Wednesday, October 23, 2019

NHS boss announces air pollution 'emergency' as major study shows our dirty air is killing us

For years Greenies and some medical researchers have been trying to prove that air pollution is bad for you.  You would think that that would be a slam dunk -- and at some level air pollution probably is bad for you -- but is it dangerous at the levels we encounter in the worst areas of Western cities?

It isn't.  There are normally one or two studies every year that claim to prove a relatioship between pollution and health and I regularly review them. See here. Without fail, the studies are full of holes.  They do not show what they purport to show.  They omit major methodological precautions that would have protected them from false conclusions and as a result leave their reported effects attributable to other things than pollution.

I find this bemusing.  Is there no researcher out there who is capable of doing a defensible study of the topic?  I suspect that there is and that there have been.  What presumably happens when a good study is done is that the desired effect is not found.  Pollution is found not to be dangerous.  To avoid antagonizing their colleagues, however, those studies are never submitted for publication.  The old bias agist "negative results" comes into play.  Only those studies which purport to show the desired correlation are submitted for publication.  But they are --demonstrably -- the poorly done ones.

So I was initially  rather impressed by the report below:  a study of real people in a real setting: no artificial laboratory rubbish or dubious sampling.

I was soon disappointed.  The pollution statistics looked sound but what about disease incidence?  Where did the statistics on that come from?  Rather hilariously, they had no direct figures for that at all.  We read:

"To match higher pollution days with their impact on public health, the researchers used previous studies which have already highlighted this link, such as expert Committees reports"

We do not yet have details of what those previous reports were but in the light of chronic failures in previous studies already noted one is hardly brimming with confidence that their findings were sound. Once again, the authors have built their castle on sand

So what the heck is going on? Why is it so hard to prove the obvious?

My academic background is in psychology but I twice taught in university departments that also included sociology and anthropology.  And I have always taken an interest in anthropology anyhow. And I think we now have to turn to anthropology to understand what is going on.

And it's rather simple. From our evolutionry past to poor societies in the world today, people have relied heavily on wood fires for heating and cooking.   Even in London today they still do.  A London example below:

But most woodburners are more like this;

And as you soon find out if you regress to the past that Greenies want for all of us, those fires put out SOOT, which is the very stuff that Greenies also say is bad for us

To stop beating around the bush: Humankind has spent maybe a million years huddled around open fires so has evolved to tolerate heavy levels of particulate pollution -- far higher levels than one would normally encounter in modern Western society.  If we do get a load of particulate pollution, we just cough it up. Fine-particle air pollution is NOT bad for us

So a whole tradition of research exists only because of heavily compartmentalized thinking.

The boss of the NHS has declared an air pollution "emergency" as a major study today shows it causes hundreds of heart attacks and strokes every year.

Simon Stevens says we must act now to avoid so many "avoidable deaths" after figures reveal days of high air pollution trigger an extra 124 cardiac arrests, 231 stroke admissions and 193 hospitalisations for asthma across nine major UK cities each year.

Health charities today warn the figures could be just the “tip of the iceberg”, as often those suffering asthma attacks do not go to hospital.

The research by King’s College London, which is due to be published next month, is believed to be the first of its kind to analyse the impact of air pollution on health across different UK regions in this way.

In response to the findings Mr Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said: “As these new figures show, air pollution is now causing thousands of strokes, cardiac arrests and asthma attacks, so it’s clear that the climate emergency is in fact also a health emergency.

“Since these avoidable deaths are happening now - not in 2025 or 2050 - together we need to act now. For the NHS that is going to mean further comprehensive action building on the reduction of our carbon footprint of one fifth in the past decade.

“So our NHS energy use, supply chain, building adaptations and our transport will all need to change substantially.”

The new figures, released in partnership with UK100 a network of local government leaders, show the immediate, short-term impact of air pollution on the public.

Previous estimates have shown the long-term impact of air pollution cause up to 36,000 deaths every year.

Days where air pollution is more prominent typically occurs on hot, sunny days with little wind, because air pollution stays concentrated and closer to the ground

The nine cities analysed were London, Birmingham, Bristol, Derby, Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham, Oxford and Southampton.

The risk of having a cardiac arrest on the street or in your home is 2.2 percent higher in London on high air pollution days, than lower air pollution days.

This equates to 87 more people on average suffering cardiac arrest each year, while 74 children are admitted to hospital for asthma, and 144 adults are admitted for strokes.

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, said: “London’s lethal air is a public health crisis - it leads to thousands of premature deaths in the capital every year, as well as stunting the development of young lungs and increasing cases of respiratory illness."

In Birmingham, the risk of cardiac arrest is 2.3 percent higher on high pollution days, equating to an extra 12 people per year on average. In Manchester, the risk of cardiac arrest is 2.4 percent higher on high pollution days.

Dr Samantha Walker, director of research and policy at Asthma UK, said: "Toxic air is a scourge on the nation's health and this study shines a light on the devastating effects it can have on people with asthma, causing hundreds to be seriously ill and need hospital treatment.

“These figures may be just the tip of the iceberg as many people with asthma don't go to hospital when they have an asthma attack and try to manage it themselves and this research only focuses on people in major cities in England.

"We urgently need the Government to commit to a stronger Environment Bill with legally binding enforceable targets for clean air, based on World Health Organisation recommendations.”

To measure air pollution levels the researchers used data from the UK monitoring body, the Automatic Urban and Rural Network (AURN), which is published by Defra.

Data from Airbase, the European air quality database maintained by the EEA, was also used in the report.

They classed higher pollution days as those which fell in the top quarter of the annual average range.

To match higher pollution days with their impact on public health, the researchers used previous studies which have already highlighted this link, such as expert Committees reports, NHS statistics and studies from the World Health Organisation.

The number of additional patients suffering health impacts in each of the nine cities was calculated by mapping the rates of health impacts from previous studies onto the population size of the cities, and then quantifying this impact rate with the number of high pollution days.

Dr Heather Walton, from King’s College, said: “This wider range of impacts on our health provides additional evidence of the important need for further action to reduce air pollution.”

A Defra spokesperson said:  “We are taking urgent action to improve air quality and tackle pollution so people can live longer healthier lives.

“Our landmark Environment Bill will set ambitious, legally-binding targets to reduce fine particulate matter and increase local powers to address key sources of air pollution.

“We are already working hard to reduce transport emissions and are investing £3.5 billion to clean up our air, while our Clean Air Strategy has been praised by the WHO as an ‘example for the rest of the world to follow.”


Another dissenter purged

This is like the old Soviet Union. Whether Dr Crockford is correct in her assessment of polar bears is beside the point. Academics are allowed to have different opinions from their peers. I am particularly concerned about the anonymous admission half way down about getting "deniers" sacked.

Global warming campaigners have done an effective job at convincing the media and much of the world that polar bears are dying out.

It’s not true.

In fact, thanks to a hunting ban, polar bears are a major conservation success story.  Their population ballooned from around 5,000 in the 1960s to (depending on whose estimate) from 22,000 to over 30,000 today.  Today the North is loaded with fat, happy, fecund bears (sorry seals).

It appears that telling the truth about polar bears made Dr. Susan Crockford, a respected, published Canadian zoologist, the victim of an Polar bear expert purged 2ideological purge.  First she was removed from the University of Victoria’s speakers bureau, and then not renewed to her position as an adjunct professor.

“The loss of adjunct status,” Crockford wrote, “will primarily prevent me from continuing scientific research on speciation and domestication mechanisms in evolution: without an academic affiliation I will be unable to secure research funds or academic collaborations.”

But this woman of science is fearless.

“What a lack of academic affiliation has not done, and cannot do,” Crockford continued, “is stop me from investigating and commenting on the failures and inconsistencies of science that I see in published polar bear research papers and reflected in public statements made by polar bear specialists.  I am still a former adjunct professor and I will not be silenced.”

Free speech is anathema to the Left.

They don’t fear false or misleading information, that’s their stock in trade.  They fear the facts that prove them wrong.  They are prepared to wreak great harm on any who dare utter them.  They know they can’t silence Susan Crockford, but know also that harming her creates an atmosphere of fear that most others lack the courage to confront.

Warming campaigners are actively hunting scalps.  Take a look at this shocking anonymous admission from one of them that CFACT’s friend Russell Cook found, on of all places, CFACT’s own coPolar bear expert purged 1mment forum!

“You will be pleased to know that in the past two years I successfully had two deniers fired (forced resignations) from their university positions.  One was a prolific WUWT contributor.  I discovered a nice twist to the freedom of speech tale.  You can say almost anything except yell fire in a crowded room and are free to make a fool of oneself but can’t invoke one’s pedigree to do so i.e. you can state your doctorate or disciplines, but not your college, professional body memberships and imply they agree.  So that’s how I’ve been knocking them off by going to their employer, professional registration, professional memberships or their alma mater.  I have three scalps lined up now — infant stage But they will collapse like dominoes.”

Think of the malice and lack of respect and concern for others these people exhibit!  Academic freedom and the ability of all of us to participate in public discussion is truly under assault.

What would happen if our nasty commenters methods were applied equally to everyone?  How often do you read misleading and outright false pronouncements from climate campaigners in the press?  Do they not cite their academic and professional affiliations in their bios?

