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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Australians: still the Global Patsy grand achievers of climate change with 46% cuts, but we’re getting better at selling that

PRE NOTE: Obviously Australian emissions of free aerial fertilizer are a net benefit to the world, and we should be paid for them, not charged. But in this world of witchcraft, and lacking a billionaire celebrity who can win elections and face down the media mob — this post is about the obvious, immediately doable ways to reduce the burden of being the worlds Global Patsy. Read it in that spirit. Even within a game with stupid rules, it’s time to go on the attack..

Suddenly the Australian government uses the magic term “Per Capita” and baffles the commentariat

While the rest of the world revels in their glorious fantasy future carbon “targets” the Australian government has finally realized that the measurement units “per country” suited the European overlords, and it was time to reframe the debate.

I have been saying for years, years and years, that Australia has been the Star Global Patsy, doing more per capita than any other nation despite being the fastest growing, furthest, remotest, sparsest and most dependent economy on coal. This is despite most nations of Earth not even pretending to meet their targets. In a quiet moment, even believers in the […]

Windfarms threaten peat bogs and turn them into carbon emitters

More ironies. One fifth of all soil carbon is stored in peat bogs. Unfortunately when industrial wind turbines are built on them, the damage turns them from carbon sinks to carbon sources thus neutralizing the point of building the wind farm.

The headline evokes some supernatural power:

Wind farms built on carbon-rich peat bogs lose their ability to fight climate change

As if the magical whirly totem stick loses the gift of weather control when placed on a peat bog?

But the real damage is not just to wallets for another pointless windfarm. Peat bogs are so much more than carbon sinks — they are also an archive of paleohistory and the ancient climate. Indeed, even though cattle, wind and rain can damage the bogs, the researchers now say the wind farms now pose the “most serious risk” of all. Apparently the vehicle access tracks create artificial streams that drain the peat. The drainage changes are pervasive and “affect the whole peatland” not just the part near the track.

The “blanket bogs” are rare, but occur from Spain to Norway in Europe as well as in Canada, New Zealand and Korea.

The paper is a thinly disguised plea from bog […]

Humans do Ultimate Paris Lockdown, CO2 hits record high anyway

The new figures from the Mauna Loa Observatory show humans are irrelevant

Despite the Ultra-Revolutionary-Carbon-Reduction-Program far beyond anything the UN has every dreamed of, Global CO2 hit 417ppm. This is a record high since humans discovered test tubes but the 300 millionth time since life on Earth evolved.

It shows how all plans for carbon reduction known to mankind are futile. Obviously Ecoworriers want to take that failure and do more of it.

The world just broke a disturbing trend despite the global lockdown

Tracey Keeling

…the data reveals that two months of significantly reduced human activity did not make a dent in the damage we’ve done to the planet. It ultimately confirms that nothing short of wholesale systemic change will do – with the rejection of fossil fuels at the heart of that transformation.

“Surprised” is not the word. When the punters realize that empty streets and skies makes no difference, there could be a monumental crisis of motivation coming. Games up?

The Scientists Just Told Us Coronavirus Won’t Save Us from Climate Change

The National Interest

“People may be surprised to hear that the response to the coronavirus outbreak […]

Australia installs more renewables than anywhere else but national emissions stay the same

Australians are installing renewable energy, per capita, faster than any place on Earth, or at least we were until 2020 when the subsidies and schemes ran out.

Per capita, Australia (all shades of red) is installing renewables

 

The Quarterly update for the Greenhouse Gas inventory is out and we can see just how much difference all those renewables make, which is almost nothing. Emissions have flatlined.

Australians are paying record prices, risking blackouts, buying batteries and synchronous condensors, building new billion dollar interconnectors, losing companies overseas, and suffering voltage spikes. We’re playing chicken with our smelters, and party games with PeakSmart timers and extra domestic circuits so that electricity companies can manage our pool pumps and our air conditioners.

And this is all we get?

Per capita, Australia (all shades of red) is installing renewables

After adding so many wind farms and solar panels the electricity sector decreased emissions by only 1.2% on the year before.

Electricity sector emissions decreased 1.8 per cent in the June quarter of 2019 on a ‘seasonally adjusted and weather normalised’P 8 P basis (Figure 6). This reflected strong increases in hydro and wind generation (42.0 and 14.8 per cent) […]

New finding: Phytoplankton are much bigger players in CO2 levels than realized

Mysterious CO2 activity in New Zealand shows Phytoplankton at work

Tom Quirk both finds a mystery and solves it.

Emiliania huxleyi coccolithophore | Alison Taylor.

Carbon dioxide is a “well mixed gas” yet CO2 levels over New Zealand start rising there each year in March — a whole month before we see it CO2 start to rise over Tasmania. Air over Cape Grim in Tasmania will be blown by the prevailing wind over to New Zealand about five days later. So these two stations should be showing similar numbers throughout the year. Instead some process in NZ is pushing up CO2 early. Levels also peak earlier in New Zealand, and by September, in early spring, some process around NZ is pulling the CO2 out of the sky. Both NZ and Tasmania share large forested areas, so that wouldn’t explain the difference.

Quirk wondered if it had something do with phytoplankton, so he searched for satellite data that measures chlorophyll in the ocean and shows, voila, that there is major activity right around the Baring Head station at the same time as CO2 levels are falling. Indeed, the station is smack in the middle of a mass phytoplankton bloom.

