Guest ridicule by David Middleton
A hellish July validates climate change forecasts
The Editorial Board, USA TODAY, July 30, 2018
With the cost of climate change to the U.S. economy averaging $240 billion a year, America can’t afford not to act: Our view
This month’s weather has been downright hellish in parts of the United States and across the globe, providing further evidence that the impact of climate change is no longer relegated to starving polar bears and shrinking ice caps.
In the USA, Americans awoke Monday to images of deadly wildfires scorching California and other Western states. July’s extreme weather stretched from an all-time high of 111 degrees recorded at UCLA to a record 16.4 inches of rain in Baltimore.
The pattern of misery spread across the globe:
►Africa recorded its highest reliably recorded temperature in modern history: 124.3 degrees in Algeria.
►Torrential rains flooded Japan and collapsed a dam in Laos, killing hundreds.
While no single event can be attributed to human-induced climate change, these are precisely the types of extreme weather that become significantly more likely because of it. “We’re now seeing decades-old scientific predictions being validated in the real world, right before our eyes,” UCLA climate researcher Daniel Swain told Axios.
The reason for all of this is uncomplicated. Greenhouse gases accumulating in the atmosphere, largely from the burning of fossil fuels, continue to rise. Carbon dioxide levels reached 400 parts per million in 2016, likely higher than the Earth has experienced in millions of years. It exceeded 410 parts per million in April. The atmosphere is operating on steroids.
This can actually provide a few benefits in the United States, as crop yields increase in a handful of northern states and cold-related deaths decline.
Such gains are easily overtaken by downsides: frequent and destructive wildfires, more heat-related deaths in many Sunbelt states, excessive rainfall and rising sea levels along the Eastern Seaboard and the Gulf Coast, and crop declines across the South and Midwest. It’s costing Americans money, both broadly across the national economy and in terms of household expenses.
A Universal Ecological Fund study last year priced the cost of climate change to the U.S. economy at an average of $240 billion a year.
Basically, blame everything on climate change and then cite a “study” from an obscure environmental
terrorist activist group claiming that it’s costing the U.S. economy a YUGE amount of money.
Before I get to the Universal Ecological Fund study, let’s look at Africa’s new record temperature and the Laotian dam collapse.
Africa recorded its highest reliably recorded temperature in modern history: 124.3 degrees in Algeria…
Africa may have witnessed its all-time hottest temperature Thursday: 124 degrees in Algeria
By Jason Samenow
The blistering-hot temperature reading, observed in Ouargla, is probably the highest temperature ever reliably measured both in Algeria and in all of Africa. The record was first identified by weather records expert Maximiliano Herrera.
Ouargla, with a population of nearly half a million, is located in north central Algeria, roughly midway between Morocco and Tunisia.
Its 124.3-degree temperature surpassed Africa’s previous highest reliable temperature measurement of 123.3 degrees (50.7 Celsius) set July 13, 1961, in Morocco.
Higher temperatures previously measured in Africa have either been invalidated or climate experts find them dubious:
- The hottest temperature ever measured in Africa and on the planet was once thought to be 136.4 degrees (58 Celsius) observed in El Azizia, Libya, but that record was rejected by the World Meteorological Organization after a committee identified five concerns with its collection.
- A temperature of 131 degrees (55 Celsius) observed in Kebili, Tunisia, on July 7, 1931. is officially considered Africa’s (and the eastern hemisphere’s) hottest measurement. But extreme weather expert Christopher Burt, who has studied the record, calls it “suspicious” because of lack of comparable temperatures in modern times and assigned it a validity score of one out of 10. Etienne Kapikian, a French meteorologist, called the record “a big joke.”
- In his blog post on this latest Africa temperature reading, Jeff Masters includes a run-down of other questionable temperature readings from Africa logged during the colonial period.
In order for Thursday’s temperature in Ouargla to be considered official and a record for Africa, it would need to be certified by the World Meteorological Organization while the previous record from Tunisia would also have to be invalidated.
I literally couldn’t make this sort of stuff up, if I was trying.
On to the Laotian dam collapse.
Torrential rains flooded Japan and collapsed a dam in Laos, killing hundreds…
A Day Before Laos Dam Failed, Builders Saw Trouble
By Mike Ives
July 26, 2018
ATTAPEU TOWN, Laos — The day before this week’s catastrophic dam failure in Laos, the companies building the dam knew that it was deteriorating, and one of them saw a potential trouble sign three days in advance. Yet many people living downstream received no warning of the deadly flood that was about to sweep away villages, farms, livestock and people.
