Lomborg & Peterson: COP27 Proposing Insane Emissions Policies

Bjorn Lomborg and Jordan Peterson wrote in The Telegraph Pushing the same old climate policies at COP27 is simply insane.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

After decades of failure to curb emissions, let’s accept that capitalist investment is not the problem: it’s the solution

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” This famous quote – often misattributed to Albert Einstein – might very well become the unofficial motto of the UN Climate Change Conference in Egypt, the 27th session of the Conference of the Parties (Cop27).

Global CO₂ emissions have kept increasing since the world’s nations first committed to rein in climate change at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 – despite dozens of climate summits and the global climate agreements struck in Kyoto and Paris. This is the case, once again, in 2022, when we will collectively set a new emissions record. While rich countries increasingly promise draconian cuts (and then generally backtrack, as they import huge amounts of oil, gas and coal to save their citizens from energy poverty, as they have done most recently to address the current energy crisis), most of the future emissions will come from the currently poorer countries in Asia and Africa, as they power their climb out of abject poverty.

In the previous ten years, the world has focused more on remediating climate change than ever before. Despite this, we are not achieving anything, although no shortage of money has been wasted. In a surprisingly honest review of climate policies, the UN revealed a “lost decade”: The report found that it couldn’t tell the difference between what has happened and a world that adopted no new climate policies since 2005.

Consider that: all those climate summits and grandiose promises – all that expense and trouble – and no measurable difference whatsoever.

This state of affairs is unsurprising, unfortunately, because today’s renewable energy sources have two big problems. First, they occupy a vast amount of space, often displacing nature: replacing a square yard of a gas-fired power plant requires 73 square yards of solar panels, 239 square yards of on-shore wind turbines, or an astonishing 6,000 square yards of biomass. One study found that the United States would have to devote a land area four times the size of the United Kingdom to “clean power” to fulfill President Biden’s promise of a carbon-free economy by 2050.

Land in grey required for wind farms to power London UK, solar panels covering the yellow space.

Second – and of even greater importance – the two renewable energy technologies favoured by the vast majority of environmental activists are intermittent or unreliable. Solar energy simply isn’t produced when it is overcast or at nighttime. Wind energy requires a breeze. We are often told by green energy boosters that wind and solar energy are cheaper than fossil fuels. At best, that is only true when the wind is blowing, or the sun is shining. On a windless, dark night, the cost of wind and solar power rises to the infinite.

It is for such reasons that it is deeply misleading (although highly convenient) to compare the energy costs of wind or solar to fossil fuels only when it is windy and sunny. It is also important to note that since all solar energy is sold at essentially the same time (when the sun is up and shining), its value drops dramatically. When solar reaches 30% market share in California, as one study revealed, it loses two-thirds of its value.

Furthermore: because modern societies require 24 hours of non-stop power, backup is not optional – and that means reliance on fossil fuels, when there’s no sun or wind. As more solar and wind is introduced, moreover, fossil fuel backups become ever more expensive as they offer their services for fewer hours, to produce the necessary return on capital. And what of batteries? Globally, we have battery storage with the current capacity to store one minute and 15 seconds of the world’s electricity consumption. And that problem will not be ameliorated soon – even by 2030, global batteries will only cover less than 11 minutes of the global electricity consumption.

The scale of the challenge

All of this shows just the problems with moving electricity away from fossil fuel. When Biden promises ambitiously that all of America’s electricity will come from renewable sources by 2035, he is addressing the comparatively simple part of the climate challenge. Electricity constitutes just 19% of total energy use. We’re far further behind in developing solutions for agriculture, manufacturing, construction, and transportation. Of these, the latter is most often discussed by environmentalists and virtue-signaling politicians, who insist that a solution is already at hand: electric vehicles. Despite massive subsidies, however, just 1.4% of cars globally are electric, and that number is not going up quickly. The Biden Administration itself estimates that battery-electric cars will make up less than 10 percent of total US automobile stock – by 2050.

The scenario for the entire world is that less than one-fifth of all global cars will be battery-electric by 2050. We should remember, as well, that we do not yet have electric tractors, or heavy trucks, or airplanes, or ships – and that means that all the fossil fuel infrastructure that allows such machinery to operate will have to stay intact for our supply chains to continue their necessary operations.

And our current turbo-charge on electric cars will have very little impact on climate. The International Energy Agency estimates that the world would produce 231 million fewer tons of C02 if we achieve all our ambitious stated transport electrification targets in this decade. This reduction will lower global temperatures by one-ten thousandth of a degree Celsius (0.0001°C) by the end of the century, according to the UN’s own Climate Panel’s model.

Tackling climate change with current technology is essentially impossible.

This means that climate policy-makers tinker at the margins, offering deceptive solutions, and morally grandstanding. This pattern has repeated for three decades. Most of the promises made in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and in Kyoto in 1997 were disregarded. A 2018 study found that only 17 of the 157 countries that pledged emissions cuts in Paris passed laws mandating the required action. Which nations? Algeria, Canada, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Indonesia, Japan, North Macedonia, Malaysia, Mexico, Montenegro, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Samoa, Singapore, and Tonga. These are not the nations that will change global emissions. Even if every country did everything promised in the original Paris agreement, the emission cuts by 2030 would constitute just 1% of what is necessary to keep temperature rising under the 2°C target.

Failure, however, has not made politicians or the people they serve more careful and or more adamant about searching for better solutions. Instead, they (we) have doubled down, making ever-more ludicrous but emotionally attractive pledges, despite zero chance of either their implementation or their success if implemented. Attempting to implement the much-heralded and oft-trumpeted vision of a zero C02-emission world – whether by 2035 or 2050 – would be so ruinously expensive that extensive gilets-jaunes-style riots are certain long before the “goal” is reached.

A different approach

If we do care about fixing this challenge, we need to change course. Pretending that the proper technological answer currently exists, and is not being implemented because we lack conviction and willpower is reckless and misleading. Worse, it stops us from pursuing real solutions to the many problems that confront us – only one of which is climate change.

Dozens of the world’s top climate economists and three Nobel Laureates in Economics evaluated a whole gamut of climate solutions for the think tank Copenhagen Consensus. If we continued to do what the EU has been doing – cutting carbon with a mix of market and planning diktats – means spending one pound to avoid a mere three pence of long-term climate damage. That’s partly because cutting CO₂ output in the rich and already efficiently-producing EU is impractically expensive, and partly because EU climate policies are much more inefficient than necessary (the EU prefers using wind and solar, for example, to cut a ton of CO₂, over the more efficient option of switching from coal to natural gas).

The Nobel laureates and climate economists instead determined that investment in green innovation comprised the best long-term investment. Why? Consider how the world worried over starvation in the 1960-70s. If we had approached that problem like we are approaching climate remediation, we would have required the rich to eat less, while serving their leftovers to the poor. That would have failed – as our current approaches will fail – disastrously. What worked instead? The Green Revolution: the innovative development of higher-yielding crops. We thereby increased world grain production by 250% between 1950 and 1984, raising the calorie intake of the world’s poorest people and reducing the incidence of serious famines.

Innovative thinkers tackled the problem head-on, instead of tinkering around the edges. Innovation meant producing more with less, instead of requiring people to make do, with less. Would-be and even genuinely looming catastrophes have been continually pushed aside throughout human history because of innovation and technological development. Innovation gave us security and prosperity, and continues to drive the growth and the increased efficiency of the world’s largest economies.

In general, unfortunately, investment in long-term innovation is underfunded because it is hard for private investors to capture benefits. In areas where long-term innovation on the private front can be underfunded (because of difficulties of monetising benefits in a sufficiently short time frame), public investment and support is often warranted. A recent example – and a stellar success on the climate innovation front? The ten-year $10 billion US public investment in shale gas, which originated under President George W. Bush. Remarkably, this was not planned as part of the policy of climate change remediation. Nonetheless, it led the way for a production surge (with all the attendant economic benefits, particularly for the poor) that allowed natural gas to become cheaper than the dirtier coal it partially replaced. Energy derived from natural gas produces approximately half the CO₂ of coal. The consequence? The US has the best record of C02 emission reduction of any country in the past decade – and simultaneously reduced its reliance on foreign suppliers of uncertain reliability and cost.
Investing in innovation

Everyone, in principle, agrees that we should be spending much more on R&D. However, the fraction of rich countries’ GDP actually invested into R&D has halved since the 1980s. Why? Putting up inefficient solar panels and wind turbines offers the opportunity for good photo ops, and allows those who lead to convince us of their dedication to action, while funding researchers requires a more subtle and mature understanding and approach. We might remember, however, when considering such things, that our economic stability and opportunity is now at serious risk, and we are simultaneously not currently doing the planet any favors.

According to the Copenhagen Consensus Nobel Laureates, we should increase our current spending five-fold, to $100 billion per year. This doesn’t mean that in total we should spend more. We already devote $600 billion per year to financing ineffective climate remediation strategies. We could instead take a mere sixth of that poorly spent money and direct it toward the most effective means of addressing our problems.

A genuine innovation-led response would require the consideration of multiple solutions. We should improve today’s technologies rather than erecting currently inefficient turbines and solar panels. We should devote more attention to nuclear fission (perhaps in the form of modular reactors), and continue to explore fusion, hydrogen generation from water, and more. The geneticist who spearheaded development of the first draft sequence of the human genome – a technological tour-de-force, completed far earlier and at less cost than originally estimated – makes the case for research into algae that produces oil, grown on the ocean surface. Because such algae simply converts sunlight and CO₂ to oil, when producing it, burning it would be CO₂-free. Oil algae are far from cost-effective now, but researching this and many other solutions is not only inexpensive but offers our best opportunity to find real breakthrough technologies.

If we innovate the price of green energy down below fossil fuels, everyone will switch. This would be a far better solution, particularly for the poor, than increasing the cost of fossil fuel to the point of general penury to disincentivise use. The Copenhagen Consensus experts calculated returns from green energy R&D at eleven pounds for every pound invested – hundreds of times more effective than current climate policies.

Finding the breakthroughs that will power the rest of the 21st century could require a decade, or it could take four. But no other genuine solutions beckon, and we have already had three decades of spectacular failure pursuing the policies that are currently in place. We know that the world leaders gathered at COP27 won’t solve the problems that beset us with the same empty promises offered twenty-six times previously. Are we doing the same thing yet again? Remember the definition of insanity…

But innovation beckons, as it has so reliably in the past. We have better options, and ignore them at the cost of our economy, our opportunity, and the environment.

Dr. Bjorn Lomborg is President of the Copenhagen Consensus and Visiting Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. His latest book is “False Alarm: How Climate Change Panic Costs Us Trillions, Hurts the Poor, and Fails to Fix the Planet.” A collection of his writings for the Telegraph can be found here.
Dr. Jordan B. Peterson is Professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto, and the author of three books: “Maps of Meaning: the Architecture of Belief”, “12 Rules for Life: an Antidote to Chaos” and “Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life”. A collection of his writings for the Telegraph can be found here.

Climate Loss and Damage, Legal House of Cards

The big news out of COP27 Sharm El-Sheikh concerns funding for climate “loss and damage.”

