A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).



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“Surprise” Climate change, 900ppm CO2, acidification is good news for squid

Squid, photo. MartinStr

Squid, “surprise” are going to do well with climate change. (If only it was going to happen).

In the new post-CO2 world, corn and soy may become weeds, but squid may take over the oceans:

Squid will survive and may even flourish under even the worst-case ocean acidification scenarios, according to a new study published this week.

Dr Blake Spady, from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (Coral CoE) at James Cook University (JCU), led the study. He said squid live on the edge of their environmental oxygen limitations due to their energy-taxing swimming technique. They were expected to fare badly with more carbon dioxide (CO2) in the water, which makes it more acidic.

No academic could have guessed that squid would have evolved ways to control their own blood pH:

“Their blood is highly sensitive to changes in acidity, so we expected that future ocean acidification would negatively affect their aerobic performance,” said Dr Spady.

Atmospheric CO2 concentrations have increased from 280 parts per million (ppm) before the industrial revolution to more than 400 ppm today. Scientists project atmospheric CO2 – and by extension CO2 in the oceans — may exceed 900 ppm by the end of this century unless current CO2 emissions are curtailed.

To researchers at safe-space-universities life is full of surprises:

But when the team tested two-toned pygmy squid and bigfin reef squid at JCU’s research aquarium, subjecting them to CO2 levels projected for the end of the century, they received a surprise.

“We found that these two species of tropical squid are unaffected in their aerobic performance and recovery after exhaustive exercise by the highest projected end-of-century CO2 levels,” said Dr Spady.

But unpaid bloggers who do a search with the words “squid evolution” find that while their ancestors knocked around since the Cambrian 500 million years ago, the ones today have had at least 60 million years of wild climate change to practice adapting. Though our knowledge is hampered somewhat by the tendency of boneless jelly-creatures to disintegrate. Even so, it turns out squid are hyper adaptable.

Throw out the genetics rule book! Squid edit their own RNA:

Octopus And Squid Evolution Is Officially Weirder Than We Could Have Ever Imagined

Signe Dean, Nature, March 2019

… it turns out that they and their cephalopod brethren evolve differently from nearly every other organism on the planet.

In a surprising twist, in April 2017 scientists discovered that octopuses, along with some squid and cuttlefish species, routinely edit their RNA (ribonucleic acid) sequences to adapt to their environment.

“The consensus among folks who study such things is Mother Nature gave RNA editing a try, found it wanting, and largely abandoned it,” Anna Vlasits reported for Wired.

But it looks like cephalopods didn’t get the memo. In 2015, researchers discovered that the common squid has edited more than 60 percent of RNA in its nervous system. Those edits essentially changed its brain physiology, presumably to adapt to various temperature conditions in the ocean.

Will we end up with an ocean full of squid?:

He said it may be an even greater boost for the squid as some of their predators and prey have been shown to lose performance under predicted climate change scenarios.

“We think that squid have a high capacity to adapt to environmental changes due to their short lifespans, fast growth rates, large populations, and high rate of population increase,” said Dr Spady.

The only thing researchers can say for sure after all those grants:

“The thing that is emerging with most certainty is that it’s going to be a very different world,” he said.

Jo’s prediction is everyone will just eat calamari. Especially sperm whales.

Sperm Whales

Check this out. Squid live everywhere from pole to pole, from shallow to deep. But look who’s coming to dinner according to the FAO Squid, Marine Resource Fact Sheet?

Estimates of global squid consumption by higher predators, especially sperm whales suggest that they consume a greater mass of squid than the total world catch of all marine species combined (Voss, 1973; Clarke, 1983).

If I read that correctly (and I’m dubious)– Sperm whales eat more squid than humans do of all fish, oysters, prawns, crabs and farmed fish, everything globally?

I had to check. Total human fisheries annual catch is 150 million tons. Sperm whales weigh up to 50 tons each and eat up to 900 kg a day.  So if there are 400,000 of them (and nobody really knows) that’s 360,000 tons of squid for dinner per day, or around 130 million tons a year. Oh! Touch and go. It may not be true today (though it might be if there are more Sperm whales) but it was true when those papers were published and annual human catches were only 50 million tons a year. wow.

