Monday, April 06, 2020

I visit the Australian Antarctic Division, a sprawling space station-like complex on Hobart’s southern fringe, for a briefing from its director, Kim Ellis

Most of the article excerpt reproduced below is devoted to prophecy of disaster from Antarctic melting.  The melting is seen as an ongoing process that will eventually "tip" into disaster

When we get to the actual facts however, it is a different story. Note in the last two paragraphs reproduced below that the senior antarctic scientist stresses how random are the actual changes in the Antarctic.  They are so far from a steady progression towards disaster that he prefers "term “climate strange” to “climate change”.

Clearly, what is actually going on is nothing more than the random walk that we would expect from natural changes in the weather.  Global warming is not only completely superfluous as an explanation, it does not fit the facts at all.

Though the effects of climate change are less visible across the Australian Antarctic Territory on the east of the continent, which Ellis administers, than on the western Antarctic Peninsula, where I’m headed, he has no doubt that warming on the continent is a concrete and not a spectral thing. The Antarctic is estimated to have lost three trillion tonnes of ice over the past 25 years and Ellis holds grave fears of an approaching tipping point.

“As ocean salinity changes due to the melting ice sheet and freshwater run-off, so do ocean currents,” says the 64-year-old former army officer in a bright bureaucratic tone that conceals the gravity of this grim scenario.

“The currents around the Antarctic are a major cooling factor. The Antarctic is the Earth’s airconditioner.”

If and when it tips – a moment unlikely to be discernible until it’s already past – Antarctica will become an aggressive driver of climate change. A warming, melting Antarctic would likely propel global sea levels one to two metres higher by 2100, washing an erstwhile frozen continent to the doorstep of many coastal communities.

Experts believe it would also stimulate a change in the direction and strength of the world’s big currents, and deplete oceanic oxygen levels and nutrition to the point where the Earth’s surface water would resemble a “marine desert”.

In the same facility I meet the Australian Antarctic Division’s acting chief scientist, Dirk Welsford, who is dressed in jeans and a black T-shirt bearing a cartoon of a rather wan-looking penguin. He’s a marine ecologist and like his boss, bearded.

Ellis sports a trimmed, almost Elizabethan beard; Welsford’s whiskers are more bearish. He stresses the dramatic temperature fluctuations on the continent between years, seasons and regions, preferring the term “climate strange” to “climate change”.

“The key thing we’re seeing is that everything is less predictable than it used to be,” he explains. “The ice might break out earlier than normal, or later than normal. That’s the big message for us from climate change – it’s not a steady upward swing. It’s pulsing in unpredictable ways.” The new normal, for Welsford, is the abnormal.


Queen wins battle with greens to build hydroelectric turbine to generate £650,000-worth of power a year and make Balmoral self-sufficient

The Queen has won a battle with environmentalists to go green and build a hydroelectric turbine on her land.

Her Majesty wanted to build a two-megawatt generator on the River Muick, which runs through her 50,000-acre Balmoral estate in Scotland.

The plans will generate up to £650,000 of power a year, which will power the estate, and surplus electricity could be sold on to the National Grid.

But the plans were opposed by environmentalists who feared it would be too noisy for woodland creatures living nearby.

Aberdeenshire Council's Environmental Team objected to the proposals.

Spokeswoman Louise Cunningham said in planning documents: 'Typically, hydropower turbines can emit significant amounts of noise.

'The noise information currently provided in the Environmental Statement offers no measurements of the current background noise nor any site specific predictions.'

Consequently, the plans were 'called in' by the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) in order to further scrutinise the environmental impact of the idea.

But the authority recently approved the plans along the river. It comes after a similar hydropower scheme began on the Gelder Burn, a stream that also runs through the area.

Richard Gledson, on behalf of Balmoral Estates, said of the plans: 'Balmoral Estates has already developed a hydro scheme on the Gelder Burn, which was commissioned in 2014.

'Following on the success of this project, and with a view to increasing the economic and environmental sustainability of Balmoral Estates, a study was carried out in 2013 into the potential for additional hydro generation.'

Outlining the decision, the CNPA ruled that it would jar with the national park but stressed that no work should be undertaken during the nesting bird season between February and August.

The hydro scheme will provide electricity to the Balmoral estate to help provide a focus on green energy. The turbines will be the fourth and fifth installed there. The first was supplied to provide electric light to Queen Victoria in 1898.


Plastic bags rise again

Since the 1970’s, the enviro freaks have been taking us on various rides in the name of protecting Earth that are all over the place. We were going to freeze to death. Then we were going to boil to death.

On a smaller scale, we were told that we had to stop using paper grocery bags because we were killing too many trees to make them. The switch to plastic bags was on, all in the name of being noble and Earth-saving do-gooders.

By the time the 21st century rolled around, the plastic bags were Satan because they were assaulting dolphins -- it’s always dolphins -- or something. Another switch was on, this time to either the tree-killing paper bags, or reusable bags made out of a variety of things.

Before I had escaped from Los Angeles, plastic bags had been banned and everybody got to virtue-signal with cloth bags.

Fast-forward to 2020 and PLAGUE TIMES.