Reuters  At COP27, climate ‘loss and damage’ funding makes it on the table

Columbia Climate School Loss and Damage: What Is It, and Will There Be Progress at COP27?

CarbonBrief COP27: Why is addressing ‘loss and damage’ crucial for climate justice?

Etc., Etc., Etc.

Mike Hulme explained the house of cards underlying the claims for compensation from extreme weather loss and damage.  He addressed this directly in his 2016 article Can (and Should) “Loss and Damage” be Attributed to Climate Change?.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

One of the outcomes of the eighteenth negotiating session of the Conference of the Parties (COP18) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, held in Doha last December, was the agreement to establish institutional arrangements to “address loss and damage associated with the impacts of climate change.” This opens up new possibilities for allocating international climate adaptation finance to developing countries. A meeting this week in Bonn (25–27 February), co-organized by the UN University Institute for Environmental and Human Security and the Loss and Damage in Vulnerable Countries Initiative, is bringing together various scholars and policymakers to consider how this decision might be implemented, possibly by as early as 2015.

At the heart of the loss and damage (L&D) agenda is the idea of attribution—that specific losses and damages in developing countries can be “associated with the impacts of climate change,” where “climate change” means human-caused alterations to climate. It is therefore not just any L&D that qualify for financial assistance under the Convention; it is L&D attributable to or “associated with” a very specific causal pathway.

Developing countries face some serious difficulties—at best, ambiguities—
with this approach to directing climate adaptation finance.

This is particularly so given the argument that the new science of weather attribution opens the possibility for a framework of legal liability for L&D, which has recently gained prominence (see here and here). Weather attribution science seeks to generate model-based estimates of the likelihood that human influence on the climate caused specific weather extremes.

Weather attribution should not, however, be used to make the funding of climate adaptation in developing countries dependent on proving liability for weather extremes.

There are four specific problems with using the post-Doha negotiations on L&D to advance the legal liability paradigm for climate adaptation. First, with what level of confidence can it be shown that specific weather or climate hazards in particular places are caused by anthropogenic climate change, as opposed to a naturally varying climate? Weather attribution scientists claim that such knowledge is achievable, but this knowledge will be partial, probabilistic, and open to contestation in the courts.

Second, even if such scientific claims were defendable, how will we define “anthropogenic?” Weather attribution science—if it is to be used to support a legal liability paradigm—needs to be capable of distinguishing between the meteorological effects of carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and those from land use change, and between the effects of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, black carbon (soot), and aerosol emissions. Each of these sources and types of climate-altering agents implicates different social and political actors and interests, so to establish liability in the courts, any given weather or climate hazard would need to be broken down into a profile of multiple fractional attributions. This adds a further layer of complexity and contestation to the approach.

Third, L&D may often be as much—or more—a function of levels of social and infrastructural development as it is a function of weather or climate hazard. Whether or not an atmospheric hazard is (partially) attributable to a liable human actor or institution is hardly the determining factor on the extent of the L&D. A legal liability framework based on attribution science promotes a “pollutionist approach” to climate adaptation and human welfare rather than a “developmentalist approach.” Under a pollutionist approach, adaptation is primarily about avoiding the dangers of human-induced climate change rather than building human resilience to a range of weather risks irrespective of cause. This approach has very specific political ramifications, serving some interests rather than others (e.g., technocratic and centralized control of adaptation funding over values-centered and decentralized control).

Finally, if such a legal framework were to be adopted, then what account should be taken of “gains and benefits” that might accrue to developing countries as a result of the impacts of climate change? Not all changes in weather and climate hazard as a result of human influence are detrimental to human welfare, and the principle of symmetry would demand that a full cost-benefit analysis lie at the heart of such a legal framework. This introduces another tier of complexity and contestation.

Following Doha and the COP18, the loss and damage agenda now has institutional force, and the coming months and years will see rounds of technical and political negotiation about how it may be put into operation. This agenda, however, should not place climate adaptation funding into the framework of legal liability backed by the new science of weather attribution.

Hulme goes more deeply into the Loss and Damage difficulties in his 2014 paper Attributing Weather Extremes to ‘Climate Change’: a Review.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

In this third and final review I survey the nascent science of extreme weather event attribution. The article proceeds by examining the field in four stages: motivations for extreme weather attribution, methods of attribution, some example case studies and the politics of weather event Attribution.

Hulme concludes by discussing the political hunger for scientific proof in support of policy actions.

But Hulme et al. (2011) show why such ambitious claims are unlikely to be realised. Investment in climate adaptation, they claim, is most needed “… where vulnerability to meteorological hazard is high, not where meteorological hazards are most attributable to human influence” (p.765). Extreme weather attribution says nothing about how damages are attributable to meteorological hazard as opposed to exposure to risk; it says nothing about the complex political, social and economic structures which mediate physical hazards.

And separating weather into two categories — ‘human-caused’ weather and ‘tough-luck’ weather – raises practical and ethical concerns about any subsequent investment allocation guidelines which excluded the victims of ‘tough-luck weather’ from benefiting from adaptation funds.

Contrary to the claims of some weather attribution scientists, the loss and damage agenda of the UNFCCC, as it is currently emerging, makes no distinction between ‘human-caused’ and ‘tough-luck’ weather. “Loss and damage impacts fall along a continuum, ranging from ‘events’ associated with variability around current climatic norms (e.g., weather-related natural hazards) to [slow-onset] ‘processes’ associated with future anticipated changes in climatic norms” (Warner et al., 2012:21). Although definitions and protocols have not yet been formally ratified, it seems unlikely that there will be a role for the sort of forensic science being offered by extreme weather attribution science.

Synopsis of this paper is at X-Weathermen are Back!

Integrated Storm Activity Annually over the Continental U.S. (ISAAC)

See also Data vs. Models #3: Disasters

 

 

 

 

UN’s Imaginary Planet

A banner advertising the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow, U.K., on Oct. 20, 2021. PHOTO BY IAN FORSYTH/BLOOMBERG FILES

William Watson writes at Financial Post What planet do UN carbon-fighters live on? Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

If current trends continue, the chance of the world hitting the UN’s goals are slim to none

One of the biggest news stories in Quebec this week is the partial closing of the Louis Hippolyte-Lafontaine tunnel, a major commuting artery under the St. Lawrence River, for what are termed “urgent” repairs. Half the tunnel’s lanes will be closed for three years — though that’s probably optimistic. Montreal’s brand-spanking-new light rail system, which for some reason the people who run the public pension plan think will be a big money-maker for them, recently had its opening delayed until next spring. In Quebec, big projects delays are like winter snow: simply assumed.

Though big for the affected commuters, these are tiny projects for the world. Yet they’ll take three years. Slowly, very slowly, does seem to be the way things work in many parts of the world these days. (Is there, by the way, a more aptly named figure than former Ottawa police chief Peter Sloly, whose approach to the truckers’ incursion seems to have been the opposite of speedy — and therefore of course very, very Ottawa?)

The tunnel, the bridge and the Réseau express métropolitain LRT came to mind as I scrolled through the latest edition of the United Nation Environment Programme’s (UNEP) update on the progress — or, in its view, shameful lack of progress — the world has made decarbonizing itself.

Judging by the 2½ pages of acknowledgements, this annual “Emissions Gap Report” is an immense undertaking by all sorts of committed people from universities, the UNEP itself and organizations such as the Bezos Earth Fund, the International Council on Clean Transportation, the ClimateWorks Foundation and so on. IKEA itself gets a shout-out for contributions from its foundation.

Not all the carbon news is bad. In a lovely set of graphs — production values, as always at the UN, are world-class — the team reports on how each G20 country is doing on its 2050 target (or NDC: nationally determined contribution). The arrow emerging from Canada’s trend points downward and to the right, heading for what looks like an exact bull’s eye with our commitment. If we do what we’ve said we’ll do — though that’s obviously a big if — we’ll get there. The EU27, the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia (though its aim is off by a few years) are in essentially the same situation.

But other countries are not, including five that already account for a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions. Thus the arrows for China, India, Russia, Brazil and Indonesia are headed skyward, soaring to levels far above their 2060 (not 2050) commitments. Maybe a decade or two of rapid economic growth will persuade them they’re now rich enough to go after carbon. But if current trends continue, the chance of the world hitting the UN’s goals are slim to none.

Which leads to a lot of foot-stamping scolding on the part of the emissions-gap team. Watching 20th-century international hockey, we Canadians were always shocked that Soviet coaches evidently thought they could get more out of their players by haranguing them on the bench after a lousy play. For some reason, the UN folk don’t seem to understand that being harangued puts most people off.

LULUCF refers to emissions from land use and forestry, which can be in addition or subtraction.

Yet the report argues what we need is “wide-ranging, large-scale, rapid and systemic transformation” in order to reach the goal of a two-degree, let alone 1.5-degree, increase in average global temperatures. “Is it a tall order to transform our systems in just eight years?” asks the executive director of UNEP, apparently with a straight face. “Yes,” she concedes, “but we must try.” And so the report goes on to provide a long list of imperatives for governments, industry and (they get their own chapter) bankers.

We all understand that ardent environmentalists are driven by their love for the planet. But which planet exactly do they live on? In the part of planet earth I live on (and love, too, in my own conservative way), it takes three years to perform “urgent” repairs on an important tunnel — and it probably took at least as many to clear the decision to go ahead. Yet here are apparently intelligent and certainly well-educated people saying the world must turn its agricultural sector upside down, or at least get a good start on doing so, in just eight years.

Figure 6.2 Food systems emissions trajectory and mitigation potentials by transformation domain

Societies do undergo radical transformations. The other day I found myself talking to a speaker, telling it which radio station to play. We of a certain age are living quite differently than we did as children. But people only make these big transformations voluntarily, when new technologies or ideas come along that are self-evidently desirable and appear worth spending money on.

That would not be the case with a precipitate, top-down overhaul
of our agricultural and industrial systems.

We’ve only just figured out how to feed eight-billion people. What happens to a billion or two of them if the grand agricultural experiment the UN wants us all to try doesn’t work out? Environmentalists always say this is the only planet we’ve got. It is indeed. But that means there’s nowhere else to import food from if global experiments go wrong.

Radio Waves Over UN False Alarms

Tuesday I was interviewed on the radio regarding my rebutting UN False Alarms.  The image is a screen capture, and I didn’t know how to extract the audio file or embed the radio page.  With some help from my grandson, you can hear my segment below (a few commercials included).

The interview is also on the station website linked below.  My segment begins at 34:40 to the end

https://www.am1100theflag.com/show-episodes/48391-5-24-22-the-chris-berg-show?fbclid=IwAR3H1QsRKzveHDxOjf152b_49glhwX1I0zOSSXUvxm_pcuIIWGWauQBOWW0

Post Discussed in Interview Above

The Climate Crisis du jour comes from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) public relations (PR) announcement Four key climate change indicators break records in 2021. 