Holy Calamari. Sperm whales are going to love climate change. So are squid.

Burn oil and save the whales.

Images: Squid, Martinspr, and Sperm Whale.


Blake L Spady, Tiffany J Nay, Jodie L Rummer, Philip L Munday, Sue-Ann Watson. Aerobic performance of two tropical cephalopod species unaltered by prolonged exposure to projected future carbon dioxide levelsConservation Physiology, 2019; 7 (1) DOI: 10.1093/conphys/coz024

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In a warming world we may get overun by cheap soy and corn

New research shows that the impending climate disaster puts the world in danger of growing too much corn and soy. People won’t know what starving is!

H/t to CO2Science

Qiao et al discovered that when temperatures are raised by a “catastrophic” 2 degrees C, and CO2 is raised to 700 unthinkable ppm corn (aka maize) increases its yield by a remarkable 25%. When hit by both high temperatures and extra CO2, soy bean yield increased even more — by 31%.

Presumably this means crop prices will fall and corn and soy may take over your garden. (So make sure you put in a solar panel to control those new weeds!)

Rumour that nutrient densities will fall — proved to be false. Increased temperature raised the oil content of both crops. And the combo of warmer weather plus CO2 increased most of the nutrients as well. Both crops had more phosphorus, potassium, iron, and zinc. There was a statistically small decrease in calcium in maize, so small it may not be there. The only mineral that definitely declined was manganese in soybeans, and as far as humans go,  there is apparently no one on Earth who has a clinical manganese deficiency due to diet. Not too concerning then.

Maize likes warm weather.  But soy likes extra CO2. Might have something to do with maize being a C4 plant with hot newly evolved genes for using CO2 and soy being one of the common old-model plants on C3 and in need of an upgrade.

Corn and Soy benefit from warming temperatures and co2. Graph. 2019

  • eT = elevated temperature
  • eTCO2 = elevated both T and CO2
  • Control = the poor plants that had to make do with normal temperature and CO2.

Keep reading  →

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Solar pain: Australia’s largest coal plant does unthinkable — tests switching off for lunchtime

UPDATE: Commenters point out that there is more to this story.

Shutting down Eraring (which is a term the operations manager there used) makes no sense at all, and they are probably talking of a “hot idle”, though they do that already, so it’s not a “totally new operating model” as described. Read their comments. Graeme No. 3. TonyfromOz and Lance below.


Solar power destroys efficiency of the rest of the system

Eraring Coal Plant, NSW. Photo, CSIRO

All this will sit around doing nothing? Eraring Coal Plant, NSW

The Eraring power plant produces up to  2,880 MW. That’s  20 per cent of Australia’s largest state’s (NSW) electricity and about the same (percentage-wise) as the entire fleet of 94 wind farms in Australia plus our couple-of-million solar panels. It’s been running four giant turbines almost non-stop for 35 years. But the intrusion of subsidized mass solar energy arriving in the middle of the day means it is now testing whether it should stop and start the turbines during lunch time. These turbines weigh hundreds of tons, and spin at 3,000 rpm.

There are hundreds of small and large hot metal parts with operating temperatures above 500 degrees C. As the temperature changes, all of those parts will expand and contract, and at slightly different rates. Because it spins 50 times a second, everything is finely tuned. There is no way maintenance costs will not be rising, and coal use per MW will rise too, just like a car in the city uses more fuel per mile than the same car in the country.

The great efficiency of scale of coal generation comes from doing one thing well and keeping on doing it.  Solar power provides nothing we don’t already have, and makes coal power run at higher cost. Massive solar infrastructure sits there doing nothing more than half the day. Now massive coal turbines are going to sit around uselessly for hours.

Green geniuses think this will be cheaper.

Renewables put old coal to the test

Perry Williams, The Australian

…after running the mega plant much the same way since it opened in 1982, running a coal generator more flexibly is no small feat. Unlike quick-start gas plants which are designed to fill gaps in the grid, the complex interplay between coal boilers, pipes, cooling towers and turbines pose a challenge for Eraring.

