Blowout Week 65

This week we feature predictions, which as the philosopher Yogi Berra once observed are tough to make, especially about the future:

Financial Post:  Oil could plunge to $20 and this might be ‘the end of OPEC’: Citigroup

Despite global declines in spending that have driven up oil prices in recent weeks, oil production in the U.S. is still rising, wrote Edward Morse, Citigroup’s global head of commodity research. Brazil and Russia are pumping oil at record levels, and Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran have been fighting to maintain their market share by cutting prices to Asia. The market is oversupplied, and storage tanks are topping out. A pullback in production isn’t likely until the third quarter, Morse said. In the meantime, West Texas Intermediate Crude, which currently trades at around US$52 a barrel, could fall to the $20 range “for a while”. The U.S. shale-oil revolution has broken OPEC’s ability to manipulate prices and maximize profits for oil-producing countries. “It looks exceedingly unlikely for OPEC to return to its old way of doing business,” Morse wrote. “While many analysts have seen in past market crises ’the end of OPEC,’ this time around might well be different.”

Financial Post:  OPEC is going to make a massive comeback, BP predicts

One of the big stories of the past few years has been the boom in unconventional gas and oil extraction outside the traditional oil-producing countries. The explosion of fracking in the U.S. seemed as if it was dislodging the old oil-producing countries permanently. But that is not likely, according to BP’s latest 20-year outlook for the energy market. BP says the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) isn’t going anywhere, and it will actually make a comeback. BP is forecasting “OPEC’s market share by the end of the Outlook is around 40%, similar to its average of the past 20 years.”

More on OPEC and oil below the fold, plus the growing Middle East nuclear (arms?) race, natural gas in Mexico, blackouts in Holland, the world dragging its feet on emissions reduction pledges, the Longannet closure, Scotland misses its emissions target again, problems with renewables in California and how climate change will force women into prostitution:

Yahoo Finance:  How American frackers plan to beat OPEC

Gary Evans, CEO of Houston-based energy firm Magnum Hunter Resources (MHR), has a blunt message for OPEC oil ministers hoping to force down prices and drive American competitors out of business. “OPEC is making a huge mistake,” he says. “We made a lot of money with oil at $100 (per barrel), and we’ll become more efficient and make a lot of money at $50.” What the Saudis may not have counted on ….. is extreme cost-cutting underway at many drillers, which is making them far more efficient and pushing down the price at which they can turn a profit. The Saudis’ market-share move could even backfire, as U.S. frackers become more efficient competitors. “We will figure out how to operate in a lower price environment,” Evans says. “Anybody who thinks our costs are too high – that’s absolute bull crap.”

Oil Price:  Forget Rig Counts And OPEC, Media Bias Is Driving Oil Down

Yes the move down from $100 to $70-$80 or so was tied to the oversupply that was anticipated to come and has come mainly in the US. Beyond that, most oil industry executes would agree, as have various members of OPEC, that the decline from there was tied to media hysteria that created a negative environment to force an unwinding of long futures positions which ballooned to 5-8X higher than 2008. Post OPEC’s November decision, the media has been basically cheerleading oil down.

Marketwatch:  Yemen has the power to rally oil prices

Yemen produces roughly 130,000 barrels of crude oil a day, but it still has the power the rally oil prices. It sits at the Bab el-Mandab Strait, a key chokepoint in international shipping—making it important in terms of international energy trade, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. About 3.8 million barrels of oil a day passed through Bab el-Mandeb in 2013, and a closure of the Strait would keep tankers in the Persian Gulf from reaching the Suez Canal and the SUMED Pipeline, forcing them around the tip of Africa, the EIA said. With Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations having launched airstrikes against rebel forces in Yemen’s capital and across the country, there is potential for a closure of the Strait.

Independent:  Saudi Arabia says it won’t rule out building nuclear weapons

Saudi Arabia will not rule out building or acquiring nuclear weapons, the country’s ambassador to the United States has indicated. Asked whether Saudi Arabia would ever build nuclear weapons in an interview with US news channel CNN, Adel Al-Jubeir said the subject was “not something we would discuss publicly”. The ambassador’s reticence to rule out a military nuclear programme may reignite concerns that the autocratic monarchy has its eye on a nuclear arsenal. In 2012 the Saudi Arabian government threatened to acquire nuclear weapons were neighbouring regional power Iran ever to do so. The Saudi Arabian regime also already possesses medium-range ballistic missiles in the form of the Royal Saudi Strategic Missile Force. Western intelligence agencies believe that the Saudi monarchy paid for up to 60% of Pakistan’s nuclear programme in return for the ability to buy warheads for itself at short notice, the Guardian newspaper reported in 2010.