As we shall see, each of them, along with other WMO claims, depends on first buying the story of global warming/climate change, and then looking at the world in a myopic, lop-sided way to confirm an alarmist POV.  Below are discussions of the main points from this latest attempt to monger fear in support of the IPCC agenda.

Sea Level Rise is Accelerating!  Not.

WMO says: Global mean sea level reached a new record high in 2021, after increasing at an average 4.5 mm per year over the period 2013 -2021. This is more than double the rate of between 1993 and 2002 and is mainly due to the accelerated loss of ice mass from the ice sheets. This has major implications for hundreds of millions of coastal dwellers and increases vulnerability to tropical cyclones.

WMO Proof:
Rational Response

Altimetry Estimates Are Unreliable
Tidal Gauges show slow, steady coastal rise
Land subsiding or rebounding Makes Local Differences

The claim of accelerating sea level rise depends on estimates from satellites regarding the entire ocean, such as this one:

There was an adjustment made to the dataset, and the “acceleration” comes by starting from the dip in 2013.  Moreover, this is a highly processed reconstruction that is contradicted by tidal gauge measurements at the coastlines where people live and where the issue matters.  For example, take New York City, where J. Hansen predicted flooding by 2009:

Already in 2021, observations have diverged greatly from the model-projected sea level rise, and there are many other examples confirming this. And do remember the longer range perspective on sea levels:

Earth’s Cryosphere is Melting!  Not.

WMO Says:  Cryosphere: Although the glaciological year 2020-2021 saw less melting than in recent years, there is a clear trend towards an acceleration of mass loss on multi-decadal timescales. On average, the world’s reference glaciers have thinned by 33.5 meters (ice-equivalent) since 1950, with 76% of this thinning since 1980. 2021 was a particularly punishing year for glaciers in Canada and the US Northwest with record ice mass loss as a result of heatwaves and fires in June and July. Greenland experienced an exceptional mid-August melt event and the first-ever recorded rainfall at Summit Station, the highest point on the ice sheet at an altitude of 3 216 m.

Rational Response

The warning about coastal flooding is based on fears that the sea will rise because frozen water will be added to the current ocean volume.  A lot of reporting claims Arctic Sea Ice is retreating, not mentioning this is drift ice, floating on water, and thus not a threat to increase water volume.  Even so, the quasi-60 year cycle of Arctic ice extents has been flat since it’s most recent bottom in 2007.

More pertinent is the concerns raised over land-based ice that does have the potential to add water to the ocean.  For perspective, consider this:

To consider the impact of the above ice sheet melting, compare the thickness of the Laurentide ice sheet with some of our civilization’s landmarks (H/T RiC Communications):

With much ado about any retreat of land glaciers, no matter how small or short-lived, many people are unaware of the natural range of glacier fluctuations.  For example, alpine glaciers:

Amid numerous periods of warming and cooling, hidden is the fact that Alpine glaciers were much smaller in the past, as evidenced by higher tree lines previous to the modern era.

The great majority of land ice is located firstly upon Antarctica, and secondly on Greenland.  While there are fluctuations up and down, the trend is far from certain, and very small compared to the mass of these two ice sheets.

A recent study by Bamber et al. provides perspectives on the amplitude of ice sheet changes:

Here the realities are obvious 99% of the world land ice is on top of Antarctica (88%) and Greenland (11%). All the fuss in the media above concerns fluctuations in less than 1% of glacier mass. Secondly, the bottom line is should present melt rates continue ( a big if ) the world would lose 3% of land ice in 1000 years. Note also the wide range of estimates of the smallest category of glaciers, and also the uncertain reported volume change for East Antarctica. Note that the melt rates are for 2012 to 2016, leaving out lower previous rates and periods when ice mass gained.

Global Temperatures are Going Ever Higher!  Not.

WMO says:  The global annual mean temperature in 2021 was around 1.11 ±0.13 °C above the 1850-1900 pre-industrial average, less warm than some recent years owing to cooling La Niña conditions at the start and end of the year. The most recent seven years, 2015 to 2021, are the seven warmest years on record. 

Rational Response:

Seen in the context of annual ranges of temperatures, a rise of 1 degree Celsius over 150 years would escape our notice were it not for alarmists constantly beating drums about it.

The geological and paleontological evidence overwhelmingly says that today’s average global temperature of about 15 degrees C and CO2 concentrations of 420 ppm are nothing to fret about. Even if they rise to about 17–18 degrees C and 500–600 ppm by the end of the century, it may well balance or improve the lot of mankind.

After all, bursts of civilization during the last 10,000 years uniformly occurred during the red portions of the graph below. The aforementioned river civilizations—the Minoan, the Greco-Roman era, the Medieval flowering, and the industrial and technological revolutions of the present era. At the same time, the several lapses into the dark ages happened when the climate turned colder (blue).

And that’s only logical. When it’s warmer and wetter, growing seasons are longer, and crop yields are better—regardless of the agricultural technology and practices of the moment. And it’s better for human and community health, too—most of the deadly plagues of history have occurred in colder climates, such as the Black Death of 1344–1350.

Greenhouse Gases Higher Than Ever!  Not.

WMO says: Greenhouse gas concentrations reached a new global high in 2020, when the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) reached 413.2 parts per million (ppm) globally, or 149% of the pre-industrial level. Data from specific locations indicate that they continued to increase in 2021 and early 2022, with monthly average CO2 at Mona Loa in Hawaii reaching 416.45 ppm in April 2020, 419.05 ppm in April 2021, and 420.23 ppm in April 2022.

Rational Response:

The Radiative effect from increasing CO2 has been saturated, so that the next doubling from 400 to 800 ppm will barely affect temperatures.  From William Happer presentation:

Schwarzschild was the theorist who first figured out how the real Earth, including the greenhouse gases in its atmosphere, radiates to space. That is described by the jagged black line. The important point here is the red line. This is what Earth would radiate to space if you were to double the CO2 concentration from today’s value. Right in the middle of these curves, you can see a gap in spectrum. The gap is caused by CO2 absorbing radiation that would otherwise cool the Earth. If you double the amount of CO2, you don’t double the size of that gap. You just go from the black curve to the red curve, and you can barely see the difference. The gap hardly changes.

Yet, the Climate Crisis Narrative employs two deceptive devices which are contradicted by earth’s climate history:

a. Planetary temperatures have been far higher than today, both long ago (over 600 million years) and recently (last 10,000 years) with no doomsday loop occurring.

b. It is claimed global warming is a one-way street from rising GHGs, when in fact higher CO2 concentrations are a consequence and by-product, not a driver and cause, of the current naturally rising temperatures.

The alleged harm from CO2 is from warming, and the warming observed is much, much less than predictions. In fact, warming as small as we are observing is almost certainly beneficial. It gives slightly longer growing seasons. You can ripen crops a little bit further north than you could before. So, there is completely good news in terms of the temperature directly. But there is even better news. By standards of geological history, plants have been living in a CO2 famine during our current geological period.

The Ocean Is Turning Acid! Not.

WMO says: Ocean acidification. The ocean absorbs around 23% of the annual emissions of anthropogenic CO2 to the atmosphere. This reacts with seawater and leads to ocean acidification, which threatens organisms and ecosystem services, and hence food security, tourism and coastal protection. As the pH of the ocean decreases, its capacity to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere also declines. The IPCC concluded that “there is very high confidence that open ocean surface pH is now the lowest it has been for at least 26,000 years and current rates of pH change are unprecedented since at least that time.”

Rational Response

Firstly ocean pH varies greatly on all time scales.  From US Senate testimony:

“In the oceans, major climate warming and cooling and pH (ocean pH about 8.1) changes are a fact of life, whether it is over a few years as in an El Niño, over decades as in the Pacific Decadal Oscillation or the North Atlantic Oscillation, or over a few hours as a burst of upwelling (pH about 7.59-7.8) appears or a storm brings acidic rainwater (pH about 4-6) into an estuary.”

Secondly, sea life is adapted to changing pH, and some prefer more acidic levels.  IPCC has ignored extensive research showing positive impacts on marine life from lower pH. These studies are catalogued at CO2 Science with this summary:

There are numerous observations of improvement in calcification of disparate marine life in realistic rates of PH change due to increased CO2.

“In the final graphical representations of the information contained in our Ocean Acidification Database, we have plotted the averages of all responses to seawater acidification (produced by additions of both HCl and CO2) for all five of the life characteristics of the various marine organisms that we have analyzed over the five pH reduction ranges that we discuss in our Description of the Ocean Acidification Database Tables, which pH ranges we illustrate in the figure below.”

“The most striking feature of Figure 11 is the great preponderance of data located in positive territory, which suggests that, on the whole, marine organisms likely will not be harmed to any significant degree by the expected decline in oceanic pH. If anything, in fact, the results suggest that the world’s marine life may actually slightly benefit from the pH decline.”

Finally,  massive mineral deposits ensure our ocean will remain non-acidic in coming centuries.  At Patrick Moore observed:

“It is a fact that people who have saltwater aquariums sometimes add CO2 to the water in order to increase coral growth and to increase plant growth. The truth is CO2 is the most important food for all life on Earth, including marine life. It is the main food for photosynthetic plankton (algae), which in turn is the food for the entire food chain in the sea.”

Summary:

The claim that the surface-water of the oceans has declined in pH from 8.2 to 8.1, since the industrial revolution, is based on sparse, contradictory evidence, at least some of which is problematic computer modeling. Some areas of the oceans, not subject to algal blooms or upwelling, may be experiencing slightly lower pH values than were common before the industrial revolution. However, forecasts for ‘average’ future pH values are likely exaggerated and of debatable consequences. The effects of alkaline buffering and stabilizing biological feedback loops seem to be underappreciated by those who carelessly throw around the inaccurate term “ocean acidification.”

Footnote on Climate Hype

Alarming claims are usually detected because they involve myopia, an error in perception, combined with lop-sided judgment weighing proportional significance of factors.

  1. CO2 Alarm is Myopic: Claiming CO2 causes dangerous global warming is too simplistic. CO2 is but one factor among many other forces and processes interacting to make weather and climate.

Myopia is a failure of perception by focusing on one near thing to the exclusion of the other realities present, thus missing the big picture. For example: “Not seeing the forest for the trees.” AKA “tunnel vision.”

2. CO2 Alarm is Lopsided: CO2 forcing is too small to have the overblown effect claimed for it. Other factors are orders of magnitude larger than the potential of CO2 to influence the climate system.

Lop-sided refers to a failure in judging values, whereby someone lacking in sense of proportion, places great weight on a factor which actually has a minor influence compared to other forces. For example: “Making a mountain out of a mole hill.”

To avoid myopia, pay attention to the temporal and spatial contexts for effects discussed.  To avoid lop-sided judgment, pay attention to the impact of factors proportional to the baseline inertia of climate system components.

Radio Interview Re UN False Alarms

Yesterday I was interviewed on the radio regarding my rebutting UN False Alarms.  The image is a screen capture, and I don’t know how to extract the audio file or embed the radio page.  But you can listen to the interview by following the link below.  My segment begins at 34:40 to the end (a few commercials included)

https://www.am1100theflag.com/show-episodes/48391-5-24-22-the-chris-berg-show?fbclid=IwAR3H1QsRKzveHDxOjf152b_49glhwX1I0zOSSXUvxm_pcuIIWGWauQBOWW0

Post Discussed in Interview Above

The Climate Crisis du jour comes from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) public relations (PR) announcement Four key climate change indicators break records in 2021. 

