May 19, 1780 – New England’s Black Friday

On May 19, 1780 the sky was black as night in New England due to massive wildfires in Canada. Forest Fires – Google Books The New England Dark Day, May 19, 1780 – New England Historical Society CSIRO PUBLISHING | … Continue reading

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June 30, 2022 at 01:49AM

Mountain Valley Pipeline: 94 Percent Complete, FERC 6 Percent Incomplete

“Since the start of construction, industry opponents have continued to challenge MVP’s previously authorized and issued permits through ongoing litigation, placing their specific policy agendas above that of environmental protection and national energy security.”

This post simply reviews an interstate gas pipeline project that is stymied at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Almost complete, this is Biden energy policy in full view. The facts follow.

Overview of Project

As proposed, the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) project is a natural gas pipeline system that spans approximately 303 miles from northwestern West Virginia to southern Virginia – and as an interstate pipeline will be regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)….

With a vast supply of natural gas from Marcellus and Utica shale production, the Mountain Valley Pipeline is expected to provide up to two million dekatherms per day [two billion cubic feet (Bcf) per day] of firm transmission capacity to markets in the Mid- and South Atlantic regions of the United States…. As stated in the formal application, Mountain Valley Pipeline has secured firm commitments for the full capacity of the MVP project under 20-year contracts. 

The pipeline will be governed by the United States Natural Gas Act, which requires a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity from the FERC before construction can commence. As currently planned, the pipeline will be up to 42 inches in diameter and will require approximately 50 feet of permanent easement (with up to 125 feet of temporary easement during construction).  As proposed, the project will require three compressor stations, with identified locations in Wetzel, Braxton, and Fayette counties of West Virginia. For more information, please visit our FAQ’s page.

Project To-Date

On October 23, 2015, Mountain Valley filed a formal application with the FERC for approval to construct, own, and operate the Mountain Valley Pipeline. The application requesting the FERC Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity was received and the MVP project was issued Docket Number CP16-10 on November 5, 2015. On September 16, 2016, the FERC issued the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the MVP project and on October 13, 2016, the MVP project team filed an updated route with the FERC, known as the MVP October 2016 Proposed Route, which reflected numerous route adjustments to mitigate concerns raised during public comment periods.

On June 23, 2017, the FERC issued the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the MVP project. The FEIS considers and includes the analyzed data from civil and environmental surveys that have been conducted, as well as the comments, considerations, and concerns of landowners, community members, government agencies, and located elected officials along the proposed route.

On Friday, October 13, 2017, the FERC issued a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) project. This Certificate follows more than three years of project planning, development, and review; and it recognizes the clear public need for this important energy infrastructure project. The MVP team has worked diligently with stakeholders, including landowners, community members, local officials, and state and federal agencies, to identify the best possible route for the proposed 303-mile underground pipeline. The Certificate comes after the FEIS, issued in June 2017, which concluded that adverse environmental impacts from construction/operation would be reduced to less-than-significant levels with the implementation of FERC-recommended mitigation measures. The FEIS also noted MVP’s adoption of hundreds of route adjustments, the majority of which were based on various landowner requests, avoidance of sensitive and/or cultural and historic resources, or engineering considerations.

MVP construction began in 2018 after the project secured each of its necessary permits and authorizations. By spring 2021, total project work for MVP was roughly 92 percent complete, which included all work on the project’s three compressor stations and its three original interconnect facilities, with the additional Greene interconnect mechanically complete, as well as roughly 265 miles of pipe welded and in-place, and half of the right-of-way fully restored.

Since the start of construction, industry opponents have continued to challenge MVP’s previously authorized and issued permits through ongoing litigation, placing their specific policy agendas above that of environmental protection and national energy security. These challenges have caused not only delays for the project, but more importantly have caused lengthier, unnecessary disruption for property owners along the route and inhibited MVP’s ability to complete the project and fully restore the right-of-way, which is the best method of environmental protection.

On May 4, 2021, Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC adjusted its schedule and total project cost for the MVP project. The project team is targeting a full in-service during the summer of 2022, at a total project cost of approximately $6.2 billion. Currently, MVP has all necessary permits with exception of those needed to cross waterbodies and wetlands. The project team is working collaboratively with federal and state authorities on a modified crossings approach, which would use a combination of trenchless and open-cut crossing methods.

As our nation addresses climate change, MVP will play an important role in our transition to a lower-carbon economy, and we are committed to satisfying all regulatory requirements and safely building and operating this important natural gas transmission pipeline.

The post Mountain Valley Pipeline: 94 Percent Complete, FERC 6 Percent Incomplete appeared first on Master Resource.

