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In the Wake of the News

Highlighted Article: The "New Energy Economy": An Exercise in Magical Thinking

 

From: Manhattan Institute

By: Mark P. Mills

 

THE “NEW ENERGY ECONOMY”:AN EXERCISE IN MAGICAL THINKING

 

"A movement has been growing for decades to replace hydrocarbons, which collectively supply 84% of the world’s energy. It began with the fear that we were running out of oil. That fear has since migrated to the belief that, because of climate change and other environmental concerns, society can no longer tolerate burning oil, natural gas, and coal—all of which have turned out to be abundant.


“So far, wind, solar, and batteries—the favored alternatives to hydrocarbons—provide about 2% of the world’s energy and 3% of America’s. Nonetheless, a bold new claim has gained popularity: that we’re on the cusp of a tech-driven energy revolution that not only can, but inevitably will, rapidly replace all hydrocarbons..."

 

THE “NEW ENERGY ECONOMY”:AN EXERCISE IN MAGICAL THINKING

 

Tags: Highlighted Article

Near-Surface Temperature

 

 

Much has been written about the physical shortcomings of the near-surface temperature record, which include:

 

  • inadequate spatial coverage;
  • urban heat island effects;
  • sensor degradation;
  • enclosure degradation;
  • wind and solar dependent biases;
  • inconsistent time of observation;
  • missing data; and,
  • numerous lesser issues.

 

These issues have been compounded by sensor and enclosure changes over time and measuring station relocation. These factors have led to “adjustment” of the measured temperature data intended to account for these issues.

Far less attention has been paid to the statistical shortcomings of the near-surface temperature record. Two of the most important statistical shortcomings are improper treatment of measurement noise and inadequate frequency of measurement.

Dr. Patrick Frank has calculated the lower limit of instrument noise in the global temperature record for well sited and maintained installations as +/-0.46°C. He has further estimated that the lower limit of the instrument noise for the global near-surface temperature installations is likely twice the lower limit of +/-0.46°C for well sited and maintained sites. These values far exceed the confidence limits (+/-0.10°C) typically reported by the producers of the global temperature anomaly products. If Dr. Frank’s estimate of the instrument noise in the global records is correct, the instrument noise is greater than the reported global temperature anomaly over the entire period of the global instrument temperature record, rendering the reported anomalies insignificant, as discussed in more detail here.

William Ward asserts that “air temperature is a signal and measurement of signals must comply with the mathematical laws of signal processing. The Nyquist-Shannon Sampling Theorem tells us that we must sample a signal at a rate that is at least 2x the highest frequency component of the signal. This is called the Nyquist Rate. Sampling at a rate less than this introduces aliasing error into our measurement.” Ward demonstrates that the aliasing error resulting from recording only daily maximum and minimum temperatures and calculating the mean of those two temperature readings results in a mean aliasing error of 1.4°C, approximately 50% greater than the reported global temperature anomaly over the period of the global instrumental temperature record. Ward also demonstrates that daily errors range up to +/-4°C.

Ward also demonstrates that temperature sampling at rates less than the Nyquist Rate can induce errors in the calculated temperature trends. Trend errors calculated for 26 selected sites range from +0.24°C to -0.17°C per decade, with an average of 0.06°C per decade. This compares with a reported warming trend over the period 1880-2012 of 0.064 +/- 0.015°C (Wikipedia) and a reported warming trend of 0.13°C per decade over the period of the satellite temperature record. Essentially, the reported warming trend shown above is actually (0.064 +/- 0.015°C) +0.24°C / -0.17°C; that is, it is essentially meaningless.

The USCRN is currently considered to be the “gold standard” for near-surface temperature measurement because its sites are CRN-1 sites, located remotely from existing development, use three separate precision temperature sensors and are sampled at the practical Nyquist Rate of 4,320 samples per day, or one sample every 20 seconds. The CRN is the reference for both the Frank and Ward studies. Unfortunately, the CRN is not a global system and it lacks a 30 year historical climate reference period.

