Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Biofuels & Renewable Energy: Destroying Nature in Order to 'Save' It

Notable & Quotable: On Biofuels and Nature

The renewable energy paradigm requires an unprecedented industrial reengineering of the landscape.


Aug. 27, 2014 6:38 p.m. ET   THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Will Boisvert writing at thebreakthrough.org

On the face of it, bioenergy would seem to embody the ecological vision: an energy source rooted in the soil, attuned to the seasons, and governed by life's cycling rhythms of growth, decay, and reuse. But today, that expression of the ecological vision is destroying nature in order to save it. From the production forests of Germany to the rainforests of Southeast Asia to the American Midwest, we are using millions of square miles of land for crops to feed our cars and power plants that could be used to feed people or become wilderness.
As the scale of the carnage has become evident, a growing number of environmentalists have turned against biofuels. But the change of heart about present generation biofuels hasn't stopped their rapid expansion. Biofuels represent one of the fastest growing wedges of the renewables pie. Germany's heavy investments in solar and wind get most of the attention, but 29 percent of its renewable electricity comes from burning woody biomass in power plants. Throw in liquid biofuel production and wood-fired space heating and biomass provides 38 percent of Germany's non-fossil-fueled energy.

Half of Germany's timber harvest is now burned for fuel
, and 17 percent of its arable land is used to grow energy crops for biodiesel, ethanol, and biogas production, a proportion that may rise to one third by 2020. The rest of Europe is also turning to biomass heating and electricity generated in refitted coal plants as an easy way to meet renewable energy mandates, using millions of tons of domestic and imported wood. Energy derived from ethanol in the United States far outstrips the power generated by the wind and solar sectors.

The growing reliance upon biofuels as public commitments to renewables have grown is neither an accident nor a coincidence. The renewable energy paradigm requires an unprecedented industrial reengineering of the landscape: lining every horizon with forty-story wind turbines, paving deserts with concentrating solar mirrors, girdling the coasts with tidal and wave generators, and drilling for geological heat reservoirs; it sees all of nature as an integrated machine for producing energy.

WSJ: "Formidable Faux? Obama's pretend climate treaty"

Formidable Faux?

The pretend climate treaty.

August 27, 2014

...
In related news, the New York Times reports that "the Obama administration is working to forge a sweeping international climate change agreement to compel nations to cut their planet-warming fossil fuel emissions, but without ratification from Congress."

How? Even the Times knows that "under the Constitution, a president may enter into a legally binding treaty only if it is approved by a two-thirds majority of the Senate." It would be more accurate to say "the country" rather than "a president," but hey, close enough for government work.

Anyway, Senate ratification is no more in the cards now than it was in 1997, when the world's greatest deliberative body voted 95-0 in favor of a nonbinding resolution "expressing the sense of the Senate" that the now-expired Kyoto Protocol was unacceptable. The Clinton administration signed that treaty the following year anyway but never submitted it to the Senate. Incidentally, the 1997 measure was called the Byrd-Hagel Resolution; its top Republican sponsor is now Obama's defense secretary.

Today, as the Times reports, "lawmakers in both parties on Capitol Hill say there is no chance that the currently gridlocked Senate will ratify a climate change treaty in the near future, especially in a political environment where many Republican lawmakers remain skeptical of the established science of human-caused global warming."

We're skeptical of the Times's claim that "lawmakers in both parties" said that "Republican lawmakers remain skeptical of the established science." That sounds to us like editorializing on the Democratic side of the argument--although come to think of it, one also doubts there has been a unanimous change in the Democratic position since 1997. But anyway, neither party has had a two-thirds Senate majority since 1967, and neither is likely to achieve one anytime soon. Thus no treaty can be ratified without bipartisan support.

In order to "sidestep" the constitutional requirement that laws be made by lawmakers, the Times continues, "President Obama's climate negotiators are devising what they call a 'politically binding' deal that would 'name and shame' countries into cutting their emissions."

The story notes that Obama has already "bypassed Congress and used his executive authority to order a far-reaching regulation forcing American coal-fired power plants to curb their carbon emissions." That reg has to go through the standard approval process, which won't be complete until next year, and it is also being challenged in court. Even if it holds up, a future president could modify it. But if Obama gets his pretend treaty, a successor who undid his policies would risk subjecting America not only to naming but to shaming as well.