Donna Laframboise covered Dr. Crockford’s situation at Financial Post:

“Jeffrey Foss, a former chair of UVic’s philosophy department, says Crockford has been punished for speaking her own mind about matters of fact, which means she has been denied academic freedom and free speech. ‘I’m beginning to lose faith and hope in the university system,’ he says.”

Dr. Crockford said:

“It appears certain to me that the Anthropology Department bowed to pressure from the administration, who themselves bowed to pressure from outside the university community, in an attempt to stifle my legitimate scientific criticisms of polar bear conservation issues. This kind of bullying has been happening far too often at universities, even in Canada.”

The idea that climate pressure groups can demand unprecedented control over our economies, freedoms and personal lives, and obtain this without open public debate is monstrous.

Governments, universities, professional associations, the media and all institutions must be made aware of the dirty, destructive trick being played in the name of global warming.

We must insist on unfettered scientific discussion and the right of researchers like Dr. Susan Crockford, and each and every one of us, to speak without fear.


Swing Voters Hold a More Reasonable View on Climate Change Than the Debate Would Lead You to Believe

We’ve been conditioned to see the debate over climate change as a battle over extremes. On one hand, there are those who dismiss the notion of climate change outright. These people believe that it’s junk science or a hoax. On the other side of the argument are the climate activists who tell us the sky is falling and that we must act now to reverse the damage – actions that usually include draconian governmental policy.

Here’s the thing: both sides of this debate can’t rightly claim majority status. In an era of heated rhetoric, many people see climate change as an important but not urgent issue or at least don’t buy into the vitriol and hyperbole from either side.

(Full disclosure: I see differences in the climate, but I’m skeptical that manmade climate change is such a drastic issue or that we can really do that much about it. At the same time, I believe we should pursue free-market innovations that help us take care of the environment.)

It turns out that swing voters occupy a middle ground between the climate hoaxers and the environmental alarmists. Axios has detailed a series of focus groups that reveal how swing voters view the climate change debate. Amy Harder reports about the findings:

The participants were asked the following fill-in-the-blank exercise: Climate change is a ____. Of the more than 2 dozen responses, most (14) chose words that somehow described climate change as a problem, with “concern” being the most common word.

* Just 4 people chose words that made it clear they roundly dismissed climate change as a problem at all (like Trump), with one Obama-Trump voter calling it a joke and another saying it was “scientifically unproven.”

* Nobody described climate change as an emergency.

* Other words mentioned: “big issue,” “addressable issue” and “something scary.”

Harder draws these conclusions:

* Scientists are increasingly sounding the alarm about the mostly negative, and at times catastrophic, impacts that climate change is already having and is likely to have in the decades to come.

* But to people who are worried about paying big health care bills or losing their jobs in a matter of months due to a slowing economy, any problem playing out over decades will inevitably not rise to the top. Or, if it does make it to the top, it doesn’t stay there long.

At the end of the day, while the rhetoric over climate change has heated up to the extreme on both sides of the debate, swing voters – and arguably plenty of others among us – hold a more reasonable view on the issue.

It may behoove politicians of all stripes to remember that not everyone sees climate change either as a hoax or a hair-on-fire emergency. And politicians could benefit from remembering that, to paraphrase Ronald Reagan, government isn’t the solution to solving environmental issues.


Desperation Grows: ’Exxon Knew’ Activists Publish ‘Report’ Ahead Of NY Trial

Exxon Knew protestersA group of activist researchers, known for their biased studies and their collusion with attorneys general and municipality leaders to target energy companies, released a new study that rehashes an old and debunked argument: that fossil fuel companies knowingly misled Americans about climate change.

The timing of the report comes as a desperate attempt to gain attention during the NY AG’s trial against ExxonMobil, a case that now deals with accounting practices and stands as wholly separate from the “Exxon Knew” campaign.

Potentially in recognition of the trial’s diminished prospects for their radical anti-energy campaign, researchers Naomi Oreskes, Geoffrey Supran and Ed Maibach are nevertheless using the trial as an opportunity to dust off their threadbare and false arguments.

New Name, Same Debunked Argument

The newly released report, “America Misled,” provides little new information and builds on a study from Naomi Oreskes and Geoffrey Supran in which the authors, making continuous references to their own prior work, analyzed a small, cherry-picked sampling of advertorials published by Mobil and later ExxonMobil in an attempt to conclude that ExxonMobil promoted a public position on climate change contradictory to its own internal documents.

In “America Misled,” the authors write that “Science denial continues unabated—in the last decade, content analysis of online misinformation has found the prevalence of science denial has been on the increase.”

Despite this claim, the authors only examine four internal company documents from 1977-1998 and a single ExxonMobil advertorial from 2000.

The paper does not mention that it is extrapolating ExxonMobil positions from separate Exxon internal documents (Exxon and Mobil did not merge until 1998).

What follows this “content analysis” are charts that use strawman arguments to present the side of “climate deniers,” attempting to connect these arguments with the single ExxonMobil advertorial presented.

It’s a cute exercise, cleverly designed to boil their debunked arguments down to simple, easily digested chunks of text with accompanying, colorful graphics. Left undisclosed is who funded and produced the slick paper.

Biased Scholars Seek Attention
Although the authors of the report claim to “offer insights of more than a decade of peer-reviewed research,” their past scholarly work as well as their advocacy and direct coordination with politicians, including the New York attorney general, raises questions about the credibility of their work as well as their ability to produce unbiased scholarship.

Naomi Oreskes and Geoffrey Supran have worked with each other in the past to produce biased scholarship which they claimed proved that ExxonMobil misled the public about climate change.

In fact, their research was biased, did not follow the best research practices and received criticism from other academics.

It’s unsurprising that this report, published in 2017, was not objective—Oreskes and Supran received partial funding from the Rockefeller Family Fund, a philanthropy that has repeatedly financed media outlets, other non-profits and activists who advocate for climate liability litigation.

Yet issues with the report went further than the bias of the funding source.

The report, which claimed to use ExxonMobil advertorials to demonstrate that the company held different internal views on climate change than it publicized, concluded that ExxonMobil’s internal documents and research “published from 1977 to 2014, were in line with the scientific thinking of the time,” yet the company’s public communications tended to sow doubt about the existence of climate change 80 percent of the time.

Yet, as EID reported at the time of the report’s publication, their sample size was not only small—comprised of only 36 “advertorials” published in the New York Times between 1989 and 2004, they also were not accounting for the fact that Exxon and Mobil were two separate companies that didn’t merge until 1999—a full decade into the years that comprised their puny sample size.

When broken down, only 11 of the advertorials examined by the researchers were published by ExxonMobil. Mobil—an entirely different company—had published the rest. But wait, there’s more:

“If Mobil and ExxonMobil were publishing these advertorials every Thursday for 15 years, why did the researchers only look at 36 of them? The authors claim that’s the number of advertorials published during the time frame that discuss global warming or climate change. But they didn’t pull these documents by themselves—they relied on a Greenpeace-run website called PolluterWatch to do that for them.”

Oreskes and Supran’s bias was inherent in the structure of their survey—they used a paltry sample size, selected by a biased third-party, to conduct academic research.

But their study’s methodology was also poorly constructed and received criticism from other academics.

Kimberly Neuendorf, a professor of communication at Cleveland State University with more than 40 years of experience with quantitative content analysis research, reviewed the Supran/Oreskes study.

Her published rebuttal found serious flaws and called the data analysis “unreliable, invalid, biased, not generalizable, and not replicable.”

Neuendorf was also critical about the study’s application of a method called “consensus measurement,” which she said was only used by a small group of researchers and was “not a standard, time-honored research technique.”

She wrote that because “the investigators using consensus measurement seem to be a relatively small group, with inter-citation and self-citation notable … [consensus measurement] has the potential to create an ‘echo chamber’ of reinforcing ideas, without critique and correction.”

The newly released report makes a similar error, with the authors self-citing more than a third of the time.


Great Barrier Reef has 'vibrant future', authority agrees

They are walking back their Greenie gloom

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority has supported Environment Minister Sussan Ley's appraisal that the reef is "good" and has "a vibrant future". A Senate estimates committee hearing on Monday heard a downgrading of the reef condition from poor to very poor was a long-term forecast based on no action being taken on climate change.

GBRMPA chief executive Joshua Thomas said the out-look report was an assessment of the likely condition of the reef if a series of issues were not addressed. These included reducing global greenhouse gas emissions along with improving reef water quality, better marine park compliance, controlling crown of thorns starfish and reducing marine debris.

"The reef is a vast estate and many areas remain vibrant and ecologically robust," he said. "It continuo to be an extraordinary experience for visitors to the region, supporting beautiful corals and abundant marine life."

After her first visit to the reef as minister, Ms Ley said: "It gives me great heart and hope that the future of this magnificent part of the world is a good one." She said at the time the reef
was not dead, was not dying and not even on life support.

"Today we saw coral that was struggling but we also saw coral that was coming back, that was growing, that was vibrant"

Mr Thomas said Ms Ley had been "referring to the fact there are many areas, of the reef that remain vibrant and worth visiting and we support that statement". "It is also true that the reef over the past five years has been subjected to unprecedented changes, including those bleaching events in 2016-177 he added.