Time:  The Middle East Nuclear Race Is Already Under Way

One of the most important reasons why the U.S. is trying to conclude a nuclear deal with Iran is to prevent an Iranian bomb from triggering a nuclear race in the Middle East. Yet even as talks continue now in Switzerland, Tehran’s regional rivals have already begun quietly acting on their own atomic ambitions. Nuclear power may be on the wane almost everywhere else in the world, but it’s all the rage in the place with all that oil. With the exception of Israel, which has never publicly acknowledged its widely known nuclear arsenal, no Middle Eastern country beyond Iran had a nuclear program — peaceful or otherwise — until the wealthy United Arab Emirates began building a reactor in July 2012 (due for completion in 2017). The list now includes, in addition to Egypt, Turkey, Jordan and Saudi Arabia — the last Iran’s archrival, and which last year revealed plans to build 16 nuclear plants over the next two decades.

San Antonio News:  Mexico signs second pipeline deal to import Eagle Ford natural gas

Mexico’s national oil company PEMEX has signed a deal with U.S.-based investment firms BlackRock and First Reserve to begin the second phase of a pipeline that will bring natural gas from the Eagle Ford shale to cities hundreds of miles south of the border. Under the 25-year deal, BlackRock is investing $4.6 billion and First Reserve is investing $30 million in the Los Ramones II natural gas pipeline, earning them a combined 45 percent control of the ambitious energy project. The 462-mile pipeline is part of Mexico’s historic energy reforms and will run from Los Ramones, Nuevo Leon to the State of Guanajuato where a number of maquiladoras and automobile factories will use the natural gas as a clean source of power.

RT:  Major power outage throughout northern Holland

Large areas of the Netherlands have been left without electricity. The north of the country has been mainly affected, with the Dutch electricity network operator saying the outage has been caused by a power grid overload. The capital Amsterdam has been hit, along with the area around Schiphol Airport. Twitter has reported that some hospitals in Amsterdam have been left without power, while the tram and metro networks are also not running in the capital. Thousands of people have been stuck on public transport because the doors will not open as they are controlled electronically. The outage was caused due to a defect at a substation in Diemen, according to TenneT, the company which is responsible for supplying power in the Netherlands.

BBC:  Longannet power station to close next year

Scottish Power retail and generation chef executive Neil Clitheroe said: “We are extremely disappointed with National Grid’s decision as Scottish Power submitted a competitive bid that reflected our commitment to protecting the immediate future of Longannet Power Station. “As we have said previously, today’s decision by National Grid means that, in all likelihood, we will be forced to announce the closure of Longannet by March 2016. The issue regarding punitive transmission charges has not changed, and this still negatively impacts the future of the station. Beyond that, the current transmission charging regime is a major barrier to any future investment in flexible thermal power generation in Scotland.” He added: “In any future scenario for Scotland, it is vital that the network here is supported by flexible generation to complement renewables.”

Guardian:  Scotland advised to take strong action after missing emissions target again

Scottish politicians should consider congestion charges, reducing speed limits and rethink plans to cut air passenger duty after Scotland again missed its climate targets, an influential advisory committee has said. The committee on climate change, the Scottish government’s official advisers, said far-reaching action was needed to reduce CO2 emissions after the reduction targets were missed for the third time by some 4.5%. While the figures for 2012 showed Scotland’s emissions were better overall than the UK’s and it has been faster on installing renewables, the CCC said it needed to do far more on cutting transport emissions – which are not falling – tackling home fuel use, and that it would require deeper cuts from the wider public sector.

BBC:  Norwegian green energy to power UK homes

Green power from Norway will be powering hundreds of thousands of UK homes from 2021, National Grid has said. Energy will travel via the world’s longest sub-sea electricity interconnector. The €2bn (£1.4bn) project has been rubber stamped between National Grid and its Norwegian equivalent Statnett. The UK aims to import enough hydro-power from Norway to provide 14% of yearly household electricity needs. Alan Foster, director of European business development for National Grid, said: “Access to low-carbon energy from Norway hydro-power stations will help us meet the challenge of greener, affordable energy. It also adds to the diversity of energy sources for UK and potentially can reduce peak prices, with benefits for consumers and businesses.” Statnett chief executive Auke Lont said: “Not only is this a technically impressive project where we will set a new world record, it is also an important contribution to the increase of renewable energy production on both sides.”

