Monday, July 23, 2018


United Nations Sending Millions To Corrupt Countries In The Name Of Green Energy

An initiative by the United Nations meant to promote green energy has been plagued with inefficiency and rampant funding of programs through corrupt governments.

The Green Energy Climate Fund had ambitious goals when it was launched by the United Nations in 2010. Based in Songdo, South Korea, and employing 250 people, the organization’s mission is to boost renewable energy development in third-world countries with money donated from richer countries.

Former President Barack Obama was a major supporter of the initiative and pledged $3 billion of U.S. taxpayer dollars.

The Obama administration was only able to donate $1 billion before President Donald Trump entered office. Unfortunately for the GCF, the Republican president was not a fan of the program. In his 2017 decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement, Trump also indicated he would not be donating the remaining $2 billion.

While his decision was widely derided by environmentalists and other progressive groups, not everyone agreed the GCF was worth investing in.

“This is a welcome development, given the endemic corruption in the countries and organizations on the receiving end of GCF dollars,” Ross Marchand, the director of policy at Taxpayer Protection Alliance, said in a statement to The Daily Caller News Foundation. The Taxpayer Protection Alliance, which monitors wasteful spending by the U.S. government, has been critical of the GCF’s handling of money.

“How can we trust, for instance, that the $5 million given by the GCF to the Tajikistan government will be allocated wisely, given the country’s abysmal corruption rankings? Given the exposure of ‘anti-corruption’ officials in that country as corrupt themselves, there is absolutely zero accountability for dispersed U.S. dollars,” Marchand continued.

In the eight years since it began, the GCF has committed around $4 billion to more than 75 projects around the world. However, a number of its investments have struggled to implement their intended goals, exemplifying the realities that come with doing business in impoverished, dysfunctional countries.

For example, a $30-million solar project in Zambia has been delayed repeatedly. Engineers for the project cite the government’s inability to provide basic information as a reason for the continued setbacks.

Hope for better renewable energy development in the African country appeared less likely after members of Zambia’s Industrial Development Corporation were revealed to have falsified legal documents and involved in worldwide, criminal activity.

Vietnam — a nation that is ranked 107th out of 180 in Transparency International’s index of corrupt countries — is also a recipient of GCF investment.

The Southeast Asian country received $80 million in funding, along with another $100 million from the World Bank.

A government executive in Vietnam’s energy industry was sentenced in January to life in jail for embezzlement and corruption — giving the international community reason to worry about its investments.

“American taxpayers deserve better than having their hard-earned dollars redistributed to strongmen in their cronies in the name of ‘sustainability,’” stated Marchand.

SOURCE 





Burning clothes is not just snobby, it’s a flaming obscenity

RACHEL JOHNSON slams labels for torching expensive gear to stop it going to the 'wrong people'

I was really repulsed by the revelation that Burberry (and other ‘elite’ labels) put to the torch tens of millions of pounds of expensive, perfect, box-fresh gear a year simply to stop it being snapped up by the ‘wrong people’.

They hope to stop these high-end goods ending up in discount stores or on eBay, thereby making it easier to sell new-season stock for top whack on the grounds of its premium, scarcity value.

How snobby is that? It really was a shocker. This fire sale of new expensive schmutter when so many people all over the world don’t have fresh water, sanitation, a shirt on their back… It was almost as awful as shops and restaurants all over the UK binning masses of edible, nutritious food while millions of people are hungry and so many children go to school without breakfast.

Back to Burberry burning its own brand. This isn’t just another fashion fail from the company, remember, that almost ate itself with anxiety about a so-called ‘chav’ hijack of its iconic, British, deluxe, elite etc identity (as it describes itself on its website) when one, funny picture of former EastEnder Danniella Westbrook clad in a Burberry check kilt, with matching bag, toddler, and buggy went viral 16 years ago.

This is possibly the ugliest example of capitalism I have encountered in my life, and confirmation that we’ve hit peak over-consumption and peak disposable fashion at once. It’s verging on the criminal. Enough.

Yes, I know the three-trillion-dollar clothing industry employs millions of people and is the bedrock of the economy in many Third World countries. And I know that the fashion industry contributes almost £30billion to the UK economy.

But these healthy numbers hide how wasteful and damaging our addiction to clothes is. Fast fashion is cheap – Primark jeans for pocket money all round – but it costs the earth. The industry’s environmental footprint is beyond immense.

We binned billions of pounds of clothes last year (many of them mine), filling many acres of landfill (I promise I try to think of this every time I pop into Zara). Creating textiles consumes untold millions of resources and requires 93 billion cubic metres of precious water a year, and the greenhouse gas emissions belched out are more than those of all international flights and maritime shipping put together.

Even if Burberry says it turns last season’s belted trenches to ash in ‘specialist incinerators able to harness the energy from the process’, I so don’t care. This is not on trend.

What is, is upcycling. It is four-minute showers and feeding your wedding guests food destined for landfill, as one happy couple did last week (I admit I was disappointed they hadn’t actually scraped the grub out of dumpsters).

It’s charities such as The Felix Project, collecting delicious food that would otherwise go to waste to distribute it in paper bags to thousands in need. It’s wearing the same outfit twice (the Duchess of Cambridge), or even 20 times or more (Princess Anne).

It is outrageous that the industry destroys valuable stuff that other people have worked all hours to produce (often in China) at no small cost to the environment, stuff that so many people actually need as well as merely want.

Stay classy, Burberry – and this means putting the planet rather than your brand first. There really is only one of those.

SOURCE 






Luddite eco-imperialists claim to be virtuous

Uber-organic campaign enshrines primitive agriculture and malnutrition as human rights

Paul Driessen and David Wojick

Not every poor person in impoverished places around the world aspires to the modern living standards they see and hear about: indoor plumbing, electricity for lights, a refrigerator and stove, a paucity of disease-carrying insects, top-notch schools and hospitals, their children living past age five. But many do.

Not every poor African, Asian or Latin American farmer wants to give up his backbreaking, dawn to dusk traditional agricultural practices, guiding his ox and plow, laying down meager supplies of manure to fertilize crops, surviving droughts, repeatedly hand spraying pesticides to battle ravenous insects – to reap harvests that often barely feed his family, much less leave produce to sell locally. But many do.

Unfortunately, they often face formidable foes. An absence of electricity, roads and other infrastructure. Corrupt, kleptocratic governments. Nonexistent property rights and other collateral to secure loans. Powerful, well-financed eco-imperialists whose policies perpetuate poverty, malnutrition and disease.

Banks and other carbon colonialists glorify limited wind and solar energy for poor villages, while denying financial support for fossil fuel electricity generation. Anti-chemical fanatics promote bed nets and narrowly defined “integrated pest management,” but bitterly oppose chemical pesticides and the spatial repellant DDT to kill mosquitoes, keep them out of homes and prevent deadly malaria.

Radical organic food groups battle any use of genetically engineered crops that multiply crop yields, survive droughts and slash pesticide spraying by 75% or more. They even vilify Golden Rice, which enables malnourished children to avoid Vitamin A Deficiency, blindness and death.

Now poor country families face even harder struggles, as a coalition of well-financed malcontents, agitators and pressure groups once again proves the adage that power politics makes strange bedfellows. Coalition members share a deep distaste for fossil fuels, chemical pesticides and fertilizers, corporations, capitalism, biotechnology, and virtually all aspects of modern agriculture.

Their growing social-political movement is called “AgroEcology.” While the concept is studiously vague, it essentially asserts that indigenous, traditional farmers must be shielded from market forces and modern technologies, so that they can continue using ancient, primitive, “culturally appropriate” methods.

AgroEcology is anti-GMO organic food activism on steroids. It rejects virtually everything that has enabled modern agriculture to feed billions more people from less and less acreage and, given the chance, could eliminate hunger and malnutrition worldwide. It is rabidly opposed to biotechnology, monoculture farming, non-organic fertilizers and chemical insecticides – and even despises mechanized equipment like tractors, and the hybrid seeds and other advances developed by Dr. Norman Borlaug’s Green Revolution.

AgroEcology advocates tortured but clever concepts like “food sovereignty” and the “right to subsistence farming by indigenous people.” It promotes “indigenous agricultural knowledge and practices,” thus excluding the vast storehouse of non-indigenous learning, practices and technologies that were developed in recent centuries – and are readily available to anyone with access to a library or internet connection.

Or as they put it: “Food sovereignty is the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems. It puts the aspirations and needs of those who produce, distribute and consume food at the heart of food systems and policies, rather than the demands of markets and corporations.” Food sovereignty also “focuses on production and harvesting methods that maximize the contribution of ecosystems, avoid costly and toxic inputs, and improve the resiliency of local food systems in the face of climate change.” (The 2007 Declaration of Nyéléni, the first global forum on food sovereignty. In Mali!)

