Risk to Alaskan polar bear cubs from oil exploration in coastal Wildlife Refuge is small

From Dr. Susan Crockford’s Polar Bear Science

Posted on August 18, 2020 |

A bill recently introduced to US Congress (30 July 2020) is supposedly meant to “safeguard the Beaufort Sea polar bear’s denning habitat”.  However, the bill is named the “Polar Bear Cub Survival Act”, which tells us this is an appeal to emotions rather than a call for rational decision-making. In fact, few Southern Beaufort Sea polar bear cubs are born on land in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge and the risks to them from oil exploration is not overwhelming.

Amstrup_only solution_with 3 cubs_Oct 8 2014
Amstrup_only solution_with 3 cubs_Oct 8 2014

Despite a modest decline in summer sea ice since 1979, only about half of Southern Beaufort Sea polar bear females currently make their dens on the sea ice in late fall. Recent research confirms results from older studies that show denning females in Alaska are highly tolerant of the kind of disturbance associated with oil exploration and few dens are found more than about 1 km from the shore. This emotion-laden bill is not really about protecting polar bears: it’s a political move aimed at preventing oil exploration along the coast of Alaska after previous efforts failed. It comes ahead of an announcement today (18 August 2020) that the White House will begin to auction off leases for oil drilling in the ANWR.

Don’t let the ‘trust my word, I’m an expert’ hyperbolic testimony from activist scientists like Steven Amstrup and others hold sway on this issue – see for example “Alaska polar bear den disturbances part of ‘death by a thousand cuts,’ researcher says“ (biologist Wesley Larson on Alaska Public Radio, 14 July 2020), or activist conservation organizations Polar Bears International and World Wildlife Fund. Have a look at the facts on the matter taken from the published literature, which I summarize below (as many pdfs provided as possible).

Alaska National Wildlife Refuge

The ANWR is outlined in red and the small portion of the area proposed for oil exploration is 1002 in yellow. NPR-A (‘National Petroleum Reserve’) is the area around Prudhoe Bay that’s already under extraction (and therefore has actual data on polar bears and other species with respect to their responses to oil exploration and extraction). Most oil exploration is done in winter to avoid the muck that melted permafrost generates, raising concerns that oil-associated activities may put polar bear cubs at risk if they are born in dens along the coast that become hidden by accumulated snow.

Southern Beaufort Sea subpopulation

Amstrup et al 2005_Fig 1 map of CS_SB_NB boundaries

The Southern Beaufort polar bear subpopulation (SB) stretches across the North Slope of Alaska and western Canada (map above from Amstrup et al. 2005), although a change in the eastern boundary to just east of Tuktoyaktuk (~133oW) has been tentatively accepted (see Crockford 2020). There is much mixing of Southern Beaufort bears with Chukchi Sea bears in the west and Northern Beaufort bears in the east which has always made counting the SB population difficult.

The Southern Beaufort subpopulation is often touted as one of the most threatened group of polar bears in the world, based almost exclusively on a population survey published in 2015 that suggested the SB polar bear population declined by 25-50%, from 1,526 to 907 bears (Bromaghin et al. 2015). See my latest book for a full discussion of this issue (also Crockford 2017, 2020) but the most critical failure, in my opinion, was that the 2001-2010 study failed to take into account the devastating effects on polar bears from thick spring ice conditions during 2004-2006 (e.g. Stirling 2002; Stirling et al. 2008). Moreover, polar bear biologists continue to imply that the population decline was due to loss of summer ice.

The report on polar bears by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada published in June 2019 (COSEWIC 2018: 39-41) acknowledged problems with the 2010 estimate generated by Bromaghin and colleagues. They proposed an ‘equally valid’ estimate for SB of 1,215 bears at 2006. This estimate of 1,215 bears is currently the one used by the joint Inuvialuit/government body charged with managing SB and NB subpopulations in Canada. While the PBSG considers SB to be ‘likely decreased’ (Durner et al. 2018), many Inuit in the Canadian portion of the region feel that polar bear numbers have been stable or increased within living memory (Crockford 2020).

Despite known problems with the 2001-2010 SB survey and the fact that it is now 10 years out of date, polar bear researchers like Steven Amstrup (e.g. Amstrup 2019) still suggest that the SB population has continued to decline. On the contrary, US biologists conducted a polar bear survey for the Chukchi Sea and the Alaska portion of the Southern Beaufort in 2016 and estimated that 4,437 (range 2,283-9,527) bears lived in the region, of which about 3,000 were in CS and 1,437 in the Alaskan portion of the SB: that’s about 3X the size of the Southern Beaufort polar bear population in Alaska (about 450) estimated by Bromighan and colleagues in 2010 (AC SWG 2018; Regehr et al. 2018). A new population survey for the entire SB is supposedly ongoing but no results have been forthcoming (Crockford 2020).

Southern Beaufort Sea summer ice cover has declined only 1.75 days per year in the 37 years between 1979 and 2015 – just over 2 months, compared to the 5 1/2 months lost in the Barents Sea (Regehr et al. 2016), where polar bears are currently thriving. Meanwhile, abundant photographs of fat polar bears, including females and fat yearlings like the one below,  from a government survey during the summer of 2019 belie the claim that the Southern Beaufort polar bear subpopulation is the “most threatened of all” or that it is “on the verge of collapse.

Mother and two-year-old cubs resting onshore SB_NOAA summer 2019

Terrestrial denning in SB

Polar bear biologists are quite aware that most of the Southern Beaufort population does not come near land at all and only about half of all pregnant females make their maternity dens on or near shore (Pagano et al. 2019; Olson et al. 2017).Polar Bear (Sow), Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, AlaskaPolar Bear (Sow), Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska

Polar Bear (Sow), Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska

The issue being debated is not about bears who come onshore during the summer but about the females that spend winter on shore in maternity dens. Compare this finding regarding bears on land in summer, from 2019:

“…approximately 15–27% of the subpopulation comes on land in the summer (hereafter “land bears”) while the remainder follows the retreating sea ice over the deep waters of the Arctic Basin (hereafter “ice bears”) (Atwood et al. 2016, Pongracz and Derocher 2017, Wilson et al. 2017).” [Pagano et al. 2020, introduction, my bold]

To this, from 2007:

Our tracking data indicated that pregnant polar bears made little use of whale remains and that use was not associated with coastal denning. [Fischbach et al. 2007:1401, my bold]

In other words, abundant whale remains in recent years have not been luring more females ashore than usual and causing them to stay and make dens nearby when they otherwise might not: a few pregnant bears come ashore later in the fall to settle into a den location with the intension of staying for the winter.