Guardian:  UK households used 14% less energy last year but still paid more

British households used 14% less energy in 2014, as average temperatures rose to record highs and drove down demand for heating, according to government statistics released on Thursday. But bills continued to rise, with households paying £15 more for electricity on standard bills, which reached £592, an increase of 2.6% on 2013, and £23 more on gas bills, which rose 3.2% to £752. The contrast between falling use and rising bills, even as wholesale gas prices also fell, is likely to raise fresh questions over the profits of energy companies, and fuel poverty.

Christian Science Monitor:  As world expands nuclear power, US grapples with decades of waste

A nuclear power renaissance is underway in much of the world, but in the US you would hardly notice. Shifting energy economics and public safety concerns have made new American nuclear reactors rare, even as China and others ramp up investment in the carbon-free power source. But now, the US government is seeking to stay relevant in an evolving global nuclear industry, in part by proposing new ways to confront a decades-old challenge: handling mounting nuclear waste. Ultimately, the friction over nuclear waste comes down to one proposed project: Yucca Mountain. The Nevada nuclear waste repository has been in limbo for 30 years and is opposed by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D) of Nevada and President Obama.

Cato Institute:  FEMA Tells Oklahoma to Do the Impossible … Or Else

Last fall, the Federal Emergency Management Agency issued a draft proposal that will require Oklahoma to do the impossible or face the loss of disaster relief funds. FEMA will require Oklahoma to “Provide a summary of the probability of future hazard events that includes projected changes in occurrence for each natural hazard in terms of location, extent, intensity, frequency, and/or duration. Probability must include … the effects of climate change on the identified hazards.” Anything one can say about climate change and future hazards, such as tornados, has to be based upon some kind of forecast model, and there are a lot out there. For example, in its most recent compendium on climate change the United Nations uses 107 different versions, all of which predict slightly different futures and none of which have been correct about the climate of the past two decades.

Bloomberg:  Coal Producers: Obama Royalty Reform May Shut Us Down

The Obama administration has proposed to change how it collects royalties on coal mined from federal land, a move that environmentalists hope, and the industry worries, will cut use of the fuel linked to climate change. “It’s time for an honest and open conversation about modernizing the federal coal program,” Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said in a speech last week to the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “How do we manage the program in a way that is consistent with our climate-change objectives?” “It’s a sneaky, underhanded backdoor approach to do something through regulation that they don’t have the authority to do,” said Richard Reavey, vice president for Cloud Peak Energy, a Gillette, Wyoming-based company with three mines on public lands in the Powder River Basin. “What they are saying is: ‘We want the coal to stay in the ground and here are all the ways we’re going to do it.’ ”

Los Angeles Times:  California’s push for clean energy has a problem: no place to store it

On a quiet Sunday morning last April, power plants were pumping far more energy into California’s electricity grid than residents needed for their refrigerators, microwaves and television sets. So officials made an odd request in a state that prides itself on leadership in renewable energy: They asked wind and solar plants to cut back their output. For 90 minutes, clean energy production was slashed 1,142 megawatts, enough electricity for hundreds of thousands of homes, while dirtier power from less flexible sources stayed on to keep the system stable. It was the largest curtailment of green energy last year, according to grid operators, and it highlights a hurdle for Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to increase the state’s reliance on renewable energy. Peak demand for electricity rarely coincides with the brightest sunshine or the strongest winds, so finding a way to store clean power and deliver it when needed will be critical as California relies more on renewable energy. The state requires three of California’s largest utilities to invest in hundreds of megawatts of storage over the next several years. But grid operators say that won’t be enough if the Legislature approves Brown’s proposal that half of the state’s power come from renewable sources by 2030, up from the current target of one-third in 2020.

GWPF:  Most Nations To Miss Deadline For UN Climate Pledges

Less than a week before the United Nations deadline for countries to file greenhouse-gas pledges necessary to keep a global climate change deal on track, it looks like most of the world is missing in action. Ahead of the March 31 target, only the European Union and Switzerland have unveiled plans, representing about 10 per cent of global emissions. The United States has promised to hit the deadline. The rest of the world’s major economies, including China, India, Australia and Japan, are unlikely to complete submissions in time, according to environmental groups tracking U.N. climate talks. The proposals come in what the UN calls intended nationally determined contributions, or INDCs. They’re supposed to contain voluntary measures for each nation to pare back fossil-fuel use, accelerate renewable energy and adapt to rising seas and other measures. “It seems difficult to understand why a major economy would not be ready,” Franz Perrez, the Swiss climate envoy, said by email. “This would clearly undermine the trust in partners.”

Yale:  Wood Pellets: Green Energy or New Source of CO2 Emissions?