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June 30, 2022 at 01:08AM

Extreme temperatures linked to nearly 1 million deaths

Guest Essay by Kip Hansen – 30 June 2022

The esteemed journal Science carries this story from Latin America in Climate section:

Extreme temperatures in major Latin American cities could be linked to nearly 1 million deaths

“An increase of 1°C could mean thousands of additional deaths on very hot days, according to a new study”  by Rodrigo Pérez Ortega

It leads with:

“In mid-January, the southern tip of South America suffered its worst heat wave in years. In Argentina, temperatures in more than 50 cities rose above 40°C [ 104°F ], more than 10°C [ 18°F ] warmer than the typical average temperature in cities such as Buenos Aires. The scorching heat sparked wildfires, worsened a drought, hurt agriculture, and temporarily collapsed Buenos Aires’s electrical power supply. It also killed at least 3 people, although experts estimate the true number might be much higher.

With climate change, heat waves and cold fronts are worsening and taking lives worldwide: about 5 million in the past 20 years, according to at least one study. In a new study published today in Nature Medicine, an international team of researchers estimates that almost 900,000 deaths in the years between 2002 and 2015 could be attributable to extreme temperatures alone in major Latin American cities. This is the most detailed estimate in Latin America, and the first ever for some cities.”

There is a study!  A real study published in nature medicine  authored by Josiah L. Kephart  and eleven others.  “City-level impact of extreme temperatures and mortality in Latin America” [ .pdf here ].

Let’s start with the abstract and compare it to the lede in Science.

“Climate change and urbanization are rapidly increasing human exposure to extreme ambient temperatures, yet few studies have examined temperature and mortality in Latin America. We conducted a nonlinear, distributed-lag, longitudinal analysis of daily ambient temperatures and mortality among 326 Latin American cities between 2002 and 2015. We observed 15,431,532 deaths among ≈2.9 billion person-years of risk. The excess death fraction of total deaths was 0.67% (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.58–0.74%) for heat-related deaths and 5.09% (95% CI 4.64–5.47%) for cold-related deaths. The relative risk of death was 1.057 (95% CI 1.046–1.067%) per 1 °C higher temperature during extreme heat and 1.034 (95% CI 1.028–1.040%) per 1 °C lower temperature during extreme cold. In Latin American cities, a substantial proportion of deaths is attributable to nonoptimal ambient temperatures. Marginal increases in observed hot temperatures are associated with steep increases in mortality risk. These risks were strongest among older adults and for cardiovascular and respiratory deaths.”

One of the amusing things we see right off is the use of Large Numbers:  15,431,532 deaths, 2.9 billion person-years of risk.  Well, they have a huge population over a very large area (1.5 continents) over 13 years during which 15.4 million people died.   But what of the results?

The excess death fraction of total deaths was 0.67% (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.58–0.74%) for heat-related deaths

The excess death fraction of total deaths was 5.09% (95% CI 4.64–5.47%) for cold-related deaths

Bottom Line: Excess Death Fraction for cold-related deaths is 7.5 times higher than for heat-related death.

And for Relative Risk (RR) change per 1°C change in highest/lowest temperature?

The relative risk of death was 1.057 (95% CI 1.046–1.067%) per 1 °C higher temperature during extreme heat and 1.034 (95% CI 1.028–1.040%) per 1 °C lower temperature during extreme cold.

Bottom Line: While the study makes a big deal about the difference in these two RRs, with a difference of only 0.023 – they are in terms of medical science, often considered identical. 

There is no reason, however, to believe that this small difference is not real.  It may just show that human bodies have a different limit responses to small changes at highest and lowest temperatures when averaged across a large enough population. 

At very turn in this paper, the authors make the attempt to make heat the villain despite the far greater risk of dying from cold:

“Overall, a substantially higher proportion of deaths is attributable to ambient cold than to ambient heat, which corroborates findings from similar analyses in other settings. A 2021 analysis by Zhao et al. estimated temperature–mortality associations in 750 locations from 43 countries (including 66 locations in Latin America and the Caribbean), and extrapolated these estimates glob ally at 0.5° × 0.5° grid size (approximately 55 × 55 km2 at the equator) using meta-predictors. The Zhao et al. study reported global EDFs of 8.52% for cold and 0.91% for heat for all-age, all-cause mortality. This global EDF for cold (8.52%) is almost twice our estimated EDF for cold within Latin American cities (4.71%).”

And

“A 2017 study, which included 32 locations in Mexico, Brazil and Chile, projected that, under multiple climate-change scenarios, midcentury decreases in cold-related mortality would approximately counterbalance increases in heat-related mortality, yet by the end of the twenty-first century overwhelming heat-related mortality would cause a substantial net increase in temperature-related excess mortality.”

[ Yes, that 2017 study finding uses RCP8.5. – kh ]

The Pérez Ortega study we are looking at today summarizes its findings in this table:

I have written about Cause of Death and its uses in studies more than once:    Cause of Death: A Primer and Cause of Death: Follow-up.  This study is not about heat deaths or cold deaths.  It is about All Cause Deaths with details about the major causes: Cardiovascular Deaths, Respiratory Deaths, and Respiratory Infection Death with breakouts for All Ages and Ages 65+.  

This study does not even consider categories of deaths causes by extremes of temperature, hot or cold.  There are cause of death codes for excessive natural heat “2022 ICD-10-CM Diagnosis Code X30 Exposure to excessive natural heat” and cold “2022 ICD-10-CM Diagnosis Code X31 Exposure to excessive natural cold”.   Quite simply, they did not count people killed by heat or people killed by cold, at all, not one.

