Category: Daily News

May 1972 Heatwave In India

On May 23, 1972, 135 degree temperatures were reported in India and three hundred deaths were blamed on the heat. 23 May 1972 – INDIA Heatwave kills 300 – Trove Climate experts sent a letter to President Nixon warning of … Continue reading

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May 22, 2022 at 11:29AM

Australia Has Finally Caught the ‘Net Zero’ Bus

After years of dithering here in Australia, we have finally chosen a government that ‘will act on climate change’.   So said Penny Wong as she welcomed the new prime minister of Australia, Anthony Albanese, to the stage last night.  I would argue it is mass delusion to suggest that we can change the climate – but the political desire for ‘climate action’ has been gathering for perhaps four decades and last night it was realized.

It has always been about politics.  Beginning back in the 1980s when Margaret Thatcher wanted to close-down the coal mines because of her increasing impatience with Arthur Scargill, then president of the National Union of Mineworkers. That was when the first absurd links were drawn between coal mining and the possibility of a climate catastrophe.  She saw local advantage that was leveraged into geopolitical advantage through the Kyoto Protocol.

Postal votes have not yet been tallied in this 2022 election, but it would appear the big winners are the Teal Independents backed by billionaire climate activists Simon Homes à Court – I understand there may be 10 of these Teal Independents in the new parliament, representing Australia’s most tertiary educated and privileged who live in inner-city Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth.

These are all women.  I would argue unaware of the extent to which their election will favour the fortunes of already rich white men so heavily invested in so-called renewables and carbon trading they can’t afford for it to fail.   These men don’t actually produce very much, rather they mostly make their money out of corporations’ dependent on government-funded schemes, mandates and subsidies including for particular types of electricity-generating energies.  For example, I know a fellow who campaigned for Allegra Spender, the daughter of fashion designer Carla Zampatti, one of the so-called Teal Independents.  Spender appears to have won the inner-city Sydney-seat of Wentworth.  This Wentworth resident and Spender-supporter made his money out of selling insurance, then bought property in regional New South Wales that now has a windfarm that pays him $250,000 every year in rent.  He has sold all the cattle that once populated the farm because they emitted carbon.  He didn’t build the wind farm, and he doesn’t sell the wind, he just gets paid for owing the land.

Previous Australian governments have included enthusiastic climate alarmists, but the difference with this new Labor government that will likely govern with the support of Homes à Court’s climate activists, is that there is theoretically no brake on them rushing to close-down all the productive industries that generate carbon emissions like cows and coal.  Except, I’m not actually sure anyone will be able to make as much money out of wind farming, and trading carbon, if there is no coal to underpin it all – to leverage off.

At least two of the very high-profile Liberals beaten by the Teal Independents – Josh Frydenberg in Kooyong and Tim Wilson in Goldstein – profess to wanting to act on climate change and implement a ‘net zero’ emissions target.   Indeed, there was little real difference in what Zoe Daniel (Teal Independent) versus Tim Wilson (Liberal) in Goldstein, and Josh Frydenberg (Liberal) versus Monique Ryan (Teal Independent) in Kooyong claimed to support during this last election campaign.  But the Teals won perhaps because there was that much more conviction in their rhetoric.

I’ve had the opportunity over the last decade to discuss climate change with both Frydenberg and Wilson.  Both are aware of the extent to which the climate emergency narrative – that well and truly underpins the election of the new Albanese government – is based on junk science, yet both have been keen to dismiss my evidence and run with the zeitgeist.  It was the easy thing to do – it made political sense to them.   It made political sense to Margaret Thatcher and now it underpins the wealth of so many, but is it actually sustainable going forward?  What ultimately will everything be leveraged off?   At what point does the house of cards topple, or will it just be the wind turbines?

Australia has well and truly caught the net zero bus.