Den Surveys

A recent ‘terrestrial’ den survey (Smith et al. 2020 Fig. 1, copied below) in the National Petroleum Reserve along the North Slope around Prudhoe Bay found only 33 dens in the twelve years between 2004 and 2015 (less than 3 per year), of which more than half were on nearshore sea ice or on an offshore barrier island (these locations are all considered ‘terrestrial’ dens)(Amstrup and Gardner 1994:3). Some den locations appear to have been used in more than one year. This study region, shown in the map below, is larger than the proposed 1002 oil exploration area of the ANWR and therefore likely to contain even fewer polar bear dens on land in any one year. And while it is likely that there are more dens than biologists can locate, the total number in any one year is still fairly small relative to the number found along the entire coast and in the offshore pack ice.

Smith et al. 2020 fig 1 polar bear dens S Beaufort

Two studies have compared pack ice vs. terrestrial denning rates in the Southern Beaufort. In 1998-2005, 120 polar bear dens were found during the eight years across the entire Southern Beaufort subpopulation region from the Chukchi Sea to western Canada (about 15 per year for the entire region). Of these, 63% of dens were found in ‘terrestrial’ locations (on land or nearshore ice) and 37% were well out on the pack ice, while during an earlier period (1985-1994), the proportions were virtually opposite (38% on land vs. 62% on pack ice)(Fischbach et al. 2007:1399). However, a more recent study found that from 2007-2013, only 55% of bears made terrestrial dens (Olson et al. 2017): much less than the 63% found during the previous period (1998-2005) by the Fischbach study.

Risks from oil exploration

This is what I wrote in the 2019 State of the Polar Bear Report (Crockford 2020) about the concerns over oil interests in the National Wildlife Refuge Alaska (ANWR) along the North Slope of Alaska:

…biologists have found that while females are generally loyal to either land or sea for denning, as well as to a particular stretch of coast, they were not loyal to a specific place. Such flexibility is probably necessary because annual variations in weather, sea ice conditions and prey availability have always impacted bears’ choice of where to den.282 In other words, there is strong evidence to suggest that if drilling or other activities were to disturb a pregnant female at a particular den location one year, she simply would not try to den in that spot again. Moreover, it is unlikely she would den in the same spot even if she was not disturbed. In addition, the small proportion of the polar bear population that spends some part of the summer on land are concentrated at the whale bone piles at Kaktovik and a few lesser known beach sites, which should be easy for drilling and exploration crews to avoid.283

It is worth mentioning that earlier oil exploration and extraction activities – from the 1990s in the Eastern Beaufort (around Tuktoyaktuk in Canada) and from the 1970s in the Canadian High Arctic – were expected to cause a marked increase in the number of defense kills and unacceptable disruptions to denning.284 But impacts on polar bears have been so minimal that we’ve heard virtually nothing about them.285Similarly, there has been the potential for oil-related activities to cause disruption to denning outside the ANWR, a little further west along the Alaskan coast at Prudhoe Bay in the National Petroleum Reserve (the largest oil field in the USA). But since exploration and extraction began at this site in the 1960s,286 there have been virtually no problems with polar bears (either from disruption of feeding and denning activities or due to excessive defense of life or property kills).287 More specifically, biologist Steven Amstrup looked at 20 polar bear dens located within the ANWR between 1981 and 1992 and found that, contrary to expectations, virtually all females were exceptionally tolerant of the kind of human activities associated with oil exploration and drilling (including aircraft, snow machines, seismic surveys, and oil field operations).288

Overall, documents show the oil industry in Alaska and western Canada has a very good track record of dealing responsibly with polar bears through a combination of education and precautionary practices. 289

I would add to this that new research (Larson et al. 2020) has determined denning females were highly tolerant to distrubance: only 11 females (out of 138, from more than 40 years worth of data, 1975-2017) left their dens because of disturbance (which was almost always because of aircraft flying overhead): see Polar Bear Moms Stick to Their Dens Even Faced With Life-Threatening Dangers Like Oil Exploration“]. The worry being advanced is that this reluctance to abandon a den would result in a few females being threatened by an oncoming heavy vehicle that might run over the den and annihilate her cubs. A review of a proposed Winter Seismic Survey on the Coastal Plain by SAExplorations, written by Steven Amstrup from the activist organiziation Polar Bears International, estimated a 25% chance that at least one polar bear will be crushed to death in one season of seismic surveys in ANWR (Amstrup 2018b).

However, Amstrup and Gardner (1994:8) stated in regards to the risks faced by pack-ice denning bears:

“Contrary to previous hypotheses (Stirling and Andriashek 1992), substantial polar bear denning occurs in the Beaufort Sea region of northern Alaska and adjacent Canada. Bears that den on pack ice are subject to risks not encountered by bears that den on land. Unstable, moving ice caused early abandonment of dens and, apparently, loss of cubs. However, the persistence of pack-ice denning indicated that those risks are not overwhelming. [my bold]

I suggest that the potential risks from oil exploration to those few polar bear cubs whose mothers make dens on land in the ANWR (less than a handful every year) are similarly ‘not overwhelming’. The small risk involved from oil exploration (especially given the track record of the industry in Alaska) does not threaten the survival of the entire Southern Beaufort population, which appears to have largely recovered from the population decline of 2004-2006. The proposed legislation to protect Southern Beaufort Sea polar bear cubs introduced by Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) on 30 July 2020 is an emotional ploy meant to hamstring US oil production: this bill is about the politics of oil, not polar bear conservation.

Footnotes from Crockford 2020 quote (#s 282-289):

282 Amstrup and Gardner 1994; Garner et al. 1990.
283 Atwood et al. 2016b; Heereman and Peacock 2013; Miller et al. 2015; Rogers et al. 2015; Schliebe et al. 2008.
284 Amstrup and Gardner 1994; Stirling et al. 1977b.
285 An employee was mauled by a bear at the Imperial Oil exploration site in January 1975 and the bear was later shot and killed (Montreal Gazette, 8 January 1975, pg. 2: ‘Man mauled by polar bear’); in August 2011, a bear was shot by a security guard at a BP oil field, see https://polarbearsinternational.org/news/article-polar-bears/polar-bear-death-at-oil-field-investigated/
286 https://www.epmag.com/prudhoe-bay-once-lifetime-discovery-779816
287 National Research Council 2003, pp 103–104; Fischbach et al. 2007.
288 Amstrup 1993.
289 Truett 1993.


