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THE VOLVO CHENGDU PLANT

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NEWS STORIES ABOUT THE VOLVO CHENGDU PLANT ON JUNE 30, 2020

  1. VOLVO PRESS RELEASE: The 100 per cent renewable electricity mix in Chengdu is the result of a newly signed supply contract and will reduce the plant’s CO2 emissions by over 11,000 tonnes per year. It is the latest concrete step towards Volvo Cars’ ambition to have climate neutral manufacturing by 2025, part of a wider climate plan that aims to reduce the overall carbon footprint per car by 40 per cent between 2018 and 2025. By 2040, Volvo Cars aims to be a climate neutral company. The new electricity contract is also in line with broader ambitions in China to reduce carbon emissions from industry and reduce the carbon footprint resulting from energy generation. Until recently, the Chengdu plant already sourced 70 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources. The new contract addresses the last 30 per cent. Under the new contract, around 65 per cent of the electricity supply comes from hydropower, while the remainder comes from solar power, wind power and other renewable sources. “Our ambition is to reduce our carbon footprint through concrete, tangible actions,” said Javier Varela, head of industrial operations and quality. “Securing a fully renewable electricity supply for our largest plant in China is a significant milestone and underlines our commitment to taking concrete, meaningful action.” Volvo Cars is constantly working to reduce the carbon footprint of its manufacturing network and has reached a number of milestones in recent years. All its European plants have had a climate neutral electricity supply since 2008, while the engine plant in Skövde, Sweden was the first in the company’s network to become completely climate neutral in 2018. At the Ghent plant in Belgium, Volvo Cars installed 15,000 solar panels in 2018, the first large-scale introduction of solar energy in its global manufacturing network. These and other measures are part of the climate plan Volvo Cars launched late last year, one of the most ambitious in the automotive industry. The centrepiece of the plan is Volvo Cars’ ambition to generate 50 per cent of global sales from fully electric cars by 2025, with the rest hybrids. Yet the plan goes beyond addressing tailpipe emissions through all-out electrification and also seeks to tackle carbon emissions in the company’s wider operations, its supply chain and through recycling and reuse of materials The 100 per cent renewable electricity mix in Chengdu is the result of a newly signed supply contract and will reduce the plant’s CO2 emissions by over 11,000 tonnes per year. It is the latest concrete step towards Volvo Cars’ ambition to have climate neutral manufacturing by 2025, part of a wider climate plan that aims to reduce the overall carbon footprint per car by 40 per cent between 2018 and 2025. By 2040, Volvo Cars aims to be a climate neutral company. The new electricity contract is also in line with broader ambitions in China to reduce carbon emissions from industry and reduce the carbon footprint resulting from energy generation. Until recently, the Chengdu plant already sourced 70 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources. The new contract addresses the last 30 per cent. Under the new contract, around 65 per cent of the electricity supply comes from hydropower, while the remainder comes from solar power, wind power and other renewable sources. “Our ambition is to reduce our carbon footprint through concrete, tangible actions,” said Javier Varela, head of industrial operations and quality. “Securing a fully renewable electricity supply for our largest plant in China is a significant milestone and underlines our commitment to taking concrete, meaningful action.” Volvo Cars is constantly working to reduce the carbon footprint of its manufacturing network and has reached a number of milestones in recent years. All its European plants have had a climate neutral electricity supply since 2008, while the engine plant in Skövde, Sweden was the first in the company’s network to become completely climate neutral in 2018. At the Ghent plant in Belgium, Volvo Cars installed 15,000 solar panels in 2018, the first large-scale introduction of solar energy in its global manufacturing network. These and other measures are part of the climate plan Volvo Cars launched late last year, one of the most ambitious in the automotive industry. The centrepiece of the plan is Volvo Cars’ ambition to generate 50 per cent of global sales from fully electric cars by 2025, with the rest hybrids. Yet the plan goes beyond addressing tailpipe emissions through all-out electrification and also seeks to tackle carbon emissions in the company’s wider operations, its supply chain and through recycling and reuse of materials The 100 per cent renewable electricity mix in Chengdu is the result of a newly signed supply contract and will reduce the plant’s CO2 emissions by over 11,000 tonnes per year. It is the latest concrete step towards Volvo Cars’ ambition to have climate neutral manufacturing by 2025, part of a wider climate plan that aims to reduce the overall carbon footprint per car by 40 per cent between 2018 and 2025. By 2040, Volvo Cars aims to be a climate neutral company. The new electricity contract is also in line with broader ambitions in China to reduce carbon emissions from industry and reduce the carbon footprint resulting from energy generation. Until recently, the Chengdu plant already sourced 70 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources. The new contract addresses the last 30 per cent. Under the new contract, around 65 per cent of the electricity supply comes from hydropower, while the remainder comes from solar power, wind power and other renewable sources. “Our ambition is to reduce our carbon footprint through concrete, tangible actions,” said Javier Varela, head of industrial operations and quality. “Securing a fully renewable electricity supply for our largest plant in China is a significant milestone and underlines our commitment to taking concrete, meaningful action.” Volvo Cars is constantly working to reduce the carbon footprint of its manufacturing network and has reached a number of milestones in recent years. All its European plants have had a climate neutral electricity supply since 2008, while the engine plant in Skövde, Sweden was the first in the company’s network to become completely climate neutral in 2018. At the Ghent plant in Belgium, Volvo Cars installed 15,000 solar panels in 2018, the first large-scale introduction of solar energy in its global manufacturing network. These and other measures are part of the climate plan Volvo Cars launched late last year, one of the most ambitious in the automotive industry. The centrepiece of the plan is Volvo Cars’ ambition to generate 50 per cent of global sales from fully electric cars by 2025, with the rest hybrids. Yet the plan goes beyond addressing tailpipe emissions through all-out electrification and also seeks to tackle carbon emissions in the company’s wider operations, its supply chain and through recycling and reuse of materials. The 100 per cent renewable electricity mix in Chengdu is the result of a newly signed supply contract and will reduce the plant’s CO2 emissions by over 11,000 tonnes per year. It is the latest concrete step towards Volvo Cars’ ambition to have climate neutral manufacturing by 2025, part of a wider climate plan that aims to reduce the overall carbon footprint per car by 40 per cent between 2018 and 2025. By 2040, Volvo Cars aims to be a climate neutral company. The new electricity contract is also in line with broader ambitions in China to reduce carbon emissions from industry and reduce the carbon footprint resulting from energy generation. Until recently, the Chengdu plant already sourced 70 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources. The new contract addresses the last 30 per cent. Under the new contract, around 65 per cent of the electricity supply comes from hydropower, while the remainder comes from solar power, wind power and other renewable sources. “Our ambition is to reduce our carbon footprint through concrete, tangible actions,” said Javier Varela, head of industrial operations and quality. “Securing a fully renewable electricity supply for our largest plant in China is a significant milestone and underlines our commitment to taking concrete, meaningful action.” Volvo Cars is constantly working to reduce the carbon footprint of its manufacturing network and has reached a number of milestones in recent years. All its European plants have had a climate neutral electricity supply since 2008, while the engine plant in Skövde, Sweden was the first in the company’s network to become completely climate neutral in 2018. At the Ghent plant in Belgium, Volvo Cars installed 15,000 solar panels in 2018, the first large-scale introduction of solar energy in its global manufacturing network. These and other measures are part of the climate plan Volvo Cars launched late last year, one of the most ambitious in the automotive industry. The centrepiece of the plan is Volvo Cars’ ambition to generate 50 per cent of global sales from fully electric cars by 2025, with the rest hybrids. Yet the plan goes beyond addressing tailpipe emissions through all-out electrification and also seeks to tackle carbon emissions in the company’s wider operations, its supply chain and through recycling and reuse of materials.
  2. NEWS STORY #1: Chengdu with 100% renewable power. This change is estimated to reduce the plant’s carbon dioxide emissions by more than 11,000 tonnes per year. STORY: The Volvo Cars manufacturing plant in Chengdu, China is now powered by 100% renewable electricity, taking the company’s global renewable electricity mix in its manufacturing network to 80%. This change is estimated to reduce the plant’s carbon dioxide emissions by more than 11,000 tonnes per year. The company’s largest plant in China will be powered with 65% hydropower, while the remainder will come from solar, wind and other renewable sources. Javier Varela, Head of Industrial Operations and Quality, said: “Securing a fully renewable electricity supply for our largest plant in China is a significant milestone and underlines our commitment to taking concrete, meaningful action.” Volvo Cars has an ambition to reach climate-neutral manufacturing by 2025. [LINK]
  3. NEWS STORY#2: Volvo Factory In China Runs On 100% Renewable Energy at Chengdu Factory. STORY: Volvo Cars continues its march towards being a carbon-neutral manufacturing company by 2025 last week, when it announced that its vehicle assembly plant in Chengdu, China would make the switch to 100% renewable energy. The deal is part of a new energy supply contract that will rely heavily on hydroelectric and solar power cut the factory’s carbon emissions by more than 11,000 tons, annually. “Our ambition is to reduce our carbon footprint through concrete, tangible actions,” explains Javier Varela, head of industrial operations at Volvo. “Securing a fully renewable electricity supply for our largest plant in China is a significant milestone and underlines our commitment to taking concrete, meaningful action.” More than a simple PR-push, this move is just the latest for Volvo, following the plan to switch to hydrogen-fueled trucking between factories, rail-based vehicle transport to shipping ports, and a company-wide ban on single-use plastics — all of which follow in the footsteps of its pledge to introduce only electrified vehicles after 2019. [LINK[ .
  4. NEWS STORY #3: Volvo plant in Chengdu now runs entirely on renewable energy. STORY: Volvo Cars’ factory in Chengdu – the largest factory in China from the Swedish manufacturer – now runs entirely on renewable energy. This has increased the share of renewable energy use in the company’s global production network to 80 percent. The move to 100 percent renewable energy in Chengdu has been accomplished through the conclusion of a new energy contract, which will reduce the plant’s CO 2 emissions by more than 11,000 tons per year. It is the most recent step towards realizing Volvo’s ambition to be completely climate-neutral by 2025 in terms of production.
  5. NEWS STORY #4: Volvo Cars’ largest plant in China is now completely powered by renewable electricity. STORY: Till recently, Volvo Cars plant in Chendu, China sourced about 70 per cent of its electricity supply from renewable sources.Volvo Cars’ largest plant in China is now completely powered by renewable electricity. Volvo Cars’ largest plant in China is now completely powered by renewable electricity Volvo Cars recently announced that its manufacturing facility in Chengdu, China is now completely powered by 100 per cent renewable electricity. The plant, which is the Swedish automaker’s biggest facility in China, sourced 70 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources until recently. However, the company recently signed a supply contract wherein it will now source all of its electricity from renewable sources. Volvo Cars noted that this move will cut down the Chengdu plant’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by more than 11,000 tonnes every year. Oh and another interesting thing about this news is that with the Volvo Chengdu plant using 100 per cent renewable electricity, the company’s global renewable electricity mix in its manufacturing network has now increased to 80 per cent. Javier Varela, head of industrial operations and quality, Volvo Car Group, said, “Our ambition is to reduce our carbon footprint through concrete, tangible actions. Securing a fully renewable electricity supply for our largest plant in China is a significant milestone and underlines our commitment to taking concrete, meaningful action.” The company explained that under the purview of the new contract, roughly 65 per cent of the Chengdu plant’s electricity supply is sourced from hydropower, while the remainder comes from solar power, wind power, and other renewable sources. Volvo Cars has previously shared its plan to have climate neutral manufacturing by 2025, which, in turn, is a part of its overall goal to cut down the overall carbon footprint per car by 40 per cent between 2018 and 2025. And by 2040, the carmaker aims to be a completely climate neutral company. And the Chengdu plant now using only 100 per cent renewable energy is, of course, a huge step towards that. As a matter of fact, Volvo has achieved a variety of milestones in this regard in recent years; including the fact that all its manufacturing facilities in Europe have had a climate neutral electricity supply since 2008. It may also be interesting to note that Volvo Cars’ engine plant in Skövde, Sweden was the first in the company’s network to become completely climate neutral — that was done in 2018.

 

 

CRITICAL COMMENTARY

  1. It is claimed that the merit of the hydroelectric power renewable energy innovation at the Volvo Chengdu factory is that it has reduced that plant’s fossil fuel emissions by 11,000 tons of CO2 per year. Since climate science normally quotes carbon emissions in carbon equivalent and not carbon dioxide, we convert CO2 to carbon as 11,000*12/44 = 3,000 tons of carbon per year of emissions saved by the use of hydroelectric power.
  2. The Volvo Chengdu plant makes 120,000 cars per year so on a per car basis the emissions saved is 11,000/120,000 = 0.091666 tons per year of emissions saved for each car made at Chengdu.
  3. The total global car production is estimated to be 73 million. Thus, globally, if all car manufacturing  around the world were upgraded to the Volvo hydroelectric process, the global savings on emissions would be 73 million times 0.091666 or 1825000 tons per year. Assuming that these measurements are in metric tons that translates to 0.001825 gigatons per year saved by the conversion of all car manufacturing globally to the Volvo hydroelectric power process.
  4. Currently, global fossil fuel emissions are estimated to be 10.13 gigatons per year (2018). The uncertainty in this estimate is plus or minus 1.5% that rounds out to plus or minus 0.152 gigatons per year.
  5. Here we note that the global savings on fossil fuel emissions of the Volvo hydroelectric power innovation at Chengdu of 0.001825 gigatons per year is less than the uncertainty in global fossil fuel emissions. Therefore, the net climate action benefit of the Volvo hydroelectric innovation is unlikely to be of any significance as a form of climate action.
  6. We conclude that the only real value of an insignificant global reduction of 0.001825 gigatons of carbon emissions {if all car manufacturing in the world converted to the Volvo hydroelectric innovation} is that the Volvo innovation can be sold as a high profile climate action initiative taken by an automobile manufacturer. This innovation and its marketing as a climate action initiative has value in the marketing of the Volvo name and its products as something that puts an automobile manufacturer on the right side of the climate movement doing their part with renewable innovations to save the planet. However, it has no interpretation in terms of the global emission equation of climate action because the relative amount of CO2 involved is insignificant and well within the error margin of global emissions. 

 

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Don't let confirmation bias narrow your perspective

 

THIS POST IS A CRITICAL EVALUATION OF THE DIFFENBAUGH, SINGH, AND SWAIN 2017 PAPER [LINK]  THAT IS OFTEN CITED AS THE SCIENTIFIC BASIS FOR THE ATTRIBUTION OF EXTREME WEATHER EVENTS TO AGW CLIMATE CHANGE.

CITATION: Quantifying the influence of global warming on unprecedented extreme climate events. Diffenbaugh, Singh, & Swain ET AL, PNAS April 24, 2017, Edited by Kerry A. Emanuel. Received for review October 31, 2016. 

 

 

PART-1: WHAT THE PAPER SAYS 

  1. ABSTRACT: Efforts to understand the influence of historical global warming on individual extreme climate events have increased over the past decade. However, despite substantial progress, events that are unprecedented in the local observational record remain a persistent challenge. Leveraging observations and a large climate model ensemble, we quantify uncertainty in the influence of global warming on the severity and probability of the historically hottest month, hottest day, driest year, and wettest 5-d period for different areas of the globe. We find that historical warming has increased the severity and probability of the hottest month and hottest day of the year at >80% of the available observational area. Our framework also suggests that the historical climate forcing has increased the probability of the driest year and wettest 5-d period at 57% and 41% of the observed area, respectively, although we note important caveats. For the most protracted hot and dry events, the strongest and most widespread contributions of anthropogenic climate forcing occur in the tropics, including increases in probability of at least a factor of 4 for the hottest month and at least a factor of 2 for the driest year. We also demonstrate the ability of our framework to systematically evaluate the role of dynamic and thermodynamic factors such as atmospheric circulation patterns and atmospheric water vapor, and find extremely high statistical confidence that anthropogenic forcing increased the probability of record-low Arctic sea ice extent. 
  2. SUMMARY OF EVENT ATTRIBUTION ANALYSIS: DATA AND RESULTS: bandicam 2020-07-12 07-19-53-998
  3. THE UNCERTAINTY PROBLEM:  These data contain large sampling errors because we have data for only a few decades and that leaves us with large uncertainties in the estimation of event probability. How does event attribution analysis get around this uncertainty problem? Here the authors of {Diffenbaugh Singh & Swain 2017} write that they were able to overcome their uncertainty problem with the methodology  used in {Singh & Diffenbaugh 2013} and  {Swain & Diffenbaugh 2014}. But as we see in the citations, they are actually citing themselves.
  4. {Singh & Diffenbaugh 2013} studied severe precipitation in Northern India in June 2013 and found “Our statistical analysis, combined with our diagnosis of the atmospheric environment, demonstrates that the extreme June 2013 total precipitation in northern India was at a century-scale event. Precise quantification of the likelihood of the event in the current and preindustrial climates is limited by the relatively short observational record.
  5. {Swain & Diffenbaugh 2014} studied the 2013-2014 drought in California and found “The 2013/14 California drought was an exceptional climate event. A highly persistent large-scale meteorological pattern over the northeastern Pacific led to observationally unprecedented geopotential height and precipitation anomalies over a broad region. The very strong ridging and highly amplified meridional flow near the West Coast of North America in 2013/14 was structurally similar to but spatially and temporally more extensive than atmospheric configurations that have been previously linked to extreme dryness in California. We find that extreme geopotential height values (i.e. warmer air} in this region occur more frequently in the present climate than in the absence of human emissions {Note-1:  Geopotential height represents the height of the pressure surface. Cold air is more dense than warm air and that causes pressure surfaces to be lower in colder air masses and higher in warmer air masses}.   {Note-2: “the absence of human emissions” is a reference to the pre-industrial. The choice of language emphasizes a climate science bias and not evidence of fossil fuel emissions as the cause of the drought}. The human and environmental impacts of the 2013/14 California drought were amplified by the timing of the event. The event began in January 2013, abruptly truncating what had initially appeared to be a wet rainy season following very heavy precipitation during November–December 2012. By persisting through January 2014, the event also effectively delayed the start of the subsequent rainy season by at least four months. The rapid onset and persistent high intensity of drought conditions presented unique challenges for decision makers tasked with making choices about the allocation of water to urban, agricultural, and environmental interests. Together, the complexity and severity of the observed drought impacts, coupled with our finding that global warming has increased the probability of extreme North Pacific geopotential heights similar to those associated with the 2013/14 drought, suggest that understanding the link between climate change and persistent North Pacific ridging events will be crucial in characterizing the future risk of severe drought in California.
  6. The authors cite these two of their earlier works as references that validate their methodology described as “we evaluate the climate model’s simulation of interannual variability in each climate indicator. Previous event attribution studies have made this evaluation using the Kolmogorov−Smirnov test (22, 34, 38). However, we find that the Anderson−Darling test, which gives more weight to the tails of the distribution, produces a more restrictive comparison with observations for the four extreme climate variables. We first correct the mean of the Pre-Industrial Control Simulation to be equal to the mean of the detrended observations. We then use the A-D test to quantify the agreement between the mean-corrected Pre-Industrial Simulation and the detrended observations. We reject the climate model if the A-D test yields a P value less than 0.05, as this suggests that the model output does not come from the same statistical population as the observations.
  7. The authors conclude as follows:  CONCLUSION:  We apply four event attribution metrics to a suite of climate variables, including globally gridded temperature and precipitation observations. Our framework is designed to proceed if there is statistical confidence in the fit between the parametric distribution and the observations, if the parametric fit produces a finite solution across the uncertainty distribution, and if the climate model is able to accurately simulate the observed distribution of the variable. Our systematic analysis of global temperature and precipitation data show that these criteria are often met, but also that large areas of the globe can violate these criteria. The failure of events to meet these criteria arises from at least three conditions. First, unprecedented events result from a complex combination of interacting physical causes. Second, given the rarity of the event, the limitations of the observed record, and the nonstationarity of the climate system, quantifying the probability in the current climate can be highly uncertain. Third, given the complexity of the physical causes, climate models may not accurately simulate the underlying physical processes, or their probability of occurrence. Our results therefore highlight at least five important priorities for “single event attribution”: They are as follows:  (1) understanding the contributions of different physical causes to a particular event.  (2) using formal hypothesis testing to quantify the uncertainty in the probability of both the event and the contributing physical causes, (3) ensuring accurate assessment of the fidelity of the statistical and physical models to the observational data, (4)  distinguishing changes in the probability of extremes from changes in the mean, and (5)  systematically differentiating “absence of evidence” of a causal link from “evidence of absence.

