Open thread

open thread

A few weeks ago we put an offer on a nice big house in Te Puke. We’ll share it with our daughter, her partner and three children, and it couldn’t go through without selling our present house. It’s been a bit difficult keeping the house in pristine order as buyers streamed through at odd hours to inspect it but now an offer is about to go unconditional, which means we will move out in two weeks. But not into the new house until it is vacated, so our lives are still unpredictable. It’s frustrating having so little time to contribute to the blog and I apologise for apparently paying little attention to the flurry of climate activity ahead of Paris; well, not really climate activity but activity concerning the climate—the climate itself is no more chaotic than usual. Anyway, here’s a fresh open thread. I’m watching, and I’ll have something substantial for you soon. A special note to the fourteen thousand patient, unseen readers every month from all over the world: thank you very much for visiting.

UPDATE 2230, Friday Nov 6

The deal went unconditional late this afternoon. So, we’ve sold the house, hurrah! Two weeks to get out. Another adventure.

UPDATE 0955, Friday Nov 13

Late last Tuesday, we finally made our offer on the Te Puke house unconditional. So we have a house to go to! We just have to wait until the 8th of December to take possession. We are all such happy campers!

Just six days to go before the truck arrives here to take everything into storage.

40 Thoughts on “Open thread

  1. Maggy Wassilieff on November 5, 2015 at 11:54 am said:

    Bob Tisdale’s new e-book “On global warming and the illusion of control” is available for anyone….

  2. Richard Treadgold on November 5, 2015 at 12:20 pm said:

    This is great, Maggy. I went to have a look and was immediately captivated by the section on atmospheric warming of the ocean. Of course there’s a lot more in the book than that. Thanks.

  3. Richard C (NZ) on November 5, 2015 at 9:37 pm said:

    Much to take issue with in Bib Tisdale’s e-book. Some is demonstrably wrong, other stuff too superficial to get to what’s critical. But some good stuff too.

    A few examples from a brief and very incomplete skim (i.e I would need to read it in detail to do this properly):

    # Fails to apply theoretical anthro forcing to the IPCC’s latest estimates of the TOA energy imbalance (as the IPCC fails also). All else is moot having done this, as below.

    # The IPCC’s primary metric for climate change is NOT surface temperature. That is a secondary effect of the TOA energy imbalance according to the IPCC who say the imbalance “controls” surface temperature in their radiative forcing paradigm. Obviously if a valid non-anthro forcing can be demonstrated (it can) then that that is what “controls” climate change and surface temperature, especially when anthro forcing can easily be shown to be invalid.

    # Fails to distinguish between the properties of solar infrared radiation (IR-A/B) and atmospheric infrared (IR-C/DLR) in terms of say, energy-per-photon, quantified heating agents (e.g. solar tropical ocean heating in W.m-2), and how much of DLR is the anthro component e.g. total CO2 about 1.5% in the tropics and anthro is a small fraction of that again.

    # Fails to apply planetary thermal lag and oceanic lag in particular.

    # Fails to properly detail the physics of the AO interface e.g. atmospheric IR-C does NOT warm the ocean, the global average net IR-C is about 50 W.m-2 outgoing longwave radiation (OLR). Yes, IR-C may penetrate maybe 2mm of ocean surface but that is NOT the EFFECTIVE penetration depth which is less than 100 microns, closer to 10 microns (Hale & Querry 1973). Any change to skin layer gradient is negligible (skin doesn’t exist in tropics at noon) and that insulation effect is NOT the IPCC’s “expected” anthro ocean heating mechanism anyway. They speculate (after 25 years of assessments) “air-sea fluxes” i.e. a transfer of energy from atmosphere to ocean. They cannot find any in Chapter 3 Observations: Ocean. Natch, it would be a violation of the 2nd Law of thermodynamics if they did i.e. the energy flow is AWAY from the warm surface to the cold atmosphere as per Clausius statement of 2nd Law. There is NO reverse flow of energy.

    And so on. And on, And on.

    I just haven’t got the time for a proper critique given 10+ hr days lately and looking at 12 days straight since Labour day. Screed would just be far too long even if I had the time at the moment so I don’t think I’ll bother when I do.

    Luke-warmers would probably approve though.

  4. Richard C (NZ) on November 5, 2015 at 10:26 pm said:

    Interesting update above RT.

    A tip for Te Puke roads late March – June and July – early November (gap in the middle). Lots of fatigued drivers, different nationalities, from kiwifruit packhouses (day & night shifts) doing stupid things, One local women (husband, 2 children) killed from where I worked this year when she forgot her cell phone and did a U-turn in front of a logging truck. At another packhouse I worked at a few days this year two people have been killed at the rail crossing entry in the past. I had to literally fight to stay awake through the new orange expressway lights at sunrise after working 7pm – 6am. Strange phenomenon, OK in ordinary streetlights. There are teams doing 8am – 7:30pm where I work at the moment, some start at 7am.

    Fatigue and attendant inattention is a very nasty condition. We get issued booklets on how to deal with it (and night shifting) both at work and to and from but fact is it can catch people badly and impact others too.

    I saw two van loads of what looked like Indian orchard workers that had managed to collide with each other at a roundabout on a Sunday morning. Very little traffic, just them, one van on its side, people sitting around dazed. Saw similar a couple of years ago when a van load of pickers had been tee-boned by a truck. We had two cars from the same workplace collide at the main road intersection (I don’t know how – think it was a nose to tail).

    Stuff like that.

  5. Richard Treadgold on November 5, 2015 at 10:32 pm said:

    Hmm. You’re full of interesting detail, RC, thanks. I’ll certainly approach the burg with caution! And we must get together soon.

  6. Richard C (NZ) on November 6, 2015 at 6:52 am said:

    ‘The Other Half Of The Big Antarctica Lie’

    Posted on November 3, 2015 by tonyheller

    This is big. Bookmark it.

    “It has nothing to do with climate”

    Last week, NASA announced that the IPCC is wrong about East Antarctica, which is gaining ice, not losing it.

    Climate Depot:

    23 Jan 1977, Page 13 – Independent Press-Telegram – Jan. 23, 1977

    “We’re seeing the west ice sheet on its way out,” said Cameron. “It seems to be doing something completely different than the east ice sheet. It has nothing to do with climate, just the dynamics of unstable ice.” [Note: Dr. Richard Cameron was National Science Foundation ( NSF) program manager for glaciology.]