Some adherents even seek the “re-peasantization” of Latin American society!

AgroEcology has the financial backing of far-left foundations like the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, which collectively have committed more than $500 million to a raft of like-minded NGOs.

Its precepts and policies are approved and actively promoted by the Food and Agriculture Organization, World Bank and other UN agencies at their taxpayer-funded international conferences. These agencies are even beginning to demand adherence to über-organic practices as a condition for receiving taxpayer funding for agricultural development programs in Africa, Asia and Latin America. (But taxpayers and legislators who provide the funding have been permitted little substantive input on any of this.)

It’s all justified – and often accepted without question in government agencies and universities – by reference to the politically correct, virtue-signaling terminology of our era: sustainability, sustainable farming, dangerous manmade climate change, social justice, indigenous rights, self-determination.

Also typical, anyone opposing these ideologies, policies and demands is vilified as a “willful supporter” of violence against women, “land-grabbing” by multinational corporations, peasant farmer suicides, “mass expropriation and genocide” of indigenous people, and crimes against humanity.

Imagine how intolerant AgroEcology ideologues would react if a farmer wanted to assert his or her food sovereignty and self-determination – by planting hybrid corn, using modern synthetic fertilizers or (heaven forbid) planting Bt corn (maize), to get higher yields, spend less time in the field, spray fewer pesticides, or improve the family’s living standards by selling surplus crops. And yet many want to do exactly that.

“By planting the new Bt cotton on my six hectares [15 acres], I was able to build a house and give it a solar panel,” Bethuel Gumede told the late Roy Innis, then chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality, during a trip to South Africa. “I also bought a TV and fridge. My wife can buy healthy food, and we can afford to send the kids to school. My life has changed completely.”

“I grow maize on a half hectare,” Elizabeth Ajele told him. “The old plants would be destroyed by insects, but not the new biotech plants. With the profits I get from the new Bt maize, I can grow onions, spinach and tomatoes, and sell them for extra money to buy fertilizer. We were struggling to keep hunger out of our house. Now the future looks good.”

Equally relevant, how can agricultural practices that barely sustained families and villages before the advent of modern agriculture possibly feed the world? As Dr. Borlaug said in 2006: “Our planet has 6.5 billion people. If we use only organic fertilizers and methods on existing farmland, we can only feed 4 billion. I don’t see 2.5 billion people volunteering to disappear.”

AgroEcology promoters like Greenpeace, Food & Water Watch, Pesticide Action Network, Union of Concerned scientists and La Via Campesina (The Peasant Way) pay little attention to any of this. They’re too busy “saving people” from “dangerous” hybrid seeds, GMOs, agribusiness, farm machinery and chemicals. Not that any of them would ever want to toil on any of the primitive farms they extol.

Greenpeace frightens Africans by claiming “some researchers think DDT and DDE could be inhibiting lactation” in nursing mothers. So families are afraid to use DDT, and millions die from preventable malaria, while still more millions suffer permanent brain or liver damage from the disease. Would it also oppose cancer-curing chemotherapy because it causes hair loss and reduced resistance to infections?

Modern instruments can detect chemicals in mere parts per billion (the equivalent of a few seconds in 32 years) or even parts per trillion (a few seconds in 32,000 years). That’s hardly a threat to human health.

But Luddite eco-imperialists and über-organic food activists stridently oppose any manmade fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides, while saying “natural” pesticides commonly used by organic farmers are safe. In reality, copper sulfate can kill humans in lower doses per kilogram of body weight than aspirin, and exposure to rotenone causes Parkinson's Disease-like symptoms in rats and can also kill humans.

UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, US and EU government agencies, and real human rights advocates should challenge and denounce AgroEcology agitators and their financial enablers for advancing fraudulent claims that perpetuate malnutrition, poverty and human rights abuses in the world’s poorest countries. They should also cut off funding to any government agencies that support AgroEcology nonsense.

Via email





Are Record Temperatures Evidence of Manmade Global Warming?

It is a slam-dunk certainty that American mainstream media will seize upon a recent story in the Los Angeles Times, “Southern California sets all-time heat records amid broiling conditions,” as justification for its continuing support of the contested theory of man-caused global warming. It has already happened with a Yahoo News story claiming that the new temperature records world-wide prove man causes climate change.

But there are problems in pursuing that path.

First, days that reach and exceed 117-degree temperatures have been known to happen for a very long time in the interior basin of southern California, sometimes referred to as “Death Valley” (though not to be confused with the literal Death Valley). There, temperatures rise above 120 degrees regularly nearly every summer.

The United States’ official all-time record high of 134 degrees F was set July 10, 1913, in California’s real Death Valley. A meteorologist quoted in the L.A. Times article intimates that is where the recent hot air originated, having been pushed westward (advected) over into the Los Angeles basin from an area of strong high pressure (anticyclone) centered farther inland.

Second, by 2018 (into the 21st century) a burgeoning urban heat island (one that now encompasses Los Angeles City proper, Los Angeles County, and the surrounding suburbs) has grown enough to produce excessively high temperatures to a much greater extent today than in past decades, when the population of California was much smaller.

The Los Angeles urban heat island adds more than four degrees to the daily maximum temperature over and above what it had been when earlier records were set in the 1950s. It was in the nature of things and about time for meteorological conditions to force upward a statistical departure from the accustomed, already hot and dry conditions Angelinos experience every passing summer. Weather records are made to be broken.

Third, a similar outbreak of record high temperatures (during several iconic record-setting heat waves of the past) persisted for weeks across the Upper Midwest and into the Atlantic states some eight decades ago during the 1930s (Dust Bowl). Extreme heat and drought happened in 1934 and again in 1936.

Our Midwestern and Great Plains forebears, who suffered greatly through the Depression years, also suffered through many summers when the daytime temperatures exceeded 100 degrees F and night-time temperatures remained in and above the mid-80s. In July 1936 the City of La Crosse, WI, experienced ten consecutive days when the maximum temperature reached or exceeded 100 degrees. On July 14 of that year, it was 108 in La Crosse, its all-time record. On that same date, the thermometer in Wisconsin Dells topped out at 114, the state’s all-time record high.

Record high temperatures happen, somewhere—in fact, in many somewheres—every day here and there around the world. So do record lows. They’re weather phenomena, not evidence of long-term climate change.

So take a seat Los Angeles, and join the club. Your turn came. Other places have had their turns. Still others will have them in the future. Most will have them repeatedly over centuries. Get used to it. It’s weather, not cli

SOURCE 




Summer Causes Climate Change Hysteria

by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

Summers in the U.S. are hot. They always have been. Some are hotter than others.

Speaking as a PhD meteorologist with 40 years experience, this week’s heat wave is nothing special.

But judging from the memo released on June 22 by Public Citizen (a $17 million per year liberal/progressive consumer rights advocacy group originally formed by Ralph Nader in 1971 and heavily funded by Leftwing billionaire George Soros’s Open Society Foundations), every heat wave must now be viewed as a reminder of human-caused climate change. The memo opines that (believe it or not) the news media have not been very good about linking weather events to climate change, which is leading to complacency among the public.

The June 22 memo focus was on the excessive heat in New York state, so let’s begin our journey down Hysteria Lane there. The official NOAA average maximum temperatures for every June since 1895 in New York looks like this:

The long term trend is not statistically different from zero. June 2018 is not yet available at the NOAA website, but from what I’ve seen for the global June Climate Forecast System map at WeatherBell.com, it looks like it was near the long-term (20th Century) average.

The memo also made mention of the widespread record warmth the U.S. experienced in May, 2018. New York had it’s 7th warmest May on record this year, and the long-term linear warming trend there since 1895 is weak (0.22 F/decade) and not statistically different from zero at the 95% confidence level. The May warmth in the U.S. was regional, as expected for weather variations, with much of Canada being exceedingly cold:

When do you suppose the hottest temperature ever recorded in New York was? Clearly, with global warming, it must be in the last 20 or 30 years, right?

Wrong. It was 109 deg. F. on July 22, 1926 in Troy, New York. In contrast, the state record for the coldest temperature was much more recent: -52 deg. F on Feb 18, 1979, at Old Forge, New York.

What about this week’s heat wave? Let’s look at NOAA’s GFS forecast model 5-day average temperatures for this week (Monday through Friday, July 2-6, 2018, graphic from WeatherBell.com):

As you can see, the excessive heat is (again) regionally isolated, which is exactly what we expect for weather… not for climate change. See those colder than average areas? Why aren’t those being blamed on climate change, too? They look like they approximately cancel out the warm area over the Northeast U.S., which is often the case for weather (not climate change) variations.