The authority's chief scientist, David Wachenfeld, told Senate estimates the outlook report was evidence-based. He said the downgrade from poor to very poor was the long-term outlook for the reef that was largely a consideration of the impacts of climate change on current green-house gas emissions trajectories.

From "the Australian" of 22 Oct., 2019


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Tuesday, October 22, 2019

That wicked polystyrene is biodegradable after all

Sunlight Converts Polystyrene to Carbon Dioxide and Dissolved
Organic Carbon

Collin P. Ward et al.


Numerous international governmental agencies that steer policy assume that polystyrene persists in the environment for millennia. Here, we show that polystyrene is completely photochemically oxidized to carbon dioxide and partially photochemically oxidized to dissolved organic carbon. Lifetimes of complete and partial photochemical oxidation are estimated to occur on centennial and decadal time scales, respectively. These lifetimes are orders of magnitude faster than biological respiration of polystyrene and thus challenge the prevailing assumption that polystyrene persists in the environment for millennia. Additives disproportionately altered the relative susceptibility to complete and partial photochemical oxidation of polystyrene and accelerated breakdown by shifting light absorbance and reactivity to longer wavelengths. Polystyrene photochemical oxidation increased approximately 25% with a 10 °C increase in temperature, indicating that temperature is unlikely to be a primary driver of photochemical oxidation rates. Collectively, sunlight exposure appears to be a governing control of the environmental persistence of polystyrene, and thus, photochemical loss terms need to be included in mass balance studies on the environmental fate of polystyrene. The experimental framework presented herein should be applied to a diverse array of polymers and formulations to establish how general these results are for other plastics in the environment.


Can this world survive without fossil fuels?

“God, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the Courage to change the things I can change; and the Wisdom to know the difference.”

The afore-quoted Serenity Prayer came to mind while I was writing this because it seems applicable to the world’s citizens who are trying to attain the leadership roles in the save the environment movement before understanding the complexities of the energy picture depicted Energy Made Easyin the book Energy Made Easy and the advantages energy as a whole has provided humanity for the last couple of centuries.

Because developed countries have accomplished much in the last few centuries, they have a responsibility as caretakers for the only planet we live on right now. Understandably, it’s hard to imagine the billions of people in underdeveloped countries who have yet to experience anything like the industrial revolution and who are surviving without any of the advantage’s fossil fuels are providing to the lifestyles of those in developed countries.

Yes, there are billions of people in undeveloped countries who are currently living in the low economy horse and buggy days that developed countries left behind a century ago after the assimilation in the early 1900s of the automobile and airplane into regular societal structure. They have yet to join the industrial revolution, and without oil and natural gas, they may never get that opportunity.

It’s almost impossible to understand that almost half the world — over three billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day. At least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day. Today, across southern Asia, portions of Europe and parts of Africa and Australia, there are families attempting to live on virtually nothing. As hard as it is to believe it is a truism.

Can anyone comprehend that the homeless in America may be living a better life than 80% of humanity?

Imagine families living in dirt huts with no access to emergency medical care because there is no EMC. Their daily lives are bleak and hopeless. They watch their children, friends and relatives suffer and die early deaths from diseases/conditions that are curable using medicines and treatments brought about by developments using fossil fuel by-products.

With fossil fuels, the few of us in the developed countries can now survive in environments all over the world, even harsh ones like Antarctica. Every year, we fell forests and destroy other natural areas, driving species into smaller areas or into endangerment and some even to extinction, because of our need to build more housing to contain our growing population.

Today, the current world population of 7.7 billion is projected to reach 9.8 billion in 2050, and 11.2 billion in 2100. How many more trees will fall as unnatural selection takes its toll on the planet? Currently, underdeveloped countries, mostly from energy starved countries, are experiencing 11 million child deaths every year, and mainly from preventable causes.

Imagine the future atrocities to humanity for those trying to live in abject poverty if we deny the growing poor the benefits of medicines, heating and countless other developments made possible by fossil fuels, to ever achieve the lifestyle benefits afforded the few in developed countries from all those products we get from fossil fuels.

The Earth has been around 4.5 billion years. While our ancestors have been around for about six million years, the modern form of humans only evolved about 200,000 years ago. Civilization as we know it is only about 6,000 years old, and industrialization started in earnest only in the 1800s.

For nomadic tribes that ruled over thousands of years, their governmental powers were driven by horses, mules, and camels from the animal kingdom – true horse and buggy economies.

From those horse and buggy days a few centuries ago, those personal and commercial vehicles that did not exist before 1900 are currently estimated at 1.2 billion vehicles on the world’s roads with projections of 2 billion by 2035. By some estimates, the total number of vehicles worldwide could double to 2.5 billion by 2050.

Another thing we take for granted is air flight. My hat’s off to Wilbur and his not so congenial brother Orville. Imagine not being able to fly anywhere in the world today? The airlines that did not exist before 1900, transported more than 4.1 billion passengers in 2017 around the world and projections are 7.8 billion airline passengers by 2036.

In just the last few centuries every developed nation now has a military that consists of planes, ships, tanks, and troops with support structures that need constant transporting around the globe, as well as a multitude of infrastructures and products that provide for a comfortable lifestyle in their homelands.

Developed countries that are wealthier and healthier than underdeveloped countries have become dependent on the more than 6,000 products that are manufactured from petroleum and that includes fuel oils for heating and electricity generation, asphalt and road oil, fertilizers that help agriculture feed billions, and feedstocks for making the chemicals, plastics, and synthetic materials that are in nearly everything we use today.

Interestingly, the primary economic reasons that oil refineries even exist are NOT to manufacture the aviation, diesel, and gasoline fuels for today’s military and transportation industries. From one 42-gallon barrel of oil only about half is for fuels while the rest is used to manufacture the chemicals and by-products that are part of our daily lifestyles. Those billions in underdeveloped countries may not need transportation fuels, but they do need the other ½ of the barrel of oil for the thousands of products that have enhanced the lifestyle of those in developed countries.

As headstrong as the leaders of the new environmental movements are they are equaly ignorant of what “energy” means and the real reason fossil fuels are integral to the success of developed nations and the necessity of those fuels being made available to up and coming nations who want to enjoy the fruits and comforts of modern society.


More on global warming as a false religion

The problem of global warming, with it's coming "end of the world" narrative, has been grossly overestimated. In fact, David Webb, host of Fox Nation's "Reality Check," got it right when he referred to it as the "religion of the Left." Dr. Michael Brown also called it "the new religion of manmade global warming."

Brown said:

"It has its unique gods (like Mother Earth). It defies the created world (with seminarians confessing to plants in a chapel service). It has its high priests and religious leaders (the climate change gurus and radical environmentalists). It has its patron saints (like Sweden's Greta Thunberg). And it has its own doomsday scenario: The end of the world is near. Very near."

Webb also said, "After all it's the big New Green Deal [which is about climate change], which isn't the real deal, and America the prosperous is the Satan. Hey, every religion needs a Satan." So the religion of climate change even has a Devil.

Regardless of claims to the contrary, every attempt to prove a scientific consensus that greenhouse gases are causing global warming and precipitating an impending climate disaster has failed.

One thing about science is exact: its analysis of data is always changing. This is particularly true regarding predictions of future environmental disasters.

Myron Ebell and Steven J. Milloy of the Competitive Enterprise Institute have recently provided an impressive list of apocalyptic predictions made through the decades from notable people in government and science that have miserably failed.

"Such predictions have been and continue to be enthusiastically reported by a media eager for sensational headlines," say the authors, but "the failures are not typically revisited."

Indeed, the claims of science, the assertions of the experts, are ever being amended, but the Word of God stands forever. And the teachings of the Bible are at cross-purposes with the declarations of climate change advocates.

God made the world so delicate that if man's use of any fossil fuels raises carbon dioxide levels from 27 to 54 thousandths of one percent of the atmosphere, it will cause worldwide destruction? The contention is absurd. God made a better world, one that's able to adapt, and self-regulate to serve his eternal purposes for humankind.

There's one other factor that's not spiritual but political, which should be considered. Other nations from around the world, who by the way care nothing about religious liberty, are envious of America's prosperity. Climate policy, as dictated by the United Nations, would require America to give up its sovereignty and redistribute its wealth.

As John Edison, a free-lance writer from Atlanta, eloquently argues: "[T]axes would be used, not for environmental healing, but to fund the most massive redistribution of wealth in history, literally trillions of dollars extracted under false pretenses from hardworking U.S. taxpayers and given to corrupt governments of every underdeveloped nation on Earth, all in the guise of 'climate aid.'"

President Trump seems to have a keen sense of discerning a ruse when he sees one and recognizing a real problem, such as the lack of religious liberty around the world.

The President hasn't bowed the knee to the idolatrous image of global warming. As he said at the religious freedom meeting, our rights come from God. He's correct. And those inalienable rights would indeed be threatened by some stealth agenda behind climate hysteria, which pressures this nation to surrender to a form of global governance.


Monbiot’s Martyrdom

Monbiot is probably Britain's best known climate alarmist. It gives him something to say  -- and a sense of mission

Two days ago George Monbiot’s dearest wish was granted when he was arrested at an Extinction Rebellion event. The joy on his face as he is dragged along the ground is a sight to behold.