 

Tags: Temperature Record

Highlighted Article: Heartland Institute Special Edition To The Green New Deal

 

From: The Heartland Institute

By: H. Sterling Burnett

 

Special Edition Devoted To The Green New Deal

 

"The much-hyped Green New Deal (GND) is being pushed by a rump group of progressive-socialists in the Democratic Party, including prominent members of the Senate with stated presidential aspirations. If enacted, GND would constitute a complete socialist makeover/takeover of the economic system of the United States."

 

Special Edition Devoted To The Green New Deal

 

Tags: Highlighted Article

Adaptation and Survival

The universe is estimated to be approximately 13.7 billion years old. Our solar system is estimated to be approximately 4.6 to 5 billion years old, while the earth is estimated to be approximately 4.3 to 4.6 billion years old. Earth’s history is one of periodic glacial periods, shifting continents, volcanic creation and destruction, occasional meteor impacts and a variety of other major and minor events.

Our understanding of earth’s atmosphere and climate is very limited prior to approximately 500 million years ago. The graph below illustrates our current understanding of the earth’s climate history over that period.

Temperature on Planet Earth

The most recent period in earth’s history is arguably the period of greatest temperature stability in the historical record. However, it is obvious the climate continued to change over this period. There is no obvious period of temperature stasis anywhere in the record; and, it seems strange to suggest that the current period should become a period of temperature stasis. There is also no reason to believe that Milankovitch cycles have ceased. Rather, the graph above suggests that the earth might be approaching the peak of a Milankovitch cycle, which would then be followed by several thousand years of cooling temperatures.

The graph below illustrates both the temperature and atmospheric CO2 concentration over the entire estimated period of earth’s existence. Temperatures and CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere have been substantially higher in the past than is the case today. The glacial periods shown in the graph above all occurred when atmospheric CO2 concentrations were as high as or higher than current atmospheric CO2 concentration, as shown in the graph below.

Geological Timescale of CO2

Dr. Vincent Gray’s conclusion from this graph: “It will be seen that there is no correlation whatsoever between carbon dioxide concentration and the temperature at the earth’s surface.”

Modern humans as we know them are thought to have evolved approximately 315,000 years ago, though there is evidence of other hominin species as long as 6-8 million years ago. The red X in the graphs above indicate the approximate appearance of modern humans. Modern humans are believed to be the only one of the hominin species which has survived. However, if we accept Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, the predecessor organisms of modern humans and all other currently existing creatures have existed on earth throughout its existence, adapting and surviving or not adapting and becoming extinct.

The graphs above make it clear that our human ancestors have adapted, survived and ultimately thrived through a series of temperature changes. The historical record illustrates that humans have fared better in warm than in cool periods. The temperature changes during the Roman Warm Period, the Medieval Warm Period, the Little Ice Age and the current warm period pale in comparison to the temperature changes labeled as the Milankovitch Cycles in the first graph above, no less the temperature changes which occurred more than 8 million years ago.

 

Tags: Global Temperature, Temperature Record

Highlighted Article: Hurricanes and Climate Change

 

By: Judith Curry

A five part series from Climate Etc.

"This Report is easier than my Special Report on Sea Level and Climate Change.  Sea level and glaciers are very fast moving topics, whereas for hurricanes, the big picture conclusions haven’t really changed in a decade."

 

1) Hurricanes & climate change: detection

2) Hurricanes and Climate Change: Attribution

3) Hurricanes & climate change: landfalls

4) Hurricanes & climate change: recent U.S. landfalling hurricanes

5) Hurricanes & climate change: 21st century projections

 

Tags: Highlighted Article

Highlighted Article: What Rising CO2 Means for Global Food Security

From: CO2 Coalition

February 21, 2019

 

What Rising CO2 Means for Global Food Security

 

Plant production has been boosted, the need for water and fertilizer has been brought down, and field experiments show that these effects are likely to increase in coming decades.