Demand for this purportedly green form of energy is so robust that wood pellet exports from the United States nearly doubled from 2012 to 2013 and are expected to nearly double again to 5.7 million tons in 2015. This soaring production is driven by growing demand in the U.K. and Europe, which are using wood pellets to replace coal for electricity generation and heating. The European Union’s 2020 climate and energy program classifies wood pellets as a carbon-neutral form of renewable energy, and European companies have invested billions to convert coal plants to plants that can burn wood pellets. But as wood pellet manufacturing booms in the southeastern U.S., scientists and environmental groups are raising significant questions about just how green burning wood pellets really is. The wood pellet industry says that it overwhelmingly uses tree branches and other waste wood to manufacture pellets, making them a carbon-neutral form of energy. Critics contend that …. pellet manufacturers frequently harvest whole trees — including hardwoods from bottomland areas — that can take a long time to regrow, thus making the burning of wood pellets an overall source of CO2 emissions.

New Scientist:  Keeping warming to 2 °C is not enough to save species

Is the world’s target of limiting global warming to 2 °C too high, or too low? Does it even make scientific sense? The consensus around the target, which was agreed at climate talks in Copenhagen in 2009, seems to be coming unstuck. Now the target has been denounced as “utterly inadequate”, by Petra Tschakert of Penn State University in University Park, who has been involved in a UN review of the target. She wants a 1.5 °C target instead. Writing in the journal Climate Change Responses, she says this lower limit is necessary if we want sea levels to rise less than a metre, to protect half of all coral reefs, and to still have some ice during Arctic summers. Tschakert is not alone. There was a groundswell of support for a revised 1.5 °C target at an expert meeting during the climate conference in Lima, Peru, last December, as part of the UN’s target review.

PhysOrg:  Climate change does not cause extreme winters, new study shows

It has been argued that the amplified warming of the Arctic relative to lower latitudes in recent decades has weakened the polar jet stream, a strong wind current several kilometres high in the atmosphere driven by temperature differences between the warm tropics and cold polar regions. One hypothesis is that a weaker jet stream may become more wavy, leading to greater fluctuations in temperature in mid-latitudes. Through a wavier jet stream, it has been suggested, amplified Arctic warming may have contributed to the cold snaps that hit the eastern United States. Scientists at ETH Zurich and at the California Institute of Technology, led by Tapio Schneider, professor of climate dynamics at ETH Zurich, have come to a different conclusion. They used climate simulations and theoretical arguments to show that in most places, the range of temperature fluctuations will decrease as the climate warms. So not only will cold snaps become rarer simply because the climate is warming. Additionally, their frequency will be reduced because fluctuations about the warming mean temperature also become smaller.

Breitbart:  Climate change will turn women into prostitutes

On Wednesday, California Democrat Barbara Lee proposed a resolution in the House of Representatives that claims women will eventually be forced into prostitution in order to obtain life-sustaining food and water for their families. Lee introduced House Concurrent Resolution 29, warning that women will be forced into “transactional sex” to get enough food and clean water — all because global warming will create “conflict and instability” in the world. “Women will disproportionately face harmful impacts from climate change,” Lee’s resolution reads.

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46 Responses to Blowout Week 65

  1. Thanks for interesting stories. Here are few others:

    Antarctic Ice Shelves Melting at Accelerating Rate

    Overall, average ice-shelf volume change accelerated from negligible loss at 25 ± 64 km3 per year for 1994-2003 to rapid loss of 310 ± 74 km3 per year for 2003-2012. West Antarctic losses increased by 70% in the last decade, and earlier volume gain by East Antarctic ice shelves ceased. In the Amundsen and Bellingshausen regions, some ice shelves have lost up to 18% of their thickness in less than two decades.

    This is one of many reasons that even the most extreme of the IPCC estimates of ice loss (generally) and its contribution to sea level rise have to be seen as a lower limit. This is a substantial change, and it is very recent. It isn’t just that the ice sheets have gotten thinner, but also, that the rate of melting at these margins is increasing.

    • JerryC says:

      I just looked at the Weather Underground page for Antarctica and there is not one single station above freezing. Temeratures range from 32F to -85F. If something is melting Antarctic glaciers, it’s not atmospheric CO2.

      • William says:

        Unlike concrete or granite, ice flows. Antarctic glaciers drain the continent. As glaciers melt into the ocean the ice behind them moves to take their place. Ice sheets hinder this movement and hold back the ice. Warm the ocean, melt more ice, break up ice sheets and glaciers move more quickly, draining the continent and/or shrinking themselves.

        This is well known and has nothing to do with surface air temperatures.

      • Jerry,

        despite the possibility, that Antarctica actually broke all time high record few days ago (63.5F, which is not really that important), antarctic glaciers are mostly melting from below, by ocean waters, where about 93% of excess energy is stored.

