Zero This Month?

The Tesla production line seems to be at a halt

Leading up to the end of September, we saw new-high Model 3 VIN numbers in the wild almost every other day, culminating in number 521.

But since the beginning of October, nothing. I can’t find a single one above 521 with VIN picture evidence on any forum.

It’s unlikely to end up this way, but the sole evidence we have to date is this: Tesla is on track to deliver zero Model 3 units in October.

Of course, I don’t believe it will be exactly zero.  However, it’s no longer an impossibility.  It’s looking like my previous estimate of 240 units may be way too high.

Talking about anywhere from zero to 240 is almost meaningless given that Chevrolet Bolt EV U.S. sales are rising rapidly and could hit 3,000 per month soon.

No, I don't mean the stock. I mean Model 3 customer deliveries.

People had a lot of fun about me pointing out that the Chevrolet (GM) Bolt EV outsold the Tesla (TSLA) Model 3 in August to the tune of 28:1 in the U.S.: August Sales Are In: Chevrolet Bolt EV Out Sold Tesla Model 3 To The Tune Of 28:1.

Just wait for September, they said, and this ratio would be closed or reversed. Then September came around, and the Bolt EV outsold the Model 3 to the tune of 23:1 in the U.S.: Will Tesla Manage To Sell 720 Model 3 Units In December? Maybe Less?

Just wait for October, they now said, and this ratio would once again be closed or reversed into Tesla's favor. Well, we are now in the second half of October, and I'm eager to hear if the bulls remain of the belief that the Model 3 will finally crush GM's electric juggernaut, the Bolt EV, in October.

At this stage, I'll continue to roll the dice one more time in favor of betting that for a third full month, the Chevrolet Bolt EV will out-sell the Tesla Model 3 in the U.S. - and probably by a very wide margin, along the lines or 10:1 or more. Maybe even 100:1 or an infinite margin.

Why does it seem a good idea to make such a prediction right now? If we assume that the Chevrolet Bolt EV will continue to sell at the current rate - let alone continue to grow, the bar is somewhere North of 2,500 units, perhaps closer to 3,000 or even higher. What makes me believe that the Tesla Model 3 will be somewhere below 240 units and with a potential for zero, in October?

SOURCE




Pruitt Holds the Line Against the Left at the EPA

"Green" groups will no longer get away with surreptitious changes to climate-related rules.

The EPA is getting a refreshing makeover after Gina McCarthy spent years directing the agency to enact unconstitutional power grabs and enforcing other forms of corruption. For example, the Clean Power Plan — a carbon-capture scheme that was developed under Barack Obama’s administration — was recently and mercifully flagged by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt for elimination, saving the economy upwards of $73 billion annually.

Now it’s ecofascists’ turn to feel the direct influence of new management. Under McCarthy, “green” interest groups basically viewed the EPA as the go-to agency for changes to climate-related rules and regulations. Not anymore. As Reuters reports, Pruitt “issued a directive to his agency on Monday seeking to end the practice of settling lawsuits with environmental groups behind closed doors, saying the groups have had too much influence on regulation.”

The report goes on to note, “The EPA under former President Barack Obama quietly settled lawsuits from environmental groups with little input from regulated entities, such as power plants, and state governments.” How’s that for the most transparent administration in history? But according to Pruitt, “The days of regulation through litigation are over. We will no longer go behind closed doors and use consent decrees and settlement agreements to resolve lawsuits filed against the agency.”

Reuters adds, “Daren Bakst, a research fellow in agricultural policy at the Heritage Foundation think tank, said sue and settle has led to ‘egregious antics’ that have ‘effectively handed over the setting of agency priorities to environmental pressure groups,’ and has led to rushed rulemaking by the agency.” Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) regurgitated this view: “The Environmental Protection Agency should not make regulations by settling lawsuits behind closed doors. Under the last administration, the EPA advanced its political agenda by abusing its authority and leaving states and Congress in the dark. The public deserves to know how its government is operating.”

There’s really no reason to oppose these changes — unless you’re an activist who can no longer deploy covert tactics to circumvent the Rule of Law. And, to no one’s surprise, green groups aren’t happy with Pruitt’s move. What became customary at Obama’s EPA should never have become so. But it did, no doubt because McCarthy agreed with these lawsuits. Obama’s EPA was not impartial, nor was it transparent or legally minded. Pruitt is doing a masterful job ensuring this injustice ends.

SOURCE




Surprise: Defying Models, Antarctic Sea Ice Extent 100 Years Ago Similar To Today

Satellite measurements of Antarctic sea ice do not go back even 40 years. That’s not very much, especially when we consider that many natural climate cycles have periods of 60 years and more.

Luckily we have the field of climate reconstruction. Using historical documents and sediment cores, the development of ice cover can be estimated. In November, 2016, Tom Edinburg and Jonathan Day examined shipping log books from the time of Antarctic explorers and published on ice extent in The Cryosphere:

Estimating the extent of Antarctic summer sea ice during the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration

In stark contrast to the sharp decline in Arctic sea ice, there has been a steady increase in ice extent around Antarctica during the last three decades, especially in the Weddell and Ross seas. In general, climate models do not to capture this trend and a lack of information about sea ice coverage in the pre-satellite period limits our ability to quantify the sensitivity of sea ice to climate change and robustly validate climate models.

However, evidence of the presence and nature of sea ice was often recorded during early Antarctic exploration, though these sources have not previously been explored or exploited until now. We have analysed observations of the summer sea ice edge from the ship logbooks of explorers such as Robert Falcon Scott, Ernest Shackleton and their contemporaries during the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration (1897–1917), and in this study we compare these to satellite observations from the period 1989–2014, offering insight into the ice conditions of this period, from direct observations, for the first time.

This comparison shows that the summer sea ice edge was between 1.0 and 1.7° further north in the Weddell Sea during this period but that ice conditions were surprisingly comparable to the present day in other sectors.”

The surprising result: with respect to sea ice extent 100 years ago things looked similar to what we have today, with the exception of the Weddell Sea. A study by Hobbs et al. 2016 also looked back at the last century, here using geoscientific sea ice reconstructions. Once again the strong discrepancies between the real ice development and model simulations were criticized:

Century-scale perspectives on observed and simulated Southern Ocean sea ice trends from proxy reconstructions

Since 1979 when continuous satellite observations began, Southern Ocean sea ice cover has increased, whilst global coupled climate models simulate a decrease over the same period. It is uncertain whether the observed trends are anthropogenically forced or due to internal variability, or whether the apparent discrepancy between models and observations can be explained by internal variability.

The shortness of the satellite record is one source of this uncertainty, and a possible solution is to use proxy reconstructions, which extend the analysis period but at the expense of higher observational uncertainty.

In this work, we evaluate the utility for change detection of 20th century Southern Ocean sea ice proxies. We find that there are reliable proxies for the East Antarctic, Amundsen, Bellingshausen and Weddell sectors in late winter, and for the Weddell Sea in late autumn. Models and reconstructions agree that sea ice extent in the East Antarctic, Amundsen and Bellingshausen Seas has decreased since the early 1970s, consistent with an anthropogenic response.

However, the decrease is small compared to internal variability, and the change is not robustly detectable. We also find that optimal fingerprinting filters out much of the uncertainty in proxy reconstructions. The Ross Sea is a confounding factor, with a significant increase in sea ice since 1979 that is not captured by climate models; however, existing proxy reconstructions of this region are not yet sufficiently reliable for formal change detection.”

A paper published by Ellen & Abrams 2016 even looked back 300 years ago and showed that the increase in sea ice from 1979-2016 has been part of a long-term growth trend of the 20th century:

Ice core reconstruction of sea ice change in the Amundsen-Ross Seas since 1702 A.D.

Antarctic sea ice has been increasing in recent decades, but with strong regional differences in the expression of sea ice change. Declining sea ice in the Bellingshausen Sea since 1979 (the satellite era) has been linked to the observed warming on the Antarctic Peninsula, while the Ross Sea sector has seen a marked increase in sea ice during this period.

Here we present a 308 year record of methansulphonic acid from coastal West Antarctica, representing sea ice conditions in the Amundsen-Ross Sea. We demonstrate that the recent increase in sea ice in this region is part of a longer trend, with an estimated ~1° northward expansion in winter sea ice extent (SIE) during the twentieth century and a total expansion of ~1.3° since 1702.

The greatest reconstructed SIE occurred during the mid-1990s, with five of the past 30 years considered exceptional in the context of the past three centuries.”

SOURCE






Greens have the mind of a flea

Comment from Australia on opposition to a planned big new coal mine (Adani)

The Coalition has begun to restore a modicum of rationality to the electricity market in Australia. There is more to do. They must assault the green mindset.

Greens are shallow, short-term and anti-democratic, precisely the opposite of the ideals they claim to champion: deep, long-term thinking with liberal democratic souls and pure of heart.

Instead, Greens are shallow because they spend their lives campaigning on the basis of crises that never eventuate. Overpopulation, mass starvation, ruination by agricultural chemicals, mass extinction of species, ecosystem collapse and resource depletion never happen. The world refuses to succumb to the calamity du jour.

But Greens need a calamity to thrive. When one calamity fails to materialise, they invent another. The latest is the alleged threat to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef from the Adani Carmichael coalmine. The reef is an icon, the mine its bete noire.

A Morgan Poll suggests that most Australians do not think the Adani (Carmichael) mine should proceed. I have my doubts about the veracity of the result, especially as another ­Morgan poll of “issues of concern” showed that climate change was mentioned by ­8 per cent of Australians, about the voting strength of the Greens.

Why, when climate change is such a low priority, should Adani be such a target? The Adani polling result is a shocking indictment of the wilful misrepresentation of evidence in the Adani case. Australian Greens leader Richard Di Natale says he is prepared to stand in front of bulldozers and be arrested to stop it. Green activists allegedly are trying to recruit pro­fessional moles to infiltrate jobs in the construction of the mine.

Di Natale believes that “losing” the Great Barrier Reef would cost 70,000 jobs. How will the reef be lost? Greens conflate an alleged physical threat to the reef with a broader climate threat. Coal has been hauled across the reef for generations without harm. There is no physical threat to the reef from shipping Adani coal across it.