“It’s a totally different operating model,” Phillips says. “If you look at the valves and dampers and equipment out there, that traditionally sits in one spot and never moves. Now we’re asking it to move up and down and this sort of equipment can jam, get stuck, doesn’t operate, gets fatigued and generally wears out.

“The tests were designed to look at reliability issues to ensure that when the time comes we can do this day, in day out or, if needed, a few times a week.”

Moving Australia’s coal plant fleet to so-called “two shift” operations that Eraring is considering poses a raft of challenges, Wood says. “One of the potential problems is, if you do this with older plants it can actually make them worse in that they can become less stable and less efficient in burning coal, which can mean they produce even more emissions.”

 The headline could just as easily have been — Renewables reduce efficiency of reliable coal  or Solar makes low cost coal more expensive. There is no way Eraring can bid lower prices than it used to with less efficient operation and less hours to recoup the costs.

The duck curve pain is just beginning:

Solar Duck Curve, Australia.

This is just the new generation in Australia, Q1, 2019, AEMO.

Does anyone know what those 750MW Toshiba Steam Turbines weigh?  Plus photos or close-up of the motors? If anyone can help please email me direct at joanne AT this site domain. Thanks. Anonymity ensured if needed.

Photo of Eraring  By CSIRO, CC BY 3.0,

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Why the democrats don’t want a debate about climate change

Playing with Fire! Greenpeace are calling for a climate debate among democrats in the US presidential campaign (just like they never do with the science, eh?).

There are a billion sensible reasons the Democrats don’t want a climate debate

And it’s not because they’d lose debating science. There’s no chance they would debate science — every candidate already agrees there is a climate emergency de facto, or they’d be thrown out of the party. So, any debate would start with “what should we do” and instantly turn into a high risk competition to outbid each other. Who can promise more, squander more, or cry bigger tears on stage on cue?

DNC logoThe last thing on Earth the Democrats want is public policy analysis on climate change. Lord forbid, what if one candidate suggests “going nuclear” and starts pointing out how solar and wind are less effective at reducing CO2? There’s a danger democrat voters might be paying attention (unlike when a “fossil-fueled right winger” says the same thing). Democrats might learn what money-sucking boondoggles wind turbines and solar panels are, and how many birds, bats and forests get fried? That’s a big loser for the Big Gov team — they don’t want to air the flaws of the current golden subsidy train. Firstly, it exposes the bonfire of billions of dollars already wasted on pointless plans. Secondly, the punters might decide they actually want nukes, or super critical coal, or bargain auctions like the Australian direct action plan. And none of those help industries that depend solely on Big Gov, like uneconomic renewables. A friend in need is a fellow lobbyist indeed. Big-Gov-dependents always vote left, cheer left and provide a steady stream of press releases about “emergencies” that need more Big Gov Spending.

For Democrats climate is just virtue signalling — there are no numbers allowed

With climate, the only answer is “Yes”. Should we spend $2 billion or $10 Trillion? “Yes.” Their national carbon policy is balanced on namecalling rants so if it’s debated there’s a danger the entire climate facade could unravel. Both sides of the same debate can’t say yes and yes. Nor can they both call each other fossil fueled deniers. There goes the top two debating tricks.

Democrats want voters to “say yes to climate change” but not to discuss the non-existent cost benefits. As I’ve said many times, the voters may “believe” the climate is changing but they don’t care enough to pay for it. Only 3% of Americans name “environment” as top issue. When it comes to funding, almost half, 42%, of US adults don’t even want to pay a paltry, pathetic, $12 a year to stop climate change. Globally, 63% don’t want their dollars spent on the environment…

Climate change is a badge people want to wear but not to pay or vote for. In the US, all the political types noticed what happened in Australia:

The Climate Trap for Democrats

Rich Lowey, National Review

The political experience of other advanced democracies is a flashing red light. In Australia last month, the liberal opposition lost what was supposed to be “the climate change” election, against all expectations. Pre-election polling showed that about 60 percent of Australians thought the government should address climate change “even if this involves significant costs.” It turned out that it was one thing to tell that to pollsters and another to vote to make it happen.