As we shall see, each of them, along with other WMO claims, depends on first buying the story of global warming/climate change, and then looking at the world in a myopic, lop-sided way to confirm an alarmist POV.  Below are discussions of the main points from this latest attempt to monger fear in support of the IPCC agenda.

Sea Level Rise is Accelerating!  Not.

WMO says: Global mean sea level reached a new record high in 2021, after increasing at an average 4.5 mm per year over the period 2013 -2021. This is more than double the rate of between 1993 and 2002 and is mainly due to the accelerated loss of ice mass from the ice sheets. This has major implications for hundreds of millions of coastal dwellers and increases vulnerability to tropical cyclones.

WMO Proof:
Rational Response

Altimetry Estimates Are Unreliable
Tidal Gauges show slow, steady coastal rise
Land subsiding or rebounding Makes Local Differences

The claim of accelerating sea level rise depends on estimates from satellites regarding the entire ocean, such as this one:

There was an adjustment made to the dataset, and the “acceleration” comes by starting from the dip in 2013.  Moreover, this is a highly processed reconstruction that is contradicted by tidal gauge measurements at the coastlines where people live and where the issue matters.  For example, take New York City, where J. Hansen predicted flooding by 2009:

Already in 2021, observations have diverged greatly from the model-projected sea level rise, and there are many other examples confirming this. And do remember the longer range perspective on sea levels:

Earth’s Cryosphere is Melting!  Not.

WMO Says:  Cryosphere: Although the glaciological year 2020-2021 saw less melting than in recent years, there is a clear trend towards an acceleration of mass loss on multi-decadal timescales. On average, the world’s reference glaciers have thinned by 33.5 meters (ice-equivalent) since 1950, with 76% of this thinning since 1980. 2021 was a particularly punishing year for glaciers in Canada and the US Northwest with record ice mass loss as a result of heatwaves and fires in June and July. Greenland experienced an exceptional mid-August melt event and the first-ever recorded rainfall at Summit Station, the highest point on the ice sheet at an altitude of 3 216 m.

Rational Response

The warning about coastal flooding is based on fears that the sea will rise because frozen water will be added to the current ocean volume.  A lot of reporting claims Arctic Sea Ice is retreating, not mentioning this is drift ice, floating on water, and thus not a threat to increase water volume.  Even so, the quasi-60 year cycle of Arctic ice extents has been flat since it’s most recent bottom in 2007.

More pertinent is the concerns raised over land-based ice that does have the potential to add water to the ocean.  For perspective, consider this:

To consider the impact of the above ice sheet melting, compare the thickness of the Laurentide ice sheet with some of our civilization’s landmarks (H/T RiC Communications):

With much ado about any retreat of land glaciers, no matter how small or short-lived, many people are unaware of the natural range of glacier fluctuations.  For example, alpine glaciers:

Amid numerous periods of warming and cooling, hidden is the fact that Alpine glaciers were much smaller in the past, as evidenced by higher tree lines previous to the modern era.

The great majority of land ice is located firstly upon Antarctica, and secondly on Greenland.  While there are fluctuations up and down, the trend is far from certain, and very small compared to the mass of these two ice sheets.

A recent study by Bamber et al. provides perspectives on the amplitude of ice sheet changes:

Here the realities are obvious 99% of the world land ice is on top of Antarctica (88%) and Greenland (11%). All the fuss in the media above concerns fluctuations in less than 1% of glacier mass. Secondly, the bottom line is should present melt rates continue ( a big if ) the world would lose 3% of land ice in 1000 years. Note also the wide range of estimates of the smallest category of glaciers, and also the uncertain reported volume change for East Antarctica. Note that the melt rates are for 2012 to 2016, leaving out lower previous rates and periods when ice mass gained.

Global Temperatures are Going Ever Higher!  Not.

WMO says:  The global annual mean temperature in 2021 was around 1.11 ±0.13 °C above the 1850-1900 pre-industrial average, less warm than some recent years owing to cooling La Niña conditions at the start and end of the year. The most recent seven years, 2015 to 2021, are the seven warmest years on record. 

Rational Response:

Seen in the context of annual ranges of temperatures, a rise of 1 degree Celsius over 150 years would escape our notice were it not for alarmists constantly beating drums about it.

The geological and paleontological evidence overwhelmingly says that today’s average global temperature of about 15 degrees C and CO2 concentrations of 420 ppm are nothing to fret about. Even if they rise to about 17–18 degrees C and 500–600 ppm by the end of the century, it may well balance or improve the lot of mankind.

After all, bursts of civilization during the last 10,000 years uniformly occurred during the red portions of the graph below. The aforementioned river civilizations—the Minoan, the Greco-Roman era, the Medieval flowering, and the industrial and technological revolutions of the present era. At the same time, the several lapses into the dark ages happened when the climate turned colder (blue).

And that’s only logical. When it’s warmer and wetter, growing seasons are longer, and crop yields are better—regardless of the agricultural technology and practices of the moment. And it’s better for human and community health, too—most of the deadly plagues of history have occurred in colder climates, such as the Black Death of 1344–1350.

Greenhouse Gases Higher Than Ever!  Not.

WMO says: Greenhouse gas concentrations reached a new global high in 2020, when the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) reached 413.2 parts per million (ppm) globally, or 149% of the pre-industrial level. Data from specific locations indicate that they continued to increase in 2021 and early 2022, with monthly average CO2 at Mona Loa in Hawaii reaching 416.45 ppm in April 2020, 419.05 ppm in April 2021, and 420.23 ppm in April 2022.

Rational Response:

The Radiative effect from increasing CO2 has been saturated, so that the next doubling from 400 to 800 ppm will barely affect temperatures.  From William Happer presentation:

Schwarzschild was the theorist who first figured out how the real Earth, including the greenhouse gases in its atmosphere, radiates to space. That is described by the jagged black line. The important point here is the red line. This is what Earth would radiate to space if you were to double the CO2 concentration from today’s value. Right in the middle of these curves, you can see a gap in spectrum. The gap is caused by CO2 absorbing radiation that would otherwise cool the Earth. If you double the amount of CO2, you don’t double the size of that gap. You just go from the black curve to the red curve, and you can barely see the difference. The gap hardly changes.

Yet, the Climate Crisis Narrative employs two deceptive devices which are contradicted by earth’s climate history:

a. Planetary temperatures have been far higher than today, both long ago (over 600 million years) and recently (last 10,000 years) with no doomsday loop occurring.

b. It is claimed global warming is a one-way street from rising GHGs, when in fact higher CO2 concentrations are a consequence and by-product, not a driver and cause, of the current naturally rising temperatures.

The alleged harm from CO2 is from warming, and the warming observed is much, much less than predictions. In fact, warming as small as we are observing is almost certainly beneficial. It gives slightly longer growing seasons. You can ripen crops a little bit further north than you could before. So, there is completely good news in terms of the temperature directly. But there is even better news. By standards of geological history, plants have been living in a CO2 famine during our current geological period.

The Ocean Is Turning Acid! Not.

WMO says: Ocean acidification. The ocean absorbs around 23% of the annual emissions of anthropogenic CO2 to the atmosphere. This reacts with seawater and leads to ocean acidification, which threatens organisms and ecosystem services, and hence food security, tourism and coastal protection. As the pH of the ocean decreases, its capacity to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere also declines. The IPCC concluded that “there is very high confidence that open ocean surface pH is now the lowest it has been for at least 26,000 years and current rates of pH change are unprecedented since at least that time.”

Rational Response

Firstly ocean pH varies greatly on all time scales.  From US Senate testimony:

“In the oceans, major climate warming and cooling and pH (ocean pH about 8.1) changes are a fact of life, whether it is over a few years as in an El Niño, over decades as in the Pacific Decadal Oscillation or the North Atlantic Oscillation, or over a few hours as a burst of upwelling (pH about 7.59-7.8) appears or a storm brings acidic rainwater (pH about 4-6) into an estuary.”

Secondly, sea life is adapted to changing pH, and some prefer more acidic levels.  IPCC has ignored extensive research showing positive impacts on marine life from lower pH. These studies are catalogued at CO2 Science with this summary:

There are numerous observations of improvement in calcification of disparate marine life in realistic rates of PH change due to increased CO2.

“In the final graphical representations of the information contained in our Ocean Acidification Database, we have plotted the averages of all responses to seawater acidification (produced by additions of both HCl and CO2) for all five of the life characteristics of the various marine organisms that we have analyzed over the five pH reduction ranges that we discuss in our Description of the Ocean Acidification Database Tables, which pH ranges we illustrate in the figure below.”

“The most striking feature of Figure 11 is the great preponderance of data located in positive territory, which suggests that, on the whole, marine organisms likely will not be harmed to any significant degree by the expected decline in oceanic pH. If anything, in fact, the results suggest that the world’s marine life may actually slightly benefit from the pH decline.”

Finally,  massive mineral deposits ensure our ocean will remain non-acidic in coming centuries.  At Patrick Moore observed:

“It is a fact that people who have saltwater aquariums sometimes add CO2 to the water in order to increase coral growth and to increase plant growth. The truth is CO2 is the most important food for all life on Earth, including marine life. It is the main food for photosynthetic plankton (algae), which in turn is the food for the entire food chain in the sea.”

Summary:

The claim that the surface-water of the oceans has declined in pH from 8.2 to 8.1, since the industrial revolution, is based on sparse, contradictory evidence, at least some of which is problematic computer modeling. Some areas of the oceans, not subject to algal blooms or upwelling, may be experiencing slightly lower pH values than were common before the industrial revolution. However, forecasts for ‘average’ future pH values are likely exaggerated and of debatable consequences. The effects of alkaline buffering and stabilizing biological feedback loops seem to be underappreciated by those who carelessly throw around the inaccurate term “ocean acidification.”

Footnote on Climate Hype

Alarming claims are usually detected because they involve myopia, an error in perception, combined with lop-sided judgment weighing proportional significance of factors.

  1. CO2 Alarm is Myopic: Claiming CO2 causes dangerous global warming is too simplistic. CO2 is but one factor among many other forces and processes interacting to make weather and climate.

Myopia is a failure of perception by focusing on one near thing to the exclusion of the other realities present, thus missing the big picture. For example: “Not seeing the forest for the trees.” AKA “tunnel vision.”

2. CO2 Alarm is Lopsided: CO2 forcing is too small to have the overblown effect claimed for it. Other factors are orders of magnitude larger than the potential of CO2 to influence the climate system.

Lop-sided refers to a failure in judging values, whereby someone lacking in sense of proportion, places great weight on a factor which actually has a minor influence compared to other forces. For example: “Making a mountain out of a mole hill.”

To avoid myopia, pay attention to the temporal and spatial contexts for effects discussed.  To avoid lop-sided judgment, pay attention to the impact of factors proportional to the baseline inertia of climate system components.