That was a 5-day forecast for this week. Next let’s look at what was actually observed over the last couple days (July 1-2), which were very hot in the Great Lakes and Northeast:

What we see is that there were unseasonably cool temperatures in the western U.S., again an indication of a temporary and localized weather pattern… not “global warming”, which would be warm everywhere.

How about extreme high temperatures in the U.S in general? Here are the yearly total number of days above 100 and 105 deg. F, again for the years 1895 through 2017, based upon official NOAA data:

We see no trend in the number of days with excessive heat.

So, what do we make of the claims in the Public Citizen memo? Well, they mention that we have seen 1.1 deg. C of warming since the Industrial Revolution. Think about that. Less than 2 deg. F warming in about 200 years, part of which is likely to be natural, based upon temperature proxy estimates over the last 2,000 years for the Northern Hemisphere:

Am I claiming that there is no such thing as human-caused warming? No. I’m claiming that it is overblown. The Public Citizen memo makes much of recent record warm years clustering together, which sounds alarming — if one doesn’t mention the small fractions of a degree involved. If there was no natural year-to-year variability, and the temperature was increasing at 0.01 or 0.02 deg. F every year, then every successive year would be a record warm year…but who would care? The rate of ‘global warming’ is too weak for any one person to notice in their lifetime.

Furthermore, we already know the climate models (which are the basis for proposed changes in energy policy to get us away from fossil fuels) are producing generally twice as much warming of the atmosphere-ocean system as has been observed. The most recent energy budget analysis of surface and deep-ocean warming suggests that the climate system is only half as sensitive to our CO2 emissions as you are being told…. maybe 1.5 deg. C of eventual warming from a doubling of atmospheric CO2. At 410 ppm, We are currently half way to doubling.

And even THAT reduced estimate of future warming assumes ALL of the warming is human-caused! If a portion of recent warming is natural, the less the human-caused global warming problem becomes.

Finally, the Public Citizen memo claims that today’s technology would already allow 80% to 100% of our energy to come from renewable sources. This is patently false. Solar and wind are relatively diffuse (and thus expensive) sources of energy which are intermittent, requiring fossil fuel (or nuclear) backup. It would be exceedingly expensive to get even 50% of our energy from such sources. Maybe someday we will have such technologies, but until that day arrives, the massive amount of money that would be required to achieve such a goal would worsen poverty, which historically has been the leading cause of premature death in the world.

SOURCE. (See the original for links, graphics etc.)
 
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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.  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

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Sunday, July 22, 2018



Fossil fuel industry spent nearly $2 billion to kill U.S. climate action, new study finds

It's always amusing when the Green/Left try to glue some facts on to their half-baked theories.  Below is an example.  As usual, they tell only half the story -- or rather on this occasion only a small fraction of the story.  Rather hilariously, they want to claim that the failure of their crusade is because they don't get enough publicity.

They agonize over the sums various producers of traditional fuels spend on lobbying Congress and say that environmentalists spend a lot less. And that is the only sort of promotional expenditure they mention.  And they don't even show WHAT causes the lobbyists were pushing. They assume that every cent went to promote climate skepticism. But big companies have lots of interests and it is possible that global warming was only a small part of the causes that they were lobbying for.  We don't even know that they mentioned global warming at all.  Greenies have a paranoid conviction that it was all about them but offer no proof of that. So strike one for the first part of the story that they "overlooked"

But the really BIG strike is that they have ignored the Greenie effort at promoting their cause to the PUBLIC.  Lobbying Congress is all well and good but if you have the public on your side, Congress is in your pocket.  And on my count you would be lucky to see one anti-warming article in the media for 50 pro-warming articles.  Skeptics are hugely outnumbered by apostles of the Warmist creed.  So if you look at TOTAL promotional activity, the amounts some companies spend on lobbying Congress are just a drop in the bucket.

Amazing how different it all looks when you look at the whole picture, isn't it?


Legislation to address climate change has repeatedly died in Congress. But a major new study says the policy deaths were not from natural causes — they were caused by humans, just like climate change itself is.

Climate action has been repeatedly drowned by a devastating surge and flood of money from the fossil fuel industry — nearly $2 billion in lobbying since 2000 alone.

This is according to stunning new analysis in the journal Climatic Change on “The climate lobby” by Drexel University environmental sociologist Robert J. Brulle.

The most important conclusion of Brulle’s is that spending by those in favor of climate action was dramatically overwhelmed by the big fossil fuel suppliers and users: “Environmental organizations and the renewable energy sector lobbying expenditures were dwarfed by a ratio of 10:1 by the spending of the sectors engaged in the supply and use of fossil fuels.”

The study serves to help put to rest notion that the effort to pass climate legislation has ever been a fair fight. But then, the big corporate producers and consumers of fossil fuels have hundreds of billions of dollars in annual revenue — thus dwarfing the funds available to major environmental groups and the emerging clean energy sector.

Brulle analyzed the “countervailing power ratio,” which is the total lobbying expenditures by the big fossil fuel trade associations along with the transportation, electric utility, and fossil fuel sectors divided by the total lobbying expenditures of the renewable energy sector along with environmental organizations

“Special interests dominate the conversation, all working for a particular advantage for their industry,” as Dr. Brulle told ThinkProgress in an email. “The common good is not represented.”

Indeed, the other key point of the study is that a truly staggering amount of money has been spent lobbying Congress on climate change this century, more than $2 billion.

The biggest surge came, unsurprisingly, during the 2009-2010 period — when Congress came the closest it ever did to passing serious climate legislation

During 2009 and 2010, total lobbying expenditures on climate change accounted for a whopping nine percent of all lobbying expenditures.

The House of Representatives passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act, often called the Waxman-Markey bill, by a slim margin in June 2009. At that point, the fossil fuel industry launched an all-out — and ultimately successful — lobbying push to undermine any effort by the Senate to  pass their own version of the climate bill over the next 12 months.

Indeed, of the top nine energy companies with the biggest lobbying expenditures between January 2009 and June 2010, six were Big Oil companies (led by ExxonMobil), and the other three were a coal producer and two coal-intensive utilities.

“It’s clear that when the greatest threat presents itself — like when Congress and the Executive branch are aligned and favorable to and recognize climate change as a major issue,” explained Brulle, “these corporations that engage in the supply and use of fossil fuels work the hardest to upend legislative efforts by increasing their lobby spending ten-fold.”

Finally, it’s worth noting, as Brulle does, that electric utilities, which collectively have spent vast sums lobbying on climate change, were not all lobbying uniformly against the climate bill in 2009 and 2010.

But the biggest carbon polluters at the time, such as Southern Company and American Electric Power (AEP), were among the very biggest spenders.

Also, as the study notes, “several corporations’ apparent support for climate policy is a sophisticated strategy to simultaneously attempt to appear to support such legislation, while actually supporting efforts to undermine it.”

To do this, some companies had memberships in coalitions that both supported climate legislation (U.S. Climate Action Partnership) and that opposed it (American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity).

And it appears to be the case that the opponents of the climate bill were very actively trying to kill the bill, while many of the so-called proponents were mainly lobbying to shape the bill “as a hedge against unacceptable climate legislation in case their first preference (no action) is defeated,” as the study notes.

Post 2010,  the fossil fuel industry has maintained its consistent large edge in  lobbying over environmentalists and clean energy companies.

Sadly, brand new IRS rules from the Trump administration “will no longer force Kochs and other groups to disclose donors,” as the New York Times reported Tuesday. That means major anti-climate groups, like Americans for Prosperity, will  not have to report that it is heavily backed by the Koch brothers, who are billionaire fossil fuel barons.

In short, tracking the role of dirty money in politics just got a lot harder.

The bottom line is that one major reason for the lack of action on climate change is that, for nearly two decades, the opponents of serious action have been vastly outspending the proponents.

SOURCE 





Watching Weather Waves But Missing Climate Tides

Viv Forbes

The climate alarm media, the bureaucracy and the Green Energy industry follow an agenda which is served by inflating any short-term weather event into a climate calamity. They should take a long-term view.

Earth’s climate is never still – it is always changing, with long-term trends, medium-term reversals and minor oscillations (see above graph). Humanity is best served by those who use good science to study geology, astronomy and climate history searching for clues to climate drivers and the underlying natural cycles and trends hidden in short-term weather fluctuations.

For the last 10,000 years Earth has basked in the Holocene Interglacial which is the latest of many warm cycles within the Pleistocene Ice Age. There are small warm and cool cycles within the Holocene. Today we enjoy the Modern Warm Cycle (which started about calendar 1900) following the Little Ice Age which bottomed in about 1750.

