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Research reveals “climate-change complacency” across Europe

September 17, 2020

By Paul Homewood

 

If they’d asked me, I would have saved them the trouble!

 

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Most European citizens do not particularly care about climate change. That’s the striking finding from new research on the views of 70,000 randomly sampled European men and women. Only 5% described themselves as “extremely worried” about climate change. The climate and the environment ranked only fifth in people’s overall views about priorities. There was also scepticism that co-ordinated action, for example to cut personal energy use, would make much difference.

“It seems there is a chance the current generation will be content to sell their great grandchildren down the river,” said Andrew Oswald, Professor of Economics and Behavioural Science at the University of Warwick, and senior author of the study – Do Europeans Care about Climate Change? An Illustration of the Importance of Data on Human Feelings.

He also pointed out that so-called desirability bias, which is the tendency for interviewees to feel compelled to shade their answers towards ‘politically correct’ ones, might mean the true level of worry about climate change is lower than indicated in the statistical surveys.

The study has implications for economists and policymakers, Oswald explains. “There is little point in designing sophisticated economic policies for combatting climate change until voters feel that climate change is a deeply disturbing problem. Currently, those voters do not feel that.”

Professor Oswald and Mr Adam Nowakowski of Bocconi University in Italy analysed data from two large-scale sources, the 2016 European Social Survey and the 2019 Eurobarometer survey. They found:-

  • Europeans do not exhibit high levels of worry about climate change, with 1 in 20 describing themselves as ‘extremely worried’
  • Europe’s citizens are more concerned with inward-looking issues seen as closer to home, such as inflation, the general economic situation, health and social security, and unemployment.
  • Europeans do not have a strong belief that joint action by energy users will make a real difference to climate change.
  • Women, young people, university graduates and city-dwellers show higher levels of concern about climate change.
  • People living in warmer European countries had higher levels of concern than those in the cooler North of the continent.

On the way to move forward, Oswald and Nowakowsi suggest parallels with the original government campaigns to cut smoking. They argue that it will be necessary to change people’s feelings about the problem of rising global temperatures. Just as education about the risks of smoking went hand-in-hand with graphic warnings and tax increases, governments should consider doing more to educate and alter people’s perceived level of worry about climate change.

Adam Nowakowski commented: “We should not conclude that Europe does not care at all about climate change. However, our analysis of the data does suggest that European citizens are not ready for policies which would have strongly negative consequences on their day-to-day lives – not least because we have found a low level of confidence in the usefulness of joint action.”

https://warwick.ac.uk/newsandevents/pressreleases/research_reveals_climate-change

 

 

This is the key chart:

Read more…

Satellite Observations Reveal Decreasing Trend in Global Wildfires

September 17, 2020
tags:

By Paul Homewood

Dang, those inconvenient satellites!

 

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While wildfires in the Western U.S. continue to rage, satellite observations over the last 20 years have revealed a decreasing trend in global wildfires. What’s going on?

As strong winds and hot air continue to propel wildfires across the Western U.S. states of California, Oregon, and Washington state, politicians, activists, and researchers quarrel violently about the main causes of these disasters and how to reduce the risk of wildfires in the future.

There can be little doubt that drought conditions and high temperatures are exacerbating these wildfires.

However, over recent decades human activities such as land management and agriculture, increasing population density and active fire suppression have succeeded in significantly reducing the global areas burned by wildfires, despite the rise in global temperatures.

To understand why some arid and semi-arid regions of the world have managed to reduce wildfires in the face of rising temperatures, such as Mediterranean Europe, while other regions haven’t succeeded to do so, will be crucial to risk reduction policies.

Below we have selected recent research papers, based on satellite observations, which reveal the decreasing trend in global wildfires and the most likely reasons for these encouraging developments.

Full article here.

Attenborough’s new attempt to scare people about polar bear extinction and walrus deaths

September 15, 2020

By Paul Homewood

 

 

Susan Crockford is on the warpath over Attenborough’s latest load of twaddle:

 

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In a new book and Netflix film, Sir David Attenborough again presents false information about future polar bear survival and walrus deaths.

Conclusion

From the brink of extinction in the 1960s, global polar bear numbers have grown roughly three to four times what they were then. None of the 19 subpopulations have gone extinct despite unexpectedly low summer sea ice levels for the last 14 years (Crockford 2019) and their official range across the Arctic is as broad as it was 200 years ago. The claim that reduced summer sea ice in general leads to poor health of females and poor cub survival does not hold up to scrutiny: while it appears to have been true for Western Hudson Bay using old data, it is strongly contracted by recent data from studies in the Barents and Chukchi Seas (Crockford 2019, 2020). Apparently, Sir David Attenbourough accepted without question the newest implausible prediction of future polar bear survival but couldn’t manage to tell the story without exaggeration. And despite being called out on the lie that Pacific walrus in Russia were falling to their deaths due to lack of sea ice, he is flogging this false narrative again because it fits his agenda. This latest film is simply more in a long line of others which Attenborough has used to frighten children and adults alike about polar bears and the Arctic. Since it is already clear that virtually everything Attenborough is peddling about polar bears and walrus is false, why would anyone believe his claims of irreparable environmental destruction – or more importantly, allow impressionable children to watch this new film?