UN False Alarms from Key Climate Indicators

 

The Climate Crisis du jour comes from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) public relations (PR) announcement Four key climate change indicators break records in 2021. 

As we shall see, each of them, along with other WMO claims, depends on first buying the story of global warming/climate change, and then looking at the world in a myopic, lop-sided way to confirm an alarmist POV.  Below are discussions of the main points from this latest attempt to monger fear in support of the IPCC agenda.

Sea Level Rise is Accelerating!  Not.

WMO says: Global mean sea level reached a new record high in 2021, after increasing at an average 4.5 mm per year over the period 2013 -2021. This is more than double the rate of between 1993 and 2002 and is mainly due to the accelerated loss of ice mass from the ice sheets. This has major implications for hundreds of millions of coastal dwellers and increases vulnerability to tropical cyclones.

WMO Proof:
Rational Response

Altimetry Estimates Are Unreliable
Tidal Gauges show slow, steady coastal rise
Land subsiding or rebounding Makes Local Differences

The claim of accelerating sea level rise depends on estimates from satellites regarding the entire ocean, such as this one:

There was an adjustment made to the dataset, and the “acceleration” comes by starting from the dip in 2013.  Moreover, this is a highly processed reconstruction that is contradicted by tidal gauge measurements at the coastlines where people live and where the issue matters.  For example, take New York City, where J. Hansen predicted flooding by 2009:

Already in 2021, observations have diverged greatly from the model-projected sea level rise, and there are many other examples confirming this. And do remember the longer range perspective on sea levels:

Earth’s Cryosphere is Melting!  Not.

WMO Says:  Cryosphere: Although the glaciological year 2020-2021 saw less melting than in recent years, there is a clear trend towards an acceleration of mass loss on multi-decadal timescales. On average, the world’s reference glaciers have thinned by 33.5 meters (ice-equivalent) since 1950, with 76% of this thinning since 1980. 2021 was a particularly punishing year for glaciers in Canada and the US Northwest with record ice mass loss as a result of heatwaves and fires in June and July. Greenland experienced an exceptional mid-August melt event and the first-ever recorded rainfall at Summit Station, the highest point on the ice sheet at an altitude of 3 216 m.

Rational Response

The warning about coastal flooding is based on fears that the sea will rise because frozen water will be added to the current ocean volume.  A lot of reporting claims Arctic Sea Ice is retreating, not mentioning this is drift ice, floating on water, and thus not a threat to increase water volume.  Even so, the quasi-60 year cycle of Arctic ice extents has been flat since it’s most recent bottom in 2007.

More pertinent is the concerns raised over land-based ice that does have the potential to add water to the ocean.  For perspective, consider this:

To consider the impact of the above ice sheet melting, compare the thickness of the Laurentide ice sheet with some of our civilization’s landmarks (H/T RiC Communications):

With much ado about any retreat of land glaciers, no matter how small or short-lived, many people are unaware of the natural range of glacier fluctuations.  For example, alpine glaciers:

Amid numerous periods of warming and cooling, hidden is the fact that Alpine glaciers were much smaller in the past, as evidenced by higher tree lines previous to the modern era.

The great majority of land ice is located firstly upon Antarctica, and secondly on Greenland.  While there are fluctuations up and down, the trend is far from certain, and very small compared to the mass of these two ice sheets.

A recent study by Bamber et al. provides perspectives on the amplitude of ice sheet changes:

Here the realities are obvious 99% of the world land ice is on top of Antarctica (88%) and Greenland (11%). All the fuss in the media above concerns fluctuations in less than 1% of glacier mass. Secondly, the bottom line is should present melt rates continue ( a big if ) the world would lose 3% of land ice in 1000 years. Note also the wide range of estimates of the smallest category of glaciers, and also the uncertain reported volume change for East Antarctica. Note that the melt rates are for 2012 to 2016, leaving out lower previous rates and periods when ice mass gained.

Global Temperatures are Going Ever Higher!  Not.

WMO says:  The global annual mean temperature in 2021 was around 1.11 ±0.13 °C above the 1850-1900 pre-industrial average, less warm than some recent years owing to cooling La Niña conditions at the start and end of the year. The most recent seven years, 2015 to 2021, are the seven warmest years on record. 

Rational Response:

Seen in the context of annual ranges of temperatures, a rise of 1 degree Celsius over 150 years would escape our notice were it not for alarmists constantly beating drums about it.

The geological and paleontological evidence overwhelmingly says that today’s average global temperature of about 15 degrees C and CO2 concentrations of 420 ppm are nothing to fret about. Even if they rise to about 17–18 degrees C and 500–600 ppm by the end of the century, it may well balance or improve the lot of mankind.

After all, bursts of civilization during the last 10,000 years uniformly occurred during the red portions of the graph below. The aforementioned river civilizations—the Minoan, the Greco-Roman era, the Medieval flowering, and the industrial and technological revolutions of the present era. At the same time, the several lapses into the dark ages happened when the climate turned colder (blue).

And that’s only logical. When it’s warmer and wetter, growing seasons are longer, and crop yields are better—regardless of the agricultural technology and practices of the moment. And it’s better for human and community health, too—most of the deadly plagues of history have occurred in colder climates, such as the Black Death of 1344–1350.

Greenhouse Gases Higher Than Ever!  Not.

WMO says: Greenhouse gas concentrations reached a new global high in 2020, when the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) reached 413.2 parts per million (ppm) globally, or 149% of the pre-industrial level. Data from specific locations indicate that they continued to increase in 2021 and early 2022, with monthly average CO2 at Mona Loa in Hawaii reaching 416.45 ppm in April 2020, 419.05 ppm in April 2021, and 420.23 ppm in April 2022.

Rational Response:

The Radiative effect from increasing CO2 has been saturated, so that the next doubling from 400 to 800 ppm will barely affect temperatures.  From William Happer presentation:

Schwarzschild was the theorist who first figured out how the real Earth, including the greenhouse gases in its atmosphere, radiates to space. That is described by the jagged black line. The important point here is the red line. This is what Earth would radiate to space if you were to double the CO2 concentration from today’s value. Right in the middle of these curves, you can see a gap in spectrum. The gap is caused by CO2 absorbing radiation that would otherwise cool the Earth. If you double the amount of CO2, you don’t double the size of that gap. You just go from the black curve to the red curve, and you can barely see the difference. The gap hardly changes.

Yet, the Climate Crisis Narrative employs two deceptive devices which are contradicted by earth’s climate history:

a. Planetary temperatures have been far higher than today, both long ago (over 600 million years) and recently (last 10,000 years) with no doomsday loop occurring.

b. It is claimed global warming is a one-way street from rising GHGs, when in fact higher CO2 concentrations are a consequence and by-product, not a driver and cause, of the current naturally rising temperatures.

The alleged harm from CO2 is from warming, and the warming observed is much, much less than predictions. In fact, warming as small as we are observing is almost certainly beneficial. It gives slightly longer growing seasons. You can ripen crops a little bit further north than you could before. So, there is completely good news in terms of the temperature directly. But there is even better news. By standards of geological history, plants have been living in a CO2 famine during our current geological period.

The Ocean Is Turning Acid! Not.

WMO says: Ocean acidification. The ocean absorbs around 23% of the annual emissions of anthropogenic CO2 to the atmosphere. This reacts with seawater and leads to ocean acidification, which threatens organisms and ecosystem services, and hence food security, tourism and coastal protection. As the pH of the ocean decreases, its capacity to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere also declines. The IPCC concluded that “there is very high confidence that open ocean surface pH is now the lowest it has been for at least 26,000 years and current rates of pH change are unprecedented since at least that time.”

Rational Response

Firstly ocean pH varies greatly on all time scales.  From US Senate testimony:

“In the oceans, major climate warming and cooling and pH (ocean pH about 8.1) changes are a fact of life, whether it is over a few years as in an El Niño, over decades as in the Pacific Decadal Oscillation or the North Atlantic Oscillation, or over a few hours as a burst of upwelling (pH about 7.59-7.8) appears or a storm brings acidic rainwater (pH about 4-6) into an estuary.”

Secondly, sea life is adapted to changing pH, and some prefer more acidic levels.  IPCC has ignored extensive research showing positive impacts on marine life from lower pH. These studies are catalogued at CO2 Science with this summary:

There are numerous observations of improvement in calcification of disparate marine life in realistic rates of PH change due to increased CO2.

“In the final graphical representations of the information contained in our Ocean Acidification Database, we have plotted the averages of all responses to seawater acidification (produced by additions of both HCl and CO2) for all five of the life characteristics of the various marine organisms that we have analyzed over the five pH reduction ranges that we discuss in our Description of the Ocean Acidification Database Tables, which pH ranges we illustrate in the figure below.”

“The most striking feature of Figure 11 is the great preponderance of data located in positive territory, which suggests that, on the whole, marine organisms likely will not be harmed to any significant degree by the expected decline in oceanic pH. If anything, in fact, the results suggest that the world’s marine life may actually slightly benefit from the pH decline.”

Finally,  massive mineral deposits ensure our ocean will remain non-acidic in coming centuries.  At Patrick Moore observed:

“It is a fact that people who have saltwater aquariums sometimes add CO2 to the water in order to increase coral growth and to increase plant growth. The truth is CO2 is the most important food for all life on Earth, including marine life. It is the main food for photosynthetic plankton (algae), which in turn is the food for the entire food chain in the sea.”

Summary:

The claim that the surface-water of the oceans has declined in pH from 8.2 to 8.1, since the industrial revolution, is based on sparse, contradictory evidence, at least some of which is problematic computer modeling. Some areas of the oceans, not subject to algal blooms or upwelling, may be experiencing slightly lower pH values than were common before the industrial revolution. However, forecasts for ‘average’ future pH values are likely exaggerated and of debatable consequences. The effects of alkaline buffering and stabilizing biological feedback loops seem to be underappreciated by those who carelessly throw around the inaccurate term “ocean acidification.”

Footnote on Climate Hype

Alarming claims are usually detected because they involve myopia, an error in perception, combined with lop-sided judgment weighing proportional significance of factors.

  1. CO2 Alarm is Myopic: Claiming CO2 causes dangerous global warming is too simplistic. CO2 is but one factor among many other forces and processes interacting to make weather and climate.

Myopia is a failure of perception by focusing on one near thing to the exclusion of the other realities present, thus missing the big picture. For example: “Not seeing the forest for the trees.” AKA “tunnel vision.”

2. CO2 Alarm is Lopsided: CO2 forcing is too small to have the overblown effect claimed for it. Other factors are orders of magnitude larger than the potential of CO2 to influence the climate system.

Lop-sided refers to a failure in judging values, whereby someone lacking in sense of proportion, places great weight on a factor which actually has a minor influence compared to other forces. For example: “Making a mountain out of a mole hill.”

To avoid myopia, pay attention to the temporal and spatial contexts for effects discussed.  To avoid lop-sided judgment, pay attention to the impact of factors proportional to the baseline inertia of climate system components.