It turns out that the reusable bags are filthy little germ catchers and carriers, the last things anyone wants around while trying to slow the spread of a pandemic virus.

The Poop Sidewalk brain trust that runs San Francisco has even gone so far as to reverse the ban on plastic bags that has been in place for over a decade.

The lesson here is obvious: hippies and enviro freaks are always wrong.


Short environmental notes from Australia

Victoria renews logging

Late on Wednesday night, the federal and Victorian governments decided to extend five regional forest agreements that exempt the logging industry from conservation laws.

Environmental groups immediately criticised the move, given the summer’s devastating bushfires will already have deforested large swathes and impacted wildlife.

Big polluters increased emissions

One in five of Australia’s biggest polluting sites actually increased their greenhouse gas emissions last year, above the government limit.

Under the safeguard mechanism, companies that breach their limit have to buy carbon credits or pay a penalty. But the Australian Conservation Foundation found that 729,000 tonnes of emissions went unpunished.

Water flows into Menindee

In good news, water has flowed into the drought-stricken Menindee Lakes, the site of infamous mass fish kills last year.

For the first time in years, significant flows and water releases are under way, meaning the lower Darling River will finally reconnect with the Murray.

Government allows coalmining under Sydney reservoir

The New South Wales government has approved the extension of coalmining under the Woronora reservoir.

It’s the first approval in two decades for coalmining directly beneath one of greater Sydney’s reservoirs, and environment groups say it could affect the quality of drinking water.

2019 was the century’s worst year for the environment in Australia

The annual Australia’s Environment report came out on Monday, finally confirming something we may have already seen coming.

Unprecedented bushfires, record heat, record low river inflows, dry soil, low vegetation growth and the 40 new species that were added to the threatened species list meant that 2019 was the worst year since 2000.

In other environmental news, land-clearing approvals in NSW increased 13-fold since the Coalition government changed laws in 2016, according to a secret report provided to the state cabinet.



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, April 05, 2020

Air quality improving: Will it help with global warming?

The Greenies want huge economic shutdowns to halt global warming.  Courtesy of the response to the coronavirus we now have such shutdowns.  So what difference is that making to the climate?  None, apparently. Global carbon dioxide levels are not budging.

It's logical that a short period would not do much to a level built up over many years but the fact that we are seeing no response at all despite the huge changes in human activities does suggest that the CO2 reduction that Greenies want may be far greater than could ever be achieved in reality

In terms of the article below, all that Greenie policies could achieve would be "noise": too small to detect above natural variability

Seattle-area air quality is a bit better as the novel coronavirus shuts down economic activity and travel.

Levels of nitrous oxide (NOX), a pollutant produced by tailpipe emissions and other sources, are being detected at generally lower values in local air-monitoring devices. And a satellite that detects emissions in the atmosphere linked to cars and trucks shows declines in pollution over the Seattle area in March 2020 compared with March 2019.

But efforts to “flatten the curve” – the rate of spread of the coronavirus — have not even dented a different curve also of great importance to humanity around the world: The Keeling Curve.

The Keeling Curve is a record of global atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration maintained by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California at San Diego. Over the past 62 years since measurements began, the curve has gone, except for seasonal variation, in only one direction: relentlessly upward. Right through the collapse of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s. Through the global economic turndown of 2008. To record levels, without stopping. And so it continues, even now as public life grinds to a near standstill.

Ralph Keeling – his late father, Charles, invented the measurement — said even greater declines in fossil fuel use than we are presently seeing would need to be sustained for at least a year to show up clearly in global carbon dioxide levels.

But in the short term, it’s not enough to make a difference in global warming.

“A lot of people are saying this is good for the climate problem. No, not really,” said Pieter Tans, senior scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Global Monitoring Division. To bend the Keeling Curve, emissions from fossil-fuel burning would need to be cut by half, and then continue to decrease, Tans said. Even a 25 percent reduction would result in only a few tenths of one part per million decrease.

“It would be hard to see it in the record, to pick it out of the noise of natural variability. Maybe if we have a long downturn, maybe we begin to see something above the noise.”


Japan won’t change global warming goals for 2030 deadline

Japan will not change its goal for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by fiscal 2030, a decision that is bound to spur international condemnation that Tokyo is not doing enough to deal with climate change.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had called on member nations to raise their goals in time for the U.N. Climate Change Conference (COP26) initially planned for November, but now postponed by the United Nations for a year due to the new coronavirus pandemic.

Under the Paris agreement on climate change, Japan in 2015 set a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent by fiscal 2030 in comparison with the level of fiscal 2013.

Despite Guterres' urging, sources said Japan would not raise its goal even though it emits the fifth largest volume of greenhouse gases.

With electric power companies facing problems in resuming operations of their nuclear power plants following the 2011 Fukushima disaster, Japan now depends on coal-fired thermal power plants for close to 80 percent of its power supply.

As a review of the nation’s basic energy plan is not scheduled until 2021 at the earliest, government officials apparently decided that now is not the right time to raise its nationally determined contributions (NDC) toward fighting climate change.

However, the government will review its other measures to deal with global warming to determine if there are areas where contributions can be made in other ways. Those new proposals will be put together for COP26.