After the arrest, and after the cheers of the crowd have died down, he announces to the camera which has faithfully recorded the historical event:

So this just feels like the right place to be, the right thing to do, strange as that may sound. I just feel we’ve got to make as much of a stand as we possibly can to prevent ecocide. Politics as usual, that is ecocide, the destruction of the conditions that make life possible on this earth. And I’m standing up against that and I’m proud to be arrested for that cause.

In the accompanying article “Today, I aim to get arrested. It is the only real power climate protesters have” he describes how:

“By putting our bodies on the line and risking our liberty, we make this great neglected issue impossible to ignore.”

This “great neglected issue” is the one mentioned under the on-line article, indeed, under every single on-line article at the Guardian, which describes it thus:

"We will not stay quiet on the escalating climate crisis. This is the Guardian’s pledge: we will continue to give global heating, wildlife extinction and pollution the urgent attention and prominence they demand. The Guardian recognises the climate emergency as the defining issue of our times… We will inform our readers about threats to the environment based on scientific facts… the language we use accurately reflects the environmental catastrophe. The Guardian believes that the problems we face on the climate crisis are systemic and that fundamental societal change is needed. We will keep reporting on the efforts of individuals and communities around the world who are fearlessly taking a stand for future generations and the preservation of human life on earth."

The article, as you might expect from the title and video, is all about George and his new version of the White Man’s Burden; being condemned by fate to be not only white, but also educated and middle class, and silenced by an oppressive political system which limits his freedom of expression to one chance per week to address the five million plus readership of the world’s oldest and most prestigious left-of-centre news medium.

There are a couple of times when he refers to the world outside his head. First, in the only concrete reference to what he’s protesting about, he claims that:

“we know that, even with just 1C of global heating, climate chaos is already a bigger cause of forced migration than either poverty or political oppression.”

The link is to a paper (paywalled) whose publicity blurb claims that “Climate change is a more important driver than income and political freedom at origin together.”

Though we can’t read the source of this claim without forking out 39 dollars, there is another article by the same lead author on the same subject freely available whose abstract reads:

"This paper provides an overview of research into the phenomenon of whether climatic factors, such as temperature and weather‐related disasters, affect the decision to migrate. As an example, we examine migration flows from 198 countries to Australia for the time span from 1980 to 2015. Our results show that temperature does not have a robust, significant effect on migration flows, while weather‐related disasters do significantly affect flows to Australia."

Note that temperature change is NOT a factor, but weather-related disasters are. No mention of whether said disasters are getting more frequent, or whether they’re related to climate change. When a hurricane strikes, people tend to go somewhere else. But I think we knew that already.

Apart from this brief excursion into peer reviewed science, George sticks closely to the same script he’s been reciting for the past twenty years:

"…the big fossil fuel companies have used political funding, intense lobbying and gross deceptions of the public to overwhelm environmental protections and keep harvesting their massive profits. Those who confront them have no such power. We cannot buy television channels and newspapers, pour billions into political lobbying…"

Oh, can’t we? George also links to Extinction Rebellion founder Roger Hallam’s Dummies’ Guide to Saving the Planet, which is well worth a read. I particularly enjoyed the Foreword by “Anonymous Climate Activist” which begins:

"I was there. For the past 20 years. Climate activism. It didn’t work. We protested in our hundreds of millions – it didn’t work. We raised billions to reach people and politicians – it didn’t work. […] I was wasting my time. I had a clue back in 2007 that there might be a fundamental flaw in the reformist approach. The problem of the political influence of the industrial billionaires like the Koch Brothers and other fossil fuel bosses."

Raised billions? Really? And all the time our anonymous activist was wasting her time? Has anyone told George? Does he realise that the movement he so happily sacrificed his freedom for – getting dragged along the pavement by the oppressive forces of the state – has wasted billions, to no avail?

Billions wasted over twenty years, when everything could have been solved with a bit of glue and an inflatable pink octopus. That’s something to meditate on as he nurses his bruised bottom.


The culprit behind East Australia's big dry

It's not global warming after all. It's the "Indian Ocean Dipole"

When leading climate scientist Matthew England began work at a lab in Hobart in the mid-1980s, visitors were greeted by a huge graphic depicting a tight correlation between El Ninos and Australia's farm yields.

Any government minister would leave understanding that "we’ve got a tremendous amount of economic wealth" dependent on Pacific climate influences, making El Nino research "iconic", England says.

It turns out more attention should have been paid to the Indian Ocean.

As we have seen this year, conditions that drive El Ninos - relative sea-surface temperature differences between the western and eastern Pacific - have been neutral. But the counterpart ratio in the Indian Ocean has gone haywire. Known as the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), the gauge last week hit record levels.

In its so-called positive phase, tropical waters off Australia's north-west are relatively cool  - compared with those near Africa - strengthening easterly winds and reducing the potential convection that typically supplies much of south-eastern Australia's critical winter and spring rains. A negative IOD has the opposite effect.

“They used to think the Indian Ocean was a slave to the Pacific," says Cai Wenju, a senior climate researcher at the CSIRO, adding this year's IOD figures are "gigantic".

“The biggest clue" that the Indian Ocean could influence Australia independently came in 2007 and 2008 when the Pacific was in its La Nina phase, which should have raised the odds for good rains, Dr Cai said. Instead, the Millenium Drought was still playing out, and there were positive-phase IODs three years in a row.

"Sometimes, the El-Nino Southern Oscillation has copped a bad rap when it should have been the IOD," Andrew Watkins, head of long-range forecasting at the Bureau of Meteorology, says.

Australian researchers from the 1980s had started examining how relative warm or cool waters off Western Australia could affect rainfall over the continent. However, it took two papers published in Nature in 1999 by Japanese and North American scientists - including Australian Peter Webster - to tease out the potential of an independent IOD.

Scientists including England and Cai will gather in China next month to mark that 20th anniversary, with the IOD now a key component of Australia's and global weather and climate predictions.

Scientists caution that reliable observation data only goes back a couple of decades but it is clear this year's positive-IOD is already one of the strongest of record. So-called "reanalysis" using a combination of observations and modelling suggests the event is also notable over the past 150 years.

Nerilie Abram, an associate professor at the Australian National University, published work in 2009 that used coral cores among other data to push IOD estimates back to the mid-1800s. Research awaiting publication will look back 1000 years. While the current event is significant, her study suggests “perhaps the instrumental record doesn’t tell us the full range what’s actually possible in the Indian Ocean”.

The magnitude of an IOD appears to matter more for rainfall over south-eastern Australia than the El Nino-La Nina flux, the Bureau of Meteorology's Watkins said: "The stronger the IOD, the stronger the impacts ... for Australia, and maybe for Africa."

Another difference is that Indian Ocean conditions are more regulated by the seasonal cycle than the Pacific. Positive or negative IODs typically take form by May or June, peak around September and October, and break down in November to December as the monsoon shifts south, disrupting the easterly winds.

Poor winter and spring rains from positive IODs are not just bad for farmers. Those rains also supply much of the run-off that let our rivers run and fill the dams. Heatwaves are more severe and prolonged as soils dry out, removing the cooling function from evaporation, and setting up a busy bushfire season.

England says that while IODs can act independently of the Pacific, the connections remain important. For instance, the so-called Indonesian Throughflow - where warm water from the Pacific funnels its way to the Indian Ocean - could change.

"The predictions are for that to weaken," he says. "If it does, that would be a double whammy of more El Ninos plus more positive-IODs."



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


Monday, October 21, 2019

The climate theory casting new light on the history of Chinese civilisation -- with COOLING being the big threat

Scientists say they have found evidence beneath a lake in northeastern China that ties climate change and 500-year sun cycles to ups and downs in the 8,000 years of Chinese civilisation.

According to the study by a team at the Institute of Geology and Geophysics in Beijing published in the science journal Nature Communications this month, whenever the climate warmed, Chinese civilisation prospered and when it cooled, it declined.

While historians have used various social and economic factors to explain changes over the millennia, Dr Xu Deke, lead author of the paper, and his colleagues said that while people played their part, their study indicated that cycles in solar activity influenced human activity.

“We just point out there is a natural constraint on human efforts,” Xu said. We are in a much more capable position than our ancestors with the help of technology and machines in face of global cooling, but preparation must start now

Previous research linking Chinese history to climate relied on written records, but ancient texts contained only subjective descriptions of weather and social development. The records also go back only so far – writing in China was not invented until 3,600 years ago.

For this latest study, the team and its leader, Chinese Academy of Sciences professor Lu Houyuan, took plant and lake bed sediment samples to track climate change over the centuries and compared them with written records.

They visited Lake Xiaolongwan in the Changbai Mountains in Jilin province and studied the spread of plant life such as oak trees to map the transitions between warm and cold climate phases in northern China.

By comparing the records and their research, the scientists found that the warmer the climate, the more prosperous the civilisation in terms of grain cultivation, animal domestication and human settlement.

Over the decades, researchers have established more than 4,000 carbon dating databases for archaeological finds in northern China. From these, the team obtained a benchmark for the intensity of human activity in different periods. Their study also found that 500-year cycles often ended with rapid climate cooling.