Umair Irfan, Vox lists some of the DNC’s better excuses:

[Paul Bledsoe, was a former climate adviser to President Bill Clinton]… He added that centering a debate entirely on climate change could carry a political cost. “To somehow make a fetish of climate change as the sine qua non of the 2020 election would in fact fall into a trap which the Republicans are trying to create, which is a view of Democrats as concerned only about non-pocketbook issues,” Bledsoe said. “I applaud the DNC for having the political common sense not to have a debate devoted to a single topic, whatever the topic.”

The DNC are so afraid of debates, they don’t want any at all. Democrats are not even allowed to organise their own debates:

The DNC has created a long list of rules to govern who qualifies for the debate stage, setting thresholds for polling and fundraising. (Vox’s Andrew Prokop put together an excellent explainer about Democratic debate rules.) Among the rules is that a candidate who appears at an unofficial debate will be barred from the official debates. So even if a candidate decides to create their own debate event, be it about the climate crisis or otherwise, they stand to be excluded from the main stage (climate change “forums” and “town halls” are still permitted

 The pincers close on the Fashion of Climate Fear.

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The pace shifts: global demand for fossil fuels goes up so much people wonder if “peak coal” is yet to come?

The annual BP Statistical Review of World Energy has been released. Global demand for energy is speeding up again — mainly thanks to China, India and the US. Tellingly, all fuels — coal, oil, gas, nukes and hydro  — grew faster than their ten year averages, but not renewables. So the momentum has shifted back to fossil fuels, especially gas which was up a remarkable 5.3%, one of the fastest rates of growth in the last 40 years. Coal grew at 1.4% — twice as fast as the average for the last decade. Coal still supplies 27% of the total energy mix.

Is peak coal yet to come?

  Graham Lloyd, The Australian

“As a result, the peak in global coal consumption which many had thought had occurred in 2013 now looks less certain. Another couple of years of increases close to that seen last year would take global consumption (of coal) comfortably above 2013 levels,” the BP report said.                        

 Thank shale gas for saving the world eh?

…without shale gas in America and LNG exports to Asia, notably from Australia, greenhouse gas emissions would be much higher.                                                                         

Frack for the planet.

The story of 2019 is that though renewables have been growing at a blistering pace, the rate of increase is slowing, and it’s not keeping up with the growth in demand. Energy demand is up 2.9% but emissions were up 2%. Renewables growth isn’t fast enough to supply the extra demand and shrink total emissions.

UPDATE: Be aware everything after the dotted line in these graphs is a projection. Not real! See how small the renewables part is before the line…. h/t Bill in Oz.

BP Statistical Review, Graph, Fuel, nations.

Renewables (orange at the top) are not the main game in the major economies.


From BP

  • Primary energy consumption grew at a rate of 2.9% last year, almost double its 10-year average of 1.5% per year, and the fastest since 2010.
  • By fuel, energy consumption growth was driven by natural gas, which contributed more than 40% of the increase. All fuels grew faster than their 10-year averages, apart from renewables, although renewables still accounted for the second largest increment to energy growth.
  • China, the US and India together accounted for more than two thirds of the global increase in energy demand, with US consumption expanding at its fastest rate for 30 years. (Go Trump.)

Tell us again how coal is a stranded asset?

The huge Adani coal mine just got approval. It has a long future.

BP, Coal demand, Global, Graph. 2019

BP STatistical Review,

For Australians the word is “irrelevant”

The average player is increasing their emissions twice as fast as we are.

 Global carbon emissions rise twice as fast as ours

 Graham Lloyd, The Australian

BP said global emissions overall were up 2 per cent last year as the unexpected return to coal gathered pace.

The increase of 600 million tonnes of greenhouse gases from energy was greater than Australia’s total output.

The share of renewables in power generation increase from 8.4% to 9.3% but total electricity generation rose by 3.7%.