The Morgan poll on Adani reflects a deliberate conflation of direct and indirect harm. There is no direct physical threat and the indirect threat is a fast fading theory. Even “the brightest man in Australia”, Chief Scientist Alan Finkel, would know that if Australia were uninhabited there would be no change to the potential threat to the reef from burning coal.

Recall Bjorn Lomborg’s observation of the Paris Accord, achieving the 1.5C global warming target “would require nothing less than the entire planet abandoning the use of every single fossil fuel in less than four years”.

Adani, as with so many other proponents for resource extraction in Australia, has complied with environmental legislation. Green activists assisted both major political parties to write such legislation. From the 1970s environmental impact statements have grown into extraordinarily complex studies, in the Adani case costing tens of millions of dollars and years to compile. And, after all the hurdles have been cleared, still green activists are unhappy. Democracy is ignored.

Instead, greens threaten to trash the law. Di Natale boasts: “You will see a campaign every bit as big as the campaign that stopped the damming of the Franklin.” The Franklin is a lovely river, most of it would have survived a dam, and Tasmania could have been energy self-sufficient with it. Instead, when drought hits Tasmania, the state must rely on coal generation from Victoria for electricity. Green Tasmania is bludging off the mainland.

Hydro is a renewable source of energy. Or at least it was until greens discovered wild rivers. And greens stopped nuclear power, the cleanest source of power. The trouble with greens is their thinking is so short-term.

The time has come to slap a writ on campaigners who set out to destroy others’ livelihoods. The time has come to confront, disrupt and punish environmental campaigners who break the law, ignore parliament and harm legitimate business and workers.

Civil disobedience has an honourable place in the world. It has helped to change attitudes and laws that ended slavery, secured the rights of women, and blacks, and gays. But it is an abuse of the noble tradition to suggest that civil disobedience is justified to prevent a theoretical harm at a far-distant time. Stopping an unrelated activity, a coalmine in Australia, at significant immediate cost to Australians and Indians will not stop climate change.

Activists are damaging Australia. It is about time politicians grew a backbone and confronted these latter-day Luddites.

SOURCE

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For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here

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Thursday, October 19, 2017



Environmentalist Policies Are Exacerbating Wildfires. It’s Time to Rethink Forest Management

Massive wildfires continue to rage out of control in Northern California, causing historic loss of life and billions of dollars in damage.

The images coming out of California towns, which look like bombed-out cities from World War II, are a sobering reminder of man’s occasional futility in the face of nature unleashed.

Stopping these huge blazes is, of course, a priority. The firefighters who have been battling these infernos have at times done a miraculous job under extremely difficult circumstances.

However, policymakers should also look at ways to curtail the long-term trend of growing numbers of major wildfires. While some argue that climate change is to blame for the uptick in fires, it’s also worth grappling with the drastic alterations in forest management that have occurred over the last four decades.

Many have argued that this is driving the surge in huge fires.

As a Reason Foundation study noted, the U.S. Forest Service, which is tasked with managing public wildland, once had success in minimizing widespread fires in the early 20th century.

But many of these successful methods were abandoned in large part because of efforts by environmental activists.

The Forest Service became more costly and less effective as it increasingly “rewarded forest managers for losing money on environmentally questionable practices,” wrote Randal O’Toole, a policy analyst at the Cato Institute.

Spending on the Forest Service has risen drastically, but these additional resources have been misused and haven’t solved the underlying issues.

“Fire expenditures have grown from less than 15 percent of the Forest Service budget in [the] early 1990s to about 50 percent today. Forest Service fire expenditures have increased from less than $1 billion in the late 1990s to $3.5 billion in 2016,” O’Toole wrote.

Perhaps now, Americans will begin to re-evaluate forest management policies.

In a May congressional hearing, Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., said, “Forty-five years ago, we began imposing laws that have made the management of our forests all but impossible.”

He went on to say that federal authorities have done a poor job of implementing methods to reduce the number of deadly fires, and that this has been devastating for America’s wildlands.

“Time and again, we see vivid boundaries between the young, healthy, growing forests managed by state, local, and private landholders, and the choked, dying, or burned federal forests,” McClintock said. “The laws of the past 45 years have not only failed to protect the forest environment—they have done immeasurable harm to our forests.”

In a recent House address, McClintock pinned the blame of poor forest management on bad 1970s laws, like the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act. He said these laws “have resulted in endlessly time-consuming and cost-prohibitive restrictions and requirements that have made the scientific management of our forests virtually impossible.”

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has promoted a change to forest management policies, calling for a more aggressive approach to reduce the excess vegetation that has made the fires worse.

Congress is also moving to address the problem.

Members of the Western Caucus have proposed legislation to dramatically change the way forests are managed. If passed, this bill would give power back to local authorities and allow for more aggressive forest thinning without subjecting them to the most onerous of environmental reviews.

While state and federal governments can take measures to enhance forest and wilderness management, private management can also get involved to improve conditions.

One idea is to adopt a policy popularized by the school choice movement: create charter forests that are publicly owned, but privately managed. This would allow forest management to move away from top-down, bureaucratic control to a decentralized and varied system that may better conform with local realities.

As professor Robert H. Nelson wrote for The Wall Street Journal, the charter forest “would be exempt from current requirements for public land-use planning and the writing of environmental impact statements. These requirements long ago ceased to perform their ostensible function of improving public land decision making.”

Similar privatizing efforts have succeeded in the past.

No measure can truly prevent all fires, but reasonable steps can be taken to reduce the incidence of huge blazes like the ones currently engulfing California.

It’s time for lawmakers to redouble their efforts to protect American lives and property from nature’s most devastating ravages.

SOURCE



Global Warming Hypocrites: Their Carbon Footprint Is OK, But Yours Must Be Eliminated

Scientists, identified as "conservation scientists" who presumably oppose human greenhouse gas emissions, have looked into their own lifestyles, as well as the lifestyles of other "conservation scientists," and found that they are preaching one thing while practicing another.

"Most" of these scientists, the British Telegraph reports, "have a carbon footprint which is virtually no different to anyone else." Those are the findings of a new study from Cambridge University published by researchers who were "were keen to find out whether being fully informed about global warming, plastic in the ocean or the environmental impact of eating meat, triggers more ethical behavior."

What they found was "conservation scientists," 300 of them, "still flew frequently — an average of nine flights a year — ate meat or fish approximately five times a week and rarely purchased carbon offsets for their own emissions."

"They were also less green in traveling to work than medics, and kept more dogs and cats. A recent study suggested pets are a hefty ecological burden. It takes more than two acres of grazing pasture to keep a medium-sized dog fed with meat, while the eco-footprint of a cat is similar to a Volkswagen Golf."

The study's lead author, Andrew Balmford, a professor of conservation science at Cambridge, said that "as conservationists we must do a great deal more to lead by example."

Do not be surprised by the duplicity. It's been noticed that the global warming alarmists who run their mouths the most are also running a lot of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. We can start with Leonardo DiCaprio, who earns a fabulous living playing a child's game — that is, he pretends to be someone else, a behavior that most of us outgrow as adults.

But he doesn't have to fake being a hypocrite. That's his real life. Type "leonardo dicaprio climate hypocrite" into a web search engine. The results flow like the exhaust from one of the jets he flies all over the world — he reportedly even made a two-day turnaround trip from France to New York so he could receive a "green" award — to lecture his inferiors about their greenhouse gas emissions. He also lays about on luxury yachts that have neither oars nor solar panels but internal-combustion engines that spew carbon dioxide.

"It can be estimated that DiCaprio has potentially emitted up to 418.4 tons of CO2 this year because of his globe-trotting. The average American emits 19 tons a year," the Daily Mail reported last year.

And, as has been said here before, he once "celebrated New Year's Eve on a yacht in the Sydney Harbor, then flew with his pals to Las Vegas to ring in the New Year a second time."

Yet DiCaprio deigns, quite eagerly, we'd say, to preach to the masses, even using the pulpit of the United Nations to badger everyday people about their carbon footprint.

There's also ubernag Al Gore, who, like DiCaprio, jets around the world to instruct the peasants on the proper way to live while spreading a massive carbon footprint on his own. And never forget his Tennessee mansion, which devours electricity at a rate that is "more than 21.3 times that of the U.S. household average," says the Daily Signal.

Put another way, in a single month last year, "Gore's home consumed more electricity than the average family uses in 34 months."

The list of climate hypocrites is actually extensive and must include Prince Charles, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, United Nations nabobs, and, well, just about every Westerner who hectors others about their carbon footprint. Some are bigger hypocrites than others, of course. But hypocrisy smells of corruption no matter who is oozing it. It's even worse when the lesson the hypocrites are trying to teach is useless.

SOURCE





EPA head seeks to avoid settlements with green groups

The head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a directive to his agency on Monday seeking to end the practice of settling lawsuits with environmental groups behind closed doors, saying the groups have had too much influence on regulation.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who sued the agency he now runs more than a dozen times in his former job as attorney general of oil producing Oklahoma, has long railed against the so-called practice of "sue and settle." The EPA under former President Barack Obama quietly settled lawsuits from environmental groups with little input from regulated entities, such as power plants, and state governments, he argues.

The directive seeks to make EPA more transparent about lawsuits by reaching out to states and industry that could be affected by settlements, forbidding the practice of entering into settlements that exceed the authority of courts, and excluding attorney's fees and litigation costs when settling with groups.

Most lawsuits by green groups on the agency seek to push the agency to speed up regulation on issues such as climate and air and water pollution, studies have shown.

"The days of regulation through litigation are over," Pruitt said. "We will no longer go behind closed doors and use consent decrees and settlement agreements to resolve lawsuits filed against the agency."

Pruitt's order was supported by conservative groups.

Daren Bakst, a research fellow in agricultural policy at the Heritage Foundation think tank, said sue and settle has led to "egregious antics" that have "effectively handed over the setting of agency priorities to environmental pressure groups," and has led to rushed rulemaking by the agency.

But Pat Parenteau, an environmental law professor at the Vermont Law School, said Pruitt's directive would be "counterproductive" and costly because in the end courts could fine the agency if it does not meet compliance dates for issuing regulations.

"He can fight it if he wants as long as he wants, and spend as much money as he wants," Parenteau said. "But in the end if you've missed a statutory deadline, you are going to be ordered (by a court) to comply and then you are going to be ordered to pay fees."

