This site is a reference point for those with a cool head for climate science, arguably the most political science ever. When the government and most of the media concentrate on alarmism, this site is the antidote for those who don't believe the scare stories - YOU ARE NOT ALONE! (blog started on 7/11/07) We have over 1.3 million hits and blog is updated regularly most weeks.
London 28 June: An explosive report from the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) reveals that efforts to recycle plastic are a major cause of the marine litter problem. The report, written by public health expert Dr Mikko Paunio, sets out the case for incinerating waste rather than trying to recycle it.
* Most of the plastic waste comes from just a few countries, mostly in Asia and Africa.
* 25% is “leakage” from Asian waste management processes — the rest is waste that has never been collected, but is simply thrown into rivers.
* But European countries ship inject huge quantities of waste into Asian waste management streams, ostensibly for recycling. As much as 20% — millions of tons every year — ends up in the oceans and will continue to do so.
* Since the Chinese banned waste imports at the start of the year, shipments have been diverted to other Asian countries with even weaker environmental controls (Figure 1).
* EU recycling is therefore a major contributor to marine waste and increasing recycling will therefore simply increase marine litter.
Author Dr Mikko Paunio says
“It is clear that the European contribution to marine waste is a result of our efforts to recycle. However, several countries have already shown that they can reduce this contribution to near zero, by simply incinerating waste”.
Despite this success, the EU is trying to redouble recycling efforts and to close down the incineration route, mistakenly believing that this will reduce carbon emissions. As Dr Paunio puts it,
“The effects look as though they will be appalling. We can expect a great deal more plastic to end up in the environment, and in the oceans in particular. If the EU was serious about its war against marine pollution it should consider banning the export of plastic recyclate rather than banning plastic straws or taxing incineration.”
Figure 1: UK plastic waste exports, 2017 versus 2018. Source: British Plastic & Rubber
This article looks at government "virtue signalling" at great cost to people's energy bills. People are much more interested in keeping costs down than in some theoretical idea of keeping the planet from a little warming in the coming centuries long after their lives are over.
Here is a link to a short video which goes through a number of predictions made by Hanson, none of which came true after thirty years. It must be time to look again at the science. If the predictions fail then the theory must be wrong somewhere.
Here is a useful update from the excellent Pierre Gosselin which looks at the satellite measurement of sea level and compares it with the much longer tide gauge records. The conclusion is that overall it is unlikely that there is any dramatic change over the slow long term rise that has been going for several hundred years.
It's not that there has been a sudden drop in atmospheric CO2 levels. No this is a shortage of bottled CO2 used in beer cellars, and also in other food production. It appears that there are many areas apart from photosynthesis where CO2 is vital. If only it could be extracted from the air in an economic way! this article explains a bit more of the detail.
This piece explains what is going on as the UK prepares to leave the EU. Though why the EU should find themselves short of money when the UK is prepared to settle up by paying £40 billion over to them, I don't know. Of course in the longer term they will be short of funds, hopefully.
While President Trump is wisely withdrawing the United States from the UN's ill-conceived Paris climate accord, there is another UN agreement that also needs to be scrapped.
CFACT Senior policy analyst Bonner Cohen uncovered a “side agreement” President Obama's EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy made with the UN that could be used to resurrect UN climate policies here in the United States.
Cohen explains that a relatively unknown “Memorandum of Understanding,” (MOU) commits the EPA and UN to “achieve their common goals and objectives in the field of the environment.”
In other words, even though there’s no formal treaty or agreement, bureaucrats at EPA are given instruction to carry out radical UN environmental objectives like killing fossil fuel production, hammering auto makers with costly vehicle mandates, enacting carbon taxes, and letting subsidies for inefficient wind and solar run wild.
We asked Bonner how best to alert the Administration about the existence of this "MOU" and he suggested reaching out directly to EPA.
The document was signed nine months after the adoption of the U.N.-sponsored Paris climate accord, and the wording of the MOU leaves little doubt that it was seen as an instrument to underscore America’s commitment to curtail its production and use of energy in the name of combating climate change. Thus, UNEP and the Obama EPA agreed to “cooperate on responses to climate change,” including mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, reducing short-lived climate forcers and supporting adaptation and resilience to climate change.