BP STatistical Review of World Energy — 2019 edition

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Gambit claim: UK discusses 10 hour working week for global climate control

The UK leads the way with more radical rain-dance

h/t  James Delingpole, Eric Worrall

If people work only one-day-a-week, they will need to spend the other six days growing food and feeding the chickens in their own back yards.

The head of the so-called conservative government, Theresa May, wants to spend $1,000 billion dollars on fashionable weather, and the leader of the opposition, who may be the next PM, says Brits should work less to save the world. Jeremy Corbyn’s plan last week was to cut working hours to 34 per week, and bring in lots of robots. This week, oh-so-conveniently, a Labour-leaning think tank announces that if a four day week was good, a one day week would be better, and if people worked 10 hours, and got paid 75% less, there will be no more droughts in England and the oceans will fall. Apparently money causes climate change.

Keep your eye on the ball — not on the gambit

The one working day plan is the usual wild gimmick, unmistakably timed to make Corbyn’s plan appear to be in the sensible center. It’s the bread and circuses marketing plan.

Radical scheme to tackle climate change

Rory Tingle, Mail online

Brits could work for just 10 hours a week and take home up to 75 per cent less pay under a radical scheme to tackle climate change being discussed by Labour.

The report by the Autonomy think-tank called for ‘rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society’ to cut carbon emissions, including dramatically limiting how long people spend at work.

Leo Murray, who advises shadow Treasury minister Clive Lewis, backed the report’s findings, saying: ‘I like this take a lot’.

UK FlagIt makes sense if you assume that humans are toxic enviro-monsters who harm the planet with every hour of work. Which is true for the renewables industry. Cutting hours installing useless intermittent infrastructure will save birds, bats, whales and forest. But making the nation poorer, by keeping sacred coal underground will just ensure the last tree is razed. If people work just one-day-a-week, they will need to spend the other six days growing food and feeding the chickens in their own back yards.

The left are masters of psychology and verbal wordplay but doomed by numbers and their desire to use force instead of persuasion. There are sensible things about Corbyns ideas (like increasing automation), but it’s inevitable he has to go and wreck them by making them mandatory. If people were as efficient on a four day week with a few extra robots, wouldn’t businesses want to do that voluntarily? Shouldn’t individual bosses and staff figure out what’s best for them?

The real solution to climate change lies off the political chart. First we have to figure out if there is a problem. Then ask if we need to do anything at all. We audit the data sets. We validate the climate models. Everything else is bread and circuses.

The real game — can the conservatives find a conservative PM:

Where are the sensible politicians, as Delingpole says:

Yet amazingly, none of the prospective candidates to replace Theresa May as Prime Minister is addressing this serious problem.

Rather, Michael Gove, Boris Johnson, Jeremy Hunt and the rest seem to be engaged in a competition as to who can demonstrate themselves to be most in thrall to the Ice Age 2-driven wisdom of the pigtailed, autistic child-goddess St Greta the Divine.

This is dangerous stuff.

The biggest issue in the UK this week is stopping May from gifting freeloading parasites with billions of dollars just like Kevin Rudd and Barack Obama did in their final weeks.

h/t also to Pat!

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Save the children, save the environment

UPDATE: This beautiful graphic doesn’t show on the home page in some browsers. Click to open the post.

Best way to protect the environment? Save the children. Cheap energy and clean water go a long way…

h/t @mattridley

When babies are at high risk of dying prematurely, parents respond by having lots of kids. Once medical conditions improve and infant mortality goes down parents have fewer kids. Overpopulation is solved by improving healthcare. Source:

— Simon Kuestenmacher (@simongerman600) June 6, 2019



The original creator was Robert Wilson‏ @countcarbon May 14 who went on to split the regions:


The data in the cool graphics come from GapMinder. Love those graphics!

So what will it be? On the one hand some predict the global population will level and start to decline this century. See Empty Planet: The Shock of Global Population Decline  by John Ibbitson and Darrell Bricker. They argue the global population is headed for a steep decline—and in many countries, that decline has already begun. Sounds interesting. Robert Wilson @countcarbon says fertility rates in Africa are coming down.