Whenever that happened, societies started to collapse and neither culture nor political systems could sustain them. This, Xu said, was a lesson for modern China.  “The most effective countermeasure is science and technology,” he said. “We are in a much more capable position than our ancestors with the help of technology and machines in face of global cooling, but preparation must start now.”

Citing this and earlier studies, Xu said that over the next few decades the Earth would enter 25 years of cooling, although greenhouse gases could slow the temperature drop.

Cooling would increase the size of polar ice caps and lower sea levels. Areas such as southern China could benefit as land would be reclaimed from the sea. But overall, a cooling climate would continue to have a more negative effect on civilisation than warming, Xu said.

Dr Liu Yonggang, a Peking University scientist who studies ancient climate, said the researchers had provided important new information and perspectives.

Human societies have gone through temperature cycles such as the Medieval Warm Period (900- 1300) and Little Ice Age (1300-1870) Liu said, but most of that data came from Europe, not China.
The study left one big question. “Why do the sun’s activities vary every 500 years? Nobody can explain,” he said. “We need to know more about the inner working mechanism of the sun, otherwise the future remains unpredictable.”


London Tube Climate Protesters Dragged And Beaten

Angry commuters dragged climate change protesters from the roof of a London Underground train.

Extinction Rebellion activists climbed on to trains at Stratford, Canning Town and Shadwell in Thursday’s rush hour. Eight protesters have been arrested, British Transport Police (BTP) said.

The Jubilee Line and Docklands Light Railway were temporarily suspended.

Extinction Rebellion later said it would “take stock” of the reaction to the latest action for future protests. Spokesman Howard Rees said: “Was it the right thing to do? I am not sure. “I think we will have to have a period of reflection. It is too early to say.”

Extinction Rebellion previously said the disruption was “necessary to highlight the emergency”.

Hayden Green, a commuter at Canning Town, said he saw the protester “dragged to the floor and kicked repeatedly”.  “Police have struggled to deal with the protest in London so the public stepped in and in the heat of the moment it was taken too far,” he told the BBC.

“I support their cause but I think how the protests have been carried out has led to more divisions.”

In footage shared on social media, a passenger waiting for a train is seen climbing on the carriage to get to one of the protesters.

The activist is grabbed by the knees and dragged down, falling to the platform where he appears to then be kicked and hit by angry commuters on the platform.

Others can be heard shouting and swearing at the protesters. One shouts: “I have to get to work too – I have to feed my kids.”

A second protester was chased along the top of the train carriage by a commuter before being dragged off.

A third Extinction Rebellion activist, who was broadcasting the protest on the group’s social media accounts, said he was also attacked and “kicked in the head”.

BTP said it was investigating what happened at Canning Town station, adding it was “concerning to see that a number of commuters took matters into their own hands, displaying violent behaviour to detain a protester”.

Assistant Chief Constable Sean O’Callaghan said: “It is important that commuters and other rail users allow the police, who are specially trained, to manage these incidents.

“Unfortunately, there is still a risk that Extinction Rebellion will target the rail network during this evening’s peak. We will continue to have extra officers on patrol and will work to disrupt any potential criminal action before it happens.”


Greta Thunberg's climate change rally is crashed by counter-protest led by truck convoy of oil and gas workers in Canada

Greta Thunberg joined thousands of protesters marching in Canada's energy heartland Alberta yesterday as a smaller counter-rally led by a truck convoy of oil and gas workers also converged on the provincial capital Edmonton.

A crowd of several thousand led by indigenous drummers with students, young people and families marched slowly from a downtown intersection towards the Alberta legislature building.

Many held banners and signs with slogans including 'be a better ancestor'. Police rode on bicycles at the front and back of the throng.

'We cannot allow this crisis to continue to be a partisan, political question,' Thunberg said in a speech before thousands of people on the steps of the provincial legislature.

'The climate and ecological crisis is far beyond party politics and the main enemy right now should not be any political opponents, because our main enemy is physics.'

'We are doing this because our future is at stake,' Thunberg told the crowd. 'We will not be bystanders. We are doing this because we want the people in power to unite behind science.

But a counter-protester said: 'We care for the environment, of course we do. What they need to understand is that we're hurting and we also need to care about Alberta jobs.'

The honking horns of big rig trucks blared from a nearby thoroughfare, where vehicles emblazoned with 'We love Canada energy' signs were driving up and down.

'When they charged their iPhones last night, that power came from this plant,' he said, pointing to the former coal-fired Keephills power plant near Edmonton that was being converted to natural gas.

'Albertans and Canadians are practical people,' he said. 'They like real world solutions. Calling for the end of the modern industrial economy, advocating to put millions of people out of work... is not a real world solution.'

But climate protester Bridget Gutteridge-Hingston, 13, who marched with her father, said: 'I came out to show support for Greta and everyone fighting against the climate crisis. 'It's something I'm definitely scared of,' she said.

The truck convoy organised by pro-oil group United We Roll drove from the city of Red Deer to Edmonton on Friday morning to protest against what the group called foreign activists campaigning against Canada's oil and gas industry.

'Richer countries such as Canada and Sweden need to get down to zero emissions much faster so people in poorer countries can heighten their standard of living by building the infrastructure we have already built,' Thunberg told a cheering crowd, which organizers estimated was 10,000-strong, from the steps of the Alberta legislature building.

'We're not doing this because it's fun or because we have a special interest in the climate or because we want to become politicians when we grow up. We're doing this because our future is at stake,' the Swedish activist said.

The truck horns sounded in the distance throughout Thunberg's speech and there were around 150 counter-protesters in the crowd.

After she left the stage shouting broke out between pro-energy demonstrators, armed with a noisy bull horn and yelling 'We need oil and gas', and climate marchers.

Alberta is home to Canada's vast oil sands and holds the world's third-largest crude reserves, but has struggled to recover from the 2014-15 global oil price crash because of delays building new export pipelines as a result of environmental opposition and regulatory hold-ups.

Many energy sector workers and the Alberta government feel the oil sands, scorned by environmentalists for their high carbon emissions intensity, have been unfairly targeted and say the sector is making progress cutting greenhouse gas output.

A 2018 study by Stanford University researchers ranked the Canadian oil industry's upstream emissions as the fourth most carbon-heavy in the world.

The energy sector provides 150,000 direct jobs in Alberta and contributes more than C$71 billion ($54.1 billion) annually to the gross domestic product of Canada, the world's fourth-largest oil and gas producer.

Thunberg has mobilised a global youth movement against climate change. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said he hoped she would take a 'fair and objective look' at Alberta's energy sector.

Friday's march, organized by indigenous and environmental groups, came as Canada prepares for a tight federal election Monday in which climate change and the future of the oil and gas sector are hot topics.

Last month, Thunberg met privately with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau following a massive rally in Montreal.


Why the oil giants say it’s got to be gas

What do the former Redcar steelworks on Teesside, a university in the Midlands and forests in the Scottish Highlands have in common? Answer: Big Oil is praying they hold the key to its future.

Strikes by schoolchildren, the rise of “flight-shaming” and an exodus of investors have left the energy industry reeling. Oil giants’ multi-billion bet — that gas will power the global economy into a low-carbon future — now looks risky.

As the mood changes, Big Oil is making increasingly ambitious — and desperate — attempts to clean itself up and reduce or trap carbon emissions. For giants including Shell, Total and BP, that means carbon capture and storage (CCS) at Redcar, promoting hydrogen as an alternative fuel, such as a pilot at Keele University — and even planting forests in Scotland.

The oil majors have staked huge sums on the dash for gas, hoping lower carbon emissions from burning natural gas instead of coal would make it the fuel for a lower-carbon future. Their argument was that using abundant reserves of gas — which emits about half the carbon dioxide of coal — would allow for a gradual shift to renewables.

Weaning the world off fossil fuels is a mammoth challenge. Shale gas allowed America to switch away from coal, but oil, coal and gas still make up about 80 per cent of global consumption, with renewables, nuclear and hydro-electricity comprising the balance. Energy demand and carbon emissions continue to grow, up 2.9 per cent and 2 per cent respectively last year, driven by the surging economies of America and Asia. China accounted for about 28 per cent of the world’s carbon emissions, versus 15 per cent from America and 1.2 per cent from the UK.

Royal Dutch Shell bet its future on gas in 2015 with its $89bn takeover of troubled rival BG, the rump of privatised British Gas. Shell lifer Ben van Beurden’s deal turned the Anglo-Dutch giant into the world’s biggest liquefied natural gas (LNG) company. BP has been investing in LNG terminals and gas fields from Egypt to west Africa — and last year spent $15bn on BHP Billiton’s US shale gas portfolio. The French giant Total aims for natural gas to make up at least 60 per cent of its hydrocarbon portfolio by 2035.

However, this transition is nowhere near fast enough for the Extinction Rebellion movement — or politicians of various shades. Earlier this year, then chancellor Philip Hammond demanded that no new home be built with a gas boiler from 2025. Labour’s party conference called for the UK to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030 — bringing forward the Conservatives’ target by two decades.