Taking these and similar steps, the MOU says, will enable the advance “toward green economies and resource-efficient societies through collaborative activities to promote and support sustainable consumption and production.” In truth, “green economies” are those with taxpayer-subsidized and government-mandated renewable energy (primarily wind and solar). And what constitutes “sustainable consumption and production” is in the eyes of the beholding bureaucrat, empowered either by the administrative regulatory state or by legislation adopted at the behest of deep-pocketed special interests.
Is the Trump Administration aware of this Memorandum of Understanding? They need to be, so they can replace this document with a new "understanding" that the United States will not place its energy and economic futures in the hands of the UN!
This article explains the re-think, as the reality of such a drastic measure begins to come home. If true it is a sign of some common sense percolating through the green haze of previous government thinking. While 2040 is still some way off it is already looking like a huge problem to anywhere near ready to move to electric vehicles by then.
This piece explains the cunning Chinese plan to try to fool us into believing they are doing something to "fight climate change" so we must continue to carry on with our expensive efforts, thus burdening ourselves with increasing energy costs. Aah so! Clever these Chinese.
This piece tells us about the small changes occurring in Antarctica and how some alarmist scientists are producing one-sided data ignoring the factors that don't suit their hypothesis. What is needed is much more openness and humility to admit that there is much that we still don't know.
For all the bravado, Germany’s Energiewende may be more cautionary tale than success story for other nations looking to modernize their energy sectors. At the heart of the policy lies a fundamental hypocrisy: despite Germany’s commitment to expanding its renewable energy capacity to replace lost nuclear plants, the country’s carbon emissions are currently on the rise.
The hasty decision to close all 19 nuclear power stations in Germany by 2022 was made in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima disaster, only a year after Chancellor Angela Merkel had decided to extend the plants’ lifespan. This policy reversal was coupled with plans to eliminate the use of fossil fuels by bringing renewables’ share of the German energy mix up to 60 percent by 2050.
Despite its seemingly sensible foundations, the Energiewende’s first years have revealed the problems the model poses for both Germany and the rest of Europe. Energiewende is hardly just a domestic issue: one of its basic tenets is that the country has nine neighbours with whom it can exchange power, either selling surplus energy when renewables overproduce or importing it from Austrian, Polish, French and Czech power stations when German renewables underperform.
While Germany has managed to bring renewables’ share of electricity generation up to 30 percent, the previous steady decline in carbon emissions – 27 percent from 1999 to 2009 – has sharply reversed since Germany decided to phase out nuclear. Instead of falling, emissions have instead risen by four percent in the years since. Why the worrying uptick in emissions? Because renewable energy is still inherently intermittent.
Barring major advances in battery and storage technology, Germany will be forced to retain other domestic energy sources for decades to come. If nuclear power is ruled out, coal plants will continue to run in their place and pollute the atmosphere in the process. Even worse, many thermal power plants in Germany burn lignite, a specific type of hard coal which emits more CO2 than almost any other fossil fuel. Whereas natural gas exudes between 150 and 430g of CO2 per kilowatt-hour, lignite clocks in at a staggering 1100g of CO2. Nuclear power only gives off 16g of CO2 per kilowatt-hour.
This article explains what is happening. The Obama administration has been fighting climate change with a rogue wave of regulations whose legality comes from a very small base: The Social Cost of Carbon.
This essay is a good rebuttal to a recent paper predicting the demise of the fossil fuel industry and all who invest in it. The paper appears to be yet another exercise in producing speculative numbers that fit a particular set of preconceptions without any willingness to make a meaningful commitment to the predictions. The authors of it seem to believe that they know better than the hundreds of thousands of well-informed investors, who are putting real capital at risk might individually and certainly in aggregate actually have a clearer picture of the real prospects of fossil fuels. The authors are putting nothing at risk, except their reputations and only that by 2035 by which time their paper will be long forgotten.
This piece explains the thinking. Hydrogen produced by steam reformation costs approximately three times the cost of natural gas per unit of energy produced. This means that if natural gas costs $6/million BTU, then hydrogen will be $18/million BTU. Also, producing hydrogen from electrolysis with electricity at 5 cents/kWh will cost $28/million BTU — slightly less than two times the cost of hydrogen from natural gas. Whichever way you look at it, it means that the energy is going to be much more expensive and we are going to pay for it including the new engines. I expect this means that more people will use their cars, though no doubt the cost of driving will also have to go up as we are forced to buy new electric vehicles and pay for all the new charging points.