It will be interesting to see how the new Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, makes it work, given he now has a clear mandate to achieve ‘net zero’ and start closing down particular industries.

via Jennifer Marohasy

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May 22, 2022 at 09:25AM

Weather-Dependent Power Generation

Originally posted at edmdotme

The primary policy to combat “Climate Change” in the West has been to install and heavily subsidise “Renewable”  Wind and Solar power generation.  The recorded productivity history of European wide “Renewable” Power generation since 2008 is shown below.

The impact of the 2021 Wind drought can be seen clearly in terms of reduced 2021 productivity.

The 2021 European Wind Drought and Weather-Dependent power generation

For the last 10 years as “Renewable” installations have become established in Europe they have achieved on average the overall productivity percentages as shown below.

Note that Conventional power generators are rated at ~90%, that is the full potential achievable when un-encumbered by the political interventions that prioritise the mandatory imposition of power input from Weather-Dependent “Renewables”.

It is unlikely that any advances in the established “Renewable” technologies can provide further significant improvement from these current average productivity values.

Gas-fired power

The most cost effective, reliable and incidentally the least CO2 emitting means of fossil fuel power generation is the use of Natural Gas.  Gas-firing produces:

  • CO2 emissions 1/2 that of burning Coal or Lignite
  • CO2 emissions almost 1/4 of the use of imported Biomass.

Over the past 20 years, the cost-effective use of Fracked Natural Gas for power generation, replacing Coal in the USA, has reduced USA CO2 emissions / head by about 1/3.  In the 1990’s the UK’s “Dash for Gas policy” contributed significantly to the UK’s reduction of CO2 emissions by about 40%.

Global Man-made CO2 emissions 1965 – 2020: BP data

Power generation costings compared 

Except for Offshore Wind power generation, the comparative basic capital and long-term costs are roughly comparable between fossil fuel and Weather-Dependent generators. However, Gas-firing is particularly cost effective.

The comparative costs above show the costs of installing and running the generation technologies:  the picture changes radically when the productivity achievable by the various technologies is taken into account.  This then shows the comparative costs of actually delivering a Gigawatt unit of energy to the Grid.

It is only when their actual  productivity contributing power to the grid that true cost comparisons of the power supplied to the Grid can be made: these are summarised below.

So, when not accounting for productivity, the US EIA comparative power generation costs for the installation and running of:

  • Onshore Wind power is roughly twice the cost of Gas-firing
  • Offshore Wind power is 5 – 7 times the cost of Gas-firing.
  • Solar Power is about 1 1/2 times the cost of Gas-firing

But taking into account productivity for the same power output the installation and running of:

  • Onshore Wind power is ~7 times the cost of Gas-firing
  • Offshore Wind power is ~16-20 times the cost of Gas-firing.
  • Solar power is about ~10-12 times the cost of Gas-firing

A 2020 model of comparative costings for power generation technologies

Any assertion that “Renewables” are reaching cost parity with conventional power generation is patently false.

These comparative values show how the irrational political obsession with nominally reducing CO2 emissions, (UK at 1% of Global CO2 emissions), increases the costs and reliability of power generation for the Nation.

The appalling delusion

As Professor David Mackay FRS, (eminent Cambridge physicist and former chief scientific officer at the UK Department of Energy), said in an interview just before his untimely death in 2016, that the promotion of

“Renewable Energy” was driven by an “appalling delusion”.

The delusion has been perpetrated by people who have no understanding of the mathematics, engineering and practicalities of Energy technologies.

Would anyone sane ever buy a car costing between 8 – 20 times the normal price that only works one day in five, when you never know which day that might be ?  And then insist that its technology is used to power the whole economy.

The comparative figures above are underestimates of the true costs of mandating Weather-Dependent “Renewables”.  These comparative results only account for the cost comparisons for capital and running costs of the generation installations themselves and the actual electrical power generated accounting for their measured productivity capability of each generating technology.