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Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska, 2002–17. Open File Report 2018-1003. USGS. PDF here.

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August 19, 2020 at 04:25PM

Emergent constraints on TCR and ECS from historical warming in CMIP5 and CMIP6 models

By Nic Lewis

This is a brief comment on a new paper[i] by a mathematician in the Exeter Climate Systems group, Femke Nijsse, and two better known colleagues, Peter Cox and Mark Williamson. I note that Earth Systems Dynamics published the paper despite one of the two peer reviewers recommending against acceptance without further major revisions. But neither of the reviewers appear to have raised the issue that I focus on here.

“Emergent constraints” methods relate observable climate trends, variations or other variables to climate system properties of interest, such as equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS), in an ensemble of models. They then use the observed values of the variable(s) involved to estimate ECS or the other properties of interest. I’m not a great fan of emergent constraints studies, the results of which are often sensitive to the model ensemble used. Here the emergent constraint is the relationship, assumed linear, between transient climate response (TCR) and global warming from 1975 onwards.

The authors thereby derive, from a combined CMIP5 and CMIP6 54 model ensemble  a TCR estimate of 1.68 K (16-84% ‘likely’ range 1.29–2.05 K) using warming up to 2019.  Unfortunately, the study does not provide a results table for their TCR estimates and the 5-95% TCR range is not stated.

The paper states that using instead warming up to 2014, thereby enabling use of a larger set of CMIP6 models, reduces the TCR estimate to 1.54 K (5-95% range 0.76–2.30 K), but don’t mention that in their abstract or conclusions.

The authors also derive an estimated likely range for ECS of 1.9–3.4 K (5–95% range 1.5–4.0 K) from CMIP6 models, median estimate 2.6 K, from warming to 2019. Based on warming up to 2014 in the larger ensemble of CMIP6 models, the median ECS estimate is 1.9 K (5–95% range 1.0–3.3 K). Again, the result from the larger ensemble is not mentioned in the abstract or conclusions.

I am very doubtful about estimating ECS by comparing observed and simulated historical warming. Without also using observational data on ocean heat update, to estimate changes in the Earth’s energy imbalance, it is impossible to distinguish satisfactorily between ECS and ocean heat uptake both being high and them both being low – either combination can produce the same historical warming. So I would not place any reliance on their ECS ranges, even if they don’t look unreasonable.

On the other hand, one would expect historical warming in climate models to have a close to linear relationship with their TCR, since pre-1975 ‘warming in the pipeline’ is fairly negligible and post 1975 forcing is reasonably close to the quasi-linear ramp forcing used to measure TCR, and similarly of multidecadal length. The existence of episodic volcanic forcing, to which models and the real climate system may respond differently, is a possible confounding factor, although use of the difference between 1975–1985 and the 2009–2019 means to measure warming excludes years affected by the 1991 Mount Pinatubo eruption. There is also the issue that the mean change in effective radiative forcing (ERF) in climate models between those two periods may not equal the ERF change in the real climate system. For CMIP5 models at least, I suspect that their mean ERF change falls somewhat short of the actual change.  That would induce an upwards bias in the emergent constraint TCR estimate.

Regardless of the above considerations, there is a fatal problem with the regression method used to relate TCR with warming. If a model has a TCR of zero, then it would be expected to show zero historical warming. The authors appear to recognise this, writing “As no warming would be expected if climate sensitivity were zero, we expect the regression to pass through the intercept”. They actually mean pass through the origin (have a zero y-intercept), as their equations (A3) and (A4) make clear. And their equation (3) theoretical relationship between TCR and warming, TCR = s ΔT, has no offset term. It is therefore physically inappropriate to use regression with a y-intercept term being estimated.

However, despite admitting that a zero y-intercept is physically appropriate, the study estimates a regression fit using a y-intercept as well as a slope coefficient parameter. Moreover, the resulting best-fit line does not pass at all close to the origin. Their estimate implies that climate models with a TCR of ~0.7 K would have simulated zero post-1975 warming. Their Figure 4(a), reproduced as Figure 1 below, shows this.

Figure 1. Reproduction of Figure 4(a) of Nijsse et al. (2020). Emergent constraint on TCR against historical warming ΔT . ΔT is calculated from the difference between 1975–1985 and 2009–2019 of a time series of GMSAT. Linear regression is performed with all CMIP5 and CMIP6 simulations. Shaded areas indicate a 90% prediction interval. The vertical dashed line is the mean value of the observations, and the y axis shows the probability distribution of both generations of ensembles.

A quite involved and not very clearly described hierarchical Bayesian model regression method is used, which makes it difficult to reproduce exactly the study’s results. Remarkably, the numerical value and uncertainty range of the observed warming estimate is nowhere stated. I therefore measured it off their Figure 4(a), as 0.606 K, and took the shading as showing a normally distribution 5–95% range, width 0.225 K. Based on a simple ordinary least squares (OLS) with-intercept regression of TCR on model-ensemble mean simulated historical warming, across the multimodel combined CMIP5 and CMIP6 ensemble, I estimate a median TCR estimate of 1.62 K, marginally lower than their 1.68 K.

If I repeat the exercise but without estimating a y-intercept, thereby forcing the regression fit to match a zero TCR with zero historical warming, the emergent constraint gives a TCR best estimate of 1.43 K. The regression fit is very good (R2 = 0.97). There is little regression dilution when no y-intercept  is estimated. Regressing warming on TCR rather than vice versa gives an emergent constraint TCR best estimate of 1.47 K. Regressing TCR on warming just across the CMIP5 ensemble gives a slightly lower TCR estimate of 1.37 K (R2 = 0.97). Doing so across the CMIP6 ensemble alone gives a TCR estimate of 1.50 K ((R2 = 0.98). The slope coefficient standard errors imply that there is only a 3.1% chance that the TCR–warming relationship is the same in the CMIP5 and CMIP6 ensembles.