SOURCE




Norways goes cool on electric cars

Norway, a world leader of zero-emission vehicles, on Thursday proposed a “Tesla tax” aimed at cutting a tax advantage granted to large electric cars in a heavily criticised move.

Electric cars, which have hitherto been exempted from heavy taxes imposed on other vehicles, accounted for 20 percent of new registrations in the Nordic country since the beginning of this year, an unprecedented market share in the world.

In a 2018 finance bill presented to the parliament on Thursday, the right-wing minority government suggested removing a one-off tax exemption for new electric cars weighing more than two tonnes.

The proposal was immediately dubbed the “Tesla tax” because it primarily affects the high-end models made by the American manufacturer. Buying a new Tesla X would cost about 70,000 kroner (7,500 euros/$8,800) more.

Justifying the proposed tax measures, Finance Minister Siv Jensen argued that these heavy sedans exhaust the roads as much as gasoline and diesel cars, and that the owners should therefore contribute.

The proposal has sparked a heated debate.

“It’s a tax bomb,” Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association Secretary General Christina Bu told AFP.

“This was unexpected by both the drivers and by the car industry and it sends a bad signal to the Norwegians and the world” for which the nation is often a model in this matter, Bu added.

She underlined that Norway has set an ambitious target of ending the sales of new cars with combustion engines as early as 2025.

The largest oil producer in western Europe, Norway has introduced many incentives to purchase electric cars.

In addition to generous tax exemptions, which critics say allow the richest to buy Tesla vehicles at a good price, Norway’s electric car drivers benefit from free city tolls, free parking and the possibility of travelling in the bus corridors.

SOURCE



 
Scientist Roy Spencer: Climate Changes Naturally

On the surface, it would appear that Roy Spencer has a comfortable life. He is a principal research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, where he directs climate research projects and has authored books and numerous articles for scientific journals.

Unfortunately for Spencer, he comes down on the wrong side – the politically incorrect side – of global warming and climate change, for which he has taken a lot of heat.

“Nothing we are seeing today is really out of the ordinary,” he said Saturday, sounding exasperated and battle weary as he discussed weather patterns.

Spencer spoke at the Tennessee Eagle Forum Conference at the Embassy Suites hotel, where he provided a summary of the climate debate and spoke of his book, “An Inconvenient Deception: How Al Gore Distorts Climate Science and Energy Policy.”

Spencer said he isn’t a climate denier, but rather a “lukewarmer.” He believes that carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere is causing some warming, but that it’s uncertain how much of it is the result of human activity. It’s also uncertain, he said, if we’re warmer now than during periods of warming in centuries past, such as during the medieval and Roman ages.

“Climate changes naturally,” he said. “That’s something that isn’t often stated.”

Yet it’s something the public instinctively understands, even as climate scientists over the past 30 years have been indoctrinated to believe that “climate can only change when we cause it to change,” Spencer said.

The media has been complicit in promoting spurious ideas about climate change because reporters won’t ask questions that might yield answers that don’t fit with the accepted narrative, he said.

While some people point to the two recent hurricanes in the U.S. as evidence of an unusual occurrence, Spencer said there is a historical pattern of going for some years without getting hit by a major hurricane and then one year getting pounded.

“There’s no good objective evidence that any kind of severe weather is getting worse,” he said. “In fact, major tornadoes in recent years have been down quite a bit.”

Spencer said he believes the modest warming trend we are experiencing may continue, but that it is not necessarily a bad thing. Plants depend on carbon dioxide, and the rest of the food chain depends on plants.

“Even if global warming was a huge problem and was entirely our fault, there is nothing substantial we can do about it without killing millions of people because humanity requires abundant, affordable energy,” he said. “Solar and wind do not yet meet that.”

Spencer said he has never gotten any money from oil companies, even though people think he does get funding from them.

SOURCE

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For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017



Penguin chicks dying because of unusual and unpredicted cold in Antarctica

Grossly inconsistent with global warming

Almost the entire cohort of chicks from an Adelie penguin colony in the eastern Antarctic was wiped out by starvation last summer in what scientists say is only the second such incident in over 40 years.

Researchers said Sunday the mass die-off occurred because unusually large amounts of sea ice forced penguin parents to travel farther in search of food for their young. By the time they returned, only two out of thousands of chicks had survived.

"Not only did the chick starve but the partner (who stayed behind) also had to endure a long fast," said Yan Ropert-Coudert, a marine ecologist with the French science agency CNRS.

Ropert-Coudert, who leads the study of seabirds at the Dumont D'Urville Antarctic research station, said the Adelie colony there numbers about 18,000 pairs who have been monitored since the 1960s. A similar breeding loss was observed for the first time during a 2013-2014 research expedition.

"It is unusual because of the size of the population concerned," he said in an email to The Associated Press. "Zero breeding success years have been noted before elsewhere, but never for colonies of this size."

Sea ice extent in the polar regions varies each year, but climate change has made the fluctuation more extreme.

The environmental group WWF, which supported the research, urged governments meeting in Hobart, Australia, this week to approve a new marine protection area off East Antarctica. Rod Downie, head of polar programs for the group's British branch, said the impact of losing thousands of chicks was dramatic for an otherwise hardy species such as Adelie penguins.

"It's more like 'Tarantino does Happy Feet', with dead penguin chicks strewn across a beach in Adelie Land," he said.

Ropert-Coudert said creating a protection zone in the D'Urville Sea-Mertz region, where the colony is located, wouldn't prevent larger-than-usual sea ice, but it might ease the pressure on penguins from tourism and over-fishing.

SOURCE




SNP government accused of ignoring own research as it bans fracking

The Scottish National Party has been accused of ignoring its own scientific research yesterday after Scotland announced a ban on fracking, triggering a backlash from industry leaders.

Ministers justified the decision by pointing to a public consultation that found that 99 per cent opposed the gas extraction technique, and by saying that allowing fracking would make it harder to meet climate targets. The effective ban will be enforced through planning powers.

The move was warmly welcomed by environmentalists but the Scottish government faced claims that it prioritised populism over the evidence of its scientific advisers, who said that fracking could be carried out safely if properly regulated. The SNP was also accused of glossing over the fact that the country will continue to rely heavily on gas imports.

Companies in England are pressing ahead with developing sites after Sajid Javid, the communities secretary, approved plans last year for Cuadrilla to develop a site in Lancashire, overruling the county council’s decision to refuse permission.

Ineos, one of Scotland’s largest private companies, which has obtained fracking licences in the Central Belt, said that yesterday’s decision “beggared belief” and would send a damaging signal about how businesses were treated in Scotland.

An expert panel set up by the Scottish government said in a 2014 report that developing an unconventional oil and gas sector could be lucrative and that regulation could address any environmental risks. According to supporters of the industry, none of the conclusions was contradicted by subsequent research ordered by the government.

The Scottish government initially appeared open to fracking, before announcing a moratorium in January 2015 while new research and a public consultation was carried out.

Ineos accused the SNP of turning its back on a “potential manufacturing and jobs renaissance” that would now be enjoyed by England, with the UK government embracing fracking south of the border. The company said that supporting fracking would have meant an estimated 3,100 jobs for Scotland. Ineos will continue to ship large quantities of fracked gas from the United States to Grangemouth, where it is used to fuel its chemicals business.

“Not once has any issue of public health or monitoring been raised with us,” Tom Pickering, operations director for Ineos Shale, said. “The decision has certainly not rested on science, as they said it would. The argument about climate change doesn’t stack up. We know we will continue to use gas, importing it produces more emissions than if you produce it from beneath your feet.”

The decision is likely to lead to a deterioration in already tense relations between the Scottish government and Ineos, owner of the Grangemouth industrial complex, which contributes 4 per cent of the country’s GDP and 8 per cent of Scotland’s manufacturing base.

Fracking, in which large quantities of water, sand and chemicals are pumped underground to fracture shale rock and release gas, has been responsible for a economic boom in parts of the US. However, critics say it harms the environment and puts public health at risk.

Paul Wheelhouse, the Scottish energy minister, said: “We have undertaken one of the most far-reaching examinations of unconventional oil and gas ever carried out by any government, anywhere. It is clear that people across Scotland remain firmly opposed to fracking — this government has listened and taken decisive action.

“Regardless of our position on unconventional oil and gas, our support for Scotland’s industrial base and manufacturing is unwavering.” [Except when it wavers]

SOURCE





PBS Airs Anti-Pruitt Documentary Funded By Environmentalist Group Backer

Documentary paints Republicans as 'climate deniers,' 'extreme'

A new PBS Frontline documentary that paints Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt as a tool for the fossil fuel industry received major funding from a group that has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to environmentalist activists like the Sierra Club.

The documentary, "War on the EPA," received major support from the Kendeda Fund, an Atlanta-based nonprofit focused on the environment and sustainability.

The documentary features interviews with numerous Obama administration backers, including Gina McCarthy, the former EPA administrator, and Betsy Southerland, a former EPA director making $250,000 who claimed earlier this year she resigned in protest because of the Trump administration's budget. Southerland was eligible for early retirement and told coworkers she was retiring because of family issues.

Southerland tells PBS that Pruitt's EPA is a "clear and present danger to public health and safety in this country."

The documentary calls critics of the Obama administration's wide-ranging regulatory actions targeting the coal industry and nuclear power plants "climate deniers" and "extreme." The PBS narrator refers to Sen. James Inhofe (R., Okla.) as "the Senate's leading climate change denier" and features Jane Mayer, a journalist with the New Yorker, calling the Trump EPA "radical."

"What you see now in the Trump administration is the triumph of the anti-environmental movement," Mayer says. "They are now in control of the government and in control of the regulatory process in a kind of a brazen way we haven't seen before."

Obama administration alums are depicted as crusaders against pollution, as they appear in interviews dismayed by President Trump and Pruitt following through on campaign promises to roll back environmental regulations.

Gina McCarthy said the repeal of the Clean Power Plan, which was blocked by the Supreme Court and could have shrunk the coal industry by nearly half, was "disturbing."

Eric Schaeffer, a former EPA director of civil enforcement, called Pruitt's EPA a "hostile takeover" and a "political operation."

