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No, Forbes, Texas Blackouts Were Not Caused By Climate Change

March 2, 2021
tags:

By Paul Homewood

 

 

Needless to say, it did not take long for the worms to come out of the woodwork and blame the Texas cold weather on global warming:

 

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A record-setting polar vortex, which brought intense cold to a majority of the American heartland, has led to massive blackouts in Texas as significant amounts of generating capacity have been knocked offline.

As climate change worsens extreme weather events, we should expect more of these failures. Aging infrastructure built around 20th century weather patterns will be continually tested by the more extreme weather now becoming commonplace. Reliability plans based off similar assumption sets will need to be reworked entirely. Industry analysts peg the cost of upgrading and modernizing the US grid in the trillions of dollars alone, which doesn’t even account for the trillions more needed to replace aging fossil-fired assets and build gigawatts of energy storage to support further renewables penetration. No matter your policy positions or thoughts, climate change will find its way in to your utility bills. These grid failures are wake-up calls and provide further proof that the impacts of climate change are not geographically constrained, nor do they take aim at one political party. One way or another, the cost of climate change on each of us will make itself known: in this both California and Texas can now agree.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/brentanalexander/2021/02/16/blackouts-in-texas-and-california-teach-a-hard-lesson-climate-change-is-costly/

 

Now the month has ended, we have the official data to show that it was not “record cold”, and that similar temperatures have been recorded in Texas in the past.

Take Austin, for example, which certainly was at the heart of the bitter cold. The official CLIMOD data shows that the lowest daytime temperature was 25F. But lower temperatures have been recorded in the winters of 1961/2, 1950/51, 1948/49, 1990/91, 1989/90, 1984/5, 1983/84 and 1988/89 (in order of temperature:

chart

 

In other words last month was only the 9th coldest spell since records began in 1938. Night time temperatures were not a record either – the coldest night was in 1948/49, and 1950/51 & 1989/90 were as cold or colder:

chart-1

 

 

We can check out Dallas too:

 

chart-2

chart-3

 

Again we find that there have been colder spells in the past.

It is certainly true that the cold weather last month was an  unusual event in Texas, but there is no evidence whatsoever that it was due to climate change, or indeed that these events are becoming more common.

35 Comments
  1. Cheshire Red permalink
    March 2, 2021 12:03 pm

    What we do have plenty of evidence for is record-breaking fraudulent ‘reporting’ by global media.

    Outright lying has become endemic (especially so in ‘climate change’ issues) even in supposedly trustworthy MSM. It’s a cancer, and needs destroying.

  2. Hugh Sharman permalink
    March 2, 2021 12:15 pm

    Yes, Cheshire Red, and not least, the BBC on whom I have depended for honesty most of my 80 years.

  3. Harry Passfield permalink
    March 2, 2021 12:25 pm

    Seems that Brentan Alexander (what kind of name is Brentan? Sounds like a dyslexic Irish man) has no self-awareness of the nonsense in his argument. Within the opening paras we have this nugget:

    Aging infrastructure built around 20th century weather patterns will be continually tested by the more extreme weather now becoming commonplace.

    The point he misses is that, IF the more modern infrastructure had been built around 20thC technology instead of stupid wind turbines there would have been no disruption to the grid and no blackouts. He then doubles down on this nonsense by claiming that the fix is more of the same – but with additional massive batteries (there’s a man who thinks they are for backup: to keep the lights on). Finally, if he’d thought for one micro-second about why the grid and power generation is costing trillions – and is likely to cost more (he claims) is solely because fools like him are forcing the public and generating companies away from reliable, available. relatively cheap 20thC technology.

    • Mack permalink
      March 2, 2021 12:52 pm

      The author claims to be an engineer and a scientist but he is certainly no student of either engineering or climatic history. In the same article, he mentions the ‘unprecedented heatwave’ that caused blackouts in California last year. As a resident of California he seems to be blissfully unaware of the regular magadroughts his state used to endure, some lasting over a century that, if they occurred now, would incinerate the now creaking over renewable laden Californian grid. There is nothing unprecedented about the recent weather in California nor Texas, merely the level of interruption by unreliable and intermittent forms of energy that cripple a once well functioning grid. As a paid ‘clean energy’ analyst and advocate, it probably wouldn’t enhance Mr Alexander’s career for him to admit that.

      • Ben Vorlich permalink
        March 2, 2021 5:20 pm

        This is what he says about himself:

        currently serve as the Chief Science Officer and Chief Commercial Officer of New Energy Risk, where I utilize my background as a serial entrepreneur, academic, and respected researcher to rapidly perform detailed technical and commercial diligence on novel technologies and projects. I am an expert in the fields of thermochemistry, electrochemistry, heat and mass transport, and thermodynamics, and have devoted my career to advancing the deployment of clean energy technologies.

