Pages

Friday, July 19, 2019

GWPF Newsletter: One Of The Deepest Solar Minima In 100 Years Underway Now








Green Germany Risks Running Out Of Power

In this newsletter:

1) One Of The Deepest Solar Minima In 100 Years Underway Now
Tony Phillips, Spaceweather.com, 16 July 2019
 
2) Green Germany Risks Running Out Of Power
Reuters, 18 July 2019


 
3) Leaked UN Science Report Warns Of Growing Food Prices & Land Degradation If Biofuels Are Expanded 
Climate Home News, 17 July 2019 
 
4) Told You So: Pacific Atolls Can Adapt To Rising Seas And Extreme Storms New Study Finds
SciMex, 16 July 2019 
 
5) Treat Extinction Rebellion As An Extremist Anarchist Group, Former Anti-Terror Chief Tells Police
The Daily Telegraph, 17 July 2019
 
6) ufthansa Sees No ‘Greta Effect’ As Passenger Numbers Show Rise
City A.M., 15 July 2019
 
7) And Finally: Has The Financial Times Seen The Light?
Sam Arie, Financial Times, 17 July 2019


Full details:

1) One Of The Deepest Solar Minima In 100 Years Underway Now
Tony Phillips, Spaceweather.com, 16 July 2019

Note to astronauts: 2019 is not a good year to fly into deep space. In fact, it’s shaping up to be one of the worst of the Space Age.

The reason is, the solar cycle. One of the deepest Solar Minima of the past century is underway now. As the sun’s magnetic field weakens, cosmic rays from deep space are flooding into the solar system, posing potential health risks to astronauts.

NASA is monitoring the situation with a radiation sensor in lunar orbit. The Cosmic Ray Telescope for the Effects of Radiation (CRaTER) has been circling the Moon on NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft since 2009. Researchers have just published a paper in the journal Space Weather describing CRaTER’s latest findings.

 “The overall decrease in solar activity in this period has led to an increased flux of energetic particles, to levels that are approaching those observed during the previous solar minimum in 2009/2010, which was the deepest minimum of the Space Age,” write the authors, led by Cary Zeitlin of NASA’s Johnson Space Flight Center. “The data have implications for human exploration of deep space.”

This always happens during Solar Minimum. As solar activity goes down, cosmic rays go up. The last two Solar Minima have been unusually deep, leading to high cosmic ray fluxes in 2008-2010 and again in 2018-2019. These are the worst years since humans first left Earth in the 1960s.

“It’s a bit counterintuitive,” says one of the authors, Nathan Schwadron, a space physicist at the University of New Hampshire. “Solar Minimum may actually be more dangerous than Solar Maximum.”

In their paper, Zeitlin, Schwadron and co-authors describe an interesting experiment by NASA that highlights the relative peril of solar flares vs. cosmic rays. In 2011, NASA launched the Curiosity rover to Mars. Inside its spacecraft, the rover was protected by about as much shielding (20 gm/cm^2) as a human astronaut would have. A radiation sensor tucked inside kept track of Curiosity’s exposure.

The results were surprising. During the 9-month journey to Mars, radiation from solar flares (including the strongest flare of the previous solar cycle) accounted for only about 5% of Curiosity’s total dose. The remaining 95% came from cosmic rays.

Why the imbalance? “Solar flares of the size we’ve seen during the Space Age can be largely mitigated by achievable depths of spacecraft shielding(1),” explains Zeitlin. “We can’t stop the highest energy cosmic rays, however. They penetrate the walls of any spacecraft.”

Solar flares are still a concern. If an astronaut were caught outside on EVA during an intense, unexpected flare, acute effects could include vomiting, fatigue, and low blood counts. A quick return to Earth might be required for medical care. Cosmic rays are more insidious, acting slowly, with maladies such as cancer or heart disease showing up years after the exposure.

As 2019 unfolds, Solar Minimum appears to still be deepening. Cosmic rays haven’t quite broken the Space Age record set in 2009-2010, but they’re getting close, only percentage points from the highest values CRaTER has ever recorded.

Full post

2) Green Germany Risks Running Out Of Power
Reuters, 18 July 2019

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Germany, a poster child for renewable energy, is renouncing nuclear and coal. The problem is, say many power producers and grid operators, it may struggle to keep the lights on.