    [Climate Depot Note: With this startling revelation that the National Science Foundation knew that mankind was not responsible for ‘collapse’ of West Antarctic ice sheet, the question begs why they hid it all of these years since! Will Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse investigate the Antarctic ice cover up with the same zeal they are going after the alleged ‘Exxon knew’ controversy? What did warmist scientists know and when did they know it? Will there be ‘smoking gun’ hidden documents to reveal the cover-up!?]

    Read more:

  7. We knew this about the WAIS for ages.

    Apparently, “global warming” was causing the WAIS to become unstable and get “close to collapse”, despite only having limited data and knowledge of the sub-glacial volcanic activity

    Good enough for government work

  8. Richard C (NZ) on November 6, 2015 at 7:55 pm said:

    >”Minister of Climate Change”

    Doubles as Minister of Unicorns. Tough work load.

  9. Richard C (NZ) on November 6, 2015 at 10:06 pm said:

    ‘GOP chairman: Agency obstructing climate science probe’

    By Timothy Cama – 11/04/15 The Hill

    Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the House Science Committee, said NOAA’s assertion of confidentiality over scientists’ internal communications is not legally valid.

    Smith [a Lawyer] threatened NOAA head Kathryn Sullivan with civil or criminal action if she does not comply with his previous subpoena.

    “Your failure to comply with the committee’s subpoena has delayed the committee’s investigation and thwarted the committee’s constitutional obligation to conduct oversight of the executive branch,” Smith wrote in the letter. “Furthermore, your failure to comply with a duly issued subpoena may expose you to civil and/or criminal enforcement mechanisms.”

    “Contrary to NOAA’s public comments, it is not the position of NOAA to determine what is, or is not, responsive to the committee’s investigation or whether certain communications are confidential,” he wrote.

    Smith demanded that the NOAA provide the documents he wants by Friday and wants his staff to interview Tom Karl, the lead scientist on the study, by next Tuesday.

  10. Richard C (NZ) on November 6, 2015 at 10:51 pm said:

    ‘China’s CO2 Charade Shows Who The Real Climate Deniers Are’

    Written by Investor’s Business Daily on 05 November 2015.

    On the eve of the Paris summit, we learn that China has been fudging its carbon emission data for years. That this is a surprise to anyone shows how blind climate change advocates are to reality these days.

    China apparently has been burning 17% more coal annually than it has claimed over the past 15 years. And as a result, it’s been emitting a billion tons more CO2 a year than it had admitted. The New York Times points out that this difference alone is equal to what Germany’s entire economy produces each year from burning fossil fuels.

    In other words, if Germany shut down its entire economy, it wouldn’t compensate for China’s “error.”

  11. Richard Treadgold on November 6, 2015 at 11:16 pm said:

    This interesting metric emphasises the tight connection between emissions of CO2 and productive activity.

    this difference alone is equal to what Germany’s entire economy produces each year from burning fossil fuels.

    There’s an elephant in the climate treaty meeting.

    Not surprising that the green’s constant assurance that we can just replace our current production with emission-less processes remains entirely undefined.

  12. This British MP has a fairly good grasp of facts.

    About 7 mins of video, worth watching

  13. Richard C (NZ) on November 7, 2015 at 7:53 pm said:

    ‘Heat From Deep Ocean Fault Punches Hole in Arctic Ice Sheet ‘

    Written by James Edward Kamis, guest post on 06 November 2015.

    “Funny how things sometime turn out. Who would have believed that a seemingly insignificant and very small hole in the Arctic sea ice could have such major implications: It’s not all about man-made atmospheric warming. Geological forces are alive and well in the Arctic ocean and for that matter across much of planet earth.”

  14. Mike Jowsey on November 8, 2015 at 2:47 pm said:

    A BBC follow-up on the joker who applied to NZ High Court for Climate Refugee status:

    If the alleged climate hardships of life in Kiribati are such a non issue, that Kiribati people can’t even be bothered to apply for lottery places to migrate to New Zealand, what possibly justification could there have ever been for the ridiculous waste of time and resources, represented by Mr. Teitiota’s application for climate refugee status? How can there be any doubt that the New Zealand High Court made the right decision, to reject Mr. Teitiota’s bogus climate refugee claim?

    As I wrote over 2 years ago, “Of weather refugees there may be many, but of climate refugees – habeas corpus, please. “

  15. Richard C (NZ) on November 8, 2015 at 6:56 pm said:

    ‘Has Indonesia Fiddled Its CO2 Emissions Data?’

    November 7, 2015, By Paul Homewood

    It is hard to avoid Kevin’ [Marshall’s] conclusion:

    “The figure for 2005 is about 1400 MtCO2e, not the 1800 MtCO2e stated in the INDC. The Indonesian’s have fiddled their own unaudited figures to get a politically desired result – an easily achievable “reduction” in GHG emissions.”

  16. Mike Jowsey on November 9, 2015 at 9:00 pm said:

    Russia’s Putin Says Global Warming Is ‘A Fraud’
    “We found that, while climate change does exist, it is cyclical, and the anthropogenic role is very limited,” Illarionov said. “It became clear that the climate is a complicated system and that, so far, the evidence presented for the need to ‘fight’ global warming was rather unfounded.”

  17. In the spirit of “open thread”, I thought this video from TEDx Christchurch was worth sharing

    It is presented by the cofounder of Tesla, and yet it is not about electric vehicles, it is about jet turbine powered garbage trucks

    I thought this was very interesting as an engineering concept and presented in a very low key style that is quite unusual in TED talks.

  18. Richard C (NZ) on November 11, 2015 at 7:58 am said:

    ‘Katherine Hayhoe Caught Bearing False Witness – Yet Again’

    Posted on November 10, 2015 by tonyheller

    [see graphics]

    She says that 86% of Texas is currently in drought, but none of Texas is in drought, and they are having one of their wettest years on record.

    Katherine is exposing herself as an extreme sociopath. What drives such sick behavior?

    In comments:

    Richard T. Fowler says:

    Unfortunately, she is coming across as, at the very least, highly delusional. I don’t know what’s in her heart regarding all the technical matters that she expounds upon, but I know that she’s spreading a lot of lies. Whether she’s smart enough to know that they’re lies, I don’t know.

    The churches today are overflowing with people who are embracing false doctrines. Itchy ears — they only receive what they want to. And if they’re given anything else, they’re gone, fast. And I don’t necessarily have a problem with that. The problem in her case is she’s being enabled by false “church leaders”.