        A second study, published in the journal Science, helps explain the accelerating ice melt: Warm ocean water is melting the floating ice shelves that hold back the glaciers.

        • JerryC says:

          So the glaciers aren’t melting. They’re advancing into the sea.

          • Net ice sheet balance of Antarctica is negative. That means, glaciers are melting. They are advancing into the sea as a result of warmer oceans, where they eventually melt.

          • Euan Mearns says:

            Net ice sheet balance of Antarctica is negative.

            Evidence and data sources please. Preferably differentiating between continent and peninsula since these are in tow entirely different regimes.

          • William says:

            As they always have done. But if the sea warms they advance quicker. If nothing compensates for this accelerated movement (eg increased snowfall in the interior), Antarctica loses mass – as has been measured.

          • JerryC says:

            A glacier advancing into the sea is going to calve icebergs, whether the sea temperature is what it is now or whether the sea temperature is what the climate scientists think it ought to be.

          • Euan,

            what kind of evidence would you like? Not sure I understand your question. In the first comment in this discussion there is a published research showing net contribution of melting ice from Antarctica is positive (and speeding-up), thus ice balance must be negative.

            Here is another study claiming basically the same.

            Rapid sea-level rise along the Antarctic margins in response to increased glacial discharge

            We estimate that an excess freshwater input of 430 ± 230 Gt yr−1 is required to explain the observed sea-level rise. We conclude that accelerating discharge from the Antarctic Ice Sheet has had a pronounced and widespread impact on the adjacent subpolar seas over the past two decades.


          • Jerry,

            advancing glacier is one thing, the net ice loss is something different. Glaciers were always advancing, however, the net balance is important.

            BTW, why do you think climatologists say we should reduce carbon emissions. For their fun? I can assure you, its not funny at all. It is becoming quite sad.


          • A C Osborne,

            good to point out the work of Jay Zwally. Even though your link is an conference contribution, not a peer-reviewed scientific paper. Nevertheless, here is citation from a paper of Zwally from 2011:

            Our preferred estimate for 1992–2001 is -47 Gt/year for West Antarctica, +16 Gt/year for East Antarctica, and -31 Gt/year overall (+0.1 mm/year
            SLE), not including part of the Antarctic Peninsula (1.07% of the AIS area). Although recent reports of large and increasing rates of mass loss with time from GRACE-based studies cite agreement with IOM results, our evaluation does not support that conclusion.



          • A C Osborn says:

            “Although recent reports of large and increasing rates of mass loss with time from GRACE-based studies cite agreement with IOM results, our evaluation does not support that conclusion.”
            our evaluation does NOT support that conclusion.

            You stated “BTW, why do you think climatologists say we should reduce carbon emissions.”

            Can you explain why you “think” they say it?
            What you think they are actually doing about it?
            And what you think they should be doing about it?

            The reason that I ask is that they do exactly the opposite of what they say the rest of should be doing, ie reducing our CO2 footprint.
            As do the Governments, Superstars, Sportspersons etc supposedly supporting them.

          • JerryC says:

            Even if it were true that Antarctica is losing ice mass, I’m hard pressed to understand why that should bother me. Is there some reason to believe that Antarctic ice mass would always increase and never decrease, in the absence of human activity?

            Surely peak environmentalism must be close at hand if we are to the point that people are alarmed that there is so little ice left in Antarctica.

          • William says:

            I’m hard pressed to understand why that should bother me.

            That is central. There are two issues: what effect do our activities have on the climate? How should we respond? The problems and arguments arise because some people turn that round to put “we must not change our economic model” first, and yet others put “we must change our economic model” first, both without giving precedence to “what effect do our activities have on the climate?”.

            If we just talk about what is or is not happening in Antarctica without conflating that with consequences and responsibility, we are more likely to learn the truth.

          • A C Osborne. To your question, what should or should not someone do in the face of climate change (or also peak oil, BTW):

            Can you explain why you “think” they say it?
            What you think they are actually doing about it?
            And what you think they should be doing about it?

            i) They say it, because they see climate change as an serious socio-economic problem taht needs to be solved.

            ii) Most of them nothing, scientists are not activists. Me personaly, do not agree with such approach. I think they should set a personal expample. Some of them do, but mostly not.

            iii) Who am I to say to other people what they should do? I can only affect what I do. I avoid transportation based on carbon – except when necessary, for instance travelling to scientific conference.

            I use bike to go to work.

            Don’t have mortgage – thus I do not own house.

            Living costs are at minimum – several times lower than is average for the place where I live. That means, I save some money. This money could be used e.g. for higher RE prices, if necessary.

