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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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 [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

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.

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Solar power destroys efficiency of the rest of the system

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 [...]

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?

The 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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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: https://t.co/GLzfzzZ8KL pic.twitter.com/oeM4ofXCXe

— Simon Kuestenmacher (@simongerman600) June 6, 2019

 

 

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

This infographic proved popular. So I have split it out to show changes in child mortality and fertility in Europe, Asia and Africa pic.twitter.com/xKq9ovdlGN

— Robert Wilson (@countcarbon) May 18, 2019

 

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 [...]

Midweek Unthreaded

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 [...]

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 [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

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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?

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 [...]

Air conditioning reduces indoor air pollution — give me cheap electrons

Just another way cheaper electricity saves lives.

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, [...]

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 [...]

UK withdraws life support for Solar Industry and 94% of orders disappear

Solar subsidies were scrapped in the UK in April, and new solar installations promptly dropped from 79MW a month to 5MW last month, in a 94% fall.

Home solar panel installations fall by 94% as subsidies cut

Jillian Ambrose, The Guardian:

The Labor party accused the government of “actively dismantling” the UK’s solar power industry…

…showing that they don’t understand what “actively” means. If the government was active, solar panel owners would be charged for using the grid as back up, and asked to pay back the subsidy. They could use a feed-in-tariff equal to wholesale coal rates (4c KWh) to pay down their debt. Perhaps one day they’ll compensate other users for voltage surges, damaged equipment, and higher electricity bills too.

It’s not just English, Labor is also struggling to understand “supply and demand”:

Standing in for Jeremy Corbyn, Long-Bailey said solar power had the potential to cut household bills and carbon emissions while creating thousands of jobs.

Studies show every green job created caused two useful jobs to go away, or possibly even four. In Scotland the VERSO study showed for each Green Job created, 3.7 were lost. When electricity costs more, [...]