Paris Agreement cuts just one twentieth of a degree


This is the reality of efforts to alter the climate of the planet: huge expense for almost no result.

Bjorn Lomborg’s 2016 paper on the impact of current climate proposals (full text here) reveals that the trillions of dollars that the world is spending on climate change mitigation will result in a tiny fraction of a degree difference in the global temperature by the end of the century.

A tiny fraction of a degree that will be swamped by natural variation anyway.

This must be the worst value for money ever – in the history of the planet.

Lomborg writes ($) on the Paris agreement in The Australian today:

President Donald Trump’s withdrawal of the US from the Paris climate agreement leaves his country without a global warming policy. That is alarming. But the world’s response — to double down on the pact in opposition to Trump — should also cause concern. There have been two conflicting responses to Trump’s decision — often heard from the very same person.

[Read more…]

Attempts to cut CO2 are futile – and expensive


Blondie Bjorn

Blondie Bjorn

Bjorn Lomborg makes a sound case for abandoning attempts to cut CO2, and instead look at investing in R & D for renewable energy sources. Even if you accept the worst predictions of the AGW alarmists, it still does not make sense to slash emissions.

All the planet’s efforts to reduce CO2 emissions have passed virtually unnoticed by the atmosphere and climate. The pointlessness of it all is summed up by Lomborg’s claim that the current EU climate policy will cost $20 trillion over the century, and will reduce global temperatures by 0.05 degrees C. How about that for a cost/benefit result?

I have always believed that strong economies lead to strong research and industry, which will lead more quickly to competitive renewable energy sources. The opposite, slashing CO2 emissions and strangling economies, means that such developments will take longer, and in the mean time, the population will suffer unnecessarily.

He writes:

Global warming is a problem for the future but a benefit now. Lots of people like to point out that global warming means more deaths from heat waves, but they forget that fewer die from cold. In Britain and almost everywhere, more people die from cold than from heat.

Likewise, higher temperatures mean higher costs for air-conditioning but lower costs for heating. Temperature rises will push some crops beyond their optimal range and reduce yields, but CO2 in the atmosphere acts as a fertiliser and has increased global yields significantly.

When economists estimate the net damage from global warming as a percentage of gross domestic product, they find it will indeed have an overall negative impact in the long run but the impact of moderate warming (1C-2C) will be beneficial. It is only towards the end of the century, when temperatures have risen much more, that global warming will turn negative. One peer-reviewed model estimates that it will turn into a net cost only by 2070.

We need to stop claiming that it will be the end of the world. Just as it is silly to deny man-made global warming, it is indefensible to describe it as the biggest calamity of the 21st century.

Here is how to quantify this. The most well-known economic model of global warming is the DICE model by William Nordhaus, of Yale University. It calculates the total costs (from heat waves, hurricanes, crop failure and so on) as well as the total benefits (from cold waves and CO2 fertilisation). If you compare these over the next 200 years, the total cost of global warming is estimated at about $33 trillion.

While this is not a trivial number, you have to put it in context. Over the next 200 years, global GDP will run to about $2200 trillion, so global warming constitutes a loss of about 1.5 per cent of this figure. This is not the end of the world but a problem that needs to be solved.

Next, consider CO2 levels. With huge, green subsidies showing up on our electricity bills, you would be excused for believing that we have managed to cut CO2 substantially. You would be wrong. Global CO2 has risen relentlessly since 1950. In 1997 the Kyoto protocol put legally binding limits on rich-country emissions. But Kyoto and all our fine policies have had no real impact. The only indication of a CO2 reduction was in 2009 when the global recession put us on track to fulfil Kyoto. Had the recession continued, we might have been able to achieve Kyoto.

Not surprisingly, such a policy has no appeal for politicians or voters in the real world.

Kyoto set a target of 36.6 per cent for the rise in global emissions since 1990. In fact they have gone up by 45.4 per cent. With no Kyoto at all, they would have increased by only about half a percentage point to 45.9 per cent. Put simply, the past two decades of climate discussions have had virtually no impact on global emissions.

The latest peer-reviewed overview of the 311 published estimates show that the entire cost of the most likely future damage is about $5 a tonne. This means that cutting CO2 for less than $5 a tonne is probably a good idea, whereas cutting for more is probably a bad deal.

Unfortunately, almost all policies for fighting global warming are bad deals by this $5 yardstick. Most large nations have managed to enact climate policies for electricity that cost a lot more than the good they do.