            Don’t have children – and it probably will stay it that way, as I see the world.

  2. Drought in São Paulo: Brazil’s Megacity on Verge of Crisis as Water Rationing, Shutoffs Continue

    So why is this drought happening? Scientists are citing deforestation of the Amazon, Brazil’s very own “chainsaw massacre”, as the causal factor of the drought. As climatologist Antonio Nobre explains:

    “That’s what we have learned – that the forests have an innate ability to import moisture and to cool down and to favour rain… If deforestation in the Amazon continues, São Paulo will probably dry up. If we don’t act now, we’re lost.”

    Chile desert rains sign of climate change, chief weather scientist says

    While the worst seems to be over, Chile can expect to see more of this kind of event in the future, Lengoasa said.

    “This is an example of an extreme (event) – it’s an unprecedented event in a place where you would not normally expect it to happen,” he said.

    Forest Fire Destroys Argentine Wildlife

    Forest fires have been burning in southern Argentina for over a month due to severe drought. The BBC reported over 50,000 acres in Argentina have been destroyed so far. Los Alerces is home to trees over 1,000 years old.

    March heat shatters records in bone-dry Los Angeles

    This is the first March since record-keeping began in 1877 that has had six days with highs in the 90s or above in Los Angeles. That shattered the record set in 1977, when there were three days of highs in the 90s.

    Australia’s subcritical coal-fired power stations proving risky for investors.

    Ben Caldecott, who co-authored the report with Gerard Dericks and James Mitchell, said Australia has “by far the most carbon intensive power stations globally, the least efficient of all the major economies.”

    • Drought in São Paulo: Brazil’s Megacity on Verge of Crisis as Water Rationing, Shutoffs Continue

      Whenever I see the word “drought” these days I go straight to the GHCN v3.2 rainfall records for the location in question to see whether there really is one, and more often than not I find that there isn’t.

      And Sao Paulo is no different. The first graph in the pic below shows annual rainfall there since 1887. We see that 2014 was a dry year, but 1896, 1913, 1914, 1919 and 1963 were drier, and several of the wettest years on record have occurred since the turn of the century (2009 the wettest, 2010 the sixth wettest and 2009 the ninth wettest). Sao Paulo’s problem is obviously with its water system, not the climate.

      So why is this drought happening? Scientists are citing deforestation of the Amazon, Brazil’s very own “chainsaw massacre”, as the causal factor of the drought. As climatologist Antonio Nobre explains ………

      I checked into this too. My second figure plots Sao Paulo rainfall and Amazon rain forest extent (data from Mongabay, link at bottom) and the third plots these two variables against each other on an XY plot. There’s a weak negative correlation (R= minus 0.37), showing that Sao Paulo rainfall has a tendency to increase, not decrease, as more trees are cut down in the Amazon.

      ……… “That’s what we have learned – that the forests have an innate ability to import moisture and to cool down and to favour rain… If deforestation in the Amazon continues, São Paulo will probably dry up. If we don’t act now, we’re lost.”

      If we want to avoid being “lost” the first thing we should do is rid ourselves of the “climatologists” who publish hogwash like this.

      • Roger,

        “If we want to avoid being “lost” the first thing we should do is rid ourselves of the “climatologists” who publish hogwash like this.”

        Surely, killing the messenger is good strategy for some. How does it actually solves the problem, is beyond me…

        As I have written previously, drought is not the same as precipitation, but who cares.


        • Alex: You are a true believer. No amount of hard contradictory data will ever cause you to change your mind.

          But maybe you have some that invalidate mine?

          Not holding my breath. 😉

          • Roger,

            I am a believer in scientific data and you too. However you seem to have a bit different interpretation of data. I did not expect anyone to deny now historic drought in Sao Paulo. Even The Economist is not denying obvious:

            Drought in São Paulo

            I am happy you don’t deny deforestation (I am sure world is full of deforestation deniers out there, anyway), you just deny that trees evapotranspirate significant amount of water. I should not blame you though, worse is my inability to explain things.


          • Alex:

            A few more rainfall vs. deforestation plots that I dug out of my files for you to explain away:

            And please don’t use the D word. It’s not appreciated on this blog.

          • Euan Mearns says:

            If you used scientific jargon like “refute”, “challenge” or “question” then we may treat you as a scientist Alex. But you choose instead to use emotive and inflammatory jargon instead. I’m sick and tired of it. I’ll put this down to possibly a language issue.

            If you and all your Green chums are unable / incapable of conducting a civil and professional debate then you will simply end up on moderation.