    I love Katharine Hayhoe, too. But she needs more than our love. She needs a lot of help, and it seems like she’s not getting it from the people she worships with. She needs a miracle, and a big one. God willing, she’ll get it.

    Weylan McAnally says:

    The Dallas area is just 4.5 inches short of our all time record. With rain in the forecast twice in the next week, I think that we just may break it. The ground is so saturated that each rain brings flash flooding. I am trying to erect 2 billboards, but cannot due to the wet ground.

    # # #

    Actually the 9th commandment is in respect to bearing false witness against one’s “neighbour” but the principle applies I suppose.

    If you can’t trust self-proclaimed “Christian” scientists to tell the truth, who can you trust?

  19. Richard C (NZ) on November 11, 2015 at 8:23 am said:

    The warmists are content to allow overt serial liar Katherine Hayhoe free reign but evidence-free conspiracy theory in respect to an oil company deserves a US State investigation, apparently:

    ‘New York Attorney General Tries to Criminalize Scientific Dissent on Climate Change’

    Hans von Spakovsky / November 06, 2015

    Everyone reading this should do the attorney general of New York, Eric T. Schneiderman, a big favor: buy a copy of the U.S. Constitution, highlight the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights with a bright yellow or orange Sharpie, and mail him a copy.

    Schneiderman obviously needs a remedial lesson in the fact that the government is banned from censoring or restricting speech, and certainly has no business “investigating” Americans, including corporations, for their views on – of all things – a contentious scientific theory.

    The New York Times is reporting that Schneiderman has subpoenaed extensive financial records, emails and other documents of Exxon Mobil to investigate whether the company “lied to the public about the risks of climate change or to investors about how such risk might hurt the oil business.” In addition to ignoring the First Amendment, Schneiderman is apparently unaware that the claim that the world is endangered by a warming climate is a scientific theory, not a proven fact. There is dissention in the scientific community about this theory, and robust debate about both the temperature evidence and computer models on which the theory is based.

    In fact, as the Heritage Foundation’s Nicolas Loris points out, “flaws discovered in the scientific assessment of climate change have shown that the scientific consensus is not as settled as the public had been led to believe.” Leaked emails and documents from various universities and researchers have “revealed conspiracy, exaggerated warming data, possibly illegal destruction and manipulation of data, and attempts to freeze out dissenting scientists from publishing their work in reputable journals.” Furthermore, the “gaffes” that have been exposed in the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports “have only increased skepticism” about the credibility of this scientific theory.

    Yet the attorney general of New York is investigating one of our largest oil and natural gas companies because it might disagree with a scientific theory. What is worse, the New York Times article reports that the attorney general has been engaged in a similar, secret investigation of Peabody Energy, the nation’s largest coal producer, for the past two years. Unfortunately, Peabody has apparently been cooperating in the investigation that violates the company’s fundamental First Amendment rights.

    Soviet-Style Investigation

    One wonders whether General Schneiderman realizes that he seems to be following the Soviet technique of having the government interfere in science and prosecute anyone who doesn’t agree with the theory most in vogue with politicians and the state. Joseph Stalin was infamous for his direct involvement in academic disputes in areas ranging from linguistics to physics. According to “Stalin and the Soviet Science Wars,” a 2006 book published by the Princeton University Press, he only “called off an effort to purge Soviet physics of ‘bourgeois’ quantum mechanics and relativity” as the Soviets were developing their first atomic bomb. Aleksandr Solzhenistsyn’s book, “In the First Circle,” was all about the Soviet government’s suppression of scientists and engineers with the wrong scientific views.

    Besides the dangers of criminal or civil charges being lodged against these companies, the other obvious result of such investigations, which may be their intent, is to chill the speech and advocacy of any “bourgeois” who disagrees with the so-called “consensus” that the climate change theory is real and that it is human activity that is the main cause of the world warming up by a miniscule amount. Exxon Mobil already may have been deterred since its spokesman said that it stopped funding any groups doing research on climate change in the middle of the past decade “who were making the uncertainty of the science their focal point.”

    Science About Climate Change Still Far From Settled

    But then, the science is still uncertain and unproven. But saying that may be a crime according to Schneiderman. Since the federal government won’t fund anyone who disagrees with the climate theory, drying up any private research funding that might raise questions is obviously the next step for those who want to stop all scientific dissent.

    Criminal and civil investigations of individuals and other entities over disputed scientific theories are not just legally unjustified, they are immoral and plain un-American. This is politicized law enforcement of the worst kind. The fact that this is going on in the United States is not just embarrassing, it is shocking.

    The New York Times article cites Wall Street analysts who say “this is not good news for Exxon Mobil or Exxon Mobil shareholders” and that they are “uncertain” whether the case will inflict long-term damage on the company. What is certain is that such politicized law enforcement and government suppression of dissent is not good news for Americans in general and the liberty, freedom, and economic opportunity protected by the First Amendment and the Constitution.

    This type of grotesque prosecutorial abuse will inflict long-term damage on our industrial capacity and energy production. And it may severely damage our ability to conduct the type of research and development in science and engineering that has made us a world leader and driven the economic engine of our high quality of life.

    # # #

    Then Lamar Smith is slated and obstructed from carrying out normal duty i.e. oversight of NOAA activities (e.g. Karl et al 2015).

    In war, and now climate change, truth is the first victim. Human and corporate rights and public servant’s responsibility seems to be a close second in the latter.

  20. Richard C (NZ) on November 11, 2015 at 9:51 am said:

    Eric Schneiderman Vs. Exxon Mobil

    Written by Bloomberg Editorial on 10 November 2015.

    Exactly what New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman hopes to discover in the stack of climate-change documents he’s ordered Exxon Mobil to produce is unclear, because his investigation isn’t public. But he apparently suspects that the company lied to investors about the risks climate change posed to its future profits — which, if true, might be fraud.

    His grounds seem pretty thin. Much as one may sympathize with Schneiderman’s desire to encourage stronger action on climate change, this is not the way to go about it.

    Exxon’s critics have argued that the company’s own researchers believed, as far back as the 1970s, that carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels were causing climate change. Yet, as they point out, Exxon has long opposed strong action on emissions, and until a few years ago gave financial support to researchers and campaigners that cast doubt on the scientific consensus.

    The company later acknowledged that this was unwise: In 2007, it said it would stop funding such groups. The earlier practice deserved no prizes for good corporate citizenship — but failing to be a good corporate citizen isn’t lying, and isn’t a crime. Not yet anyway. Unless the company deliberately misled its investors, it’s hard to see why its scientific and public-relations efforts should be any concern of New York’s attorney general.