Jerry Taylor, a former fellow at the Cato Institute who now is in favor of a carbon tax, tells PBS the "conservative narrative" of a war on coal was "disconnected from reality."

PBS does not include clips in the documentary of Obama and Hillary Clinton discussing the coal industry. Obama said, "electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket" under his cap and trade plan, while Clinton boasted during a debate, "We are going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business."

PBS also interviews Eric Lipton of the New York Times, who was bothered by paintings in Pruitt's old attorney general office in Oklahoma that pictured sheriffs in the Old West and a Native American sheriff.

"When I first got to [Pruitt's] office, there were these large paintings on the wall," Lipton said. "It just struck me that this was the real Wild West, that we will dispense our own justice." The camera zoomed in on the painted gun in a holster, as ominous music played.

PBS also attempts to tie Pruitt to the Koch brothers and paints a picture of the administrator receiving dark money from oil and gas companies.

PBS says, "Much of the Koch's fortune came from oil and gas, and they would spend millions opposing Obama's initiatives."

The documentary received major funding from Kendeda, which in turn has donated to many liberal groups that lobby for climate change regulations. On its website, Kendeda encourages "activism that promotes solutions to the social and equity challenges caused by climate change."

Kendeda has donated to numerous environmentalist activist organizations, including: $70,000 to the Sierra Club, $50,000 to Earthjustice, $50,000 to the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, and $500,000 to the U.S. Climate Action Network in 2015.

A spokesperson for WGBH, which put on the documentary, told the Free Beacon that the Kendeda Fund did not directly fund the documentary.

"The Kendeda Fund provides support to many organizations and groups, including schools and military families, and they have provided funding to WGBH under their People, Place, and Planet program for use in a variety of WGBH programs," said Jeanne Hopkins, vice president for communications. "Some was used to support this FRONTLINE film, along with its many other funding sources. They did not directly fund this program."

"War on the EPA was a political story full of voices on both sides of a contentious issue," Hopkins continued. "The film spent considerable time illuminating the roots of conservative thinking and action towards the EPA and featured key figures from industry and the movement around Scott Pruitt, including Bob Murray, CEO of Murray Energy and Myron Ebell, the head of President Trump’s EPA transition team."

The group also donated $250,000 to the New Venture Fund, which also supports environmentalist organizations. The same year, New Venture Fund donated $515,000 to the Sierra Club Foundation and $95,000 to 350.org, which vows to "stop fossil fuels."

The documentary also features Andrew Miller, a lobbyist for Southern Company, who was asked by PBS if it was "unseemly" that oil and gas companies lobbied against Obama's environmental regulations and that Pruitt and other Republican attorneys general filed lawsuits to stop the rules.

"Not at all," Miller said. "And the reason I say that is you have the Sierra Club partnering with attorneys general on the other side."

"It's all part of the Democratic process," he said.

SOURCE




Will questioning climate change become illegal in Canada?

Ecojustice wants government “cops” to investigate, punish and silence dissent

Tom Harris

"BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU."

 This slogan appeared on posters of the Party leader in the dystopian society of George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. It was a constant reminder of omnipresent government surveillance for “thoughtcrime” – independent thinking.

In Orwell’s book, Ministry of Truth ‘history re-writer’ Winston Smith quietly rebelled against this oppression, starting a diary expressing forbidden thoughts. But government telescreens were everywhere. Watched constantly, Smith’s every move was monitored. In Nineteen Eighty-Four, the consequences of being caught were dire; the stress on individuals enormous.

As head of the International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC), I have been feeling a bit like Smith these days. That’s because ICSC has been under investigation by Canada's Competition Bureau, an independent law enforcement agency that “has a legislated mandate to ensure Canadian consumers and businesses prosper in a competitive and innovative marketplace.”

Here’s what happened.

In December 2015, while in Paris attending counter conferences to the United Nations’ climate meetings, I learned that the environmental organization Ecojustice had registered a complaint with the Competition Bureau on behalf of six prominent Canadians against the ICSC, Friends of Science, and the Heartland Institute.

Ecojustice claimed we presented “climate science misrepresentations” which “promote the denier groups’ own business interests,” and “promote the business interests of deep-pocketed individuals and corporations that appear to fund the denier groups.”

Our own core principles – which summarize our position on climate science and which we provide on our website – were actually presented as evidence against us.

Two of our allies assembled a 37-page response to the attack in which they presented peer-reviewed research in support of our positions. They suggested I counterattack with this impressive rebuttal.

Others cautioned me to keep my powder dry since the complaint made no sense. We were simply exercising our rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to express our opinions. That is what science is all about – opinions of experts based on their interpretations of observations. And, especially in climate science, different experts have different opinions.

Further, the complainants had no idea who helps the ICSC financially. With the exception of the late Dr. Gerry G. Hatch, an Order of Canada recipient who openly supported us, the identities of our donors have been confidential since 2008. Some of our scientists have been harassed and even had death threats for contesting climate alarmism. We do not want to risk exposing our donors to such abuse.

So I did nothing, hoping the Competition Bureau would dismiss the complaint as unfounded.

Yet, five months later, it did launch an investigation, referencing a complaint that we make “representations to the public in promotion of a business interest that are false or misleading in a material respect regarding climate change.”

The Bureau warned us, “If the results of an investigation disclose evidence that, in the opinion of the Commissioner, provides the basis for a criminal prosecution, the matter may be referred to the Attorney General of Canada, who determines whether a prosecution should be undertaken.”

Although I asked the Bureau where they suspected the ICSC may have made false or misleading statements, it refused to say, citing Competition Act Subsection 10(3), which requires that inquiries be conducted privately.

Aside from a letter in November 2016 informing me that the investigation was “ongoing,” I heard essentially nothing until the beginning of July 2017 when I received a letter from the Bureau informing me:

“While the Commissioner has discontinued the inquiry, and no further steps are contemplated at this time, be advised that no binding determination has been made respecting the conduct of International Climate Science Coalition. The Commissioner continues to have discretion to investigate and take enforcement action in respect of matters previously inquired into, including where additional information is discovered following the discontinuance of an inquiry.”

The National Observer reported that they received an e-mail from a bureau spokesperson concerning this investigation, stating, “We invite Canadians who believe they may have additional information to contact the Competition Bureau.”

So, after nearly 14 months, the investigation is “discontinued” but revivable at the “discretion” of the Commissioner. Ecojustice criticized the Bureau for “walking away without finishing the job, and asserted: “Now is the time we need our cops on the climate beat to be stepping up.”

In their September 19th press release concerning the affair, Friends of Science stated, “democracy is at stake as there are ever increasing calls to jail those who hold dissenting views on climate science.”

Is this the Canada my father and grandfathers defended against tyranny?

Via email.  Tom Harris is executive director of the Ottawa-based International Climate Science Coalition




Australian government to omit clean energy target from energy policy

They are just focusing on keeping the lights on

GOVERNMENT figures insist its new energy policy will meet Australia’s Paris agreement emissions target while saving households more than $90 a year.

Coalition MPs will be briefed on the scheme at a meeting in Canberra today following cabinet’s decision to reject a clean energy target as recommended by Chief Scientist Alan Finkel.

Instead, it has backed an idea from the new independent Energy Security Board. The head of the coalition’s backbench energy committee, Craig Kelly, was briefed on the new approach after Monday night’s meeting, welcoming the focus on dispatchable switch on/switch-off power.

“The problem with solar and wind, as wonderful technologies as they are, when there is no wind you get no electricity generation and as soon as the sun sets you also get zero electricity generation as well,” he told ABC radio this morning. “So as good as technologies as they are, you’ve got to have them backed up in some way and that’s either got to be a coal-fired power station, a gas generator or some form of battery.”

He defended the idea to ditch the clean energy target, as recommended by Dr Finkel. “The Finkel report contained 50 recommendations. If we’ve recommended 49 that’s a 98 per cent strike rate,” he said.

However supporters of the clean energy target — recommended by the country’s chief scientist as a way to reduce the future cost of energy — slammed the move to disregard the idea.

It is understood economic modelling of the alternative to the clean energy target — expected to be called the National Energy Guarantee — delivered price cuts deeper than under Dr Finkel’s mechanism.

The annual benefit from the CET came in at $90 a year for households, while large industrial users were expected to pay about 20 per cent less a year. At the same time, the modelling showed the new mechanism would enable Australia to achieve its commitment of a 26-28 per cent reduction in 2005 emissions by 2030.

Blackouts would be minimised with power generators and storage providers, such as hydro and batteries, covered by a new “generator reliability obligation”, as recommended by Dr Finkel.

Adequate dispatchable power would be required in all regions of Australia to ensure consumer demand is met, with the obligation being met using a variety of technologies.

Power prices have risen in real terms by 63 per cent during the past decade.

Labor leader Bill Shorten says Malcolm Turnbull was endorsing a clean energy target only four months ago. “Why on earth did we ask the chief scientist of Australia to give us a report,” he told reporters in Canberra.

SOURCE


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For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here

*****************************************

Tuesday, October 17, 2017


House Dems Accuse Pruitt, Trump of Catering to Big Ag on Pesticide

The Greenie war on pesticides continues.  There is no pesticide that Greenies like -- even ones that have been in widespread use for 50 years without obvious health consequences.  There have been studies indicating problems with chlorpyrifos but only at high doses.  It is true of any chemical that the toxicity is in the dose and there has been no demonstration that normal use of chlorpyrifos leads to any harm

A pair of House Democrats on Wednesday accused EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and the Trump administration of catering to big-business agriculture at the cost of human safety by refusing to ban a widely used pesticide known to cause developmental disorders among children.

“The EPA is not supposed to be an agent of big business and industry,” Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) said during a press conference on Capitol Hill. “They are supposed to be an agent of public good, and yet under Scott Pruitt and the Trump administration, they’re doing the bidding of companies and polluters to advance their interests and not the interests of the American people.”

Ellison joined Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-N.Y.) in introducing the Pesticide Protection Act of 2017 this past July. The legislation, which would cancel the registration of the pesticide in question – chlorpyrifos – has garnered 42 co-sponsors, including one Republican, Rep. Chris Smith (N.J.).