But all estimates hinge on how long it takes Africa to catch up in that demographic transition

The Hoover Institution warns:  Forecasting of Africa’s demographic trajectory based on expectations that it would follow the pattern of other regions has thus been badly misleading. …As can readily be seen, the UN fertility projections, based on analyzing the pattern of fertility decline in other developing regions, anticipated fertility reductions of .5 to 1 child per woman more than was actually observed. As the slow fertility decline in Africa continues to confound expectations, the adjustments to population projections can be dramatic.

United Nations’ World Population Prospects 2017

Exponential curves can be so persnickety. There are very different futures contained within the uncertainties.

PS: The outlier in the top graphic is apparently Barbados. At least that’s what someone said on twitter…

h/t Patrick H

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Fake Journalists are the real problem

h/t to Charles the moderator at WUWT

In the latest Pew survey of 6,000 Americans 50% see made-up news as a “very big problem” — on a par with violent crime and income inequality. Sadly 46% don’t realize “climate change” is fake news.

Not surprisingly more Republicans than Democrats worry about fake news.  In the “starkest” difference — while many people think the fake news comes from politicans –  60% of Republicans blame the journalists themselves, whereas only 20% of Democrats did.

Many Americans Say Made-Up News Is a Critical Problem That Needs To Be Fixed

Pew Research  (Google cache link because the proper link wasn’t working).

A solid majority of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (62%) say made-up news is a very big problem in the country today, compared with fewer than half of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents (40%). Republicans also register greater exposure to made-up news. About half of Republicans (49%) say they come across it often, 19 percentage points higher than Democrats (30%).

One of the starkest differences, though, is in assigning blame for creating made-up news and information. Republicans are nearly three times as likely as Democrats to say journalists create a lot of it (58% vs. 20%).

Republicans also place more blame on activist groups, with about three-quarters (73%) saying these groups create a lot, close to twice the rate of Democrats (38%).

Pew Survey, trust in media. 2019

News is so fake people are checking the facts themselves and cancelling subscriptions

Fake news means nearly 90% of  politically aware people are checking the facts of news stories themselves (compared to 70% of people who are not so into politics). But half of the people who are not interested in politics are just switching off the news. Most people will also stop getting news from a specific outlet. Trust in American media has been falling for years– especially with Republicans.

Here’s a slightly unnerving stat:

In addition, about eight-in-ten U.S. adults (79%) believe steps should be taken to restrict made-up news, as opposed to 20% who see it as protected communication.

The good news is that only 12% think the government should be fixing this. (Phew). A bit more than half of Americans think journalists should.

For the record, the biggest concerns of US citizens were drug addiction (70%) and affordability of Heath Care (67%).


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There’s a myth that Old Coal plants are failing and can’t handle summer heat

Media elements in Australia are pushing the myth that aging coal plants are failing and that they can’t handle summer heat as if a plant with an operating temperature of 570°C plus will work at 38°C and fail at 40°C. It’s a hot topic today because AGL has just flagged an extended outage of seven months for one unit at Loy Yang A2. That may linger well into summer — potentially out of action til mid January. Ouch. The outage may wipe $100m off AGL’s profits, though if it pushes up wholesale prices, maybe not. With one more billion-dollar-summer-spike AGL may even come out ahead…

Old coal plants don’t have to die, we can just keep fixing them. The owners of Vales Point coal plant in NSW have a plan to keep it running up to 70 years.

Paul McArdle, expert grid generator analyst, who writes at WattClarity, protests at the repeated misinformation and points out that there has been no increase in “sudden trips” as the Australian fleet of coal power stations ages. Nor are these failures more likely in summer. It’s just that we notice them more then. He points out that the failure rate across the whole coal fleet in Australia is not rising, and that there was a six month outage in 2001 at Loy Yang A4 — obviously when it was much younger.

Brief Comment on the Extended Outage at Loy Yang A unit 2

Paul McArdle says we’re playing Russian Roulette with the grid and it’s a world class mess:

As we have explained through the Generator Report Card, that overall level of risk has been escalating in recent years (for a number of reasons).  It’s like we’ve been playing Russian Roulette with the grid/market, but with more loaded chambers than there used to be.