    On the face of it, the company’s research on climate change and its previous public positions on climate policy not only fail to amount to fraud, they aren’t even necessarily at odds. You might accept the reality of man-made global warming and still argue against strict new rules on emissions — if, for example, you believe that such restrictions would do more harm than good. You’d be wrong, but that position isn’t indefensible, and certainly shouldn’t be illegal.

    An alternative theory of Schneiderman’s case — the idea that the company had proof of the damage caused by carbon emissions and then suppressed the information — just seems preposterous. Climate change has been intensively investigated by countless researchers worldwide. No one company is in a position to direct or defeat the scientific consensus.

  21. Richard C (NZ) on November 11, 2015 at 10:27 am said:

    >”What is worse, the New York Times article reports that the attorney general has been engaged in a similar, secret investigation of Peabody Energy, the nation’s largest coal producer, for the past two years. Unfortunately, Peabody has apparently been cooperating in the investigation that violates the company’s fundamental First Amendment rights.”

    ‘Ailing coal giant Peabody reaches settlement over misleading climate comments’

    November 10, 2015, Kevin McCoy

    The world’s largest publicly-traded coal company has agreed to make fuller public disclosures about the risks climate change poses to its business in a settlement of charges that it misled investors and the public.

    Peabody Energy (BTU) reached the settlement after a two-year investigation found the St. Louis-based company’s public statements about the potential economic impact of climate change didn’t always square with the firm’s internal financial projections, the New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Monday.

    Peabody shares were up 4.7 per cent at $US15.28 in Monday trading after the announcement. The coal giant’s stock has lost nearly nearly 88 per cent of its value this year since a February 25 high of $US118.95 a share amid a global plummet of energy prices.

    The agreement comes four days after Schneiderman opened a similar investigation of Exxon Mobil.

    Peabody has agreed to file revised Securities and Exchange Commission disclosures affirming that “concerns about the environmental impacts of coal combustion … could significantly affect demand for our products or our securities,” said Schneiderman, who characterised the agreement as the first of its kind.

    “As a publicly traded company whose core business generates massive amounts of carbon emissions, Peabody Energy has a responsibility to be honest with its investors and the public about the risks posed by climate change, now and in the future,” said Schneiderman in a statement announcing the agreement.

    “I believe that full and fair disclosures by Peabody and other fossil fuel companies will lead investors to think long and hard about the damage these companies are doing to our planet.”

    The coal giant in a statement stressed that “there is no other action associated with this settlement, no admission or denial of wrongdoing and no financial penalty.” Peabody also said “the company has always sought to make appropriate disclosures.”

    However, Peabody’s past SEC filings regularly denied the company had the ability to predict the impact that potential regulation of climate change pollution would have on the firm’s operations. The investigation found that Peabody and its consultants in fact “made projections that such regulation would have severe impacts on the company,” Schneiderman’s office said.

    For instance, Peabody’s internal calculations projected a 33 per cent or more reduction in the dollar value of coal sales in the company’s primary US markets if aggressive regulatory action were imposed on existing power plants and future electricity generation, the state investigation showed.

    An outside consultant in March 2014 projected that enactment of a $US20 per ton carbon tax would cut the US demand for coal-generated electricity between 38 per cent and 53 per cent in comparison to 2013 levels, the investigation found.

    Additionally, Peabody’s SEC filings and other public communications “provided incomplete and one-sided discussions” of the International Energy Agency’s projections related to future world coal demand, the investigation showed. As a result of the findings, the coal giant agreed to:

    * Provide SEC disclosures showing the projections the company has been able to make regarding the business impact of laws, regulations and policies related to climate change. The disclosures will start with Monday’s quarterly filing, and will also include projections about different scenarios used by the IEA to calculate expected coal demand.

    * Avoid any public statements that claim Peabody cannot reasonably project the potential impact of future climate-change-related laws and regulations.

    * Accurately describe IEA’s scenarios projecting global demand for coal.

    Schneiderman’s office subpoenaed Texas-based Exxon Mobil on Wednesday, seeking statements, emails, financial projections and other records related to the company’s climate-change research. The oil-and-gas giant said it has publicly disclosed the business risk of potential climate-change regulations for many years.

    # # #

    [Schneiderman] – “I believe that full and fair disclosures by Peabody and other fossil fuel companies will lead investors to think long and hard about the damage these companies are doing to our planet.”

    Heh. Yes, they thought “long and hard” and instantly boosted the Peabody stock price 4.7% – nice work Schneiderman.

    Note that the Peabody statement is merely in respect to “concerns” and “the business impact of laws, regulations and policies related to climate change”. No crime, no fraud, nothing directly about climate science, and “there is no other action associated with this settlement, no admission or denial of wrongdoing and no financial penalty”.

    In other words, it is NOT “about the risks climate change poses to its business” as McCoy reports. It is about the risk “laws, regulations and policies related to climate change” poses to its business – big difference.

  22. Richard C (NZ) on November 11, 2015 at 3:39 pm said:

    >”The coal giant’s stock has lost nearly nearly 88 per cent of its value this year since a February 25 high of $US118.95 a share amid a global plummet of energy prices.” [14.47 latest – see below]

    So why bother continuing with a 2 year climate risk investigation? Peabody is going broke (see below).

    118.95 was already the greater fall from the 5 yr high of 1090.65:

    Coal giant? Was 5 yrs ago but not now. Mkt cap 286.7M, that’s no giant. Maybe it still is in terms of production but that is meaningless when the company value has gone.

    The “business impact of laws, regulations and policies related to climate change” is an inconsequential risk compared to what has already actually taken place. The “global plummet of energy prices” is just the start of a global recession i.e. still a lot more downside to Peabody’s value when that kicks in but the company will be bankrupt first (along with many other corporations, states and nations, cities, etc).

    ‘From hero to zero: Peabody Energy Corp.’
    Case Study Competition 2015

    4 – Projections for 2020

    Table 4 – Coal price forecast, Australia

    If we compare with the amount of cash needed to pay the debt until 2020 (Table 6):

    In our opinion, by 2020 Peabody Energy Corp. will go bankrupt. After analysing the market and the company status:

    i. The company has a huge debt and it is not generating enough cash to repay it;

    # # #

    Schneiderman is/was flogging a dead horse. And this corporate scenario is typical of many corporations around the world – not just fossil fuels. Over half of the companies listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange cannot make interest payments on debt from annual earnings (EBIT).