It is unclear which regression method is more accurate. Using the geometrical mean of the estimates regressing each way, as is sometimes recommended, gives a TCR best estimate of 1.45 K from the combined CMIP5/CMIP6 ensemble. A crude estimate of uncertainty can be obtained by using, for each type of regression, the standard error in the slope estimate and the observational uncertainty to form a large number of randomly sampled TCR estimates, combining the two resulting sets of estimates and computing quantiles. Doing so gives a median TCR estimate of 1.45 K, with a 16–84% range of 1.29–1.62 K and a 5–95% range of 1.18–1.74 K. However, this does not account for all sources of uncertainty.

Interestingly, when fitting a relationship between ECS and post-1975 warming, and between ECS and TCR, the authors didn’t use a y-intercept term, resulting in those fits passing through the origin.

My key point is that an analysis method that results in a physically reasonable estimated relationship between the variables being studied should be used. An estimated relationship that implies zero warming with a positive TCR, and significant cooling with a zero TCR, is unphysical. Therefore, the results of the Nijsse et al. paper are unreliable and should be discounted.

Nicholas Lewis                                                           19 August 2020

[i] Njisse et al., 2020: Emergent constraints on transient climate response (TCR) and equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) from historical warming in CMIP5 and CMIP6 models, Earth Syst. Dynam., 11, 737–750, 2020 https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-11-737-2020

Originally posted here, where a pdf copy is also available

via Climate Etc.


August 19, 2020 at 03:19PM

Death toll mounts as FDA denies HCQ for outpatient therapy

An article at Palmer Foundation explains. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

On Aug. 10 the FDA denied the urgent request for emergency approval for COVID-19 outpatient preventive and early treatment use of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) filed July 1 by Dr. John McKinnon’s team at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, supported by Dr. Peter McCullough’s cardiology team at Baylor Heart and Vascular Institute in Dallas.

Approximately 48,000 more Americans have died during the FDA’s 48-day delay since this Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) was requested on July 1. Dr. McKinnon’s clinical trial found an impressive 51% reduction in deaths if HCQ was begun within 24 hours of admission to the hospital.

An outpatient primary care study by Dr. Vladimir Zelenko, using HCQ, azithromycin and zinc given within less than seven days of COVID-19 symptoms, showed approximately 80% decrease in deaths, and less than 1% of his patients needed to be hospitalized. These extraordinary results show how many lives can be saved with early HCQ treatment.

Dr. Harvey Risch, Yale epidemiologist, projected that widespread early treatment for COVID-19 with HCQ could have saved 100,000 American lives.

The physician head of the FDA, Dr. Steven Hahn, has again betrayed physicians and patients by preventing Americans from having the “right to try” HCQ for early COVID-19 treatment. Dr. Hahn knows full well the FDA approved HCQ as safe in 1955, and it has been used in millions of patients worldwide for 65 years with an impressive track record of safety in patients of all ages, all ethnic groups, and even pregnant women and nursing mothers.

The FDA’s denial of the EUA for early outpatient COVID-19 use of HCQ continues the agency’s false narrative in claiming outpatient harm for HCQ, based on inpatient data in critically ill patients. Dr. Hahn has ignored established facts of effectiveness and lack of harm for outpatients that have been established in more than 50 recent studies.

newly released study from Turkey found no cardiac abnormalities with HCQ given at therapeutic doses for five days in early COVID patients. Attributing any late-stage cardiac effects to HCQ that is known to be caused by the virus and inflammatory damage is indefensible.

What amount of “data” will ever satisfy Dr. Hahn?

The FDA used a standard of “may be effective” for the rapid May 1 EUA given to the experimental anti-viral remdesivir, based on one controlled clinical trial terminated early. Yet FDA is now requiring a higher standard of a randomized controlled clinical trial for the already FDA-approved HCQ in safe use for 65 years. Remdesivir showed very little benefit shown in hospitalized COVID patients and had serious side effects.

Nine of the members of the NIH panel relied on for COVID treatment advice were supported financially by Gilead Sciences, maker of remdesivir.

As a cancer specialist, Dr. Hahn knows early treatment of any disease is critical, especially viral illness. But it is more critical with COVID-19, or SARS CoV-2, as we learned in 2005 when National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published their studies from the 2002 outbreak of the closely related SARS-CoV-1 virus. These laboratory tests of possible anti-viral medicines clearly showed potent antiviral effects of chloroquine (CQ) against SARS-CoV-1 to block the SARS-CoV-1 infection at the earliest stage. Dr. Fauci was at NIH them, so he has known about this work for more than 15 years.

From these studies we know that HCQ with zinc works during the first five days to stop viral entry into our cells and to block the virus from multiplying.

Without HCQ and zinc, by day six or seven the viral load explodes and then triggers an exaggerated inflammatory response. This “cytokine storm” can severely damage critical organs: lungs, kidneys, heart, brain, liver and intestines and is often fatal.

Earlier this year, Dr. Peter McCullough’s team showed prophylactic benefits of HCQ given to hospital workers who were exposed to COVID daily in their work, just as found in India, South Korea, China and multiple other countries.

This preventive benefit of HCQ given once a week could protect front-line medical workers, law enforcement officers, paramedics, clergy, dentists/dental hygienists, truck drivers, food-processing workers, teachers, behavioral health professionals, factory and grocery store workers, flight attendants and many others. We could more safely reopen America’s businesses, schools and churches with doctors and patients having widespread, early access to HCQ.

Doctors treating COVID-19 patients NOW see lives being saved by cheap, safe, FDA-approved medicines – hydroxychloroquine with azithromycin or doxycycline, plus supplemental zinc, vitamin C and vitamin D.

Why don’t Americans have the freedom to use HCQ here as in other countries?

The FDA’s misleading statements about HCQ have led to dangerous, unprecedented restrictions on physicians’ off-label prescribing rights imposed by state governors, medical boards and pharmacy boards. The supply of HCQ has been ramped up to handle its use in early treatment of COVID. The Strategic National Stockpile has millions of doses deteriorating in government warehouses that are not being distributed because doctors are prevented for political reasons from prescribing for outpatients with COVID-19.

Americans are dying needlessly for political and financial agendas waiting for the “magic bullet” of a vaccine, not due to lack of available treatment for COVID-19. We still need therapeutics, such as HCQ, even if a vaccine works and is safe.