Chlorpyrifos is a pesticide that has been in use since 1965, when the Dow Chemical Co. began selling it. According to the EPA, the pesticide is used for agricultural uses and non-agricultural uses, with the largest market being the corn industry. About 6 million pounds of the pesticide is sprayed on American crops each year, including asparagus, peaches, strawberries, apples, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cranberries and walnuts. The pesticide is also used on golf courses, turf and greenhouses, and as a poison for mosquitoes, roaches and ants, according to the EPA.

Chlorpyrifos has had harmful impacts on children, as well as farm workers. According to the EPA, it can cause nausea, dizziness and confusion, as well as respiratory paralysis and even death in high doses.

The Obama administration in 2015 moved to eliminate use of chlorpyrifos after fielding a petition from the Natural Resources Defense Council and Pesticide Action Network North America. In November 2016, EPA scientists concluded in a risk assessment memo that there is “a breadth of information available on the potential adverse neurodevelopmental effects in infants and children as a result of prenatal exposure to chlorpyrifos.” According to an Associated Press report from June, Pruitt met with Dow Chemical leadership in March about 20 days before reversing course on Obama’s 2015 directive.

“Pruitt has ignored his own scientists’ recommendations to withdraw it as an acceptable chemical,” Pesticide Action Network executive director Kristin Schafer said on Wednesday.

According to Schafer, the EPA studied chlorpyrifos’ application in four key states -- Iowa, Minnesota, California and Hawaii – and determined that the pesticide was contaminating water supplies and that it can cause harm even in low-level doses.

“This administration’s agenda is radically anti-environment and willfully ignores science,” Velázquez said.

Ellison said that Pruitt’s refusal to restrict the use of chlorpyrifos and Trump’s repeal of Obama’s Clean Power Plan are just two instances in which the administration has set the country back decades in terms of environmental stewardship. The EPA’s core mission is to protect the environment and American communities, he added.

Dow Chemical Co. recorded about $48 billion in sales in 2016, according to Forbes. The Associated Press report noted that CEO Andrew Liveris’ leads a White House manufacturing working group, and the company pledged $1 million for Trump’s inauguration.

Ellison accused the administration of placing corporate profits ahead of the health and safety of American families, citing examples of the chemical infiltrating Minnesota homes following aerial sprays on nearby farms. He said that the administration has an obligation to determine the health impacts of the chemical, and if they are hazardous the pesticide needs to be controlled.

SOURCE




Misleading Costs for Wind and Solar

Recently the media has reported that wind and solar were competitive with coal and natural gas for generating electricity.

The Wall Street Journal, for example, published an article with a headline, Economic impact of wind farms is changing the political dynamics of renewable energy.

These media reports could lead people to believe that wind and solar were competitive with coal-fired and natural gas power plants, which is not the case. Electricity generated by coal-fired power and natural gas combined cycle power plants remain the lowest cost methods for generating electricity, especially when the unreliability of wind and solar are taken into consideration.

In trying to determine the source of the media claims, two sources became apparent.

Contract purchase agreements

Studies performed by financial firms such as Lazard

In the first instance, the lower contract prices were the result of subsidies. The lower prices did not accurately reflect the true costs for wind and solar: The subsidies resulted in low prices and low LCOEs.

In the second, some assumptions in the studies performed by financial groups  resulted in low LCOEs (Levelized Cost of Energy).

Furthermore, equating LCOEs of wind and solar with those of coal and natural gas power plants is fallacious. Beyond a certain point, it’s impossible to replace coal and natural gas with wind and solar on a one for one basis, interchanging them as though they were LEGO pieces.

A review of the Lazard study established why the study produced very low LCOEs for wind and solar: LCOEs that were atypical of previously determined LCOEs.

Lazard study is for New Construction

It’s important to point out that the LCOEs determined by Lazard were for new power plants, something not mentioned in their report.

Existing coal-fired and natural gas power plants have LCOEs of around three cents per kWh because their construction and financing costs have already been amortized.

It makes no economic sense to deliberately replace existing coal-fired and natural gas power plants with wind and solar units even if the LCOEs of new wind and solar power plants are below six cents per kWh.

Lazard Assumptions

Lazard held financial costs, such as the cost of debt and equity, constant when making calculations for each type of facility.

This was an effort to ensure that calculations between facility types were fair. However, there were at least two instances where this assumption was misleading.

Natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) plants were assumed to have a life of twenty years, which is half the life that should have been used. Financial costs should have been amortized over 40, not 20 years.

The investment cost for a coal-fired power plant was assumed to be $3,000 per KW. This is higher than actual historical costs for supercritical plants and slightly higher than for ultra-supercritical plants. This imposed a financial penalty for coal-fired power plants.

There were two important assumptions in the Lazard study that were either questionable or that slanted conclusions unfairly to the benefit of wind and solar. These are addressed in a and b. A third factor was omitted from the study and is addressed in c.

a) Capacity Factor

Capacity factor (CF) is defined as the amount of electricity produced over a year by an installation, compared with the amount that could theoretically be produced based on the facility’s nameplate rating.

The Lazard study refers to “resource availability”, and it is unclear whether the CFs used in the study are true CFs or ersatz CFs based on some undefined resource availability calculation.

Because this is unclear, both possibilities are addressed for wind.

Alt 1: Traditionally Defined CFs

The capacity factor (CF) for wind used in the Lazard study was significantly higher than experience from existing installations. The study used 55% in one instance and 38% in another.

Actual CFs, as reported by DOE in its 2015 Wind Technology Report, averaged 32.8%, between 2011 and 2015; 31.8% between 2006 and 2010; and 30.3% between 2000 and 2005.

New, taller units with longer blades will probably have higher CFs, but not anywhere near 55%.

Wind installations in high wind areas, such as Montana where CFs could be higher, require long and expensive transmission lines, the costs of which are not included in the Lazard or many other studies.

The use of higher CFs and lower capital costs in the Lazard study, skewed the LCOEs for wind, making them unreasonably low.

Alt 2: Ersatz CFs

The Lazard study may have used a specially designed “capacity factor as a proxy for resource availability”.

Why this would be done is unclear since actual wind resources have been carefully mapped across the United States for heights of 30 meters, 80 meters and 100 meters above ground level.

The best winds for generating electricity are predominantly in the upper plains states such as Montana, and across the front range of the Rocky Mountains.

The regional factors used in the Lazard study do not appear to align with the wind maps available from NREL, though these regional factors were apparently used to represent wind availability across the country.

The Lazard study did not explain how these ersatz capacity factors were determined, so there is no way to determine their appropriateness or accuracy.

For this reason, the LCOEs developed by Lazard using ersatz CFs for wind are suspect, and not comparable to traditionally determined LCOEs.

b) Solar

The Lazard study seems to have used a specially designed “capacity factor as a proxy for resource availability” when determining LCOEs for solar.

Presumably “resource availability” refers, in some manner, to insolation levels.

“Resource availability” was apparently used to establish, what can best be described as ersatz capacity factors for solar installations.

Insolation levels are readily available for all areas of the world, so it begs the question of why Lazard chose to create a “resource availability” factor for solar.

Insolation levels for the Southwestern United States are twice those for the Midwestern United States, yet the LCOEs arrived at for solar by the Lazard study did not reflect these substantial differences.

For this reason, the solar LCOEs developed by Lazard are suspect, and not comparable to traditionally determined LCOEs.

Again, The Lazard study did not explain how these ersatz capacity factors were determined, so there is no way to determine their appropriateness or accuracy.

The report did confirm that rooftop PV solar is uncompetitive. As demonstrated in Nothing to Fear, PV rooftop solar is uneconomic in every state except possibly Hawaii.

c) Reliability

Both wind and solar are intermittent, and in some respects unreliable.

Beyond small amounts, it’s impossible to replace coal and natural gas power plants with wind and solar on a one for one basis. As mentioned earlier, these are not interchangeable LEGO pieces.

For example, wind and solar must also include expensive storage if the evening ramp-up is to be minimized. Coal and natural gas power plants must be retained to provide power at night and for when the sun stops shining or the wind stops blowing.

These limitations become increasingly worse as greater amounts of wind and solar are placed on the grid.

At the very least, LCOEs for wind and solar are misleading because wind and solar require the use of costly storage. More about the CAISO Duck curve is found in Nothing to Fear.

Conclusion

If an undefined “resource availability” is used to calculate LCOEs, the resulting LCOEs can’t be compared with a traditionally derived levelized cost of electricity (LCOE): It’s like comparing cashews with apples.

Pawning these LCOEs off as equivalent to traditionally calculated LCOEs is misleading at best, and at worst, could be considered deceptive.

In addition, wind and solar are unreliable, and LCOEs do not reflect the extra costs associated with having to compensate for their intermittency and unreliability.

The Lazard report and virtually all media articles attempting to compare LCOEs between wind and solar and coal and natural gas are fallacious and meaningless.

Wind and solar cannot replace coal and natural gas on a one for one basis … They are not interchangeable LEGO pieces.

Coal-fired and natural gas combined cycle power plants continue to be the least costly methods for generating electricity, notwithstanding the latest Lazard study.

SOURCE




Don’t Call Climate Skeptics ‘Deniers,’ Call Us ‘Correct’

Lord Monckton comments below on a rather silly article which essentially proclaims that the consensus is always right. It reminds me of a 1930s slogan:  "Mussolini ha sempre ragione" (Mussolini is always right).  I put up a brief comment on it on 5th but Monckton really goes to town on it below

If it’s totalitarian and unresearched, it’s not a consensus.

Arturo Casadevall and Ferric Fang, two academic microbiologists with no special knowledge of climate, recently used their article in the Hill to commit the repellent but now commonplace hate-crime of describing researchers skeptical of the sillier exaggerations of the climate-change establishment as “denialists.”

This disfiguring hate-word, calculated to invite an invidious comparison between climate skeptics and those who say the Nazis did not murder six million Jews, is not fit to be uttered by any serious academic. Here, as always, its misuse by intellectual pygmies indicated more than a little nervousness on the part of the establishment, for the world continues to warm at a rate well below what was originally predicted, and, as it turns out, there is a good explanation for the discrepancy.