What does the future hold? The past gives clues to the future.

In every warm era, glaciers retreat, ice sheets melt and sea levels rise. Coastal land, ports and settlements are lost under the rising seas but tundra, grasslands and forests expand. Some corals manage to grow as fast as the seas rise, but others are drowned in deep water. The warmth drives more carbon dioxide from the seas, plants thrive, deserts shrink and humans are well fed.

Then solar intensity wanes, solar orbits change, less solar energy is received by the big northern lands, and the warm Earth radiates more heat to space. It starts cooling.

As Earth enters a cold era, not all of the winter snow melts over summer. The extra snow reflects more solar radiation, leading to even colder winters. The snow-line and the tree-line fluctuate lower, mountain passes are closed, and advancing glaciers threaten mountain villages. Sea ice expands, ice sheets grow, lakes and rivers are frozen, sea levels drop and coral reefs are stranded above the water line. The cooling seas absorb life-giving carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and crops fail; deserts expand, humans suffer poverty and famine, settlements are abandoned, armies march, empires fall and some species disappear.

This has happened many times before and will probably happen again.

But there are clues to the next big phase for Earth’s climate.

Earth has two natural global thermometers which can reveal short and long term trends – the advance and retreat of glaciers, and the rise and fall of sea level.

If glaciers are growing and ice sheets are advancing and getting thicker, it indicates that average global temperature is falling.

Glaciologists have drilled and analysed many of today’s glaciers. They have been surprised to discover that, outside of Antarctica and Greenland, no glacial ice older than 4,000 years has been found. For example, the Fremont Glacier in Wyoming half-way towards the Equator is only a few hundred years old.

Naturally some of these new glaciers can show melting and retreat during long spells of warm weather, but the mere existence of glaciers today where none existed at the peak of the Holocene warming over 3,000 years ago confirms what other studies show – Earth is gradually cooling towards the next Glacial Cycle.

The second natural thermometer is the changing sea level caused by fluctuations in the volume of ice and snow trapped on land, and by the expansion or contraction in the volume of sea water as it warms or cools. Coastal and near-shore locations show much evidence of past and recent sea level changes. In warm eras, glaciers and ice sheets melt, sea water expands, sea levels rise and offshore coral reefs become submerged and drown. Then as peak warming is passed, ice starts to accumulate on land, cooling sea water contracts and sea levels fall.

Even a moderate cooling event such as the Little Ice Age was sufficient to cause lowering of sea level and stranding of port cities and beaches.

Earth’s natural thermometers are now flashing an amber warning. The long-term trends point to growing glaciers and falling sea level. These warn us that the warm moist bountiful Holocene Era is past its peak. The next chapter in Earth’s History will be a long, hungry, ice-bound era. Only humans who are good at hunting and gathering or have easy access to nuclear power or carbon energy will survive.

People who try to create a “Climate Crisis” out of extreme weather events or short-term climate fluctuations (such as today’s Modern Warm Cycle) are like Lord Nelson – their telescope is applied to the blind eye. They point to the choppy waves from summer storms behind the ship, but fail to see the blizzard approaching on the horizon ahead.

Al Gore was right in one thing – warm cycles coincide with high levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The warmth drove CO2 into the atmosphere, and then the cooling oceans removed it again. Carbon dioxide variations are the result, not the cause, of climate changes.

But never once, over eleven warm cycles covering the last million years, have those high levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide prevented the onset of the next glacial cycle.

“Carbon Dioxide..  Causes Global Warming ..   Like Wet Roads... Cause Rain.”

Trying to remove or limit atmospheric carbon dioxide is a futile and costly gesture. Even if it were to succeed, by removing plant food from the atmosphere, it would increase the misery of the approaching cold, hungry era.

We may still have warm decades or even centuries ahead. But even when there is a heatwave in autumn, the winter still comes.

SOURCE. (See the original for links, graphics etc.)




Texas To Become World’s Number 3 Oil Producer, Passing Iran

America is a powerhouse and I mean that literally as well as figuratively. CNN Money reported Wednesday that Texas is set to become the world’s number three oil producer thanks to a boom in production:

Plunging drilling costs have sparked an explosion of production out of the Permian Basin of West Texas. In fact, Texas is pumping so much oil that it will surpass OPEC members Iran and Iraq next year, HSBC predicted in a recent report.

If it were a country, Texas would be the world’s No. 3 oil producer, behind only Russia and Saudi Arabia, the investment bank said.

“It’s remarkable. The Permian is nothing less than a blessing for the global economy,” said Bob McNally, president of Rapidan Energy Group, a consulting firm…

“The industry cracked the code on fracking,” said McNally.

Texas is producing so much oil that it will soon be bumping up against pipeline capacity. Some producers are already selling at a discount because of the limitations. Another problem is a shortage of labor, though that will likely be good news for the state and for people moving to Texas to find work.

The boom in Texas is one reason the U.S. is set to become the world’s number one oil producer. Last week, U.S. production reached an all-time high of 11 million barrels per day:

Reuters reports that if these preliminary numbers are confirmed, the U.S. is currently the second largest producer in the world, just behind Russia:

U.S. crude oil production last week hit 11 million barrels per day (bpd) for the first time in the nation’s history, the Energy Department said on Wednesday, as the ongoing boom in shale production continues to drive output.

The gains represent a rapid increase in output, as the data, if confirmed by monthly figures, puts the United States as the second largest producer of crude oil, just behind Russia, which was producing 11.2 million bpd in early July, according to sources.

“Eleven million would have made us the biggest producer in the world; but actually Russian production in June was above 11 million. So, this is kind of like the space race,” said Sandy Fielden, director of research in commodities and energy at Morningstar.

But we won’t be behind Russia for much longer. The U.S. Energy Information Administration predicted last week that production would near 12 million barrels a day by next year:

EIA forecasts total U.S. crude oil production to average 10.8 million b/d in 2018, up 1.4 million b/d from 2017. In 2019, crude oil production is forecast to average 11.8 million b/d. If realized, the forecast for both years would surpass the previous record of 9.6 million b/d set in 1970. Crude oil production at these forecast levels would probably make the United States the world’s leading crude oil producer in both years.

Of course, gasoline prices are still up a bit thanks to problems in Venezuela and sanctions on Iran. But fracking has made the U.S. the world’s energy powerhouse and that should continue well into the 2020s. This is data the Trump administration should continue to cite as a sign America is resurgent.

SOURCE 





Trump administration introduces proposal to roll back Endangered Species Act protections

The Trump administration is proposing significant changes to the way it enforces the Endangered Species Act (ESA), saying they are a needed modernization of decades-old regulations, but wildlife groups say the changes will put endangered animals and plants at risk.

The proposal would make it easier to delist an endangered species and would withdraw a policy that offered the same protections for threatened species as for endangered species unless otherwise specified.

It would streamline interagency consultations and make it more difficult to protect habitat near land where endangered species live.

The proposed rules also include an interpretation that a species considered endangered would be protected for a “foreseeable future” that extends “only as far” as it can be reasonably determined that “both the future threats and the species’ responses to those threats are probable.”

In a call with stakeholders on Thursday, Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Deputy Director Greg Sheehan called the proposal a way of “providing clarity.”

He said the changes would help the agency meet the Endangered Species Act’s main goal of “species recovery” so that animals and plants could more easily be removed from endangered and threatened species lists.

The move to change the act reflects demands from industry groups and landowners who frequently challenge endangered species protections as overbearing and unsuccessful. Critics of the law have argued that only 3 percent of all species placed on the endangered list have ever been delisted.

Republicans have also pushed for more management at the state level.

Supporters of the law have argued that the main goal of the Endangered Species Act should be to make sure that a species does not go extinct. Wildlife and conservation groups have often pushed for plant and animal species to remain listed to ensure they continue to receive increased habitat protections.

Sheehan, the former head of Utah’s wildlife agency, echoed some of the concerns raised by industry groups and landowners.

“When ESA has done its job and a species is no longer at risk for extinction, it should be delisted,” he said.

He also argued that when a species cannot be delisted easily, it can take resources away from species that need more protections.

“When some of our listing decisions have been challenged, courts have sometimes appeared to set a higher bar for removing a species from a list than putting it on — that takes valuable resources away from species that do need that determination under the act,” he said.

A key issue under the proposal would involve changing the way threatened species are protected under the law, weakening a rule in place for decades that gave threatened species on private land the same protections as endangered species.

The new rule — which was first reported in April — would instead allow for more limited or “tailored” protections for threatened species — a change that environmentalists are calling a major roll-back.

Endangered species are plants and animals at the brink of extinction, while threatened species are likely to become endangered in the near future. Sheehan says that codifying the rule would make it more “predictable.”