IPCC World’s Last Chance (Again)

Getty Images

James Macpherson reports on the latest deadline in his Australian Spectator article The IPCC say the world is ending! (Again?) .H/T John Ray.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

In the latest ‘now or never!’ since the ‘last now or never!’ the United Nations has warned the world that it is once again ‘now or never!’ to avoid disastrous Climate Change.

Forget Prince Charles’ warning back in July 2009 that we had just 96 months to save the planet.

Ignore former British PM Gordon Brown’s prediction, just three months later, that we had fewer than 50 days to avoid disaster.

And never mind French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius who, standing beside then American Secretary of State John Kerry, told the world on May 13, 2014, that ‘we have 500 days to avoid climate chaos’.

The irony of that particular Chicken Little routine was that Fabius was scheduled to host the 21st Conference of the Parties on Climate Change on November 30 the following year – 65 days after the world, by his reckoning, would have ended.

I was going to quip that you couldn’t make this stuff up, but it seems like they do.

Anyway, enough joking around. This is it. Seriously. They’re not even kidding this time. Honestly. Like, for real guys. ‘It’s now or never!’

Yes, I know that’s what American defence chiefs were warning back in 2004 when they predicted European cities would sink beneath rising seas, and that Britain would be plunged into ‘a Siberian climate’ by 2020.

But it wasn’t like they got everything wrong.

Their predictions of widespread rioting across the world by 2020 did come to pass. And if you overlook the fact that the rioting was caused by the death of George Floyd and the imposition of compulsory injections – rather than the complete collapse of the ecosystem – you’ll see just how prescient the defence chiefs were.

You can’t expect climate catastrophists to get it right all the time. Or any of the time. It’s not like they’re astrologers.

Doomsday was predicted but failed to happen at midnight.

The important thing to worry about is that things are now a lot more worrying than the last time we were warned to worry, and so there is now good reason to be worried.

We have this week reached a tipping point that is even pointier than every other tipping point so far reached; which is to say we will soon be at a point of no return that is well past the point of no return that we were last warned there was no returning from.

The latest UN climate panic comes in the form of what media outlets called ‘a massive 3,000-page document’ published Monday.

It’s unlikely anyone will read all 3,000 pages, but no one should need to. The sheer size of the document – let me remind you, it’s ‘massive’ – tells you everything you need to know.  Things are bad.

And if the thickness of the report does not convince you that things are dire, environmentalists at the UN can make their next dossier of doom and gloom run twice that length. It’s only trees, after all.

Let me remind you just how massively bad things are.

Back in 1972, the then UN Under General Secretary Maurice Strong warned we had ‘only 10 years to stop the catastrophe’.

In 1982, which was the deadline for stopping the catastrophe, the head of the UN Environment Program Mostafa Tolba told us we had just 18 more years before we would face an environmental catastrophe ‘as irreversible as any nuclear holocaust’.

Just eight years later, he was insisting we needed to fix global warming by 1995 or we would ‘lose the struggle’.

The great climate doomsday of 1995 failed to materialise, as did the climate Armageddon of 2000. But the flurry of final warnings, last chances, and tipping points continued; every prediction more hysterical than the last.

UN Climate Panel chief Rajendra Pachauir, who was no doubt surprised to still be here in 2007, warned that ‘if there is no action before 2012, that’s too late’. He further insisted that ‘what we do in the next two to three years will determine our future’.

Our betters spent the next two or three years jetting around the globe, holding lots of conferences and summits, which must have saved our bacon since not only did we survive the predicted 2012 apocalypse, but we hung on grimly until 2019 at which point the UN informed us we had just 11 years to prevent irreversible damage from climate change.

To emphasise just how serious things were, they invited a Swedish school girl to berate them for robbing her of her dreams, or something. These days she’s performing Rick Astley covers for adoring fans.

Now, just three years into that 11-year do-or-die period,
we are being told that it’s ‘now or never’.

One could be forgiven for thinking that when the world doesn’t end as these activists predict, they simply change the date and call it science.

The UN report, the most comprehensive report since the last most comprehensive report, says emissions must be curbed by 2030 or things will be even worse than the last time we were told they couldn’t possibly be any worse.

The report says that people must change their diets and their lifestyles which, as we already know, means eating bugs and walking.

And if we fail to heed the latest hysterical shrieks from those who warn of rising sea levels while purchasing beachside mansions, we can be sure there will be even shriekier histrionics in the future.

This is it. Our final, cataclysmic warning. Until the next one. And probably the one after that.

When the UN insist that it is ‘now or never’ for climate action, what they really mean is that they want now and never-ending emergencies as a pretext for herding us around the room. First here and then there, but never to an exit.

Beware Moving Climate Goalposts

Benjamin Zycher sounds the warning in his Real Clear Energy article Will the Climate Industry Move the Goalposts Again? Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

Global temperature was on course to meet the 2-degree target without any emissions cuts.

The international climate alarmist industry comprises a number of special interests. There are the activists, fundamentally anti-human and deeply disingenuous, demanding that billions of the global poor suffer and die in order that the planet be “saved.” There are the “experts” in pursuit of bigger budgets and “research” grants. There are the editors of the peer-reviewed journals, transforming “science” into a propaganda exercise. There are the bureaucrats massively expanding their budgets and powers, the politicians seeking to transfer ever more wealth, and the journalists desperate to produce clickbait even as they remain invincible in their ignorance.

There are the official “environmental” groups whose business model is the use of political, regulatory, and judicial processes to steal other people’s property. There are the foundation officials writing checks in hot pursuit of invitations to the right cocktail parties. There are the Hollywood airheads addicted to thunderous applause on the red carpets. Don’t forget the corporate gasbags myopic, ignorant, incapable of ideological battle, and so naïve as actually to believe that they can placate the environmental Left. There are the international organizations striving toward utopia through ever-greater coercion. And – of course – there are the innumerable useful idiots engaged in virtue-signaling.

Yes, it is a diverse group indeed, but its members share two habits. The first is a common (but not universal) reluctance to confront the evidence on the nonexistent climate problem emergency crisis catastrophe apocalypse. Many scientists and policy scholars have discussed the fundamental inconsistency between the mainstream climate “existential threat” narrative and the actual evidence on climate phenomena. Even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in its 5th (page 12-78) and 6th (page 12-115) assessment reports, is deeply dubious about the various severe effects – the horror stories – often asserted to be looming as impacts of anthropogenic (man-made) warming, particularly over the course of this century, the maximum time horizon that plausibly can be described as foreseeable.

The second is the purported limit on warming asserted to be necessary for global “safety,” a parameter that has been driven almost wholly by the political needs of the climate industry, and virtually not at all by “science.” Put aside the fact that the official “safety” limit shunts aside the distinction between natural and anthropogenic temperature trends; the climate industry simply asserts that all warming is anthropogenic. That is why it has not attempted to explain – for example – the sharp warming that occurred from 1910 to 1945, which could not have been caused by increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHG), principally carbon dioxide, which changed only from about 300 ppm to 310 ppm over that period. It is clear that some of the recent warming is anthropogenic, some is natural, and no one knows the respective magnitudes.

Recall from 2009 the official safe limit on warming: 2°C above pre-industrial levels, as decreed by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change at the 15th Conference of the Parties in Copenhagen. That limit was repeated endlessly by all of the usual suspects; and the “pre-industrial” base period has been defined, reasonably, as the 1850–1900 time frame, that is, the decades immediately following the end of the little ice age. Can it surprise anyone that some warming would follow that period?

Unfortunately for the climate alarmists, the satellite temperature data are not cooperating with the “science.”

On average the climate models underlying the most recent (6th) IPCC assessment report predict 0.4°C of warming per decade for the period 1979–2019, and 0.5°C of warming per decade for 2019–2050, or, crudely, about 4–5°C of warming over the course of a century. The actual warming record as measured by the satellites for 1979–2019: 0.16°C per decade, or about 1.6°C per century. (The weather balloon measurements are virtually identical.)

Figure 8: Warming in the tropical troposphere according to the CMIP6 models. Trends 1979–2014 (except the rightmost model, which is to 2007), for 20°N–20°S, 300–200 hPa. John Christy (2019)

Accordingly, the actual data have created a massive problem for the climate industry: They suggest strongly that the 2°C “safety” limit will be achieved without any climate change/GHG policies at all. Unless the satellite data can be shown to be wrong – a task essentially impossible – the only option available to rescue the climate industry and its massive funding, perquisites, and powers is a change to the asserted “safety” limit.

Which is precisely what the climate industry has done. As of 2015, the safety limit now is 1.5°C, as the UNFCCC made clear:

“The universal agreement’s main aim is to keep a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius and to drive efforts to limit temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The 1.5 degree Celsius limit is a significantly safer defense line against the worst impacts of a changing climate.”

Yes, the IPCC, in a deeply dubious study, has moved the goalposts. The supreme silliness of that report is illustrated by its assertion (page 18) that as of 2018, “pathways that limit global warming to 1.5°C … show clear emission reductions by 2030.” In other words, we – the developed and the less-developed economies – had better get moving on serious reductions in GHG emissions over the next eight years, and this time we mean it. Note that for 1990–2019, annual global GHG emissions (Table B.1) grew by over 58 percent, and almost 13 percent for 2010–2019.

Let us consider now the latest satellite temperature data through December 2021: Since 1979, the average increase (“anomaly”) in the land/ocean temperature trend has been 0.14°C per decade, or about 1.4°C over the course of a century. Accordingly, the latest data remain inconsistent with the average of the climate models, and in particular continue to suggest that over the course of this century even the new, lower “safety” limit on global temperature increases might be achieved if there occurs a substantial cooling period, a phenomenon that is very far from implausible.

And so the climate alarmists cannot rest: They cannot risk an outcome in which even the new “safety” limit might be achieved without (forced) reductions in international GHG emissions. Because they obviously cannot wait until there is a cooling period, it is wholly reasonable to hypothesize that the “safety” limit will be reduced yet again. How this will be justified politically is far from clear – first the 2°C and then the 1.5°C safety limits received enormous publicity – and deep public skepticism about yet another movement of the goalposts would be a certainty. And so the justifications – the horror stories, the imminent arrival of the apocalypse, the mass die-offs purportedly already in process, the need for immediate capitulation to the demands of the climate industry, the denunciations of dissenters, etc. – will increase exponentially in decibel level, shrillness, and utter irrationality.

The admonitions and hysteria already are becoming ever louder. This reality is illustrated by the recent decision by Google to demonetize the most important science website reporting the monthly satellite temperature data – no, I am not kidding – because of “unreliable and harmful claims.” That is the Google characterization of two scientists – John R. Christy and Roy W. Spencer – and a website that has simply reported the satellite temperature record since 1979! In short, Google now is censoring the actual science in an effort to prop up the climate industry.

In its own way this process will be supremely amusing. But what else can the climate industry do to save the planet, and its own interests, and not necessarily in that order?