China has one of the most efficient climate policies on electricity. Yet it still pays about $46 to cut a tonne of CO2, which is nearly eight times more than the global, long-term benefits. Australia pays about half a billion dollars to cut less than 5 per cent of its electricity emissions, paying about $72 a tonne of CO2, or almost 15 times too much. On biofuels, the excess is even greater and emission reductions even smaller. Australia pays 73 times too much at $364 a tonne of CO2, cutting just 0.1 per cent of its total emissions at a cost of $144m. The US pays a staggering 133 times too much, at $666 a tonne of CO2, costing $17.5bn a year and cutting just 0.5 per cent of its total emissions. (source)

So Australia is paying $364 to solve every $5 worth of problems. An efficiency Gillard and Labor would be proud of.

Lomborg on extreme weather myths


© Scientific American

Climate sense

UPDATE: Australia’s own local alarmism “sausage factory”, CSIRO, comes up trumps right on cue, predicting “more droughts, floods and cyclones” as a result of “global warming”:

“SOUTH Pacific island nations will be hit by almost twice as many droughts, floods and extreme tropical cyclones over the next 80 years due to global warming, according to research led by the CSIRO.

The study, published in Nature today, suggests that the countries will face an even tougher time adapting to climate change than previously thought. Most previous studies have focused on sea level rise.” (source)

Apparently, they selected the best climate models (translation: least worst) and used those. So that’s OK, then.

As has been said many times on this blog, there is no weather condition that would not be “consistent with” some global warming model somewhere or other. More rain: global warming. More drought: global warming. More snow: global warming. Less snow: global warming. Etcetera etcetera.

So whenever there is an episode of extreme weather, the alarmists crawl out of their holes to link it to “global warming” in order to advance The Cause™. As always, we should ask what weather would “not be consistent” with their projections? None. Zip. Nada. It’s our old friend the unfalsifiable hypothesis again. Not so much science as astrology.

Bjørn Lomborg, writing in The Australian, takes apart the latest hysteria in the US over links between extreme weather and climate change:

A hot, dry summer (in some places) has triggered another barrage of such claims. And, while many interests are at work, one of the players that benefits the most from this story is the media: the notion of “extreme” climate simply makes for more compelling news.

Consider Paul Krugman, writing breathlessly in The New York Times about the “rising incidence of extreme events” and how “large-scale damage from climate change is happening now”.

He claims that global warming caused the current drought in the US midwest and that supposedly record-high corn prices could cause a global food crisis.

But the UN climate panel’s latest assessment tells us precisely the opposite: for “North America, there is medium confidence that there has been an overall slight tendency toward less dryness (wetting trend with more soil moisture and runoff)”.

Moreover, there is no way Krugman could have identified this drought as being caused by global warming without a time machine: climate models estimate that such detection will be possible by 2048, at the earliest.

[…]

Bill McKibben similarly frets in The Guardian and The Daily Beast about the midwest drought and corn prices.

Moreover, he confidently tells us that raging wildfires from New Mexico and Colorado to Siberia are “exactly” what the early stages of global warming look like.

In fact, the latest overview of global wildfire incidence suggests that, because humans have suppressed fire and decreased vegetation density, fire intensity has declined during the past 70 years, and is now close to its pre-industrial level.

When well-meaning campaigners want us to pay attention to global warming, they often end up pitching beyond the facts.

And while this may seem justified by a noble goal, such “policy by panic” tactics rarely work and often backfire.

Remember how, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Al Gore (and many others) claimed that we were in store for ever more devastating hurricanes?

Since then, hurricane incidence has dropped off the charts; indeed, by one measure, global accumulated cyclone energy has decreased to its lowest levels since the late 70s. Exaggerated claims merely fuel public distrust and disengagement. (source – paywalled)

In which case, I say to Krugman and McKibben: carry on!

Wind power fades before it even starts


Fitting end?

Wind power sums up green stupidity: it’s expensive, inefficient and ugly. And those are just the good points. It’s also utterly useless.

As such it is a perfect monument to the Greens – in a few years time the turbines will be silent, rusting away, unloved, past their sell-by date, and abandoned.

Yesterday, Bjørn Lomborg wrote in The Australian:

The use of wind turbines has increased tenfold during the past decade, with wind power often touted as the most cost-effective green opportunity. According to Connie Hedegaard, the European Union’s Commissioner for Climate Action, “People should believe that (wind power) is very, very cheap.”