And Japan will not wait until 2025, the next deadline for submitting a new NDC under the Paris climate change agreement, but seek a review of its goal before then. As a long-term goal, Japan will make efforts “to realize a carbon-free society in a period as close as possible to 2050.”

At an April 3 news conference, Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi referred to a tweet by Patricia Espinosa, the executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, which said, “I trust that more ambitious targets will be set soon” by Japan in the wake of its submittal of an updated NDC.

Koizumi said that “Japan’s intentions have been passed on” to Espinosa.

Referring to the postponement of COP26 until 2021, Koizumi said, “The focus will be on the extent to which Japan can come up with additional measures” by that time.


Locust ‘Crisis’ Is Really About Abundant Rainfall

People, crops, livestock, and even insects thrive in conditions with more abundant food and water. Africa and the Middle East are currently enjoying abundant rainfall, benefiting each group of animals. Rather than celebrating this development, the media are claiming a climate crisis because locusts are one of the groups benefiting from abundant rainfall.

On March 18, The Weather Channel reported, “A locust plague that’s been growing in the Horn of Africa this month is slated to make its way across Northern Africa and the Middle East, the likes of which have been unseen in the region for over 30 years.”

“Climate change is worsening the largest plague of the crop-killing insects in 50 years,” claimed a March 22 Inside Climate News article.

According to a March 23 Reuters article, “locusts crossed into Kenya from Somalia and Ethiopia at the end of 2019 and have so far infested 26 Kenyan counties.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UNFAO) observes, “When plentiful rain falls and annual green vegetation develops, Desert Locusts can increase rapidly in number….”

Which is exactly what is happening now.

Buried in The Weather Channel article is this observation, “Wet weather also favors multiplication of locusts. Widespread, above-average rain that pounded the Horn of Africa from October to December 2019….”

Of course, when rain does not “pound” Africa, alarmists and their media allies claim a drought crisis, also caused by climate change.

More abundant rainfall is generally considered good news. People, crops, and livestock are enjoying enormous benefits. Only climate alarmists would look for a reason to claim more abundant rainfall in arid regions of the world is bad news.


Australia: Greenie investors trying to stop gas mining

Santos has defended shareholders' criticism of its controversial coal seam gas proposal for the NSW town of Narrabri during its annual general meeting.

Investors on Friday expressed environmental and risk concerns about the project, which if approved, would allow Santos to drill 850 gas wells and provide energy for up to half of NSW.

Some shareholders said the project had failed to win community support, and carried the risk of environmental damage.

Opponents say extracting methane from the coal seam will contaminate groundwater, and have filed complaints to the NSW government's Independent Planning Commission, which will decide the project's fate.

However chairman Keith Spence claimed most opponents lived outside Narrabri.

He said Santos had a long history of operating assets safely and sustainably. "We're confident in the support we have for the project and expect it to proceed," he told the meeting.

A number of shareholder activist groups posed questions to management. Environmental impact was a recurring theme.

"It's clear climate change is a very important issue for our shareholders, and it is for me," Mr Spence said.

Santos is investigating carbon capture and storage at its Moomba gas plant in South Australia.

The aim is to capture 1.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide separated from natural gas and store it in the Cooper Basin.

Earlier at the meeting, environmentally-minded shareholders failed to impose carbon emission reductions.

Shareholders representing the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility proposed reduction targets aligned with the international Paris Agreement on climate change of 2016.

However only six per cent of shareholders voted for the first of these proposals - which would have allowed shareholders more power in questioning management.

The result meant the votes on the remaining proposals carried no power.

However, these decisions were more contentious. Results show the proposals - more closely related to reduction targets - had 43 and 46 per cent support respectively.

Shareholders were not allowed to attend the meeting, which was webcast from Adelaide, due to precautions about the coronavirus.



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


Friday, April 03, 2020

Climate Crisis RIP: People Will Be In No Mood For Needless Panic

COVID-19 has not only been a nightmare for the public worldwide but especially for “climate crisis” alarmists who have seen their agenda disappear from the media radar.

And it’s going to stay off the radar for quite some time. People can take only so much panic and restriction.

Once the COVID-19 crisis subsides, and it will in a few months, the global citizenry will be in absolutely no mood to keep on panicking. They’ll want to go back to the prosperity they previously enjoyed. “Enough sacrifice and restrictions,” they’ll be saying.

Far lower urgency

There are several reasons the climate crisis isn’t going to come back soon.

First off, it’s human nature to address only dangers that are truly present. Though many believe there’s a climate crisis, it’s one that is perceived to be years, even decades, off into the future.

So there’s no sense of real urgency like the immediate sort we’ve been seeing with COVID-19. So what if sea level rises 2 feet by 2100. I can move in 30 years – long before it ever gets here!

People will be sick and tired of panic

Secondly, by the time COVID-19 passes, citizens will be sick and tired of panicking, and they aren’t going to be in the mood for a continued high-level panic over something far, far less urgent.

They’ll have had enough of lockdowns and sacrificing and aren’t going to be very open to sacrificing for the weather.