Footnote on Carbon Budgeting

People who take to the streets with signs forecasting doom in 11 or 12 years have fallen victim to IPCC 450 and 430 scenarios. For years activists asserted that warming from pre industrial can be contained to 2C if CO2 concentrations peak at 450 ppm. Last year, the SR1.5 lowered the threshold to 430 ppm, thus the shortened timetable for the end of life as we know it.  Fuller explanation at posts I Want You Not to Panic.  and Greta’s Spurious “Carbon Budget”

 

David Stockman: Resist the GreenMageddon, Part 5

 

Double-click on image to enlarge.

This is the fifth and final post of a series to alert readers to a compilation of the scientific and economic case against the claims of IPCC supporters and anti-fossil fuel activists. David Stockman provides the evidence and the arguments against the IPCC policy framework in a series of five essays published at International Man under the title The GreenMageddon and What It Means for You. I have stated the five themes he develops in his essays, along with some excerpts and images to illustrate the main points. Here is the Fifth theme overview and discussion.

5.  GreenMageddon is no hyperbole. It’s is the virtually certain outcome of attempting to purge CO2 emissions from a modern energy system and economy that literally breathes and exhales fossilized carbon.

Indeed, the very idea of converting today’s economy to an alternative energy respiratory system is so far beyond rational possibility as to defy common sense. Yet that is exactly where the COP26 powers that be and their megaphones in the MSM are leading us.

In Truth, Green Energy is Overrated and Supplies Little of the Energy We Use

In the first place, it needs be understood that the climate change advocates essentially lie about how much “green energy” we now use and therefore the scope for energy supply system displacement of fossil fuels which would be required to get to net zero CO2 emissions by 2050.

For instance, it is commonly claimed that 12% of US primary energy consumption (2020) is accounted for by “renewables”, implying that we are off to a decent start in eliminating the fossil fuel dependency of the system.

Actually, no—not even close. That’s because “renewables” and green energy defined as solar and wind are not remotely the same thing.

According to DOE, the US consumed 11.6 quads (quadrillion BTUs) of renewables in 2020, but 7.3 quads or 63% of that was accounted for by old-style non-fossil fuels including:

  • Hydroelectric: 2.6 quads;
  • Wood: 2.5 quads;
  • Biofuels: 2.0 quads;
  • Geothermal: 0.2 quads

Of course, there is nothing wrong with these non-fossil fuels and in some cases they can be quite efficient. But they are not part of the “green solution” to displace some or all of the 73 quads of fossil fuels consumed in 2020 because most of these sources are tapped out or not desirable to expand.

We have already seen, for instance, that hydroelectric—which was a favorite of the New Deal back in the 1930s—was tapped out long ago. Up to 80% of the long rivers in the US are already damned, and environmentalists haven’t permitted a new major hydroelectric project in decades. In fact, hydro-electric output of 291 billion kWh in 2020 was well below the peak level of 356 billion kWh recorded in 1997 and was even exceeded by the 304 kWh generated way back in 1974.

Nor do we hear the Climate Howlers beating the tom-toms for the original source of modern BTUs— more wood combustion!  Actually, they advocate the opposite: Massive tree-planting as “offsets” to carbon emissions.

Likewise, most of the 2.0 quads attributable to biofuels is accounted for by ethanol produced from fermented corn. Yet any material increase in ethanol consumption—via higher mandated blending with gasolinewould likely wreck most of the IC engines on the highways, while turning the vast food production expanses of Iowa and Nebraska into fuel farms.

Finally, consider the implicit lesson in the small amount of consumption—0.2 quads—attributable to geothermal energy. As it happens, geothermal electricity is about as close to a perfect source of renewable energy as you can get, as one analysts recently noted, but there is a huge catch:

So why isn’t there more of it?

Because there wasn’t much of it to begin with. While renewable energy sources like wind and solar are exploitable to a greater or lesser extent almost everywhere, high-temperature geothermal resources are found only there is a coincidence of high heat flow and favorable hydrology, and…..these coincidences occur only in a few places.

Which Leaves Wind and Solar, Which Leaves a Lot to be Desired

This gets us to the only so-called “renewables” which are actually expandable at scale—-solar and wind. As to the former, it needs be noted that US consumption during 2020 amounted to only 1.2 quads, or less than half of the primary energy supplied by wood (including a small amount of industrial consumption of bio-waste such at pulp mills etc.).

That’s right. After decades of big time subsidies and endless government promotion, solar is still eclipsed by the fuel first used by cavemen!

The problem with wind power, however, is no less prohibitive. In the case of the 3.0 quads of primary energy attributed to wind in 2020, virtually 100% was used by utilities to generate electricity for the grid. Accordingly, only 90% of that wind energy ever makes it to a home, industrial plant or EV auto. The difference is accounted for by BTUs lost in downstream transmission and distribution lines (T&D losses). And when you add the fact that 64% of primary solar consumption was also used by electric utilities and also suffered T&D losses, you get a truly startling fact.

To wit, only 3.4 quads of solar and wind energy actually generated net electrical power to end users in the US economy in 2020.

In turn, that tiny figure represents only 4.9% of the 69.7 quads of net energy from all fuels (after deducting utility system waste from all fuel sources) used by the entire US economy in 2020. Yet even that tiny fraction was an artifact of the massive government subsidies which have been thrown at the two green fuels.

In the case of wind power, for example, there is a Federal subsidy of 2.5 cents per kWh, which happens to represent 69% of the average wholesale price for wind power, plus a 30% investment tax credit for the original installation of wind farm CapEx. Then again, no one charges for the wind—so wind power is massively capital intensive with CapEx representing 70% of lifetime wind power costs, meaning that another 21% of the cost of power is funded by Uncle Sucker.

Green Energy is fraught with obstacles and risks.

Still, the question recurs. How do you get to, say, a 50% replacement of fossil fuels with green energy by 2035, which would be the minimum path to net zero CO2 emissions by 2050—even assuming still more wasteful Joe Biden subsidies than we already have?

In a word, you don’t. That because even a surface investigation takes you smack into the unacknowledged elephant in the green energy room. To wit, the only practical way to deliver wind and solar to the end use sectors of the economy is through massive conversion of green BTUs to electricity and the distribution of them through the leaky power grid.

Needless to say, that process would be fraught with obstacles and risks that the Climate Howlers never even remotely acknowledge. In fact, as we will show below, to convert even 50% of current fossil fuel consumption to wind and solar, would require a near doubling of total primary energy consumption in the utility sector from the 35.7 quads reported for 2020 to nearly 66 quads by 2035.

More crucially, the 10.6% share of utility primary energy or 3.8 quads posted in 2020 for solar and wind would rise to nearly 67% and 44.0 quads by 2035 (see calculations below). That is to say, solar and wind production would have to rise by nearly 12-fold over the next 15 years. And the cost of subsidies to make it happen (including drastically rising retail utility prices to consumers) would be truly staggering

Now, here’s the thing. Given the inherent intermittency and unreliability of solar and wind energy, the electric grid would become dangerously more fragile and subject to brown-outs and blackouts during periods of peak demand and low solar/wind production. That’s because when you take out half or about 11 quads of fossil energy now used by the electric utility industry you are removing baseload capacity which is essentially available 100% of the time, save for scheduled maintenance and very occasional unplanned interruptions.

By contrast, when two-thirds of the grid is powered by solar and wind as we have projected for 2035 under the COP26’s net zero regime, you have fundamentally transformed the nature of the electric power system. There would essentially be no baseload power supply left, meaning that the system would have to be equipped with massive pumped-hydro, compressed air or battery storage facilities to back-fill for no wind or sun days— plus meet time of day and seasonal demand surges, which would get far more severe when nearly the entire economy gets electrified, as further explained below.

The problem, of course, is the production of electrical power so that it can be stored and drawn-down later is inherently inefficient and a BTU waster. That’s especially the case, with pumped storage, the only practical idea for large scale system storage and back-up. Of course, what that solution does is burn a lot of BTUs pumping water uphill to a reservoir—so that the sluice-gates can be opened to regenerate the very same hydroelectric power when needed at a latter date.

Overall, it is estimated that the range of available storage solutions would result in a 10-40% dissipation of the primary green energy supplied to the utility system. So not only would massive costs be incurred to finance power storage, but the loss of BTUs in the storage loading and extraction process would require even more primary green energy capacity to make up for the wasted BTUs!

Thus, if the energy loss owing to storage systems for 32.2 quads of incremental solar and wind conservatively averages 25%, another 8 quads of solar and wind primary capacity would be needed to supply projected 2035 power requirements. That is, by 2035 utility system would need 44 quads of solar and wind or 11.5-times more capacity than its actual green power output in 2020.

For want of doubt, first consider the implications of shifting 50% of fossil fuels used in the transportation sector to solar and wind fueled electrical power production. During 2020, the transportation sector used 24.23 quads of primary energy, of which fossil fuels—petroleum products and natural gas—supplied 22.85 quads or 94% of the total.

It’s also not the half of it. When you switch to EV vehicles and and distribution of 3X more quads of energy through the utility system you are also creating havoc with load management. That’s because travel surges around holidays create peak loads that drastically exceed day-in-and-day-out levels. In the case of air travel, for instance, during a typical year revenue passenger miles in July are equal to nearly 140% of the level for the seasonal low in February.

Just imagine a hot but cloudy and windless July 4th. The normal air-conditioning and commercial demand surge would be over-layed with a huge fleet of EVs on the holiday roads and hitting the charging stations with relentless effect. This year, for instance, an record 47 million travelers hit the road on the July 4th weekend.

Of course, that is not a problem for the existing motor fuel supply system. Average demand is about 9 million b/d, but motor fuel stocks range between 220 and 260 million bbls—plus another estimated rolling inventory of 50 million barrels in the tanks of the nation’s 285 million vehicles. So with upwards of 300 million bbls or 33 days of supply in the system, peak load fluctuations are readily absorbed by the system.

Needless to say, electrical power is another breed of cat.

It can’t be stored as produced. As indicated above, production must always meet instantaneous demand or the grid will collapse. The only solution is to store dispatchable electric power in another form—pumped storage reservoirs or batteries, and that’s damn expensive.

Moreover, unlike the vastly de-centralized motor fuel stocks which are efficiently market-driven, creating a massive system-wide dispatchable surplus on the utility grid for peak EV demands would be a daunting task. After all, you would need about 140 million EVs on US roads versus today’s 1.4 million plug-in EVs to displace 50% of motor fuel demand.

Nor is the transportation sector unique. Currently the industrial sector accounts for 22.1 quads (2020) of primary energy demand, of which 19.7 quads are supplied by fossil fuels. Those fossil fuels supply various combustion equipment, IC engine driven power plants and machinery, as well as feed stocks for chemical processing industries.

The story only gets more complicated when you add-in the residential and commercial sector. For instance, the residential sector is already heavily electrified owing to the electrical powering of lights, air conditioning and household appliances. Consequently, while the household sector has primary energy demand of 6.54 quads, it actually uses 11.53 quads counting the 5 million quads of indirect energy consumption supplied through the electrical utility grid.

That is to say, the single most variable energy demand sector—America’s 130 million housing units—-would become virtually all electric. Fully 9.0 quads out of total residential energy demand of 12.0 quads (including current electrical power use) of consumption would be supplied by the electrical grid by 2035.