Testing is inaccurate and often unavailable, and HCQ dispensing must not be limited to persons with a positive test. Such limits also prevent prophylactic use. Governors and bureaucrats must not be allowed to arbitrarily restrict life-saving HCQ treatment.

The Fauci-Hahn strategies of suppressing the positive studies of HCQ effectiveness for outpatient use, while focusing on mandatory mask edicts and continued shutdowns of businesses, schools and churches are not controlling the pandemic. These political agendas have eroded our constitutional freedoms and devastated our financial, psychological, physical and spiritual well-being – while costing 1,000 American lives every day.

Dr. Hahn needs to be held accountable for the preventable deaths caused on his watch. As a physician licensed in three states that prevent prescribing HCQ for my patients, I submitted a formal request to the chairman of Senate Oversight Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (HSGAC) for Dr. Hahn to be called before the Committee to produce the data on which the FDA is claiming “harm” in using HCQ for outpatients in the mild stage of COVID, but no such harm for RA, Lupus, or malaria. FDA’s hypocrisy ignores their own safety data, basic science, clinical studies and common sense.

Americans must speak out and demand the medical freedom to consult their physicians and decide treatment options without government interference.

via Science Matters


August 19, 2020 at 02:25PM

Cold weather kills more people than hot weather because… global warming.

Guest “No schist Sherlock” by David Middleton

Cold-weather accounts for almost all temperature-related deaths
August 18, 2020

With the number of extreme weather days rising around the globe in recent years due to global warming, it is no surprise that there has been an upward trend in hospital visits and admissions for injuries caused by high heat over the last several years. But cold temperatures are responsible for almost all temperature-related deaths, according to a new study published in the journal  Environmental Research.

According to the new study by researchers at the University of Illinois Chicago, patients who died because of cold temperatures were responsible for 94% of temperature-related deaths, even though hypothermia was responsible for only 27% of temperature-related hospital visits.

“With the decrease in the number of cold weather days over the last several decades, we still see more deaths due to cold weather as opposed to hot weather,” said Lee Friedman, associate professor of environmental and occupational health sciences in the UIC School of Public Health and corresponding author on the paper. “This is in part due to the body’s poorer ability to thermoregulate once hypothermia sets in, as well as since there are fewer cold weather days overall, people don’t have time to acclimate to cold when those rarer cold days do occur.”


University of Illinois Chicago

Did he just blame global warming for the cold weather-related deaths?

“With the decrease in the number of cold weather days over the last several decades… people don’t have time to acclimate to cold when those rarer cold days do occur.”

Yes he did!

It was even in the conclusion of their paper:

While climate change is increasing the number of extreme heat days, it may also impact cold adaptation resulting in more serious adverse health outcomes when severe cold weather events do occur.

Science Direct

Did it ever occur to these academics that green energy polices might the primary reason that cold weather kills 16 times as many people as hot weather?

Willful efforts to make energy more expensive and less reliable (see California) increases energy poverty and kills more people than more people than cCoal and Cecil B. DeMille… Combined!

Cold weather-related deaths have been rampant in Illinois for years.

Illinois consistent nationwide for cold-related deaths
January 29, 2018

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois was consistently in the top five states nationwide for cold-related deaths per year from 1999 until 2016, according to a federal agency’s report.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Illinois also ranked 15th nationally on average during the same time period for cold deaths per 100,000 people.

Cold weather has taken the lives of hundreds of Illinois residents, the Chicago Tribune reported. The Illinois Department of Public Health says 593 people died from exposure to excessive natural cold or hypothermia between 2008 and 2016. The highest yearly total occurred when the polar vortex hit in January 2014 and claimed the lives of 110 people.



This may come as a shock to modern academics, but waaaaayyyy back in 2019, it was well-known that making home heating more expensive kills people.

Lower Heating Prices Prevent Winter Deaths, Particularly from Cardiovascular and Respiratory Causes

Death rates are known to be highest in winter months in areas with cold weather. In Inexpensive Heating Reduces Winter Mortality (NBER Working Paper No. 25681), researchers Janjala ChirakijjaSeema Jayachandran and Pinchuan Ong assess whether the cost of heating contributes to this “excess winter mortality.” High heating costs can present households with difficult tradeoffs: set their homes to uncomfortably low temperatures, or reduce their spending in other areas, such as food and medical care. Either type of response can potentially increase health risks.


The estimates imply that the lowered price of heating due to shale natural gas production and other factors in the late 2000s averted 11,000 winter deaths per year in areas that relied on this heating energy source.


The National Bureau of Economic Research

There you have it! Frac’ing saves lives!


Friedman, Lee S., Chibuzor Abasilim, Rosalinda Fitts, Michelle Wueste. Clinical outcomes of temperature related injuries treated in the hospital setting, 2011–2018Environmental Research, 2020; 189: 109882 DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2020.109882

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via Watts Up With That?


August 19, 2020 at 12:24PM

Big oil need not apply: UK raises the bar for UN climate summit – then all head for the airport?

What do these sanctimonious blowhards imagine all the journeys to the conference — without which it wouldn’t take place at all — will be powered by? The hypocrisy is epic.
– – –
The UK government will not accept sponsorship from fossil fuel companies for next year’s UN climate summit in Glasgow, Climate Home News understands, reports Climate Home News.

Like in previous years, the UK hosts of the two-week event are seeking corporate sponsors to shoulder some of the cost, initially estimated at £250 million ($330m).

Unlike in previous years, which have seen large polluters use such deals to bolster their green credentials, sponsors of Cop26 are expected to have a credible plan to cut their emissions to net zero by 2050, the official website states.

Climate Home News understands that oil and gas majors will not be considered.

Rachel Rose Jackson, director of climate research and policy at the Boston-based NGO Corporate Accountability, has long campaigned for polluters to be “kicked out” of climate talks.

She told CHN that, if confirmed, the decision to exclude oil and gas companies from sponsorship deals would be “a testament to the strength of the movement”.

“For years, the UN climate talks have failed to deliver for people on the global frontlines of the climate crisis, yet has rolled out the red carpet for the world’s largest polluters,” she said.

A decision not to allow oil and gas sponsorship “is long overdue,” she added. “It should be the bare minimum of any government hosting talks meant to avert the very crisis that the fossil fuel industry has fueled and profited off of for decades.”