    Caterpillar is laying off 10,000 workers, Maersk 4000 shore-based out of 23,000. Barclays Bank plans to cut more than 30,000 jobs, Deutsche Bank aims to cut roughly 23,000 jobs, UniCredit plans to cut around 10,000 jobs

    This is just the start. The global debt-fueled party is over. Property crash next.

  23. Richard C (NZ) on November 11, 2015 at 5:12 pm said:

    HSBC to shed 50,000 Jobs. HP already cutting up to 33,300 jobs, IBM similar. Siemens axing 13,500 jobs. 75,000 layoffs and counting in the oil bust.

    ‘Maersk Line to Cut 4,000 Jobs as Market Deteriorates’

    Slowing growth in China and the eurozone’s anemic economy have pushed freight rates to levels that barely cover fuel costs. The rates have been hovering well below $1,000 a container on the main Asia-to-Europe trade loop for much of the year, much lower than the $1,300-a-container average that ship operators say they need to break even in the long-term. Those rates come during what is supposed to be peak season for container shipping, as retailers stock up on clothing, electronics, home appliances and toys ahead of the year-end holidays.

    # # #

    If you look at the graph of freight rates in the article, the Oct 15 spot rate Shanghei to Europe was $428.

    I watched a huge Maersk container vessel almost full come in to Port of Tauranga this morning. Got me wondering how long NZ has got before the global recession hits us here. Great for imports and exports that freight rates are low but those job cuts above are where the exports are going i.e. our export markets. Those pay for the imports.

  24. Mike Jowsey on November 11, 2015 at 8:46 pm said:

    @RC: we won’t know what is hitting us until it hits us, eh.

  25. Richard C (NZ) on November 12, 2015 at 9:57 am said:

    >”we won’t know what is hitting us until it hits us, eh.”

    We’ve had a trial run Mile – 2008. US sub-prime mortgage derivitives leading to global financial crisis (GFC).

    And I vividly remember watching in astonishment years ago as a log ship sailed out of Port of Tauranga empty because trade credit would not be honoured by the banks at the Korean end. That led to huge financial stress and default by forestry contractors who have large capital investment in plant, also plenty of layoffs around the port and logistics.

    It’s international trade finance that is the greatest risk and I think most NZ exporters are totally dependent on the availability of it (over 11 $trillion per year required globally). When that stops, trade stops. Period.

    Real hard cash becomes king. Electronic bank balances mean nothing when banks shut up shop. KiwiBank deposits are the only bank deposits “guaranteed” by the NZ govt after the last GFC. Banks operate on the theory that everyone does not withdraw at once but that is exactly what happens in a financial crisis (think Greece).

    This looming GFC will make the last one look ordinary IMO. The first activities to be hit are those driven by debt. Property is the obvious one but trade finance is effectively short-term debt too.

  26. Richard C (NZ) on November 12, 2015 at 10:45 am said:

    ‘Exxon + 49 Other Big Polluters Set to Be Investigated for Causing Extreme Weather Events’

    Kumi Naidoo | November 11, 2015 [Greenpeace head]

    A few weeks ago the first ever human rights legal action seeking the accountability of the 50 big polluters was launched. Filed by Filipino typhoon survivors and several environmental organizations, it demands that the Philippines Human Rights Commission (CHR) investigate and acknowledge the complicity of 50 investor-owned fossil fuel companies in causing extreme weather events.

    This comes from a consensus that the typhoons and catastrophic storms that annually batter the Philippines and many other small island nations, are exacerbated by climate change caused by the burning of fossil fuels by distant and faceless energy companies. People in the Philippines know that they are at the end of a terrible chain reaction that destroys homes, ruins health and takes lives and livelihoods. It violates their basic human rights, so they, like many others, are starting to seek climate justice.

    # # #

    So proof and evidence is from a “consensus” that there is an “exacerbation” mechanism.

    It will be interesting to read the details of said mechanism i.e. how vehicle emissions in Texas “exacerbate” a typhoon in the Philippines. And why Exxon is culpable but the buyers of their product who actually emit the “pollution” (like Greenpeace’s diesel powered vessel) are not.

  27. Richard C (NZ) on November 12, 2015 at 11:41 am said:

    ‘The Climate Change Inquisition Begins’

    New York’s Attorney general is sending out the message that corporations who fund climate change skeptics will face political reprisal.

    By Robert Tracinski November 9, 2015

    New York’s attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, has started an investigation of Exxon Mobil “to determine whether the company lied to the public about the risks of climate change or to investors about how such risks might hurt the oil business.” According to The New York Times, its sources “said the inquiry would include a period of at least a decade during which Exxon Mobil funded outside groups that sought to undermine climate science.” See what they did there? To have a different view of climate science is to “undermine” it because there is no scientific study of the climate except that which they agree with.

    We should start with the observation that Exxon could not possibly have “lied” about climate change, even if it intended to, because first there would have to be a proven truth on the subject. If the company later contradicted warnings about global warming issued by scientists it funded in the 1980s, that would be justified by the fact that those warnings were almost certainly wrong. The arguments for global warming have been undercut — not by anything Exxon did — but by what the earth didn’t do. It didn’t keep warming, with global temperatures leveling off for the past 15 to 20 years. Global temperatures are now trending at or below the lowest, least dire predictions of warming.

    But this isn’t really about the science, is it? To make it clear that this is entirely a political witch hunt, the Times explains that “the company published extensive research over decades that largely lined up with mainstream climatology. Thus, any potential fraud prosecution might depend on exactly how big a role company executives can be shown to have played in directing campaigns of climate denial, usually by libertarian-leaning political groups.”

    Voila! Consensus!

    A Bloomberg analysis [see next comment article] describes the “weird theory” needed to transform this into a case of securities fraud but gets down to the nub of why Schneiderman is pursuing that theory: to evade the First Amendment. “[S]ecurities fraud is perhaps the least protected speech of all. Securities law fits notoriously uncomfortably with the First Amendment; the Securities and Exchange Commission forbids even truthful speech by companies in many situations.”

    So there you go. This is about suppressing political speech by using the threat of government prosecution to intimidate corporations into withdrawing funding from pro-free-market advocates.

    This is part of the whole “consensus” scam that is central to global warming hysteria. The idea is to make it impossible for scientists who are skeptical of global warming to receive any funding or get published in peer-reviewed journals — and then declare that, lo and behold, there are no published scientists who are skeptical about global warming! The idea is to proclaim a spontaneous “consensus” that you created by excluding anyone who disagrees with you.