Would it work? Let's consider two examples. First Australia, whose government, then controlled by the Labor Party, in 2012 imposed a "carbon tax." As The Wall Street Journalreported last month, this year Tony Abbott, the aspiring prime minister from the opposition Liberal Party, "made a pre-election 'pledge in blood' to voters and business to prioritize growth above climate shift. The Liberals (who would be considered the conservatives in American parlance) were elected, and Abbott kept his promise.

"Today the tax that you voted to get rid of is finally gone, a useless destructive tax which damaged jobs, which hurt families' cost of living and which didn't actually help the environment is finally gone," a jubilant Mr. Abbott told voters in a news conference after the Senate's decision.

His opponents tried the name-and-shame technique: "Labor and Green opponents of the government said the repeal would make the country an international 'pariah' on efforts to combat climate change." Not very fearsome a threat, is it?
Enlarge Image

Putin's carbon footprint in Novoazovsk, Ukraine. Associated Press

The second example is Ukraine. In 1994, the U.S., U.K. and Russia signed a document known as the Budapest Memorandum, offering assurances in exchange for which Kiev gave up the nuclear weapons it had inherited owing to the Soviet Union's dissolution. The memorandum purports to bind the three signatories "to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine."

But it isn't a treaty, and thus has no legal force. Boris Yeltsin, Russia's president at the time it was signed, acted in accord with the agreement, but Vladimir Putin obviously does not feel bound by it.

And how have the other signatories responded? There have been some economic sanctions, but mostly it's been naming and shaming. "It's really 19th-century behavior in the 21st century," Secretary of State John Kerry in March. "You just don't invade another country on phony pretexts in order to assert your interests."

Almost six months later, Putin is unbowed. But maybe Kerry is just the wrong man for the job. In the era of naming and shaming, we need a top diplomat whose insults carry a punch. But who? Don Rickles is probably too old.

Excuses for the 18 year 'pause' of global warming take a quantum leap up to #52

"If you can't explain the 'pause', you can't explain the cause"




Thanks to a quote-rich Andrew Revkin/New York Times article today, the updated list of excuses for the 18 year "pause" or "hiatus" of global warming has taken a quantum leap up to #52:

An updated list of at least 29 32 36 38 39 41 52 excuses for the 18 year 'pause' in global warming, including recent scientific papers, media quotes, blogs, and related debunkings: 

1) Low solar activity

2) Oceans ate the global warming [debunked] [debunked] [debunked]

3) Chinese coal use [debunked]

4) Montreal Protocol

5) What ‘pause’? [debunked] [debunked] [debunked] [debunked]

6) Volcanic aerosols [debunked]

7) Stratospheric Water Vapor

8) Faster Pacific trade winds [debunked]

9) Stadium Waves

10) ‘Coincidence!’

11) Pine aerosols

12) It's "not so unusual" and "no more than natural variability"

13) "Scientists looking at the wrong 'lousy' data" http://

14) Cold nights getting colder in Northern Hemisphere

15) We forgot to cherry-pick models in tune with natural variability [debunked]

16) Negative phase of Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation

17) AMOC ocean oscillation

18) "Global brightening" has stopped

19) "Ahistorical media"

20) "It's the hottest decade ever" Decadal averages used to hide the 'pause' [debunked]

21) Few El Ninos since 1999

22) Temperature variations fall "roughly in the middle of the AR4 model results"

23) "Not scientifically relevant"

24) The wrong type of El Ninos

25) Slower trade winds [debunked]

26) The climate is less sensitive to CO2 than previously thought [see also]

27) PDO and AMO natural cycles and here

28) ENSO






35) Scientists forgot "to look at our models and observations and ask questions"

36) The models really do explain the "pause" [debunked] [debunked] [debunked]


37) As soon as the sun, the weather and volcanoes – all natural factors – allow, the world will start warming again. Who knew?