The other Cost implications and CO2 emissions penalties of Weather Dependent “Renewables”

The significant ancillary costs, not accounted for in the calculations above, inevitably also associated with Wind power and Solar PV generators result from:

  • their unreliability in terms of both power intermittency and power variability.
  • the non-dispatchability of Renewables:  the wind will not blow, the clouds will not clear away and the world will not stop rotating to order, whenever power is needed by Man-kind.

Weather-Dependent generators do not run 24/7:  they do not achieve 90% productivity. 

  • the poor timing of power generation by “Renewables”, it is often unlikely to be well coordinated with demand:  for example, Solar energy, as has been seen recently in California power falls off in the evening, at times of peak demand, leading to rolling blackouts.  Winter Solar output is virtually absent even in Southern European countries, ~1/7th of the output than in the summer, the periods of lower power demand.
  • the long transmission lines from remote, dispersed generators, incurs both power losses in transmission, further infrastructure  and increased maintenance costs.
  • requirement for the sterilisation of large land areas, especially when compared with conventional electricity generation, (Gas-firing and Nuclear).
  • much destructive additional engineering infrastructure is needed for access.
  • the continuing costs of back-up generation, which is essential to maintain continuous power supplies, but which may only be used on occasions and has to be wastefully running in spinning reserve and emitting some CO2 nonetheless.

It should always be noted that if there has to be sufficient back-up capacity using fossil fuels to support the grid whenever wind and solar are not available.  Such support is costly to run continuously, then there is very little point in doubling up the generation capacity, to be available 24/7,  with comparatively non-productive and much more costly Weather-Dependent generators, which might conceivably substitute some CO2 emissions but they certainly still emit substantial levels of CO2 for their manufacture, installation and maintenance. 

Comparing Performance and Costs of power generation technologies: 2020

  • any consideration of electrical storage using batteries, which would impose very significant additional costs, were long-term, (only a few days), battery storage even feasible economically.  This makes any idea of long-term seasonal power storage impractical.
  • unsynchronised generation with lack of inherent inertia essential to maintain grid frequency.
  • Weather-Dependent generators cannot provide a “black start” recovery from a major grid outage.

Importantly in addition these cost analyses do not account for:

  • the inevitable environmental damage and wildlife destruction caused by Weather-Dependent generators.
  • the “Carbon footprint” of Weather-Dependent generation technologies:  they may never save as much CO2 during their service life as they are likely to require for their materials sourcing, manufacture, installation, maintenance and eventual demolition.
  • when viewed in the round, all these installation activities are entirely dependent on the use of substantial amounts of fossil fuels both as feedstocks for the materials and as fuels for manufacturing.
  • the technologies used in Weather-Dependent generators are also highly dependent on large amounts of scarce materials giving rise to very extensive mining demands.
  • the Energy Return on Energy Invested:  Weather-Dependent generators may well produce only a minimal excess of Energy during their service life as was committed for their original manufacture and installation.  They certainly do not provide the regular massive excess power sufficient to support the multiple needs of a developed society.  Accordingly, they are parasitic on the use of fossil fuels for their existence.

None of these imposed supplementary costs are assessed in the Cost comparisons above.

via Watts Up With That?

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May 22, 2022 at 08:51AM

How Many Acronyms Does It Take To Save The Planet?

I visit the Science & Environment section of the BBC website most days, partly because occasionally interesting and informative articles appear there, but mostly to see what climate change and net zero propaganda is being pushed at us on a daily basis. I think I am justified in being so jaundiced about the BBC coverage when I see articles there with headlines such as “Birmingham man who left dog in hot car banned from ownershipi. It’s difficult to see what that has to do with science or the environment, but a quick read explained why it’s there:

A man who left his dog in a car for more than two hours on a day when temperatures reached 30C (86F) has been banned from keeping animals for five years.

