JoNova

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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Weekend Unthreaded

Bloodbath in the German solar “industry” — without subsidies 80,000 solar jobs are gone

Climate Worriers have the most terrible luck. All the runes were lined up for Solar power — it is nearly free, pours from heaven, and millions of people seem to need energy “pretty often”.  Plus universities and governments have gifted twenty years of free advertising about its Glorious Wonderfulness.  Solar power is also used by the Celebrity Saints of Gaia thus filling fashionable, spiritual, and tribal needs. On a good day, it fills some megawatt needs too.

Despite all this, without forced payments from unwilling and unwitting non-users of solar power, investors are fleeing and the solar industry in Germany is collapsing. How can that be?!

Lawrence Solomon: Are solar and wind finally cheaper than fossil fuels? Not a chance

Financial Post

After the German government decided to reduce subsidies to the solar industry in 2012, the industry nose-dived. By this year, virtually every major German solar producer had gone under as new capacity declined by 90 per cent and new investment by 92 per cent. Some 80,000 workers — 70 per cent of the solar workforce — lost their jobs. Solar power’s market share is shrinking and solar panels, having outlived their usefulness, are being retired without [...]

No kidding – humans happier on sunny days, perfect temp is 25C, freezing days similar to terrorist attacks on US mood

New research looking at three and a half billion social media posts from tens of millions of individuals showed the very unshocking result that people are happiest on sunny clear days around 25C. Facebook and Twitter comments on those days used more positive, fun terms. Days below 20, above 30, that were cloudy or had a humidity above 80% put people in a less happy mood. So did terrorist events, and the effects of weather were pretty comparable. Temperatures that are below freezing put a real dampener on expressions of positive sentiment. (The next ice age is going to be no fun.)

Peak positive occurs in the mid to high twenties and on days with zero mm of rain.

The effect of temperature and rain on Facebook and Twitter moods in the US.

Some people have a sunny disposition, others have cloudy faces and everyone over two knows what those expressions mean.

If our aim is to maximize human happiness and productivity, shouldn’t the UN Weather Control Committee (IPCC) be aiming to reduce freezing days and maximize the zone of 25C days on areas with the highest population density?

Judging by this awesome Hedonometer graph, during the hottest ever [...]

New Study: Climate, CO2, don’t cause wars — money and politics do

Two researchers looked at the ten main countries in East Africa in the last fifty years and compared global temperatures to a database of wars, conflicts and refugees.

They found that regional drought and global temperatures didn’t cause wars or drive the total number of displaced people. The things that did were rapid population growth, poor economic times, and political instability.

“What our study suggests is the failure of political systems is the primary cause of conflict and displacement of large numbers of people.”

Thus, if you love peace, it’s better to defend free speech and the constitution than to use cloth shopping bags and change your light globes.

 Climate change is not a key cause of conflict

The Conversation, Mark Maslin

Probably the most surprising thing about this study is that sometimes academics test hypotheses and publish sensible conclusions.

In our recent paper, my student Erin Owain and I decided to test the climate-conflict hypothesis, using East Africa as our focus. The region is already very hot and very poor, making it especially vulnerable to climate change (in fact neighbouring Chad is by some measures the single most vulnerable country in the world).

Midweek Unthreaded

Even AEMO head admits solar panels are a big “disrupter” in Australia – fears big players may abandon grid

The land of the sunburnt country finds that the rapid uptake of solar is a headache, disrupting the grid, adding variability, making management more complicated. Read right through. The head of the AEMO gives an upbeat talk, but the ominous message is that solar panels are flooding in, there are lots of problems, and not only are baseload generators leaving the market, but there may come a day when things are so ludicrously expensive that big energy customers leave to generate their own too. Is that what the death of a grid looks like?

 

Audrey Zibelman is the head of the AEMO – Australian Energy Market Operator – which has the responsibility of managing the electricity and gas market and grid stability for all Australians. To hear her, you’d think the future is renewable, the transition is not being artificially forced on the market, and there is no alternative to alternative energy.

Zibelman tosses out pat free-market lines with a straight face, saying at 17:20 that we never really want governments to “pick a technology”, ignoring that this whole transition, all of it, is only happening because governments “picked a technology”.

Listen at 21:30 to get an [...]

Corals already have the genes to survive another 250 years of climate change

A new paper finds that there is already enough genetic variety spread across the Great Barrier Reef to adapt to the imagined “unprecedented” warming coming in the next two centuries. We don’t need to rely on random mutations or consider fantasy solutions of man-made oceanic sunscreens, mass sunshades, or giant reef fans. Corals already have a major immigration program running pretty effectively to juggle 200 million years of genetic material and then spread the successes far and wide. Meddling humans can help things (maybe) by moving a few bits of coral around. That’s it. Cancel the scare please.

Skeptics have been saying this for years — who needs a computer model to predict that the Barrier Reef will adapt? How bad could global warming be? The global oceans span a 32C range and corals prefer the hottest five degrees of that. Indeed, there is a five degree temperature range from one end of the Great Barrier Reef to the other, and corals are clearly, obviously pretty happy about it. Meanwhile, the atmosphere is warming at a mere tenth of a degree per decade. Then there is the well known phenomenon that corals spawn in vast clouds that are [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

Our Socialist Electricity Grid works perfectly for everyone except consumers

What destroys a grid faster than than a socialist electricity system? A semi-socialist system that pretends to be a free market.

This hybrid monster combines the worst of both socialism and capitalism at the same time. Socialists get the power to destroy, then capitalists can use self serving interest to make it happen faster.

The socialist managers can pick loser options (wind and solar), rig the market, and also conveniently blame the market when things go wrong. In a pure socialist system, at least the public know who created the mess.

What socialism created — socialism can partly solve

In a free market Liddell’s cheap coal power would not be closing in 2022.  Since we have no free market, and can’t suddenly create one, the only band-aid option is to buy the damn asset back:

Ron Boswell gets it:

If someone suggested that $3 billion in consumer-funded subsidies be paid to one energy source every year for the next 12 years, and if that one energy source was guaranteed significant market share for every one of those years, and if there were hundreds of millions of dollars available in grants and concessional loans to projects limited to that [...]

Climate change means Greenland is the same temperature now as 1880

Hands up who knew that Greenland has been pretty much the same temperature for the last hundred and forty years?

We know that there has been massive melting ice, shrinking ice sheets, a dark zone that is a huge problem, that the melting is accelerating, faster than at any time in the last 400 years. We all know “this is scary”, and due to climate change and could raise sea levels by 20 feet. And that’s just the news stories in the last two weeks.

At NoTricksZone, Kenneth Richards has found an up to date graph of Greenland temperatures  buried in the supplement of a new paper by Mikkelsen et al., 2018:

….

So Greenland hasn’t been showing signs of warming since man made CO2 started rapidly rising after World War II. Indeed Greenland has been not responding to CO2 for 140 years or maybe a million.

Serious researchers have known this for years. It’s not like a flat trend suddenly popped up to surprise us.

Hat tip to Bob FJ for sending graphs and links of earlier studies last year. Even far back in 2004, it was obvious Greenland was not warming like it was supposed to. That [...]