He […]

Save the world and raze some forests

Look out, another knot of tortured researchers just went past. All this time we’ve been pouring money into planting trees and stealing land from farmers because we were sure that trees would cool the world. (Just like solar panels do, yeah?) But life is so complicated — for years now some researchers have been quietly wondering if more trees were actually going to warm the planet instead, but they didn’t want to say much. It turns out that while trees absorb the sacred CO2 (that’s cooling!) they also emit methane (that’s warming!), and terpenes (cooling) and isoprene (warming and cooling!) If that’s not complicated enough, then there is the albedo effect. Trees are dark, they absorb more sunlight than bare ground and snow. So depending on where they are planted, that makes for “warming”. Then some VOCs or volatile organic compounds also seed clouds.

So what’s the net effect? Who knows, it’s not like there are whole industries dependent on it…

Now they ask?

How much can forests fight climate change? Trees are supposed to slow global warming, but growing evidence suggests they might not always be climate saviours. Gabrielle Popkin, Nature

As usual, the debate is based […]

Australia is worst casualty of Paris: Big hit to GDP, wages, dollar, trade balance for nothing

Australia Wins The Global Patsy Award 2019

The Brookings Institute released a report that claims everyone is better off economically by sticking to Paris, but check out the devastating graphs. Economically, everyone is a loser, but the three biggest losers are Australia, Russia and OPEC.

Australia is doing more, paying more, suffering more and yet will make almost no difference to the global emissions tally in anything other than a purely symbolic impress-your-dinner–guests kind of way.

If Australia left the Paris Agreement, even the left leaning Brookings Institute can’t find much difference in total global man-made emissions. Australia is forcing the renewables transformation faster than anywhere else, it will lose GDP, wages, jobs, investment, and the dollar will fall. All that, and no one could even tell the difference between Paris with Australia, and Paris without.

Clearly Australian negotiators at the UN are incompetent on a whole new scale. If they had Australian’s interests at heart, even a little bit, they would have done this study themselves, and gone to Paris with some realistic comparative data to argue that we are cutting too fast and paying too much. Finalists for most useless Global Negotiator of the Decade are Kevin Rudd, […]

Iceland Katla volcano emits up to 24,000 tons of CO2 per day, may be about to blow (Or Not)

Either Katla in Iceland is about to blow or it isn’t. It is a subglacial volcano giving off five to ten times more CO2 than vulcanologists expected. This has some experts spooked, though others are saying it’s not that unusual.

UPDATE: The lead researcher herself adds that her work does not suggest an eruption is imminent, nor that it would be like the theEyjafjallajokull eruption in any case. h/t Pat for the new take. Apparently The Sunday Times has been exaggerating… “Ilyinskaya tweeted that she has previously told the Sunday Times that “the severity of Eyjafjallajökull air traffic disruption was very unusual and unlikely to happen if Katla erupts, and still, they quote me as saying exactly the opposite!”

Katla volcano set to erupt, Patrick Knox, The Sun

Katla Volcano, Iceland, 1918

Icelandic and British volcanologists have detected Katla— Icelandic for “kettle” or “boiler” — is emitting carbon dioxide on a huge scale which suggests magma chambers are filling up fast.

According to the Sunday Times, the scientists believe it could be an indicator that an eruption could be brewing which would overshadow the eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in 2010.

The emissions are in […]

Australia overdoes carbon reduction by 294Mt: could cool world by 0.0002C extra (maybe)

Absolutely best possible reduction in global temperature because of the latest announcement of a Australian carbon mitigation surplus.

Other countries are failing to meet their targets, but we’re not only achieving them, we’re overdoing it. And this is despite our obvious handicaps: like that we have rapid population growth, are further from everywhere and anywhere* except for Antarctica, and we’re the largest coal exporter in the world.

The latest Australian Greenhouse emissions figures are out, and the Energy Minister is very excited:

Emissions are now the lowest on a per capita and GDP basis in 28 years, having fallen 34 per cent and 58 per cent respectively since 1990. Just as Australia beat its first Kyoto target by 128 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, we are on track to easily surpass our 2020 target.

The latest data indicates we will overachieve by 294 million tonnes, a 30 per cent improvement on the year prior. When one considers one million tonnes of carbon abatement is equivalent to taking 300,000 cars off the road for a year, this is substantial.

Substantial?- Don’t undersell this — that’s like taking 88 million cars off the road! Holy hat! That’s […]

100 companies to blame for 71% of carbon “pollution”, but world’s worst corporates are Big Government

The Carbon Majors Report came out two weeks ago has been used to stoke Marxist fears that “corporates” are polluting the world.

These 100 Companies Are to Blame For 71% of The World’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions

[ScienceAlert]

Since 1988, a mere 100 companies have been responsible for 71 percent of the entire world’s industrial greenhouse gas emissions.

This data comes from an inaugural report published by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), an environmental non-profit. Charting the rapid expansion of the fossil fuel industry in the last 28 years, they have now released some truly staggering numbers on the world’s major carbon polluters.

Tess Riley of The Guardian tells us that “A relatively small number of fossil fuel producers and their investors could hold the key to tackling climate change”. She goes on to name the worst corporations: “ExxonMobil, Shell, BP and Chevron are identified as among the highest emitting investor-owned companies since 1988″. It’s not til the ninth paragraph we find that: “A fifth of global industrial greenhouse gas emissions are backed by public investment, according to the report.”

Only a fifth?

Look closely — the Worst corporate “polluters” are Big Government, not […]