Suddenly, those huge gas bets are starting to look precarious. Earlier this month, Bob Dudley, the outgoing boss of BP, gave a stark warning: “Gas is being increasingly marginalised — even vilified and demonised,” he said. “Gas has a vital role to play in the energy transition … To exclude gas — when so much is at stake — is to take a huge and unnecessary risk.”

Dudley added that without gas, the industry was being forced into trying “to achieve the energy transition with one hand tied behind our back”.

Fear among investors is evident in the oil giants’ share prices. BP and Shell are both trading on dividend yields of more than 6 per cent, versus about 3 per cent at the turn of the century, showing that the market has doubts over their long-term valuations and ability to maintain shareholder payouts. Shell’s promise of huge buybacks and dividends has not been enough to reignite its share price. Some institutions are turning their backs indiscriminately on the big oil companies, despite the diverging strategies between Europe’s majors and those in America, where climate change appears to sit far lower down the agenda.

Last week, the European Investment Bank came close to banning support for natural gas projects, but delayed its decision at the last minute.

Solving the carbon dilemma is hideously complex. While oil companies have been investing in renewable technologies — BP, for example, is pumping millions of dollars into solar company Lightsource — it remains a tiny fraction of their spending. Less than 5 per cent of BP’s annual capital expenditure goes on renewables. Shell, meanwhile, is adopting what it calls “nature-based solutions” — planting about 1m trees in Scotland to generate carbon credits that offset its emissions.

But cleaning up gas is their most pressing concern — and arguably one of the most problematic. Carbon capture and storage is nothing new as a concept. It involves trapping carbon dioxide at the point of combustion in sites such as steelworks and power stations, then piping it deep underground. Depleted gas and salt caverns in the North Sea are seen as ideal.

Making the process commercially viable is another matter. While there are successful international CCS projects, there have been numerous abortive schemes in the UK. The government’s spending watchdog found in 2017 that ministers had spent $317 million on two failed CCS trials over the past two decades.

CCS is laden with risk. A sceptical public need to be convinced that the carbon dioxide will remain trapped underground. Critics worry that storing gas at high pressure could fracture rock layers, creating huge potential liabilities.

Despite these worries, the niche technology is being embraced with fervour. BP and Shell are among a group of oil giants wanting to build a gas power station at the Redcar site on Teesside, trapping the carbon beneath the North Sea. Sinead Lynch, Shell’s UK chairwoman, said: “Carbon capture and storage is a necessity, not an option. The UK’s net-zero legislation brings it into sharp focus.”

Hydrogen’s sudden rise to prominence is no coincidence either. Oil companies want to inject it into the gas network, mixing it with natural gas in concentrations of up to 20 per cent as a fuel for boilers and cookers. In a project sponsored by gas pipeline giant Cadent, Keele University in the Midlands is using hydrogen and natural gas to heat the campus.

The allure is easy to understand. Hydrogen is the ultimate clean fuel: the only residue from burning it is water. It is produced either by cooking natural gas in steam, or by electrolysis. Getting hydrogen that is produced from natural gas into millions of homes could provide oil companies with a stable model for decades to come. But, again, the challenges are myriad.

Hydrogen can make metal brittle, which could force the wholesale replacement of gas pipes. Using it might require different domestic boilers — plus producing it is very expensive, and not without its own carbon emissions.

The cost of paying for carbon capture and hydrogen could land, at least partially, in taxpayers’ laps. Ministers are consulting on a law change that would see households pay upfront for CCS projects, before they have been built.

Simon Virley, UK head of energy and natural resources at consultancy KPMG, said neither CCS nor hydrogen were currently “cost competitive”. “The oil majors have to invest in CCS and hydrogen if they are to demonstrate an enduring role for gas in a low-carbon energy mix,” he said. “So governments will need to intervene through a mix of subsidy, carbon pricing and regulation.”

A hefty bill for taxpayers could make the challenge of convincing protesters and politicians even harder. “Demonising gas is going to cost the world the obvious solution for reducing pollution quickly and keeping the world’s economy going,” said an energy adviser.

“There is a solution. It’s not perfect. But in the medical profession, if you have a pill that works pretty well and you refuse to use it, you would be struck off. [In the energy industry] that pill is gas.”

As the Extinction Rebellion clamour grows, the oil giants face an almighty battle to prove that gas is the answer.


Can wind turbines blow away Tri-State weather warnings?

When clouds turn dark and storm sirens blare, Doppler radar keeps spinning. It tells meteorologists what’s happening in the center of severe storms.

Everyone in the Tri-State, including the Eyewitness News weather team, relies on Doppler to look ahead and issue warnings. But what if there was something blocking the eye in the sky?

When it comes to turbines, there is never enough wind. But there is some worry about a proposed E.ON Energy wind farm in Posey and Gibson counties.  There is fear it could blow away early weather warnings.

If the farm is built, USI Physics Professor, Dr. Kent Scheller believes it could get tougher to see through the noise to deliver lifesaving information. “It can mask existing weather systems including tornadoes,” he said.

As far doppler is concerned, turbines are just another large moving object with fast-moving air, so it often shows up as a small severe storm even when nothing is there.

The local Doppler radar which serves the Tri-State stands in a field in Owensville, Ind. It gives low-level coverage other radars in Louisville and Paducah can’t see.

The National Weather Service recommends wind farms be built outside a 30-mile radius of its radars. Most of the proposed E.ON farm is within 10 miles of the Doppler in Owensville.

Scheller thinks it could potentially compromise radar signal to Henderson, Newburgh, Boonville, and Fairfield. Most meteorologists understand false returns, but Scheller believes it could cause a gaping hole in the radar coverage.

“Because we don’t believe our signal, well that’s a problem,” Scheller said. “That’s a problem when a scientist doesn’t have the data that they’re supposed to have.”

There is no technology available to filter out noise from turbines.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has a FAQ page about the effects of turbines on radar.

Officials with E.ON say they work with the National Weather Service. The company is aware of concerns, but they don’t yet have a plan.

“We understand the proximity to and concern over radar interference and will consult and coordinate with the appropriate weather agencies as part of our development process to properly site, design and operate the project so as to avoid or minimize any potential interference to Radar operations.  E.ON is committed to protecting the communities which host our projects and where our employees live and work. We work closely with NOAA, NWS, and other government agencies to ensure our projects present as little impact as possible on their operations.”

Scheller says turbines inside 10 miles of a Doppler can send mixed signals more than 25 miles out.

“You put it far away, it hardly sees it. But you bring it in within 10 miles, now it’s going to cut out a cone,” he added. “The closer that wind farm is to the Doppler radar, the wider that cone is. That’s the problem.”

Eyewitness News has its own Doppler radar at the station in Henderson, Ky. If the wind farm is built, there would be no effect on it.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


Sunday, October 20, 2019

Honey Dew, Dunkin’ toss out Styrofoam cups, but is it enough to save the planet?

I have still yet to hear what is wrong with tossing everything into landfills -- it's cheap and we did it for generations. A lot of Australia's sportsgrounds and public parks were once landfills.  Once the dump is full, you level it off, add rocks and soil and call in the gardeners.

And most landfills were unsupervised dumps.  It was great fun to go to the dump with your rubbish and come back with things other people had tossed out.  That was REAL recycling. I remember it well. Many wives complained that their husbands came back with as much as they threw out

Honey Dew Donuts founder and CEO Dick Bowen never liked Styrofoam cups. They just seemed chintzy, the kind of thing you’d find at a backyard barbecue or in a church basement. “Our coffee was too good for foam,” said Bowen, whose company made the switch from paper to foam two decades ago. “I literally always had a bad taste in my mouth to go to foam. It didn’t feel right.”

Now foam is getting the heave-ho, as Honey Dew strives to be more environmentally friendly. But as Kermit the Frog might say, it’s not easy going green.

Like its giant competitor, Dunkin’, Honey Dew used Styrofoam cups to accommodate customers’ ever-growing demand for bigger portions, and Styrofoam could keep big cups of coffee hot without burning hands. When Bowen opened his first shop in 1973, the biggest size was 10 ounces; today it is 24 ounces. And the Plainville-based chain runs through about 12 million Styrofoam cups a year.

This month, Bowen will say goodbye to the foam cup, as new double-walled paper cups arrive across Honey Dew’s 147 stores in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire. You can’t miss the new cups; not only are they more environmentally friendly, but the beige branding is replaced with a bold new red design.

Corporate America is embracing sustainability. So are millennial customers and municipalities. That means the coffee industry has to deliver a greener product.

Dunkin’ is also on track to eliminate foam cups in New England locations by year’s end, and all of its stores nationwide in early 2020. The change will remove 1 billion foam cups — which are hard to recycle — from the waste stream annually. For customers nervous about change, Dunkin’ assures that its double-walled paper cup “has heat retention properties that are equal to our foam cup.”

Honey Dew’s cups are made from 88 percent renewable resources; the double walls keep the coffee hot and eliminate the need for a sleeve. But are these new paper coffee cups recyclable?

That’s debatable. Coffee companies say yes; environmentalists say not so fast. The new paper coffee cups are lined with plastic and would need to be sorted separately from paper and plastic collections. And few facilities have the right equipment to recycle something made out of mixed materials.

So it’s possible to recycle the new Honey Dew cups — but practically speaking, it’s not going to happen.