    To be sure, this case will take forever to go through the courts. (Mann v. Steyn just entered year four.) But this is another case where the prosecution is the punishment. Just the prospect of being dragged through the courts and publicly maligned by prosecutors is deterrent enough.

    This prosecution is not really aimed at Exxon, which has pockets deep enough to fight if it chooses. And if it wanted to, Exxon could really fight. It could use the processes of discovery and cross-examination to expose plenty of examples of lying about climate science on the part of politicians and government agencies. It is obvious, however, that Exxon’s executives don’t have the courage to do this.

    That’s a shame because the real target is everybody smaller than Exxon. The message is going out that they will face political reprisals, including embarrassing and expensive persecution in the courts, if they ever give a dollar to a climate skeptic.

    The investigation is definitely aimed at more companies. According to another New York Times report, “Energy experts said prosecutors may decide to investigate companies that chose to fund or join organizations that questioned climate science or policies designed to address the problem, such as the Global Climate Coalition and the American Legislative Exchange Council.” This is already having its effect: “Shell announced this summer that it would not renew its membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, a free-enterprise group that has opposed government mandates, subsidies and other efforts to force or encourage companies to develop and use more renewable energy sources. Occidental Petroleum and several other companies have also left ALEC, but Chevron and Exxon Mobil still support the group.”

    It’s not just about starving out one political faction; it’s about feeding advocates of the preferred faction. Thus, the Times mentions how prosecutors like Schneiderman would prefer big oil companies to act: “Last month, 10 of the world’s biggest oil companies, including BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Saudi Aramco, Repsol of Spain, Eni of Italy and Total, made a public declaration acknowledging that their industry must help address global climate change.”

    It seems Schneiderman has learned from the neo-authoritarians in Russia and China how to impose political control. There is no need for anything so crude as outright censorship. Anybody can say what they like, if they’re shouting on a street corner or writing in the pages of some obscure journal for intellectuals. But nobody can get any money to broadcast their views more widely because anyone with money faces ruin if they stand out against the powers that be.

    That’s the new regime New York’s attorney general just announced.

  28. Richard C (NZ) on November 12, 2015 at 12:05 pm said:

    >”A Bloomberg analysis describes the “weird theory” needed to transform this into a case of securities fraud”

    ‘Exxon Might Be in Trouble Over Climate Change’

    Nov 6, 2015 By Matt Levine

    A weird thing that some people believe is that it’s illegal to lie. It’s totally legal to lie!


    It is so literally the American way that there is an actual part of our Constitution that says you can lie. That part is the First Amendment, which protects “freedom of speech,” and which also protects freedom of lying. “Some false statements are inevitable if there is to be an open and vigorous expression of views in public and private conversation,” shrugs the Supreme Court. Go ahead, lie, it’s cool.

    It’s especially cool — somewhat ironically — if your lies are political.


    So you can lie in politics, but you can’t lie in business.4 But today’s question
    is: Can you lie in politics, in business? Or: Can a business lie in politics? Corporations are people, my friend, and they have First Amendment rights, including the right to “seek to persuade the voting public” by advertising. But they can’t falsely persuade the buying public by advertising. And sometimes the lines are gray.

    New York “Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman issued a subpoena Wednesday evening to Exxon Mobil,” as part of an investigation “to determine whether the company lied to the public about the risks of climate change.” Of course, if it did lie to the public for years, you can see why people would be upset:


    But lying to the American people is, again, the American way of life. Climate change is a scientific issue, and responses to climate change are policy issues, and lying about science and policy are just totally accepted, much-loved, everyday parts of our great democracy. If Exxon Mobil was knowingly funding misleading research as part of a plan to convince American voters and politicians to vote against laws that it opposed, then of course that would be bad.5 But it would also be at least a bit strange for prosecutors to punish Exxon — or anyone — for political speech that the prosecutors disagree with. Even if the prosecutors’ disagreement is on purely factual grounds. Even dishonest or misleading political speech is supposed to be, you know, free, and the prospect of prosecutors and judges punishing people (sorry, corporations) for their political speech is a bit alarming. “Unless they directly lied in Congress, the legal case against them is kind of thin,” says a guy [hotlink].

    Ah but of course misleading people about climate change isn’t just political. It’s also, plausibly, a business decision. People might not have bought gas if they knew the full risks of climate change, but if Exxon covered up those risks, then people would have been fraudulently induced to buy more gas, and harmed by that fraud in the form of climate change. This is to a large extent the theory of previous investigations of tobacco companies, and “some experts see the potential for a legal assault on fossil fuel companies similar to the lawsuits against tobacco companies in recent decades, which cost those companies tens of billions of dollars in penalties.”

    The analogy strikes me as a bit strained, though. The harm of misleading smokers is just so direct, as is the commercial benefit of doing it. If you sell people cigarettes that kill them, those same people are obviously harmed. And if you lie about whether cigarettes will kill people, people will probably buy more cigarettes. But who is defrauded by an oil company that funds climate-change deniers? There is no particular reason to think that the people most harmed by climate change and the people who buy a lot of crude oil products are the same set of people, whereas to a first approximation the people most harmed by smoking are smokers. If you stop smoking, your risk of lung cancer goes way down. If you stop putting gas in your car, your risk of ending up underwater when the ice caps melt does not go down by any measurable amount. There is certainly an intuitive argument that a public that is not worried about climate change will buy bigger cars, take more airplane trips and keep more lights on than a public that is worried. But the mechanisms, and the harms, seem considerably more indirect than in classic fraud cases, or in the tobacco cases.6

    But Americans don’t just vote and drive. They also own stocks. And Schneiderman’s probe isn’t just about lying to the voting public, or the oil-consuming public. It’s also about lying to the investing public:

    “Whether Exxon Mobil began disclosing the business risks of climate change as soon as it understood them is likely to be a major focus of the New York case. The people with knowledge of the case said the attorney general’s investigators were poring through the company’s disclosure filings made since the 1970s, but were focusing in particular on recent statements to investors.

    Exxon Mobil has been disclosing such risks in recent years, but whether those disclosures were sufficient has been a matter of public debate.”

