Wombles want to ban oil exploration

Two items crossed my screen today:

  1. Jacinda Ardern says she needs more time to consider oil exploration ban (Herald article)
  2. Historic Solar Minimum Approaches (Vencore Weather)

There is absolutely no dispute about the sunspot activity counts.

The sun is blank today [March 13] for the 10th straight day and it has been without sunspots this year more than half the time as the current solar cycle heads towards the next solar minimum.  Solar cycle 24 is currently on pace to be the weakest sunspot cycle with the fewest sunspots since cycle 14 peaked in February 1906. Solar cycle 24 continues a recent trend of weakening solar cycles which began with solar cycle 21 that peaked around 1980. The last time the sun was this blank in a given year on a percentage basis was 2009 during the last solar minimum when 71% of the time was spotless.  That last solar minimum actually reached a nadir in 2008 when an astounding 73% of the year featured a spotless sun – the most spotless days in a given year since 1913.

All indications are that the upcoming solar minimum which is expected to begin in 2019 may be even quieter than the last one which was the deepest in nearly a century.

Source climate4you.com

Each peak in the graph is a solar cycle, the right-most one is Cycle 24 and it is clear that there has been a gradual reduction since Cycle 21 in 1980.

Simon Constable writes about this in Forbes:

Once upon a time, people would worship the sun as a deity. It was with good reason that they did so for the sun provided much of what sustains life on our small planet, warmth and bountiful harvests. How would we survive if the sun stopped beating down on us? It was a real fear.

Then came science and industrialization. As the new era took over, we mostly forgot the sun and its importance to our existence. (Of course, most people occasionally complain that it is either too sunny or not sunny enough.)

What Simon does not say is that the “science and industrialization” was powered by oil, coal, gas; the “cheap” hydrocarbon fuel energy that modern society is built upon.

But just because we stopped paying close attention doesn’t mean that it lost any of its importance to our world. And neither does the fact that the life of the sun is far more complex than many people realize. Indeed, if we are to believe the experts, the sun’s behavior is about to change in a way that could have dramatic consequences for the food we eat and the broader economy.[…]

The period when the spots vanished, a so-called grand solar minimum, also coincided with a sort of mini-ice age with harsh winters and short cool summers. It became known as the Maunder minimum after the man who studied it.

Source: NASA

Before we go back to the Maunder Minimum, there is a later low point in the graph above, the Dalton Minimum, between 1800 and 1850. For those who need a history brush-up, the Dalton Minimum coincided with the frost fairs when the River Thames froze over.

London frost fair 1814

The Maunder Minimum, by all accounts, was colder, and definitely longer duration. As in the later paintings, the Thames froze over.

In this 1677 painting by Abraham Hondius, “The Frozen Thames, looking Eastwards towards Old London Bridge,” people are shown enjoying themselves on the ice.

One of my favourite painters, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, also painted many frozen scenes from this period.

So, we have undisputed sunspot counts going back 400 odd years and the current data suggest we are heading for a historic low once again. Now it could just be a curious coincidence that low sunspot counts and frigid conditions in Europe occurred at the same time, but since the sun is the source of all energy for planet earth it seems highly likely that there is a correlation between the two. Dial back sun activity and the earth gets colder, is not that difficult a concept to grasp.

If this does occur between now and 2050 then the inhabitants of the planet are going to want to get their hands on all the energy they possibly can to keep warm or heat glasshouses to grow food because it is too cold outside or whatever.

So, at a time when we should, prudently, be preparing for a likely prolonged cold spell, our fairy princess is insulting a world leader by standing him up on a state lunch date in order to get a photo op with 40 Wombles in front of Parliament.

Ardern told around 40 people gathered on the front lawn she was meant to be at a state lunch for an international guest [Indonesian President Joko Widodo] but it was important to stand in front of them and “do what governments should do and be held to account on the toughest decisions that we face as a nation but also as a world”.

She said the things the Government had to weigh up was how to take the people with it in every sphere – socially, economically, in terms of their employment and their futures.

So when you bow the knee to the UN masters who say no more CO2, all hydrocarbons are bad and must be left in the ground, and your people starve or freeze: what then?

“Searching for new oil or gas is senseless, and we’re asking the Jacinda Ardern Government to put an end to it.”

Last week, an open letter signed by more than 60 individuals and associations including scientists, health professionals, iwi leaders, unions, businesspeople, journalists, poets, actors and musicians was launched to encourage Ardern and her Government to turn “passion into action” on climate change.

Neither [Energy and Resources Minister Megan] Woods nor [Climate Change Minister James] Shaw would be drawn on what the future held for oil and gas exploration in New Zealand.

Oh, well, the science is settled: The iwi leaders, unions, journalists, poets, actors and musicians have spoken.

How about we let the market decide whether to explore and drill instead of Greenpeace and the 1% of the population stupid enough to sign their petition?


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In solidarity with the those in the world’s most despised demographic, WH has decided to ‘come out’ as an old white male. WH enjoys exercising the white-male privilege that Whaleoil provides for him by writing the occasional post challenging climate change consensus; looking at random tech issues that tweak his interest, as a bit of a tech nerd; or generally poking the borax at anyone in public life who goes on record revealing their stupidity. WH never excelled on the sports field because his coaches never allowed him to play in his preferred position on the right-wing. WH also enjoys his MG.

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