 

 

CRITICAL COMMENTARY

  1. Event Attribution Science, (if science it it is), is a methodology of using climate model simulations to attribute extreme weather events such as heat waves, floods, and droughts, post hoc, (after the fact) to anthropogenic global warming thought to be driven by fossil fuel emissions and thereby ultimately to the use of fossil fuels. The procedure suffers from several weaknesses including confirmation bias, circular reasoning, and the extreme localization in time and space in the interpretation of a theory about long term trends in global mean temperature. The localization issue is described in the literature as “internal variability” of climate.
  2. Internal Climate Variability: The localization issue refers to the impossibility of separating the natural from the anthropogenic in what is described as internal climate variability. This observation derives from the finding that although climate models can relate long term global trends to fossil fueled anthropogenic global warming, this relationship falls apart at brief time scales of 30 years or less and with localization of climate to geographical regions less than large latitudinal extents. Global warming theory is a global issue and its interpretation is not possible in specific regions, particularly when the region is selected post hoc.
  3. In a related post on Internal Variability [LINK] , we find that “at short time scales of 30 years or less, or in limited geographical extents,  internal variability of climate confounds assessment of human-induced climate change and imposes irreducible limits on the accuracy of climate change projections and climate change impacts“. 
  4. The Dark Bureaucratic Origins of Event Attribution [LINK] :  Event Attribution Analysis is best understood in the context of its origins. A necessary and assumed catastrophic nature of AGW is needed as the rationale for the UNFCCC policy that requires Annex I countries to reduce emissions by changing their energy infrastructure from fossil fuels to renewables. This line of reasoning is weakened by an inability of climate science to produce empirical evidence that relates extreme weather disasters to emissions. Of particular note in this regard is that claims made by the IPCC in 2007 with regard to the effect of AGW on the frequency and intensity of tropical cyclones, droughts, and floods were retracted in their next Assessment Report in 2014. Thus, climate scientists, though convinced of the causal connection between AGW and extreme weather events, are nevertheless unable to provide acceptable empirical evidence to support what to them is obvious and “unequivocal” but for which climate science has neither empirical evidence nor a methodology that could serve as the tool for presenting such evidence. 
  5. A breakthrough came for climate science in 2013 when the Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM) was signed [LINK] . This mechanism has to do with the complex classification of nation states in the Kyoto Protocol and the UNFCCC in which poor developing nations of the Global South are classified as (Non-Annex countries) with no climate action obligations. Rich developed Western countries of the Global North (Annex-1 countries) are assigned the entire burden of global emission reduction along with the additional burden of providing financial compensation to the non-Annex countries of the Global South for extreme weather impacts of climate change. When the Annex-1 providers of climate impact compensation funds requested evidence to separate extreme weather events that are natural from those caused AGW climate change, the United Nations organized the meeting in Warsaw in 2013 to discuss and resolve this issue.
  6. The Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM) of 2013 has redefined climate change adaptation funding as a form of compensation for “loss and damage” suffered by nonAnnex countries because of sea level rise or extreme weather events caused by fossil fuel emissions which are thought to be mostly a product of Annex-1 countries. Accordingly, the WIM requires that loss and damage suffered by the nonAnnex countries for which compensation is sought from climate adaptation funds must be attributable to fossil fuel emissions.
  7. A probabilistic methodology was devised to address the need for attribution in the WIM and It has gained widespread acceptance in both technical and policy circles as a tool for the allocation of limited climate adaptation funds among competing needs of the non-Annex countries. The probabilistic event attribution methodology (PEA) uses a large number of climate model experiments with multiple models and a multiplicity of initial conditions. A large sample size is used because extreme weather events are rare and their probability small by definition. The probability of an observed extreme weather event with anthropogenic emissions and the probability without anthropogenic emissions are derived from climate model experiments as P1 and P0.
  8. If the probability with emissions (P1) exceeds the probability without emissions (P0), the results are interpreted to indicate that emissions played a role in the occurrence of the event in question and that therefore it is fundable. Otherwise the event is assumed to be a product of natural variation alone. The probability that fossil fuel emissions played a role in the extreme weather event is represented as P = (P1-P0)/P0. The procedure serves the bureaucratic needs of the UN but is mired in procedural issues such as confirmation bias and uncertainty.
  9. A contentious issue in PEA analysis is that of uncertainty in the values of P0 and P1 and in the model results themselves. Policy analysts fear that the large uncertainties of climate models provide sufficient reason to question the reliability of PEA to serve its intended function as a criterion for access to climate adaptation funds. Mike Hulme and others argue that much greater statistical confidence in the PEA test is needed to justify denial of adaptation funding for loss and damage from weather extremes that do not pass the PEA test.
  10. The greater concern is that climate science assumes the relationship between AGW and extreme weather impacts but suffers from a critical need for a methodology to provide evidence for it. It is in this context that climate science seized upon the bureaucratic PEA procedure of the WIM,  extended the interpretation of PEA results beyond their intended function of fund allocation, renamed it as Event Attribution Science, and adopted it as the climate science methodology that can relate extreme weather events to Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW).
  11. This  enthusiastic innovation in climate science was initiated by climate scientist Friederike Otto (Oxford). She is shown in the third photograph at the top of this page. The first two photographs are of Noah Diffenbaugh (Stanford), the lead author of the Event Attribution paper presented here and co-author Kerry Emanuel (MIT), a leading figure in the attribution of rising hurricane intensity and destructiveness to AGW climate change described in a related post [LINK] .
  12. For the purpose of this extension of the PEA procedure of the WIM to a form of climate science, its name was changed from PEA to Event Attribution Analysis and then elevated by Scientific American to Event Attribution Science in an article extolling its virtues.  In a related post [LINK] , it is shown that the methodology suffers from confirmation bias and the so called Texas Sharpshooter fallacy. The selection of the event after the fact provides a selection bias and as we see in the three papers discussed above, if the statistics are not initially satisfactory, the data can be tortured until something is retrieved that rationalizes the attribution. The language of the interpretation of results implies a direct attribution to fossil fuel emissions instead of to temperature. No effort is made to compare the event to recent post AGW events at similar and lower temperatures to establish the relationship between temperature and the severity of the weather event. Also no data or rationale is provided for events at the same or later time that may have been of a lesser intensity.
  13. Since global warming is a theory about long term trends in global mean temperature and events are by definition localized in time and space, the event attribution should include a a comparative analysis with regions that have warmed at different rates to support their attribution. In general, the explanation of time and space constrained events with a theory about a long term warming n global mean temperature must include a causal connection between these very different phenomena in terms of time and space.
  14. Recent research in Internal Climate Variability provides further insight into this weakness of event attribution methodology in terms of an impossibility of relating localized climate events constrained by time and space to the long term warming trend in global mean temperature that has been attributed to fossil fuel emissions. This research is described in a related post on this site [LINK] . The essence of the internal variability issue is that AGW climate science is a system of making long range forecasts for global mean temperature and its extension to shorter time spans or regional climate is not possible because shorter time spans and regional climate are driven mostly by internal climate variability that is beyond AGW climate science. As stated by the authors of these papers, “at short time scales of 30 years or less, or in limited geographical regions not described as large latitudinal sections of the globe, internal variability in the climate system confounds assessment of human-induced climate change and imposes irreducible limits on the accuracy of climate change projections and climate change impacts. The internal variability finding limits the ability of climate science to attribute localized extreme weather events to anthropogenic global warming.
  15. The finding of the DIFFENBAUGH, SINGH, AND SWAIN 2017 PAPER presented above is that : historical warming has increased the severity and probability of the hottest month and hottest day of the year at >80% of the available observational area. Our framework also suggests that the historical climate forcing has increased the probability of the driest year and wettest 5-d period at 57% and 41% with the caveat that for the most protracted hot and dry events, the strongest and most widespread contributions of anthropogenic climate forcing occur in the tropics, including increases in probability of at least a factor of 4 for the hottest month and at least a factor of 2 for the driest year.
  16. In the finding both the time span to be studied and the percent of the observed area are different but these differences are not explained or considered in there interpretation. IN CONCLUSION, WE FIND THE ATTRIBUTION OF EXTREME WEATHER EVENTS TO AGW GLOBAL WARMING IS NOT CONSTRAINED IN ANY WAY SO THAT WHATEVER DIFFERENCES CAN BE FOUND ARE ARBITRARILY ATTRIBUTED TO ANTHROPOGENIC GLOBAL WARMING. THE TIME SCALE FOR THE STUDY AND THE EXTENT OF THE OBSERVED AREA AFFECTED ARE NOT PRE-SPECIFIED BUT REMAIN FLUID CONSTRAINED ONLY BY THE CONFIRMATION BIAS OF THE RESEARCHER.
  17. HERE WE FIND THAT EVENT ATTRIBUTION ANALYSIS TO DETERMINE THE IMPACT OF WARMING ON EXTREME WEATHER EVENTS IS NOT CREDIBLE BECAUSE THERE ARE NO CONSTRAINTS IN THE METHODOLOGY OR IN THE INTERPRETATION OF THE DATA SUCH THAT THE CONFIRMATION BIAS OF THE RESEARCHER GUIDES THE SELECTION OF THE DATA AND THEIR INTERPRETATION
  18. THE METHODOLOGY BOILS DOWN TO THIS: 1. FIND AN EXTREME WEATHER EVENT SOMEWHERE. 2. FIND A WAY TO RELATE IT TO AGW. UNBIASED OBJECTIVE SCIENTIFIC INQUIRY BEGINS WITH THE RESEARCH QUESTION; BUT CONFIRMATION BIASED EVENT ATTRIBUTION RESEARCH BEGINS WITH THE DATA WITH THE INTERPRETATION OF THE DATA GUIDED BY CONFIRMATION BIAS.
  19. IN A RELATED WORK WE SHOW A SIMILAR CONFIRMATION BIAS / CIRCULAR REASONING  IN A STUDY by KERRY EMANUEL ABOUT THE EFFECT OF GLOBAL WARMING ON THE “DESTRUCTIVENESS OF HURRICANES”: [LINK] , A FURTHER DEMONSTRATION OF CIRCULAR REASONING AND CONFIRMATION BIAS IN CLIMATE SCIENCE.  MORE ON HURRICANES [LINK] .

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[RELATED POST ON CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACTS]

 

THIS POST IS A STUDY OF THE CLAIM THAT AN IMPACT OF GLOBAL WARMING IS A DECLINE IN GDP [LINK]. HERE WE PRESENT HISTORICAL DATA FOR THE SAME HYPOTHESIS IN THE STUDY PERIOD 1850 TO 2016 AND PRESENT THE OBSERVED RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN GLOBAL WARMING AND GDP. 

Reserve Bank warns of 25% GDP loss by 2100 unless action taken on climate change

 

 

PART-1: THE HISTORICAL DATA

 

FIGURE 1: GLOBAL MEAN TEMPERATURE 1850-20160001TEMP

 

 FIGURE 2: GLOBAL GDP 1850-20160001GL1

 

FIGURE 3: PER CAPITA GDP IN THE UK 1850-20160001UK1

FIGURE 4: GLOBAL GDP AND GLOBAL WARMING0001GL2

 

FIGURE 5: UK PER CAPITA GDP AND GLOBAL WARMING0001UK2

 

 

PART-2: EVALUATION OF THE CLAIM THAT GLOBAL WARMING CAUSES GDP LOSS

THE DATA PRESENTED ABOVE DO NOT SUPPORT THE PROPOSITION THAT GLOBAL WARMING CAUSES GDP TO DECLINE. WHAT WE SEE INSTEAD IS A POSITIVE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THESE TWO VARIABLES. IF THE RESERVE  BANK SUGGESTS THAT THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN GLOBAL WARMING AND GDP IS A CAUSAL RELATIONSHIP IN WHICH WARMING IS THE AGENT OF CAUSATION AND GDP IS THE EFFECT, THEN THE INTERPRETATION OF THE DATA PRESENTED IS THAT GLOBAL WARMING CAUSES GDP TO RISE.

IT SHOULD BE MENTIONED THAT THE CLIMATE SCIENCE INTERPRETATION OF THIS RELATIONSHIP IS THE OTHER WAY AROUND. WHAT CLIMATE SCIENCE SAYS IS THAT GLOBAL WARMING DOES NOT CAUSE GDP BUT GDP CAUSES GLOBAL WARMING BY WAY OF THE FOSSIL FUEL EMISSIONS OF GDP CREATION. THIS CLIMATE SCIENCE INTERPRETATION IMPLIES THAT IT IS NOT CLIMATE CHANGE BUT CLIMATE ACTION THAT REDUCES GDP. IN EITHER CASE, THE RESERVE BANK PROPOSITION IS FALSIFIED. 

THE ODDITY THAT ALL CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACTS TO FEAR ARE IN THE FUTURE AND NEVER IN THE PAST IMPLIES AN ABSENCE OF EMPIRICAL SUPPORT FOR THESE FEARS. THEREFORE THESE FEARS ARE THE CREATION OF CLIMATE ACTIVISM, NOT CLIMATE SCIENCE [LINK] .

 

LINKS TO THE EXXON KNEW MOVEMENT: [INSIDE-CLIMATE-NEWS] [THE GUARDIAN] [NAOMI ORESKES]   