Global food security is one of the most pressing problems facing the planet’s growing population. Continuing advances in agricultural technology and expertise will certainly increase food production in many regions, but the required doubling of production by 2100 as diets improve with rising income will still be a difficult task. Fortunately, carbon dioxide (CO2), a non-polluting gas that is created when fossil fuels are converted into energy, has proved to be a powerful plant food.

 

What Rising CO2 Means for Global Food Security

 

Tags: Highlighted Article

Highlighted Article: Judith Curry Statement to the US House Committee On Natural Resources

By: Judith Curry

STATEMENT TO THE COMMITTEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES OF THE UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

Hearing on Climate Change: The Impacts and the Need to Act

"... I am increasingly concerned that both the climate change problem and its solution have been vastly oversimplified.1 For the past decade, I have been promoting dialogue across the full spectrum of understanding and opinion on the climate debate through my blog Climate Etc. (judithcurry.com). I have learned about the complex reasons that intelligent, educated and well-informed people disagree on the subject of climate change, as well as tactics used by both sides to try to gain a political advantage in the debate.

With this perspective, my testimony focuses on the following issues of central relevance to climate change, its impacts and need to act:

  • The climate knowledge gap
  • The climate change response challenge
  • The urgency (?) of CO2 emissions reductions
  • Resilience, anti-fragility and thrivability
  • Moving forward with pragmatic climate change policies ..."

 

STATEMENT TO THE COMMITTEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES OF THE UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

Tags: Highlighted Article

Warming Significance

Recent research has provided greatly reduced estimates of climate sensitivity to increased atmospheric CO2 concentrations. This research suggests that a doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentrations, to 540 ppm, would result in an increase of ~1.7°C (~3°F) above pre-industrial global annual average near-surface temperatures. Approximately 1°C (~1.6°F) of this projected increase is reported to have already occurred.

 

Climate Sensitivity Estimates Declining

 

Based on recent analyses, that 3°F temperature increase would manifest as an increase of ~1°F in average annual maximum temperatures and an increase of ~2°F in average annual minimum temperatures in many of the most populous nations on the globe; and, as the average for the globe. These changes would be expected to occur over approximately the remainder of the century, assuming rates of global annual CO2 emissions remain relatively constant.

An increase of 1°F in annual maximum temperature would be of greatest concern if it manifested as an increase in the number of very hot days or an increase in the temperatures on the hottest days. However, this is not the case, at least in the US, where the annual number of days reaching or exceeding 95°F has been declining on average over the period from 1900 to 2018; and, declining precipitously since the peak in the 1930s.Rather, the increase has manifested as an increase in the average daily maximum temperature while not significantly affecting the frequency or magnitude of extreme temperatures.

 

Percent of Days above 95

 

Similarly, the number of nights reaching temperatures at or below 0°F has decreased over the period 1900 to 2018, indicating that winter temperatures have become less extreme as well.

An increase of 2°F in annual average minimum temperatures would be of greatest concern if the increase were associated primarily with the occurrence of extremely hot days. However, as noted above, the frequency of extremely hot days is decreasing, so it is likely that the increase in average minimum temperature during the summer months is more uniformly distributed.

 

Percent of Nights Below 0

 

The combination of the more rapid rise of average annual minimum temperatures, relative to average annual maximum temperatures, and the decline in both hot and cold extreme temperatures has resulted in a decrease in the average daily temperature range of approximately 2°F ,or approximately 10%, in the US over the period from 1900 to 2018. However, this still means that daily average temperatures change by +/- 23°F roughly every 12 hours and +/- 40-50°F seasonally.

 

Average Daily Temperature Range

 

Mexico is the only one of the most populace nations in which the annual average maximum temperature is increasing more rapidly than the annual average minimum temperature, though both are increasing more slowly than the global average temperature change.

Russia and Nigeria are the only ones of the most populous nations in which the average annual maximum temperature is increasing more rapidly than the global average temperature change.

China is the most anomalous of the most populous countries, in that the annual average maximum temperature is increasing at only ~7% of the rate of increase of the global annual average temperature; and, only ~3% of the rate of increase of the annual average minimum temperature.