        Prior to NER, I worked as an independent engineer for Veryst Engineering and Exponent. There, I tackled projects in failure root-cause analysis, manufacturing quality control, validation test design, engineering design review, and technology R&D for clients including Shell, Microsoft, BP, General Motors, and Columbia Sportswear. My entrepreneurial endeavors include founding Swift Calcs, a web-based technical computing platform for faster and more reliable engineering calculations, as well as EnergyFolks, a non-profit professional network connecting energy students and professionals in their area. I also was Senior Mechanical Engineer at Wrightspeed, a startup developing next-generation hybrid-electric powertrains for medium- and heavy-duty trucks.

        I received a Ph.D. from Stanford University in Mechanical Engineering, where I focused on solid fuel gasification and syngas utilization using solid-oxide fuel cell technology. I am the author of numerous peer-reviewed scientific publications, have presented at a variety of technical symposia, and have been honored as an NDSEG Fellow (2009-2012) and a Rohsenow Fellow (2007-2008). I hold Master of Science and Bachelor of Science degrees in Mechanical Engineering from MIT.

        When I’m not geeking out on the latest gasification kinetic models, you can find me outside, hiking the East Bay hills or lounging on the deck with my daughter.

      • Harry Passfield permalink
        March 2, 2021 6:42 pm

        Ben: And he was born in 1984. quite an expert after all of 36 years. He seems to have done a lot, and more (renewable?) power to his elbow. But, living in California….

      • James Neill permalink
        March 3, 2021 11:48 am

        I am left with a very strong impression that the qualifications read like an avalanche of establishing evidence with a potential to raise questions concerning motive.

    • dave permalink
      March 3, 2021 11:25 am

      The only thing this youngster* is expert on is jumping on gravy trains.

      MIT – that don’t impress me none. Any fule kno that that navel-gazing place takes high IQ but gullible kids, makes them dizzy, from a firehose in the face for four years, and sends them out with a fond belief that they have been educated.

      “A record setting polar vortex…[caused]…” Forsooth!

      A LIE in the first five words.

      It is the BREAK-UP of the winter polar vortex which causes “cold waves” in the Continental USA. A record-breaking polar vortex would be a long-lasting one which PROTECTED Texas from Arctic cold air for a whole winter

      But we know that doubling-down, and double-doubling-down, on the fairy-tale is the order of the day.

      Middle-brow business-men read rags like Forbes so they can keep abreast of “developments”. Their shallowness lies in their assumption that a mere “briefing” – whether a good one or a bad one – is enough.

      *It would seem absurd to any member of the human race who lived before our era to call a man of 36 a “youngster.” (In the RAF, during WW2, anyone older than 25 was automatically called “Grandpa!”) But the fact is, that the stage of adolescence has been stretched from its proper biological span of two years to twenty years in many cases. .People never have a chance to properly grow up! It is part of our dysfunctional society.

      • Harry Passfield permalink
        March 3, 2021 11:45 am

        Talking of the RAF, it’s notable that Guy Gibson was but 24 (iirc) at the time of the Dam Busters but of course, he had the experience of life – and death – to guide him.

  4. cookers52 permalink
    March 2, 2021 12:30 pm

    Paul, you haven’t “adjusted” the temperature yet!

    No record is robust without adjustments.

  5. Mr T permalink
    March 2, 2021 12:31 pm

    If it is not as cold as previous cold periods, it must be a warmer cold period. QED it’s all to do with global warming.

  6. Jackington permalink
    March 2, 2021 12:48 pm

    Their headline is almost correct “Trying to stop climate change is costly”

    • Devoncamel permalink
      March 2, 2021 1:09 pm

      Jackington – they’re not really trying to change the climate, rather world politics and governance by promulgating fear.

  7. ianprsy permalink
    March 2, 2021 12:55 pm

    :No matter your policy positions or thoughts, climate change will find its way in to your utility bills” it’s already happening, isn’t it, but not in the way they mean.

  8. Broadlands permalink
    March 2, 2021 1:11 pm

    “A record-setting polar vortex, which brought intense cold….”
    The polar vortex, the ENSO and the jet streams are all parts of the Earth’s natural variability. None of it is predictable long-term and none of it is influenced by the human addition of CO2. Extreme weather will always be with us. Trying to capture and store CO2 will be the most costly and least effective solution humans have every attempted.

  9. GeoffB permalink
    March 2, 2021 1:14 pm

    Don’t confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up. It’s climate change!

    • NeilC permalink
      March 2, 2021 3:47 pm

      I wish his mind was made to understand climate does not change the weather, accumltaed weather changes the climate. But no much chance of the eh!