 

Full story here.

Dunce’s Cap For Peter Stott

September 14, 2020
tags:

14 By Paul Homewood

 

 

What would we do without the Guardian?

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This was what they wrote in 2012:

 

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Seeing satellite pictures from Greenland last month, scientists from Nasa at first couldn’t believe what the data was telling them. About 97% of the Greenland ice sheet was melting. The rate was unprecedented, with the thaw more widespread than ever as unseasonally warm weather across the Arctic took effect.

“It was so extraordinary that at first I questioned the result: was this real or was it due to a data error?” wondered Son Nghiem, one of the scientists responsible for the research at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. In a normal summer, some melting is observed over about half the island’s surface area. This new data – from three satellites – raised serious concerns over the progress of global warming and the likely consequences.

For scientists at the Met Office’s world-renowned Hadley research centre in Exeter, the question was not just how fast Greenland was melting, but something much trickier. They have been crunching through years of data from dozens of satellites, trying to establish whether the conditions in the Arctic circle are related to the record-breaking washout of a summer in the UK.

 

The news could be disconcerting for fans of the British summer. Because when it comes to global warming, we can forget the jolly predictions of Jeremy Clarkson and his ilk of a Mediterranean climate in which we lounge among the olive groves of Yorkshire sipping a fine Scottish champagne. The truth is likely to be much duller, and much nastier – and we have already had a taste of it. “We will see lots more floods, droughts, such as we’ve had this year in the UK,” says Peter Stott, leader of the climate change monitoring and attribution team at the Met Office. “Climate change is not a nice slow progression where the global climate warms by a few degrees. It means a much greater variability, far more extremes of weather.”

A series of unusually wet and cold summers has afflicted the UK for several years. Remember the devastating floods of 2007, when some areas received double their normal rainfall for June? Or the predictions of a “barbecue summer” in 2009 that backfired badly on the Met Office as the (correctly anticipated) high temperatures were accompanied by heavy clouds and rainstorms? The impression that many Britons have had that summer weather has been getting worse in recent years is borne out by the data – five out of the last six years (2007-2012), have shown below-average sunshine from June to August, and in some cases well below average. All have had above-average rainfall – in some cases more than 50% above the long-term average. “It is not just a perception – we have had a run of relatively poor summers,” says Stott….

For the British Isles, the melting Arctic could hold the key to whether the weather is changing under human impacts. Recent poor summers have been strongly linked by scientists to a change in the usual position of the jet stream, a weather system that normally lies in high latitudes during the northern hemisphere summer.

This year, the jet stream moved much more than usual, passing south of the UK. It also persisted in this position for an unusually long time. If this pushing of the jet stream southward is indeed linked to less sea ice over the Arctic circle, as Hanna suspects, then the signs are that we will see many more of these wet summers in future.

 

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2012/aug/08/shape-of-british-summers-to-come

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Well, eight years, how did those predictions pan out?

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https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/climate/maps-and-data/uk-temperature-rainfall-and-sunshine-time-series

Poor old Peter Stott, not for the first time, confused WEATHER with CLIMATE.

Since that washout summer in 2012, British summers have hovered around the average, none being unusually wet or dry.

And it was not just the UK which would suffer, according to the Guardian:

Nor has the UK been alone in suffering extreme weather. In the US, the eastern seaboard has been hit by heatwaves and storms but even worse has been the “dustbowl effect” in Texas and across much of the nation’s agricultural heartland. India’s monsoon failed to appear on schedule, leaving millions of farmers in the subcontinent facing destitution. Floods in Beijing, after the heaviest rainfall in 60 years, caused devastation to millions.

The consequences across the world have been and will be dire. A food crisis is now all but inevitable, according to the US agriculture secretary. Emergency plans are being discussed in India, while in China the clear-up is accompanied by concerns that environmental degradation may be making the country’s problems worse.

 

Well, how did that lot work out?

Since the hot, dry summer in 2011, Texas summers have either been wetter than normal or around average:

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https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cag/statewide/time-series/41/pcp/3/8/1895-2020?base_prd=true&begbaseyear=1901&endbaseyear=2000

 

Tornadoes in the US have continued their long term decline:

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https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2020/04/21/tornado-update-for-2019/

 

India’s monsoon has done what it has always done, with the only drought years being El Nino related:

 

All India Summer Monsoon Rainfall based on IITM/IMD homogenous Indian monthly rainfall data

http://mol.tropmet.res.in/monsoon-interannual-timeseries/

 

And global cereal production has grown by 16%

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http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#compare

 

None out five would get most employees the sack, but in the world of climate science you get promotion and awards!