THE CASE AGAINST EXXON

  1. NAOMI ORESKESBut Exxon was sending a different message, even though its own evidence contradicted its public claim that the science was highly uncertain and no one really knew whether the climate was changing or, if it was changing, what was causing it … Journalists and scientists have identified more than 30 different organizations funded by the company that have worked to undermine the scientific message and prevent policy action to control greenhouse gas emissions.
  2. THE GUARDIAN: EXXON was at the forefront of climate research, warning of the dangers posed by human-caused global warming from the late-1970s to the late-1980s. Exxon has responded to the ICN allegations by pointing out that over the past three decades, the company’s scientists have continued to publish peer-reviewed climate research. Our scientists have contributed climate research and related policy analysis to more than 50 papers in peer-reviewed publications – all out in the open. They’ve participated in the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change since its inception – in 1988 – and were involved in the National Academy of Sciences review of the third U.S. National Climate Assessment Report.Finally, I’ll note that we have long – and publicly – supported a revenue-neutral carbon tax as the most effective, transparent, and efficient way for governments to send a signal to consumers and the economy to reduce the use of carbon-based fuels. While the ICN investigation focused on Exxon’s internal reports, Exxon’s spokesman pointed to the peer-reviewed scientific research published by the company’s scientists between 1983 and 2014 – 53 papers in all. Exxon scientists’ 100% global warming consensus. A review of research papers published by Exxon scientists showed that all 53 of the papers are high-quality scientific research. Most of them implicitly or explicitly endorsed the expert consensus on human-caused global warming; none minimized or rejected it. This means that there is a 100% consensus on human-caused global warming among Exxon’s peer-reviewed climate science research – even higher than the 97% consensus in the rest of the peer-reviewed literature. Of the 53 papers, 45 were co-authored by Haroon Kheshgi. I spoke to several climate scientists who worked with him and all agree, Kheshgi is a top-notch climate scientist, for example having constructively contributed to the first IPCC reports that identified a human influence on global warming. Katharine Hayhoe did a summer internship with Kheshgi at one of Exxon’s facilities as part of her masters’ thesis research, and subsequently co-authored a number of papers with him. According to Hayhoe, “Haroon himself is an outstanding scientist – careful, detailed, methodical, and committed to doing good science, just as we all are. In my experience with Exxon and with Haroon, I never met a scientist who expressed any opinions counter to those prevalent in the academic community”. Much of Exxon’s early research in the 1980s dealt with climate modeling, for example projecting that the planet’s surface temperatures would warm 3–6°C above pre-industrial levels by the year 2100. Their research has often discussed the dangers associated with this degree of global warming, and many studies published by Exxon scientists investigated the possibility of mitigating climate change by sequestering carbon in the deep ocean. The peer-reviewed research published by Exxon’s climate scientists was entirely in line with the expert consensus that humans are causing potentially dangerous global warming, and that we need to explore ways to mitigate the associated risks. Yet, Exxon funded climate denial misinformation campaign. While Exxon’s own scientists and research were 100% aligned with the expert consensus on human-caused global warming, the company simultaneously funded a campaign to manufacture doubt about that scientific consensus. A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science found that groups with funding from corporations like Exxon have been particularly effective at polarizing and misinforming the public on climate change. Since 1998, Exxon has given over $31 million to organizations and individuals blocking solutions to climate change and spreading misinformation to the public. Exxon’s funding of the climate misinformation campaign may even have extended further, as a former company executive told the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS): “The company paid out as much as $10 million annually on what insiders called “black ops” from 1998 through 2005. After pledging to stop funding these climate denial groups in 2007, Exxon continued to give more than $2.3 million to the American Legislative Exchange Council (Alec) and to members of Congress who denied the expert climate consensus and acted to obstruct climate policies. Exxon also funded outside scientists who published some of the 2–3% of shoddy research that disputed the global warming consensus. For example, Exxon and other fossil fuel companies together gave contrarian scientist Willie Soon over $1 million in funding.In short, Exxon has two faces. Its own scientists have been publishing top-notch research on the dangers of human-caused global warming for 35 years, but for the past several decades, the company simultaneously engaged in a multi-pronged campaign to cast doubt on the expert consensus of which its own scientists were part. Exxon funded outside scientists to publish shoddy research contradicting that of its own scientists, funded think tanks and other organizations to use that research to manufacture doubt about the consensus, and donated money to politicians and Alec to obstruct efforts to pass critically important climate legislation. There is a sharp contrast between what Exxon knew and what Exxon did. As Bill McKibben imagined, just think of how the world would be different if Exxon had told the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth on climate change. Exxon is under investigation. While Exxon has supported climate science and policy in public, the company has engaged in a shadowy misinformation campaign behind the scenes. As a result, there have been increasing calls by climate scientists for a civil Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) investigation into Exxon’s behavior in a petition with 350,000 signatures. Senators Whitehouse (D-RI), Blumenthal (D-CT), Warren (D-MA), and Markey (D-MA) have also sent Exxon an inquiry letter asking whether it has funded Donors Trust/Donors Capital Fund, which funnels money to climate denial organizations while concealing the identity of its donors. New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has also subpoenaed Exxon for documents spanning four decades of research findings and communications about climate change. House Democrats have announced plans for a broader probe into the fossil fuel industry to determine whether other companies behaved in the same manner as Exxon, funding a denial misinformation campaign after knowing the causes and risks associated with climate change. It appears that the only difference between the behavior of Exxon and the tobacco industry is that cigarette companies didn’t publish their research linking smoking and adverse health effects. Exxon’s scientists have published research in scientific journals on the human causes and dangers of global warming. However, in both cases, the industries funded an extensive multi-pronged campaign to misinform the public about the expert scientific consensus and the dangers associated with their products. It remains to be seen whether the investigations into the actions of Exxon and the rest of the fossil fuel industry will yield the same results as the investigations into the tobacco industry racketeering.
  3. INSIDE CLIMATE NEWS: Exxon Confirmed Global Warming Consensus in 1982 with In-House Climate Models. The company chairman would later mock climate models as unreliable while he campaigned to stop global action to reduce fossil fuel emissions. Exxon Believed Deep Dive Into Climate Research Would Protect Its Business. Outfitting its biggest supertanker to measure the ocean’s absorption of carbon dioxide was a crown jewel in Exxon’s research program. Exxon’s Business Ambition Collided with Climate Change. Throughout the 1980s, the company struggled to solve the carbon problem of one of the biggest gas fields in the world out of concern for climate impacts. In the 1980s, Exxon lobbied to replace scarce oil with synthetic fossil fuels, but it glossed over the high carbon footprint associated with synfuels. Exxon Sowed Doubt About Climate Science for Decades by Stressing Uncertainty Collaborating with the Bush-Cheney White House, Exxon turned ordinary scientific uncertainties into weapons of mass confusion.Exxon Made Deep Cuts in Climate Research Budget in the 1980s. The cuts ushered in a five-year hiatus in peer-reviewed publication by its scientists and the era when the company first embraced disinformation. More Exxon Documents Show How Much It Knew About Climate 35 Years Ago. Documents reveal Exxon’s early CO2 position, its global warming forecast from the 1980s, and its involvement with the issue at the highest echelons. Exxon’s Oil Industry Peers Knew About Climate Dangers in the 1970s, Too. Members of an American Petroleum Institute task force on CO2 included scientists from nearly every major oil company, including Exxon, Texaco and Shell.

CRITICAL COMMENTARY ON THE CASE AGAINST EXXON

  1. That “Exxon Knew” was an evil thing has more than one interpretation in the case against Exxon presented above. The first is the secrecy interpretation found in the allegations that emphasize how early Exxon had known. The year of this earliness is cited variously as the 1970s and the 1980s. Here the case against Exxon appears to be that they knew about the dangers of fossil fuels but did not divulge this secret so that they could continued to produce their destructive product. This line of reasoning is inconsistent with the climate change literature in which we find climate change papers published and in the public domain as early 1938 by Guy Callendar and in 1957 by Revelle followed by two mainline papers by high profile climate activist James Hansen in 1981 and 1988, and public domain publications of Exxon itself. Thus it does not appear that the anthropogenic global warming and climate change theory (AGW) was a secret. What’s more, Exxon’s climate research was not secretive but published in peer reviewed journals and in the public domain. Therefore, that Exxon had come upon secret information about the coming AGW catastrophe and then kept it a secret for profit’s sake, is not credible. Everything that Exxon knew was in the public domain and nothing that Exxon knew was a secret. RESPONSE:  That Exxon had indeed looked into that matter in depth and spent significant resources investigating the fossil fueled global warming issue means that their decision was an informed decision made in the open with all research findings made public. These details of Exxon’s research into AGW do not cast them as evil but as rational. 
  2. A second argument implied in the case against Exxon is that Exxon’s climate scientists knew about the link between fossil fuels and AGW and the catastrophic consequences if AGW runs its course in the absence of the climate action in the form of reducing and eventually eliminating the combustion of fossil fuels but Exxon managers did not heed their warming and continued to produce and market fossil fuels. In other words, Exxon managers hired climate experts to do the research and advise managers but the managers did not heed the warming Yet, this is exactly how business works. The managers are the decision makers accountable to shareholders. They hire experts to provide them with information they need to make their decision but in the end the managers make the decision.
  3. The important information here is that the managers DID hire experts to investigate this matter and then only after receiving their reports and findings did the managers do their job and make a decision on the basis of  those findings. There is nothing odd or suspicious or evil in this matter as reported in the documents cited above – particularly so considering that the renewable energy alternative was still in development and without a practical solution to intermittency and unreliability. The extreme irony here is that renewable technology is still in development and not a reliable technology ready for implementation. Details in a related post on this site [LINK]  

THE TOBACCO ARGUMENT AGAINST EXXON

  1. On January 11, 1964, Luther L. Terry, M.D., Surgeon General of the U.S. Public Health Service, released the first report of the Surgeon General’s Advisory Committee on Smoking and Health. On the basis of more than 7,000 articles relating to smoking and disease already available at that time in the biomedical literature, the Advisory Committee concluded that cigarette smoking is a cause of lung cancer and laryngeal cancer in men, a probable cause of lung cancer in women, and the most important cause of chronic bronchitis. The release of the report was the first in a series of steps, still being taken more than 40 years later, to diminish the impact of tobacco use on the health of the American people. For several days, the report furnished newspaper headlines across the country and lead stories on television newscasts. Later it was ranked among the top news stories of 1964. During the more than 40 years that have elapsed since that report, individual citizens, private organizations, public agencies, and elected officials have pursued the Advisory Committee’s call for “appropriate remedial action.” Early on, the U.S. Congress adopted the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act of 1965 and the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act of 1969. These laws required a health warning on cigarette packages, banned cigarette advertising in the broadcasting media, and called for an annual report on the health consequences of smoking. In September 1965, the Public Health Service established a small unit called the National Clearinghouse for Smoking and Health.  Through the years, the Clearinghouse and its successor organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Office on Smoking and Health, have been responsible for 29 reports on the health consequences of smoking. In close cooperation with voluntary health organizations, the Public Health Service has supported successful state and community programs to reduce tobacco use, disseminated research findings related to tobacco use, ensured the continued public visibility of anti-smoking messages
    Within this evolving social milieu, the population has given up smoking in increasing numbers. Nearly half of all living adults who ever smoked have quit. The anti-smoking campaign is a major public health success with few parallels in the history of public health. It is being accomplished despite the addictive nature of tobacco and the powerful economic forces promoting its use. However, more than 45 million American adults still smoke, more than 8 million are living with a serious illness caused by smoking, and about 438,000 Americans die prematurely each year as a result of tobacco use. Efforts to implement proven interventions must be continued and expanded.  RESPONSE:  It has become standard practice for climate activists to insert the tobacco story into the Exxon knew allegations but the relevance of this argument is obscure with no rational argument from the accusers of its relevance to AGW climate change. The only possible argument here is that tobacco is proof that corporations profit from bad stuff, the oil industry profits from fossil fuel, so therefore fossil fuels must be bad.

Explainer: how surface and satellite temperature records compare ...

UAH LOWER TROPOSPHERE TEMPERATURES 1979-2019

 

GLOBAL MEAN TEMPERATURE 1979-2019 GIF

MEAN ANNUAL WARMING RATE = 1.3C/CENTURY

GLOBAL-GIFAUS-RATES

 

USA LOWER 48 TEMPERATURE 1979-2019 GIF

MEAN ANNUAL WARMING RATE = 1.7C/CENTURY

USAGIFAUS-RATES

 

AUSTRALIA MEAN TEMPERATURE 1979-2019 GIF

MEAN ANNUAL WARMING RATE = 1.9C/CENTURY

AUSTRALIA-GIFAUS-RATES

 

TROPICS MEAN TEMPERATURE 1979-2019 GIF

MEAN ANNUAL WARMING RATE = 1.2C/CENTURY

TROPICS-GIFAUS-RATES

 

NPOLAR MEAN TEMPERATURE 1979-2019 GIF

MEAN ANNUAL WARMING RATE = 2.57C/CENTURY

NPOLAR-GIFAUS-RATES

 

SPOLAR MEAN TEMPERATURE 1979-2019 GIF

MEAN ANNUAL WARMING RATE = 0.16C/CENTURY

SPOLAR-GIF

AUS-RATES

Girls In The DRC Are Choosing To Be Child Soldiers To Escape ...

A PRINCIPAL RESEARCHER IN THIS FIELD IS PROFESSOR BENJAMIN SOVACOOL. 

 

MAP OF 2,789 MINES BY IPIS  [LINK]

bandicam 2020-07-02 09-11-32-943

12-year-old Charles Dickens working at a boot polish factory 

CHILD LABOR IN THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION IN ENGLAND

 

[LINK TO THE HOME PAGE OF THIS SITE]

 

THIS POST IS AN EXAMINATION OF THE ISSUE THAT THE MOVE TO RENEWABLE ENERGY IN THE GLOBAL NORTH COMES AT THE COST OF MINING FOR COBALT IN THE GLOBAL SOUTH AT GREAT HARM TO THE ENVIRONMENT, HEALTH, AND SOCIAL WELFARE OF THE PEOPLE IN THE DRC AND GHANA. 

This issue is described by various authors in the bibliography below. A statement of this issue by Benjamin Sovacool [LINK] is as follows:

The transitions to low-carbon energy in the Global North is underwritten by serious social and ecological injustice in the Global South at the mines providing cobalt from DRC and at the facilities handling streams of electronic waste in Ghana. Low-carbon transitions may paradoxically contribute to environmental destruction, air pollution, water contamination, and the health risk of cancer and birth defects, deepen gender and racial inequalities, and encourage exploitation of children exposed to extreme risks of death and injury while mining for cobalt and in the e-waste scrapyards of Ghana. The assumption that low carbon trajectories represent a more just way of producing energy is undone in the mines of the DRC and the scrap yards of Ghana. Decarbonisation to cleaner air and cleaner production in the Global North comes at the cost of environmental and social harm in the Global South. It is the “decarbonisation divide”. Cleaner technology is deployed in the Global North while its ecological and health costs are borne by the Global South. Not only that the DRC and Ghana “sacrifice zones” for low carbon technologies but also they will thus become more difficult to decarbonize as they are locked into embedded flows of pollution and dependent on the very processes of dispossession that victimize them. We must resist the temptation to only examine low-carbon transitions, and the particular innovations underpinning them, at their point of deployment. We need to assess the entire lifecycle of these innovations.

Full text of the Sovacool and Kabemba papers are included at the end of this post following the bibliography.

 

CRITICAL COMMENTARY

  1. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is rich in minerals such as cobalt, tin, tantalum, tungsten, copper, and gold. Such is their mineral wealth, that if not for their social dysfunction, the DRC would be the richest nation on earth on a per capita basis.
  2. The relevance of the DRC and its huge cobalt deposits to the climate change issue is that essential minerals such as cobalt needed by the renewable energy initiative of climate action is sourced almost exclusively from there. Critics have pointed out that cobalt mines in the DRC use child labor working long hours under abusive circumstances and in extremely polluted environments with the implication and the accusation that the use of these minerals by the renewable energy business is tantamount to child abuse.
  3. The essential issue in mining for cobalt there is that the DRC is a failed state. It suffers from profound human rights, institutional, and structural weaknesses that prevent it from benefiting from the opportunities offered by its mineral wealth and foreign investments mostly from China. At the same time the country is embroiled in a civil war with no end in sight. It is a lawless place given to exploitation of children and women.
  4. The structural weakness of the DRC from which all its other problems derive is a weak, corrupt, patrimonial, and dysfunctional government combined with years of neglect and war. The DRC is incapable of planning, financing and building its own development infrastructure despite the abundant natural resources.
  5. However, rather than making them rich, their mineral wealth that is sought after by the West and by China, has engulfed the country in civil war, social breakdown, child abuse, child labor, and child soldiers to fight in the civil war. Millions have died and are dying in this ruthless civil war that is partially the creation of DRC’s mineral wealth.
  6. This situation is often interpreted as an evil for which the demand for minerals such as cobalt by the renewable energy industry is blamed. Renewable energy is in demand for the move to a non-carbon economy to control anthropogenic global warming.
  7. A simplistic solution to the DRC tragedy suggested by this evaluation is to eliminate the demand for DRC minerals – specifically, a charge by critics that the renewable energy movement of climate change is guilty of supporting and financing child labor and child abuse by doing business with those cobalt mines.
  8. Yet, the DRC’s mineral wealth is the only silver lining in this horrific failed state.  To attack that business because it does not meet western standards would deepen, not relieve the DRC tragedy. Without the renewable energy demand for cobalt and related minerals, the DRC economy and the welfare of the children and women we say we care about will be adversely affected as the economy sinks from child exploitation jobs to utter poverty and much worse.
  9. The civil war itself is a complicating factor with many different armed groups at war with each other and engaged not only at the mines but also in roadblocks at some distance from the mines. The complex lawlessness and societal dysfunction in which the army is fully engaged as robbers cannot be fully understood in terms of similar issues in civilized societies. The complexity can be appreciated in its different interpretations described in the bibliography below.
  10. The solution to this dilemma proposed by some analysts are that the government should impose and enforce western standard rules and regulations such as “1. track and monitor waste flows 2. Force e-waste exporters to better sort and separate waste flows 3. Appreciate the necessity of cobalt mining for community livelihood 4. Encourage upcycling and repair to minimize e-waste flows 5. Tackle e-waste as part of an integrated waste management program 6. Target National and regional Government bodies such as the Ministry of Mines for Gender, Child and Social Protection, 7. Enforce better occupational standards for ASM mines 8. Undertake improved customs screening and classification of imported waste flows. 9. Implement enhanced waste sorting and separation of wastes streams and implement better dust and tailings management, 10. Formalize e-waste activities and build recycling centers. These proposals assume western standard governance capabilities in a failed state and are entirely irrelevant. 
  11. An alternative that has not been tried is for western importers to buy or lease the mines and participate in their governance and operation. This approach was tried by the Chinese but it failed because the Chinese were too close to the government particularly President Kabila and that turned the people against the Chinese. But the deep intervention by the Chinese into complete takeover of mine operations suggests that as an option, though a more expensive one, for western cobalt buyers concerned about working conditions.
  12. In any case, the simplistic response proposed by renewable energy critics that the renewable energy business must not buy cobalt from the DRC because of its child exploitation would make things even worse for the children that the critics are ostensibly trying to help.
  13. To close, it must be emphasized that the underlying problem is that the DRC is a failed state without a state structure that can fix things. Whatever intervention can be made to help these children, whether they work in the mines or serve in the army in a civil war, must be designed to work in that realistic setting.
  14. If no such solution exists and our options are either to buy cobalt from them or to not buy cobalt from them, the children we are trying to help will be worse off if we don’t buy cobalt from them. In other words, that the demand for renewable energy imposes child exploitation in the DRC is not a useful argument against renewable energy. Those concerned about the plight of child labor in polluted mines can either help these children by buying the cobalt or throw them into total desperation or death by not buying the cobalt. Banning cobalt mined by child labor in polluted mine environments is not a way to help these kids. 
  15. The additional argument made against these mines is the pollution they cause. The response by the rich countries of the Global North that polluting mines such as these must not be allowed to operate is cruel and self serving. Before the rich got rich they polluted to get rich and once rich developed the value system and the wealth to follow a more pollution free development plan. This value system of the rich cannot be imposed on the poor. If pollution is an issue in the mines, the answer is not to tell the poor they can’t mine the cobalt or the lithium because of the pollution but to help them to solve these pollution problems. The charges by the rich Global North against the poverty stricken Global South with regard to pollution and child labor must be evaluated in light of the history of the Global North. The history shows that pollution and child abuse are also found in their path to economic development, wealth, and the high standard of living from which they now judge the poor of the Global South. 