 

Tags: Climate Sensitivity

Highlighted Article: Why Renewables Can’t Save the Planet

    From: Quillette

    By: Michael Shellenberger

    February 27, 2019

 

Why Renewables Can’t Save the Planet

 

“I thought the solutions were pretty straightforward: solar panels on every roof, electric cars in every driveway, etc. The main obstacles, I believed, were political. And so I helped organize a coalition of America’s largest labor unions and environmental groups. Our proposal was for a $300 billion dollar investment in renewables. We would not only prevent climate change but also create millions of new jobs in a fast-growing high-tech sector.

Our efforts paid off in 2007 when then-presidential candidate Barack Obama embraced our vision. Between 2009–15, the U.S. invested $150 billion dollars in renewables and other forms of clean tech. But right away we ran into trouble.”

 

Why Renewables Can’t Save the Planet

 

Tags: Highlighted Article

Highlighted Article: Global Mean Surface Temperature: Early 20th Century Warming Period – Models versus Models & Models versus Data

 

 

Global Mean Surface Temperature: Early 20th Century Warming Period – Models versus Models & Models versus Data

 

This is a long post: 3500+ words and 22 illustrations. Regardless, heretics of the church of human-induced global warming who frequent this blog should enjoy it. Additionally, I’ve uncovered something about the climate models stored in the CMIP5 archive that I hadn’t heard mentioned or seen presented before. It amazed even me, and I know how poorly these climate models perform. It’s yet another level of inconsistency between models, and it’s something very basic. It should help put to rest the laughable argument that climate models are based on well-documented physical processes.

 

Global Mean Surface Temperature: Early 20th Century Warming Period – Models versus Models & Models versus Data

 

Tags: Highlighted Article

Green New Deal Summary

 

 

This series of commentaries has evaluated various aspects of the “Green New Deal” (GND) focused on reducing US emissions of “greenhouse gases” to avoid a projected climate catastrophe.

 

These commentaries have identified a deadweight loss of approximately $62.5 trillion, mostly resulting from the abandonment of energy resources and energy industry infrastructure. They have also identified costs of approximately $3.5 trillion for a national high-speed rail network; approximately $18 trillion for building retrofit and reconstruction; and, between approximately $3–9 trillion for electric vehicle infrastructure. This represents a total investment requirement of approximately $25-30 trillion.

These commentaries have not addressed the non-emissions related aspects of the GND. Dr. David Wojick has estimated that the total cost of the GND would be approximately $100 trillion, or approximately 50% of the US gross domestic product over the 10-year implementation period.

The GND would require major changes in US society and in the US economy. It exists today only as non-binding House and Senate resolutions. The GND resolutions have 64 House and 9 Senate Democrat co-sponsors, including 6 announced Democrat 2020 presidential candidates. This would appear to assure that the GND will be a subject of very active discussion during the 2020 presidential campaign and numerous 2020 House and Senate campaigns.

The climate change aspects of the GND might well be a “stalking horse” for the socialistic and redistributionist aspects of the GND; and, on a global scale, for the UN Agenda 21.

The concern regarding potential catastrophic anthropogenic climate change remains based strictly on projections produced by unverified climate models fed with uncertain climate sensitivity, forcing and feedback estimates. These remain poor justification for extremely extensive and expensive societal change.

 

Tags: Green New Deal

Green New Deal and the Road

Transportation applications account for approximately 29% of US energy consumption annually. Approximately 60% of this total is motor gasoline for use by automobiles, light trucks and other small to medium engine applications. Approximately 26% of this total is diesel fuel for use in some automobiles and light trucks, but predominantly in heavy duty trucks, road tractors and farm implements. The GND would require that these transportation applications switch from fossil fuels to either electricity or biofuels to achieve net-zero CO2 emissions.

Ethanol/gasoline blends and biodiesel are currently in use in the US as motor fuels. Internal combustion engines can be designed to run on 100% ethanol, but are not now in common use. Ethanol currently represents approximately 10% of US motor gasoline blend consumption, so ethanol production would have to be increased by an order of magnitude to replace gasoline as a motor fuel. However, straight ethanol is not compatible with current motor vehicle engines and fuel systems; and, adaptation of existing vehicles to run on ethanol would be complex and expensive.