The country, the biggest electricity market in the European Union, is abandoning nuclear power by 2022 due to safety concerns compounded by the Fukushima disaster and phasing out coal plants over the next 19 years to combat climate change.

In the next three years alone conventional energy capacity is expected to fall by a fifth, leaving it short of the country’s peak power demand. There is disagreement over whether there will be sufficient reliable capacity to preclude the possibility of outages, which could hammer the operations of industrial companies.

The Berlin government, in a report issued this month, said the situation was secure, and shortfalls could be offset by better energy efficiency, a steadily rising supply of solar and wind power as well as electricity imports.

Others are not as confident, including many utilities, network operators, manufacturing companies and analysts.

Katharina Reiche, chief executive of the VKU association of local utilities, many of which face falling profitability as plants close, said the government’s strategy was risky because it had not stress-tested all scenarios. She characterized the plan as “walking a tightrope without a safety net”.

Utilities and grid firms say if the weather is unfavorable for lengthy periods, green power supply can be negligible, while storage is still largely non-existent. Capacity aside, the network to transport renewable power from north to south is also years and thousands of kilometers behind schedule, they add.
Stefan Kapferer, head of Germany’s energy industry group BDEW, said it would be risky to rely on imports.

“Conventional power capacity is falling nearly everywhere in Europe and more volatile capacity is being built up,” he told Reuters.

The government rejected such concerns, saying the likelihood of plant crashes or identical weather conditions across Europe was remote.

Regardless of reliability, however, Germany becoming a net power importer would have major consequences for the whole continent, whose power markets are interlinked under EU single market rules – and are dominated by exports from Germany.

The shift comes at a time when nuclear plants in France, another major exporter to the rest of Europe, are ageing fast – meaning it is also increasingly likely to rely on imports.

Full story

3) Leaked UN Science Report Warns Of Growing Food Prices & Land Degradation If Biofuels Are Expanded 
Climate Home News, 17 July 2019 

Models suggest large areas of land are needed for forests and biofuel crops to halt climate change, but this risks worsening hunger, draft tells policymakers


Bioenergy crops (Photo: Claire Benjamin/Flickr)

Blanketing the globe with monocultures of forests and bioenergy crops is no dream fix to the climate crisis, a leaked draft report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns.

Models suggest large areas of land are needed to draw carbon dioxide out of the air to limit global warming to 1.5C, the most ambitious target in the Paris Agreement.

This risks worsening hunger by competing with food production for space, according to the draft summary for policymakers obtained by Business Standard.

“Widespread use at the scale of several millions of km2 globally” of tree-planting and bioenergy crops could have “potentially irreversible consequences for food security and land degradation”, the report said.

Intensifying the production of bioenergy crops through the use of fertilisers, irrigation and monocultures could also erode soil and its capacity to soak up carbon in the long run.

There is rising demand for fuels derived from plants as a source of renewable energy. The Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA), describes modern bioenergy as the “overlooked giant” of renewables, predicting it will outpace solar, wind and hydropower in the next five years.

Full story

See also our new report -- Burnt Offering: The biomess of biomass (pdf)



4) Told You So: Pacific Atolls Can Adapt To Rising Seas And Extreme Storms New Study Finds
SciMex, 16 July 2019 

Sea-level rise simulation suggests that low-lying Pacific islands such as those in Tuvalu, Tokelau and Kiribati are likely to adapt to the effects of climate change rather than simply sink beneath the waves, according to Kiwi researchers. 

The researchers created 1:50 scale replica of the uninhabited island of Fatato in Tuvalu and submitted the model to rising water levels and mock storm-generated waves. They found that the highest part of the island actually got higher as rising sea levels and strong wave action washed sand and gravel toward it. They say this shows the islands may be more resilient than we thought as they may be able to change shape to adapt to the climate.

Journal/conference: Geology
DOI: 10.1130/G46362.1
Organisation/s: University of Auckland

Media Release
From: University of Auckland

Pacific atolls can adapt to rising seas and extreme storms – new study

Low-lying Pacific islands in atoll archipelagos such as Tuvalu, Tokelau and Kiribati are likely to adapt to the effects of climate change rather than simply sink beneath the waves, a new study shows.