The two hate-speakers tediously trundled through the history of challengers to the scientific establishment who were proven right (Hypatia, Giordano Bruno, Galileo, Benjamin Franklin, and John Scopes), but they did so without appreciating that it is we climate skeptics today who are the sciconoclasts, and it is the entrenched and generally totalitarian academic elite with which they pietistically identify themselves that is as wrong today as the mob that is said to have murdered Hypatia for her nonconformist astronomical notions and the cardinals who condemned Bruno to death.

The two microbiologists have missed the point entirely. They talk of “virtually unanimous consensus” that Earth is facing a period of anthropogenic climate change. Yet the largest sample of academic papers on climate ever studied — an impressive 11,944 papers over the 21 years 1991–2011 — showed only 0.3 percent “consensus” explicitly supporting the proposition recent global warming was mostly manmade. The question whether the small warming that is to be expected will prove dangerous was not even asked; the “consensus” on that question is even smaller.

Even if there were a “virtually unanimous consensus,” science is not advanced by consensus but by informed dissent. The instances the microbiologists themselves cite make it quite clear that where there is a “consensus,” it is nearly always wrong, at least at the margins.

Newton’s celestial mechanics was universally regarded as correct for three centuries, but relativity has replaced it — thanks to the work of a skeptical patent clerk from Switzerland.

And what was the response of the scientific “consensus” then? In Germany, 100 scientists wrote a book against Albert Einstein and his “Jewish science.” Where are they now?

The microbiologists indulge in the rebarbative mantra of the hard left to the effect that “the Trump administration has repeatedly belittled the value of scientific expertise and eliminated scientists from panels that advise the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice.”

No, but the Trump administration has eliminated political activists posing as scientists, replacing them with scientists who are willing to put science first and totalitarian politics nowhere.

The microbiologists ignorantly assert “no one is denying … the standard model of particle physics.” Actually, there is a lively debate among speculative cosmogonists as to the origin of the universe and, therefore, as to the emergence and influence of various particles, whose number and properties seem to change with bewildering rapidity as new theories are advanced.

The microbiologists do not seem to appreciate the reason why climate skeptics are skeptical is that, in numerous respects, climate science and mitigation economics are simply wrong. It is now clear to all but an irredentist minority the climate models, in their predictions, have exaggerated the rate of global warming, perhaps by as much as threefold.

And, since the two microbiologists adore “consensus,” there is near-unanimity in the journals of mitigation economics to the effect that it is two to three orders of magnitude costlier to attempt to mitigate largely non-existent global warming than to let it happen and adapt to its consequences.

Without any evidence, the microbiologists indolently assert “the denial of climate science is centered on resistance to economic and lifestyle changes that would bring about major disruption to certain ways of life, as we switch away from carbon-based fuels.”

First, the world is not “switching away” from coal, oil, and gas — very far from it, in fact. Secondly, the academic resistance to the party line on climate is based on a number of downright errors of official climatology.

One example: Only one-third of the global warming predicted by the usual suspects arises directly from greenhouse gases. The remaining two-thirds, they say, comes from consequential amplifications of the direct warming, known as “temperature feedbacks.” Official climatology’s mid-range estimate of the “feedback fraction” — that is, the fraction of the global temperature after the direct warming that is fed back to the input of the global-warming calculation — is 0.65. Yet, given a pre-industrial surface temperature of 287.5 Kelvin, the maximum theoretically possible value of the feedback fraction — obtained by assuming, impossibly, that the entire 32 K natural greenhouse effect is feedback-driven — is 32/287.5, or 0.11. Absurdly, the official best estimate is about six times this absolute maximum.

What that means is that there will not be more than 1.5 K global warming for each doubling of CO2 concentration, not the 3.3 K that is the models’ current mid-range estimate. And 1.5 K of warming, not much more than 2.5 Fahrenheit, is just not enough to worry about.

Tellingly, the two microbiologists do not include even a single scientific quantity in their purely partisan political shriek against those who do not share their drearily dismal, cloyingly totalitarian outlook on science. So little science do the two scientists know that they say, “Science… always considers its knowledge to be provisional.”

A single counter-example will demonstrate the unwisdom of their use of the universal quantifier (not that they would know it if they bumped into it). On a hyperbolic as well as on a Euclidean surface, the square on the hypotenuse of a right triangle is always equal to the sum of the squares on the two catheti. Perhaps they were not paying attention when they were taught this as schoolboys. Some scientific hypotheses, though by no means all, are indeed definitively demonstrable. We have, for instance, definitively demonstrated above, with indefeasible simplicity, that the global warming to be expected in response to doubled CO2 cannot exceed 1.5 K.

To turn the prissy-preachy language of the two microbiologists upon them, it would “behove” totalitarian scientists such as they to consider the maxim of all scientists: “I may be wrong.”

They were wrong to blame the recent hurricanes in the Caribbean on global warming, for the good and sufficient reason that worse and more frequent hurricanes have occurred before — as they would have discovered if they had remembered that scientific opinion is valueless unless it is based on at least a little elementary research.

Don’t call us skeptics “deniers,” call us “correct.” It is official climatology’s party line that is more and more obviously false, as well as self-serving.

Nobody pays me to ask scientific questions where so many others, bullied and hectored by a handful of bossy conformists, fear to tread. I and those like me ask questions because, unlike the faithful who bang their heads on the floor and say “I believe!” when informed of the party line, our approach to the natural world is a holy marriage of the curiosity and awe that are embodied in the two words, followed by a question mark, that are the fons et origo of all true science: “I wonder?”

SOURCE




Energy Policy in Minnesota: The High Cost of Failure

Summary

In recent years, the state of Minnesota has pursued a series of increasingly aggressive renewable energy and “clean energy” policies that cost electricity consumers billions of dollars, without achieving its ambitious environmental protection goals.

Minnesota law sets out ambitious state energy policy goals. The primary goal would have the state reduce greenhouse gas emissions 15 percent below 2005 levels by 2015, 30 percent by 2025, and 80 percent by 2050.  State law incorporates a number of additional energy policy goals aimed largely at supporting these greenhouse gas reduction targets. In particular, the state’s renewable energy standard requires utilities to generate a substantial portion (25 to 30 percent) of electricity from renewable sources, mostly wind.

Historically, Minnesota enjoyed the advantage of relatively cheap electricity, with rates typically 18 percent less than the national average. However, since spending an estimated $10 billion on building wind farms and billions more on new and upgraded transmission lines, Minnesota has lost this competitive advantage with little to show for it, except higher electric bills.

As electricity generation from carbon free wind approaches 20 percent of total generation, Minnesota has not experienced any appreciable reduction in greenhouse gas emissions relative to the U.S. average.

This report evaluates Minnesota’s energy policy and reaches five main findings that buttress one conclusion: Minnesota’s aspirational energy policy is a grand exercise in virtue signaling that does little to reduce either conventional pollution or greenhouse gas emissions.

* Minnesota has lost its advantage on electricity pricing.

Between 1990 and 2009, the retail price of electricity in Minnesota was, on average, 18.2 percent lower than the national average. However, in just seven years, this price advantage has completely disappeared. February 2017 marked the first month the average retail price of electricity in Minnesota rose above the U.S. price. (Data are available dating back to 1990.) If in the past seven years Minnesota would have maintained its historic price advantage versus the rest of the country, the state’s consumers would have paid nearly $4.4 billion less than what the actual cost of electricity turned out to be.

* Minnesota’s energy policy primarily promotes wind power.

Minnesota’s energy policy emphasizing renewable energy is mostly an electricity policy, which represents only about 40 percent of the state’s total energy consumption. Because Minnesota’s geography is not suitable for large-scale solar power, it aims, to date, for only modest increases in solar. As such, Minnesota’s energy policy is primarily a wind-energy policy.

* Minnesota’s energy policy is failing on its own terms, as it has not achieved a significant reduction in CO2 emissions.

 While Minnesota was losing its advantage on electricity pricing, it did not see any significant decreases in CO2 emissions. CO2 emissions in Minnesota declined by 6.6 percent from 2005 (the peak year for CO2 emissions in both the U.S. and Minnesota) to 2014 (before starting to rise again).

This decline is one-third less than the decline experienced by the nation as a whole, which saw greenhouse gas emissions drop 9.3 percent during the same time period.

Looking at just emissions from the electric power sector, emissions in Minnesota dropped by slightly more than the U.S. However, since 2009, the state has made little to no progress on emissions even as electricity generation by wind increased by 92 percent.

* To satisfy Minnesota’s renewable energy standard, an estimated $10 billion dollars has been spent on building wind farms and billions more on transmission.

In the past five years, Minnesota utilities have reported using wind power from wind farms totaling 5,000 megawatts of nameplate capacity to meet the requirements of the state’s renewable energy standard.

Based on industry cost estimates for building new generating capacity, ratepayers are committed to covering an estimated $10 billion for constructing these wind farms and billions more for the transmission needed to move this new power to market. On top of these upfront costs, ratepayers are on the hook for ongoing wind energy maintenance costs, property taxes, and replacement power needed when the wind doesn’t blow.

SOURCE




Head of Australia's anti-immigration party says 'Climate change isn't because of humans'

Pauline Hanson has clashed with a Greens senator after rubbishing climate change and claiming everyday Australians can't afford clean energy.

The One Nation leader told South Australian MP Sarah Hanson-Young she was very 'skeptical' about the link between pollution and climate change. 'I'm very skeptical of this (climate change) because the science isn't there, and that's been proven,' Ms Hanson said on Sunrise.

'Climate is changing, but it's not from humans Sarah – get this through your head.'

Ms Hanson-Young hit back in disbelief, accusing Ms Hanson of living in 'La La Land.' 'Thank goodness most Australian's disagree with you. Are you really lining up with the tin-foil hat brigade Pauline?,' she asked.

Interrupting the heated discussion, host David Koch pointed out the government's Chief Scientist Alan Finkel believed in climate change.

But Ms Hanson said everyday Australians were sick of paying enormous power bills, stressing her party would not support the Coalition's proposed clean energy target.

'People can't afford it, it's putting so much pressure on families and businesses,' she said. 'How can a fish and chip shop afford $14,000 a quarter in electricity? How can these pubs in outback Longreach afford $20,000 electricity a quarter? Wake up.

'We can't do it at the moment, I won't see any more people lose their jobs and I won't see any more businesses shut down because of this.'