The green left has a new victim in its sights. This time it's plastic and everyone who uses it.
You may have already noticed an uptick in news stories about the evils of plastic, often followed by stories about well-meaning but naive government officials planning a ban.
Here is a goodarticle at CFACT.org by Jason Hopkins about a study which reveals that bans on plastic tend to tend to do more harm to the environment than the so-called evils they intend to stop.
The costs and energy needed to replace convenient plastic products outweigh any benefits.
"For example, paper substitutes to polystyrene products typically produce more waste, causing greater water and air pollution."
Another important fact to know is that a huge proportion of the plastic that finds its way into the ocean originates in developing countries, much of it from just a few rivers in Asia.
Litter and reckless dumping were once major problems in America and the West. We took action last century and cleaned up our act. Now it's time for emerging economies to clean up theirs.
Meanwhile, depriving people in advanced nations of plastic spoons, straws, bottles, bags, etc. will do nothing meaningful to stem the tide of the developing world's plastic waste.
Government's role is to ensure plastic is handled in environmentally friendly ways. After that let the market do its work.
The Green movement operates in cult-like ways.
Offering up the plastic products that make life affordable for billions as a ritual sacrificial offering might make a spoiled few feel virtuous, but it turns out the folks banning plastic are more dunces than heroes.
This essay gives an up-to-date overview of what we know and what we don’t know about climate change. It is primarily meant for the millions of interested laymen who are desperate to hear a truthful story they can understand. These people have become suspicious of being misled by climate alarmists.
The start of 2018 has been warm because of unusual weather which has already subsided.
As far as global temperature goes it’s been a warmish start to the year, though not exceptional. This has led Carbon Brief in its three-monthly “state of the climate” report to predict that this year “is likely” to be as warm as the fourth warmest year since records began about 150 years ago. They say it could be as high as the second or as low as the 12th warmest.
Carbon Brief says, “The first three months of 2018 can give some sense of what to expect for the entire year.” But being based on a quarter of this year’s monthly measurements it could be described as either bold or foolish. Because the prediction is made without a good understanding of what has been happening to the global temperature in the past months it is probably more of the latter.
Nowhere in the Carbon Brief prediction is there any analysis of why 2018 got off to a warm start. Look towards the Tasman Sea that has been adding to global temperatures since late 2017.
The water temperature in the Tasman Sea is well above normal – 6° C more than average for the start of December. New Zealand’s summer was the hottest on record, Tasmania had its hottest November-January on record. It was exceptionally warm on both sides of the Tasman, more than two degrees above average in December and part of January.
The increase is not due to climate change but to a La Nina climate system. Globally La Nina events are associated with cooling but that is not true in some regions which, because of blocking high pressure regions and sometimes a lack of storms, allows sea temperature to increase. New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research meteorologist Ben Noll told newshub nz that the “very impressive marine heatwave” has led to the largest deviation from normal temperatures in the world. “The sea surface temperatures in the Australia-New Zealand region are presently the most anomalous on the globe…typical La Nina signature, but intensity turned up many notches.” He added that there were other factors driving the temperature higher, “La Nina sits in the background as big driver of the change, but it’s at the top of a pyramid of other factors”.
It was so warm that the Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology and New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research teamed up to release a “special climate statement”. Though why this abnormal weather merits a climate statement seems strange. The hot spot off the Tasman Sea has not been the only one in the past few months.
Recently scientists at Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation produced a framework for marine heatwaves. The new classification system ranks them by intensity using four levels. A Category 1 heatwave is the lowest intensity. Under the new system, a heatwave that hit the Mediterranean Sea in 1999 would be considered a Category 1 heatwave. The NE Pacific event of 2013 – 2015 the so-called Blob is a Category 3. A marine heatwave in Western Australia in 2011 would be a Category 4.
This article explains what is going on. The reason for this is clearly because the energy market is now so rigged in order to reduce our CO2 emissions that no one in the private sector has the confidence to invest. Hence we are now getting a sort of nationalisation by the back door.