CHILD LABOR IN THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION IN ENGLAND

 

 

 

 

 

RELEVANT BIBLIOGRAPHY

  1. IPIS {Ken Matthysen, Peer Schouten, Steven Spittaels}, Mapping artisanal mining areas in eastern DRC. April 9, 2019, Online Report [FULL TEXT] : IPIS assesses the impact of responsible sourcing initiatives in DRC, designed to address armed interference in mineral supply chains. The report illustrates that responsible sourcing has improved the personal security of groups of artisanal miners in several provinces. However, these are relatively fragile gains and the underlying problems remain unchanged. IPIS also establishes that most of the armed conflicts appear to be unrelated to mining activities. Armed interference in artisanal mining relates to ‘protection rackets’, while armed confrontations largely take place elsewhere and for other stakes. Nevertheless, these protection rackets do contribute to the overall insecurity in eastern DRC and further stigmatizes the region to be an impossible to conduct ethically responsible business. IPIS’ data on roadblocks illustrates that artisanal mining is only one of the many sources of financing for conflict actors in eastern DRC. Furthermore, the research on roadblocks demonstrates that armed actors do not need to have direct control over mining sites to benefit from the artisanal mining sector. IPIS notes a consistent pattern whereby the army consistently erects roadblocks some distance away from the mines.
  2. Sovacool, Benjamin K., et al. “The decarbonisation divide: Contextualizing landscapes of low-carbon exploitation and toxicity in Africa.” Global Environmental Change 60 (2020): 102028[FULL TEXT PDF]   Much academic research on low-carbon transitions focuses on the diffusion or use of innovations such as electric vehicles or solar panels, but overlooks or obscures downstream and upstream processes, such as mining or waste flows. Yet it is at these two extremes where emerging low-carbon transitions in mobility and electricity are effectively implicated in toxic pollution, biodiversity loss, exacerbation of gender inequality, exploitation of child labor, and the subjugation of ethnic minorities. We conceptualize these processes as part of an emerging “decarbonisation divide.” To illustrate this divide with clear insights for political ecology, sustainability transitions, and energy justice research, this study draws from extensive fieldwork examining cobalt mining in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and the processing and recycling of electronic waste in Ghana. It utilizes original data from 34 semi-structured research interviews with experts and 69 community interviews with artisanal cobalt miners, e-waste scrapyard workers, and other stakeholders, as well as 50 site visits. These visits included 30 industrial and artisanal cobalt mines in the DRC, as well as associated infrastructure such as trading depots and processing centers, and 20 visits to the Agbogbloshie scrapyard and neighborhood alongside local waste collection sites, electrical repair shops, recycling centers, and community e-waste dumps in Ghana. The study proposes a concerted set of policy recommendations for how to better address issues of exploitation and toxicity, suggestions that go beyond the often-touted solutions of formalisation or financing. Ultimately, the study holds that we must all, as researchers, planners, and citizens, broaden the criteria and analytical parameters we use to evaluate the sustainability of low-carbon transitions.
  3. Art Hansen/USAID, “Planning Educational Response Strategies for the Reintegration of Demobilized Child Soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo.” Final Report (2001). The Education to Combat Abusive Child Labor (ECACL) Activity is a major component of the Basic Education and Policy Support (BEPS) Activity, a multi-year, worldwide, indefinite quantity contract from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Center for Human Capacity Development (HCD). The BEPS activity is designed to be responsive to USAID’s overall goal of “human capacity built through education and training” by supporting improved and expanded basic education, especially for girls. ECACL focuses on building the capacity of USAID to respond effectively to the problem of abusive child labor through basic education policies and programs. Mission and Strategy The mission of the ECACL activity is to provide technical, management and program assistance to USAID Missions, Regional Bureaus, the Global Bureau, and organizations in non-presence countries to combat abusive child labor throughout the world. Using basic education as the principal tool, ECACL will address and combat abusive child labor.
  4. Rakisits, Claude. “Child Soldiers in the East of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.” Refugee Survey Quarterly 27.4 (2008): 108-122. Approximately 300,000 children are part of regular and irregular armies worldwide, either as combatants or as support personnel. Their numbers are growing. However, the truth is that no one really knows the actual number of child soldiers fighting in some seventy-two government or rebel forces in about twenty countries. This is simply because field work on this subject is notoriously difficult. And as it is in breach of international humanitarian law to engage a child under the age of 18 years, regular armies and guerrilla forces are hardly going to publicize the number of child soldiers in their ranks. Whatever the true number of child soldiers may be, the fact remains that child soldiers have become a principal component of military forces across Africa, Asia, and Latin America. For Africa alone, estimates suggest that there are 120,000 children, 40 per cent of all child soldiers. Moreover, not only has Africa experienced the fastest growth in the use of child soldiers, but the average age of the children enlisted in some African countries is declining as well. And this is despite the fact that there are a number of international treaties and principles that prohibit the use of child soldiers. Successfully bringing peace, security, and the rule of law in the Kivu provinces, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), will be a massive challenge that will require domestic and regional measures implemented over probably several years. This will necessitate the continued active political and financial support of the international community.
  5. Lischer, Sarah Kenyon. “War, displacement, and the recruitment of child soldiers in the democratic republic of Congo.” Child soldiers in the age of fractured states (2010): 143-159bandicam 2020-06-22 07-21-44-348
  6. Enne, Erica, Giacomo Galanello, and Eliana Marino. “Drivers of Change in the Democratic Republic of Congo: The Role of China in Re-Shaping the Country.” Transition Studies Review 17.2 (2010): 297-310Africa has always been potentially one of the richest continents in the world, but, due to a series of causes (colonization and decolonization process, wars, dictatorships etc.) it has never reached its full potential. The fight against poverty has been carried out by different institutions at the multilateral and bilateral level during the last 30 years, but the route toward economic development seems to be still long for African countries. This paper will focus on the analysis of the new approach to international cooperation introduced by the People’s Republic of China in order to exchange rights of exploitation of Africa’s mining and natural resources with large amounts of capital without any conditionality. The case-study which will be considered is the agreement concluded between the People’s Republic of China and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  7. Nduwimana, Donatien. Reintegration of child soldiers in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo: Challenges and prospects. Nairobi, Kenya: International Peace Support Training Centre, 2013.  The International Peace Support Training Center (IPSTC) has made considerable contribution in research and training on peace support issues. The IPSTC produced seven Occasional Papers in 2013. Five of them focused on Somalia while the others dealt with drivers of conflict and integration of child soldiers in eastern DRC. Reintegration of Child Soldiers in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo: Challenges and Prospects, provides insight into the plight of children in conflict prone Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
  8. Kabemba, Claude. “China-Democratic Republic of Congo Relations: From a Beneficial to a Developmental Cooperation.” African Studies Quarterly 16 (2016). The relationship between China and the Democratic Republic of Congo
    (DRC) provides a unique case to test China’s win-win policy with African
    countries. A recurring question is how can a win-win partnership be realized
    between very unequal partners? China is a global power ideologically, economically, militarily, and financially. The DRC is known for its weak state characterized by years of instability and mismanagement. China claims to pursue a win-win relation with the DRC. The DRC’s political economy has been dominated since 1885 by an economy of extraction built on the legacy of the Free State. According to this legacy, the DRC serves as an open source of capital accumulation for foreign powers. This pattern of colonial extraction, where the DRC is a source of cheap strategic mineral resources that serve the narrow interest of Western capital remains largely unchanged today. China entered the DRC with a promise to break with this exploitative economic relation. China has acquired financial and economic strengths, which it is using to position itself as an alternative to the West. The paper discusses whether or not a win-win cooperative relationship is possible between China and the DRC. [FULL TEXT PDF]
  9. Maiza-Larrarte, Andoni, and Gloria Claudio-Quiroga. “The impact of Sicomines on development in the Democratic Republic of Congo.” International Affairs 95.2 (2019): 423-446.  The main motivation of the Congolese government in signing the Sicomines deal, the most important Sino-African resource financed infrastructure (RFI) agreement, was the creation of a set infrastructure elements with a long-term positive impact on the population’s living conditions. In this article, we present the results of an intermediary assessment of the main socioeconomic consequences of the so-called ‘deal of the century’. Additionally, we also provide relevant evidence about China’s resource-financed infrastructure (RFI) model, which is key to determining China’s potential role as a valuable strategic partner in building a better future for Africa. This analysis compares objectives and evidence in the main areas of the agreement: mining production, infrastructure, debt, economic growth and development. The appraisal has been carried out on the basis of a combination of evaluation tools, relying on extensive data collection from the most relevant DRC and international sources. In addition, several data sources have been checked to mitigate the unreliability of statistics and relevant qualitative information has been included with the objective of going beyond quantitative statistics. We conclude that in this first decade the Sicomines deal has not had the beneficial socio-economic consequences that were promised; the evidence shows that the DRC is exchanging part of its mineral wealth for deficient roads and poor equipment. This is a relevant conclusion since the outcomes of major pioneer RFI initiatives such as Sicomines may well determine the success of China’s new financing and development paradigm in Africa.
  10. Wang, Duanyong, and Pei Zhao. “Mismatching Structures: A New Explanation for the “Unsatisfactory” Labor Conditions in Chinese Mining Companies in the Democratic Republic of Congo.” Chinese Journal of International Review 1.01 (2019): 1850005.  Ever since the Minerals-for-Infrastructure Deal valued at $6 billion was signed between Chinese companies and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Government in 2008, there have been criticisms on both the agreement itself and the working conditions for Congolese and Chinese workers in Chinese mineral enterprises in the DRC. Based on our fieldwork in Katanga Province of the DRC and interviews with dozens of local Chinese workers and managers in Chinese-run mining companies as well as staff working at the civil society organizations and governmental departments there, this research tries to investigate the real working conditions in Chinese mining companies. This paper concludes with three points. First, the so-called “wage gap” always asserted by the local workers is rather a phenomenon of employment structure than discrimination. In non-English-speaking African countries, a gap has actually emerged between the insufficiency of local human resources and the lack in localization capabilities of the Chinese multinational enterprises. Second, the compliance dynamics and mechanism of Chinese-run mining companies in the field of labor conditions were driven by local pressure groups including legislation, governments and NGOs, rather than by Chinese government or legislative system. What is interesting is that the rigid discipline of local laws and the abuse of discretion in the process of implementing laws have created a special pressuring structure and resulted in some complex consequences. Third, many Chinese-run mining companies in the DRC have quite different business structures from their branches in China. This is because of their financial investment aims and for the ease of enterprises’ transition. Therefore, it has led to their different perspectives of labor conditions and human resources strategy from mature MNCs. In summary, the research cannot draw a conclusion that the labor conditions are really terrible in Chinese-run mining companies in Katanga Province. However, it reveals that the Chinese government and Chinese enterprises are still not fully prepared for direct investment abroad, although “Going-out” strategy was raised 13 years ago.
  11. Sovacool, Benjamin K. “The precarious political economy of cobalt: Balancing prosperity, poverty, and brutality in artisanal and industrial mining in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.” The Extractive Industries and Society 6.3 (2019): 915-939.  This study examines the political economy of cobalt mining in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. There, a veritable mining boom for cobalt is underway, driven by rising global demand needed for batteries and other modern digital devices. Based on extensive and original field research—including expert interviews, community interviews with miners and traders, and naturalistic observation at 21 mines and 9 affiliated mining sites—this study asks: How is cobalt currently extracted? What benefits has cobalt mining brought communities? What risks has it created? And, critically, what policies need implemented to make mining there more equitable and sustainable? It documents six interrelated benefits to cobalt mining, including poverty reduction, community development, and regional stability, alongside six serious challenges, including accidents and occupational hazards, environmental pollution and degraded community health, and violent conflict and death. It then proposes seven policy recommendations for different stakeholder groups such as local and national government, industrial (and often foreign) mining companies, miners and their communities, and the manufacturers of electronic products using cobalt. The study primarily seeks to humanize the lived experiences of Congolese cobalt mining, and to reveal the tensions and tradeoffs associated with the recent mining boom.
  12. Soufi, Yasid. “Strategic Raw Materials, International Mining Firms and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.” International Mining Firms and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (2020).  The Democratic Republic of the Congo represents one of the world’s most important sites for mining activities. Strategic raw materials, such as cobalt and tantalum, fuel the global electro-mobility movement and high-tech industries. Located in the heart of Africa multinational firms from Canada, China and other countries do currently find themselves in a run for resources. Quantifications of interdependencies between disruptions in the former Belgian colony and associated real and financial economic values of international scale are largely nonexistent and aimed for in this study. Using SVAR models and the classical event study methodology we find that risk in the Congo and events, influencing the local competitive structure of multinational firms, do significantly influence prices of strategic raw materials and internationally listed stocks.
  13. Wegenast, Tim, et al. “At Africa’s expense? Disaggregating the employment effects of Chinese mining operations in sub-Saharan Africa.” World Development 118 (2019): 39-51China’s increasing investments in African countries have attracted considerable media attention and are the subject of scholarly debate. However, the socioeconomic impacts of China’s presence in Africa remain poorly understood. While some case studies maintain that Chinese projects have an enclave character and have largely failed to promote economic spillovers and local employment, others claim that Chinese activities have in fact encouraged infrastructural development and local economic activity. Focusing on the labor market effects of foreign mining investments in Africa, this article examines whether Chinese-controlled companies generate fewer local jobs compared to non-Chinese mining operations. Theoretically, we argue that—due to a competitive advantage in the employment of expatriate workers and a lower readiness to invest in local skill formation—Chinese firms are less likely to foster regional employment. Relying on novel data on the control-rights regimes of diamond, gold, and copper mines and georeferenced information from Afrobarometer surveys, we test the effect of mining contractors’ nationality on local employment rates. Our individual-level logistic models show that respondents living close to Chinese mining areas are more likely to report being unemployed compared to individuals living in the vicinity of non-Chinese mining operations. Times-series cross-sectional estimations employing district-level data from the Demographic and Health Surveys for 20 sub-Saharan countries over the period 1997–2015 corroborate these findings. Furthermore, we find evidence that negative perceptions of China among indigenous populations are largely driven by the belief that Chinese workers are crowding out local employment.
  14. Kafarhire, John Bintu Bantu. “China’s investment in the Democratic Republic of Congo: The impact of the 2007 Sino-Congolese agreement in a postwar period.” (2019).  Over the past 10 years, China has become a major actor in African politics and development process. It has invested significant amounts of money in infrastructure in mineral-rich countries, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo. In return, China secures the exploitation of main resources, necessary for its own economic development, such as cobalt and copper. In 2007, a consortium of Chinese enterprises signed a ‘resource for infrastructure’ agreement with the Congolese government. The parties agreed that China would export and sell Congolese cobalt and copper and, in return, China would build a number of infrastructure projects in the Congo. To guarantee reimbursement of Chinese loans, a Sino-Congolese joint venture was created in the Katanga province where the mines are located. This thesis aims at contributing to the discussion regarding the agreement’s impact on living conditions in the Congo. To what extent does China’s Chinese investment and the mineral exploitation in the Democratic Republic of Congo benefit the country? I look at internal and international debates around the agreement and works done so far by China and the joint venture in the Congo to assess the impact of the agreement.
  15. Rubbers, Benjamin. “Mining boom, labour market segmentation and social inequality in the Congolese Copperbelt.” Development and Change (2019).  The study of the impacts of new mining projects in Africa is generally set in a normative debate about their possible contribution to development, which leads to a representation of African societies as divided between beneficiaries and victims of foreign investments. Based on research in the Congolese copperbelt, this article aims to examine in more detail the inequalities generated by the recent mining boom by taking the processes of labour market segmentation as a starting point. It shows that the labour market in the mining sector has progressively been organized along three intersecting lines that divide it: the first is between employment in industrial and artisanal mining companies, the second is between jobs for mining or subcontracting companies and the third is between jobs for expatriates, Congolese skilled workers and local unskilled workers. Far from simply reflecting existing social inequalities, the labour market has been actively involved in their creation, and its control has caused growing tensions in the Congolese copper-belt region. Although largely neglected in the literature on extractive industries, processes of labour market segmentation are key to making sense of the impacts of mining investments on the shape of societies in the global South.
  16. Gnassou, Laure. “Addressing renewable energy conundrum in the DR Congo: Focus on Grand Inga hydropower dam project.” Energy Strategy Reviews 26 (2019): 100400. As the DR Congo has experienced a severe energy crisis, the paper analyzes its energy policy. It examines the Grand Inga hydropower project, including the Inga 3 dam. The Inga 3 dam’s development is confronted with political, geostrategic, and financial challenges, notably the suspension of the World Bank’s funding in 2016. Due to the electro-mobility’s development, the downstream companies intend to secure cobalt from the country. Mining companies of the copper-cobalt belt might fail to respond to the downstream companies’ needs, given the lack of a reliable and affordable energy supply. Policy recommendations suggest that further transparency in implementing the Grand Inga project is required for restoring donors’ confidence; while the country strives for political stability and sustainable development.