That explains the muted reaction from environmentalists. Styrofoam is among the most toxic of plastics, so eliminating it from landfills is a good thing, but they don’t think new paper cups are the best solution.

“None of the systems in Massachusetts accept or collect coffee cups,” said Kirstie Pecci, director of the Zero Waste Project at the Conservation Law Foundation, referring to Styrofoam and the new cups. “Do not put coffee cups in your bin.”

For Pecci, and from the perspective of state environmental officials, the gold standard is to break the habit of using a disposable cup.

“Eliminating Styrofoam in favor of paper cups is, from a public health and environmental perspective, the right thing to do,” Ed Coletta, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, said in a statement. “However, bringing in your own cup beats all.”

Bowen understands the dilemma, but he says Honey Dew is doing its part to help the environment. “It’s in their corner to make this work,” he said of municipal waste facilities.

So how hard can it be to make an easily recyclable coffee cup?

We may have sent a man to the moon, but a truly sustainable disposable cup has been elusive even for coffee kahuna Starbucks. For three decades, the Seattle chain has been working on this issue, even hosting three “cup summits,” two of them at MIT.

Starbucks will tell you their paper coffee cups are recyclable in communities that have the infrastructure. But Starbucks realizes that’s not good enough, and in 2018 committed $10 million to help launch the NextGen Cup Challenge to create an industry consortium to develop a greener cup.

In February, the consortium unveiled 12 winners of the challenge, whose ideas ranged from innovative cup liners to reusable cup services; some of those winners will move onto a next phase of piloting their ideas through an accelerator program.

The biggest takeaway for Peter Senge, an MIT senior lecturer who participated in a cup summit, is that it will take a village: retailers, recyclers, and government. “We all have a stake in nurturing the ‘underground economy’ that can make it economically viable to harvest our waste,” Senge wrote in an e-mail.

Honey Dew began its hunt for the proper paper cup over six years ago. (It has long used paper cups for its smallest size.) Manufacturers were making alternatives to foam, including the double-walled paper cups, but they were too expensive.

Honey Dew also didn’t want to give up its lid design. For some customers, it’s all about the lid. What good is a cup when you can’t sip without spilling? (Eighty-percent of Honey Dew’s business is takeout.)

By the fall of 2018, Honey Dew settled on a cup made by Dart Container Corp. that worked well with the plastic lid design the chain was already using. The new cups began arriving at Honey Dew stores in September. All the foam will be gone by the end of the month. Paper is more expensive, and some franchisees may pass the cost on to the customer. A 16-ounce paper cup, for example, costs 11 cents, while the foam version costs 7 cents.

But the work to reduce plastic waste is not done at Honey Dew. Don Leavitt, the executive who led the paper cup chase, is now onto his next project. “Now that I have the cups under control,” he said, “I’m working on the straws.”


The ‘climate emergency’ no one is talking about

Tens of thousands will die and crop yields will fall dramatically.

While Extinction Rebellion activists glue themselves to the buildings and roads of London, and the great and the good hang on Greta Thunberg’s every syllable, there is a climate event coming that will affect us much, much sooner than the ‘climate emergency’ that is the focus of so much attention.

Just look at the impact it will have on the UK. Tens of thousands of people will die. Infectious disease will skyrocket, sometimes with lethal consequences. The sun will disappear from the sky for large chunks of the day – some northern parts of the UK will soon have less than six hours of daylight per day. Crop production will fall dramatically. Travel will at times be difficult, even impossible. People will flock to shops to purchase protective clothing. We will need to produce and use copious amounts of additional energy, meaning household energy bills will shoot up.

But the UK is lucky – we will not face the worst of it. In many other countries, conditions will be far more extreme. Moreover, top scientists have confirmed that this dangerous climate event will happen every year from now on. Parts of the southern hemisphere will experience similar problems approximately six months later than the northern hemisphere.

This climate event is, of course, winter. It seems ludicrous to describe winter in the terms above, even though everything I have written is true (apart from the need for ‘top scientists’ to confirm its arrival). The temperature drop from summer to winter is enormous, even in a temperate country like the UK. According to the UK Met Office, average daily maximum temperatures in London’s Greenwich Park vary from 23.4 degrees Celsius in July to 8.1 degrees Celsius in January – a drop of over 15 degrees. The difference between the highest temperature in a particular year and the lowest would be even greater than that.

Excess winter deaths do run into the tens of thousands. Colds proliferate, as does influenza, killing a small proportion of the millions who suffer from it. Hypothermia does still, tragically, kill many people. Indeed, cold weather kills far more people than heatwaves. Some winter crops are produced, but, for the most part, we live off stores and imports. No wonder that Game of Thrones meme, ‘Winter is coming’, strikes such a chord.

But the reason most people have no reason to fear winter is down to economic development and human adaptation. Of course, that process is not new. Any society experiencing cold winters would have developed the means to cope or would have disappeared. But the line between survival and destruction must have been a thin one at many times in the past.

Now we live in solidly built homes with plenty of energy to heat them. We also have easy transport and good communications networks. There are always plentiful food supplies, unless a strong bout of snow leaves the local supermarket out of bread, milk and fresh veg for a day or two. We can treat the sick and infirm. Thanks to the advent of cheap electric lighting, the long nights are of little concern.

Clearly, given there are still plenty of excess deaths in winter, there is far more we could do. But we have adapted to winter pretty well. In fact, many people look forward to it, whether it is the prospect of Christmas festivities or paying a small fortune to get chair-lifted up a mountain to slide back down it on skis.

Adaptation and development is how we have always overcome the harshness of nature. And this is worth thinking about in the context of the panic about climate change. Extinction Rebellion founder Roger Hallam warns of ‘the slow and agonising suffering and death of billions of people’ that will apparently result from climate change. But global deaths from natural disasters have plummeted over the past century. And global population is booming, despite declining fertility rates, because almost everyone is living longer than before. There is no reason to expect these trends to go into reverse.

Meanwhile, the policies espoused by the eco-activists would cause far more suffering than the climate change they fear. The government’s Digest of UK Energy Statistics (DUKES) for 2018 makes clear how much we still rely on fossil fuels, despite the subsidies lavished on low-carbon energy: ‘Fossil fuels remain the dominant source of energy supply, but now accounts for 80.1 per cent, a record low level. Supply from renewables has increased, with their contribution accounting for 10.2 per cent of final consumption.’ Yet Extinction Rebellion believes we can reach ‘Net Zero’ emissions – that is, get rid of fossil fuels entirely – by 2025, in just six years. If the eco-worriers got their way, we would face incredible hardship, particularly in winter.

Let’s take a step back and appreciate an incredible human achievement – that winter is no longer anything to fear. And let’s put the panic about the climate into some perspective.


Veganism won’t save the planet

This is a cult of self-righteousness, not a sensible eco-diet.

Three trends this year have proven that the new religion of Gaia has arrived in earnest: environmental catastrophism, the cult of veganism, and the acceptance of outright hypocrisy.

The first is seen in the emergence of Extinction Rebellion / Cult of Greta, with its heady combination of juvenile sanctimony and rampant exaggeration. The growth of the cult of veganism can be seen in thousands switching to the diet and ‘free-from’ foods; Quorn expanding into the vegan market; the current television advert for Tesco; and in Lewis Hamilton, a hugely rich, one-man gas-guzzler, insisting that veganism is the only way to save the planet.

The third manifestation can be seen in Madonna, Emma Thompson and Harry, Duke of Sussex, all lecturing us on the need to cut our carbon footprint, while stamping it heavily with their penchant for flying a lot. It also takes us neatly back to Lewis Hamilton.

Veganism is routinely championed as the principal remedy to climate change. After all, it is something we can all do on a personal level. Except that, as remedies go, it is snake oil. Sure, livestock disproportionately take up valuable farmland, eat food we could be eating ourselves, and emit much methane that exacerbates the greenhouse effect.

But many popular vegan foods eaten by Westerners often have a huge carbon footprint. Unlike milk, cheese and eggs, staples for the more sensible and sustainable vegetarian diet, which can basically be sourced anywhere where humans live, voguish vegan food – and let’s keep in mind that veganism is mostly a voguish, middle-class diet – is rarely local food.

People in Britain who adopt a vegan diet should be eating potatoes, bread, legumes and domestic vegetables. Yet instead, it is often the case that they opt for foreign foods, such as pomegranates and mangos, which are flown in from India; and also lentils from Canada, beans from Brazil, blueberries from the US, and goji berries from China. The demand for even more fashionable foods, such as avocados and quinoa, which come from South America, has pushed up prices to such a degree that people in their country of origin can no longer afford to eat them.

Instead of flaunting your virtuous credentials, or indulging in medieval public displays of self-flagellation and piety, there are other, more practical means of reducing one’s carbon footprint — ones that don’t involve drastically changing our lifestyles and keeping the world’s poor trapped in poverty. These involve furthering electric-car technology, which has in this decade at last increasingly become a viable alternative to petrol and diesel; burying carbon underground; advancing laboratory-produced meat, which will free up millions of hectares of farmland for the growth of crops; refraining from using the internet when you don’t need to (the internet is responsible for roughly one billion tonnes of greenhouse gases a year, or around two per cent of world emissions); wearing more clothes instead of turning up the heating; and even drinking Carlsberg beer that now comes in paper bottles.

