The Straw Man Argument

With the latest environmental hysteria gaining traction to ban plastic straws (as usual both irrational and unscientific) here is a graph that puts Australia’s plastic pollution in perspective:

Yeah, we don’t even make the top 12.

You may have also heard about the incredible figure of 500 million plastic straws used by Americans every day. It turns out that came from a science project by a 9 year old boy. That doesn’t prove it is wrong, just lacking in academic rigour because most 9 year olds have not been trained in the scientific method (much like most adult environmentalists)

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It’s Colder Than We Thought

Amidst all the hype about global warming that continues amidst 20 years of no change in temperature, scientists have found that some places are colder than we could imagine.

In Antarctica scientists have measured the lowest temperature yet recorded on the planet. -98C which is down 5 degrees from the previously measured record of -93. To get that low, clear skies and low humidity must persist several days. 

It is believed that it is theoretically possible for temperatures to go to -100C.

So the next time the ABC tells us Antarctica is melting, remember that this is not the full story, and that it is still a very very cold place.

Read the full article here

Jo Nova On Warming In The Antarctic

You may have head on the ABC about how the Antarctic is losing its ice cover and one day will be ice free. Scientist Jo Nova puts that into context

Antarctic Ice Loss Tripled, from near zero to an extremely tiny number! (Nobody mention those volcanoes)

Quick — tax the magma

It’s another round of Antarctic Doom about next to nothing. In April Antarctica’s ice was melting five times faster than usual. Now it’s losing ice three times faster in the last five years than the 15 before that! What you won’t hear is how the Antarctic ice cap has 29 million cubic kilometers of ice and has been there for 30 million, mostly warmer, years. You also won’t hear how Antarctica was warmer in Roman Times, or that the  Antarctic Peninsula has cooled by almost 1 degree.

You also won’t hear a word about any volcanoes

The new paper has zero mentions of the word. But other scientists have published plenty of papers describing how the West Antarctic zone is being warmed from below by 1200 degrees of magma. According to scientist Dustin Schroeder and co,  it is as if the Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctic is sitting on a “stovetop burner”.[1]  His words. Thwaites Glacier,, smack in the middle of the warming is being melted from below by geothermal heat. Then there is the large blob of superheated rock 60 miles below West Antarctica. The researchers use the phrase “like a blow-torch”….  Capping it off, only last year 91 new volcanoes were discovered 2km underneath the West Antarctic Rift. That’s new, as in, we didn’t know they were there.

Follow the reasoning, either a trace gas 10 kilometers up is causing some spots of Antarctica to warm and other parts to cool, or hot magma at 1,200C is. What’s more likely?

Antarctic ice, warming, melting, map, graphic, location of volcanoes, geothermal heat.

Antarctic ice is warming in West Antarctica and the Peninsula, but not over most of East Antarctica.

 

From the new paper we get the same old pattern. The biggest part of Antarctica is East Antarctica and it’s not melting — even in this alarming new paper.

I thought there was CO2 there as well?

Antarctic Melting, 2018. Graph

The battle of Big Meaningless Numbers

From the abstract we find tiny fractions are written up as big numbers of small units with no real context. Then they extrapolate a 6 year trend on an ice mass that’s been around for millions of years.  Adding up the losses, in this “worst of the worst” scenarios Antarctica might be losing 187 billion tonnes of ice per year (give or take a lot). That’s 187 cubic kilometers of ice, which sounds like a lot until we look at the size of the Antarctic Ice Sheet (29 million kilometers cubed). At this new “accelerated” rate the total loss is one 155,00oth of the total mass. Expressed another way, it’s 0.0006%. At this rate Antarctica will be entirely melted 155,000 years from now.

This agrees quite well with the April round of Antarctic Doom which implied it would melt in 118,000 years. Lucky us, we have 30,000 years to spare now.

The first line in the paper’s introduction:

“The ice sheets of Antarctica hold enough water to raise global sea level by 58m.”

Handy to know what people in 155,000 A.D. will be facing. Now that’s forward planning….

Facts Overcome Fear-Mongering

As the fear campaign against CSG ramps up, a few facts from the U.S. moght help counter the nonsense, or maybe not.

From Wattsupwiththat.com

America! Frac Yeah!

Guest commentary by David Middleton

By Hank Campbell — May 18, 2018

In 2009 the U.S. government attended the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen and pledged to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions 17 percent by 2020.

To make it happen, the Obama administration directed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to lead the way starting with carbon dioxide (CO2) and that resulted in the Clean Power Plan (CPP) in 2015. While the goal was laudable, no one is in favor of more pollution, it was a blunt instrument because it unfairly penalized fossil fuel power plants…

[…]

The Paris Agreement is now gone in America, what federal politicization of science giveth politicization of science can taketh away, but the emissions reductions the government sought still happened despite a lack of regulations and for that we can thank American science and technology.