Too many people aren’t buying the flaky climate crisis “science”

A third reason is that the climate crisis is still highly uncertain and increasingly hotly disputed. Much of the science behind it is flimsy.

While it has been crystal clear that COVID-19 is urgent, especially for the elderly, the climate crisis is fraught with huge uncertainties and flaky science.

Too many people just aren’t buying it. They’re going to take the let’s-wait-and-see attitude before flying off the handle again.

The media aren’t going to keep up the high panic

Fourthly, the media can’t devote the same attention to the “climate crisis” that they did to COVID-19 simply because people would just tune them out, and rightly so. Enough is enough. People will want to get back to normalcy.

Who in their right mind would want to spend the rest of his life in a state of panic like the alarmists propose?

Why would people — already fatigued by the COVID-19 panic — worry about a climate doomsday when summer is finally there?

And despite all the hype surrounding Greta and Fridays for Future, a recent study by the organization Media Matters, revealed that there were only 238 minutes of climate crisis coverage by major US networks in 2019!

So after COVID-19 subsides, the networks aren’t going to keep crying doomsday. They know they’ll be tuned out totally if they do.

Gotten so old

Moreover, the climate warnings have been going on more than 30 years now and people had been tuning them out already and for good reason.

Life on the planet by most measures is far better today. All the dire predictions made in the 1990s and 2000s never came to pass.

Political suicide

Finally, politicians will be very wary about calling for more pain to combat a distant, dubious threat. Doing so after going through the pain of COVID-19 would be tantamount to political suicide.

Dictatorship as the last hope for the climate crisis?

“As heretical as it may sound, there are valid questions to be raised about whether a democratic system with regular elections is suited to dealing with an issue that requires short-term sacrifice for long-term benefits,” wrote Joe Wiggins, a researcher in fund management.

Good luck with that.


CAFE standards reform means safer cars and saved lives

In the midst of the fight to save lives from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Trump administration earlier today announced a regulatory change on another issue that also will save lives.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said they will increase—at a slower pace than existing regulations—the required average miles per gallon that automobiles and light trucks must attain.  Specifically, the new regulations require automakers to increase the current year “corporate average fuel economy” (CAFÉ) standard of 36.8 miles per gallon by 1.5 percent annually to a standard of 40.4 miles among their respective fleet of vehicles by 2026.

That means heavier, safer cars overall, and more lives protected when accidents occur, compared to the prior standards.  According to data from the NHTSA, the new regulations over the next decade will save 3,300 lives and result in nearly 400,000 fewer injuries from auto accidents.

The environmental cottage industry is nonetheless apoplectic.  Gina McCarthy, president of the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), claimed the new regulations “will harm the air we breathe, stall progress in fighting the climate crisis and increase the cost of driving.”

Mind you, the administration’s new regulations are increasing the CAFÉ standard to more than 40 miles per gallon in the next six years from the current mandate of 36.8 miles.  That means greater fuel efficiency, lower per capita usage of oil, and lower driving costs.  The previous mileage mandate of 46.6 miles per gallon by 2025 was imposed by the Obama administration in 2012.

We’re talking six measly miles per gallon – and the world comes to end?  Contrary to the assertion by the NRDC, this is not “gutting the clean car standards.”

Former President Obama was not happy with this change to CAFE by his successor administration. He tweeted the new regulatory standard was akin to “climate denial” and compared the supposed consequences of this action to “those who denied warnings of a pandemic.”

Not unlike so many politicians, Barack Obama has long made such straw-man arguments. Whoever he claims was denying “warnings of a pandemic” he did not say, but those would have to include officials in his own administration who were no more prepared for the worst pandemic in a century from COVID-19 than any other administration.

As for “climate denial,” does anyone seriously believe that higher CAFÉ standards in the U.S. in five years, but six miles per gallon below what was previously promulgated, will accelerate the warming of the planet?  Should the former president and Mrs. Obama now put a “for-sale” sign on their recently purchased, multi-million dollar Martha’s Vineyard oceanfront mansion?  If the climate warms faster from “gutting” the CAFÉ standard, will sea levels rise and flood his yard, and perhaps reach into the parlor?  But, I digress.

Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards were first imposed in 1975 to force auto manufacturers to make more fuel-efficient cars so Americans would consume less gasoline. World oil reserves at the time were thought to be more limited, and gas was rising sharply in price. CAFÉ was not originally about global warming theory, especially since the world then was thought by many to be cooling.

Those who today invoke climate change to further increase CAFÉ standards believe we must curtail fossil fuel use, as if such a vast phenomenon like climate would stop changing by driving more “Smart Cars,” which are little more than go-carts with an engine; a 21st century Yugo.

Higher CAFÉ standards always came with a price – in human lives.  A multitude of studies over the last 40 years confirms this; however, other simultaneous developments have offset to a degree this impact, including more airbag and seatbelt use.

The debate over corporate average fuel economy standards, like so many public policies, have always been about trade-offs, including saving energy, reducing pollution and mitigating accidents and death. The revised regulations attempt to achieve that difficult balance.