Continued here.

via Tallbloke’s Talkshop


August 19, 2020 at 11:18AM

Climate Anarchy Spreads Across Germany As Protesters Attempt To Disrupt, Block Airports

German libertarian site Die Freie Welt reports that German Extinction Rebellion activists protested against short-haul flights at several German airports earlier this week.

Lübeck / Munich

In Lübeck, 10 people tried to glue themselves to the runway with superglue, but the police were able to prevent the action. In Munich, people chained themselves to luggage trolleys.Even political figures took part, for example Lorenz Gösta Beutin, climate policy spokesman of Die Linke (The Left)  accompanied the protests in Lübeck, reports Freie Welt. “100 to 150 additional demonstrators protested outside the airport building.”


In Dusseldorf, one person even managed to get through security and onto a plane for Hamburg. The protester claimed to be a climate saver and shouted: “Please stop this plane. I am not prepared to fly. I want to get off. I am not prepared to sit down again.”

Many annoyed passengers reacted angrily. One passenger shouted, “Hey you arse—, sit back down”.  The activist claimed to represent everyone and that the issue was not about him.

“The earth is getting hot”, he declared, “Our mother nature is going to hell.”

According to witnesses, the activist tried to continue reading his speech, which he had written down, and stammered about “the end of the dear world”. The pilot was forced to to return the aircraft to the parking position so that the passenger could get off.


The Freie Welt refuted the claims made by the Düsseldorf protestor, writing:

The figures actually say something completely different: domestic flights within Germany are responsible for just 0.3 percent of Germany’s CO2 emissions. In contrast, car traffic alone accounts for 20.8 percent. But you can imagine how motorists will react if activists stick themselves to the autobahn with super glue.”

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via NoTricksZone


August 19, 2020 at 11:00AM

Joachim Müller-Jung und die „Verpöbelung des Diskurses“

Als Paradebeispiele für „Pseudoexperten, die pausenlos Unsinn verzapfen“ führt Müller-Jung ausgerechnet den pensionierten Mikrobiologen Prof. Sucharit Bhagdi und den jüdischen Chemie-Nobelpreisträger Michael Levitt an.

Prof. Bhagdi ist in Deutschland bekannt geworden durch das Büchlein „Corona Fehlalarm?“, das er zusammen mit seiner Ehefrau, der Biochemikerin Prof. Karina Reiss veröffentlicht hat. Dieses gemeinverständlich abgefasste Büchlein hält sich nun schon seit etlichen Wochen auf dem ersten Platz der Sachbuch-Bestseller-Liste des SPIEGEL. Doch geht Müller-Jung mit keinem Wort auf die dort mit eindrucksvollen Kurven belegten Argumente ein. Vielmehr entrüstet er sich darüber, dass Prof. Bhagdi kürzlich in einem inzwischen von YouTube gelöschten Video die inzwischen mancherorts eingeführte Maskenpflicht für Schulkinder als „Kindesmisshandlung“ brandmarkt und darauf hinweist, dass es in Deutschland seit Wochen keine neuen Fälle von Covid-19-Erkrankung mehr gibt. Doch Prof. Bhagdi belegte diese Aussage mit den laufenden Berichten über Lungen-Infektionen, die die die Sentinel-Arztpraxen an das regierungsamtliche Robert-Koch-Institut (RKI) senden. Darin finden sich keine Hinweise auf SARS-CoV-2 mehr, dafür aber immer mehr Hinweise auf Rhinoviren, die offenbar von der Maskenpflicht profitieren.

Wie unterscheidet Müller-Jung zwischen Experten und Pseudoexperten? Unter den letztgenannten versteht er „Verschwörungstheoretiker von höherer akademischer Warte“, die sich an der „Verpöbelung des Diskurses“ beteiligen, indem sie die Rechtfertigung der Aufhebung bürgerlicher Freiheitsrechte und die Infragestellung der Menschenwürde durch den „Lockdown“ in Zweifel ziehen. Dabei scheint es Müller-Jung durchaus bewusst zu sein, dass Naturwissenschaft und Medizin grundsätzlich nur mehr oder weniger provisorisches Vermutungswissen produzieren können. Er weigert sich aber, daraus den Schluss zu ziehen, dass es in einer Welt, in der (fast) alles Wissen provisorisch bleibt, idealerweise nur revidierbare Entscheidungen geben sollte. In einem freiheitlichen, lernfähigen Gemeinwesen sollte es also keine „Klimapolitik“ mit einem bis 2050 gesetzlich festgelegten Fahrplan geben können. Es sollte auch keinen „Lockdown“ mit unabsehbaren gesundheitlichen und wirtschaftlichen Folgen geben können. Denn beide Entscheidungen stützen sich auf mehr als wackelige Hypothesen und Problem-Diagnosen.

Auch gute Wissenschaft wird ideologisch, wenn sie in die Hände von totalitär denkenden Bürokraten fällt. Es war die Idee Jean Monnets, eines der Väter der EU, die europäische Einigung und tendenziell den Weltstaat gänzlich auf die Wissenschaft zu gründen. Die politische Macht sollte immer in der Hand von „Wissenden“ liegen. Demokratische Wahlen waren nur als Dekor gedacht. Wie die EU-Bürokratie hängt offenbar auch unsere Bundesregierung der Illusion an, die Wissenschaft könne beim Menschen die zu schwachen oder fehlenden Instinkte ersetzen, die den Tieren eine optimale Anpassung an ihre Umwelt ermöglichen. Auf welch unsicheren Beinen diese Ideologie des Szientismus steht, hat der weltweit führende Epidemiologe, der Stanford-Professor John P.A. Ioannidis, schon im Jahre 2005 demonstriert, indem er nachwies, dass die meisten Ergebnisse biomedizinischer Forschung nicht reproduzierbar sind.