Though the added regulations have not come to pass, that’s been a good thing. Without onerous cost increases on the poor, built-in higher rates due to solar and wind programs aside, the free market has continued to cause CO2 emissions to plummet, so much so that in 2017 America reached the CPP’s desired 2025 targetThat’s not due to solar or wind, finds the study in Environmental Science & Technology, it is overwhelmingly due to natural gas. Thanks to modern natural gas extraction techniques such as hydraulic fracturing…

[…]

co220emissions

[…]

If the federal government stays out of picking winners and losers in energy, the trend toward lower emissions is likely to continue.

[…]

That’s something we can all cheer.

[…]

American Council on Science and Health

Frac’ing A Bubba!

Hank Campbell is the antithesis of Chris Mooney.

And… From the No Schist Sherlock files…

UC study finds no evidence of drinking water contamination from fracking

The three-year study found no relationship between methane concentrations in groundwater and proximity to natural gas wells.

By Michael Miller

May 18, 2018

A study of drinking water in Appalachian Ohio found no evidence of natural gas contamination from recent oil and gas drilling.

Geologists with the University of Cincinnati examined drinking water in Carroll, Stark and Harrison counties, a rural region in northeast Ohio where many residents rely on water from private underground wells.

The time-series study was the first of its kind in Ohio to examine methane in groundwater in relation to natural gas drilling. The results were published in the journal Environmental Monitoring and Assessment.

“Some people had elevated concentrations of methane in their groundwater, but the isotopic composition showed it wasn’t from natural gas” said Amy Townsend-Small, associate professor of geology in UC’s McMicken College of Arts and Sciences.

“What we found is in most cases it was probably from underground coal in the area or biological methane produced in groundwater.”

[…]

They found no increase in methane concentration or composition in groundwater over the four years of the study, despite the presence of new shale gas wells drilled in the study area. Likewise, they did not find higher methane levels in closer approximation to shale drilling.

Researchers did find wide variability in methane concentrations in the drinking water, ranging from 0.2 micrograms per liter to 25.3 milligrams per liter, which is strong enough to catch fire in enclosed spaces. But researchers found no relationship between the methane observed in drinking water and the new gas wells.

[…]

“Some people had elevated concentrations of methane in their groundwater, but the isotopic composition showed it wasn’t from natural gas. It was from a different source,” Townsend-Small said. “What we found is in most cases it was probably from underground coal in the area or biological methane produced in groundwater.”

[…]

University of Cincinnati

This should come as no surprise… As hard as the Obama maladministration EPA tried, they couldn’t find a single specific incident in which frac’ing was related to water pollution.

Apart from Gasland-style lies, there is no evidence of frac’ing polluting groundwater/

COLORADO FLAMING FAUCET NATURALLY OCCURRING METHANE

Locally, in Fort Lupton, CO, the film shows a resident igniting his tap water, leaving the impression that the flaming tap water is a result of natural gas drilling. However, according to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC), which tested this resident‟s water in 2008, at his request,: “Dissolved methane in well water appears to be biogenic [naturally occurring] in origin. …There are no indications of oil & gas related impacts to water well.”(COGCC 9/30/08). This means that the natural gas in the resident‟s well water is of recent bacterial origin, which could result from the poor well completion and hygiene, or penetration of shallow coal seams. The film‟s implication that natural gas production and hydraulic fracturing are to blame is blatantly false.

COGA

How To Reverse Prosperity In A Decade

From Jo Nova- the truth about “free power from nature”

Electricity prices fell for forty years in Australia, then renewables came…

Electricity prices declined for forty years. Obviously that had to stop.

Here’s is the last 65 years of Australian electricity prices — indexed and adjusted for inflation. During the coal boom, Australian electricity prices declined decade after decade.  As renewables and national energy bureaucracies grew, so did the price of electricity. Must be a coincidence…

Today all the hard-won masterful efficiency gains of the fifties, sixties and seventies have effectively been reversed in full.

Indexed Real Consumer Electricity Prices, 1955-2017. Graph.

Indexed Real Consumer Electricity Prices, Australia, 1955-2017.

For most of the 20th Century the Australian grid was hotch potch of separate state grids and mini grids. (South Australia was only connected in 1990). In 1998 the NEM (National Energy Market) began, a feat that finally made bad management possible on a large scale. Though after decades of efficiency gains, Australians would have to wait years to see new higher “world leading” prices. For the first years of the NEM prices stayed around $30/MWh.

But sooner or later  a national system is a sitting duck for one small mind to come along and truly muck things up.

Please spread this graph far and wide.

Thanks to a Dr Michael Crawford who did the original, excellent graph.

Global Warming And Malaria

From Watts Up With That

 

Remember when global warming was going to increase Malaria? Never mind…

Remember these claims?