Another proposal centers on quickening the consultation process between other federal agencies — such as the Department of Transportation and the Army Corps of Engineers — and the Interior Department on whether planned projects may affect protected plants and animals.

Officials want to explore an “alternative” or “expedited” consultation process, such as completing one consultation for an entire program instead of multiple ones for various pieces of the program.

Interior Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt told reporters on a call Thursday that the revision to consultations would be one of the biggest benefits of the proposed rule.

“I really think when the public goes through these proposals ... that they will see a very serious effort to lay out innovative ideas regarding improving the current interagency consultation process,” he said. “We have some ideas on alternatives to traditional consultation while maintaining the services’ respective roles in those processes.”

Environmentalists and animal conservationists pushed back on the package of changes to the ESA, saying the proposed efforts would ultimately weaken animal protections and benefits industry.

“This proposal turns the extinction-prevention tool of the Endangered Species Act into a rubber stamp for powerful corporate interests,” said Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Allowing the federal government to turn a blind eye to climate change will be a death sentence for polar bears and hundreds of other animals and plants.”

Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), the ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee, called the proposed rule a favor to industry.

"The Trump administration doesn’t seem to know any other way to handle the environment than as an obstacle to industry profits," he said Thursday in a statement. "If a single company can make a single dollar from the destruction or displacement of an endangered species, it’s full speed ahead. The public doesn’t demand this; this is part of the endless special favors the White House and Department of the Interior are willing to do for their industry friends."

The proposal comes as the Trump administration and congressional Republicans are beefing up opposition to animal protections across the board.

In May the National Park Service announced it would end an Obama-era protection that prohibited the hunting of bear cubs, as well as wolves and pups in their dens, in Alaska’s national preserves.

In April, FWS employees were told they could no longer advise land developers when they would need to apply for a special permit necessary to maintain endangered species' habitats.

An April 26 letter from Sheehan told staff that it should be left up to builders to decide whether they would need to apply for the permit, which is mandated under the law for those who think their actions may affect the habitat of endangered species.

The House this week passed a spending bill that includes a number of riders aimed at rolling back certain species protections. One of the riders that made it through mandates that any species that is not reviewed by the FWS every five years will be automatically delisted.

SOURCE 





Hippies Are Protesting Efforts To Replace An Old Pipeline With A Safer One

An aging pipeline running through Minnesota has been deemed no longer safe, but environmental groups are protesting efforts to build a newer, safer pipeline in its place.

Line 3 is a crude oil pipeline that stretches 1,097 miles from Alberta, Canada, to Superior, Wisconsin, running through Minnesota along the way. Constructed to help the U.S. meet its growing need for oil, the pipeline still provides around 400 thousand barrels of oil a day.

However, Line 3 is very old. Originally built in the 1960s and put in operation by 1968, the pipeline has experienced serious degradation. Enbridge, the energy company that operates Line 3, says it has been forced to reduce oil output due to corrosion and other defects. The Canadian company now says a replacement pipeline is needed for safety reasons.

While government regulators appear to agree with Enbridge — the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission in June unanimously approved their proposal — other groups are sharply opposed to the idea.

“They’re bringing highly toxic, highly poisonous tar sands oil directly through major watersheds and the last standing reserve of wild rice that the Ojibwe have to harvest,” Bill Paulson, a member of the Ojibwe tribe, stated to CNN. “Our culture is the wild rice and gathering and being out in the woods. If there’s a threat to that, then there’s a direct threat to the people.”

Paulson is no stranger to pipeline protests. He previously traveled to take part in the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. However, Paulson doesn’t identify himself as a “protester,” but as a “water protector.”

Numerous environmentalists and Native American groups claim the new pipeline — which will be constructed father south than the current one — will pose a threat to local resources.

Honor the Earth, a Minnesota-based environmental group, will hold its sixth annual, 10-day “Love water, not oil” horse ride tour along the new Line 3 route on July 28. “It is our responsibility as water protectors to prevent this. We will not allow Line 3 to desecrate our lands, violate our treaty rights, or poison our water,” read a statement from the group’s website.

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission has already approved the project, however, Line 3 has not yet cleared every hurdle. Enbridge is still required to apply for 29 federal, state and local permits before construction can begin.

SOURCE 

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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.  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

*****************************************



Friday, July 20, 2018



Not Only Does Banning Straws Not Help The Environment Much, It Hurts Disabled People

Last June, an organization I’ve been affiliated with for a long time — since high school, in fact — held its semi-annual meeting. Allowed a guest, I invited a retiree I know to join me and my then-infant daughter.

Everywhere I walked in the hotel ballroom that day, fellow members greeted me warmly and cooed over my baby. But my guest, who entered with us and was beside me all day, was completely ignored.

Over and over again, people saw his walker and looked away, walked away, or talked only to me, even after I’d introduced him.

It was eye-opening. People I’ve long known and think of as “good people” did this. It showed me how blind we can all be to the disabled, both to their existence and their different needs.

A perfect example of that obliviousness on a large scale is the new push for plastic straw bans. These bans sound eco-friendly, they’re trendy, and they completely disregard the needs of the disabled who live in, work in, or visit strawless locales.

New York City introduced a ban bill in May. Seattle’s ban went into effect on July 1. Starbucks announced their plan to eliminate plastic straws by 2020 on July 9.

And on July 10, Washington DC’s city council introduced its own ban bill, while American Airlines announced its intention to ban “straws and stir sticks from its flights and lounges.”

In case you were wondering, Seattle’s newly implemented ban isn’t going well. Having never discussed the ban proposal with the Seattle Commission for People with disAbilities, a group that exists specifically to advise the city about such issues, implementation has been chaotic.

“[City leaders] seem to be telling restaurant owners in Seattle there’s a total ban and telling disability organizations that there are exemptions,” Lawrence Carter-Long, communications director for the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund, told me. “They haven’t taken the time to ask for public comment. It’s pretty clear they haven’t thought it through.”

It’s not clear Washington’s leaders thought their proposed ban through either.

“I need to have access to straws because of muscle weakness. I can’t lift a cup to my mouth,” Andrea LaVant, who works in the District told me. She uses a power wheelchair full-time because she has Muscular Dystrophy. “I’m upset hearing the news, especially because Washington, in particular, is a city that has been recognized for its accessibility in so many different ways, and because of that, the population of people with disabilities is very high, and so it’s an insult, I believe, to completely ignore the needs of a significant part of the population.”

Straw bans have other negative ripple effects. Curt Decker, executive director of the National Disability Rights Network, notes that any ban impacts individuals with medical issues as varied as Cerebral Palsy, Quadriplegia, and Dementia.

As for proposed alternatives, Carter-Long told me there is no real replacement. “Paper straws tend to get soggy and increase the risk of choking … they’re not good for people who chew involuntarily, have excess saliva, or can’t bend because of limited mobility. Silicone straws aren’t flexible … Metal, glass, and bamboo aren’t flexible, which poses obvious dangers for people with Parkinson’s or Cerebral Palsy who can’t control movement.”

Even wheat and silicone straws are problematic — they pose allergy risks. In short, he concludes, “If somebody tells you the options available don’t work for them, listen to them.”

A ban would also seriously inconvenience young families. With three young children, my family doesn’t eat out often. However, when we do, it’s straws (and high chairs) that make those meals possible.

Straws enable my toddler to drink independently, without soaking herself or the restaurant floor. If the District bans straws, we’d travel elsewhere for those family outings.

Personally, I remain somewhat perplexed as to why banning disposable straws has become so urgent. “At most, straws account for about 2,000 tons of the 9 million tons of plastic that are estimated to enter the ocean each year, according to the Associated Press — .02 percent of all plastic waste,” Reason reported. In other words, there are bigger environmental fish to fry.

But here we are. So, in the interest of moderation and sanity, I’d like to offer a proposal.

First, let’s press pause on straw bans until a true alternative exists that won’t inconvenience the disabled.

Second, environmental groups should sponsor a contest, encouraging innovators to create an affordable and environmentally friendly alternative that meets everybody’s needs.

Third, if you live or work in the Washington area, contact the City Council with any concerns. When the Council reconvenes in mid-September and holds hearings, be prepared to testify about ways to improve this bill.

Finally, let’s lead with kindness and common sense. If cities or businesses still want to reduce straw usage, the best short-term strategy is a reduction, rather than complete elimination. As Lawrence Carter-Long suggests, “Say flexible straws are available to people on request.”

Protecting the Earth we’ll eventually leave our children is laudable. But we must also see the people who are in front of us today. Policies intended to help the planet that harms the most vulnerable among us are neither noble nor real long-term solutions.