None of this will please the purists, however, who are fundamentally waging a war against modernity, and who seek to banish anything that ‘doesn’t really address the problem’. Rather, veganism will remain popular because it is a handy means for whining, complaining and shrieking. It is passive-aggressive showing-off.


Cough up the 'secret science,' climate propagandists!

Dear reader, fellow citizen: I hope you remember a column recently in this space in which I let you know about a monumental development in this whole "global warming" panic. I shared with you the results of a little-reported court trial that detailed the embarrassing exposure of the most quoted "climate expert" as a total fraud!

My purpose is to free us all from this ridiculous "Sky is Falling" scam and its primary "Chicken Little."

Now for a follow up, a Chapter 2 in that story.

I hope you know, as I do, that to bear false witness is to invite a terrible wrath. A case in point, my previous column, "'Trial of the century' just poured cold water on 'hockey stick' legend."

We saw how the vainglorious alarmist climate scientist Michael E. Mann was rendered a humiliating defeat by a fellow scientist, the skeptical Tim Ball. Dr Ball stood for truth and exposed a false witness. As we are taught: "A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who breathes out lies will perish." (Proverbs 19:9)

Dr. Mann is now in a deep hole. His expensive eight-year libel action against Dr. Ball was dismissed "with prejudice," plus the award of substantial legal costs in Ball's favor.

Those who seek to profit from deceit face grave consequences. The Supreme Court of British Columbia has ordered Mann to pay Ball what may be a sum close to $1 million.

But a fool doesn't learn easily from his mistakes.

A belligerent Mann is not only hinting he won't honor the court order to reimburse Ball's legal fees, but he's continuing to mislead his followers and the public into believing his iconic "hockey stick" warming graph remains untainted.

This is not a good place to be. A wise Mann would heed Proverbs 20:17 and know that, "Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man, but afterward his mouth will be full of gravel."

Let no one be under any illusions here about what remains at stake. Quite simply, for the past two decades, Mann's "hockey stick" graph served as the cornerstone of misguided multi-trillion-dollar government policies for "action" on climate change, action that burdens our economy and our freedom.

Many scientists argue that these policies are meritless because climate always changes – and will continue to change – without or without human help. More CO2 is Nature's blessing to life, not a curse, and temperatures today are entirely within natural variation. They are totally the result of changes received from the sun, the source of all energy on Earth.

Now Mann's vanity in seeking to determine scientific matters by resorting to bullying opponents in the courts has backfired spectacularly.

For too long the climate zealots had touted Mann's work as the smoking gun for dangerous human emissions of carbon dioxide, a trace gas known to be beneficial – yes, necessary – to plant growth.

Thankfully, Dr. Ball's triumph is stirring renewed doubt in high places about the science. So, how should we now weigh the credibility of hysterical claims that modern global temperatures are "unprecedented"?

Dr. Mann, a champion for advocates of one-world socialist government, gleefully basked in fame and fortune for 20 years. Touted as a "world-leading climate scientist" his unethical (possibly criminal) actions will bring grave consequences.

Should we now not legally compel Mann – who still says our planet is imminently imperiled – to come clean and reveal the proof Ball demanded from him?

Indeed, Mann will not budge easily from his lofty pedestal and is always quick to claim that other researchers have validated his graph built from "secret science." But the very detailed U.S. Congress Wegman Report cast grave doubts on those "replications'"when it reported:

"… [W]e found that at least 43 authors have direct ties to Dr. Mann by virtue of co-authored papers with him. Our findings from this analysis suggest that authors in the area of paleoclimate studies are closely connected and thus 'independent studies' may not be as independent as they might appear on the surface." [3/91) [2]

On the key issue of Mann refusing to show his secret science calculations, Wegman lamented:

"We were especially struck by Dr. Mann's insistence that the code he developed was his intellectual property and that he could legally hold it personally without disclosing it to peers."

Hold it secret? Is that how governments do science? Hiding in the dark is not what any honest Mann would do.

The astute and victorious skeptic, Dr. Ball has devoted decades of his life to outing this gigantic scientific swindle. He is now vindicated in his claims that Mann would never permit any light to shine on his graph's "secret code" – those hidden r-squared numbers Mann promised, but delayed, and has still failed to release to the court.

Better scientists say those still-hidden numbers that shaped the crooked "hockey stick" graph constitute the root evidence of his crime. In legal parlance the hidden code is the mens rea – or "guilty mind" component proving Dr Mann's intent to defraud.

Even a non-scientist can understand that the closer we look at the claims of these "scientists" the more we see reasons to doubt them. We can see Mann resorted to delay tactics, prolonging the case and finally letting Ball win big and emphatically without having to disclose his graph's "dirty laundry."

We all owe a debt to Dr. Ball for his sacrifice in serving us all as a sentinel for truth against secret and unverifiable government science.

As Matthew 7:15-16 tells us: "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles?"

So, where does this all stand now?

His refusal to obey the court and reveal his "outworking" charts has bought Mann a little more time. I support Ball's noble call for a renewed public campaign to shine more light on this grave matter.

Like you, I'm not a scientist, just a citizen. But I can read, and think, and weigh credible evidence. Like you. This debate and the subsequent global, international decisions potentially will change life in unacceptable ways for all of us, our children and our country. We've got to be involved and know the facts!

United in this just cause, we can succeed in bringing evil out into the light and rejoice when the agents of darkness are undone.


Australian miner holds out against activist push

BHP chief Andrew Mackenzie has held firm over the mining giant's membership of mining industry associations in the face of pressure from activist share-holders to quit groups seen as opposing action on climate change. Speaking at of BHP's annual shareholder meeting in London on Thursday night, Mr Mackenzie defended BHP's membership of groups such as the Minerals Council of Australia as the BHP board faced down shareholder resolutions aimed at pressuring the company to quit the group and associated bodies such as Australia's Coal21.

In early October the share-holder push — lead by the Australasian  Centre for Corporate Responsibility and backed by the Church of England Pensions Board — attracted the support of one of BHP's biggest share-holders, Aberdeen Standard Investments. Aberdeen holds about 32 per cent of BHP stock and took the unusual step of speaking out ahead of London shareholder meeting on a resolution calling on BHP to withdraw from groups that lobby for policies inconsistent with global climate change limitation goals — a resolution opposed by the BHP board — saying its research suggested industry lobby groups were a major obstacle to political action on climate change.

But Mr Mackenzie used his address to shareholders to defend BHP's membership of industry groups, saying the company's participation helps it "contribute to the more global solutions also required for a more progressive world".

"For example, I lead a task force across the mining industry, and its supply chains, to make our vehicles greener and safer. "This typifies the vast bulk of the work of all the trade associations we join and we work tirelessly to make sure this kind of work is their major and predominant role," he said

"Mining trade associations, especially, deserve our full engagement "The move to renewables demands a multi-fold increase in the prduction of metals in the dcades ahead, which makes mining one of the most vital components of our low-carbon future."

BHP has said it is again reviewing its membership of industry associations, and has made it clear that its membership of Coal 21— a group originally set up to back research into carbon capture technology but which bankrolled pro-coal advertising campaigns — would end if the body does not focus on its original remit.

The comments come as BHP board set a deadline for the approval of its giant Canadian potash project, a key growth project, as the mining giant's operations had a soft start to the financial year.

BHP said on Thursday its board would make a decision on the $US5.7bn Jansen potash project by February 2021, authorising another $US344m in development capital to prepare the deep underground mine ahead of a final investment decision.

While BHP boss Andrew Mackenzie has consistently pointed to the giant fertiliser mine as a key growth plank for the mining giant, positioning the company to counter slowing growth in its other commodities, the value of the project has divided analysts and investors over its cost and whether BHP risks building the massive mine into an oversupplied market.

BHP declared the decision date as its existing operations put in a slightly softer quarter's performance in the September period, which the company attributed largely to planned maintenance across its major operations.

The comments came as new production figures showed total output from BHP's Pilbara iron ore operations fell 3 per cent from the June quarter to 69 million tonnes as it carried out maintenance at its Port Hedland port operations.

Queensland metallurgical coal output fell dramatically compared to the June quarter, down 21 per cent to 16 million tonnes, due to planned major plant shut-downs at its Goonyella, Peak Downs and Caval Ridge — operated in a joint venture with Japan's Mitsubishi.

Thermal coal output also fell as BHP high-grades its Mt Arthur mine in NSW, down 34 per cent quarter-on-quarter to 4 million tonnes. On a quarter-on-quarter basis only BHP's Escondida copper mine and Caton thermal coal mine lifted production for the period, with total production down 3 per cent for the period on a copper-equivalent basis.

BHP shares closed Wednesday at $36.04. Meanwhile Mr Mackenzie said the global economy was being pressured by trade tensions which were "weighing on consumer confidence and have the potential to impact demand" for BHP's key commodities.

"Longer term our view remains positive. Industrialisation and urbanisation, along with decarbonisation and electrification, will generate demand for energy, metals, and fertilisers for decades to come," Mr Mackenzie said.

From "The Australian" 18/10/2019


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