Climate Assembly Parrots Green Party Demands

September 13, 2020

By Paul Homewood

 

h/t Robin Guenier

 

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A frequent flyer tax, phasing out polluting SUVs and restricting cars in city centres are among climate change solutions suggested by members of the public.

A citizens’ assembly of 108 people from all walks of life published its report after weeks of debate.

They proposed curbing road building and using the pandemic to cut emissions.

MPs said the report offered a "unique insight", but activists Extinction Rebellion said it didn’t go far enough.

The report says the government must show leadership on climate change and insists climate policies must be fair to all – especially the poorest in society.

Its radical conclusions may offer political cover to ministers who’re typically nervous of a public backlash against policies that affect lifestyles.

Read more…

Speaker Hoyle Wants Lockdowns For Climate Change

September 13, 2020

By Paul Homewood

 

Speaker sets the alarm bells ringing:

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THE TYPE of restrictions on daily life introduced to fight coronavirus could command public support if brought in to tackle the threat of climate change, the Speak of the House of Commons has suggested.

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California Has Always Had Fires, Environmentalism Makes Them Worse

September 12, 2020
tags:

By Paul Homewood

 

[Editor’s Note – This post appeared earlier without any body! Sorry for the confusion!

Also the previous post failed to download some NOAA graphs, so I have resorted to screenshots]

 

Michael Schellenberger rubbishes wildfire claims:

 

 

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I woke up an hour later than normal yesterday morning because smoke from northern California’s forest fires had blotted out the sun. My bedroom windows glowed orange. It looked like a scene out of the 1983 made-for-TV movie, “The Day After,” about nuclear war.

I wasn’t the only one creeped out by the apocalyptic hue. “’A Nuclear Winter’ Over Bay Area, as Wildfires Blot Out the Sun,” read a New York Times NYT +0.1% headline. “Without the smoke, it would be a clear day,” noted a scientist. “This is all generated from the fires.”

The same mechanism that caused the orange sky is what could destroy agriculture in the wake of a thermonuclear war: particulate matter from burned wood blocking parts of the light spectrum from reaching the ground.

And yet the air quality wasn’t nearly as bad as it looked. “The good thing about it is most of the (smoke) is staying aloft,” the air quality meteorologist for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), said. “The sun is able to scatter those smoke particles that produce this apocalyptic orange color that we’re seeing.”

And while the 2 million acres that have burned in California so far in 2020 is 10 times more area than burned in 2019, it’s still 2 million acres less than the lowest estimate for acres burned within modern state borders annually before Europeans settled in America.

“California was a very smoky place historically,” says Malcolm North of the US Forest Survey.“Even though we’re seeing area burned that is off-the-charts, it’s still probably less than what used to be burned before Europeans arrived.”

Many reporters note that more area has burned this year in California than at any other point in “the modern period,” but that period began in 1950. For the last half of the 20th Century, the annual area burned in California was just 250,000 acres a year, whereas the best-available science suggests 4.4 and 12 million acres burned in California annually before the arrival of Europeans.

Read the full story here.

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Back to the present though, and it is worth noting that although fires in California and some other western states are at recent record highs, nationally wildfire acreage is actually slightly less than the 10-year average:

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Hottest August Claims In California Don’t Stack Up

September 12, 2020

By Paul Homewood

The LA Times claims that last month was the hottest August in record in California:

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https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-09-10/a-sizzling-record-august-was-hottest-month-on-record-in-california 

 

And NOAA seem to confirm this:

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https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cag/national/time-series

And yet as we already know, last month’s heatwave was not exceptional there. So do NOAA’s claims stack up?

Read more…

Network Rail Blame Climate Change For Stonehaven Tragedy

September 11, 2020

By Paul Homewood

 

Network Rail’s interim report into the Stonehaven crash has just been published:

 

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 https://www.gov.uk/government/news/action-taken-to-improve-resilience-of-railway-following-stonehaven-tragedy

 

While not exactly blaming it on climate change, the message is loud and clear :

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As we shall go on to see, they present little evidence that this is the case.

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New petrol and diesel cars could be made £1,500 more expensive to subsidise electric vehicles

September 11, 2020

By Paul Homewood

 

 

h/t Patsy Lacey

 

 

Of course, if we won’t do as we’re told, we will have to be punished!

 

 

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A feasibility study commissioned by minsters on ways to accelerate the uptake of electric vehicles has suggested making new petrol and diesel cars £1,500 more expensive.

The report, published by the Department for Transport this week, said the funds generated by the additional cost of motors with internal combustion engines could be used to subsidise battery vehicles, which are generally more expensive to buy.

But the motor industry’s trade body has blasted the suggestion, saying such a move would penalise those who can’t afford electric cars currently, or don’t have the facilities to charge them.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/money/cars/article-8719073/Petrol-diesel-cars-1-500-expensive-fund-electric.html

 

 

The report was co-written by the Behavioural Insights Team, who have this to say about themselves:

Read more…