Archive for December, 2019

Climate conference transport


Where’s the logic? Nearly all these folk arrived in Madrid thanks to fossil fuels. They accepted sponsorship – without which there wouldn’t be a conference – from companies that deal in fossil fuels. But now they want to whine about who and what they’re depending on.

Oil and gas groups were accused Saturday of seeking to influence climate talks in Madrid by paying millions in sponsorship and sending dozens of lobbyists to delay what scientists say is a necessary and rapid cut in fossil fuel use.

A day after tens of thousands marched in the Spanish capital demanding climate action, seven environmental groups raised concerns to AFP over the role of fossil fuel representatives at the COP25 summit, reports Phys.org.

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Whichever way you look at it, so-called climate policies usually lead to massive costs which few are willing to pay – as mass protests in France and Chile have recently shown. Germans have a choice to make: bet the entire economy on hoped-for, but marginal, climate effects – or not.

A position paper by Germany’s environment agency UBA calls for a drastic increase in fuel prices in order to bring about emissions reductions needed in the transport sector to help meet climate targets, reports Clean Energy Wire.

The internal UBA paper, which was obtained by the Süddeutsche Zeitung, says that the price for one litre of petrol should increase by 47 euro cents and for diesel fuel by 70 percent per litre, correspondent Michael Bauchmüller writes.

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Electric SUV concept car [image credit: motorauthority.com]


The report headline also claims this ‘is terrible news for the planet’, because they are obsessing about harmless trace gases in the atmosphere. But the motoring public don’t seem to share their misplaced concerns, as ever-popular SUVs outnumber electric vehicles by about 40 to 1 worldwide.

Sales of hefty and heavily-polluting SUVs have doubled in the last decade – outweighing the progress made from electric vehicles, says WIRED. Can cleaner SUVs offer a way out?

The phenomenal rise of the SUV all started with a squabble over chicken.

It was 1963 – the height of the Cold War – and US president Lyndon Johnson was fuming over a tax that France and West Germany had imposed on cheap, intensively-farmed US chicken flooding European supermarkets.

In December 1963, after months of failed negotiations, Johnson retaliated.

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Unusual goings-on seen in the skies over New Zealand.

Spaceweather.com

Dec. 4, 2019: An atmospheric wave nearly half as wide as Earth itself is supercharging noctilucent clouds (NLCs) in the southern hemisphere. NASA’s AIM spacecraft detected the phenomenon in this series of south polar images spanning Nov. 27th through Dec. 2nd:

fiveday

“This is a clear sign of planetary wave activity,” says AIM principal investigator James Russell of Hampton University, which manages the Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere mission for NASA.

Planetary waves are enormous ripples of temperature and pressure that form in Earth’s atmosphere in response to Coriolis forces. In this case, a 5-day planetary wave is boosting noctilucent clouds over Antarctica and causing them to spin outward to latitudes where NLCs are rarely seen.

On Dec. 1st, Mirko Harnisch saw the clouds from Dunedin, New Zealand. “I was enjoying the late-evening sky over the Southern Ocean just after 11 pm local time when these wispy blue-ish clouds appeared,”…

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View from Titan [artist’s impression]


From the report: ‘the researchers said, learning more about the energy budget of Titan can add to the understanding of climate change on Earth.’ Indeed – and help could be at hand with that.

Researchers have found that Saturn’s largest moon Titan undergoes significant seasonal changes in its energy budget — the amount of solar energy it absorbs, and the heat it emits — an advance that may lead to new insights about climate fluctuations on the Earth, reports Financial Express.

The study, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, noted that Titan is the only body in the solar system, other than Earth, with a significant atmosphere and liquid surface lakes.

The researchers, including those from the University of Houston in the US, said Titan’s dynamically-varying energy budget has important impacts on its weather and climate systems.

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Teslas in Norway [image credit: Norsk Elbilforening (Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association)]


EVs are looking like yet another ‘save the planet’ fiasco in the making. Some of the points made here were already known, but these studies reinforce them. As many EVs on the road are still relatively new, the full extent of any problems may not yet be clear. With the help of large subsidies and other incentives they sell well in Norway despite the cold winters there.

According to recent studies, cold temperatures significantly reduce the performance of electric cars, especially when it comes to battery life.

One study by AAA suggested that cold temperatures can reduce the range of the batteries in most electric cars by over 40 percent, reports Anonymous News.

It was also noted that the performance can be even worse when the interior heaters are used.

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The UN’s Impossible Climate Action Pyramid

Posted: December 4, 2019 by oldbrew in climate, Critique
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Hands up if you’re willing to give up your modern lifestyle for the dubious promise of an effect on global temperatures in some distant future, based on a much-criticised 19th century theory. Hello? Anyone there?

PA Pundits - International

By David Wojick, Ph.D. ~

Every year the UN produces a climate action report just before the annual climate summit (this year COP 25 in Madrid). This time the UN greens have outdone themselves, but not in a good way for them. The UN Environmental Program has produced a report that graphically demonstrates why what they want to happen is impossible.

I call this graphic the Impossible Pyramid. It is starkly simple and worth careful contemplation, especially by the 20,000 climate action negotiators in Madrid and their bosses at home. Yet, the people who should really care are the ones who would be clobbered.