Thermal units are not going offline due to aging:

For instance, our deep analysis in the Generator Report Card does not show a clear systemic trend across the 48 operational coal units for them becoming less reliable as a fleet (though readers might like to reference these notes specific AGL units).  Here’s that chart from the Report Card again that looks at one measure of “Sudden Failure” in this broader framework of “dependability”:

Againg coal plants, failure rate, graph. Watt Clarity.

Aging coal plants: failure rate is not rising.   |  Watt Clarity.

Coal plants are not more likely to fail in summer heat:

Readers will also note that the highest bars in most years tend not to be during the hottest months of the year, which is also interesting in the context of claims that “coal units break down more in the heat”.  What do seem to be the case are two things:
1)  Firstly (because there are fewer units, and because demand is increasingly peaky) a small number of outages during times of high demand places much more stress on the grid than used to be the case; and
2)  Because there are an increasing number of NEM observers equipped with the latest tools (some of them ours), and because we all know that summer is the critical time, we notice outages a lot more when they happen during summer

McArdle is no climate skeptic but can see how one-eyed and emotive the media are on generators. Perhaps he’ll notice one day that the bias against scientific arguments is even more aggressive, emotive and packed with fake news.

Keep reading  →

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It’s a tech-wreck: models now use human moods and fashions as a climate forcing

How many climate marches does it take to stop a storm?

Climate protest, USA, Washington, Photo. Photo by Vlad Tchompalov on Unsplash

Photo by Vlad Tchompalov

A new climate model includes “social processes” to predict the climate. They expect the fashionality of hybrid cars or solar PVs will help predict the future climate. So serious researchers are now feeding their models with trends in human behaviour. Though there’s no sign climate models may use the million-mile-an-hour solar wind, nor changes to the solar magnetic field that’s bigger than Earths orbit. They’re also not using solar spectral changes, but who cares about the odd quadrillion joules of ultra violet fritzing or not-fritzing our ozone layer? So much better to track twitter trends on solar panels instead.

The fixation on CO2 is so obsessive compulsive it’s practically a science cult. This kind of work puts the psycho in psychology.

Years from now when everyone agrees it was The Sun, historians are going to fish deep from this well of academic obsession:

New global warming model highlights strong impact of social learning

Human behavior influences a wide range of complex systems, including ecosystems, social networks, and the climate. Moreover, these systems impact human behavior, creating a feedback loop. Human behavior is a driver of climate change, but climate models often neglect how climate change in turn affects human behavior

So far, results are not looking too good.

Who would have guessed that “social norms do not protect against rising temperatures”?

Their analysis suggests that the rate at which people learn about climate mitigation strategies via social interactions, such as hearing that a friend bought a hybrid car, strongly influences climate outcomes. Social learning takes time, so plausible values of this rate alone could raise warming predictions by over 1 degree Celsius.

Keep reading  →

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Air conditioning reduces indoor air pollution — give me cheap electrons

Just another way cheaper electricity saves lives.

Air conditioners,

Photo by Photo by noodle kimm on Unsplash

It turns out hotter rooms have higher indoor pollution. Levels of formaldehyde are lower in the morning and rise with the temperature. Air conditioning in hot summers, keeps the temperature down and will reduce the amount of formaldehyde and other pollutants from out-gassing from furniture and gypsum walls.  Obviously those who can’t afford to run the air conditioner and who live in warmer rooms in summer will be exposed to more pollution.

Though the worst situation was in 1970s homes with radiant heaters installed on gypsum sheets. In that case, people who can’t afford to heat may avoid some fumes.

Opening windows will clear out the indoor pollution, but houses are increasingly being designed to stop draughts to be more energy efficient.

The message: get rich or open windows when it’s nice outside, move those bar heaters off the walls, and buy peace lilies, bamboo palms, and dracaenas.

Researchers uncover indoor pollution hazards

By Tina Hilding, Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture

PULLMAN, Wash – When most people think about air pollution, they think of summertime haze, traffic or smokestack exhaust, wintertime inversions, or wildfire smoke. They rarely think of the air that they breathe inside their own homes.