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE SOVACOOL 2020 PAPER FULL TEXT

To examine the contours of upstream and downstream impacts of low-carbon transitions on mining and waste processing communities, we selected two case studies based on their current and projected significance in material flows: the Katanga region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Agbogbloshie and Accra districts in Ghana. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) was selected because it significantly dominates the global production of cobalt. In 2018 the DRC produced 90,000 tons of unrefined cobalt, or 64.3% of the world’s total, and it had 49% of the world’s known cobalt reserves—more than the next top ten countries in the world combined (U.S. Geological Survey 2019). Despite the limitations above, the three methods together, and the photographs, resulted in the collection of a rich, unique qualitative dataset that extensively document the costs and risks to cobalt mining and e-waste recycling and reclamation. Four sets of vulnerabilities seem most acute in this so-called “decarbonisation divide,” and will be discussed in the sections to come: environmental and public health risks; gender discrimination and the marginalization of women; child labor and exploitation; and the subjugation of ethnic groups. Environmental and public health Even though the Congolese and Ghanaian communities end up either supplying critical metals to low-carbon technologies, or processing their waste flows, the environmental and public health risks associated with cobalt mining and e-waste processing are sizable, multifaceted, and persistent. In the DRC, it is important to distinguish between two types of cobalt mining, large-scale industrial mining (often abbreviated as LSM, and owned by foreign firms), and artisanal and small-scale mining (abbreviated as ASM, and usually owned by local communities). LSM cobalt mining techniques account for about 80% of national production, employ much larger machinery and a high degree of mechanization and automation, usually using a mix of surface scrapers, bulldozers, and diggers, as well as excavators, dump trucks, dynamite, and acid (Sovacool 2019a). A single LSM cobalt and copper mine can produce more than 8 million tons per year (though most of that is copper). ASM, by contrast, accounts for 20% of production but 98% of the workforce. It is low-tech, labor-intensive, and highly dangerous for the miners. CCR8, a miner, told the authors that: We mine cobalt in teams, usually 5–6 in a team though sometimes they can be as small as 4, or as large as 15. We use simple tools, such as a shovel and a pick axe. We mine at night, usually beginning at 5pm and going all the way until the sun rises the next day, around 6am, so a 13 h shift. We dig a large room to ‘live’ in and then we remove side blocks or ‘rooms’ of cobalt and copper. Sometimes we just stay in the mine. CER4, an industry expert, cautioned that “I wouldn’t even call artisanal mining, it’s really collecting or scavenging, they don’t have equipment to mine, they just dig.” Fig. 5, for example, shows two ASM cobalt mines near Kasulu and Kawama that were little more than holes in the ground. Such mining techniques pose a severe risk to both the miners themselves and the communities they support. CCR2, who had decades of experience in the cobalt mining industry, stated that: Cobalt mining here in all its varieties has massive environmental consequences, and very little attention from government as to what is going on. Those impacts are underestimated, with no comprehensive view. People mainly look at dust and water, and plant contamination. If you visit in the dry season, it’s like living in a permanent sandstorm, a cloud hangs over the collective mining properties. Technically companies or mining cooperatives should water the roads to minimize dust, but they don’t. Then you have pollution of fruits and vegetables, other studies looking at urine concentrations at artisanal sites, as well as high rates of heavy metals in urine and blood, especially children. Numerous articles have confirmed the depth and extent of environmental pollution associated with cobalt mining, including the exposure of mining teams to uranium and toxic metals (Banza Lubaba. Nkulu et al. 2018), as well as the pollution of drinking and bathing water with heavy metals (Tsurukawa et al., 2011). The World Bank (2008: 23) called the environmental impacts of ASM in the DRC as “deplorable,” and it noted the multifaceted way that such activities can ravage the local environment. This includes direct biodiversity loss and deforestation through mines and disposal sites, as well as air pollution through emissions and discharges. Processing slimes (thick sludge from mining operations) and tailings damage wetlands and change the flow modification and sedimentation patterns of rivers. Mining tunnels contribute to soil erosion, land instability, and ground subsidence, and toxic dust coats everything around a mine. Indeed, although the mine is only one vector, pollution also occurs across other aspects of the lifecycle including slurry sites, trading depots, and processing stations. Fig. 6 attempts to visualize the multiple externalities associated with cobalt mining. These factors culminate in a toxic environment. And yet communities have become addicted to mining. As CER5 put it: The cobalt boom has created a social norm that to escape poverty you must mine. The entire community however becomes a mine, people just start digging, everywhere, under churches and farms, under homes and cafes. They know they can earn more money in mining than agriculture, so it diverts resources, and creates more mining. People are proud to have several family members working in mines, you are seen as stupid if you don’t do it, parents are even proud if they have children at mines. Mines are not seen as harmful, they are seen as an elevator lifting them out of poverty. In reality, however, mining prevents families from diversifying their incomes, or creating small businesses, or investing in education or alternatives. It traps them into a life of cobalt. It lures them into a lifestyle that will ultimately kill them. This complex social norm in favor of mining likely explains why more communities do not reject mining activities. The environmental and health calamities of e-waste in Ghana are just as stark, given that e-waste contains hazardous and toxic substances such as lead, mercury, cadmium, and flame retardants alongside valuable minerals such as gold or copper. The Ghanaian Environmental Protection Agency warns that a host of toxic elements reside within e-waste streams, including capacitors containing polychlorinated biphenyls, gas discharge lamps, batteries, plastics containing brominated flame retardants, liquid crystal displays, external electric cables and electrolyte capacitors. These often also contain asbestos, mercury, refractory ceramic fibers, and radioactive substances In particular, the practices used in battery disposal and recycling are extremely hazardous. At Agbogbloshie, batteries from electric vehicles and other devices are subject to uncontrolled acid drainage, as well as hazardous methods for breaking batteries with machetes. Insufficient dust-control measures exist in recycling and smelting facilities, with broken and uneven ground-cover that prohibits disassembly and cleaning, nonexistent washing of secondary plastics resulting in cross-contamination with lead-oxide, insufficient personal protective equipment for workers, and the complete absence of health and safety monitoring for workers and neighboring communities (Atiemo et al. 2016). GER4 linked these environmental impacts to the health of the local population: “when one assesses the determinants of health, many illnesses have environmental causes. Mortality is due to one’s neighborhood environment, where they live before death, and it is here where e-waste acts as one of the most potent sources of morbidity.” GER4 went on to explain that: At Agbogbloshie, they use only the most rudimentary means of e-waste processing, such as acid leaching, manual dismantling, and burning, which creates serious health problems among the workers themselves. However, children are also vulnerable. Young children live or attend schools close to the site that have many heavy metals in their urine. Children between ages 12 and 15 already have kidney failure, body systems like 90 year old adults. Pregnant women are also vulnerable, with linkages to cancer and birth defects emerging. Environmental impacts are worsened because those working in the sector do not have access to, or follow, environmental standards. As GCR1 explained, “communities have tried to give hand gloves and protective clothing, but they tend not to use them, just resell.” Worsening matters, the sites at the scrapyard where acid leeching, burning, and dismantling take place are located adjacent to a series of food markets, and some of the scrap itself is recycled into cooking pots and kettles, which respondents argued then further release toxics into THE community. One study found that, unexpectedly, blood levels for lead were higher in e-waste non-workers (i.e., community residents living nearby) than for that of e-waste workers at Agbogbloshie probably because the workers are onsite only during shifts, but the community residents live there. Other health monitoring has indicated that polychlorinated biphenyls exposure of people living in Accra not involved in e-waste activities were higher than those directly involved. These health dynamics pose a distinct moral hazard to e-waste activity because they engender undue burdens on those who have nothing to do with its processing, and do not necessarily consent to being involved or polluted. Most worryingly, as in the DRC and mining, such health risks are tacitly accepted as “worth it” and necessary to climb to a higher standard of living. GER 4 explained that: It [Agbogbloshie] is a huge market for a population otherwise with no means of survival in the urban environment. These people are not stupid, they know the health risks, but they think: isn’t dying slowly better than already dead? Such a statement implies that better information and education, by itself, will do little to minimize hazardous e-waste activities because many community members already understand a degree of the risks involved and see them as tolerable. A second area of vulnerability relates to marginalization and disempowerment of women, as well as the entrenchment of patterns of patriarchy and gender inequalities. In the DRC, respondents argued that women were legally forbidden to mine—it was believed by many experts to be illegal under the National Mining Code, although this fact was contested in the literature. In reality women often do mine, performing some of the most difficult or intensive tasks for less pay than men. As CER8 explained: Cobalt mining activities are very gendered: For example, you rarely find women going into the pits and digging, but they play a central role in cleaning, processing, transporting, and trading. Prostitution is rife in mining camps, and sex workers are among the most vulnerable to poverty, and also violence, in particular because they are often internal migrants with few local connections or support networks. CER20 argued that women generally “don’t get access to the best don’t get paid equal revenue, they don’t have the physical strength of men, they fall sick more often or are more easily harmed.” The site visits confirmed these findings, with dozens of women (and girls) observed digging for cobalt, carrying and sorting the minerals, and conducting support activities such as selling vegetables to miners and hauling water. Congolese women constituted a growing proportion of miners and workers but, due to their low status, were generally forced to undertake the most strenuous or poorly paid activities, or become involved in mining under pressure from their husbands or families. The literature also notes a collection of other indirect effects of ASM mining on gender relations that aggravate gender inequality. many of the health impacts from mining are gendered, with women facing specific illness, injury, and stress as well as extreme exertion and exhaustion from very labor-intensive activities (i.e., digging for several hours, hauling heavy loads long distances, bending over in awkward positions). Moreover, women in mining communities in the DRC, especially sex workers, face the ever present risk of contracting dangerous contagious diseases being spread by miners, many of them migrants, including HIV/AIDS, diarrhea, hepatitis, meningitis, cholera, typhoid, tetanus, typhus, malaria, yellow fever, and tuberculosis (Tsurukawa et al., 2011). These health risks are gendered because women are more likely than men to be prostitutes, and also given they are at the lower rungs of the mining hierarchy, women are more exposed to unsafe conditions and chronic injuries. Women’s gendered and centrally-important roles at Agbogbloshie also expose them to additional risks. GER10 noted that “women are exposed to all of the same toxins and risks as men, but are forbidden by culture to actually do the sorting or burning—instead they do menial tasks such as selling water or cooking food.” Fig. 9 shows two women onsite preparing fruits or selling snacks. As a consequence, mothers within Agbogbloshie have been shown to have high levels of PCBs in their blood as well as very high rates of endocrine disruption and neurotoxicity in addition to abnormally high rates of spontaneous abortions, stillbirths, and premature births. It also falls on women to continue to care for children, manage a household, and assist their husbands, or parents, all the while conducting ancillary e-waste activities, all without pay. A third disturbing finding is that both cobalt mining and e-waste processing depend significantly on child labor. In the DRC, children work extensively in the cobalt mining sector due to the absence of available schooling, and/or the need to support siblings or themselves (as many are orphans). CER2 remarked that “children are in artisanal cobalt mines as the only way to feed themselves or their family. Child mining for cobalt is one of the worst forms of child labor since it exposes children to physical, psychological, and sexual abuse; requires working underground, underwater, at dangerous heights, or in confined spaces; involves dangerous equipment and tools as well as the manual handling of heavy loads; places children in unhealthy work environments that expose children to toxic substances, agents, and processes; working for long hours or at night. Children are required to routinely carry sacks of ore that weigh more than they do. Children are often exposed to physical abuse and beatings, whippings, and attempted drownings from security guards, as well as drug abuse, violence, and sexual exploitation. Some children are reportedly exploited financially by traders and bosses who refuse to even weigh their products, instead paying them substandard rates for sacks of cobalt based on visually under estimated weights. The cobalt mining sector is littered with children. And these child miners are in such bad shape that many will die before they ever become an adult. They will get buried alive in an underground tunnel, or drowned in a waterlogged pit. In the slightly longer term, they can even develop cancer, things like pneumonia, malnutrition, or they start dying from AIDS. There is so much prostitution as well, spreading these diseases. Why do the children do it? They may make twice to three times what they could earn in another job. These young miners are not exceptions. CER8 estimated that “child labor is practiced extensively.” Based on surveys in 150 mining communities in the Katanga region of the DRC, Faber et al. (2017) estimated that about 23% of children worked in the cobalt mining sector. A research team from BGR (2019) also visited 58 copper and cobalt mines in the DRC, and they detected the presence of children at 17 mines (=29% of the mines). In 11 of these mines, children carried out fairly heavy labor including handpicking, washing, sorting ore, and working underground. Only in 8 of these mines were parents of the children present. Similar conditions can be found in Agbogbloshie, Ghana, with children making up a large proportion of the labor force working at the site, with some directly working as e-waste collectors, some indirectly supporting the waste workers by selling food or providing services, and others merely residing there. The e-waste problem’s getting bigger by the day, which means the future is very bleak for the children of Agbogbloshie. Second hand electronic material continues to be dumped in the area from around the world. Children are seen sleeping on scrap, eating with e-waste, coughing intensely, bleeding. They are dying. A child dismantler of e-waste had been working at Agbogbloshie for two years. He started working when he was twelve; he has no family. He stated that “copper from e-waste is my livelihood. I like what I do, it was better than working in the fields in a farm or selling water at the side of the road. I get skills. I get respect. I can make $100 a month. I live like a king. Another child, a burner, said he was 14 and that he had been working there for five years, meaning he started when he was 9. He says “No, I don’t like my job, who would like this? But, it keeps my family fed, and that is what matters.” There is a football pitch inside the scrapyard and little boys and girls are known to work alongside collectors and burners. More than 100 children were observed. Subjugation of ethnic and migrant minorities: A final concern is how cobalt mining and e-waste processing further worsen ethnic inequalities and exacerbate the marginalization of particular ethnic groups and refugees. In the DRC, millions of people have had to survive two civil wars, repeated invasions by foreign armies, epidemics of diseases such as cholera, malaria, HIV/AIDS and Ebola, militia activity, and ethnic conflict. The DRC is home to 4.5 million displaced persons and more than 530,000 refugees. This has collectively created an extremely large population of displaced persons and ex-combatants who constitute a surplus labor pool of migratory workers. Consequently, migrants and some ethnic groups are the most vulnerable in the mining sector. New miners, often migrants or refugees, find themselves extremely vulnerable when they start cobalt mining, as they need to learn a new set of skills in a very dangerous environment. There are ethnic dimensions to vulnerability, also, as the system is predicated on displaced persons. Certain ethnic groups are more psychologically vulnerable, some better off than others, some have family connections with security people or traders who can give them money but the refugee miners are at the bottom of the pile. They are hidden and invisible, since extraction is often clandestine. While cobalt mining practices may not create new inequalities, they worsen existing inequalities and patterns of discrimination. Those most exposed to exploitative use of labor are those already most marginalized within Congolese societies – for example the pygmies displaced by mining. The inequalities in terms of work conditions reinforce existing inequalities of ethnicity, race, class, and social status. The persecuting culture leads to ethnic discrimination even by foreign firms, mining bosses, local trading companies, the mining police, the local police, and the national secret service. Migratory workers to the site are given the worst jobs according to their religion or ethnicity. Migrants are exposed to persecution by mine employers. When they arrive, they are placed at the bottom of the scrapyard hierarchy and are given the most toxic jobs, such as burning. The sheer growth in e-waste has attracted large numbers of refugees and migrants, who have flocked there for the employment opportunities. The size of operations at Agbogbloshie has doubled in the past 10 years. We have seen this in a doubling of the volume of waste being handled, the waste being stockpiled and repaired. We see this in the tripling of the people now living here, as well as the revenues we generate. But we have also seen this in the number of different ethnic groups—we had fewer than 6 ten years ago, but now have almost 20. Newer arrivals from the Northern Provinces of Ghana, Benin and Togo were seen burning, the worst job.Such migrants lack the social ties of longtime residents, face language barriers, and are easier to exploit. The sleeping quarters for new workers also consisted simply of collections of metal pipes with bricks for an armrest or pillow. Other new arrivals were so marginalized they were not even permitted to burn, with the “lowest” members of the hierarchy searching through the dump after things were burnt for the scraps of the scraps.

POLICY IMPLICATIONS AND RECOMMENATIONS
four injustices manifest in the extraction and disposal of low carbon technologies.
1. deteriorating environmental health
2. enhanced gender inequalities
3. child exploitation
4. ethnic or religious discrimination
These minerals are a critical and necessary component of low-carbon transitions but are invisible to most policymakers or consumers. Awareness of this topic is lacking. Issues of e-waste are some of low in the policy agenda compared with say plastics. In addition, these risks are interlinked. The health of communities is under siege due to cobalt mining. These interconnected risks cut across issues in health, gender, child labor, and ethnic persecution and require a policy for interventions as a response. Reforms and policy changes needed to make cobalt mining and e-waste processing more sustainable are: 1. Pursue broader and more robust community benefit sharing agreements 2. Establish better inventories and data repositories for tracking and monitoring waste flows 3. Recognize the limitations of traceability schemes and formalization 4. Force e-waste exporters to better sort and separate waste flows 5. Appreciate the necessity of cobalt mining for community livelihood 6. Encourage upcycling and the right to repair to minimize e-waste flows 7. Implement stronger reverse logistics and extended producer responsibility policies 8. Tackle e-waste as part of an integrated waste management program 9. Target National and regional Government bodies such as the Ministry of Mines in the DRC, or the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Protection, Environmental Protection Agency or Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation in Ghana, municipal authorities such as mining cooperatives in the DRC, or the Accra Metropolitan Assembly 10. Enforce??? better occupational standards for ASM mines 11. Undertake?? improved customs screening and classification of imported waste flows. 12 Form joint ventures between ASM and LSM interests 13. Implement enhanced waste sorting and separation of wastes streams 13. Implement better dust and tailings management?? at LSM mines 14. Increase financing flows and levy more substantial charges on e-waste?? 15. Formalize some e-waste activities and build more recycling centers 16. Complement any such formalization with poverty reduction programs 17. Support training for alternative livelihoods and awareness of health Risks 19. Offer targeted medical and health care 20. Implement gender sensitivity and child protection educational programs 21. Introduce education about e-waste and waste sorting in schools 22. Facilitate community involvement and ownership 23. Incentivize stakeholder input into data collection 24. Create better training programs for e-waste sorting and dismantling, as well as gender relations and child protection 25. Provide protective gear and equipment to e-waste
worker. SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS This article has shown how ongoing transitions to low-carbon societies are being underwritten by serious but rarely acknowledged social and ecological injustices at opposite ends of the supply chain – at the mines providing cobalt from DRC and at the facilities handling streams of electronic waste in Ghana. Without careful attention, low-carbon transitions may be paradoxically contributing to environmental destruction, air pollution, contamination of water, and the health risk of cancer and birth defects. They can deepen existing gender inequalities. They depend on exploitation of children and their exposure to extreme risks of death and injury while mining for cobalt, drowned in waterlogged pits, or worked to death in the e-waste scrapyards of Ghana. Low carbon transitions are also worsening the subjugation and exploitation of ethnic minorities and refugees. Perversely, in both cases, the dispossessed communities of Congolese cobalt mining and e-waste processing in Ghana come to rely on harmful activities. One core conclusion is that patterns of injustice and domination are embedded in existing processes of decarbonisation, in spite of the assumption that low carbon trajectories represent a more just way of producing energy. While decarbonisation may thus contribute to cleaner air and cleaner production in the Global North at the cost of environmental and social harm in the Global South. We term this phenomenon the “decarbonisation divide. It is an epistemic divide. Much research in the Global North focuses on the diffusion and use of decarbonisation technology and systems, but ignores harmful impacts and the inequalities in the Global South. Cleaner technology is deployed in the Global North while its ecological and health costs are borne by the Global South. It reflects an environmental divide, in that the Northern natural environment gets cleaner while the Southern environment gets dirtier and even locked into more polluting and at times carbon intensive activities. The irony is not only that the DRC and Ghana become “sacrifice zones” for low carbon technologies but also that they will themselves become more difficult to decarbonize as they are locked into embedded flows of pollution and dependent on the very processes of dispossession that victimize them. We must resist the temptation to only examine low-carbon transitions, and the particular innovations underpinning them, at their point of deployment. We need to assess the entire lifecycle of these innovations, from the front end where metals and minerals are extracted, to the back end where waste streams reside. END OF THE SOVACOOL 2020 PAPER.