From Our World in Data, over the past 15 years, malaria deaths have almost halved. (h/t to Bjorn Lomborg)

In the visualisations below we provide estimates of the total number of deaths from the World Health Organization (WHO) from 2000 to 2015, and the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), Global Burden of Disease (GBD) from 1990 to 2016. These estimates are notably different across various countries which affects the total number of reported deaths. IHME figures, as shown below, tend to be higher; they report deaths greater than 720,000 in 2015 versus only 438,000 from the WHO. Further information on the confidence intervals of WHO estimates, and a country-level comparison between these two sources is covered in our section on Data Quality & Definitions.

Malaria death estimates from WHO

Since the beginning of the 21st century, the WHO has published global estimates of the number of people that die from malaria. In these 15 years the global death toll has been cut in half: from 839,000 deaths in 2000 to 438,000 in 2015.

Click here for the rest of the article

 

Jo Nova: “Free Energy” Costs Too Much

Jo Nova writes:

The Mystery: The most resource rich nation on Earth has the highest electricity prices?!

Ask anyone and get confused: It’s poles and wires, gaming of the system by capitalist pigs, excessive taxes, privatization, and record gas prices. The CleanEnergy Council  tells us that Australia has one of the longest electricity networks in the world — we need lots of poles! And so we do. But once upon a time Australia had the cheapest electricity in the world and we still had lots of poles. Not only were miles of poles and wires, there were also capitalist pigs, excessive taxes, and privatized generators. There were wild gas price spikes too, (during which we probably just burned more coal).

Evidently, something else has changed. Something seismic that wiped out all the bids below $50/MWh. 

Perhaps it has something to do with the 2,106 turbines in 79 wind farms that on random windy days might make 4,325MW that didn’t exist in Australia in 1999 when electricity was cheap and our total national wind power was 2.3 megawatts?

Another clue might be the 1.8 million new solar PV installations, which theoretically generate 7 gigawatts of electricity at noon on cloudless days if all the panels have been cleaned. Back in 2007, we had 14MW.

But of course, cause and effect are devilishly difficult. The one thing we know for sure is that even though sunlight and moving air is free, there is no country on Earth with lots of solar and wind power and cheap electricity.

Any day now, renewables are going to make electricity cheap, but when that happens, it’ll be a world first.

See the graph: the more renewables we have the more we pay…

Cost of electricity, countries, graph, renewables capacity.

….

Source: Paul Homewood at NotalotofpeopleKnowthat inspired graphs by Johnathon Drake, and Willis Eschenbach, and Dave Rutledge, similar to this one. This particular graph came via Judith Sloan in The Australian, though I can’t seem to find the exact link.

 We’re high achievers price-wise

Australia is far above the trend-line.  Our electricity is even more expensive than it should be for the amount of renewables we have. At a guess this might be because other nations have more “hydro” in their renewable mix and less wind and solar.  Or they have access to nuclear power (like all the EU countries). It may be made worse by the way our energy markets are managed, the profusion of bureaucracies, the subsidies and rebates, the renewable energy target, or the overlapping state and federal green aims. It also may be that in our smaller market we have a few big players gaming a volatile, complicated market. Stability may cost more here, due to the fragility of our network.

Don’t blame wind and solar… oh, wait

To isolate the effect, this graph from Euan Mearns takes out the “hydropower” and biomass aspect and just looks at wind and solar. Spot the trend:

(Note that “Aust” means Austria, not Australia)

Europe, renewables, countries, cost of electricity, graph.

Figure 1 The Y-axis shows residential electricity prices for the second half of 2014 from Eurostat. The X-axis installed wind + solar capacity for 2014 as reported in the 2015 BP statistical review normalised to W per capita using population data for 2014 as reported by the UN.

As Euarn Mearns says, there’s more than one variable at work here, but the inescapable conclusion is the countries with the highest levels of renewables pay the highest prices.    h/t Don B.

Is that another 10 cent price rise coming?

According to wikipedia our wind power capacity is set rise 250% or something crazy (I’m skeptical):

From wiki wind power in Australia–  As of May 2017 a further 12328 MW of capacity was proposed or committed.[2] “AEMO Planning and Forecasting – General Information Page”. Retrieved 7 June 2017.

For a population of 24 million that means we would add another 500 watts/capita. Eyeballing the trendline in the graph,  prices would rise by another 10c/KWhr. (Don’t try to unpack the x and y units exactly and calculate it. That’s another story.)

Say it again: there is no country on Earth with lots of solar and wind power and cheap electricity.

REFERENCES

Moran, Alan (2017) The Finkel Report’s Recommendations on the Future Security of the National Electricity Market:
Impacts on the Australian Economy and Australian Consumers, Regulation Economics.