Regardless of the competing studies on CAFÉ, no one disputes that higher gas mileage mandates necessitated more cars be smaller in size and lighter in weight.  Indeed, a Toyota Corolla gets better gas mileage than a Chevy Suburban.  If I’m in a car accident, I’d rather be in the Chevy, and so would you, regardless of your position on the climate’s trajectory.


To Fight The Pandemic, The World Returns To Fossil Fuels

March 2020 will be the month the western world changed. As March began, there was relative normalcy except in China and isolated places in east Asia. By month’s end, much of the West – indeed, the entire world – was in quarantine.

Entire nations have put their lives on lockdown as we try to “socially distance” ourselves to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

In these unprecedented times, the world has returned to basic truths that manifest themselves when the price of ideology is too high.

One of those involves fossil fuels.

In an instant, sometimes without realizing it, the world has demanded fossil fuel products, and few concerns have been raised about their carbon footprint.

First among these truths is the production of surgical masks and other protective gear. Many of the best masks are made of polypropylene, clearly a fossil fuel product.

With COVID-19 raging, there has been little to no discussion of going to less effective paper masks.

The paper might have a less climatic impact – although fewer trees also have a carbon footprint – but almost without exception, our medical personnel has determined that their health is more important to them than the abstract potential to affect climate change.

Who can blame them?

Another example is the return of plastic bags at the local supermarket. Prior to the virus hitting, many markets announced they were stopping the use of plastics bags for their groceries.

That didn’t last long.

It turns out, of course, that single-use plastic bags are far cleaner than other bags people keep in their house and then bring to the market – carrying all the germs and viruses they’ve collected along the way with them.

Now, not only are stores returning to fossil fuel-based plastic bags, they are banning reusable ones from being brought in.

The third use of fossil fuels is the medicines we take.

While little known outside the pharmaceutical industry, fossil fuels are the foundation for between 80% to 90% of the pharmaceuticals we use.

As with surgical masks, when facing the stark reality of protecting a loved one through drugs that are carbon-based or letting that loved one fend for him/herself in order to fight climate change, few choose the latter.

Perhaps the most important aspect of the use of fossil fuels, however, has been the fact that we have the consistent energy supply that we need during this time to work remotely and to take care of our sick in the hospitals.

As marvelous as solar, wind, and other similar technologies are, they remain intermittent. We have yet to determine how to store and transmit power when the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow.

Without that consistent, reliable power supply – the overwhelming majority of which remains powered by fossil fuels – we in the west would have no chance to fight the virus.

Over the next few decades, we will and should be working tirelessly to find new, cleaner ways to power our world and to provide reliable power to the hundreds of millions who go without it.

But before we make that leap into the unknown–and currently unproven–world of a society relying entirely on renewable energy, we should use this current crisis as a way to inject some realism into a debate that for too long has been driven by idealism.


Australia: Why you mostly can't buy rice in the supermarket

Because most irrigation has ceased for lack of water -- while dam water is allowed to flow out to sea for "environmental" purposes

Panic buying is adding to the pressure on rice supplies at a time when drought and water reform have led to one of the smallest crops in the industry's 70-year history in Australia.

The grower-led company SunRice will produce about 5 per cent of its average rice production this year, and is relying on overseas product to meet demand domestically and for export markets.

Chief executive officer Rob Gordon said panic buying of rice had put enormous strain on the company's facilities. "We've got orders for 250 per cent of normal and obviously we don't have the spare capacity to be able to produce that, but we are flexing our supply chains," Mr Gordon said.

"We are importing rice from different parts of the world for the Australian market even though we normally sell Australian rice here. "Clearly that will be very clearly labelled so consumers can understand that we've had to source rice from somewhere else."

Mr Gordon said the company would secure enough rice from overseas suppliers to satisfy demand for an estimated 1.2 million tonnes in sales to about 50 countries this year.

This will be further complicated by the Vietnamese Government announcing that all rice exports will be banned from May 31 to protect its domestic supply, affecting the company's milling operations in that country.

Fewer than 70 Australian growers will harvest crops in the coming weeks, out of close to 800 producers in a good season.

Prolonged drought and water reform is likely to see production fall below last year's 54,000 tonnes, the second lowest crop on record.

In a good year, SunRice injects up to $500 million into the New South Wales economy in wages and payments to growers and local suppliers.

This year the company laid off 250 workers, and the impact of that reduced economic activity has hit the Riverina region hard.

The Mayor of Leeton, Paul Maytom, said governments needed to understand that the value of rice to local communities extended far beyond its farm-gate return.

"It should not be about who can pay the highest price for water; it should be about what will it cost our communities if we cannot sustain that diversity of irrigated agriculture that we have, which then moves into the value-added side, which then moves into employment and then sustains our whole community," Mr Maytom said.

Under water reforms, the environment and permanent crops, such as almonds, grapes and citrus, get water allocated before annual crops such as rice, cotton and cereals.

SunRice chairman Laurie Arthur said annual crop irrigators felt under siege.

About 500 have joined a $1.5-billion class action against the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, but he is urging calm.

Mr Arthur is one of the state's biggest rice growers and a former national water commissioner.

He said he understood grower frustration, but hoped state and commonwealth governments would make more water available for low-security irrigation.