          • Everything normal in Brazil, yeah:

            Brazil to import electricity from Argentina, Uruguay – Water crisis also an energy crisis

            Brazil will import electricity from Argentina and Uruguay this year, the government said in its official gazette on Thursday, the latest step to fend off energy rationing as reservoirs of local hydroelectric plants remain at very low levels.

          • Euan,

            no problem, one of my last activities on this blog, since it leads exactly nowhere and my time is also limited. I am quite tired of explaining things over and over again, too. I am not green, I don’t care about greens. The only thing I am interested in is sustainability.


          • roberto says:

            “Brazil will import electricity from Argentina and Uruguay this year, the government said in its official gazette on Thursday, the latest step to fend off energy rationing as reservoirs of local hydroelectric plants remain at very low levels.”

            Totally normql, my friend!… Spain is having the same problem with another fantastic renewable source, wind,… -15% year on year so far… that’s what people like those frequenting this blog have been saying for a while… it’s totally foolish to think that the world can be run on intermittent sources or on sources like hydro which are subject to TOTALLY NATURAL fluctuations.
            Same thing for California, which is going through an “unprecendeted drought”… but it turns out that for every single almond they grow over there there is a neesd for 3 liters of water, and the whole almond industry uses up to 3.5 times what the entire city of LA consumes in water for household uses…. what is Brazil population doing lately?… growing or stayinc constant?

            C’mon, open you eyes!


        • Roger,

          graphs are fine, but not very explanatory in this context, I am afraid. Brazil is huge country and making averages is not helping much, but I appreciate your effort. If you average precipitation for such a huge country as Brazil, signal is lost, almost surely. That Phillipines plot is crazy.

          Now, to be sure, I am not an expert on Brazil, never been there, never will be, but I tend to “believe” experts. Just to show that situation is much more complicated than your plot(s) show, check this graph here:

          Quirky Winds Fuel Brazil’s Devastating Drought, Amazon’s Flooding


          • Alex:

            Here we have a “climatologist” claiming that deforestation causes decreased rainfall and that Sao Paulo will “probably dry up” if Brazil doesn’t stop cutting trees down. I have presented data that invalidates this claim. If you can’t present data that contradicts my data and shows that the claim is valid after all then you will have to admit defeat. That’s the way science works.

          • Roger, you did not show deforestation is NOT contributing to drought, did you? You just provided plots of average precipitation for selected tropical countries and forested area.

            Now, you write “climatologist”, as if Antonio Nobre is not. Well, he publishes peer-reviewed papers an has almost 4 000 citations. A lot of paper regarding the tropital forests. Wrote an extensive excellent report on The Future of Amazon Forest

            The damage inflicted on the Amazon climate by deforestation, fire, smoke and soot is already glaringly apparent in both scientific field measurements and in leading climate-modelling scenarios.

            Etc …

            so no, sorry, few simplified plots cannot convince me, while dismissing someone who has done life long work on the same topic.


          • Euan Mearns says:

            the authors found that when forests were entirely replaced by degraded pasture in the model, there was a significant increase in the average surface temperature (approximately 2.5°C)

            Very useful link! How is this increase in surface temperature distinguished from the CO2 forced part of the increase?

        • Javier says:

          The problem, Alex, is that you mix things up.

          You talk about draughts as if they were caused by global climate change. Draughts are a local recurring phenomena that statistically take place in an unpredictable distribution.

          If you try to say that draughts are caused by climate change, you make a fool of yourself, because you will not be able to prove it and because you go against well stablished theory. A warmer world is a world with more evaporation and therefore a wetter world with more abundant precipitations on average. Of course local conditions can cause the opposite in some places.

          And then you continue to talk about a lot of problems like they are all caused by climate change. You see a theory that explains everything it really doesn’t explain anything.

          Then you feed on news and digests and come to talk here as if campaigning. There are a lot of people here with scientific degrees that read scientific articles on a regular basis. We already know those arguments that you bring, and you don’t bring them at a level sufficiently high to make it worthy even answering to you. It doesn’t help that you write so many posts.

          I hope you understand most of us are not the right audience. We understand you have good intention and want to save the planet. We believe your efforts would be better directed to take action against the real problems of the world, pollution, diversity loss, deforestation, excess human population, etc, rather than missionary work on anthropogenic climate change.

          • Javier,

            If you try to say that draughts are caused by climate change – I never said that. What I say is climate change is making droughts (and floods) worse. Different thing.

            A warmer world is a world with more evaporation.. – Yes, and if you evaporate more, you have more drought. Simple as that.

            talk about a lot of problems like they are all caused by climate change. Climate change is not causing problems per se. It is enhancing them, making them harder to solve.