Tuvalu, Tokelau and Kiribati are widely considered under threat from rising seas and severe storms due to climate change with their residents becoming ‘climate refugees’.

Researchers from the University of Auckland’s School of Environment recreated a scale model of tiny Fatato Island on the southeast rim of Funafuti Atoll in Tuvalu to test the ability of the real island to withstand predicted climate affects.

The study simulated higher sea levels and storm-generated waves up to 4m in a 20m-long water chute or ‘flume’ to replicate real-world sea levels of 0.5m and 1m in a purpose built laboratory at the University of Plymouth in the United Kingdom.

The team chose uninhabited Fatato as a model because they were able to create an accurate 1:50 scale replica using data collected from previous field surveys and research. In the real world, the tiny island is just 90m at its widest point and 860m long. The scale replica created for the laboratory tests was 0.6m wide, 2.6m long with a highest point of 10cm.

Using lasers to closely monitor changes in the model, and translating those to a real-world scenario, the researchers found the crest of the island - its highest ground - actually increased 1.13m height as higher sea levels and strong wave action washed sand and gravel toward it.

While that elevation was achieved at the expense of lower-lying areas, simultaneously reducing the amount of low-lying land as the crest got higher. But that might not happen in the real world where islands are continually replenished by sediment from the surrounding reef.

Importantly, the island also moved laterally, migrating across the coral reef as sand and gravel shifted position with the action of waves and higher water levels.

Full story

5) Treat Extinction Rebellion As An Extremist Anarchist Group, Former Anti-Terror Chief Tells Police
The Daily Telegraph, 17 July 2019

Extinction Rebellion (XR) should be treated as an extremist anarchist group and police must stop their “soft touch” approach, a former Scotland Yard head of counter-terrorism has warned.

Richard Walton, who headed the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command until 2016, said his investigation into XR revealed it had a “subversive” agenda rooted in the “political extremism of anarchism” rather than just campaigning on climate change.

He said he had uncovered evidence that XR leaders advocated “revolution” to overturn capitalism, mass protest and law-breaking aimed at achieving a breakdown of democracy and the state - an intent many of its middle class and celebrity backers appeared unaware of.

His 73-page report, published on Wednesday by think tank Policy Exchange, criticised Scotland Yard for its “passive” and “tolerant” response to XR’s London protests in April which caused gridlock at a cost of at least £28 million in lost shop takings and extra policing.

He recommended police adopt a “proactive” approach to prevent XR and other political activists embarking on  illegal tactics.

He said the Government should reform laws to enable police to place more restrictions on planned protests and prosecute protestors for road blocking and trespass.

And politicians such as Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell and public figures like the former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and actress Emma Thompson should “avoid endorsing, legitimising or meeting” with XR while its leadership continued to incite law breaking.

“As a result of the evidence we have uncovered, no one can now plead ignorance of the ominous and threatening intentions of this campaigning organisation,” said Mr Walton, co-author of the report, the first by the New Politics Monitor launched today by Policy Exchange to investigate extremism across the political spectrum.

XR was founded by Compassionate Revolution Ltd and Rising Up!, which was originally formed by activists involved in direct action groups including Occupy, Plane Stupid and Reclaim the Power. It extolled “revolution,” redistribution of wealth and branded police “fascists.”

A tweet at the outset of XR’s London action, subsequently deleted, declared: “This movement is the best chance we have of bringing down capitalism.”
Gail Bradbrook, co-founder of XR, told a conference: “Civil disobedience is essential right now.” Caiming that the social contract is now broken, she stressed: “I'm not organising protests, I'm organising a rebellion against my government.”

XR co-founder Roger Hallam even spoke of people dying for the cause, according to the report.

Full story

6) Lufthansa Sees No ‘Greta Effect’ As Passenger Numbers Show Rise
City A.M., 15 July 2019

German airline Lufthansa expects passenger numbers to rise about four per cent this year, its chief executive said yesterday, playing down talk that public support for teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg might be curbing air travel.


“At this time, we don’t see restraint – in fact, the opposite,” Carsten Spohr told the NZZ Am Sonntag newspaper. “In comparison to last year, already a record year, we’re expecting passenger growth of about four per cent, [Lufthansa unit] Swiss International Air Lines is also showing growth. The discussion of climate change is not leading to restraint with bookings. People want to fly.”