38) Trenberth's "missing heat" is hiding in the Atlantic, not Pacific as Trenberth claimed [debunked] [Dr. Curry's take] [Author: “Every week there’s a new explanation of the hiatus”]


39) "Slowdown" due to "a delayed rebound effect from 1991 Mount Pinatubo aerosols and deep prolonged solar minimum"



[Before this new paper, anthropogenic aerosols were thought to cool the climate or to have minimal effects on climate, but as of now, they "surprisingly warm" the climate] 

42) 'Missing heat' is not "supported by the data itself" in the "real ocean":
"it is not clear to me, actually, that an accelerated warming of some...layer of the ocean ... is robustly supported by the data itself. Until we clear up whether there has been some kind of accelerated warming at depth in the real ocean, I think these results serve as interesting hypotheses about why the rate of surface warming has slowed-down, but we still lack a definitive answer on this topic."[Josh Willis]






48) "the argument that the hiatus will last for another decade or two is very weak and I would not put much faith in that. If the cycle has a period of 60-70 years, that means we have one or two cycles of observations. And I don’t think you can much about a cycle with just 1-2 cycles: e.g., what the actual period of the variability is, how regular it is, etc. You really need dozens of cycles to determine what the actual underlying variability looks like. In fact, I don’t think we even know if it IS a cycle." [Andrew Dessler]



" If the science is done right, the calculated uncertainty takes account of this background variation. But none of these papers, Tung, or Trenberth, does that. Overlain on top of this natural behavior is the small, and often shaky, observing systems, both atmosphere and ocean where the shifting places and times and technologies must also produce a change even if none actually occurred. The “hiatus” is likely real, but so what? The fuss is mainly about normal behavior of the climate system." [Carl Wunsch]

52) "The central problem of climate science is to ask what you do and say when your data are, by almost any standard, inadequate? If I spend three years analyzing my data, and the only defensible inference is that “the data are inadequate to answer the question,” how do you publish? How do you get your grant renewed? A common answer is to distort the calculation of the uncertainty, or ignore it all together, and proclaim an exciting story that the New York Times will pick up...How many such stories have been withdrawn years later when enough adequate data became available?" [Carl Wunsch]


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Meet the scientists who sat Governor Rick Scott down & explained the CAGW scam

According to the article below from Salon.com, the "scientists who sat Rick Scott down and explained climate change to him" used the tired & repeatedly debunked climate propaganda techniques of Al Gore to "make the case for climate action." Their climate propaganda included

1. Claiming ice core data shows CO2 controls temperature. 

In fact, CO2 levels in ice cores lag temperatures by 800+ years. The cause cannot follow the effect [mathematical & observational proof]. Observations show CO2 lags temperature on short, intermediate, and long-term timescales, therefore, temperature changes drive CO2 levels, not the other way around.  

2. Claiming "Other forces, like El Nino/La Nina, volcanoes and solar irradiance cannot alone explain all of the variability we’ve observed, and global temperature change cannot be understood without taking greenhouse gas emissions into account" 


3. Claiming Florida is facing an impending disaster from sea level rise. 

Global sea levels have been naturally rising for ~20,000 years and have decelerated over the past 8,000 years, decelerated over the 20th century, decelerated 31% since 2002 and decelerated 44% since 2004 to less than 7 inches per century. There is no evidence of an acceleration of sea level rise, and therefore no evidence of any effect of mankind on sea levels. Sea level rise is primarily a local phenomenon related to land subsidence, not CO2 levels. Therefore, areas like Miami Florida which is built on soft limestone have higher rates of relative sea level rise, but this has absolutely nothing to do with man-made CO2. 

Were these "scientists" trained in climate propaganda techniques by Bill Nye and Al Gore's Climate Unreality Project?



Meet the scientists who sat Rick Scott down and explained climate change to him


The Florida governor gave experts a half-hour to make the case for climate action. Here's what they told him


Florida Gov. Rick Scott (Credit: AP Photo, File)
Rick Scott, who governs a state described as “ground zero” for the effects of climate change, refuses to say whether he believes that climate change is happening. When put on the spot, he dodges the question by saying he’s “not a scientist.” Which is why members of his constituency who are scientists felt obligated to set him straight. Last month, 10 Florida scientists sent the governor a letter offering to explain what’s happening in the climate system and why it poses a threat to the state.
Scott, because there was no way he could get away with not doing so, gave them a half-hour of his time. The briefing went down Tuesday; Thursday morning, three of those scientists — Jeff Chanton, a professor of oceanography at Florida State University; Ben Kirtman, a professor of meteorology and physical oceanography at the University of Miami; and David Hastings, a professor of marine science and chemistry at Eckerd University — recapped what went down.
In order to make sure everyone was on the same page, the presentation went way back. Like, Climate Science 101 back. Which is arguably what Scott needed. They started with ice cores, explaining how scientists drill into glaciers in order to uncover a chronological record of temperature and atmospheric conditions stretching back hundreds of thousands of years. Chanton demonstrated how concentrations of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane are clearly correlated with temperature “in a very significant way,” and how current CO2 levels, which are off the charts, are clearly influencing temperature, and will continue to do so in the future:
Throughout their presentation, the scientists emphasized, again and again, how robust this science is, and how it’s been supported by multiple lines of evidence. Kirtman, for example, explained why scientists are so overwhelmingly certain that human activity is contributing to climate change. Other forces, like El Nino/La Nina, volcanoes and solar irradiance cannot alone explain all of the variability we’ve observed, and global temperature change cannot be understood without taking greenhouse gas emissions into account:

And so on and so on, with a special emphasis on what rising sea levels will mean for South Florida (disaster).
Is it possible that Scott didn’t already know most of this? It seems unlikely. But now he can no longer deny that he’s seen the evidence for himself. It doesn’t matter whether he’s a scientist, the presenters emphasized, because being an expert isn’t part of his job description — just as understanding the science behind climate change shouldn’t have anything to do with political affiliation. And he’s lucky to lead a state full of smart, engaged, passionate scientists who are willing to hold his hand and walk him through the complicated stuff.
What Scott is required to do, however, is to listen to the facts, and to then use that information to lead his state forward, both in mitigating climate change and in adapting to the effects that are already being experienced. All three were unflaggingly optimistic that both are possible. But Scott needs to meet them halfway. The scientists admitted that they’re frustrated, and said that the short amount of time they were allotted — along with the pressure of knowing that the press was watching — kept Scott from really engaging with them on the science. Still, they feel sure he must have gotten something out of it (just to be sure, they gave him a book on sea level rise to take home and read on his own). Added Hastings, “We’d be willing to try again.”
Lindsay Abrams
Lindsay Abrams is a staff writer at Salon, reporting on all things sustainable. Follow her on Twitter @readingirl, email labrams@salon.com.

Three new studies demonstrate climate sensitivity to CO2 is very low

As climate researcher Paul "Chip" Knappenberger pointed out in a tweet this week, two new studies provide a double-whammy to climate alarm because 1) man-made aerosols have been found to have minimal cooling effects and 2) at least 50% of recent global warming is not anthropogenic. Therefore, the possible role of CO2 in causing global warming has to be far less than previously assumed, and the "climate sensitivity" to doubled CO2 levels therefore very low. 

In addition, a third paper published this week demonstrates that radiative imbalance from large volcanic eruptions resolves within ~2 years, not 20+ years as claimed by James Hansen as his excuse for the 18 year "pause" in global warming. This means that volcanic aerosols have minimal long-term cooling effects and therefore, the warming effect of CO2 has to be much lower than assumed in Hansen's climate models and thus climate sensitivity estimates must be lowered even further.  




Retweeted by Chip Knappenberger
hockey schtick @hockeyschtick1 · Aug 21

@dspillane1 @PCKnappenberger Double-whammy indicates CO2 climate sensitivity very low http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2014/08/new-excuse-for-pause-in-global-warming.html … http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2014/08/new-paper-finds-changes-in-cloud-cover.html …


Chip Knappenberger @PCKnappenberger · Aug 21


Here is the relevant research: little aerosol impact http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2013JD021308/abstract … ~50% recent warming non human http://www.sciencemag.org/content/345/6199/897.abstract …



Chip Knappenberger @PCKnappenberger · Aug 21


New research gives double-whammy to cli alarm: tiny cooling from aerosols + 50% of warming not anthropogenic = very low climate sensitivity. 

Climate Change Nonsensus: Only 52% of meteorologists think global warming is mostly man-made

The American Meteorological Society has released updated polling results of their membership [26.3% response rate] which shows only 52% agree with the so-called "consensus" that global warming is mostly man-made. The poll finds "members of this professional community are not unanimous in their views of climate change, and there has been tension among members of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) who hold different views on the topic."