It’s a depressing story, but it’s local news only, and I surmise that it appeared there in an attempt to remind a wider audience that we had a day last year when the temperature reached 30C in the West Midlands. Climate chaos, and all that. But I digress. The article that caught my attention a few days ago was headed “University of York to be location for new solar farmii. The news that a “£1.5m solar farm project is to be based at the University of York to help meet its net-zero carbon targets” wasn’t much of a surprise, but I was intrigued by the statement that “[i]t is being funded by the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UKRPIF).” Further, “[t]he solar farm is one of nine projects being funded by UKRPIF to improve environmental sustainability.

Universities have an ambiguous status in some ways, but I think there can be little doubt that they are profit-making businesses, whatever else they are. As long ago as 2013, York University profits had risen to £8.3M p.a.iii Even after the dire covid-affected year of 2020 its Annual Report and Financial Statementsiv revealed total annual income of £376M and total research income of £68M. Net assets were £296M and the annual surplus was £23Mv. The University’s finances were affected, however, by issues arising from the Universities Superannuation Scheme. Despite pension and pandemic issues, its financial status looks pretty healthy, and I wondered why it couldn’t pay for its own solar farm. Who or what is UKRPIF, and why is it paying for this, together with eight other projects?

UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UKRPIF)

It turns outvi that the UKRPIF “supports investment in higher education facilities across the UK” and that “Universities must attract a further £2 from non-public sources for every £1 invested by the fund.” It is a taxpayer-funded body, with a budget of £900 million awarded to 53 projects across six rounds since 2012.

It works with nine Councils to distribute funds and support various projects. Some of it sounds worthwhile, and against the backdrop of massive net zero and climate change funding by the UK government (i.e. the UK taxpayer) and UK energy users, it is arguably all rather modest. What interests me, however, is the way in which the themes of climate change and net zero have infested the public space and run through almost everything. Seek funding for something? Link it to climate change and/or net zero, and it’s not a problem. Let’s take a look at the nine Councils that underpin UKRPIF.

Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)

According to its websitevii:

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funds world-class researchers in a wide range of arts and humanities areas, from philosophy and the creative industries to art conservation and product design.

Our research addresses some of society’s biggest challenges such as tackling modern slavery and understanding the ethical implications of artificial intelligence. It also drives growth in the creative economy, and reveals new stories from the national collections held in the UK’s world-renowned museums and galleries.

Depending on your point of view, this may or may not be a good use of taxpayer funds. I express no opinion on that here, but I do observe that whatever the objectives of, and justification for, a publicly-funded organisation, climate change is never far away: “Why are the arts and humanities vital to tackling climate change?”viii Why indeed? Apparently:

We need to look at issues that resonate on a local level as well as the impacts of climate change thousands of miles from our homes…In this context, issues of justice and ethics are central to climate change discourse…Bringing diversity of voices to the fore as well as challenging generalisations in climate debate is what makes arts and humanities research so distinct and so necessary…

I’m not sure I’m convinced. No doubt it requires funding, whatever it all means.

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)

BBSRC invests to push back the frontiers of biology and deliver a healthy, prosperous and sustainable future.ix

Well, that sounds very worthy, but what about net zero? Ah, here it is: ”Where livestock agriculture fits in a net-zero futurex. At least there is recognition of some inconvenient truths that many net-zero campaigners/climate worriers seem keen to ignore:

Ruminant livestock (animals such as cows and sheep), have digestive systems that naturally produce methane. The challenge is how emissions from livestock farming can be minimised whilst also maintaining global food and nutrition security.

Meat remains an important source of protein for many people around the world. In 2018 to 2019, the average UK adult consumed per day:

  • 24 grams of red meat
  • 36 grams of white meat
  • 22 grams of fish.

The UK’s climate and a large proportion of its soils are more suited to grassland than arable cropland.

Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)

You have probably worked out by now that I am not totally on-board with a lot of the touchy-feely stuff, so I can’t say I’m a completely committed fan of this sort of thing:

ESRC is the UK’s largest funder of economic, social, behavioural and human data sciencexi.

