Month: January 2018

Why China’s Freezing

A well-meaning anti-pollution push turned into a debacle.

Alternatives needed. Photographer: Kevin Frayer/Getty

China is suffering from a frigid winter, but it can’t blame Mother Nature alone. Late last week, following a widespread uproar, officials reversed a policy banning some provinces from using coal for heat — which had the inadvertent but predictable effect of leaving large swathes of the country freezing cold.

China’s government has been keen to reduce air-pollution levels, which are quite literally off the charts. State media rejoiced last month when data showed that China was only the second-most polluted developing country, behind India. With health concerns rising, and middle-class anger swelling, the coal ban was a well-meaning attempt to address the problem.

Unfortunately, it made no sense. China generates almost 70 percent of its electricity from coal. Households buy it from vendors pushing carts, while metal refiners use it on a huge scale to power their plants. Any attempt to reduce this consumption would require serious investment in alternatives and a gradual phase-in. Instead, officials simply mandated the cuts, with little in the way of preparation.

This led to a scramble for natural gas, one obvious alternative. But a lack of inventory, distribution and ready output caused a supply crunch. Production has risen by only 9.7 percent this year, with total consumption up 14.6 percent — not nearly enough to make up for the cuts in coal. Officials are expecting a shortage of up to 20 percent this winter. Prices in some areas have doubled. In Tianjin, near Beijing, they’re up 74 percent.

Making matters worse, the ban has brought major industries to a near-standstill. Mills in the key steel regions of Tangshan and Hebei were operating at 80 percent of capacity in September; now rates are as low as 43 percent. Aluminum and other heavy industries are facing severe production limits through March 15, a mandated slowdown that could weigh heavily on gross domestic product.

The public backlash has been swift. With millions of homes left with insufficient energy for cooking and heating, anger on social media grew so fierce that the government soon reversed course. Last week, the Ministry of Environmental Protection told local officials in 28 cities to ease coal restrictions and take measures to stabilize prices and supplies.Yet China’s pipelines aren’t ready to transport it. Many of the country’s solar farms are sitting idle for similar reasons.

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via The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF)

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January 1, 2018 at 04:38AM

Neil Oliver: I’m Dreaming Of A Lustrous Mini Ice Age To Give Us A Global Warming Time Out

A new ice age to look forward to? Can it be true? This is the best news I have heard all year.

I was half awake during the night this week, listening to the radio when the news item came on. I thought at first I was dreaming, but no. It turns out scientists from the University of Northumbria have been monitoring solar activity and have concluded that we are in for what you might cautiously describe as a bit of a dip, temperature wise.

The science sounds suitably complicated but in essence it seems the sun has her highs and lows, like the rest of us. When she’s on the up — as she has been recently, with a great deal of magnetic activity — there are many sun spots on her surface and much radiated warmth as a result.

However, according to work led by Professor Valentina Zharkova, we might shortly face a corresponding period of relative solar inactivity, during which winter temperatures could drop, or even plummet. The downward slide might begin as early as 2021, ushering in decades of spectacularly severe winters.

It has all happened before, of course, and many times. For the past several millions of years our planet has been shaped by ice more than by anything else.

Furthermore, the periods of cold have been getting colder and lasting longer. Back in the 17th century there was an event called the Maunder Minimum, named after a husband and wife team of sun-watchers. Annie and Walter Maunder noted that between 1672 and 1699 no more than 50 sun spots were observed, in contrast to the tens of thousands counted during other periods.

This dearth had been smack in the middle of a time known as the “little ice age” that lasted, on and off, from the 14th to the 19th centuries. From time to time the North Sea would be frozen solid, miles out from the coast. Famously, the Thames would freeze every year to depths of a foot and more. Instead of a river, it became a frozen highway.

Fairs were held out on the ice every winter and there are records of both Henry VIII and Elizabeth I taking sled rides along great stretches of it.

The ice was so thick you could light fires on it. I don’t mind telling you that the very suggestion of something similar fills me with excitement, even glee. I refuse to believe it might not be true. Imagine — a mini ice age all of our own! My favourite bit in Groundhog Day is when Bill Murray’s newsman character makes his broadcast about the prospect of “a long and lustrous winter”.

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via The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF)

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January 1, 2018 at 04:08AM

COSMIC RAYS – THE MISSING LINK

Here is a link to the latest research into the cosmic ray link to cloud formation and hence to Earth’s temperature. It is a very plausible explanation which, if accepted, will lead to a down-playing of the affect of CO2 – so it will no doubt meet with a great deal of hostility and "debunking" by the CO2 alarmists in 2018. Meanwhile a happy new year to all readers!

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January 1, 2018 at 01:30AM

Rocketing Power Prices & Chaotic Supply Send Australian Businesses Packing to Pennsylvania USA

Every viable business depends upon a reliable and affordable electricity supply. In Australia, thanks to its suicidal renewable energy policies, that essential combination is now a relic of history. The chaos and staggering cost of intermittent wind and solar power has sent power prices through the roof and left its grid on the brink of … Continue reading Rocketing Power Prices & Chaotic Supply Send Australian Businesses Packing to Pennsylvania USA

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January 1, 2018 at 12:31AM