Meteorologists' Views About Global Warming: A Survey of American Meteorological Society Professional Members

Neil StenhouseEdward MaibachSara Cobb
George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia
Ray Ban
The Weather Channel, Atlanta, Georgia
Andrea Bleistein
NOAA/Office of the Assistant Secretary for Environmental Observation and Prediction, Washington, D.C.
Paul Croft
Department of Geology and Meteorology, Kean University, Union, New Jersey
Eugene Bierly
George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia
Keith SeitterGary Rasmussen
American Meteorological Society, Boston, Massachusetts
Anthony Leiserowitz
Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut
Meteorologists and other atmospheric science experts are playing important roles in helping society respond to climate change. However, members of this professional community are not unanimous in their views of climate change, and there has been tension among members of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) who hold different views on the topic. In response, AMS created the Committee to Improve Climate Change Communication to explore and, to the extent possible, resolve these tensions. To support this committee, in January 2012 we surveyed all AMS members with known e-mail addresses, achieving a 26.3% response rate (n = 1,854). In this paper we tested four hypotheses—1) perceived conflict about global warming will be negatively associated, and 2) climate expertise, 3) liberal political ideology, and 4) perceived scientific consensus will be positively associated—with 1) higher personal certainty that global warming is happening, 2) viewing the global warming observed over the past 150 years as mostly human caused, and 3) perception of global warming as harmful. All four hypotheses were confirmed. Expertise, ideology, perceived consensus, and perceived conflict were all independently related to respondents' views on climate, with perceived consensus and political ideology being most strongly related. We suggest that AMS should attempt to convey the widespread scientific agreement about climate change [non-sequitur from the poll results!]; acknowledge and explore the uncomfortable fact that political ideology influences the climate change views of meteorology professionals; refute the idea that those who do hold nonmajority views just need to be “educated” about climate change; and continue to deal with the conflict among members of the meteorology community.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Harnessing the power of man-made CO2 backradiation

Here's an idea to solve the bird-incinerating inconvenience of the Ivanpah solar/fossil-fuel power plant, but still generate unlimited free green energy 24/7/365, and cool down Gaia too!

Green activists & everyone else are a little upset by the new solar/fossil-fuel plant igniting birds in mid-air, possibly because the birds are attracted to the reflections which look like a body of water. Un-Natural selection has not yet weeded-out the dumb birds that can't distinguish a solar power plant from a body of water.

Solution: point the mirrors away from the Sun at the clear sky and use them instead to highly concentrate the 340.3 Watts per meter squared continuous longwave infrared "back-radiation" from man-made greenhouse gases. Unlike solar power, backradiation is available 24/7/365 and on cloudy days or nights - there's reportedly even more greenhouse gas backradiation available on cloudy days and nights than with clear skies, and no need for fossil-fuel backup at night or on cloudy days!

Plus, with the 173,500 mirrors directed away from the Sun and at the clear sky, solar energy will be reflected back to space to increase albedo and cool Gaia much more so than use of this solar/fossil-fuel plant to reduce harmless CO2 emissions. The safe but highly-concentrated longwave infrared backradiation on the power towers will be totally harmless to the silly birds that are still attracted to the mirrors, completely eliminating all those "streamers."

Back of the envelope calculations prove how this works:


Using this bright idea, they can hit two birds with one stone, oh, sorry, bad analogy. But seriously, what are they waiting for?!?






/sarc

New paper finds large volcanic eruptions only cause 3-5 years of cooling; Hansen claims 20+ years

A paper published today in Global and Planetary Change reconstructs winter temperatures from 1500-1980 in Western North America and find large volcanic eruptions are followed by 
  • A clear and robust La Niña-like [cooling] response occurs in years 3-5 after eruption
  • Results argue against [prior claim] that later La Niña requires early El Niño response
  • Later La Niña-like response is consistent with restored heat balance after ~ 2 years
The findings contradict claims by James Hansen et al that the 18 year "pause" of global warming is due to a 23 year very long delayed cooling effect from the 1991 Mt. Pinatubo volcanic eruption. 

Hansen's very-delayed cooling effect from volcanic eruptions + solar minimum hypothesis has been added to the updated list as excuse #39 for the 18 year "pause" in global warming.


Note also, decreased cooling effect from volcanic aerosols implies lower warming effect/climate sensitivity to CO2.