Whatever I think of it, there is – of course – a climate change angle to this stuff:

ESRC supports the creation of new insights from research and datasets into climate change and sustainability in areas such as land use, transport, sustainable resources and infrastructures, food, water and energy. Our funding is helping the UK to meet its climate and sustainability goalsxii.

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

EPSRC creates knowledge in engineering and physical sciences for UK capability to benefit society and the economyxiii.

OK, that sounds good. I’m a bit more on board with that. But what about net zero? Oh, good – another acronym:

An introduction to the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Engineering Net Zero (ENZ) week. ENZ is a collaborative series of events with researchers, key industry partners and policy makers. It will showcase the key role engineering and physical sciences research must play in achieving both the UK and global net zero targetsxiv.

Well, if you must, but what does it all cost?

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is the main UK government agency for funding research and training in engineering and the physical sciences, investing more than £850 million a year in a broad range of subjects – from mathematics to materials science, and from information technology to structural engineeringxv.

Innovate UK

What a disappointment – no acronym.

Innovate UK is the UK’s national innovation agency. We support business-led innovation in all sectors, technologies and UK regions. We help businesses grow through the development and commercialisation of new products, processes, and services, supported by an outstanding innovation ecosystem that is agile, inclusive, and easy to navigatexvi.

We get the picture by now, but what about climate change? Fear not, it’s there in spades:

Innovate UK’s £5m competition funds climate change financial riskxvii.

There’s more money (and another QUANGO) herexviii:

Have an innovative product or service that helps to integrate climate and environmental factors into financial decision-making?From 17th January 2022 you can apply to Innovate UK for a scoping project up to £50,000 for up to 3 months. £1.5 million is available in this first phase. Up to 30 phase 1 prototype projects will be funded.The second phase will see up to 10 contracts awarded from successful phase 1 applicants. Up to £1m will be allocated for each contract for up to 9 months, in order to demonstrate the product or service with an end user or customer. The UK Centre for Greening Finance & Investment will be supporting Innovate UK and the winners. The competition is intended to help accelerate a new generation of commercial sustainable finance data and analytics providers in the UK.

Or how about some “green bonds”?

The Green Finance Institute and Abundance Investment, supported by UK100, Local Partnerships and Innovate UK, today launch a national campaign to help local authorities issue a type of municipal finance investment – Local Climate Bonds. The campaign will target all 404 local authorities in the UK, of which over 70% have declared a climate emergency, helping them bring to market this retail investment product – a cost-effective way for them to fund hundreds of green local projects in the run-up to and beyond the critically important COP26 summit in Novemberxix.

Medical Research Council (MRC)

Who could object to this? Not I:

MRC funds research at the forefront of science to prevent illness, develop therapies and improve human healthxx.

Despite the fact that cold kills more people both in the UK and globally than does heat or anything to do with climate change (as the paper cited below says – In temperate areas such as northern Europe, east Asia, and Australia, the less intense warming and large decrease in cold-related excess would induce a null or marginally negative net effect), fear not – there is always a climate change angle, and the MRC will fund it:

Projections of temperature-related excess mortality under climate change scenariosxxi.

Needless to say:

This work was primarily supported by the Medical Research Council-UK (grant MR/M022625/1).

Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)

NERC is the driving force of investment in environmental sciencexxii.

I’m guessing climate change and net zero are right up your street, then? Thought so:

Force of nature: solutions for net zero, economy and societyxxiii.

Will it cost us much? Well, there’s this:

NERC invests £40 million in a green future for the UKxxiv.

Research England

We are responsible for funding and engaging with English higher education providers, to create and sustain the conditions for a healthy and dynamic research and knowledge exchange system in the higher education sectorxxv.

Perhaps it’s just me, but it sounds as though there might be a bit of overlap here with what some of the others say they do. Still, you can’t have too many QUANGOS, I suppose, especially when there’s cash to splash.