Would that fact create an even more egregious disconnect between unreliable solar and wind power on the fuel side of the electrical grid and variable demand on the user side?

Most surely it would. And that’s especially true when you add in the last two elements of the supply-demand picture. To wit, the commercial sector is growing at about 0.6% per annum, so by 2035 total primary use would be 5.3 quads and the incremental wind and solar requirement to replace half of current fossil fuels, which currently account for 88% of primary energy demand in the sector, would total 2.9 quads.

Finally, the baseline demand for primary energy in the utility sector itself is about 37.0 quads (2019) and it has not been growing for years. So on a 2035 projection, current fossil and non-fossil sources of utility energy would be as follows before giving account to the displacement shifts estimated above in the four end-use sectors of the economy. And this optimistically assumes no loss of nuclear or hydro capacity in the interim.

On an all-in basis, therefore, the implicit transformation of the utility sector would be staggering, and that would only get you half-way to zero net carbon by 2050. Here is the summary of what would be required in terms of total solar and wind capacity in the utility sector by 2035:

  • Current solar & wind: 3.8 quads;
  • transportation sector replacement: +8.5 quads;
  • residential sector replacement: +3.9 quads;
  • industrial sector replacement: +12.9 quads;
  • commercial sector replacement: +2.9 quads;
  • utility sector replacement: +4.0 quads;
  • back-up storage: +8.0 quads;
  • Total Solar & Wind, 2035: 44.0 quads;
  • Multiple of 2020 level: 11.6X

It goes without saying that the above is an economic train-wreck waiting to happen. You simply don’t go from 3.8 quads of solar and wind after decades of tepid gains to 44.0 quads in less than 15 years. Plain and simply, such a shift would take the US hostage to a centralized utility grid based energy respiratory system that would be dangerously unstable, imbalanced and subject to catastrophic black swan type events.

Summary

No electricity is stored in a grid; supply must match demand at all times, or it must shut down to save itself.  Climatists want to electrify everything, especially heating and cars, thereby spiking and complicating demand. Meanwhile the plan is to increase intermittent and remote wind and solar plants, making supply unpredictable. Get ready to be stuck at home, freezing in the dark. That’s GreenMageddon.

Footnote

The diagram at the top indicates many dimensions of modern life that are not discussed in this series of posts.  The short video below reminds that fossil fuels yield a plethora of ancillary byproducts that enhance and extend our lives; which will also be taken away by the Green agenda.

 

 

 

 

David Stockman: Resist the GreenMageddon, Part 4

This post is the fourth of five to alert readers to a compilation of the scientific and economic case against the claims of IPCC supporters and anti-fossil fuel activists. David Stockman provides the evidence and the arguments against the IPCC policy framework in a series of five essays published at International Man under the title The GreenMageddon and What It Means for You. I will state the five themes he develops in his essays, along with some excerpts and images to illustrate the main points. Here is the fourth theme overview and discussion.

4. Zero Carbon is suicidal because it requires cutting off essential energy supplies with nothing to replace them. Renewables can not keep pace with increasing electrical demand, let alone replace any baseload thermal power plants with wind or solar generation. Nor will hydro or nuclear power cover the losses from shuttering thermal power plants.

Overview

The chart below dramatically underscores why the CO2 witch-hunt is such a deadly threat to future prosperity and human welfare. To wit, even after decades of green energy promotion and huge subsidies from the state, renewables accounted for only 5% of primary global energy consumption in 2019 because:

  • They are still very un-competitve (high cost) relative to the installed base of fossil, nuclear and hydroelectric energy; and,
  • They do not really even account for the 5% share reflected in the chart in terms of ability to delivery work to the economy owing to intermittency of wind and solar power and the fact that by convention government scorekeepers gross-up renewables-based electrical power delivered to end-users to account for transmission and distribution (T&D) losses in the electric power grid.

By contrast, the 84% share attributed to oil, natural gas and coal is actually far larger in practical terms as we look into the future. That’s because most of the prime hydro sources have been tapped out long ago and are therefore not a meaningful source of growth. During the last 10 years, for example, US hydro-power output has only increased from 275 billion KWh to 288 billion KWh or by barely 0.24% per annum.

Likewise, nuclear power capacity outside of China stopped growing decades ago due to massive political and regulatory resistance. Germany, for example, is in the process of closing its last nuclear plants from a fleet that once generated 170,000 GW hours annually (2000) and is now generating only 75,000 GW hours, with a zero target by the year 2030. Even in the US, nuclear power remains dead in the water, with annual output rising from 754 billion KWh in 2000 to just 809 billion KWh in 2019.

Beyond that, the Climate Howlers are not talking about a gradual substitution of solar and wind for the three fossil based sources of primary energy as existing plants reach the end of their useful lives over the next 50 years.

To the contrary, zero net CO2 emissions targets for 2050 will require the massive early retirement and dismantlement of perfectly good power plants and tens of millions of internal combustion (IC) engine vehicles.

Closing Functional Power Plants is a Double Loss

The prospect of substituting green power for existing fossil fuel capacity over the next several decades is where the rubber meets the road. But to grasp the full extent of the impending calamity it is necessary to recall that Keynesian GDP accounting inherently obfuscates the true economic cost in a drastically downward direction.

In fact, Keynesian GDP accounting is just the modern iteration of Frederic Bastiat’s famous “broken window fallacy”. Gross capital spending gets added to the total of GDP with no offset for depreciation and asset write-offs. That’s why, we suppose, climate change activists get all giddy about the alleged economic growth benefits and job gains from green investment: They just don’t count all the assets wasted and jobs lost by shutting down efficient coal mines or fossil-fired utility plants.

Nor are we talking about small amounts. To come even close to the utterly ridiculous COP26 target of net zero emissions by 2050 literally tens of trillions worth of fossil-fired power plants, heating units, chemical processing plants and internal combustion engine vehicles would have to be decommissioned and taken out of service long before their ordinary useful economic lives had been reached.

Fossil fuel consumption in the electric power utility sector—the only sector where green energy has even made a dent—-has hardly declined at all.

What happened, instead, is that between 2000 and 2019, US coal and oil-fired generation dropped from 2,090 billion KWhs to 1,004 billion KWhs or by 52%, but that was nearly off-set by a huge jump in natural gas-fired generation. Specifically, natural gas fired output of 601 billion KWhs in 2000 rose to 1,586 billion KWhs by 2019, a gain of 164%.  Accordingly, the needle on overall fossil-based generation hardly moved, dropping from 2,691 billion KWhs in 2000 to 2,590 billion KWhs in 2019.

So the question recurs, how in the world do these lame-brains expect to get to zero CO2 emissions from the utility sector when over the last 19-years, the rate of fossil-fired production has declined by a trivial –0.20% per annum.

Moreover, as we suggested above regarding the global balances, there is no reason whatsoever to expect any material displacement of fossil-based power production by nuclear or hydro. Combined these two sectors produced 1,097 billion KWhs in 2019, but if anything production is likely to fall in the next several decades.

That’s right. In the last quarter quarter century there has been a grand total of two nuke plants commissioned. This means quite evidently that the nation’s grand total of 94 operating commercial nuclear reactors at 56 nuclear power plants in 28 states are old as the hills— averaging 25-40 years old and heading for decommissioning in the normal course.

The implication cannot be gainsaid. Unless there is a total political reversal with respect to nuclear power, the 809 billion KWHs generated in 2019, which represented nearly 20% of total utility output, will likely be shrinking from normal retirements faster than new plants can be licensed, built and made operational, a process which typically takes well more than a decade.

How Will Growing Demand for Power Be Met?

Finally, there is the matter of growth. Even at the tepid level of GDP growth during the last decade, and despite continued improvements in the efficiency of electrical power use in the US economy, total power output rose from 3,951 billion KWHs in 2009 to 4,127 billion KWhs in 2019, representing a modest 0.44% per annum growth rate.

Then again, a continuation of that modest growth trend—which would be the minimal gain compatible with a continued slow rise in real GDP—would result in total power output requirements of 4,427 billion KWhs by 2035 or 300 billion KWHs more than current levels.

So here’s the skunk in the woodpile. Total solar and wind-fueled power output in 2019 was just 367 billion KWhs or 8.9% of total utility output. That is, it will require the equivalent of fully 82% of current so-called green power production just to supply projected system growth. And that’s to say nothing of replacing nuclear production that is likely to be falling due to retirements and obsolescence or, more importantly, displacing some of the 2,590 billion KWhs of fossil production still in the nation’s electrical power grid.

Let us re-iterate: Unless a large share of that 2,590 billion KWhs of capacity is shuttered, the idea of zero net CO2 emissions is a pipe dream.

At the same time, it would take trillions of taxpayer subsidies to lift the current 367 billion KWhs of green power production toward even half of power requirements by 2035, which would exceed 2,200 KWhs. And that simply isn’t going to happen in a month of Sundays.

Worse, Power Output and Reliability Requires Over-Sized Renewables Installations

Moreover, that’s not even the half of it. Green power production, and especially wind which accounted for 4X more output than solar in 2019, ( 295 billion KWhs versus 72 billion KWhs) is highly intermittent based on seasonal patterns and daily wind strength. Nationally, wind plant performance tends to be highest during the spring and lowest during the mid-to late summer, while performance during the winter (November through February) is around the annual median. However, this pattern can vary considerably across regions, mostly based on local atmospheric and geographic conditions.

In a word, to get the same output and reliability as gas or coal-fired base-load plants, green power plants need to be drastically oversized both in terms of maximum output capacity and back-up storage units. As shown below, for most regions of the country, median monthly wind capacity factors range between just 25% and 35%.

Needless to say, low capacity factors mean high all-in costs for electrical energy delivered to the grid. Analysts use a concept to capture this called LCOE (levelized cost of energy), which is the present value of total cost over the lifetime of a plant divided by the cumulative amount of electricity generated over the lifetime.

Accordingly, the cost of funding power output growth plus displacement of substantial amounts of fossil fired production would be staggering. Recent detailed study by the Institute for Energy Research show the LCOE calculations for the range of fuels sources:

LCOE Per Megawatt Hour Of Capacity:

  • Combined cycle natural gas: $36;
  • Nuclear: $33;
  • Hydro: $38;
  • Coal: $41;
  • Onshore wind: $85;
  • Solar PV: $89;
  • Offshore Wind: $132.

These differentials between conventional and green sources of power generation are clearly staggering and contradict the constant propaganda from the Climate Howlers, who falsely claim that solar and wind are cheaper than existing power sources.

But as we will amplify in the final installment (Part 5), the actual scenario is far more forbidding than even these all-in cost differentials would suggest. That’s because the second part of the green agenda is to convert the nation’s efficient fleet of 285 million IC engine vehicles to electric battery power and 70 million natural gas and oil heated homes to green electricity, among others.

What that will do, of course, is make peak power demand swings on the grid far more extreme—even violent—just as the reliability of a green-powered utility sector falls sharply.

GreenMageddon is exactly where we are heading.