In fact, this is a highly problematic claim. While wind energy is cheaper than other, more ineffective renewables, such as solar, tidal, and ethanol, it is nowhere near competitive. If it were, we wouldn’t have to keep spending significant sums to subsidise it. (source)

And earlier this month, the Global Warming Policy Foundation released a scathing report on the state of wind energy in the UK:

One of the UK’s leading energy and environment economists warns that wind power is an extraordinarily expensive and inefficient way of reducing CO2 emissions. In fact, there is a significant risk that annual CO2 emissions could be greater as a result of Britain’s flawed wind policies when compared with the option of investing in efficient and flexible gas combined cycle plants.

“The key problems with current policies for wind power are simple. They require a huge commitment of investment resources to a technology that is not very green, in the sense of saving a lot of CO2, but which is certainly very expensive and inflexible. Unless the current Government scales back its commitment to wind power very substantially, its policy will be worse than a mistake, it will be a blunder.” (source)

And the UK Daily Mail reports on the rusting wind farms on Hawaii (pictured):

If any spot was tailor-made for a wind farm it would surely be here. The gales are so strong and relentless on the tip of South Point that trees grow almost horizontally. 

Yet the 27-year-old Kamaoa Wind Farm remains a relic of the boom and inglorious bust of America’s so-called ‘wind rush’, the world’s first major experiment in wind energy.

At a time when the EU and the British Government are fully paid-up evangelists for wind power, the lesson from America — and the ghostly hulks on this far-flung coast — should be a warning of their folly. (source)

But no one’s listening. The mad dash to cover the landscape with wind turbines is a result not of careful consideration, but naive environmental ideology. And now Australian industry is suffering as a result:

STALLED investment in renewable energy has forced the country’s largest wind farm tower manufacturer to seek voluntary redundancies from up to 100 of its 450 staff.

Keppel Prince, based in Portland, in southwest Victoria, has experienced a drop in demand for wind farms while the other core part of its business, maintenance of Alcoa’s local aluminium smelter, is also suffering. 

General manager Steve Garner said the wind farm work would dry up in the next two months as production finished for the 140-turbine Macarthur wind farm and a smaller 13-turbine project.

“The wind energy industry’s promise of ‘project, project, project’ just hasn’t materialised,” he said. “There are just so many projects that are still in a state of limbo waiting to try and secure funding.”

The optimism of green energy companies has dimmed since the carbon tax legislation was passed last year, amid political uncertainty and growing concern over the forthcoming review of the 20 per cent by 2020 renewable energy target. The oversupply of renewable energy certificates has also held electricity retailers back from new investment. (source)

The unpalatable reality is that all renewable energy sources available at the moment are hideously uncompetitive and require massive government subsidies. If just a few percent of the billions (trillions?) wasted on climate mitigation globally were directed towards intensive research for genuinely effective and inexpensive renewable energy, we might make some progress (hint: it isn’t wind, solar, geothermal…)

Lomborg: emissions cuts are futile


© Scientific American

Climate sense

I agree with much of what Bjørn Lomborg writes, even though we might disagree on the magnitude of the problem we face. I also agree that investment in research into alternative energy sources, so that they might become genuinely competitive in the market, is far preferable to punishing energy use through carbon dioxide taxes – the carrot as opposed to the stick approach.

In the Wall Street Journal, he states the painfully obvious fact that, like Kyoto before it, any global deal to cut carbon dioxide emissions will have an almost imperceptible effect on the climate, and that a simple cost/benefit analysis would always favour adaptation over mitigation.

The Durban pit-stop in the endless array of climate summits has just ended, and predictably it reaffirmed the United Nations’ strong belief that the most important response to global warming is to secure a strong deal to cut carbon emissions.

What is almost universally ignored, however, is that if we want to help real people overcome real problems we need to focus first on adaptation.

The Durban agreement is being hailed as a diplomatic victory. Yet it essentially concedes defeat, leaving any hard decisions to the far end of the decade when other politicians will have to deal with it. For nearly 20 years, the international community has tried to negotiate commitments to carbon cuts, with almost nothing to show for it.

Even most rich countries don’t want to cut fossil fuels, because the alternatives are considerably more expensive. China, India and other emerging economies certainly do not want to, because putting the brakes on growth means consigning millions to poverty.