Was die Menschen über das Tierreich erhebt, ist nicht in erster Linie die Wissenschaft, sondern die Freiheit. Diese ist nach jüdisch-christlicher Auffassung ein Geschenk Gottes in Form der Zehn Gebote. In einem freiheitlichen Gemeinwesen sollte der freiwillige Tausch auf dem Markt (worin sich die Bedürfnisse und Wünsche von Millionen, wenn nicht Milliarden von Menschen widerspiegeln) und nicht irgendeine Wissenschaft (oder Pseudowissenschaft) die wichtigste Grundlage für individuelle und kollektive Entscheidungen sein. In den positiven und negativen Signalen, die der Markt liefert, manifestiert sich (neben irrationalen Impulsen) auch der gesunde Menschenverstand. Darunter kann man in erster Näherung die Entscheidungen verstehen, die die Menschen mithilfe ihres Stirnhirns zustande bringen. Dazu gehören nicht nur ethische Bewertungen, sondern auch Vergleiche zwischen Kosten und Nutzen und nicht zuletzt Abwägungen zwischen verschiedenen Übeln.

Aktuelle Corona-Test-Statisitk, Screenshot von CDIM Online hier

Dergleichen haben die deutschen Behörden nicht einmal ansatzweise durchgeführt, bevor sie am 23. März 2020 ohne Not den „Lockdown“ beschlossen und der Bundestag am 25. März eine „epidemische Lage von nationaler Tragweite“ feststellte. Das zeigt das im Mai 2020 an die Öffentlichkeit gelangte interne Papier eines Referenten des deutschen Bundesinnenministeriums. Der Referent warf den deutschen Behörden vor, nicht im Ansatz eine ganzheitliche Abwägung der Gefahren und Risiken vorgenommen, sondern die Anstrengungen auf eine einzige Aufgabe, die Bekämpfung des Coronavirus durch die Vermehrung von Intensiv-Betten in Krankenhäusern, konzentriert zu haben. Dabei seien die durch das einseitige Krisenmanagement verursachten Todesfälle (etwa von nicht behandelten Krebs- und Herz-Kreislauf-Patienten) schlicht verdrängt worden. Zweieinhalb Millionen Menschen seien nicht medizinisch versorgt worden. Es sei dadurch eine potentielle Lebenszeit im Umfang von mehreren Millionen Jahren geopfert worden. Bei Außenstehenden könne deshalb der Verdacht aufkommen, es gehe gar nicht um die Sicherheit und Gesundheit der Bevölkerung, sondern hauptsächlich um die Akzeptanz der Regierung und der Regierungsparteien (so mein Resümee im „European Scientist“).

Ergebnisse wissenschaftlicher Forschung können selbstverständlich zum Bestandteil des gesunden Menschenverstandes werden. Sie werden seit den alten Griechen aber auch missbraucht, um dem gemeinen Volk das Maul zu stopfen. So wies der oben zitierte BMI-Referent darauf hin, dass die Entscheidung für den „Lockdown“ auf der Basis „ungeeigneter Informationen“ getroffen wurde. Dazu gehört vor allem die vom RKI in den Vordergrund gerückte Reproduktionszahl R, die ein statistisches Artefakt darstellt, weil die genaue Zahl der Infizierten unbekannt ist und die Zahl der gemeldeten Neuinfektionen in erster Linie eine Funktion der Zahl der durchgeführten PCR-Tests ist. Ausschlaggebend für die Gefahreneinschätzung könne nur die Mortalitätsrate sein, sagte der BMI-Referent. Diese hätte man durch die bei Meinungsumfragen und Wahlprognosen bewährte Stichproben-Technik leicht realistisch abschätzen können. Doch außer bei der umstrittenen „Heinsberg-Studie“ der Bonner Professoren Hendrik Streek und Gunther Hartmann im Bundesland Nordrhein-Westfalen, die im Hotspot Gangelt im Kreis Heinsberg eine Infektionssterblichkeit (IFR) von 0,37 Prozent ermittelte (das heißt in der Größenordnung einer mittelschweren Influenzawelle), wurde das gar nicht erst versucht.

Längst überschneidet sich die Quote der positiv Getesteten mit der erwarteten Quote falsch positiver Tests. Man kann also davon ausgehen, dass die Infektionszahlen, mit deren Hilfe regierungsfromme, weil um ihre Jobs zitternde Journalisten dem Publikum tagaus, tagein Angst vor einer „zweiten Corona-Welle“ einflößen, fast ausschließlich falsch positive Testergebnisse widerspiegeln. Die Covid-19-Epidemie ist bei uns seit gut einem Vierteljahr vorbei. Das auszusprechen, ist allerdings zum Tabu geworden, dessen Übertretung einem leicht die Karriere kosten kann. Auch Joachim Müller-Jung geht es offenbar darum, die äußerst kostspielige Fehlentscheidung der Bundesregierung zu vertuschen und mitzuhelfen, den Ausnahmezustand mindestens bis zur nächsten Bundestagswahl im September 2021 aufrecht zu erhalten.


Woher kommt der Strom? Windstromerzeugung unter zehn Prozent von gesamt

32. Woche (Abbildung, bitte unbedingt anklicken. Es öffnen sich alle Abbildungen und mehr)

Das Handicap der Sonnenstromerzeugung liegt nun mal darin, dass die Sonne nur tagsüber scheint. Im Durchschnitt nur den halben Tag. Was dann allerdings bedeutet, dass mit noch mehr Solarstrom zur Mittagsspitze noch mehr Strom im Markt wäre und die Preise noch mehr fallen würden. Nur wegen der Mittagsspitze können die konventionellen Stromerzeuger nicht heruntergefahren werden. Jedenfalls nicht so weit, dass kein Überangebot mehr vorhanden wäre.

So bleibt es in der 32. Woche bei einem Anteil von 42,4 Prozent der erneuerbaren Energieträger an der gesamten Stromerzeugung. 11,8 Prozentpunkte weniger als der Durchschnitt (Abbildung 1). Trotz der Abfederung durch Pumpspeicherstrom (Abbildung) in den Spitzenbedarfszeiten hat Deutschland sehr viel Importbedarf. Der teuer bezahlt werden muss. Nur in den frühen Morgenstunden ist der Importpreis auch für Deutschland moderat. Ansonsten gilt das Muster: Deutschlands Nachbarn bekommen günstigen deutschen Exportstrom und erhalten gute Preise, wenn Deutschland mittels Importstrom seinen Restbedarf deckt (Abbildung 3). Wobei innerhalb weniger Stunden am Tag sehr gewinnträchtige Preisdifferenzgeschäfte gefahren werden können (Abbildung 4). Von unseren Nachbarn. Mehr dazu in den Tagesanalysen.