Leading UK research facilities to move closer to net zeroxxvi.

And how is this to be achieved? Spending taxpayers’ money, of course:

Funding has been made available through a pilot initiative to explore how existing UKRPIF-funded research centres and facilities can be enhanced to address net zero carbon emissions targets.

Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)

And what do you do? Oh good, you have a mission:

STFC’s mission is to deliver world-leading national and international research and innovation capabilities and, through those, discover the secrets of the Universe. Our major research and innovation campuses at Harwell, Daresbury and research facilities across the UK support fundamental research in astronomy, physics and space sciencexxvii.

You haven’t mentioned climate change, but I suppose it’s in there somewhere. Yup:

Prototype for game-changing ammonia plantxxviii.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has awarded around £284,000 to the team, through its Net Zero Innovation Portfolio Low Carbon Hydrogen Supply 2 [NZIPLCHS2?] competition. The team aims to use this funding to create a complete and ready-made design for industry.

Responding to climate change

I thought this claimxxix was rather amusing, and more than a little far-fetched:

For more than 50 years, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), its councils and predecessors have worked to understand, tackle and mitigate the effects of climate change, and embed evidence in decision making and climate policy.

More than 50 years? Really? I seem to remember that the early 1970s was a time when we were told that we were heading towards another Ice Age.

Conclusion

Never mind carbon capture. I think the organs of the state have been captured by the green blob.

Endnotes

i https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-61521460

ii https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-york-north-yorkshire-61456580

iii https://www.yorkvision.co.uk/archived/tuition-fee-rise-fuels-uni-profits-2/29/10/2013

iv https://features.york.ac.uk/annual-report-2020/

v https://www.york.ac.uk/media/staffhome/marketing/corporatepublications/Final%20Annual%20Report%202019%202020.pdf

vi https://www.ukri.org/

vii https://www.ukri.org/about-us/ahrc/who-we-are/

viii https://www.ukri.org/blog/why-are-the-arts-and-humanities-vital-to-tackling-climate-change/

ix https://www.ukri.org/councils/bbsrc/

x https://www.ukri.org/about-us/how-we-are-doing/research-outcomes-and-impact/bbsrc/where-livestock-agriculture-fits-in-a-net-zero-future/

xi https://www.ukri.org/councils/esrc/

xii https://www.ukri.org/what-we-offer/browse-our-areas-of-investment-and-support/climate-change-and-sustainability/

xiii https://www.ukri.org/councils/epsrc/

xiv https://www.ukri.org/blog/engineering-net-zero/

xv https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/engineering-and-physical-sciences-research-council

xvi https://www.ukri.org/councils/innovate-uk/

xvii https://www.ukri.org/news/innovate-uks-5m-competition-funds-climate-change-financial-risk/

xviii https://www.cgfi.ac.uk/2022/01/1-5-million-innovate-uk-fund-for-scoping-projects/

xix https://www.greenfinanceinstitute.co.uk/news-and-insights/local-climate-bonds-a-cost-effective-way-to-raise-billions-for-councils-green-plans-says-new-campaign/

xx https://www.ukri.org/councils/mrc/

xxi https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5729020/

xxii https://www.ukri.org/councils/nerc/

xxiii https://www.ukri.org/about-us/how-we-are-doing/research-outcomes-and-impact/nerc/force-of-nature-solutions-for-net-zero-economy-and-society/

xxiv https://www.ukri.org/news/nerc-invests-40-million-in-a-green-future-for-the-uk/

xxv https://www.ukri.org/councils/research-england/

xxvi https://www.ukri.org/news/leading-uk-research-facilities-to-move-closer-to-net-zero/

xxvii https://www.ukri.org/councils/stfc/

xxviii https://www.ukri.org/news/prototype-for-game-changing-ammonia-plant/

xxix https://www.ukri.org/news-and-events/responding-to-climate-change/

via Climate Scepticism

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May 22, 2022 at 06:59AM