The question the study asks and tries to answer is “Do more people than normal die in Latin America when it is unusually hot or when it is unusually cold?”

What they fail to ask and fail to analyze are the most likely culprits in the issue itself:  what are the poverty and development levels in the cities studied?  Surely poverty and lack of development — lack of electricity, lack of clean water, lack of appropriate housing and lack of even basic healthcare and social support have far more impact on the extreme numbers of “temperature related deaths” than the temperatures themselves.  

BOTTOM LINE:  While it comes as no surprise, this study confirms that more people die when ambient temperatures are at extreme levels (much higher or much lower than usual) for the locality.  This study confirms that far more die when it is unusually extremely cold than when it is unusually extremely hot.  This is a fact affecting older people (65+) more than younger people and these excess deaths are a result of heart (cardiovascular) and breathing (respiratory) problems – but do not from directly from the heat or cold itself.

# # # # #

Author’s Comment:

Readers here already know that cold kills far more than heat.  This study finds this to be true once again.  The authors have made feeble attempts – not based on their own study but on speculative RCP8.5 studies – to claim that this will cause more, not less, future deaths if general climates continue to warm. 

As with all studies that use All Cause mortality, there is no “cause” found, only various vaguely related correlations.  All Cause Mortality is one of the absolutely worst indicators to be used in such studies and is used, quite frankly, because it is easyCause of Death is hard, complicated, complex, and records of ICD-10 codes are unreliable (doctors are in a hurry or doctors lie…).   It is hard to determine the real causes of individual deaths but easy to determine and count dead bodies. 

We already knew that more people, particular (us) old folks die when it is very hot or very cold.  We already knew that far more die when it is very cold than when very hot.  I am not convinced that this study found anything that makes mankind more knowledgeable or anything that will help policy makers in nations or localities set better policy to make a better world.  In that sense, this study is “useless”.

# # # # #

 

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June 30, 2022 at 12:27AM

Claim: data exists showing polar bear body condition improves over summer on sea ice

Do polar bears increase their body condition if they stay on the sea ice over the summer? Do they continue to hunt successfully from broken ice in July and early August in areas like Hudson Bay where ice eventually melts out completely? There seems to be an assumption that they do but one polar bear specialists repeatedly claims there is data showing this is the case.

A polar bear breaks through thin Actic Ocean ice Aug. 23, 2009.

Anyone saying sea ice at this time of year doesn’t affect polar bears is ignoring research showing their body condition continues to increase through summer if they’re out on the ice.” [Andrew Derocher 28 June 2022]

I would seriously like to know which paper or papers this data appears in but of course, he doesn’t provide that information. Instead, it’s ‘trust me, I’m the expert’.

[See a similar claim from 2019, in which he claims there is “new research” showing that bears continue to accumulate fat stores in July (“more July sea ice=fatter polar bears”), but he doesn’t say where we can find those research results.]

I contend from my review of the literature that explicit ‘before and after’ measurements of the same polar bears in spring (at mid-May) and fall after a summer on the ice have not been reported. I contend polar bear specialists assume that all polar bears which spend the summer (i.e. July-September) on sea ice either gain weight or lose much less weight than if they’d been on land eating nothing but they do not actually know this is true. If I’m wrong, show me the data and I’ll revise my statements on the topic.

The only published paper of which I am aware that looks like it provides this information is a report on a study from 1983-1994 in the Southern Beaufort Sea.

“Bears of similar length were consistently heavier in autumn than in spring.” [Durner and Amstrup 1996:483]

Note that the researchers did not capture the same bears in spring and fall: they captured a different set of bears in each season. As a consequence, the data does not prove that individual bears gained weight over the summer, as researchers may assume.

Moreover, because the purpose of the study was to generate a formula for predicting the mass of bears based on girth and length measurements (because weighing bears in the field is difficult), the authors don’t tell us how much heavier the bears were in autumn, only that the difference was statistically significant for their model, not biologically significant for the bears. Was it 2-3kg or 20-30kg? They didn’t say.

Because we cannot know from this study how much more individual bears weighed in the autumn vs. the spring, it is not possible to assess whether the vaguely described ‘additional weight’ measured for bears in general should be interpreted as proof of a net survival benefit to individual bears. Certainly, the study authors didn’t claim a benefit.

In a similar vein, Derocher repeatedly states that Western Hudson Bay bears that stay out longer on broken sea ice through July and early August continue to hunt seals and thus add to their overall survival benefit: he said so again today.

But the video below shows why polar bears are rarely successful at hunting adult seals during the summer on broken ice, whether in the Barents Sea or on Hudson Bay. [Hungry Polar Bear Ambushes Seal | The Hunt | BBC Earth, 30 June 2017]

References

Durner, G. M. and Amstrup, S.C. 1996. Mass and body-dimension relationships of polar bears in northern Alaska. Wildlife Society Bulletin 24(3):480-484. https://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/70185398

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June 29, 2022 at 11:57PM