SOURCE 






Renewable energy seeks demand, investment to survive Trump squeeze

The wind and solar industries hope demand for carbon-free power from U.S. cities, states and corporations can offset headwinds from President Donald Trump’s tax policy and tariffs, developers said this week.

The Trump tax overhaul trimmed production and investment tax credits, and the administration also slapped a 30 percent tariff on imported solar panels. The moves, aimed at boosting manufacturing and economic growth, also dimmed prospects for renewables.

But Trump’s withdrawal of federal support for Obama-era climate goals indirectly helped the industry by inspiring a backlash among U.S. cities, states and corporations, which have grown more ambitious about installing cleaner forms of energy.

Also, investors with years of deals under their belts are less wary about financing solar and wind than they were years ago, and socially responsible funds are actively seeking projects to invest in, according to executives and investors at the Renewable Energy Finance Forum-Wall Street in New York.

Gregory Wetstone, president and chief executive officer of the American Council on Renewable Energy, noted that two big solar projects worth about $2.5 billion total have been canceled or stalled since the tariffs were announced in January. The Solar Energy Industries Association has said the tariffs would result in the loss of 23,000 U.S. jobs.

But some manufacturers and developers have announced new projects in the face of the tariffs. Wetstone noted that solar led all generation sources with 2.5 gigawatts of new capacity in the first quarter of 2018.

‘SEA CHANGE’ IN DEMAND

“There is a sea change in grass-roots demand for renewable energy,” Susan Nickey, managing director at Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Capital Inc (HASI.N), which invests about $1 billion a year in the sector, said in an interview on the sidelines of the conference on Tuesday.

“More and more corporations and consumers are saying ‘We want 100 percent renewable energy,’” she said, adding city and state governments are adopting renewable-friendly policies to reflect that growing demand.

She cited a survey of financial institutions that showed two-thirds of respondents planned to boost renewable investments this year. Some 89 percent said they would sharply increase planned investments from now to 2030 unless government policies slow demand for renewable energy. (bit.ly/2lsBoRI)

Craig Cornelius, president of NRG Energy Inc’s (NRG.N) NRG Renewables, told a panel at the conference that while Trump’s tax bill was initially worrying, “it has been ultimately easier to work through the repercussions than we anticipated.”

As the bill moved through Congress, Republican lawmakers from states with renewable projects joined Democrats to make changes. The final version kept 80 percent of the investment tax credit and production tax credit values, and dropped a proposed corporate alternative minimum tax that would have made the tax credits less valuable.

“Members on both sides of the aisle stepped out to support us,” Laura Beane, president and chief executive officer of Avangrid Renewables, said on Wednesday. Avangrid is developing the 800-megawatt Vineyard Wind project off the coast of Massachusetts.

DODGING TARIFFS

Quick action helped many developers dodge harm from U.S. tariffs on solar cells, noted Stacey Kusters, president of Berkshire Hathaway Energy Co’s [MEHC.UL] BHE Solar.

“A lot of the projects that were planned went in and bought two years’ worth of panels” before the tariffs, she said.

Meanwhile, the industry is bracing for the scheduled reduction and ultimate expiry of lucrative subsidies on solar and wind power over the coming years, including a 30 percent tax credit on solar installations.

This will make it trickier to finance some renewable projects, said Robert Sternthal, managing director at Rubicon Capital Advisors, who is putting together a team of bankers to advise on renewable deals in North America.

Without the incentives, “pricing may have to go up on the electricity side” for some projects, he said on Tuesday. Yet he also expects growing demand from tech corporations that have pledged to be carbon-neutral and will not rely on wind or solar energy for profits.

“Google, Facebook and Apple don’t have to make 6 to 7 percent returns on these assets,” he said.

Improvements in technology could help make wind and solar more competitive “in terms of cost and sustainability” after tax credits expire, said Rafael Gonzalez, president and chief executive officer of Enel Green Power North America, whose projects include wind, solar, geothermal, and hydropower.

Beane said Avangrid Renewables is betting on prospects for “a lot of demand for offshore wind power in the U.S. Northeast.” The company starts construction on the Vineyard Wind project next year, and it is slated to come online in 2021.

By then, she said, the project may be competitive on its own thanks to improved technology and expertise: “You’ll be very surprised at the prices.”

SOURCE 





Warmists see conspiracy in Trump/Putin dialogue: It's all about them

Eric Holthaus:

Whether Russia meddled in the U.S. presidential election in 2016 is not up for serious debate — numerous intelligence agencies, both foreign and domestic, concluded it did.

During a joint press conference with President Donald Trump in Helsinki on Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin went a long way toward answering why.

“I did [want Trump to win] because he talked about bringing the U.S.-Russia relationship back to normal,” Putin said.

That statement was widely covered, but I’m convinced something else Putin said during the press conference is more important.

“I think that we as a major oil and gas power, and the United States as a major oil and gas power, as well, we could work together on regulation of international markets,” he said. “We do have space for cooperation here.”

Some close observers have drawn this connection before, but it’s worth saying again explicitly: There’s no way to understand Trump’s relationship with Russia without putting oil and climate politics at its center. If you’re upset at Trump and Putin for undermining our democracy, just wait until you find out that they are likely colluding to destroy our planet’s climate system, too.

After Monday’s meeting in Helsinki, it’s clearer than ever that we are at a crucial moment in our American democracy as well as in the biggest and most important fight we’ve ever had — the fight against climate change.

Fossil fuels still power 80 percent of the world’s economy, and the leaders of that dying industry might start acting in desperation to stave off its decline. You can see why rapidly eliminating dirty energy sources — exactly what science says we have to do — might be fiercely opposed by politicians who have a substantial stake in their success.

Russia is a petrostate, and the U.S. is now, too. In fact, the two countries are the world’s largest non-OPEC oil producers, extracting nearly as much as all OPEC countries combined. They also own an even greater share of the global natural gas market: Added together the two countries produce six times more natural gas than the rest of the world.

By working together, they can keep the global economy swimming in oil and gas.

And what’s the primary force working against the fossil fuel industry these days? Climate activists. It’s not difficult to see the Trump-Putin alliance as a deliberate attempt to delay action on climate change.

SOURCE 




Let There Be More Than Light

BJØRN LOMBORG

For the well-off in both rich and poor countries around the world, lives are enriched by plentiful access to energy that provides light, fresh food, and clean water, and that powers technology and allows the ability to control the temperature.

Abundant energy provides the same life-transforming labor as hundreds of servants: Without a refrigerator, we would need to locate fresh food daily, store shelves would be half-empty, and a lot of food would go bad before we could eat it – one reason why, in 1930, stomach cancer was the leading cancer in the United States.

Without synthetic fertilizer, which is produced almost entirely with fossil fuels, half the world’s food consumption would be imperiled. Without modern stoves and heaters, we would need to find our own firewood, and we would risk being poisoned in our own houses by killer air pollution. And without fuel-powered trucks, ships, and machines, humans would need to do nearly all the hard labor.

Worldwide, fossil fuels produce two-thirds of all electricity, with nuclear and hydro producing another 27%. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), solar, wind, wave, and bio-energy produce just 9.8% of electricity in the OECD, and this is possible only because of huge subsidies, cumulatively totaling more than $160 billion this year. Even ultra-environmentally aware Germany still produces more than half its electricity with fossil fuels.

Yet there is a disturbing movement in the West to tell the 1.1 billion people who still lack these myriad benefits that they should go without. A familiar refrain suggests that instead of dirty, coal-fired power plants, poor countries should “leapfrog” straight to cleaner energy sources like off-grid solar technology. Influential donors – including even the World Bank, which no longer funds coal energy projects – endorse this view.

The underlying motivation is understandable: policymakers must address global warming. Eventually moving away from fossil fuels is crucial, and innovation is required to make green energy cheap and reliable. But this message to the world’s poor is hypocritical and dangerous. While fossil fuels contribute to global warming, they also contribute to prosperity, growth, and wellbeing.

There is a strong, direct connection between power and poverty: the more of the former, the less of the latter. A study in Bangladesh showed that grid electrification has significant positive effects on household income, expenditure, and education. Electrified households experienced a jump of up to 21% in income and a 1.5% reduction in poverty each year.

Reliance on coal is not ending soon. While we would wish otherwise, it often remains the cheapest, most dependable energy source: the IEA estimates that, by 2040, coal will still be cheaper, on average, than solar and wind energy, even with a sizeable carbon tax.

Over the past 16 years, nearly every person who gained access to electricity did so through a grid connection, mostly powered by fossil fuels. And yet donors say that many of the 1.1 billion people who are still without electricity should instead try solar panels.