The following true story is a cautionary tale for scientists against making quick judgements about
what seems impossible. Or indeed for any "experts" believing that they know best and ignoring any evidence contrary to what they believe. Does this ring any bells relating to the global warming hypothesis?
In 1963, aTanzanian schoolboy called Mpemba was making ice cream at school, which he did by mixing boiling milk
with sugar. He was supposed to wait for the milk to cool before placing it the
refrigerator, but in a rush to get scarce refrigerator space, put his milk in without
cooling it. To his surprise, he found that his hot milk froze into ice cream before
that of other pupils. He asked his physics teacher for an explanation, but was told
that he must have been confused, since his observation was impossible.
Mpemba believed his teacher at the time. But later that year he met a friend of
his who made and sold ice cream in Tanga town. His friend told Mpemba that when
making ice cream, he put the hot liquids in the refrigerator to make them freeze
faster. Mpemba found that other ice cream sellers in Tanga had the same
Later, when in high school, Mpemba learned Newton's law of cooling, that describes how
hot bodies are supposed to cool (under certain simplifying assumptions). Mpemba
asked his teacher why hot milk froze before cold milk when he put them in the
freezer. The teacher answered that Mpemba must have been confused. When Mpemba
kept arguing, the teacher said "All I can say is that is Mpemba's physics and not the
universal physics" and from then on, the teacher and the class would criticize Mpemba's
mistakes in mathematics and physics by saying "That is Mpemba's mathematics" or "That is
Mpemba's physics." But when Mpemba later tried the experiment with hot and cold water in
the biology laboratory of his school, he again found that the hot water froze sooner.
Earlier, Dr Osborne, a professor of physics, had visited Mpemba's high school.
Mpemba had asked him to explain why hot water would freeze before cold water. Dr
Osborne said that he could not think of any explanation, but would try the experiment
later. When back in his laboratory, he asked a young technician to test Mpemba's
claim. The technician later reported that the hot water froze first, and said "But
we'll keep on repeating the experiment until we get the right result." However, repeated
tests gave the same result, and in 1969 Mpemba and Osborne wrote up their results .
In the same year, in one of the coincidences so common in science, Dr Kell
independently wrote a paper on hot water freezing sooner than cold water. Kell
showed that if one assumed that the water cooled primarily by evaporation, and maintained
a uniform temperature, the hot water would lose enough mass to freeze first . Kell thus argued that the phenomenon (then a common
urban legend in Canada) was real and could be explained by evaporation. However, he
was unaware of Osborne's experiments, which had measured the mass lost to evaporation and
found it insufficient to explain the effect. Subsequent experiments were done with
water in a closed container, eliminating the effects of evaporation, and still found that
the hot water froze first.
Subsequent discussion of the effect has been inconclusive. While quite a few
experiments have replicated the effect, there
has been no consensus on what causes the effect. The different possible explanations
are discussed . The effect has repeatedly a topic
of heated discussion in the "New Scientist", a popular science magazine. The letters
have revealed that the effect was known by laypeople around the world long before
1969. Today, there is still no well-agreed explanation of the Mpemba effect.
I have a great deal of respect for Jacob Rees-Mogg the man voted in polls as the front runner to succeed Theresa May as the leader of the Conservative party. But I had not read anything about his views on global warming - until I found this article. How interesting it would be to see what he would do in practice to get rid of the dreaded climate change act. I am going to see him in a few weeks time and I will ask him.
Here is a very thorough argument from Alan Carlin as to why wind and solar projects should be rejected. He is an American and so he is arguing his case in the USA, but his points are just as valid in other Western nations.
This piece explains what is happening in Australia. According to a government statement the average annual cost of complying with the policy would be more than $2bn a year. What a waste of money. Unfortunately for the Australian people the Labour opposition are even more wedded to this kind of policy and so, as in the UK, there is no escape. Only if or when there is sufficient opposition from the people by voting for some new party will this change.
If there is one lesson to be learnt from the success of UKIP here, it is that if the big parties see their votes going to a new party in sufficient numbers then they will be likely to adopt a different policy. Hence the Conservatives offering the vote on leaving the EU.
Here is the detail behind this headline. Roughly two thirds of the annual income of the project will be non-market public support. These massive subsidies are completely at odds with a free market economy.