The report is titled “Emissions Gap Report 2019”, which sounds like there is a gap of some sort to be filled. This turns out to be a gross understatement, to say the least.

See https://wedocs.unep.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.11822/30798/EGR19ESEN.pdf?sequence=13 for the UNEPnreport.

The graphic is Figure ES.4. “Global GHG emissions…

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So IPCC climate theory now means that cleaner air is more of a problem. Classic.

The relationship between aerosols (particulate matter) and their cooling effect on the Earth due to the formation of clouds is more than twice as strong as was previously thought, reports Phys.org.

As the amounts of aerosols decrease, climate models that predict a faster warming of the Earth are more probable.

These are the conclusions of researcher Otto Hasekamp from SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research, who published the results in Nature Communications. He carried out his research together with Edward Gryspeerdt from Imperial College London, and Johannes Quaas from Leipzig University.

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The Sun from NASA’s SDO spacecraft


Making some progress anyway – and finding resonance is a key factor.

A Queen’s University Belfast scientist has led an international team to the ground-breaking discovery of why the Sun’s magnetic waves strengthen and grow as they emerge from its surface, which could help to solve the mystery of how the corona of the Sun maintains its multi-million degree temperatures, says Phys.org.

For more than 60 years observations of the Sun have shown that as the magnetic waves leave the interior of the Sun they grow in strength but until now there has been no solid observational evidence as to why this was the case.

The corona’s high temperatures have also always been a mystery. Usually the closer we are to a heat source, the warmer we feel.

However, this is the opposite of what seems to happen on the Sun—its outer layers are warmer than the heat source at its surface.

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The distance from the Oort cloud to the interior of the Solar System, and two of the nearest stars, is measured in astronomical units. The scale is logarithmic; each indicated distance is ten times farther out than the previous distance. The red arrow indicates the location of the space probe Voyager 1, which will reach the Oort cloud in about 300 years [credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech]


Note that the Oort Cloud referred to in the article, although often discussed as though it exists, has to date never been directly observed, perhaps due to its supposed great distance from Earth.
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Stars and comets make unlikely dance partners, says Live Science.

Their gravitational partnership is one that astronomers have long suspected but have never seen — until now. For the first time, a Polish group has identified two nearby stars that seem to have plucked up their icy partners, swinging them into orbits around our sun.

The astronomers found the stellar duo after studying the movements of over 600 stars that came within 13 light-years of the sun. The new findings validate a theory born more than a half-century ago, and in doing so have also shown just how rare these stellar dances can be.

Out on the far edge of the solar system, hanging like wallflowers around the planetary dance floor, is the Oort Cloud.

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The annual game of chase-your-own-tail kicks off once again.

Science Matters

The upcoming COP25 will be hosted by Chile, but held in Madrid because of the backlash in Santiago against damaging effects of costly climate policies.  The gathering had been previously cancelled by a newly elected skeptical Brazilian president. The change of venue has led to “a scale down of expectations” and participation from the Chilean side, said Mónica Araya, a former lead negotiator for Costa Rica, but the presidency’s priorities are unchanged. In the wings of the Cop25 talks, hosts Spain and Chile will push governments to join a coalition of progressive nations pledging to raise their targets in response to the 2018 over-the-top IPCC SR15 climate horror movie.  See UN Horror Show

Of course Spain is the setting for the adventures of Don Quixote ( “don key-ho-tee” ) in Cervantes’ famous novel.  The somewhat factually challenged hero charged at some windmills claiming they were enemies, and is celebrated in the…

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More fantasy economics for imaginary ‘climate solutions’, as we’re treated to another “they would say that wouldn’t they?” routine, reported by Power Engineering International. Here they don’t mention that ‘Biogas is primarily methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2)‘ – the two main so-called greenhouse gases we’re supposed to be scared of. Sounds even more absurd than burning wood and calling it sustainable, plus we’re told it will require $5 trillion to implement their plan. Probably not a coincidence that the COP 25 climate gabfest is just starting.

Major biogas industry corporations, led by the World Biogas Association (WBA), are calling on the world’s governments to act urgently to unlock the sector’s potential to cut global greenhouse gases emissions by at least 12 per cent within the next 10 years, contributing towards meeting their Paris Agreement targets.

In return, these companies commit to putting their full human, financial and technological resources behind enabling the rapid expansion of biogas in all parts of the globe.

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Image credit: consumerreports.org


Anyone can ‘demand action’ but what is being demanded? A quick look at some logistics: every wind turbine uses a lot of energy-intensive concrete and steel in its manufacture. Both turbines and solar panels require industrial-scale mining of rare earth materials, plus coal-burning for steel. Unthinkably vast quantities of both wind and solar at enormous expense would be needed to make even a modest dent in the dominance of coal, oil and gas in world energy consumption. The assumed benefit to the climate is debatable to say the least. Where is the sanity in all this?

For years, Black Friday has been sold as a holiday day for the consumer, says TIME (via Yahoo News).

In 2018, Black Friday resulted in $6.22 billion in online sales alone, per CNBC. This year, climate activists wants people to stop and reconsider such rampant consumption.

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Solar train – OK for millionaires?

Posted: December 1, 2019 by oldbrew in innovation, Travel
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A bit of fun for tourists, but an electric bus would have been a lot cheaper.