In a new study of indoor air quality, a team of WSU researchers has found surprisingly high levels of pollutants, including formaldehyde and possibly mercury, in carefully monitored homes, and that these pollutants vary through the day and increase as temperatures rise. Their study, led by Tom Jobson, professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and graduate student Yibo Huangfu, was published in the journal, Building and Environment.

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Climate disasters are less costly, less deadly, and corporate warnings are just $1T of hot air

Hitting the presses today, the vacuous news that lots of companies picked huge numbers out of the air using broken models to guess hyperbolic climate losses coming in the next five years, counter to all the trends for the last hundred years which show declining losses on a GDP basis. The world got warmer but the disasters got less nasty. Less bushfire, less cyclones, less tornadoes, less death per capita. The trends are all good. The only thing that’s up is the number of panic merchants.

World’s biggest firms foresee $1 trillion climate cost hit

LONDON (Reuters) – More than 200 of the world’s largest listed companies forecast that climate change could cost them a combined total of almost $1 trillion, with much of the pain due in the next five years, according to a report published on Tuesday.

So hundreds of companies have offered the climate world a free hit for PR by making a guess. They fall into two kinds of companies –The badgered and harried and the profiteers. See below for examples.  Firstly, here’s the only chart that matters.

Global Weather losses are down:

If CO2 causes climate events we need more of it. The costs of disasters is rising (like everything else) but it’s a smaller part of our GDP.


Global weather losses are decreasing (note the 2018 bars are only to June 30th 2018). Roger Pielke

In constant 2017 US dollars, both weather-related and non-weather related catastrophe losses have increased, with a 74% increase in the former and 182% increase in the latter since 1990. However, since 1990 both overall and weather/climate losses have decreased as proportion of global GDP, indicating progress with respect to the SDG indicator… 

See Pielke 2018 for more info or his blog ClimateFix or twitter account.

The Global Death Rate from natural disasters is down

Our World in Data shows deaths are down per capita from fire, landslide, storm, flood, extreme temperatures and drought.

Global death rate from disasters last century, per capita, per decade. Graph.

Global death rate from disasters last century, per capita, per decade. Our World in Data. Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser.

Companies are adding up costs because they profit or they’re badgered

There are two types of companies responding to the activists.

1/ The badgered and harried who fear a legal or PR fail if they don’t “pick a number” and join the cheer squad. What CEO wants to fight this? It’s so much easier just to comply, and make something up. We know they don’t believe it or they’d be selling low-lying land, building sea walls, lobbying for nuclear power etc, which they’re not.

2/ The profiteers – The Green industry is worth at least $1.5 trillion annually (Climate Change Business Journal, 2015). The potential global carbon market is worth $7 trillion. That’s a lot of carrot.

There are four flavours of money-makers in this:

  • Insurance companies. Wouldn’t they love to scare the customers. Tick yes. How can they lose?
  • People who want to broker a global carbon market (that’s every financial house and banker known to man),
  • Corporates that sell wind, solar, batteries, electric cars, etc (GE, Panasonic, Tesla, Vestas) It’s a $300b industry.
  • Groups that have invested in renewables (like Google, Apple, even the BBC superannuation fund).
All of these groups profit from fear.

 Storms, tornadoes, wildfires, they’re either the same or less common


 The trend in tornadoes is down, and when there are more its due to cold weather

Roy Spencer explains that the unusually cold mass of air over central USA means lately there are more tornadoes. It’s the strong wind shear at the border between warm and cold air bodies that causes it.

Tornadoes, 1954-2018, Graph. AEI. NOAA.

Tornadoes, 1954-2018, Graph. AEI. NOAA.


Global wildfires are decreasing

Incidence and Area of fires burned globally, annually, graph. 2018.

Figure 2. Wildfire occurrence (a) and corresponding area burnt (b) in the European Mediterranean region for the period 1980 – 2010. Source: San-Miguel-Ayanz et al. [37].

Global droughts unchanged in 60 years


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