Approximately 95% of current US ethanol is produced using field corn while only 5% is cellulose sourced. Production of cellulosic ethanol is currently more expensive, even though it relies primarily on waste products and grasses as its source. However, an order of magnitude increase in production would require greater reliance on crops grown specifically for use in ethanol production, requiring increased agricultural acreage.

Biodiesel currently represents approximately 5% of US diesel fuel consumption. It can be used interchangeably in current diesel engines. Current biodiesel production relies significantly on waste feedstocks, but replacing petroleum distillate with biodiesel would greatly increase dependence on crops grown specifically to support biodiesel production, requiring increased agricultural acreage.

Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are currently available for personal use, but offer relatively limited range compared to vehicles operating on gasoline/ethanol blends or biodiesel. Also, battery electric vehicles typically require several hours to recharge their batteries compared to the few minutes required to refuel gasoline and diesel vehicles. Vehicle range and recharging time are functions of the installed battery capacity in the vehicles, the rate at which the batteries can accept charge and the capability of the charging station. The current state of the technology limits BEVs to roughly half the range of current gasoline and diesel vehicles.

The first BEV road tractors are expected to be introduced to the US market in 2019. The road tractor is expected to have an operating range of approximately 500 miles and a recharging time of approximately 30 minutes. BEV transit buses are currently available, with an estimated range of approximately 350 miles, which would satisfy the requirements of many urban routes. This technology could be applied to tour buses as well, though the requirement for under-floor baggage storage would limit volume available for batteries, probably limiting operating range significantly.

BEVs are currently more expensive than gasoline and diesel vehicles, primarily because of the cost of the batteries. BEVs with longer ranges require larger battery packs and consequently are more expensive than those with limited range.

There are currently approximately 270 million motor vehicles operating in the US. The GND would obsolete all of the current vehicles with the exception of the diesel vehicles remaining at the end of the 10 year implementation period, assuming that sufficient biodiesel fuel were available to fuel the diesel vehicles. The residual value of these vehicles, on the order of $1 trillion, would be a deadweight loss.

There are currently 120 million vehicle fossil fuel dispensers in the US. Simply replacing these dispensers with high speed electric vehicle charging Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) would require an investment of approximately $3 trillion. However, the greater time required to recharge electric vehicles might well require a significantly greater number of EVSEs, perhaps doubling or even tripling the investment required.

 

Tags: Green New Deal

Green New Deal and Buildings

The principal energy efficiency thrust of the “Green New Deal” is "upgrading all existing buildings in the United States and building new buildings to achieve maximal energy efficiency, water efficiency, safety, affordability, comfort, and durability, including through electrification".

Building Green analyzedThe Challenge of Existing Homes: Retrofitting for Dramatic Energy Savings” several years ago. The residential sector includes approximately 125 million dwelling units, including approximately 85 million single family detached structures; and accounts for approximately 20% of US energy consumption.

Intelligent choices regarding building envelope characteristics, window and door choices, appliance and equipment choices can make large differences in building energy consumption, typically at relatively modest cost. Retrofitting existing buildings of any type is far more challenging and expensive.

Building retrofits are an exercise in “Broken Window Economics”, since functional components such as windows and doors, appliances and equipment are being removed and replaced with more efficient equipment before the ends of their useful lives. Improving the insulation in existing structures is also frequently very difficult and expensive. Additional attic insulation and installation of insulation over crawl spaces is relatively straightforward, as is adding insulation to uninsulated walls and replacing caulking and weather stripping. However, adding insulation to walls which are already insulated, though not optimally, can be both very expensive and relatively ineffective. Adding insulation to existing building slabs is typically prohibitive.