But even if such intractable issues could be magically resolved, any deal would have a negligible impact on climate. Even if we were to cut emissions by 50% below 1990-levels by 2050—an extremely unrealistic scenario— the difference in temperature would be less than 0.2 degrees Fahrenheit in 2050.(source)

(h/t Hockey Schtick)

Climate sense from Terry McCrann


Climate sense

Terry McCrann makes the very strong point that according to the Climate Commission, the science is settled and therefore the world will inevitably get warmer (because China and India will be increasing their emissions over the next decade). So, the argument goes, if we know that as a certainty, why are we flushing billions of dollars down the lavatory in a hopeless attempt to stop it, when we should be spending that money on adaptation? Don’t wait up for an answer from the warming zealots.

IF the science is as settled as climate commissioner Will Steffen asserts, then the Gillard government has only one rational policy option. It is the Lomborg solution.

It should immediately abandon all attempts to impose costly and inefficient wind and solar energy generation and, more broadly, abandon the 2020 target of cutting our greenhouse gas emissions by 5 per cent; with the redirection of all those freed resources to dealing with the perceived consequences of a hotter world.

Because it will get hotter; indeed, much hotter. That is to say, according to Steffen’s “settled science”. Because, simply put, global emissions in 2020 – at the end of Steffen’s “(absolutely) Critical Decade” – will be higher than they are today. Perhaps much higher.

The die will have been cast. For, according to Steffen and his settled science, that would then require the world to agree to cut global emissions by 9 per cent a year, every year from 2020, all the way to zero. That is, to total global decarbonisation in 30 years. And even that would only get us to a still 2 degrees hotter world. According to Steffen and his settled science.

You would have to rate the chances of doing that as zero. That a world that had allowed emissions to grow each year to 2020 would both agree to start cutting them immediately by 9 per cent a year, every year, and actually have a pathway to do that. Such an agreement is beyond even the most wishful of thinking.

As Danish statistician and “sceptical environmentalist” Bjorn Lomborg has consistently and persistently argued, the best course (for the world) is to adapt to short-term temperature rises rather than engage in futile and costly attempts to stop them.

Read it here.

Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO referred to National Audit Office


National Audit Office

I’m not sure how far this will get [probably not very far, given how every public body you care to mention seems to be infested with climate alarmists – Ed], but we can at least thank them for their efforts and wish them the best of luck – they’ll need it. From Jo Nova’s site:

A team of skeptical scientists, citizens, and an Australian Senator have lodged a formal request with the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) to have the BOM and CSIRO audited.

The BOM claim their adjustments are “neutral” yet Ken Stewart showed that the trend in the raw figures for our whole continent has been adjusted up by 40%. The stakes are high. Australians could have to pay something in the order of $870 million dollars thanks to the Kyoto protocol, and the first four years of the Emissions Trading Scheme was expected to cost Australian industry (and hence Australian shareholders and consumers) nearly $50 billion dollars.

Given the stakes, the Australian people deserve to know they are getting transparent, high quality data from the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM). The small cost of the audit is nothing in comparison with the money at stake for all Australians. We need the full explanations of why individual stations have been adjusted repeatedly and non-randomly, and why adjustments were made decadesafter the measurements were taken. We need an audit of surface stations. (Are Australian stations as badly manipulated and poorly sited as the US stations? Who knows?)

The NZ equivalent to the Australian BOM is under an official review

The New Zealand Climate Science Coalition found adjustments that were even more inexplicable (0.006 degrees was adjusted up to 0.9 degrees). They decided to push legally and the response was a litany of excuses — until finally The National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) was forced to disavow it’s own National Temperature Records, and belatedly pretend that it had never been intended for public consumption. But here’s the thing that bites: NZ signed the Kyoto protocol, arguably based very much on the NZ temperature record, and their nation owes somewhere from half a billion to several billion dollars worth of carbon credits (depending on the price of carbon in 2012). Hence there is quite a direct link from the damage caused by using one unsubstantiated data set based on a single student’s report that no one can find or replicate that will cost the nation a stack of money. NIWA is now potentially open to class actions. (Ironically, the Australian BOM has the job of “ratifying” the reviewed NZ temperature record.)

Thanks to work by Ken Stewart, Chris Gillham, Andrew Barnham, Tony Cox, James Doogue, David Stockwell, as well as Cory Bernardi, Federal Senator for South Australia.

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