"One of the reasons the irrigation community supported the reform process was the concept of property rights, transparency of process and a framework of water entitlements that give the sector confidence to invest to world's best practise," he said.

"Some of those have been delivered and some have demonstrably not been delivered.

"The government now holds 28 per cent of all the allocations in the Basin, so they are enormous users, and I believe they have the ability to correct the situation."

There are a number of big reports on water reform policy due in the coming months.



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


Thursday, April 02, 2020


The huge attention that the coronavirus outbreak is getting has tended to stifle all commentary on other issues, including the environment.  So I am coming across very few interesting articles on Greenie issues lately.  I will now therefore be putting up fewer articles here as part of my usual surveys of Greenie ideas

Outbreak reveals radical climate idea: Economic 'degrowth'

Some climate-focused economists see the COVID-19 pandemic as an unwitting experiment for a radical strategy to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.

The concept is called "degrowth." It involves a planned slowdown of economic sectors that emit large amounts of global carbon dioxide. Those sectors would scale down until the broader economy meets "sustainable emissions levels," advancing long-term health and environmental goals.

"Stopping the spread of coronavirus is paramount, but climate action must also continue. And we can draw many lessons and opportunities from the current health crisis when tackling planetary warming," Natasha Chassagne of the University of Tasmania wrote in The Conversation, a publishing portal for academics.

"The global response to the coronavirus crisis shows that governments can take immediate, radical emergency measures, which go beyond purely economic concerns to protect the well-being of all," Chassagne wrote, adding that there are "practical lessons and opportunities we can take away from the coronavirus emergency."

Proponents of the controversial idea, which has found traction mostly outside the United States, stress that "degrowth" involves a purposeful contraction of high-emitting sectors while growing other sectors that produce low or zero emissions. The COVID-19 pandemic, by contrast, is an unplanned crisis that has sent the entire global economy into a tailspin.

"Nobody advocates for such unplanned economic contraction because that has all sorts of negative social effects, including rising unemployment, stress, and poverty. So we must never confuse degrowth with recession," Samuel Alexander, co-director of the Simplicity Institute and a lecturer at the University of Melbourne's Office for Environmental Programs, wrote in a column published by

The current coronavirus outbreak, which by some estimates threatens to shrink the U.S. economy by 25% in the second quarter of 2020, has already resulted in a massive contraction of the energy, transportation and industrial sectors. Steeply falling oil demand has cut U.S. refining by its largest margins since 1986.

U.S. experts, while not promoting "degrowth," acknowledge that one outcome of the coronavirus pandemic is a steep decline in emissions associated with industry and travel.

"It's important not to trivialize all the human suffering associated with this virus, but there are key lessons in the observed drop in pollution levels," said Jonathan Overpeck, a climate scientist and a dean of the School for Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan.

"First and foremost is the fact that climate change action will by definition eliminate most of the pollution-causing fossil fuel burning. This co-benefit of climate action will thus greatly reduce the significant health hazards associated with our worst source of air pollution," he said in a statement.

Other experts were skeptical that the COVID-19 pandemic would inspire greater action on climate change.

While both problems are global in nature and threaten billions of people, the coronavirus' rapid spread and its deadly impacts compel individuals to act in their personal interest and follow government instruction with little resistance.

That's not necessarily the case with climate change; most countries view the problem as one of "risk mitigation" rather than an immediate crisis. Political support for climate action may also be stunted by Americans' deep concern about a post-pandemic recession and the traditional relationship between economic growth and rising emissions.

"COVID-19 may deliver some short-term climate benefits by curbing energy use, or even longer-term benefits if economic stimulus is linked to climate goals — or if people get used to telecommuting and thus use less oil in the future," Jason Bordoff, a former climate adviser in the Obama administration and the founding director of the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, wrote in Foreign Policy last week.

"Yet any climate benefits from the COVID-19 crisis are likely to be fleeting and negligible," he added. "Rather, the pandemic is a reminder of just how wicked a problem climate change is because it requires collective action, public understanding and buy-in, and decarbonizing the energy mix while supporting economic growth and energy use around the world."


Russia continues to influence America’s energy sources

America has known for years that Vladimir Putin of Russia has been influencing the source of America’s energy consumption through his efforts to halt fracking in America. Now, with the price of oil tanking, a price war led by Saudi Arabia and Russia is crushing the price per barrel just as the CoronaVirus is hurting demand, putting further financial pressures on the fracking industry that has elevated America to be a net oil exporter.

To control America’s oil production, Russia has been very supportive of environmentalist groups and wealthy individual’s efforts to slow or stop crude oil. As well as natural gas exploration and production within the U.S. and European borders.

As reported by the Washington Examiner in 2018 a Russian funded environmental group gave millions to anti-fracking groups. This to stop, curtail or severely weaken US fracking of crude oil and natural gas in states like Texas, North Dakota, Colorado, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Pennsylvania.

Again, in 2018 the United States House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology issued a 21-page report on Russian Attempts to Influence U.S. Domestic Energy Markets by Exploiting Social Media:  2018 report by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

From their own report, our elected officials in Washington have known, that Vladimir Putin of Russia has been adamantly against fracking in America. Fracking’s success has upended global geopolitics and oil markets since the U.S. fracking boom began under the former U.S. administration. America has gone from being a net oil importer to a net oil exporter.