Compared with expensive grid expansion, providing an off-grid, solar cell is very cheap. But for the recipient, it is a poor substitute. It offers just enough power to keep a lightbulb going, and to recharge a mobile phone, which is better than nothing – but only barely. The IEA expects that each of the 195 million people with off-grid solar will get just 170kWh per year – or half of what one US flat-screen TV uses in a year.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the first rigorous test published on the impact of solar panels on the lives of poor people found that while they got a little more electricity, there was no measurable impact on their lives: they did not increase savings or spending, they did not work more or start more businesses, and their children did not study more.

Little wonder: 170kWh is not what most of us would consider real access to electricity. Off-grid energy at this level will never power a factory or a farm, so it cannot reduce poverty or create jobs. And it will not help fight the world’s biggest environmental killer: indoor air pollution, which is mostly caused by open fires fueled by wood, cardboard, and dung, and claims 3.8 million lives annually. This is not a concern in rich countries, where stoves and heaters are hooked up to the grid; but because solar is too weak to power stoves and ovens, recipients of off-grid solar panels will continue suffering.

In 2016, the Nigerian finance minister called out the West for its “hypocrisy” in attempting to block Africa from using coal to solve its power shortages. “After polluting the environment for hundreds of years,” she said, “now that Africa wants to use coal, they deny us.”

A Copenhagen Consensus study for Bangladesh found that building new coal-fired power plants there would, over the next 15 years, generate global climate damage eventually costing around $592 million. But the benefits from electrification through higher economic growth would be almost 500 times greater, at $258 billion – equivalent to more than an entire year of the country’s GDP. By 2030, the average Bangladeshi would be 16% better off.

Denying Bangladesh this benefit in the name of combating global warming means to focus on avoiding 23 cents of global climate costs for every $100 of development benefits we ask Bangladeshis to forgo – and this in a country where energy shortages cost an estimated 0.5% of GDP, and around 21 million people survive on less than $1.25 per day.

There is no choice: we must fight energy poverty and fix climate change. But that requires a huge increase in green-energy research and development, so that clean sources eventually outcompete fossil fuels. And it means recognizing that it is hypocritical for the world’s wealthy, who would never accept survival on a tiny amount of power, to demand this from the world’s poorest.

SOURCE 





McDonald’s move to ban plastic straws angers Australians

There is NO justification for this.  Ocean detritus comes from Africa and Asia, not Australia

FIRST it was plastic bag ban rage — now Australians are turning to McDonald’s to take out their anger and frustration.

News the fast-food giant is going to make sipping a thickshake harder has outraged people across the country — and the world — who say the plastic ban is being taken too far, causing them too much inconvenience.

The environmental impact speaks for itself — more than 10 million plastic straws are used in Australia every day.

They contribute to the estimated 150 million tonnes of plastic filling our oceans and by 2050 experts estimate there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.

But news of the McDonald’s move to phase out plastic straws over the next two years has caused people to flood social media in anger, with many joking it is the “last straw”.

One Facebook user said it was “overkill looking for public praise”.

“What about the lid on the drinks that uses so much more plastic,” he said.

“Then we have plastic spoons and knives and forks they give you. This campaign is bordering on insane.”

Many agreed the plan to roll out the change to all 970 restaurants nationwide by 2020 was more about the company’s corporate image than the environment.

“Plastic straws make up less than 0.003 per cent of the plastic in the ocean. The straw ban is f*****g pointless and shifts the blame from corporations systemically destroying the environment to individuals,” said one Twitter user.

Paul Harvey, an environmental scientist at Macquarie University, has previously said without appropriate exemptions, a federal legislative ban on single-use plastic straws could prevent people in need from “accessing a basic medical aid”.

“We need to ensure that we have the right strategy to accommodate those who still depend on single-use plastics,” he said.

Disability rights groups across the world have been vocal in their views, highlighting people with conditions such as cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis need straws to eat and drink.

“Other types of straws simply do not offer the combination of strength, flexibility, and safety that plastic straws do,” said one US group after the move to ban straws there.

Worldwide people have been active in their straw ban campaigns, claiming success when companies announce their changes.

Campaigners claimed victory when Starbucks announced it would stop using plastic straws in its stores by 2020, with a petition to encourage them gaining 150,000 supporters.

Even kids have started their own petitions to encourage giants such as Disney World to ban straws and lids.

Others include a petition to stop Subway with more than 95,000 signatures, and ongoing McDonald’s pushes around the world.

In Australia, McDonald’s will start trialling paper straws in August in two outlets.

The move comes as supermarket giants Woolworths and Coles get rid of free plastic bags.

Woolworths has also said it will stop selling plastic straws by the end of 2018 and will remove plastic packaging from a further 80 fruit and vegetable lines in a bid to appease increasingly environmentally conscious customers.

McDonald’s says the trial is part of a larger, long-term global effort to identify viable, sustainable alternatives to its single-use plastic straws.

“We know plastic straws is a topic our customers are passionate about and we will find a viable solution,” McDonald’s Australia supply chain director Robert Sexton said.

Greenpeace Australia applauded the decision.

“It’s wonderful McDonald’s is making a commitment to reducing consumption of single-use plastic and we look forward to seeing more detail around this proposal to see the overall impact,” Greenpeace spokesman Simon Black said.

McDonald’s paper straws are the same as those it’s trialling in the UK.

SOURCE 

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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.  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

*****************************************



Thursday, July 19, 2018



IPCC’s Kangaroo Science…Will Ignore Over 600 Papers Showing Sun’s Impact On Climate

The upcoming 6th IPCC Sixth Assessment Report will be a “comprehensive assessment of the science” related to climate change and published in 2022.

However, don’t expect it to be “comprehensive” at all as hundreds of scientific publications showing profound impacts by sun and oceans will go ignored.

Climate science has turned into a religion that centers on a single act of faith. Human CO2 is changing our climate.

In the past, it was always understood that climate was impacted by a vast array of factors, such as oceanic cycles, solar cycles, aerosols, cloud cover, etc. to name a few.

But over the years tremendous resources have been poured into an effort aimed at pinning the blame on man-made greenhouse gases. Models have been grossly distorted and corrupted to make CO2 the 90%+ climate driver.

Despite global temperatures falling by more than 0.5°C over the past two years due to the ending of an El Nino event, IPCC scientists continue to insist that trace gas CO2 is the main driver behi9nd climate warming.

In the IPCC 5th summary report for policymakers, for example, solar and oceanic factors described as having little effect on global temperatures:

With such a disregard for natural factors, it is no surprise that we are already observing the spectacular failure of the climate models.

Not only have ocean cycles been grossly ignored in climate models, but so have solar factors. The sun is not constant in its behavior and has been shown to act in cycles that have profound impacts on the earth’s climate system.

Research showing sun’s impact piles up

Despite all the effort to frame CO2, scientists are still conducting a formidable amount of research on the sun’s impact.

Indeed since the last IPCC report was released in 2013, there have been literally hundreds of scientific peer-reviewed publications showing that the sun, directly and indirectly, has a great impact on the Earth’s climate. Yet IPCC scientists obstinately continue to refuse to acknowledge these in their models.

Back in 2013, I produced a list of 123 paper showing that the sun impacts global climate.

NTZ guest author Kenneth Richard has been busy listing the papers as well. What follows is the list of papers showing the sun impacts global climate.

2012 123 papers had been published and ignored by IPCC 4AR

In 2014, 93 papers were published.

In 2015,  95 peer-reviewed papers were published

In 2016, 133 papers were published.

In 2017,  121 peer-reviewed solar papers were published.

In 2018, so far, ca. 60 papers.

That brings the total of scientific peer-reviewed papers that will be completely ignored by the IPCC to 625. If that isn’t fraudulent “science-based” policymaking, then what is?

Aim: Human society in shackles

The aim of the IPCC is to ignore recognized standards of science, frame mankind for a nonexistent crime, and shackle human society. It’s the next planned slavery. The developing countries, who will be denied cheap and reliable energy, will bear the heaviest chains.

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Green Energy Campaign Has Been a Humanitarian Disaster

Millions of lives were at stake. Hillary Clinton was on board. Money poured in. And yet the big aims behind an effort to tackle the plague of third-world cooking fires has produced only modest gains.

For many decades, it was one of the globe’s most underappreciated health menaces:  household pollution in developing countries, much of it smoke from cooking fires.

The dangerous smoke — from wood, dung or charcoal fires used by 3 billion people in villages and slums across Africa, Central America and Asia — was estimated by health officials to shorten millions of lives every year. The World Health Organization in 2004 labeled household pollution, “The Killer in the Kitchen.” Women and children nearest the hearth paid the greatest price.