The intent of the GND is to accomplish what Building Green refers to as a major energy retrofit, which they estimated would incur an average cost of approximately $50,000 per dwelling unit. Accomplishing a major energy retrofit of 125 million dwelling units in the 10-year time horizon suggested by the GND would cost approximately $6 trillion, assuming the availability of sufficient building materials and sufficient skilled labor to complete the retrofits. The number of dwellings to be retrofitted each year would be an order of magnitude greater than the number of such retrofits being performed each year today.

There are approximately 5.6 million commercial buildings in the US, containing approximately 87 billion square feet of floor space. These buildings consume approximately 18% of all US energy. The average commercial building is approximately 7 times the area of the average residential dwelling.  Applying this ratio to the major energy retrofit cost for the average dwelling suggests that accomplishing a major energy retrofit for these buildings would cost approximately $2 trillion, again assuming the availability of sufficient materials and skilled labor to accomplish the retrofits.

Retrofits of industrial facilities could only be analyzed on an industry by industry basis, since the structures involved vary so greatly, as does the process equipment in use at these facilities. Such an analysis is beyond the scope of this commentary. However, US industry consumes approximately 33% of total US energy consumption, so major energy retrofits would be essential to achieving the energy consumption reduction goals of the GND. The costs could easily approach $10 trillion, assuming that the required alternative energy use technologies and equipment were even available for application.

 

Tags: Green New Deal

Green New Deal - High Speed Rail #2

A previous commentary discussed: the requirements for a high speed rail system; an approach to designing such a system; and, the US High Speed Rail Plan (HSRP) system design developed by the US High Speed Rail Association. The GND approach to high speed rail focuses on eliminating the need for air travel in the US, while the US High Speed Rail Plan (HSRP) assumes that trips over approximately 1,000 – 1,500 miles would be made by air. This assumption has significant impacts on the HSRP design shown in the map below.

 

High Speed Rail Map

 

The HSRP design includes no distance optimized cross country routes, though it does include distance optimized North / South routes along the East and West coasts. The HSRP, including the lower speed feeder routes, has an estimated total cost of $3.5 trillion.

The addition of the following distance optimized cross country routes could displace the HSRP reliance on air travel for longer trips.

  • New York City – Chicago – Seattle                       790 +  2,110
  • New York City – Chicago – San Francisco                      2,135
  • New York City – Chicago – Los Angeles                         2,018

These routes are shown in the map below as black dotted lines. These distance optimized routes would add a total of approximately 7,000 miles to the HSRP developed by the US High Speed Rail Association, at an estimated additional cost of approximately $1 trillion, for a total system cost of approximately $4.5 trillion.

 

High Speed Rail Map

 

Chicago O’Hare International Airport currently serves approximately 80 million passengers per year, or approximately 220,000 passengers per day, roughly divided between arrivals and departures. If we assume that approximately half of these passengers have Chicago as their point of origin or destination, then 50,000 passengers per day would arrive and depart Chicago daily on trains taking them to or from their point of origin or destination.

Typical high-speed trains can be assumed to have a passenger loading of 1,000. Therefore, approximately 50 trains would arrive and depart the Chicago rail terminal, in addition to the through, non-stop trains to and from New York, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Numerous other trains would arrive and depart Chicago to and from other points of origin and destinations.

Annual passenger trips between New York City and Los Angeles total approximately 2.8 million. In addition, annual passenger trips between New York City and Chicago total approximately 2.3 million; and, between Chicago and Los Angeles total approximately 1.6 million. Therefore, the rail lines between New York City and Chicago would move approximately 5.1 million passengers per year, or approximately 14,000 passengers per day or 14 trains per day for that 3.5-hour trip. The rail lines between Chicago and Los Angeles would move 4.4 million passengers per year, or approximately 12,000 passengers per day or 12 trains per day for that 10-hour trip.

Therefore, there would be one train moving on the rail lines between New York City and Chicago non-stop in each direction at any given time.; and, there would be 2 trains moving on the rail lines between Chicago and Los Angeles non-stop in each direction at any given time. There would be additional trains operating on these rail lines serving intermediate stops on each route.

 

Tags: Green New Deal
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