Taking to social media after the interview, Ms Hanson-Young posted a link to the debate and wrote: 'On Sunrise this morning Pauline Hanson tells me get it through your head Sarah climate change 'isn't because of humans' #OneNationFail.'

Cabinet on Monday is expected to discuss the government's new energy policy, including whether to adopt a version of the clean energy target recommended by Mr Finkel. The coalition party room could examine the proposal on Tuesday.

It follows a new report from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which highlights huge increases in power bills over the past decade. The report says power is putting unacceptable pressure on Australian households and businesses.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims cautioned the clean energy target was designed to cut emissions, but it was hard to say whether it would also bring down prices.

It was important to understand the trade-offs between the various objectives if the nation was to have an effective energy policy.

SOURCE 

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For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

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Monday, October 16, 2017



Trump to Nominate Climate Doubter as Environmental Adviser

President Donald Trump will nominate a climate change skeptic with ties to the fossil fuel industry to serve as a top environmental adviser.

The White House on Thursday announced the selection of Kathleen Hartnett White of Texas to serve as chair of the Council on Environmental Quality. White served under former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, now Trump's energy secretary, for six years on a commission overseeing the state environmental agency.

White was fiercely critical of what she called the Obama administration's "imperial EPA" and pushed back against stricter limits on air and water pollution. She is a senior fellow at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative think tank that has received funding from fossil-fuel companies that include Koch Industries, ExxonMobil and Chevron.

In a 2014 policy paper titled "Fossil Fuels: The Moral Case," White praised the burning of coal and petroleum for "vastly improved living conditions across the world" and credited fossil fuels with ending slavery.

She also likened the work of mainstream climate scientists to "the dogmatic claims of ideologues and clerics." White is a member of the CO2 Coalition, a group that seeks to educate "thought leaders, policy makers, and the public about the important contribution made by carbon dioxide to our lives and the economy."

In an op-ed published in The Hill newspaper last year, White took aim at Obama-era policies that sought to slow global warming by limiting carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. Climate scientists point to the rising concentrations of carbon emitted into the atmosphere through burning fossil fuels with a corresponding increase in global average temperatures.

"The truth is that our bodies, blood and bones are built of carbon!" White wrote. "Carbon dioxide is a necessary nutrient for plant life, acting as the catalyst for the most essential energy conversion process on planet earth: photosynthesis. Carbon dioxide is an odorless, invisible, harmless and completely natural gas lacking any characteristic of a pollutant."

A native of Kansas, White holds degrees from Stanford University in East Asian studies and comparative literature.

SOURCE



Carbon capture in doubt after Norway buries 90pc of budget

The latest bid to develop technology which traps and stores carbon emissions is already in doubt after a key European partner scaled back its plans, days after UK ambitions were reignited.

Norwegian ministers slashed the expected state investment in a trailblazing industrial carbon capture project by 90pc in response to growing political doubts over its costs. The swingeing cut emerged the same day UK ministers pledged to work with international partners in a second bid to develop a carbon capture and storage (CCS) industry, after the failure of its £1bn scheme two years ago.

The Norwegian move spells trouble for Britain’s fresh plans because its ambitious linchpin project is considered a key template for the burgeoning industry, in which international collaboration is vital to bring down costs.

“Norway has always been seen as a leader on CCS so it is concerning that there is a proposal to cut the budget,” said Luke Warren, the chief executive of the UK’s CCS Association. “The timing is also unfortunate in a week which has seen both the Netherlands and UK governments set out ambitious new CCS programmes.”

The UK’s clean growth strategy promised the £100m funding to ­develop CCS as part of a raft of 50 low-carbon policies and plans – but government is clear that full-scale CCS will not go ahead unless costs come down. At stake are the carbon-cutting plans of industrial clusters in Teesside, Merseyside, South Wales and Grangemouth which all hope to safeguard their future in the UK’s future low-carbon economy by fitting the new technology.

UK tech developers are understood to have approached Norway about collaborating on its plans to learn more about the technology. The International Energy Agency estimates that the global CCS market could be worth over £100bn.

Capturing even a modest share of this sector could provide a boom of between £5bn to £9bn a year for the UK by 2031. The UK was also expected to consider shipping carbon dioxide across the North Sea to store the gas permanently in Norway’s subsea salt caverns.

But a prominent Norwegian NGO, Bellona, said the “incomprehensible” budget cut signals that Norway “is no longer serious about CCS”. Earlier this year a study of a full-scale Norwegian CCS system was estimated to cost NOK360m (£34m) but the government has proposed just under £2m for the capture phase of the project which was expected to take place at three of Norway’s most polluting factories.

Gassnova, the state enterprise spearheading Norway’s CCS drive, believes that within the next five years the country could develop a system to rid the whole of Europe of its unwanted carbon emissions. Under the scheme, CO2 from factories all across Europe could be piped on to ships and brought to Norway before the gas is injected into carbon storage sites under the seabed.

Ola Elvestuen, the chairman of Norway’s parliamentary committee on energy, told The Sunday Telegraph that overturning the cut “will definitely be part of the forthcoming budget negotiations with the government” before a final decision is reached in May.

SOURCE



The Obama EPA’s crooked prosecutors

The agency’s carbon dioxide climate “endangerment finding” was a kangaroo court process<>/i>

Paul Driessen

Suppose a crooked prosecutor framed someone and was determined to get a conviction. So he built an entire case on tainted, circumstantial evidence, and testimony from witnesses who had their reasons for wanting the guy in jail. Suppose the prosecutor ignored or hid exculpatory evidence and colluded with the judge to prevent the defendant from presenting a robust defense or cross-examining adverse witnesses.

You know what would happen – at least in a fair and just society. The victim would be exonerated and compensated. The prosecutor and judge would be disbarred, fined and jailed.

What you may not know is that the Obama EPA engaged in similar prosecutorial misconduct to convict fossil fuels of causing climate chaos and endangering the health and wellbeing of Americans.

EPA then used its carbon dioxide “Endangerment Finding” to justify anti-fossil fuel regulations, close down coal-fired power plants, block pipeline construction, and exempt wind and solar installations from endangered species rules. It put the agency in control of America’s energy, economy, job creation and living standards. It drove up energy prices, killed numerous jobs, and sent families into energy poverty.

EPA’s egregious misconduct inflicted significant harm on our nation. Having acted to repeal the Obama Clean Power Plan, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt must reverse carbon dioxide’s conviction and scuttle the Endangerment Finding that serves as the foundation and justification for the agency’s war on coal, oil and natural gas. Any harm from fossil fuels or carbon dioxide is minuscule, compared to the extensive damages inflicted by the decision and subsequent regulations.

President Obama and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson took office determined to blame carbon dioxide for “dangerous” and “unprecedented” manmade global warming and climate change. They then used that preordained decision to justify closing coal-fired power plants and dramatically restricting fossil fuel use. Mr. Obama had promised to “bankrupt” coal companies. Ms. Jackson  wasted no time in decreeing that CO2 from oil, natural gas coal burning “endanger” human health and welfare. It was a kangaroo court.

Their Environmental Protection Agency did no research of its own. It simply cherry-picked UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports and wrote a Technical Support Document to make its case. The TSD ignored studies that contradicted its predetermined Endangerment Finding – and relied on circumstantial evidence of climate and extreme weather disasters generated by computer models.

The models were programmed on the assumption that rising atmospheric CO2 levels are the primary or sole factor determining climate and weather. They assumed more carbon dioxide meant more planetary warming and worsening climate chaos. The role of the sun, cosmic rays, changing ocean currents and numerous other powerful, interconnected natural forces throughout Earth’s history was simply ignored.

The models predicted steadily increasing global temperatures and more frequent and intense storms. Instead, even as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels continued to rise, except for a noticeable temperature spike during the 2015-2016 super El Niño, there has been no planetary warming since 1998. Harvey finally ended a record 12-year drought in Category 3-5 hurricanes making landfall in the USA.

Tornado deaths are far less frequent than in the 1950s. Floods and droughts differ little from historic trends and cycles. Antarctic land ice is at record highs, and Arctic sea ice is again within its “normal” levels for the past 50 years. Seas are rising at just seven inches per century, the same as 100 years ago.

The models also assumed more warming meant more clouds that trapped more heat. They ignored the fact that low-lying clouds trap heat but also reflect solar heat back into the atmosphere. Humans might be “contributing” to temperature, climate and weather events, at least locally. But there is no real-world evidence that “greenhouse gases” have replaced natural forces to cause climate chaos or extreme weather – and no evidence that humans can control Earth’s fickle climate by controlling emissions.

In fact, with every passing year, climate model temperature forecasts have been increasingly higher than those actually observed over most of the lower atmosphere.

The EPA approach amounted to saying, if reality conflicts with the models, reality must be wrong – or to deciding that real world evidence should be homogenized, adjusted and manipulated to fit model results.

Indeed, that’s exactly what EPA, the IPCC and other alarmist researchers have done. Older historic records were adjusted downward, modern records got bumped upward a bit, and government-paid scientists ignored satellite data and relied increasingly on measurements recorded near (and contaminated by) airport jet exhaust, blacktop parking lots, and urban areas warmed by cars, heating and AC vents.

The IPCC also claimed its referenced studies were all peer-reviewed by experts. In reality, at least 30% were not; many were prepared by graduate students or activist groups; and some of its most attention-getting claims (of rapidly melting Himalayan glaciers, for example) were nothing more than brief email messages noting that these were “possible” outcomes. Moreover, most IPCC peer reviewers were scientists who fervently promote catastrophic manmade climate change perspectives, receive government and other grants for writing reports confirming this thesis, and take turns reviewing one another’s papers.

Despite these inconvenient facts, a steady barrage of Obama EPA press releases and statements from alarmist regulators and “experts” insisted that fossil fuels were causing planetary cataclysms. Anyone who tried to present alternative, realistic data or views was ridiculed, vilified and silenced.

Even one of EPA’s most senior experts was summarily removed from the review team.  “Your comments do not help the legal or policy case for this decision,” Alan Carlin’s supervisor told him.

Two additional facts dramatically underscore the kangaroo court nature of EPA’s 2009 proceedings.