Die Tabelle der Energie-Charts und der daraus generierte Chart (Abbildung 5) verdeutlichen die mangelnde Windstromerzeugung, die daraus resultierende recht geringe Menge Strom, die mittel erneuerbarer Energieträger hergestellt wurde. Die konventionelle Stromerzeugung bullert (Abbildung 2), reicht am Ende doch nicht aus, wie die Zahlen Im-/Exporttabelle (Abbildung 6) der 32. Woche belegen. Abbildung 7 bringt als Ergänzung die aufgelaufenen Im-/Exportzahlen des Jahres 2020. Darin sind die z.T. exorbitanten Stromexporte des 1. Quartals 2020 (Abbildung 8) enthalten.

Zum Schluss noch ein Blick auf die in die Tabelle angenommene „Verdoppelung der installierten Leistung Wind- und Sonnenkraft“ (Abbildung 9). Schon ein flüchtiger Blick über den Tabellenausschnitt lässt erkennen, dass auch eine angenommene Verdoppelung im Sommer nicht viel helfen würde. Nur an sechs von 36 Tagen hätte der regenerativ erzeugte Strom ausgereicht, um den Bedarf zu decken.

Die Tagesanalysen

Sonntag, 2.8.2020: Anteil erneuerbare Energieträger an der Gesamtstromerzeugung 40,59 Prozent, davon Windstrom 12,87 Prozent, Sonnenstrom 12,87 Prozent, Strom Biomasse/Wasserkraft 14,85 Prozent. Die Agora-Chartmatrix: Hier klicken.

Der Sonntag ist – wie immer – bedarfsarm. So fällt die geringe regenerative Stromerzeugung nicht ins Gewicht. Die Strompreise bleiben moderat. Zwar zahlt Deutschland für Stromimporte mehr, als es für Exporte erhält. Von negativen Preisen ist man aber immer mindesten 23,86 €/MWh entfernt.

Montag, 3.8.2020: Anteil erneuerbare Energieträger an der Gesamtstromerzeugung 35,96 Prozent, davon Windstrom 7,89 Prozent, Sonnenstrom 14,04 Prozent, Strom Biomasse/Wasserkraft 14,04 Prozent. Die Agora-Chartmatrix: Hier klicken.

Heute sieht es ganz anders aus. Der Bedarf steigt, Wind- und Sonnenstromerzeugung halten nicht mit: Deutschland importiert den ganzen Tag Strom zu hohen Preisen. Ausnahme: Der frühe Morgen.

Dienstag, 4.8.2020: Anteil erneuerbare Energieträger an der Gesamtstromerzeugung 35,59 Prozentdavon Windstrom 7,63 Prozent, Sonnenstrom 14,41 Prozent, Strom Biomasse/Wasserkraft 13,56 Prozent. Die Agora-Chartmatrix: Hier klicken.

Der Dienstag ähnelt dem Montag. Heute allerdings werden die Höchstpreise am Vormittag aufgerufen.

Mittwoch, 5.8.2020: Anteil erneuerbare Energieträger an der Gesamtstromerzeugung 44,08 Prozent, davon Windstrom 15,13 Prozent, Sonnenstrom 18,42 Prozent, Strom Biomasse/Wasserkraft 10,53 Prozent. Die Agora-Chartmatrix: Hier klicken.

Die Windstromerzeugung zieht an. Vor allem auch auf See. Hinzu kommt starke Sonnenstromerzeugung. Beides zusammen führt über Tag zu einem Stromüberangebot, welches zu sinkenden Preisen führt. Eine gute Gelegenheit für Preisdifferenzgeschäfte. Österreich und die Schweiz nutzen die Gelegenheit: Hier klicken.

Donnerstag, 6.8.2020: Anteil erneuerbare Energieträger an der Gesamtstromerzeugung 44,36 Prozent, davon Windstrom 9,77 Prozent, Sonnenstrom 21,80 Prozent, Strom Biomasse/Wasserkraft 12,78 Prozent. Die Agora-Chartmatrix: Hier klicken.

Am Vormittag lässt die Windstromerzeugung – auch auf See – nach. Trotzdem kommt es über Tag – starke Sonnenstromerzeugung – zu einem Überangebot, welches wiederum zu sinkenden Preisen und Preisdifferenzgeschäften führt.

Freitag, 7.8.2020: Anteil erneuerbare Energieträger an der Gesamtstromerzeugung 41,09 Prozent, davon Windstrom 6,20 Prozent, Sonnenstrom 21,71 Prozent, Strom Biomasse/Wasserkraft 13,18 Prozent. Die Agora-Chartmatrix: Hier klicken.

Heute ein ähnliches Bild wie gestern. Etwas andere Preise, doch das Bild ist das gleiche. Nun stelle man sich eine Verdoppelung der installierten Leistung Sonnenkraft vor. Noch mehr Strom über Tag. Die Preise fielen ins Bodenlose.

Samstag, 8.8.2020: Anteil Erneuerbare an der Gesamtstromerzeugung 41,32 Prozent, davon Windstrom 4,96 Prozent, Sonnenstrom 22,31 Prozent, Strom Biomasse/Wasserkraft 14,05 Prozent. Die Agora-Chartmatrix: Hier klicken

Der Einstieg ins Wochenende: Nochmals eine feine Gelegenheit, Preisdifferenzgeschäfte zu realisieren. Die Windstromerzeugung liegt unter 5%. Doch die starke Sonnenstromerzeugung „reißt es raus“. Zugunsten unserer Nachbarn. Die machen gute Geschäfte mit in Deutschland erzeugtem Strom.

Ordnen Sie Deutschlands CO2-Ausstoß in den Weltmaßstab ein. Zum interaktiven CO2-Rechner: Hier klicken. Noch Fragen? Ergänzungen? Fehler entdeckt? Bitte Leserpost schreiben! Oder direkt an mich persönlich: stromwoher@mediagnose.de. Alle Berechnungen und Schätzungen durch Rüdiger Stobbe nach bestem Wissen und Gewissen, aber ohne Gewähr.

Die bisherigen Artikel der Kolumne Woher kommt der Strom? mit jeweils einer kurzen Inhaltserläuterung finden Sie hier.

Zuerst erschienen bei der Achse des Guten; mit freundlicher Genehmigung.

Rüdiger Stobbe betreibt seit vier Jahren den Politikblog  http://www.mediagnose.de