    This is in certain ways the weirdest theory. For one thing, if you actually think that Exxon Mobil is engaged in a diabolical conspiracy to suppress climate science to wring extra profits out of an earth-destroying business, the last people you should be worried about are Exxon’s shareholders. They’re the ones profiting from all that destruction! For another thing, if you are concerned about those shareholders, the last thing you should do is fine Exxon a lot of money. They’re the ones who will ultimately have to pay that money! “This is not good news for Exxon Mobil or Exxon Mobil shareholders,” says an analyst.7

    The Martin Act

    But of course there’s a good reason for prosecutors to pursue a securities fraud theory. That reason is, basically, that securities fraud is perhaps the least protected speech of all. Securities law fits notoriously uncomfortably with the First Amendment; the Securities and Exchange Commission forbids even truthful speech by companies in many situations. And lying anywhere near a security will get you in trouble, especially in New York, where the Martin Act gives Schneiderman unusually broad powers to prosecute financial fraud without worrying too much about proof of direct harm causation. If you lie to the public about the risks that fossil fuel use poses to life on earth, you are just exercising your right as a citizen. But if you lie to your investors about the risks that fossil fuel regulation poses to your stock price, you are committing fraud and will get in bad trouble.


    # # #

    >”This is in certain ways the weirdest theory. ………… the last people you should be worried about are Exxon’s shareholders.”

    Exactly. Pinging Exxon on behalf of shareholders is in effect pinging shareholders – duh!

  29. Richard C (NZ) on November 12, 2015 at 12:51 pm said:

    ‘We’re in the Early Stages of Largest Debt Default in US History’

    by Porter Stansberry • November 10, 2015

    The Next Debt-Clearing ‘Super Cycle’ Starts Now

    The most recent cycle is the one you’re most familiar with – the mortgage crisis.

    Six years after default rates normalized in 2003, they suddenly spiked up to almost 10% in 2009. But thanks to a massive and unprecedented government intervention, featuring trillions of dollars in credit protection, default rates immediately returned to normal in 2010. As a result, only about $1 trillion of corporate debt went into default during this cycle.

    You should know, however, that the regular market-clearing process of rising, peaking, and normalizing default rates did not occur in the last cycle. A massive, unprecedented intervention in the markets by the Federal Reserve stopped the default cycle in its tracks. As a result, trillions of dollars in risky debt did not enter default and were not written off.

    Over the last six years, this “victory” against bankruptcy and the credit cycle has led many government leaders and their economic apologists (like Paul Krugman) to declare victory. What they won’t admit is that the lack of a debt-clearing cycle has resulted in a weak recovery, and an economy that’s still heavily burdened by unsustainable debts.

    What happens next should be obvious to everyone: The big debt-clearing cycle that was “paused” in 2009 will make the next debt-clearing cycle much, much larger – by far the biggest we’ve ever seen. When will that happen? Six years after default rates last returned to normal. In other words… right now.

    Now, before you panic… here’s an idea you’ll see us repeat again and again over the next three to four years.

    What’s happening – rising default rates, rising interest rates on corporate debt, and falling stock prices – doesn’t need to be a crisis for you, personally.

    Instead, this period could be the best opportunity that you will ever get to buy great assets and great businesses at great prices.

    You don’t need to think of this coming crisis as the “end.” Instead, think of what’s happening as a badly needed reckoning. It’s simply a housecleaning. Nothing much will change. The best assets and best businesses will still be here after the storm. The only real difference will be who owns them.

    What’s coming is the greatest transfer of wealth in history. Over the next few years, trillions of dollars’ worth of businesses, land, resources, and intellectual property are going to exchange hands – legally, but unwillingly.

    Investors who have been frugal and cautious will be rewarded. Investors who have been greedy and foolish will be punished.

    # # #

    >”The best assets and best businesses will still be here after the storm”

    But what state will their demand side be in? Supply side?

    And what liquidity buys the assets? In the Great Depression high quality farms went unsold at auction from lack of liquidity. Cash-in-bank cannot be relied upon if there are withdrawal restrictions at banks.

  30. Mike Jowsey on November 12, 2015 at 7:20 pm said:

    RC, regards assets and liquidity, this interesting discussion regards wolves and rabbits might interest you….

  31. Richard C (NZ) on November 12, 2015 at 11:44 pm said:

    Surprising “assets” Mike. Never thought of that. Too late for me now though.

    I watched an Al Jazeera doco tonight, “Putin’s Russia”. A local rural community was being prosecuted because they had devised an alternative currency to the rouble. Called a “lotion” (I think it was), the note was backed by a bucket of potatoes. More like a futures contract really. The note was issued to the community, used as currency, then redeemed at time of potato harvest.

    A fixed measure of barley was a currency (no note or “scrip” though I don’t think) in Roman times before wheat became staple.

    The principle behind the Russian alternative is described here:

    ‘Fundamentals of Alternative Currencies and Value Measurement’

    Essentially, a currency should be a credit instrument that is spent into circulation by a trusted issuer on the basis of his commitment to accept it back in payment for desired goods and services that he is ready, willing and able to deliver. A currency can be issued individually by a single issuer or jointly by a group of trusted issuers.


    NZ currency was an evolution:

    Varied currency

    In the early 19th century a range of foreign coins were used in New Zealand. In 1858 British coins became legal tender (currency that has to be accepted to immediately clear a debt).

    Trading banks issued their own notes. They did not have to accept each others’ notes, though most did. Banknote designs were simple at first, but became more complex and ornate in the later 19th century.

    Both notes and coins were in short supply, and until 1881 some shops issued their own low-value banknotes and bronze and copper tokens. These were given as change and could only be used at that store.

    Early trading bank notes were backed by gold as I understand. Our currency is just backed by a promise to pay now (“promissory” notes, fiat currency). The time might come when we would prefer a bucket of potatoes to a promise.

  32. I got back from 3 weeks work trip in the UK on Friday to find that an arsonist had set fire to the dunes by our house during the week, forcing the evacuation of the street.

    My inlaws had to rescue our poor dog who was cowering in the garden in a pall of acrid smoke

    If it’s not sea level rise it’s something else…

  33. Richard C (NZ) on December 6, 2015 at 9:32 am said:

    ‘Meridian Energy calls on Genesis to reverse Huntly coal-burner closure’

    RICHARD MEADOWS November 6 2015

    Meridian has asked rival generator Genesis to keep its coal-burners running, shortly after environmentalists celebrated the impending closure.

    The Huntly power station’s capacity of 953 megawatts will be cut by more than half when it shuts its remaining coal-fired units in 2018.

    The decision, sparked by flat power demand, was applauded by the likes of Greenpeace.

    However, Meridian chief executive Mark Binns warned of potential under-supply following the closure, which would create challenges for the whole industry.

    The renewable energy company has a contract with Genesis to buy up to 150mw a year at Huntly, which it uses as insurance against a dry year.