Western N. America winter temperature reconstructions clearly detect ENSO patterns
Early post-volcanic El Niño-like response is conditional on eruptions evaluated
Clear and robust La Niña-like response occurs in years 3-5 after eruption
Results argue against hypothesis that later La Niña requires early El Niño response
Later La Niña-like response is consistent with restored heat balance after ~ 2 years

Abstract

February-March temperature reconstructions in western North America from 1500-1980 CE are used to evaluate, from a regional perspective, the hypothesis that radiative forcing by large tropical volcanic eruptions induces a tendency in the climate system towards an early post-event El Niño (EN) response followed by a delayed La Niña (LN) response. Post-event spatial composites using superposed epoch analysis (SEA) detect indications for an EN-like pattern in post-event Years 1-2; this result, however, is sensitive to the set of eruptions evaluated. Highly significant LN-like patterns are also observed for two eruptions during Year 1. In contrast, a clear and unique LN-like response is found in both eruption sets during Years 3-5; Year 3 in particular represents the time of strongest post-event response. No significant EN-like patterns occur during these years. The relative homogeneity of the SEA response for each post-event year is evaluated in terms of the ratio of the amplitude of the SEA composite to its standard deviation across the eruption events. In relation to the same metric determined from random-event-year SEAs, these signal-to-noise ratios are most highly significant in the portions of the domain with the strongest anomalies in Years 1-5, especially Year 3. The signal-to-noise ratios tend toward uniformly low and insignificant values beyond the first half-decade after the eruption, indicating generally reduced coherence across events. In relation to the larger-scale circulation, post-eruption 500 mb February-March geopotential height composites from the 20th Century Reanalysis show ENSO-type features that are largely consistent with the SEA results from the primary eruption set during Years 1-2, but are inconsistent with the EN-like pattern exhibited by the second eruption set during this time. In Year 3, the pressure composite over North America and the adjacent Pacific and Atlantic is strongly LN-like, consistent with all SEA results; similarly, weakening coherence across events as time progresses beyond Year 3 is also consistent with more variable pressure composites noted after that time. The relatively robust character of the delayed LN-like response is evaluated in terms of the dynamic rebound of the climate system towards its initial energy balance as the radiative impact of immediate post-eruption aerosol cooling dissipates. The LN-like SEA temperature response in Years 3-5 exhibits a slight shift of its southern warm anomaly to the north and west relative to pure composite LN conditions, which is detected as a specifically post-eruption feature in the region.

Friday, August 22, 2014

WSJ: Spontaneous Solar Combustion. Will green activists feel cognitive dissonance for turning on renewable energy?

Spontaneous Solar Combustion

Can we please see your Avian and Bat Monitoring Plan?

Aug. 22, 2014 6:42 p.m. ET  THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

The sprawling Ivanpah solar power station in the Mojave Desert probably never would have been built without environmental activists and the subsidies and mandates they created, so there's more than a little irony that BrightSource Energy, Google and another clean-tech utility are now getting an education in the green opposition that bedevils other American businesses. Lobbies like the Sierra Club and Audubon Society are turning on solar farms for avian mass murder.

Ivahpah's solar thermal technology uses 300,000 giant computer-controlled mirrors spread over 3,500 acres to follow the sun and concentrate energy on water towers, where boiler turbines generate electricity. The problem with this $2.2 billion feat of engineering is that birds that fly into the 800 degrees Fahrenheit rays sometimes singe or catch fire in midair. Plant workers call them "streamers" after the trail of smoke that follows the carcasses to the ground after they ignite, according to a recent Associated Press investigation.



The Ivanpah Solar ElectirIc Generating System in Primm, Nev.

The Center for Biological Diversity speculates that Ivanpah will kill 28,000 birds a year. In a study earlier this year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's forensics laboratory calls the apparatus a "mega-trap" for insects, swallows, road runners, hawks and even monarch butterflies, "creating an entire food chain vulnerable to injury and death."

The Biological Diversity folks are suing to force solar farms to install lights or noise alert warnings to encourage wildlife to adopt a different flight path. Some California legislators are accidentally sensible and want to ban plants like Ivanpah, which sounds like a deal for birds and taxpayers.

We got a no-irony-intended email from a lobbyist friend working for BrightSource on Thursday explaining "avian fatalities"—the plant's actual year-to-date body count is all of 321 in total, and only 133 of them related to so-called "solar flux"—and Ivanpah's Avian and Bat Monitoring and Management Plan. The company notes that as many as 3.7 billion birds each year are killed by cats and 980 million by crashing into walls.

This green-on-green showdown exquisitely captures the reason that the America that built the Hoover Dam in five years now has so much trouble building those "infrastructure" projects everybody in Washington and Sacramento claim to favor. Environmental review and permitting are often dragged out a decade or longer across a slew of lawsuits and federal and state agencies. Ivanpah was required to spend $34 million on a "Head Start" nursery for desert tortoises. Really.