If the health costs were not ominous enough, many environmental advocates worried that what was known as “biomass” cooking also had potentially grave consequences for the planet’s climate. Emissions from the fires were contributing to global warming, it was feared, and the harvesting of wood for cooking was helping to diminish forests, one of nature’s carbon-absorbing bulwarks against greenhouse gases.

In 2010, the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves was formed to help mount a sustained effort at tackling the threats posed by household pollution. The alliance pledged to help engineer the distribution of 100 million cookstoves, small-scale appliances designed to cut fuel use and toxic emissions in impoverished households worldwide by 2020.

The United Nations Foundation was a founding partner in the effort. Hillary Clinton, then the U.S. Secretary of State, lent the support of the American government, promising money and the resources of a handful of agencies. “Millions of lives could be saved and improved,” Clinton said when the alliance’s formation was announced, adding that clean stoves could be as transformative as vaccines.

Eight years and $75 million later, however, the Alliance has fallen well short of its ambitious health and climate goals.

An array of studies, including some financed by the Alliance itself, have shown that the millions of biomass cookstoves of the kind sold or distributed in the effort do not perform well enough in the field to reduce users’ risk of deadly illnesses like heart disease and pneumonia.

The stoves also have not delivered much in the way of climate benefits. It turns out emissions from cooking fires were less of a warming threat than feared, and that — outside of some de-forestation hot spots — the harvesting of wood for cooking fires only modestly reduces the sustainability of forests. […]

The Alliance’s plans for the future come with something of an ironic twist: It will now make greater efforts to promote and distribute stoves that use propane, a fossil fuel, the same blue-flamed byproduct of gas drilling contained in cylinders under countless American backyard grills. (Outside of the U.S. propane is most commonly called liquefied petroleum gas, or lpg.) These stoves, it turns out, burn much more cleanly and efficiently than nearly all biomass stoves, reducing the harmful smoke given off during cooking while having a negligible impact on the climate.

In an interview last summer, Radha Muthiah, then the Alliance’s chief executive, said the Alliance was never against propane stoves, but should have been more direct about its openness to a fossil-fuel solution. “We really should have been launched as the Global Alliance for Clean Cooking,” she said. “You cannot talk about stoves without talking about fuels. It’s half the equation.”

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Climate change is contributing to the migration of Central American refugees

Here is the evidence presented in the article:  "He heard stories from farmers who had faced drought or damaging hurricanes that devastated local communities".  There you have it ladies and gentlemen. THE SCIENCE OF CLIMATE SCIENCE

As immigration issues along the US southern border continue to roil the country, one driving force of migration from troubled Central American countries has received relatively little notice: climate change.

Author and journalist Todd Miller, who has written a new book called, "Storming the Wall: Climate Change, Migration, and Homeland Security," says climate change is a key factor forcing families to flee from Central America and Mexico — and deadly droughts, hurricanes, floods and mudslides are projected to intensify further in the region as global warming increases, which will hit small farmers especially hard.

Miller says statistical data already document the devastating effects of NAFTA and CAFTA (Central American Free Trade Agreement) on small farmers who were suddenly put into direct competition with highly subsidized US agribusinesses and grain movers. Around 2 million small farmers, particularly in southern Mexico, were displaced or could no longer make ends meet, Miller says.

During his research, however, he encountered farmers fleeing for ecological, not just economic, reasons. He heard stories from farmers who had faced drought or damaging hurricanes that devastated local communities, and some people told him that natural disasters and changing climate situations were the primary reason they were heading north.

“In the region that extends from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras into Nicaragua, which is filled with many poor, small farmers who depend on seasonal rainfall, the farmers were expecting rain and there was no rain,” Miller says. “One mayor in a nearby town where these farmers are from said, ‘We are facing an unprecedented calamity.’”

A climate scientist who studies the area told Miller the drought conditions were not an anomaly, but had been occurring for 10 years and were connected to a warming globe. “So, we're looking at a situation in Central America, which already has a number of factors that are displacing people, and we have to look at this ecological aspect to give a holistic analysis of it,” Miller says.

The climate scientist called Central America “ground zero” for climate change in the Americas, Miller says. It is an isthmus, meaning it has large bodies of water on two sides, so it is more vulnerable to sea level rise, powerful storms, hurricanes and large swings between too much and too little rain.

A report on Mexico showed the potential for an equally unstable future. The report predicted that by the year 2050, 1 in 10 Mexicans would be displaced due to climate-related hazards such as sea level rise, hurricanes and drought.

Water scarcity also presents severe problems for Central America and Mexico. Northern Mexico and Arizona, where Miller lives, are in a severe drought already and “the projections for drought going forward are dire,” he says. “Some people don't have running water most of the day or it will run only for a couple hours a day, so they’re already adjusting to really awful situations."

During his research, Miller looked at “a binational … water harvesting project” happening on the US-Mexico border. Guides took him to Silver Creek, which is what’s known as a “dry wash:” no water runs through it for much of the year and then it flows strongly during the monsoon or rainy season. The guides showed him a series of gabions embedded in the stream bed.

A gabion is essentially a steel cage filled with rocks that acts as a kind of sponge, Miller says. The gabions slow down the water during the rainy season and release it at a lower rate while allowing the surrounding landscape to soak in the water and sediment.

Around these gabions, desert grasses and willows and other trees were growing back. Wildlife is also returning to the region. “They told me the most amazing thing that I had ever heard — that [while] this region of Arizona and Sonora was in a 15-year drought, they had raised the water table, due to these gabions, by 30 feet," Miller says. "They were literally reversing a drought in a very small-scale sort of way.”

Miller believes the US would do well to invest in these kinds of projects in the countries that are sending environmental refugees north in search of a means to survive, rather than spending $25 billion building a wall to keep them out. Otherwise, there is no stopping what could be a uniquely troubled future.

Global projections for the number of people displaced by climate change by 2050 range from about 150 million to 1 billion, Miller notes. The precise numbers are still a matter of debate among scientists who do empirical research connecting climate with displacement, but, Miller says “one of the researchers told me, ‘Whatever it is, it's going to be staggering, and it's going to be without precedent in human history.’”

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The Feds Don’t Have A Plan For Hundreds Of Species It’s Supposed To Be Protecting

The federal government has yet to craft a recovery plan and set standards for delisting on nearly a third of species protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead testified Tuesday.

Mead sat before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works during a hearing discussing amendments to the ESA. The draft legislation would be the first “substantive” updates to the law in three decades if it is passed.

Mead, a Republican, has “witnessed some of the ESA’s greatest failings” firsthand from his position in Wyoming.

“It took five lawsuits and fifteen years to delist a recovered gray wolf population in Wyoming. Grizzly bears are embroiled in litigation for the second time,” Mead testified. “Canada Lynx were listed more than 18 years ago and still have no discernable path to recovery. Nearly 30 percent of all listed species have no recovery plan, and litigation dictates U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) priorities and workload.”

More than 1,600 species native to the U.S. have been listed as endangered or threatened under the ESA. Of those species, roughly two percent have been taken off the list as recovered, extinct or erroneously listed because flawed data was used to justify the listing decision.

The ESA has saved 99 percent of the listed species from extinction, supporters of the current law argue.

“We should not forget that the ESA as written has a 99 percent success rate at preventing the extinction of listed species and that 90 percent of species with recovery plans are on track to meet their goals on schedule,” Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Matthew Strickler testified at Tuesday’s hearing.

The proposed legislation gives state and local research greater weight in listing decisions but leaves the final decision in the hands of the secretary of the interior. The legislation also prevents lawsuits seeking to overturn a delisting decision for five years after a species is officially removed from the list.

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Keep Australia’s coal-fired power plants operating, says AEMO report

The nation’s independent energy market operator yesterday called for Australia’s fleet of coal-fired power stations to remain in operation for as long as possible.

Extending the operation of this fleet for as long as they are economically viable represents the “ least-cost option” for the next twenty years, according to the recommendation. It is thought the move would ward off any future price shock, as Australia transitions to a more renewables-involved grid.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack says the report speaks a lot of sense.

“I certainly know that the ACCC report and the AEMO report, they do give hope for investment in coal. Certainly other technologies as well, but coal has to be party of the mix,” he says.

“But we also need to as a nation, know and understand there are some of those coal-fired power stations which could be enhanced, which could be revitalised and expanded. That could also provide a solution if the investment isn’t there for new coal-fired power stations.”

The report and this kind of sentiment is predicted to flare up debate around AGL’s planned 2022 closure of the Liddell power station. McCormack says government should not “ rush in and nationalise things” when it comes to privately operated assets, also reiterating his technologically agnostic stance.

“The ACCC chairman said only last week, that only a technology neutral approach will get prices down. Whenever government prescribes that the technology should be one thing or another, that is when you get higher prices.”

SOURCE 

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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.  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

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