 

 

THE KABEMBA 2016 PAPER

China has become an important player in Africa’s economic activities since the turn of the century. It is aggressively competing with the West for the control the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) huge strategic mineral reserves. The DRC is high on China’s list of African strategic partners. The DRC is also aiming to attract China to help rebuild the country’s infrastructure destroyed by years of colonialism, dictatorship, corruption, and war. China argues that its win-win economic approach and its non-interference in internal affairs of the DRC are the basis of relations between the two countries. China–DRC relations represent a major shift from that of the West-DRC relations. China privileges economics over politics, and its promise of massive economic investment in infrastructure and mineral extraction is based purely on economic principles without political conditionality. China is a critic of the West’s approach of linking economic support to the promotion of democratic principles and values, for it is a proponent of a home-grown political system. China believes the imposition of Western democratic values on Africa in general, and the DRC in particular, is one of the causes of political instability and economic stagnation. In an effort to set itself apart from what it considers as the West unequal political and economic relations with Africa built over centuries, China has set its Africa relations on the basis of what Chris Alden and Daniel Large call “Chinese exceptionalism.” This exceptionalism is geared toward ensuring mutual benefit and win-win outcomes at the continental and bilateral levels. The DRC is a dysfunctional state par excellence, lacking capacity to organize and conceptualize its future both politically and economically in a manner that differs from its past. China-DRC trade relations are taking place within the confines of a fragile Congolese state lacking in capacity to optimally benefit from opportunities that China brings. The DRC, after years of dictatorship and war, has been working with great difficulties to install democracy as a stabilization tool and a source of economic progress. The main challenge for the DRC is how to build a functional and responsible state without which every development effort whether internal or external is bound to fail. The question is: does the win-win as applied currently by China contribute to state building in the DRC?

The Strengthening of China-DRC Relations

China and the DRC are capable of maintaining a beneficial and interdependent economic relationship because they both have goods that they need to trade with each other. The main interests for the two countries in their relationship are clear. For China, the DRC is a secure source of strategic natural resources, market for its manufactured goods, and space for investment in infrastructure development. For the DRC, China is a source of finance and know-how for its infrastructural, and a source of manufactured goods. This is what China has called a win-win arrangement: “you give me the minerals I desperately need, and I build for you the infrastructure you need.” The DRC fits well into China’s trade policy of securing supply of minerals and energy products and encouraging export of finished products. China offers considerable opportunities to the DRC, and the DRC is attracted to China for its civil engineering to help with the reconstruction of the shattered infrastructure. The DRC government sees China as an opportunity to help lift the country’s productive capacity, a source of funding for infrastructure development (road, railway, and mining infrastructure), and to strengthen public private sector partnership information and technology investment. The fascination with China has been about how it has succeeded in a relatively short period of time in moving so many of its people out of poverty and modernizing its cities so rapidly. For most Africans, the thinking is that because “China has managed to overcome so many similar problems, it knows what it is doing.”3 The economic transformation it has achieved is attractive, and the DRC wants to learn and benefit from China’s successes. The DRC’s fascination and increased cooperation with China are rational especially after years of failed Western imposed interventions. President Joseph Kabila’s model of development “la Modernité” is copied from China’s economic miracle, which is a result of China’s much vaunted priority of modernization. The admiration with China’s successes is fuelled by scepticism of Western development approaches, which many Africans have described as neo-colonialism and exploitative. Intensifying China-DRC relations coincide with China’s economic upswing on the one hand and an economic decline in the OECD countries on the other hand. The DRC has for a long time looked for opportunities to escape Western control.

Since the 2006 elections, President Kabila has worked “to demonstrate progress on the reconstruction of his country’s shattered by two decades of war.”4 The DRC’s expectation for China to help with reconstruction has been on the high side but trade between the two countries has been defined by mineral exports from the DRC to China. Minerals are the DRC’s main export to China. The DRC mineral potential, especially copper and cobalt, are attractive and China wants a secured provision. In 2016, 67.5 percent of China’s cobalt production relies on concentrates imported from the DRC.5 The table below shows the changing nature of China-DRC trade relations in terms of export between the two countries. In 2014, there were fourteen mining projects that contributed to the increase in exports from the DRC to China.6 The total investment for the mining projects was projected at $3.72 billion, including $320 million for a hydroelectric power station.7 These figures are expected to increase even more considering that Sicomines is planning to increase its copper production from the current 100,000 tonnes to 250,000 tonnes when the Busanga Dam starts to produce energy.8 Also, in 2014 China’s total import of timber from Congo basin reached 2.9 million cubic meters representing 47.5 percent of the region’s entire timber export, far exceeding the 2 million cubic meters entering the EU (equivalent of 33 percent).9 The recent DRC economic growth has been attributed to China’s importation of minerals, mainly copper and cobalt. The DRC posted an annual average economic growth rate of 7.4 percent during the 2010-13 period and 8.7 percent in 2014, both of which are well above the average in sub Saharan Africa.10 These figures may suggest that China’s impact is unquestionably positive. However, a closer look shows that the growth has not provided a significant level of employment jobless growth and it has not changed the poverty level in the country. The DRC ranked second in the Human Development Index (186 out of 187 countries) in 2014, and its per capita income, which stood at $380 in 2014, is among the lowest in the world.

China’s Ambition in Africa and the DRC

The rapid economic development China has experienced in the last four decades has shaped its appetite for foreign investment and political power in the world in general and specifically in Africa.12 If China’s aspiration is to become the world hegemonic power, the control of strategic spaces in different continents, as the United States has done, is imperative. The interest of China in the DRC is multifaceted and not, as it has been described, driven by a single motive—access to mineral resources.13 The DRC occupies a strategic position in China’s geo-strategic consideration because of its geographic position, abundant arable land and mineral resources, huge forest reserve, and the size of the population.

The DRC is the fourth most populous African country with an estimated eighty-five million people. It constitutes a big market for Chinese finished products, with exports to the DRC including machinery, textiles, clothing, and consumer electronics. The DRC is also the second largest African country in land mass after Algeria. It is in need of reconstruction after decades of neglect and war. The DRC provides China an opportunity to benefit from massive infrastructure investment in roads, railways, energy, dams, river navigation, and airlines. The DRC is also home to abundant natural resources of various strategic development considerations. These resources have undergone a long history of plunder and mismanagement, coupled with widespread strife caused by years of conflict. Despite this loss, the DRC still has vast untapped reserves of minerals that need to be optimized. It is estimated that the country’s 2.3 million square kilometers of the national territory contains more than 1,100 different mineral substances.14 The World Bank estimates these mineral resources to be worth $24 trillion, which is the combined GDP of Europe and the US.15. Apart from minerals, China is also interested in timber. The DRC has the second largest forest in the world, which has become a primary source of China’s wood logs. The DRC is also possesses extensive arable land with rich rain seasons. It could play an important role in resolving China’s increasing food insecurity, an issue with which China is increasingly concerned.16 China has already acquired 2,800 million hectares of land in the DRC to cultivate palm oil.17 China wants to export to the DRC its agriculture model by positioning itself upstream in the seed production and rice hybrid, research and development, and rural infrastructure.18 By investing in land and agriculture, China seeks food security for its domestic market. Clearly Beijing’s larger interests in safeguarding economic development and increasing political influence drive China’s emerging security interests in Africa.

History of China’s Relationship with the DRC

China has always maintained close and cordial diplomatic relations with the DRC well before the country’s independence. During Africa’s struggle for independence, China presented itself as a partisan of the world’s oppressed and exploited. It is therefore not correct to see China as a newcomer and opportunist. Already in 1965, the Chinese Communist Party told the Congolese people: “They were not alone in their just struggle against capitalism. All the Chinese people are with you. All the people opposed to imperialism are with you…. American imperialism will be concurred.” China was a staunch supporter of Africa’s liberation movements. China used radio programs, propaganda, books, and supplying arms to promote and support African revolts against colonial rule.21 China provided an intensive training sabotage, guerrilla warfare and political subversion to young Africans fighting colonial rule.22 In the DRC, China supported “the Simba rebellion” of July 1963 led by “Pierre Mulele.”23 China also supported Laurent Kabila when he created a secessionist Marxist movement, the People’s Revolutionary Party (PRP) in 1967. While supporting the rebellions, China also provided social support to the government of President Mobutu. Between 1970-1990 China supported Congo’s government with small investments linked to education, science, culture, health, and social services.24 In the education sector, China provided schoolbooks. During this period China also provided financial aid to the tune of $3 million.25 China also invested in agriculture focusing on rice in the Bumba region of Equateur Province.26 In terms of infrastructure, China built symbolic buildings such as the parliament and the national football stadium. The relationship slowed down in the early 1990s due to increased political instability and the decline of the Congolese state. Relations between China and the DRC regained new momentum when Laurent Desire Kabila took power in 1997. Considering the continued instability during this period, however, China followed an approach of slow penetration preferring to rely on individual Chinese traders to purchase copper and cobalt directly from artisanal miners in the DRC mineral rich Katanga Province. There was an influx of Chinese in the Katanga province in early 2000, which coincided with the commodity boom. By 2011, it was estimated that over sixty of the province’s seventy-five copper processing plants, around 90 percent, were owned by Chinese nationals.27 In 2013, the two countries signed an economic and technical cooperation agreement amounting to of $9 million which was given as a donation to the Congolese government.28

China-DRC relations are epitomized by the Sicomines deal. Following the DRC’s successful general elections in 2006, the Chinese government took a more proactive step to engage its government. This culminated in 2008 in a massive resources-for-infrastructure deal worth $6 billion.29 According to the deal, China will invest $3 billion in mining and $3 billion in infrastructure development—construction of roads, railways, hospitals, schools, and dams, as well as mine development. This agreement remains an emblematic step in the China-DRC relations. The deal gives China access to huge high-grade copper and cobalt reserves. China is expected to get in return 10 million tonnes of copper and 600,000 tonnes of cobalt. The $3 billion to be invested in infrastructure will be repaid by the benefits from minerals. From 2008 when Sicomnies was signed to 2014, the total expenditure on infrastructure development stood at around $459.764 million.30 In 2015, $250 million was earmarked for infrastructure projects.31 At present the total spending on infrastructure is around $750 million from a total of $3 billion earmarked.

The DRC as a Failed State and its Implications

A failed state is a danger to itself and its partners. The DRC suffers from profound internal human, institutional, and structural weaknesses that prevent it from benefiting from the opportunities offered by China. These internal weaknesses are a manifestation of a weak, corrupt, and patrimonial state plus years of neglect and war. The DRC is incapable of planning, financing and building its own development infrastructure despite the abundant natural resources. Claude Ake in Democracy and Development in Africa writes:

The assumption so readily made that there has been a failure of development is misleading. The problem is not so much that development has failed as that it was never really on the agenda in the first place. By all indications, political conditions in Africa are the greatest impediment to development. Maybe neither the West nor China is entirely to blame if the DRC is failing to stabilize and develop. The DRC is simply too weak to maintain cohesive and sustained important trade or political relations. The lack of ideological orientation and the corrupt nature of its society allow for the state to be captured by both internal and external forces working in connivance. This nature of the state poses a great danger to Chinese interests in the country. It also opens an opportunity for China to exploit these weaknesses for its benefit. China cannot claim to be pursuing a win-win relation with the DRC by working with a corrupt elite that has no interest in uplifting its own people. China cannot pretend to have high moral standing when it deals with an elite that abuses and steals from its fellow citizens. China’s approach to cooperation and doing business with the Congolese elite no matter what it may privately think about their virtues and conduct is an obstacle to a win-win partnership. There is no doubt that the choice as to whether the benefits of cooperation are widely spread among the populace or concentrated in the hands of a “happy few” will also determine the durability of the dynamics, at least in its current form. This is why China’s principle of non-interference makes little sense. While China enjoys accolades from the Congolese political elite, the overall population is turning its anger on Chinese citizens living in the DRC each time an opportunity presents itself. Congolese have attacked Chinese businesses on at least two occasions. In December 2010, after the local team TP Mazembe lost to the Italian Club Inter Milan, mobs in Lubumbashi angered by the calls made by a Japanese referee who they had mistaken for a Chinese referee attacked Chinese businesses in the city. Between January 19-20, 2015, following the attempt by the National Assembly to change an electoral provision which would have extended President Kabila stay in power beyond 2016, protests erupted that targeted and destroyed Chinese businesses in Kinshasa neighborhoods.34 The Congolese people’s dislike of the apparent support China gives to the regime of President Kabila was the motivation for their violence against individual Chinese. The unconditional character of Beijing’s support for Kabila’s regime is creating tensions in Congolese civil society that is anxious about the government’s persistence in restricting the political space in the country as President Kabila attempts to retain power. The motivation for violence is also about resentment by local businesses towards Chinese, who violate Congolese law by engaging in small businesses, reserved for locals. Congolese accuse the Chinese of undercutting the prices of local producers and businesses which put them out of business. The violent attacks against Chinese who have chosen to settle in the DRC are an indication that China’s claim of having established relations as equals with Congolese is more political than social and economic. It is clear China does not understand when Africans reject something because the Chinese Communist Party is used to suppressing its people’s demands and freedom of expression. This point supports the view that China’s presence in Africa may be increasingly rejected unless the Chinese recognize the importance of taking into account what the majority of Africans want for their continent. While in the short- term economic cooperation is helping China to secure mineral resources and market for its manufactured good in the DRC, it is not sustainable in the long run if the DRC remains dysfunctional. China should encourage and support the reconstruction of the Congolese state to create conditions that support its own investment.

Why China’s Non-Interference does not Benefit the DRC

China’s policy towards the DRC will make a difference only if it represents an alternative to the current corrupt management of the state and state–society relations in the DRC. It is a contradiction for China to suggest that it is helping the DRC through commercial ties and not paying attention to the importance of building vital democratic, functional, transparent, and accountable institutions that are supposed to manage the benefits of the same commercial ties. China cannot simply pretend that these problems do not exist or if they exist they do not undermine the win-win relationship. The weakness of the Congolese state requires that international partners pay attention to these soft issues. This is the biggest failing of China’s “minerals for infrastructure policy” in the DRC. The only time a relationship of unequal partners’ turns into a win-win relationship is when the dominant partner deliberately takes steps to empower the weaker partner to participate meaningfully in building ties that are mutually beneficial.  The opportunities offered by China are significant, but insufficient to help the DRC on a path to sustainable development. The main reason, as established above, is that the DRC is a failed state and lacks capacity to deal with China as an equal partner. The DRC will not benefit from the opportunities offered by China if the state is not reorganized in one way or another to function as a normal state with capable institutions where corruption is seen as a problem and not as a norm. Put differently, the internal weaknesses of the Congolese state are an obstacle to China’s win-win model. Despite claims by China that its relations with the DRC are built on a win-win model, in reality the DRC loses significantly because of internal weaknesses. These weaknesses include weak state capacity, corruption, instability, and lack of planning and poor management. Corruption has been one of the fundamental causes of Congo’s disastrous economic situation over recent decades.38 China–DRC relations are not rooted in democratic, transparent and accountable governance. One cultural dimension that has undermined the state in the DRC is corruption and lack of transparency. As Bruno Hellendorff argues: “The mutually beneficial label of Sino-Congolese cooperation has nowadays become rather lackluster. Opportunities and challenges in the political, economic and reputational realms have not been similarly managed by China and the DRC, resulting in differentiated impacts which often proved detrimental to the African country.”39 China’s soft power strategy must also entail the promotion of transparency and good governance, especially in fragile states. Unless the Congolese state is fundamentally transformed and acquires sufficient capacity to design a China engagement policy that protects Congolese interests, the relationship will remain a one-way street. The Congolese government does not have a national strategy plan to facilitate and coordinate the relationship. In its current situation, the DRC is a recipient of China’s policy. The argument here is that the massive Chinese investment in the DRC, especially in the mining sector, can only acquire a transformative agenda for the Congolese society if the Congolese state is empowered to play a central role in defining the nature and the direction of the partnership. By supporting the reconstruction of the state we are not proposing that China transfers its model to the DRC or imposes itself on the DRC. China could support elements that could shape the transformation of the Congolese state by investing in building strong, functional, and transparent institutions; supporting social forces in an effort to increase constructive bargaining between state and citizens; and work to break the elite capture of both the economy and politics. The DRC has embraced liberal democracy, which it is struggling to consolidate. It will be suicidal if it attempts to abandon it now. China could support the consolidation of this system. Contrary to the system of balance of power with strong states that emerged from the Cold War, which dominated international security issues for some time, today the problematic has been replaced by fragile states and the threat they pose to global security. China cannot abdicate the responsibility that comes with being a superpower. The rebuilding of the Congolese state into a functional, transparent, and accountable institution with the capacity to negotiate and protect its interests is an impetrative and a mandatory step toward the effectiveness of the win-win partnership between the two countries. The China–DRC relationship rests on the flawed assumption that massive investment in infrastructure is sufficient to rebuild the DRC. Rebuilding is only possible if the state is capacitated in a way that it is able to play its role efficiently. Beijing’s spirited defense of elite sovereignty certainly runs counter to the growing international consensus that political leaders cannot escape justice for violations against an emerging, if fragile, global norm.40 This paper’s contribution to China-Africa relations is the point it makes that for the DRC-China relationship to be a win-win one, China must adjust its foreign policy in a way that contributes to solving the fundamental problems that have kept the DRC dysfunctional and unstable, producing poverty, inequality, and unemployment. The point made here contradicts Jeffrey Sachs view that “Beijing’s reluctance to interfere was an asset not a liability.”