    “This option ensures we can continue to supply customers at competitive prices without being exposed to purchasing electricity at extremely high spot prices if our fuel supply has literally dried up,” Binns said.

    Speaking at Meridian’s annual general meeting in Auckland on Friday, he said the company had approached Genesis to extend the option beyond the planned closure and believed others would also want to see the units remain open.

    “This appears to be the most efficient solution for the industry as a whole,” Binns said.

    “However, there is no guarantee that we will be able to complete any commercially acceptable arrangement.”


  34. LukesAreWrongToo on December 6, 2015 at 11:46 am said:

    All climate change – yes ALL – is 100% natural and has nothing to do with carbon dioxide. It’s obvious that rising CO2 levels have not affected temperatures this century, and there is absolutely no valid physics that any of you can produce to show why climate should be affected by CO2.

    The global mean temperature varies in cycles that appear to be regulated by planetary orbits and variations in solar intensity, cosmic rays etc which probably also relate to planetary orbits. For example, the eccentricity of Earth’s orbit has a cycle of about 100,000 years which is thought to relate to the spacing of glacial periods, this being because the annual mean distance of the Sun varies over that 100,000 year cycle. There are numerous cycles, but the two dominant ones in the space of a few thousand years have periods of about 1,000 years and 60 years. Both were rising in the 30 years to 1998, but now we have slight net cooling for 30 years, and probably about 500 years of long term cooling due to start within 100 years.

    Solar intensity can also vary because of variations in cloud cover. Reflections from clouds affect the albedo by about 20%. For each 1% change (for example to 19% or 21%) there is a temperature change of about 0.9 degree. So all the climate change in the last few thousand years could have been due just to such changes in cloud cover. Clearly there are also other changes in sunspot activity, and you have to ask yourselves whether than could well explain the 1,000 year cycle. What regulates these long term cycles in sunspot activity? Well, the only things that are “regular” are planetary orbits, and it could well be that planetary magnetic fields which reach to the Sun have some effect on sunspots and possibly cosmic rays intensities which, in turn, may affect cloud formation.

    It’s ALL natural and you have no proof that it could not be.

    Until you understand that planetary surface temperatures are not established by direct radiation reaching such surfaces you have failed to pay due diligence. The explanation as to what really determines such temperatures on all planets is there to be read and studied here. It all started with an explanation by the brilliant 19th century physicist Josef Loschmidt who has now been proven right with modern day experiments which show that force fields do indeed create temperature gradients that are the state of maximum entropy.

  35. Herr Thomas of Hot Topic is complaining that the Paris police are taking away people’s democratic rights to protest about climate change

    One wonders if this person has any empathy at all, or whether it is “all about me”. What about the democratic rights of the 160 people slaughtered in the name of Allah?

    Herr Thomas of Hot Topic was recently “puking” at the Christchurch coastal residents having their democratic rights taken away during the district plan process. Obviously, democracy is OK as long as it supports his favorite pastimes.

  36. Richard C (NZ) on December 6, 2015 at 2:56 pm said:

    LukesAreWrongToo [Doug Cotton].

    Who is/are the “you” that you are addressing the above comment to Doug? It cannot be me, I’m not a “Luke” (or a Warmer) and I’ve done my “due diligence”. Maybe the odd Luke here but the Warmers appear to have gone away. In other words, don’t expect a response from any Lukes to your comment in terms of counter argument.

    There is however a bit of an issue around the blogs in regard to your approach Doug. For example, the PSI thread here:

    ‘Even ‘Lukewarmer’ Position on Global Warming has Become Untenable’

    Written by on 16 Nov 2015

    # Rosco 2015-11-27 20:09
    The real question that needs to be answered in this series of comments is this

    Why does Doug use a multitude of various aliases to give the appearance that his arguments have support ?

    Isn’t that associated with multiple personality disorder – “a rare dissociative disorder in which two or more personalities with distinct memories and behaviour patterns apparently exist in one individual.”

    We apparently have DC, LukesAreWrongToo, itsnotco2 and how many others.

    Sally Fields would be impressed – although she did act out 13 different personalities in Sybil.

    Keep it up Doug – I’m sure you can make it yet !

    But I wonder why a cowardly, insulting, condescending dickhead needs to hide behind lies and false identities !

    At least I am honest – My name is Ross McLeod – I always post as Roscomac and I am decidedly ashamed to admit I share the same nationality as all of these different aliases wrapped in the one obviously confused individual !

    # # #


    Has it not occurred to you Doug, that your MO does yourself and your case a disservice?

  37. Richard C (NZ) on December 6, 2015 at 3:09 pm said:

    >”Herr Thomas of Hot Topic is complaining that the Paris police are taking away people’s democratic rights to protest about climate change”

    As I understand, the police stopped them crashing the sanctity of what had become a memorial site and centre of grief, and slammed them in the cells – well done.

    How the climate activists thought they had a “right” to be so anti-social and to display such lack of empathy is astounding. Thomas’ spin equally distasteful.

  38. They were throwing rocks at the police and trampling on flowers left as memorials.

    I’ve been out of the country for three weeks and there have been two massacres while I have been away. We live in sad and dangerous times.

  39. ralf ellis on January 6, 2016 at 10:16 pm said:

    Re: Modulation of Ice Ages via Precession and Dust-Albedo Feedbacks

    A new paper proving that CO2 is a minor player in the drama that is the Earth’s climate.

    (The article I produced has turned into a science paper).


    We present here a simple and novel proposal for the modulation and rhythm of ice ages and interglacials during the late Pleistocene. While the standard Milankovitch-precession theory fails to explain the long intervals between interglacials, these can be accounted for by a novel forcing and feedback system involving CO2, dust and albedo. During the glacial period, the high albedo of the northern ice sheets drives down global temperatures and CO2 concentrations, despite subsequent precessional forcing maxima. Over the following millennia CO2 is sequestered in the oceans and atmospheric concentrations eventually reach a critical minima of about 200 ppm, which causes a die-back of temperate and boreal forests and grasslands, especially at high altitude. The ensuing soil erosion generates dust storms, resulting in increased dust deposition and lower albedo on the northern ice sheets. As northern hemisphere insolation increases during the next Milankovitch cycle, the dust-laden ice-sheets absorb considerably more insolation and undergo rapid melting, which forces the climate into an interglacial period. The proposed mechanism is simple, robust, and comprehensive in its scope, and its key elements are well supported by empirical evidence.

    Ralph Ellis

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