The U.S. as a net exporter is no longer dependent on oil from foreign countries and insulted from the periodic eruptions in the Middle East that threatened America’s energy security for decades.

The low oil prices, that will most likely go lower before they recover, are a major financial hit to the U.S. fracking industry. They are financially more impactful than the anti-fracking movements. Plummeting oil prices could force a reckoning for the American fracking boom. Russia may be able to live with $30-per-barrel oil for an extended period, but America’s oil patch will endure financial pain for a while.

Starting a price war during a global pandemic is in Russia’s best interest to thwart American dominance in the energy sector to put an end to the growth of the American shale production and at the same time to balance Russia’s budget.

Putin is a historian of World Wars I & II and believes the country that controls oil and natural gas, controls the world. Putin knows that was Allied ingenuity and taking control of the ability to run their ships, planes and land vehicles were significant factors in winning WWII.

The world is now accustomed to post WWII prosperity from American fracking. To stabilize his budget, constrain U.S. shale growth, and extend his influence from Venezuela to the Middle East then the U.S. oil and natural gas industry needs to be brought to its knees. This oil war between Russia, Saudi Arabia, and OPEC+ is just the vehicle to accomplish his geopolitical aims.

Under his leadership, Russia has pushed the power dynamic toward controlling crude oil. This because it is well aware that electricity alone, especially intermittent electricity from industrial wind and industrial solar, are unable to support the energy demands of the military. We can add the  airlines, cruise ships, supertankers, container shipping, trucking infrastructures, and almost every other faction of the global economy. More importantly, Russia is ramping up coal production to meet domestic electrical needs, and its growing military commitments from Syria to Crimea.

The world, inclusive of Russia, can easily see the published March 2019 data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) that shows the USA’s Primary Energy Consumption by Source for the recent years of 2017 thru 2018. Energy consumption rose over that 2-year period with most of the increase coming from fossil fuels, to the amazement of Russia and the world.

Total Renewables INCREASED slightly from 11.2% to 11.4% even though most cities have implemented plans to go green, with no impact on fossil fuel energy consumption.

Total Nuclear REMAINED THE SAME at 8.4%.

Total Fossil Fuels INCREASED from 77.9% to 81.2% to meet society’s’ demands for the products from petroleum derivatives and the numerous energy consuming infrastructures.

Over 6,000 petroleum products are so intertwined with our everyday lifestyles, controlling them and their availability would control us. Putin understands the unintended consequences of getting off fossil fuels and is willing to put his rubles behind efforts to curtail fracking’s successes. He remains supportive of the deception of intermittent electricity from industrial wind and solar being the way to save the world from itself.


Europe’s Carmakers Seek Delay In EU’s Costly CO2 Rules

The European auto industry has asked the European Union (EU) to delay the implementation of its CO2 emissions rules because the impact of the coronavirus is causing short-term mayhem in the industry.

The rules start this year, get harsher in 2025, and demand an effective average fuel economy of 92 miles per U.S. gallon by 2030.

The European Automobile Manufacturers Association, plus the tire makers, suppliers and dealers associations made the plea in a letter (see to Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission dated March 25.

“No production, development, testing or homologation work occurs for the time being (because of the impact of the coronavirus). This upsets the plans we had made to prepare ourselves for complying with existing and future EU laws and regulations within the applicable deadlines set in these regulations. We believe therefore that some adjustment would need to be made to the timing of these laws,” the letter said.

“Please be assured, however, that it is not our intention to question the laws as such nor the underlying objectives of road safety, climate change mitigation and protection of the environment.  Looking into the future, industry, and policymakers must together, and in a timely manner, start planning for the period beyond the immediate health crisis,” the letter said.

The EU Commission hasn’t replied to a question seeking its reaction to this plea.

Brussels-based environmental lobby group Transport & Environment wasn’t happy, saying that such a plea is unfounded and potentially damaging for the long-term sustainability and competitiveness of the car industry in Europe.

Asked to comment on the joint letter, the European Auto Manufacturers Association, known by its French acronym ACEA, said the industry has been halted by the virus in this statement.

“The primary concern of ACEA and all its members right now is to manage the immediate crisis facing the auto industry, which has essentially come to an abrupt halt – something the sector has never experienced before,” Director General, Eric-Mark Huitema said.

“Our first priority is to protect the health and jobs of the almost 14 million Europeans who work directly or indirectly in this sector. In parallel, we are active in directing resources to help fight the ongoing health crisis, for instance by providing vehicles and where possible medical equipment and protective gear.”

“In this emergency context, it has not yet been possible to undertake a detailed analysis of the implications of this crisis on legislation affecting our industry. Nonetheless, ACEA has already drawn the European Commission’s attention to the fact that there will inevitably be consequences in this domain, given that no production, development, testing or homologation work is able to happen now or in the foreseeable future due to company shutdowns and other measures to contain the virus.”