Media reports have suggested a “Greta effect” might curb demand for air travel, referring to the 16-year-old Swede, who has gained global attention for her efforts to convince people to reduce carbon-emitting activities.

Full story

7) And Finally: Has The Financial Times Seen The Light?
Sam Arie, Financial Times, 17 July 2019

We must start planning to live with the consequences of climate change 

Few things should make you as optimistic — or as pessimistic — as the rise of renewable energy. Optimism comes from a new sense of urgency as the UK, Germany and Spain set record highs for use of wind and solar power, and record lows for coal. Even the US can now generate more power from renewables than from coal, and last month, the “Ocean Wind” project in New Jersey was the largest ever offshore wind farm procured by a US state.

Yet pessimism comes from the fact that all of this may not be enough. In our research at UBS, we estimate that to avoid a dangerous level of global warming, the world would need to commission an asset the size of New Jersey’s Ocean Wind every day for the next 30 years, without missing a day. Or put another way: we need to triple wind and solar construction overnight and sustain that new growth rate for decades, with no room for setbacks.

The hard truth is that we are not on track for that. Nor are we close to an overnight technical solution to the many other challenges of the energy transition that must be solved before we can develop a 100 per cent clean energy system.

Of course, these realities do not stop us from telling ourselves fairy tales. The first one is that energy efficiency will save the day. The facts show just the opposite: over 50 years since the oil price crises of the 1970s, we have seen rising energy efficiency in almost all walks of life, yet in the same time period energy demand and carbon emissions have tripled. As the Victorian economist WS Jevons understood already in 1865, the more efficient you become in your use of a fossil fuel, the more valuable that fossil fuel becomes to you, and the more of it you will consume.

The second fairy tale is a type of deus ex machina, a divine intervention usually staged in the last act of a play. Variously we hear that carbon capture, or nuclear fusion, or geoengineering could play this role. Suggestions include sending mirrors into space to reflect away heat, or ploughing crushed volcanic rock into fields to soak up carbon dioxide. These concepts may one day have potential but few are viable today, and with government debt already at levels similar to the period immediately after the second world war, we see little hope for a programme of public sector investment to speed things up.

So the irony remains: the most realistic pathway to mitigate global warming is to deploy existing renewable technologies at maximum scale, and minimum cost, although the world is most likely now too late and too indebted to get the job done on time.

From this we reluctantly draw two contrasting conclusions: the first is that we may very well be on the cusp of a 20 or 30 year sustained bull market in renewable power — promising a fundamental reshaping of our energy industry; our natural landscape; and perhaps even similar in social importance to the rollout of clean water and sanitation in the 19th century, or mobile phones and the internet at the end of the 20th.

But the second conclusion is that we will still most likely fail to reach “net zero” emissions by 2050. Humanity may, therefore, achieve in the space of a hundred years what used to take 10,000 or 20,000 years — an increase in average surface temperatures of 2, 3, 4 degrees Celsius or more.

That means a belated prevention strategy will not be enough. We must now begin in earnest on a plan for adaptation. We must not only ask how we can switch on more sources of clean, renewable power — but also how we can live with the consequences of the fossil fuel sources we are not yet willing to switch off.

Full post


The London-based Global Warming Policy Forum is a world leading think tank on global warming policy issues. The GWPF newsletter is prepared by Director Dr Benny Peiser - for more information, please visit the website at www.thegwpf.com.

1 comment:

Rod Tait said...
Reply To This Comment

In Europe, UK and the America's, the so called climate change is being described as "the biggest tax fraud the world has ever seen". My question is, why is the NZ media, (newspapers and tv), not reporting the truth about climate change. If the world was devoid of CO2 gas, humans, plankton and ALL living entities, would die.
I am currently following various U-TUBE sites such as the Sun Observatory in the UK, various astrophysicists sites and the grand solar minimum, (the cooling sun).
If I can reserch this information readily on the internet, easily filtering out bogus sites or comments, why won't the media expose the so called climate change as a hoax and demand proof from these so called "pro climate change experts" for an in depth investigation to their claims.

Thank you

Rod