 

Not a Win-Win Situation

The Sicomines deal epitomizes China-DRC commercial relations, for it presents a number of problems. First, it lacks transparency and equity. The Sicomines deal was signed in an environment of great opacity. It quickly created significant outcries from the Congolese and the international community. The secrecy surrounding the deal prompted the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and local and international civil society to request that it be made public. The analysis of the deal shows that “it will increase the DRC’s potential foreign debt to an unacceptable level and the IMF demanded that it be reduced in size.”42 After a period of resistance, the two partners agreed. China revised its investment amount downward from $9 billion to $6 billion. This act vindicated the critics that the deal was largely unfavorable to the DRC. This reduction did not resolve the imbalance, however, but rather made it worse because the other dimensions of the deal were not revised in line with China’s reduced capital investment. Logically, the reduction of the capital investment should automatically lead to the reduction tonnage of minerals for China. As one Congolese expert explained:

The IMF intervention which changed the terms of Sicomines did more harm to the DRC than to China. The reduction from $9 billion to $6 billion investment “reduced the Chinese obligations by 33 percent and the infrastructure benefit to the DRC by 50 percent while China still get access to minerals worth over $50 billion. . . .The reserves ceded to China under the first deal remained unchanged. China will still receive 10 million tonnes of copper and 600,000 tonnes of cobalt.In this case, the problem lies not with the IMF but the DRC. The IMF created an opportunity for the DRC to renegotiate the development agreement, but the DRC failed. This situation could only mean two things either it is symptomatic of a Congolese state that does not have capacity to scrutinize complex development agreements or a reflection of a state that has compromised its responsibility to interrogate the deal because of corruption. I think it is the combination of these two things. But it is China’s behavior that is shocking, because it also failed to help its weak partner to understand the imbalance inherent in the deal. Second, Sicomines is not a departure from the type of mining contracts that the DRC has signed with western companies. Chinese companies through the contract have received required holiday, fiscal, and customs exemptions. We know that excessive exemptions deprive African resource rich countries from benefiting from their minerals. Fiscal revenues expected from deepened commercial ties with Beijing are diminished by tax exemptions granted to Chinese state-owned enterprises operating in the framework of the Sicomines deal and by Chinese private entrepreneurs operating mainly in the informal sector.Third, “neither the Congolese nor the Chinese parties have properly explained how the minerals are to be priced, nor infrastructure is to be built and at what cost.”45 The lack of clarity on the benefits that will accrue to the DRC and China is a serious concern. The available analysis of the agreement suggests that the Congolese government will lose out. The problem is that there has never been an internal discussion in the DRC on the political economy of costs and risks of this ambitious investment. The main benefit for the DRC government is that the deal has increased its bargaining power for its minerals by identifying other investment sources beyond the usual western investment. Fourth, the deal includes a clause exempting the venture from any new laws that might be introduced by the Congolese government. It means that if the DRC changes or reforms its legislation, whether tax, custom, or environmental legislation or its mining code as it is currently doing, Chinese companies will be exempt. Linked to this, the deal also excludes the DRC from benefiting from any possible windfall taxes. Sicomines exposes the DRC’s vulnerability to international finance.46 It also exposes the Congolese government’s weaknesses in negotiating development agreements and mining contracts and equally exposes China’s claim to win-win partnership.  Fifth, China administers the entire Sicomines project. The DRC state company Gecamines, which is a partner in the project with Chinese companies, is a passive partner and plays no role in the administration of the partnership. Chinese companies make the decisions regarding operations, including production and exports, the importation of equipment, and deciding on the use of Chinese personnel. The above discussion shows that the Sicomines barter deal, while a departure from the western model, has not fundamentally altered the colonial extractivism approach of the West. It is clear, despite China’s rhetoric about a win–win relation, that this partnership reflects pure international relations where only the pursuit of interests matters, and in which the powerful partner asserts itself and dictates the terms of cooperation. China’s intervention in the DRC is perpetuating the old extractivism approach that considers the DRC as reservoir of mineral resources to be accessed cheaply. The biggest problem is not for China but for the DRC, which has no capacity to define, engage and defend its interests. There is no doubt that the roads, railways, hospitals, and schools that China is building are changing the DRC landscape. Unlike Belgium, which “built roads solely for the extraction and evacuation of resources in the DRC, China is constructing or rehabilitating roads that are suitable not only for the transport of resources but which citizens can also use to travel and trade.”47 As such the massive investment in infrastructure is “helping to alleviate supply bottlenecks and increase competitiveness.”48 The infrastructure development is supporting internal production activities and intra-regional trade. But, the approach where China is building this infrastructure using Chinese manpower is problematic. It is perpetuating the dependency syndrome and does not empower Congolese to own their development. China believes that Africans cannot build their own infrastructure and prefers to send its engineers and a strong army of unskilled Chinese labor to build roads and bridges, develop mines, and extract minerals. China’s massive investment in the DRC has not been matched with capacity building of the Congolese. Chinese citizens run all major Chinese investments in the DRC. Generally, their investment is accompanied by a massive influx of Chinese citizens. In the process of building infrastructure, no efforts have been deployed to capacitate the DRC’s public agencies such as the Roads Office, the Office of Urban Roads and Canalization, and the Office for Country Roads.49 The use of imported Chinese labor, unstructured skills transfer, and lack of investment in the DRC institutions are among some of the factors that create scepticism about China’s development approach.50 The benefits of these mega infrastructure projects are diminished by the fact that most of the people who do the actual work are Chinese who in most cases repatriate their earnings back to China and eventually return home with their skills and expertise. As such, Chinese construction undermines sustainability and transformation of the Congolese society and undermines the win-win partnership. How China is treating the DRC differs from how it operates in other countries, suggesting that China does not have a standard approach. In Ethiopia the Huajian Group has opened a shoe 82 manufacturing plant in which Ethiopians are employed. In Tanzania Chinese private companies have created more than eighty thousand jobs according to the Chinese Business Chamber of Tanzania.51 These and other examples suggest that the nature of the state China is engaged with determines its behavior.

The Sicomines agreement is a thorn in a win-win partnership. It undermines it in all its dimensions. For example, one of the six principles that guide the Sicomines cooperation is the transfer of technology. This is not happening despite the claim that China is bringing technology and science to Africa. Contrary to what China is doing in other African countries, for example in Ethiopia where a shoe plant has been put in place and is exporting all over the world, in the DRC, it seems, China controls the technology it exports. IDS sums up this when it argues that “while the DRC economy benefits from improved infrastructure, the deal has resulted in closure of local civil engineering companies.52 Chinese investment in the mining sector fails to satisfy key requirements if mining is to benefit the Congolese. These requirements are clearly articulated in the African Mining Vision (AMV).53 They include: increased ownership, diversification, value addition (both downstream and upstream) to the minerals, community bbenefits, and environmental protection. The AMV envisages an African “knowledge-driven African mining sector that catalyzes and contributes to the broad-based growth & development.”54 It represents a paradigm shift away from the liberal foreign direct investment dependent and resource rent centered strategy that has governed African mining for decades. Whilst recognizing the need to improve the fiscal regime of mining, the AMV sets out a multifaceted framework for mineral-based industrialization and structural transformation of Africa’s mineral dependent economies. It also seeks improvements in mineral sector governance, including respect for and protection of human rights and the environment, and greater democratic engagement with and accountability of governments and mining companies to citizens. Unfortunately, the Sicomines deal has not integrated all these requirements, especially the need to use mining as a basis for industrialization. With the political support it receives, it has failed to consult adjacent communities as required in the country mining code; it has also been accused of polluting water. Yet, the DRC government has failed to question and sanction the company.

It is clear from the preceding that China-DRC relations, while beneficial to both countries, cannot be just and equal. As Alden and Large argue, “China’s exceptionalism is a modality of engagement that structures relations such that they may remain asymmetrical in economic content but equal in terms of recognition of economic gains and political standing.” A win-win relationship in which one partner decides the orientation of the cooperation is problematic. Because of the interdependence that exists between China and the DRC one would have thought that it would be possible to have a far more complex relationship between the two countries than a straight A-B trade asymmetry. We are in the presence of an asymmetrical relation of power. According to Johnson and Ford, “asymmetrical relationship may exist when there is an imbalance in the relationship characteristics and one of the partners is able to dominate the relationship and influence what happens in it for its own benefits for a very long time.”56 A complex relationship is only possible if the weaker partner, the DRC, with all its resources, has the capacities to define and defend its interests. The DRC due to its intrinsic weaknesses is unable to protect its interests, even to consolidate the gains from the collaboration. The DRC is massively losing in its trade relations with China. China-DRC Relations not a win-win partnership. The insistence by China that it is, even in the presence of evidence to the contrary, is worrisome.

 CONCLUSION

There is no doubt that China and the DRC are benefiting from established commercial relations. But the DRC’s main challenge is not infrastructure development but rather state building. Without a functional state, the infrastructure being built will again collapse in a matter of time. The mega infrastructure that China is building requires a state to maintain it. For the win-win partnership to have any positive meaning for the majority of Congolese, it must be judged on the progress that the DRC makes away from protracted conflict and bad governance that have characterized it since at least the late nineteenth century. China has shown no willingness to help reconfigure the DRC state to become able to participate meaningfully in this relationship. China maintains close relations with the political elite and makes no effort to link its investment and the wellbeing of the Congolese people, which can only become a reality through transforming the nature of the state. In the current circumstances the only way for the DRC will benefit from its trade relation with China is if the state is reconstructed to some acceptable levels. What China could do, if it is genuine about the win-win partnership, is to deliberately desist from taking advantage of the DRC’s weaknesses and instead invest in efforts to build its state capacity to engage and protect its interests in global trade. China-DRC relations might be beneficial to both countries but do not represent a win-win relation. What the DRC needs now is a genuine partner that understands its weaknesses and is prepared to support its democratic transformation efforts by capacitating the state with human, institutional, and organizational capacity in order to ensure that it optimally benefits from opportunities being offered by external partners. China’s relationship with the DRC would have to achieve simultaneously two things: support the building of a capable state and build an economy that is inclusive and sustainable. The crux of the argument is the following: as long as China does not help the DRC to achieve stability, the infrastructure development approach is not sustainable. China has built its development on the basis of consistent stability. China must help to guarantee stability through the strengthening of democracy by combatting corruption and promoting peaceful transfer of power.

END OF THE KABEMBA PAPER

  1. RETIRED ACADEMIC
  2. BUILT THE WORLD’S FIRST MICROCOMPUTER DRAFTING MACHINE IN 1984 WITH INTEL 8086/8087 CHIPS RUNNING CP/M-86
  3. WORKED AS A CHEMICAL ENGINEER DESIGNING TURNKEY SKID MOUNTED EQUIPMENT FOR OFFSHORE PLATFORMS
  4. WINEMAKER AND INVENTOR OF AN AUTOMATIC BARREL TOPPING SYSTEM
  5. INVENTED A MAGNETIC FILTRATION SYSTEM FOR TENNECO CHEMICALS TO REMOVE IRON FILINGS FROM PRINTING INK
  6. RESEARCH IN RHEOLOGY AND NON-NEWTONIAN FLOW
  7. RESEARCH IN APPLIED STATISTICS
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RESEARCH PAPERS CRITICAL OF AGW CLIMATE SCIENCE ARE UNLIKELY TO GET PUBLISHED IN TRADITIONAL JOURNALS BECAUSE OF A BIAS AGAINST WHAT IS TERMED “CLIMATE DENIAL”, BUT THERE ARE ONLINE JOURNALS SUCH AS RESEARCHGATE.NET, ACADEMIA.EDU, ARXIV.ORG, AND SSRN.COM WHERE SUCH CLIMATE DENIAL PAPERS ARE FREELY PUBLISHED BECAUSE THE WAY THEIR PEER REVIEW WORKS IS DIFFERENT FROM THAT OF TRADITIONAL JOURNALS. 

IN THESE ONLINE JOURNALS, PAPERS ARE NOT PAY-WALLED AND THEY ARE NOT PRE-JUDGED EITHER BY EDITORS OR BY PEER REVIEWERS EXCEPT FOR OVERALL SPECIFICATIONS ABOUT FORMAT AND CERTAIN  CRITERIA ON WHAT CONSTITUTES AN ACADEMIC RESEARCH PAPER. 

PAPERS PUBLISHED IN THESE ONLINE JOURNALS ARE EVALUATED AND PEER REVIEWED NOT PRIOR TO PUBLICATION BUT AFTER PUBLICATION IN TERMS OF READER COMMENTS, NUMBER OF READS, NUMBER OF DOWNLOADS, AND NUMBER OF CITATIONS. MANY INDEPENDENT MINDED CLIMATE RESEARCHERS SUCH AS THE VENERABLE PAUL KENCH OF THE UNIVERSITY OF AUCKLAND, EDWIN BERRY OF MONTANA,TOM SEGALSTAD OF OSLO, AND PEOPLE LIKE CHARLES KEELING AND TIMOTHY WHARF OF TIDAL CYCLE FAME PUBLISH IN ONLINE JOURNALS. A SIGNIFICANT ADVANTAGE OF THIS OPEN AND UNBIASED RESEARCH SHARING ENVIRONMENT IS THAT IT FACILITATES GREATER INTERACTION AMONG RESEARCHERS AND BETWEEN RESEARCHERS AND READERS WITH MUCH FASTER TURNAROUND FROM WRITING TO PUBLISHING TO RESPONSES AND THEREBY TO NEW IDEAS.

MANY SUCH INTERACTIONS HAVE RESULTED IN COOPERATIVE PAPERS BY RESEARCHERS WHO MET IN ONLINE PUBLISHING SITES. IN THIS RESPECT, THE OLD 19TH CENTURY PUBLISHING MODEL SEEMS GROSSLY INEFFICIENT IN TERMS OF THE ESSENTIAL FUNCTION OF RESEARCH PUBLISHING. TO PUBLISH MEANS TO “MAKE PUBLIC”.

THIS SIMPLE INTERPRETATION OF RESEARCH PUBLISHING HAS BECOME CORRUPTED BY THE SO CALLED RTP PROCESS OF UNIVERSITIES IN WHICH “RETENTION, TENURE, AND PROMOTION” OF UN-TENURED FACULTY CONTAINS A SIGNIFICANT ROLE FOR RESEARCH MEASURED AS NUMBER OF PUBLICATIONS IN PEER REVIEWED JOURNALS – AN ODD EQUATION THAT EVENTUALLY GAVE RISE TO THE PAY-TO-PUBLISH AND PAY-TO-READ “PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL” BUSINESS THAT CATERS TO UN-TENURED FACULTY UNDER INTENSE PRESSURE TO PUBLISH JUST TO PUBLISH AS A WAY OF ACHIEVING TENURE AND PROMOTION. THIS PUBLISHING MODEL OF ACADEMIA IS A GROSS CORRUPTION OF THE IDEA OF RESEARCH FOR THE SAKE OF RESEARCH AND KNOWLEDGE. 

 

HERE WE PRESENT SOME PAPERS ON CLIMATE CHANGE FOUND ON RESEARCHGATE.NET AS A SAMPLE OF THIS PROMISING NEW FRONTIER IN ACADEMIC RESEARCH PUBLICATION AND SHARING OF RESEARCH AND IDEAS UNHINDERED BY EXPECTATIONS AND REQUIREMENTS ON WHAT VIEWS ON CLIMATE CHANGE ARE ACCEPTABLE AND WHAT VIEWS ARE NOT. 

 

RESEARCH PAPER #1: PAUL KENCH & NICHOL SCOTT: New Model of reef-island evolution: Maldives, Indian Ocean, January 2005 Geology 33(2):145-148, DOI: 10.1130/G21066.1, Paul Kench, NicholScott: ABSTRACT: A new model of reef-island evolution, based on detailed morphostratigraphic analysis and radiometric dating of three islands in South Maalhosmadulu Atoll, Maldives, is presented. Islands initially formed on a foundation of lagoonal sediments between 5500 and 4500 yr B.P. when the reef surface was as much as 2.5 m below modern sea level. Islands accumulated rapidly during the following 1500 yr, effectively reaching their current dimensions by 4000 yr B.P. Since then the high circum-island peripheral ridge has been subject to seasonal and longer-term shoreline changes, while the outer reef has grown upward, reducing the energy window and confining the islands. This new model has far-reaching implications for island stability during a period of global warming and raised sea level, which will partially reactivate the energy window, although it is not expected to inhibit upward reef growth or compromise island stability. [LINK TO FULL TEXT]

 

RESEARCH PAPER #2: ARTHUR WEBB AND PAUL KENCH: The dynamic response of reef islands to sea-level rise: Evidence from multi-decadal analysis of island change in the Central Pacific, June 2010, Global and Planetary Change 72(3):234-246, DOI: 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2010.05.003, Arthur Webb, Paul Kench: ABSTRACT: Low-Lying atoll islands are widely perceived to erode in response to measured and future sea-level rise. Using historical aerial photography and satellite images this study presents the first quantitative analysis of physical changes in 27 atoll islands in the central Pacific over a 19 to 61 yr period. This period of analysis corresponds with instrumental records that show a rate of sea-level rise of 2.0 mm yr− 1 in the Pacific. Results show that 86% of islands remained stable (43%) or increased in area (43%) over the time frame of analysis. Largest decadal rates of increase in island area range between 0.1 to 5.6 ha. Only 14% of study islands exhibited a net reduction in island area. Despite small net changes in area, islands exhibited larger gross changes. This was expressed as changes in the planform configuration and position of islands on reef platforms. Modes of island change included: ocean shoreline displacement toward the lagoon; lagoon shoreline progradation; and, extension of the ends of elongate islands. Collectively these adjustments represent net lagoonward migration of islands in 65% of cases. Results contradict existing paradigms of island response and have significant implications for the consideration of island stability under ongoing sea-level rise in the central Pacific. First, islands are geomorphologically persistent features on atoll reef platforms and can increase in island area despite sea-level change. Second, islands are dynamic landforms that undergo a range of physical adjustments in responses to changing boundary conditions, of which sea level is just one factor. Third, erosion of island shorelines must be reconsidered in the context of physical adjustments of the entire island shoreline as erosion may be balanced by. [LINK TO FULL TEXT]

 

RESEARCH PAPER #3: EDWIN BERRY: Human CO 2 Emissions Have Little Effect on Atmospheric CO2, July 2019, DOI: 10.11648/j.ijaos.20190301.13, Project: Climate effects of human CO2 emissions. Edwin Berry.  ABSTRACT:  The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) agrees human CO 2 is only 5 percent and natural CO 2 is 95 percent of the CO 2 inflow into the atmosphere. The ratio of human to natural CO 2 in the atmosphere must equal the ratio of the inflows. Yet IPCC claims human CO 2 has caused all the rise in atmospheric CO 2 above 280 ppm, which is now 130 ppm or 32 percent of today’s atmospheric CO 2. To cause the human 5 percent to become 32 percent in the atmosphere, the IPCC model treats human and natural CO 2 differently, which is impossible because the molecules are identical. IPCC’s Bern model artificially traps human CO 2 in the atmosphere while it lets natural CO 2 flow freely out of the atmosphere. By contrast, a simple Physics Model treats all CO 2 molecules the same, as it should, and shows how CO 2 flows through the atmosphere and produces a balance level where outflow equals inflow. Thereafter, if inflow is constant, level remains constant. The Physics Model has only one hypothesis, that outflow is proportional to level. The Physics Model exactly replicates the 14C data from 1970 to 2014 with only two physical parameters: balance level and e-time. The 14C data trace how CO 2 flows out of the atmosphere. The Physics Model shows the 14 CO 2 e-time is a constant 16.5 years. Other data show e-time for 12CO 2 is about 4 to 5 years. IPCC claims human CO 2 reduces ocean buffer capacity. But that would increase e-time. The constant e-time proves IPCC’s claim is false. IPCC argues that the human-caused reduction of 14C and 13C in the atmosphere prove human CO 2 causes all the increase in atmospheric CO 2. However, numbers show these isotope data support the Physics Model and reject the IPCC. [LINK TO FULL TEXT]