So it is that the same beau monde activists who think the Keystone XL pipeline is a threat to civilization are now turning on non-fossil fuel power too. Maybe this time they'll feel cognitive dissonance, but then they never do.

Ocean 'acidification' alarmists at work

A comment today on a prior post "New paper finds no evidence of ocean 'acidification' in upper Santa Monica Bay" claimed that collection of additional data since the paper was published does show "a statistically significant trend in surface pH, calculated from additional data which extended to 2013. The pH values in the top meter had been decreasing by about 0.003 per year.":
Comment today: I interviewed Anita Leinweber [author of the paper published in the Journal of Geophysical Research] for an article I wrote for The Catalina Marine Society. At the time of the study’s publication, no statistically significant linear trends had emerged in the upper 100 meters. But this past April (2014), Leinwebier saw a statistically significant trend in surface pH, calculated from additional data which extended to 2013. The pH values in the top meter had been decreasing by about 0.003 per year. (Calculations were not yet complete for other depths.) 
My article: California's Corrosive Ocean, http://www.catalinamarinesociety.org/files/MagVol5No1.pdf, p. 3
The article links to the data which supposedly shows a statistically significant "acidification" in surface pH, but plotting the data instead shows a very noisy dataset indicative of calibration problems with the pH meter, and a non-significant ~0.2 increase or alkalinization of pH:

Ocean 'alkalinization' in Santa Monica Bay
The data clearly does not support the claim of any statistically-significant decrease of pH or 'acidification'. However, it does illustrate that ocean pH routinely changes 0.5 pH units [50% change in H+ protons] or more over the course of a single day, much larger than the claimed "acidification" of 0.1 pH units from pH 8.2 to 8.1 over the past 150 years of industrialization. There is no reliable global ocean data demonstrating any change in pH due to the increase in atmospheric CO2; this claim is largely based upon very sparse data and models. If the oceans are warming, CO2 solubility decreases per Henry's Law, thus limiting the potential of "acidification" from an increase of CO2. 

The data also illustrates that pH meters require constant calibration and have surprisingly large measurement uncertainties. That's why there is an open $2 million dollar X-prize competition to develop an ocean pH meter to accurately, affordably, and efficiently measure ocean pH:

X-Prize $2 million pH sensor challenge
The Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE is a $2 million global competition that challenges teams of engineers, scientists and innovators from all over the world to create pH sensor technology that will affordably, accurately and efficiently measure ocean chemistry from its shallowest waters… to its deepest depthsLearn more about the competition.
There is no reliable evidence that global ocean pH is falling, and this Santa Monica Bay data certainly does not support the alarmist claims of "California's corrosive oceans."

Repost:

New paper finds no evidence of ocean 'acidification' in upper Santa Monica Bay

A new paper published in the Journal of Geophysical Research finds no evidence of ocean "acidification" in the upper 100 meters of the Santa Monica Bay from bi-weekly observations over the past six years. According to the authors, "No statistically significant linear trends emerge in the [biologically significant] upper 100 meters." 

Key points from prior posts on ocean "acidification":


A. Leinweber, N. Gruber

Abstract: We investigate the temporal variability and trends of pH and of the aragonite saturation state, Ωarag, in the southern California Current System on the basis of a 6 year timeseries from Santa Monica Bay, using bi-weekly observations of dissolved inorganic carbon and combined calculated and measured alkalinity. Median values of pH and Ωarag in the upper 20 m are comparable to observations from the subtropical gyres, but the temporal variability is at least a factor of 5 larger, primarily driven by short-term upwelling events and mesoscale processes. Ωarag and pH decrease rapidly with depth, such that the saturation horizon is reached already at 130 m, on average, but it occasionally shoals to as low as 30 m. No statistically significant linear trends emerge in the upper 100 m, but Ωarag and pH decrease, on average, at rates of -0.009 ± 0.006 yr-1 and -0.004 ± 0.003 yr-1 in the 100 to 250 m depth range. These are somewhat larger, but not statistically different from the expected trends based on the recent increase in atmospheric CO2. About half of the variability in the deseasonalized data can be explained by the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), with warm phases (El Niño) being associated with above normal pH and Ωarag. The observed variability and trend in Ωarag and pH is well captured by a multiple linear regression model on the basis of a small number of readily observable independent variables. This permits the estimation of these variables for related sites in the region.