The companies said they had warned Laotian officials of the danger, and some villages were evacuated, but the dam’s collapse killed at least 27 people — many more are still missing — and displaced at least 6,600 others in Laos. On Thursday, state media in Cambodia reported that as many as 25,000 more people in that country were being evacuated from the northern border province of Stung Treng, as the flood surge made its way south.
Now, as rescue workers scramble to find missing villagers and care for others in makeshift shelters, questions are mounting about the speed of the one-party state’s response, the quality of the companies’ work, and whether they could have done more to prevent the accident or alert people to the peril.
Accounts given by the two South Korean companies differ in several details, and do not answer the crucial question: When did they know, or should they have known, that the dam might be headed toward collapse?
On Friday, engineers noticed a depression, or “settlement,” about four inches deep in the center of the dam, Korea Western Power, one of the companies, said in a report to South Korea’s Parliament.
A company official told lawmakers — one of whom released the report on Thursday — that such sinking was common with the kind of heavy rainfall the region was experiencing, so the engineers decided to monitor it rather than take action.
On Sunday, engineers found 10 “fractured settlements” on the top of the dam and set out to repair them, but they could not get the necessary repair equipment to the scene until Monday afternoon, when it was too late, the company’s report said.
SK Engineering & Construction of South Korea, the main builder of the project, said on Thursday that it had discovered at 9 p.m. on Sunday that part of the dam’s top was missing.
In a statement, the company said it had “immediately” reported the damage to the local authorities and evacuations of the nearest villages began, but it did not alert the provincial government until noon the next day that the dam might deteriorate further.
By 11 a.m. on Monday, Korea Western Power said, there was a depression more than three feet deep in the top of the dam.
Both South Korean companies mentioned heavy rains in their descriptions of the disaster. But Ian Baird, a geography professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, who specializes in Laos and has studied the hydropower project, said he believed the problem was either faulty construction or a decision to store too much water in the dam’s reservoir at a time when heavy rain should have been expected.
“When at the end of July do we not get rain in this part of the world?” he asked.
The companies are “trying to play this out as a natural disaster that wasn’t their fault,” he said. “I don’t believe that for a second.”
The fact that I could refute two of the more idiotic USA Today assertions by citing The Washington Post and The New York Times, speaks volumes to the idiocy of the USA Today Editorial Board.
On to the Universal Ecological Fund study…
$188 billion of the fictitious $240 billion is listed as “health costs due to air pollution caused by fossil fuel energy production.” In 2017, the total cost to treat respiratory diseases in the US was estimated to be $161 billion… So, it’s kind of hard to believe that “health costs due to air pollution caused by fossil fuel energy production” could have been $188 billion, Even if that number was valid… So what?
Value Added by Industry
[Billions of dollars]
Bureau of Economic Analysis
Release Date: April 19, 2018
|2017||Fossil Fuels Minimum|
|Gross domestic product||$19,390.60|
|Fossil Fuel-related GDP|
|Oil and gas extraction||$ 209.20||$ 209.20|
|Mining, except oil and gas||$ 72.50|
|Support activities for mining||$ 48.30|
|Petroleum and coal products||$ 139.30||$ 139.30|
|Chemical products||$ 397.10|
|Plastics and rubber products||$ 84.10||$1,376.90||$ 348.50|
|Ambulatory health care services||$ 692.70|
|Hospitals||$ 440.40||Claimed Fossil Fuels Cost|
|Nursing and residential care facilities||$ 150.10||$1,283.20||$ 188.00||15%|
Just using the direct added value of Oil and gas extraction and Petroleum and coal products, I get $348.5 billion. The value added by coal extraction would be part of Mining, except oil and gas and Support activities for mining. Fossil fuel production also contributes to the value added by utilities, chemical products and plastics and rubber products. And, since about 25% of US natural gas production is used as a feedstock for fertilizer production, fossil fuels contribute to the value added to our economy by farming. The Haber-Bosch process feeds nearly half of the world population.
Erisman, J. W., Sutton, M. A., Galloway, J., Klimont, Z. & Winiwarter, W. How a century of ammonia synthesis changed the world. Nat. Geosci.1,636–639 (2008)