 

RESEARCH PAPER #4: TOM SEGALSTADSegalstad, Tom V. “Carbon cycle modelling and the residence time of natural and anthropogenic atmospheric CO2: on the construction of the” Greenhouse Effect Global Warming” dogma.” Global Warming the Continuing Debate. Cambridge, UK. European Science and Environmental Forum. 1998.: The three evidences of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), that the apparent contemporary atmospheric CO2 increase is anthropogenic, is discussed and rejected: CO2 measurements from ice cores; CO2 measurements in air; and carbon isotope data in conjunction with carbon cycle modelling. It is shown why the ice core method and its results must be rejected; and that current air CO2 measurements are not validated and their results subjectively “edited”. Further it is shown that carbon cycle modelling based on non-equilibrium models, remote from observed reality and chemical laws, made to fit non-representative data through the use of non-linear ocean evasion “buffer” correction factors constructed from a pre-conceived idea, constitute a circular argument and with no scientific validity. Both radioactive and stable carbon isotopes show that the real atmospheric CO2 residence time (lifetime) is only about 5 years, and that the amount of fossil-fuel CO2 in the atmosphere is maximum 4%. Any CO2 level rise beyond this can only come from a much larger, but natural, carbon reservoir with much higher 13-C/12-C isotope ratio than that of the fossil fuel pool, namely from the ocean, and/or the lithosphere, and/or the Earth’s interior. The apparent annual atmospheric CO2 level increase, postulated to be anthropogenic, would constitute only some 0.2% of the total annual amount of CO2 exchanged naturally between the atmosphere and the ocean plus other natural sources and sinks. It is more probable that such a small ripple in the annual natural flow of CO2 would be caused by natural fluctuations of geophysical processes. 13-C/12-C isotope mass balance calculations show that IPCC’s atmospheric residence time of 50-200 years make the atmosphere too light (50% of its current CO2 mass) to fit its measured 13-C/12-C isotope ratio. This proves why IPCC’s wrong model creates its artificial 50% “missing sink”. IPCC’s 50% inexplicable “missing sink” of about 3 giga-tonnes carbon annually should have led all governments to reject IPCC’s model. When such rejection has not yet occurred, it beautifully shows the result of the “scare-them-to-death” influence principle. IPCC’s “Greenhouse Effect Global Warming” dogma rests on invalid presumptions and a rejectable non-realistic carbon cycle modelling which simply refutes reality, like the existence of carbonated beer or soda “pop” as we know it.  [LINK TO FULL TEXT]

 

RESEARCH PAPER #5: TOM SEGALSTAD: Some thoughts on ocean chemistry (Chapter 6.3.1.2), January 2014, In book: Climate Change Reconsidered II – Biological Impacts.Chapter: 6.3.1.2Publisher: Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC); Heartland Institute, Tom SegalstadABSTRACT:  The “acidification” of the ocean — or rather its potential progression toward less alkaline conditions — is postulated to result in serious consequences to marine life, including the dissolution of lime Shells of various marine organisms. However, the Foundation of the ocean acidification scare is disputed and challenged in the scientific literature. The present section approaches and critiques the hypothesis from a geochemical perspective.  [LINK TO FULL TEXT]  {THIS PAPER IS ON OCEAN ACIDIFICATION}

 

RESEARCH PAPER #6: NICOLA SCAFETTA Multi-scale harmonic model for solar and climate cyclical variation throughout the Holocene based on Jupiter-Saturn tidal frequencies plus the 11-year solar dynamo cycle
March 2012: Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics 80
DOI: 10.1016/j.jastp.2012.02.016, Nicola Scafetta  ABSTRACT:
The sunspot record since 1749 is made of three major cycles (9.98, 10.9 and 11.86 yr). The side frequencies are related to the spring tidal period of Jupiter and Saturn (9.93 yr) and to the tidal sidereal period of Jupiter (11.86 yr). A simplified harmonic constituent model based on the above two planetary tidal frequencies and on the exact dates of Jupiter and Saturn planetary tidal phases, plus a theoretically deduced 10.87-year central cycle reveals complex quasi-eriodic interference/beat patterns at about 115, 61 and 130 years, plus a quasi-millennial large beat cycle around 983 years. We show that equivalent synchronized cycles are found in cosmogenic records used to reconstruct solar activity and in proxy climate records throughout the Holocene. The quasi-secular beat oscillations hindcast reasonably well the known prolonged periods of low solar activity during the last millennium known as Oort, Wolf, Sporer, Maunder and Dalton minima, as well as 17 115-year long oscillations found in temperature reconstructions during the last 2000 years. The millennial three-frequency beat cycle hindcasts equivalent solar and climate cycles for 12,000 years. Prolonged solar minima in 1900-1920 and 1960-1980, the secular solar maxima around 1870-1890, 1940-1950 and 1995-2005, and a secular upward trending during the 20th century is recovered: this modulated trending agrees well with some solar proxy model, with the ACRIM TSI satellite composite and with the global surface temperature modulation since 1850. The model forecasts a new prolonged solar grand minimum during 2020-2045, which would be produced by the minima of both the 61 and 115-year reconstructed cycles. Solar and climate oscillations are linked to p​l​a​n​e​t​a​r… [LINK TO FULL TEXT]

 

 

RESEARCH PAPER #7: KEELING AND WHORF:  The 1,800-year oceanic tidal cycle: A possible cause of rapid climate change, May 2000, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 97(8):3814-9, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.070047197, SourcePubMed, Charles D. Keeling & Timothy P. Whorf. Variations in solar irradiance are widely believed to explain climatic change on 20,000- to 100,000-year time-scales in accordance with the Milankovitch theory of the ice ages, but there is no conclusive evidence that variable irradiance can be the cause of abrupt fluctuations in climate on time-scales as short as 1,000 years. We propose that such abrupt millennial changes, seen in ice and sedimentary core records, were produced in part by well characterized, almost periodic variations in the strength of the global oceanic tide-raising forces caused by resonances in the periodic motions of the earth and moon. A well defined 1,800-year tidal cycle is associated with gradually shifting lunar declination from one episode of maximum tidal forcing on the centennial time-scale to the next. An amplitude modulation of this cycle occurs with an average period of about 5,000 years, associated with gradually shifting separation-intervals between perihelion and syzygy at maxima of the 1,800-year cycle. We propose that strong tidal forcing causes cooling at the sea surface by increasing vertical mixing in the oceans. On the millennial time-scale, this tidal hypothesis is supported by findings, from sedimentary records of ice-rafting debris, that ocean waters cooled close to the times predicted for strong tidal forcing. THIS WORK IS ALSO AVAILABLLE ON PNAS WITH FULL TEXT [LINK TO FULL TEXT]

 

POSTSCRIPT: THE TIDAL CYCLE PAPER BY KEELING AND WHORF IS DISCUSSED IN MY POST ON TIDAL CYCLES [LINK TO TIDAL CYCLE POST]

WHORF2

 

QUESTION: IS THIS THE SAME KEELING AS IN THE KEELING CURVE ? ANSWER: YES

The Keeling curve illustrating trends in atmospheric carbon ...

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THIS POST IS A STUDY OF THE THEORY OF AGW CLIMATE CHANGE AS PROPOSED BY CLIMATE SCIENCE WITH RESPECT TO THE DISTINCTION MADE IN CLIMATE SCIENCE BETWEEN FOSSIL FUEL EMISSIONS AND CARBON CYCLE FLOWS. 

 

  1. The video above is a segment of a climate science lecture by NASA scientists available on Youtube [LINK] and discussed more fully in a related post [LINK] . In this segment NASA scientist Dr. Peter Griffith explains the foundational concept of the science of anthropogenic (AGW) global warming and climate change and the kind of climate action implied by the science that humans must undertake to moderate and control the progress of global warming.
  2. What Dr. Peter Griffith says: ” “the carbon in this chunk of coal was taken out of the atmosphere 350 million years ago. And since the Industrial Revolution, we’ve been taking it out of the ground and using it for fuel. The burning of fossil fuel, whether it is coal, oil, or natural gas, has released this very very old carbon back into the atmosphere a lot faster than the plants and the oceans can take it out of the atmosphere. Bit by bit it is moving the Keeling Curve up“.
  3. To summarize this excellent lecture:  What Dr Griffith has explained so well is an important feature of AGW climate change theory that is not well understood and/or often overlooked in the consideration of climate action policies. Anthropogenic global warming is NOT a theory that carbon dioxide emissions in general and from all sources increase atmospheric CO2 and therefore the temperature. It is a theory specific to the impact of the industrial economy that dug up fossil fuels loaded with carbon from carbon cycles that are millions of years old. This is EXTERNAL CARBON. It is not part of the current account of the carbon cycle.
  4. The essence of the theory of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) is that external carbon from very old carbon cycles in fossil fuel emissions cause warming by increasing atmospheric CO2 levels and that therefore the amount of warming can be attenuated by reducing fossil fuel emissions (Hansen, 1981) (Meinshausen, 2009) (Stocker, 2013) (Callendar, 1938) (Revelle, 1957) (Lacis, 2010) (Hansen, 2016) (IPCC, 2000) (IPCC, 2014). At the root of the proposed AGW causation chain is the ability of fossil fuel emissions to cause measurable changes in atmospheric CO2 levels in excess of natural variability because very old external carbon in fossil fuel emissions is a perturbation of the current account of the carbon cycle. AGW climate change theory is specific to the impact of the industrial economy in terms of its use of fossil fuels.
  5. Specifically carbon cycle flows are not a factor in the theory of anthropogenic global warming or in the design of climate action policies needed to attenuate anthropogenic global warming. So for example, respiration emissions are not a factor in the AGW equation. This important detail has been overlooked by climate activists who have not studied the theory well or forgotten these details, or are unaware of these details of the theory of anthropogenic global warming. The theory of anthropogenic global warming is specific to the industrial revolution and the industrial economy in terms of the combustion of fossil fuels
  6. However, uninformed climate action enthusiasm often overlooks this detail and starts to look at all human activity, even those that predate the industrial revolution and even those that involve carbon cycle flows, to find CO2 emissions that must be eliminated to fight climate change. The identification of bovine enteric fermentation as relevant to climate change and therefore climate action and the use of this rationale for vegan diet activism is an example of the  kind of misinterpretation of AGW theory described above.
  7. An additional and more egregious misinterpretation of carbon cycle flows is the idea contained in the NET ZERO emission concept in which investments made in carbon cycle flow interventions such as planting trees, protecting forests, and protecting coastal eco systems yield “carbon credits” such that an equivalent of fossil fuel emissions are canceled out in the emissions account. This kind of emissions accounting is grossly inconsistent with the climate science of anthropogenic global warming explained so well by Dr. Griffith above. And yet, the accounting arithmetic of NET ZERO emissions and the arithmetic that sustains the carbon credits market fails to make the distinction between fossil fuel emissions and carbon cycle flows explained by Dr. Griffith.
  8. SEE ALSO:  [WHAT DOES NET ZERO MEAN?][THE CARBON CREDITS MARKET]
  9. TO SUMMARIZE: AGW CLIMATE CHANGE IS NOT A THEORY ABOUT THE EVILS OF CARBON DIOXIDE. IT IS A THEORY ABOUT THE EVILS OF FOSSIL FUEL EMISSIONS

failure

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CITATIONS

  1. Hansen, J. (1981). Climate impact of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide. Science , 213.4511 (1981): 957-966.
  2. Hansen, J. (2016). Ice melt, sea level rise and superstorms: evidence from paleoclimate data, climate modeling, and modern observations that 2 C global warming could be dangerous. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics , 16.6 (2016): 3761-3812.
  3. Meinshausen, M. (2009). Greenhouse-gas emission targets for limiting global warming to 2 C. Nature , 458.7242 (2009): 1158-1162.
  4. Stocker, T. (2013). Climate change 2013: the physical science basis. Intergovernmental panel on climate change, working group I contribution to the IPCC fifth assessment report (AR5). New York (2013)
  5. Callendar, G. (1938). The artificial production of carbon dioxide and its influence on temperature. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society , 64.275 (1938): 223-240.
  6. Revelle, R. (1957). Carbon dioxide exchange between atmosphere and ocean and the question of an increase of atmospheric CO2 during the past decades. Tellus , 9.1 (1957): 18-27.
  7. Lacis, A. (2010). Atmospheric CO2: Principal control knob governing Earth’s temperature. Science , 330.6002 (2010): 356-359.

 

 

 

 

THERE HAVE BEEN REPEATED CLAIMS BY AGW SKEPTICS ANTICIPATING A GRAND SOLAR MINIMUM THAT GLOBAL WARMING IS HISTORY AND THAT GLOBAL COOLING IS HERE [2019 POST ON GLOBAL COOLING] 

AS SEEN IN THE IMAGES ABOVE, THESE CLAIMS HAVE PERSISTED EVEN AFTER THE 2019 PREDICTIONS DID NOT MATERIALIZE [LINK] [LINK] . THIS POST IS A CRITICAL EVALUATION OF THESE CLAIMS SEEN IN 2020. BELOW WE PRESENT DECADAL TEMPERATURE TRENDS SEEN IN THE UAH LOWER TROPOSPHERE DATA FOR GLOBAL MEAN TEMPERATURES AND GLOBAL MEAN LAND TEMPERATURES. 

 

 

FIGURE 1: DECADAL TRENDS IN GLOBAL MEAN TEMP

G-GIF

 

FIGURE 2: DECADAL TRENDS IN GLOBAL MEAN LAND TEMP

L-GIF

 

IN THE GIF CHARTS ABOVE, THE RED CURVE TRACKS THE DECADAL MONTHLY MEAN TEMPERATURE TREND FOR THE DECADE ENDING IN EACH YEAR FORM 1988 TO 2020. IN BOTH IMAGES, THE DECADAL TREND WINDOW MOVES THROUGH THE TIME SERIES ONE YEAR AT A TIME. EACH GIF IMAGE CYCLES THROUGH THE SIX CALENDAR MONTHS FROM JANUARY TO JUNE. THE HORIZONTAL BLACK LINE MARKS THE ZERO TREND POSITION. TRENDS ABOVE THE BLACK LINE ARE WARMING TRENDS. THOSE BENEATH THE BLACK LINE ARE COOLING TRENDS. THE CURVES IN THE LINE HAVE A TREND INTERPRETATION. WHEN IT IS MOVING DOWNWARD, WE CAN THINK OF IT AS MOVING TOWARD A COOLING TREND. LIKEWISE AN UPWARD CURVE IS A MOVE TOWARDS A WARMING TREND. 

FIGURE 1: THESE DECADAL TRENDS AND TRENDS OF DECADAL TRENDS FOR GLOBAL MEAN TEMPERATURES, BOTH LAND AND OCEAN, ARE PRESENTED IN FIGURE 1. HERE WE FIND SOME WEAK COOLING PERIODS PRIOR TO 1998 AND STRONGER COOLING PERIODS BETWEEN 2006 AND 2012 WITH A PARTICULARLY INTENSE DECADAL COOLING PERIOD ENDING IN THE YEAR 2012. NO DECADAL COOLING PERIOD IS FOUND AFTER THE YEAR 2015. MORE TO THE POINT, THE DECADAL TREND CURVE ENDS THE STUDY PERIOD WITH AN UPWARD SLOPE. THIS GIF DISPLAY OF THE DECADAL TRENDS IN GLOBAL MEAN TEMPERATURE DOES NOT APPEAR TO SHOW EVIDENCE OF THE END OF GLOBAL WARMING AND THE BEGINNING OF THE GRAND SOLAR MINIMUM COOLING CLAIMED BY THE AUTHORS OF THE CITED WORKS ABOVE. 

FIGURE 2THE SAME ANALYSIS IS PRESENTED IN FIGURE 2 FOR GLOBAL MEAN LAND SURFACE TEMPERATURES AS LAND SURFACES ARE MORE SENSITIVE TO CHANGES IN INCIDENT SOLAR RADIATION. THE SAME DECADAL COOLING AND WARMING PATTERN IS SEEN IN THESE DATA INCLUDING THE DEEP DECADAL COOLING TREND ENDING IN 2012 AND THE ABSENCE OF DECADAL COOLING TRENDS SINCE THE DECADE ENDING IN 2015. ALSO, AS IN FIGURE 1, THE CHART OF DECADAL TRENDS ENDS IN AN UPWARD MOVEMENT WITH NO INDICATION OF THE COMING COOLING OF THE GRAND SOLAR MINIMUM. 

 

IN SUMMARY, AS IN THE SIMILAR STUDY OF 2019 [LINK] , WE FIND NO EVIDENCE IN UAH LOWER TROPOSPHERE DATA FOR GLOBAL MEAN TEMPERATURE (LAND AND OCEAN), OR FOR LAND ONLY, THAT THE “COMING GRAND SOLAR MINIMUM” HAS IMPOSED A COOLING TREND OR IS IMPOSING A COOLING TREND IN GLOBAL MEAN TEMPERATURES. 

THE EVIDENCE FOR “THE COMING COOLING OF THE GRAND SOLAR MINIMUM” IS PRESENTED IN TERMS OF THE KIND OF LOCALIZED COOLING EVENTS DESCRIBED BELOW. NO RATIONALE IS PROVIDED FOR THE INTERPRETATION OF THESE EVENTS IN TERMS OF AGW CLIMATE CHANGE OR THE GRAND SOLAR MINIMUM. BOTH OF THESE THEORIES RELATE TO LONG TERM TRENDS IN GLOBAL MEAN TEMPERATURE. 

 

POSTSCRIPT: IN SOME INSTANCES THE AUTHORS OF THESE GRAND SOLAR MINIMUM CLAIMS HAVE DEFENDED THEIR METHODOLOGY BY ACCUSING CLIMATE SCIENCE OF USING SIMILAR METHODS. THIS DEFENSE DOES NOT VALIDATE THEIR FINDINGS OR THEIR METHODS. 

 

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