      • Harry Passfield permalink
        March 2, 2021 4:50 pm

        Quite right, NeilC. This is something I bang on about frequently, to the extent that if I hear someone tell me the climate changed this year I ask them whatever happened during the last 29 years to make that fact. Yep – it’s weather that is changing, and it may just as soon change back.

  10. Coeur de Lion permalink
    March 2, 2021 2:08 pm

    If global warming causes global cooling, then global cooling must cause global warming.

  11. It doesn't add up... permalink
    March 2, 2021 2:31 pm

    Just as relevant as the temperatures has been the failure of weather inputs to renewables generation. The cold spell was marked by lengthy periods of minimal winds and little solar generation, in part because of snow cover to solar panels. Low wind is a regular feature of both hot and cold weather spells, and nothing to do with climate changing either.

  12. NeilC permalink
    March 2, 2021 3:48 pm

    Excuse the dyslexic fingers ‘accumulated’

  13. MrGrimNasty permalink
    March 2, 2021 4:25 pm

    Dallas ice storm at the height of global cooling (scare).
    https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/nbc-5-video-vault-1978-ice-storm_dallas-fort-worth/50036/
    Yes it caused power outages.

    I posted this before – it’s hard to find a year in Texas without some sort of weather disaster.
    https://texasalmanac.com/topics/environment/significant-weather-events-texas-history

  14. Stonyground permalink
    March 2, 2021 6:45 pm

    So, the extra CO2 in the atmosphere is causing warming that is making it colder, got it.

    • John Palmer permalink
      March 2, 2021 7:01 pm

      Glad someone here’s paying attention, Stony!

    • Anders Valland permalink
      March 2, 2021 7:45 pm

      Yep, that is how it works. Here in Norway the story has been that the climate will become warmer (higher temperatures), wetter (more rain), wilder (more wind). This was first launched as the Message from the MSM 15 years ago. Since then the wind has not cooperated, it has actually declined somewhat. But the meme is still warmer, wetter, wilder but now it is ‘wildly hot’ or ‘wildly wet’. Apart from the snow did not cooperate either. So we also have ‘wildly snowy’. And then some winters have been cold, and some summers. You guessed it, it was wild…

  15. Coeur de Lion permalink
    March 2, 2021 7:06 pm

    Off thread, but as I write Tory windmills are producing 1.2% of our electricity, coal 7.7%. I have told my MP (again)

  16. Bloke down the pub permalink
    March 2, 2021 8:16 pm

    Just watched an EDF advert for green energy which had shots of stationary wind turbines and a theme tune of ‘busy doing nothing’. Don’t think it gives quite the message they were intending.

    • Stuart Brown permalink
      March 2, 2021 9:15 pm

      Ha! Maybe they have a subversive in their midst. Mind, with 9 of their 15 reactors down at the moment they shouldn’t be too full of themselves. Who schedules the refuelling of reactors in Feb/March?

      • dave permalink
        March 3, 2021 11:59 am

        The (deliberate) subliminal message is “Look ! Wind is ever- ready capacity. All we have to do is take the brakes off!” In other words, ass-backwards thinking.

        In the case of Dungeness Atomic Power Station they keep finding more of the fifty-year old pipework to be knackered. It can all be repaired, but at a cost.

      • Stuart Brown permalink
        March 3, 2021 6:54 pm

        Dave, indeed you’re right. But I liked the idea of a fifth columnist choosing ‘busy doing nothing’, especially looking at the five I can see from my front window. I could have taken a video of them with my box brownie yesterday.

        Add Hinckley Point B as well – out since June last year and due to be decommissioned next year due to moderator cracks. I’d guess it might never restart, but EDF are projecting that it could later this month. 45 years and 300TWh so far. Beat that windmills!

  17. Gamecock permalink
    March 2, 2021 9:19 pm

    “Climate change works in mysterious ways.”

    • C Lynch permalink
      March 3, 2021 12:00 am

      It’s magic that climate change and has the same home as belief in pixies, goblins and the afterlife.
      Just a more modern touchy feely version with a veneer of pseudo science.

  18. Ben Vorlich permalink
    March 3, 2021 2:34 pm

    This is causing a bit of a stir near me.

    https://www.derbytelegraph.co.uk/news/local-news/huge-120-acre-solar-farm-3709797

    A huge 120-acre solar farm could be built in fields to the north of Alfreton.

    The proposed development, submitted by Bavarian firm Vento Ludens, would cover an area the size of 60 football pitches east of Chesterfield Road to the north of the town.

  19. Peter permalink
    March 5, 2021 4:26 am

    He is right about one thing if we are going to rely on solar and wind.
    “trillions more needed to […] build gigawatts of energy storage to support further renewables penetration”

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