            There are a lot of people here with scientific degrees that read scientific articles on a regular basis. Maybe, but no proof of that. Being expert in one area does not make you expert in another.

            don’t bring them at a level sufficiently high to make it worthy even answering to you. You answered, but still do not understand what I said/wrote/linked

            I hope you understand most of us are not the right audience. True, I do understand.

            We believe your efforts would be better directed to take action against the real problems….

            I am ecologist by training, I know about all these problems, don’t be afraid. However, you are not going to solve any of those without solving climate problems, since these effects enhance each other and are interconnected.

            I hope you understand what I just wrote.



          • Javier says:

            Yes, and if you evaporate more, you have more drought. Simple as that

            Hard to believed that you are a trained ecologist and you have not heard of the cycle of water and what its engine is.
            What you say is so wrong that even 12 years old schoolers know better.

          • You do not understand one single word that I wrote. I cannot help you, sorry.

    • Tom Moran says:

      Are you confusing natural climate variability and land use changes with the potential minimal warming that may come from the increase in atmospheric CO2? It seems that to you, every drought, wildfire, flood and iceberg calving is caused by global warming? Are you aware that people/scientists that hold these views are called “alarmists”. They are called that because the data doesn’t support the narrative. I live in the Northeast USA and the so called “best minds” in science said the extreme cold/snowy Winter we had was caused by global warming. Weeks later the “best minds” said AMOC is slowing down due to cool melt water from Greenland? Within days, climate scientists in peer reviewed journals had debunked both hypotheses. It should be noted that these scientists believe that the Earth is warming but they are not swayed by bad science. Can you find these two articles and tell me what you think?

      • Tom,

        is caused by global warming? Caused and enhanced are different things.

        Within days, climate scientists in peer reviewed journals had debunked both hypotheses. Not sure what are you talking about. I doubt one can write “peer-reviewed” paper in days, and usually peer-review process takes months, not days.

        Yes, scientist believe because this “believe” is based on data. Of course, maybe you know some better method as to why or why not to believe.

        Which two articles?


    • roberto says:


      ““This is an example of an extreme (event) – it’s an unprecedented event in a place where you would not normally expect it to happen,” he said.”

      Anthropogenic global warming, if it ever existed, would make “extremes”, of all sorts LESS evident and/or prepnderant, as this PEER- REVIEWED study shows:

      Watch out irrational phobias!… they are WAAAY more dangerous that AGW.



  3. We’re treating soil like dirt. It’s a fatal mistake, as our lives depend on it

    The techniques that were supposed to feed the world threaten us with starvation. A paper just published in the journal Anthropocene analyses the undisturbed sediments in an 11th-century French lake. It reveals that the intensification of farming over the past century has increased the rate of soil erosion sixtyfold.

    Another paper, by researchers in the UK, shows that soil in allotments – the small patches in towns and cities that people cultivate by hand – contains a third more organic carbon than agricultural soil and 25% more nitrogen. This is one of the reasons why allotment holders produce between four and 11 times more food per hectare than do farmers.

  4. Arctic braced for oil rush as Shell eyes return to Alaska

    Despite the recent 50pc fall in the price of crude to around $50 per barrel, oil companies appear willing to shoulder the significant environmental and financial risks of working in the frozen seas of the Arctic.

  5. The Saudi-Iran powerplay behind the Yemen conflict

    The problem is, however, that fear of Iran is clouding Saudi Arabia’s judgment. Iran is not the root cause of the conflict in Yemen, and bombing the country is not “standing up to Iran”; it is plunging the country further into violence and chaos. Unless bombing is used circumspectly as a tool to bring Houthis to the negotiating table, it is unlikely to have any positive impact on the situation in Yemen.

    If Saudi Arabia genuinely wants to undercut Iran’s influence in the Middle East, it must acknowledge and address the pain and suffering of marginalised groups across the Middle East. Giving them their rights and bringing them to the negotiating table is the best way to insulate them from Iranian influence.

  6. Euan Mearns says:

    I will have a post this week, probably Tuesday, on Antarctic temperatures that will show for The Continent (ex Peninsula) absolutely zero warming since 1969. How do you warm the oceans without warming the air above it. Most stations are coastal. And for any of the claims being made here to have any credence, they need to be backed up with relevant time-temperature series for the oceans.

    • How do you warm the oceans without warming the air above it.

      What about ocean currents? I have linked to ocean heat content data before.


      • Euan Mearns says:

        If you import heat via the oceans on this scale then it should heat the overlying air mass. I believe there is clear evidence for this on Antarctic peninsula where the fragmenting Larsen B ice shel resides. I’d also mention that there are no bases or stations all the way around that western coast – not sure why, so it is not represented in air temperature data.

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