First, oil, natural gas and coal still provide over 80% of America’s and the world’s energy. The International Energy Agency says they will be at least this important 25 years from now. Indeed, fossil fuels are the foundation for modern industries, transportation, communication, jobs, health and living standards. Emerging economic powerhouses like China and India, developing countries the world over, and even industrialized nations like Germany and Poland are using more of these fuels every year.

The Obama EPA studiously ignored these facts – and the tremendous benefits that fossil fuels bring to every aspect of our lives. Those benefits outweigh any asserted dangers – by orders of magnitude.

Second, carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, as defined by the Clean Air Act – and was never listed in any legislation as a pollutant. It was turned into an alleged pollutant by dishonest, ideological EPA prosecutors, who needed to justify their anti-fossil fuel regulatory agenda.

In reality, carbon dioxide is the miracle molecule without which most life on Earth would cease to exist. It enables plants of all kinds to convert soil nutrients and water into the fibers, fruits and seeds that are essential to humans and animals. The more CO2 in the air, the faster and better plants grow, and the more they are able to withstand droughts, disease, and damage from insects and viruses. In the process, crop, forest and grassland plants, and ocean and freshwater phytoplankton, exhale the oxygen we breathe.

In rendering its endangerment decision, EPA ignored these incalculable CO2 benefits. It ignored experts and studies that would have provided vital information about the tremendous value to our planet and people from fossil fuels and carbon dioxide.

Finally, having a slightly warmer planet with more atmospheric CO2 would be hugely beneficial for plants, wildlife and humanity. By contrast, having a colder planet, with less carbon dioxide, would be seriously harmful for arable land extent, growing seasons, crops, people and wildlife habitats.

The EPA Endangerment Finding is the foundation for the Obama era Clean Power Plan and other rules. Reversing it is essential to moving forward with science-based energy and climate policies.

Via email

                                                         



PennEast Pipeline Backers Tout Lower Energy Prices in Fighting Well-Funded Green Groups

Anyone traveling along the roadways that run parallel to that part of the Delaware River where George Washington staged his famous Christmas night crossing in 1776 is sure to encounter signs that take aim at an energy project known as the PennEast Pipeline.

Some of those signs invoke revolutionary language with statements that claim “We the People Say No to PennEast.”

Other signs say: “Don’t Let them Poison Our Water! Stop PennEast,” “Pipeline Blast Zone, Stop PennEast,” “Just Say No! Stop PennEast,” and “Stop the Fracking Pipelines.”

The messages opposing the natural gas pipeline can be spotted along roadways on both the Pennsylvania and New Jersey sides of the river.

Any day now, the six energy companies that are part of the PennEast Pipeline project expect to get a green light to proceed from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which regulates the interstate transmission of natural gas, oil, and electricity. That approval would come in the form of a certificate allowing construction and operation of the pipeline.

The anti-pipeline signs and mailings mention ReThink Energy NJ, a coalition of environmentalists who have received substantial funding from the Philadelphia-based William Penn Foundation.

Under current plans, the proposed 120-mile-long, 36-inch-diameter, underground pipeline would originate just north of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, in an area that interconnects with other major interstate pipelines that serve markets on the East Coast, including New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

Wilkes-Barre, the county seat of Luzerne County, sits on the outskirts of the Pocono Mountains in the northeastern part of Pennsylvania.

If the federal commission OKs it, a year from now a new pipeline will be poised to transport natural gas across Eastern Pennsylvania and the Delaware River into Mercer County, New Jersey, where it will interconnect with the Transco Pipeline in the borough of Pennington.

The PennEast Pipeline would draw from natural gas produced in the Marcellus shale formation that cuts across Pennsylvania, New York, and parts of Ohio and West Virginia.

Tony Cox, project manager for PennEast, told The Daily Signal in an interview that he expects energy consumers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey to begin to see the benefits of the pipeline beginning in the winter of 2018-2019.

With approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission expected this fall, the seven-month construction phase would begin next spring, and the pipeline would become operational in the second half of next year, according to PennEast’s projected timeline.

“September is what we call a ‘shoulder month’ in the gas industry, because you are past the summer months, but you are not yet in the winter. This means you are in a period of low energy consumption,” Cox said, adding:

But we still see a vast disparity between the price of gas in the Marcellus region and in New Jersey. These price differences around the country are one of the drivers for natural gas infrastructure, and one of the obligations that gas utilities have is to procure the least cost of gas available.

Right now, as it relates to New Jersey, that gas is located 100 miles away in Pennsylvania. But as we can see from the price difference, there is not ample infrastructure to get the gas to where it needs to go.

As of late September, Cox noted, the price for natural gas delivery in the Marcellus Shale region was $1.79 per dekatherm (a unit of energy measurement), compared with $3.16 per dekatherm in New Jersey, according to Gas Daily, a publication that provides the oil and gas industry with analytical reports on prices in the energy markets. That’s a difference of $1.37, or 76.5 percent higher, in New Jersey.

“Right now, there’s not enough capacity to meet the energy demands of New Jersey residents during peak periods, as evidenced by the large price differentials between these two areas,” Cox said. “With PennEast, we will have the ability to dampen the impact of high-demand periods and provide cost savings.”

When the $1.37 price difference for natural gas between the Marcellus area of Pennsylvania and New Jersey is “amplified by the capacity PennEast will have to transport natural gas,” Cox said, he anticipates “more than a half of a billion dollars in savings” to New Jersey consumers.

Despite the intense opposition of environmental activists, who view the pipeline as a danger to the region, PennEast appears set to secure the necessary regulatory approval to move forward.

In April, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a favorable final environmental impact statement for PennEast that said any potential impact would be “adequately minimized” through mitigation efforts.

In August, the U.S. Senate confirmed the Trump administration’s nominees to the commission, providing the agency with the quorum needed to approve projects such as PennEast.

But Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, disputes the figures PennEast has circulated that show energy consumers stand to benefit financially from the new infrastructure. Instead, he anticipates the pipeline actually would raise costs.

“Individually, these companies [that are part of PennEast] have been seeking rate hikes to pay for the pipelines, because they cost money,” Tittel said. “They have to pay back investors. How does this save people money?”

Tittel also cited a report from Stephanie Brand, director of the New Jersey Division of Rate Counsel, who has expressed reservations about the pipeline’s cost and utility. The division’s mission is to advocate for energy consumers.

“PennEast is dangerous and unnecessary, and the PennEast companies are just trying to make money for themselves. This has nothing to do with consumers and their energy needs,” the Sierra Club leader said. “Natural gas is a commodity, and the price is set by commodity markets, and it’s just not true to say that the pipeline will lower prices.”

“The other problem is that the pipeline will pass through environmentally sensitive and scenic areas, and pass through quaint, bucolic little towns that depend on ecotourism. This is also a historic area, where [George] Washington crossed the Delaware.

“Now you’re going to have this big, ugly pipeline cutting through, and it’s going to hurt the economy,” Tittel said.

In the “Frequently Asked Questions” section of its website, PennEast provides readers with detailed answers to questions about the project’s size and scope, potential economic benefits to consumers, environmental safeguards, and restoration efforts that will take place once the pipeline is completed. A separate report from PennEast describes how natural gas development will bring both economic and environmental benefits.

Pat Kornick, a spokeswoman for PennEast, said “well-funded” anti-pipeline activists who have maintained a constant presence in the public eye and in the media are not looking out for the best interests of the people they claim to represent.

“When people question the need for a new pipeline, they are not seeing the big price discrepancies that exist between the New Jersey marketplace and the Pennsylvania portions of the Marcellus, where natural gas is produced,” she said. “Pipelines are the cheapest, most effective way to bring natural gas to market. The alternatives to pipelines, which involve the trucking and transportation of liquefied natural gas, are much more expensive.”

The funding that stands behind the environmental activism directed against natural gas development is evident from the signs littering the roadways in New Jersey, and from mailings delivered to area residents.

Every member of the coalition called ReThink Energy, cited on the opposition materials, has received substantial funding from the William Penn Foundation, a private, nonprofit charity.

Grants the foundation distributed to ReThink Energy members in recent years include $395,000 in 2017 and $582,000 in 2015 to the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, $82,500 in 2016 to the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association, and $227,400 in 2016 to the Pinelands Preservation Alliance.

Tom Shepstone, who operates the Natural Gas Now blog, a product of his research firm based in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, told The Daily Signal that the William Penn Foundation is not permitted to do any lobbying as a private charity. But, he argued,  the organization is making an end run around the prohibition by distributing grants to environmental activists and compliant media outlets that do its bidding.

“As a private foundation, they shouldn’t be doing any lobbying, but when you think about it that’s all they do at the foundation,” Shepstone said. “When they pass out money year after year to certain groups, they are doing this to influence public policy.”

SOURCE




High energy costs slash small business investment in Australia
 
The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman has expressed dismay that politicians continue to argue over energy policy while small businesses suffer.

Ombudsman Kate Carnell said the latest East & Partners SME survey* of 1280 businesses showed 70 per cent would reduce investment in capital expenditure because of higher energy prices.

The survey shows that:

39.5 per cent of SMEs would scale back in the short term (long-term capex unchanged);

20.8 per cent would scale back in the long term (short-term capex unchanged); and

9.9 per cent would scale back capital expenditure in the short and long term.

Ms Carnell said that despite evidence of spiralling energy costs and reduced business confidence, politicians had not provided investment certainty.

In particular, she criticised State Governments for failing to agree with a national approach.

“The ACCC has revealed the impact of gas exploration bans on supply and distribution in Victoria and New South Wales, but these governments continue to shift the blame elsewhere,” she said.

“The Labor states talk about going alone on a clean energy target, which is putting politics ahead of the national interest.

“Meanwhile, businesses in South Australia may have to use dirty diesel generators to keep the lights on over summer.

“The Finkel Report provided a roadmap to repair the long-term damage of failed policies.

“All parties and all governments should endorse the report, remove bans on gas exploration and adopt a bipartisan approach to provide investment certainty.

“The danger with continued political bickering is that businesses will go to the wall, jobs will move offshore and be lost and consumers will feel even greater pain.”

* The energy question was asked as part of the East & Partners SME Transaction Banking survey, which examines and forecasts demand for transaction banking product lines and service offerings within Australia’s Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) segment (A$1-20 million turnover per annum).

Media release from Michael Gorey michael.gorey@asbfeo.gov.au

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For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

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