“This will require discussions between the industry and policymakers in due course. In the meantime, ACEA will work with its members to examine what the practical implications are for the most critical legislative issues. As a general principle, it should be stressed that it is not the industry’s intention to question any laws as such nor the underlying objectives of road safety, climate change mitigation and protection of the environment for example,” Huitema said.

The industry has been alarmed about the impact of the CO2 rules, even before the coronavirus struck, not least because the EU Commission had been talking about making the rules even tougher.

According to a report from investment researcher Jefferies last year, if the auto industry makes no progress in curbing CO2 from 2018 towards meeting the EU’s 2020/21 regulations, it faces fines totaling the equivalent of $36 billion, twice its estimated profits, and could be forced to raise prices up to 10%.

The latest data suggests in 2019, the industry went backward not forwards in production of CO2 thanks to the popularity of SUVs and the demise of diesel.


Global warming will not spare Denmark
The current Danish government has been praised for being proactive in reducing carbon emissions. But the neoliberal methods it has embraced for this task are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

The enthusiasm was sky-high. The broad agreement between the newly elected Social-democrat government and all other political parties in the Danish Parliament on the 70 percent reduction of the greenhouse gases by 2030 compared to 1990 was described as no less than a great triumph.

The PR apparatus of the government even prepared a promotional video, in which the Danish Minister for Energy and Climate was creatively prepared to send the message through: “a turning point in the fight for the climate.” The real triumph was still in the waiting, but in a sense the agreement was a kind of a victory. A victory for the climate activists, who also in Denmark had made it clear that they had been fed up with empty promises by their politicians.

Despite this proclaimed ‘great triumph’, a few weeks earlier, the Social-democrat Prime Minister had declared to the industry lobby that a new climate agreement should not come at the cost of wealth, jobs and loss of the competition by Danish firms. Putting aside the embarrassingly obvious fact that if our civilisation collapses due to global warming, there will be no wealth to enjoy (or most probably no humans either), we still have to see concrete steps to reach the proclaimed reduction in CO2 emissions.

The devil is in the details

There are of course a few positive aspects in the climate agreement. The first is that it is binding, which means that it applies to all coming Danish governments in the future. Second, a climate expert panel (Klimarådet) will act as an independent watchdog for its climate aims, advising the government and expressing its opinion regarding whether it is on the right path to achieve the climate goal. Third, the Parliament will judge the government’s climate achievements at the end of each year.

While this is all good in theory, we are still expecting to see some teeth put into the climate agreement. This process was due this spring, but the COVID-19 pandemic has postponed it to the near future. Nevertheless, a few interesting aspects of the climate agreement are worth mentioning.

The first is that it is not entirely true that there is a lack of concrete steps for the green transformation in Denmark. The first few are found in the government’s budget law for 2020. What is on offer in the budget? Well, the build up of a “Danish Green Future Fund” with an impressive budget of 25 billion kroner (3,35 billion Euros) for the purpose of “development and distribution of renewable energy and stimulation of green technology export.”

The budget report goes on to explain how this sum of money is distributed. Of the 3,35 billion Euros, almost 1,9 billions go to the Export Credit Fund. A couple of clicks in the website of the Fund and it is clear that the Fund is nothing else but a state subsidy for the Danish export firms.

As the website proudly announces, the Fund is going to “cover 90% of the losses of the export firm, in case the international buyer withdraws from the import agreement without paying “ or if the losses are due to a shift in the international affairs. In other words, the Danish export firms have their private profits from the export guaranteed, because the public will cover 90% of the losses anyway, in case the investment goes awry.

Another 134 million Euros will go to the Investment Fund for the Development Countries, which activists from the Global Action have uncovered as another scheme of state subsidy of the large corporations. In short, sixty percent of the Green Fund respects the neoliberal principle: the costs are socialised, the profits are privatised. As far as the rest of the rest of the green transformation is concerned, we are still waiting.

When push comes to shove

On the 9th of March, the Expert Panel (Klimarådet) came with its analysis and advice on how best to achieve a 70 percent reduction of greenhouse gases by 2030. Their conclusions were interesting, but the most interesting was that the planned green transformation will cost up to one percent of the Danish GDP.

As they put it: “One percent of the GDP is a large sum, (…) but not a sum that threatens our country’s wealth”. Therefore, gone was the concern for the “loss of our wealth” (in comparison the US had used 37 percent of their GDP for war purposes during WWII).

Even more interesting were reactions to its conclusions. Among all the suggestions, the various industry and agricultural lobbies had decided to concentrate on the one — on which the economists agree as the method to reach “the environmental goal – of reduced emissions – in the most flexible and least-cost way to society”, namely carbon pricing.

Words like “devastating”, “a desk exercise”, and “it will have the opposite effect” were used to describe the conclusions. The same minister, who had adulated the new climate law a few months ago, now had his own reservations on the advice of the Expert Panel. By the way, this is the very same Panel which was supposed to act as a watchdog for the minister, according to the law.

COVID-19 and the future after it

Why these reactions? Well, what the Expert Panel conclusions called for was that the polluters pay their fair share through CO2 taxation and a reduction of their state subsidies. That was a mistake. Maybe the experts are naive enough to think that we live in a free competition economy, but that is for the economics books. In the real world, corporations need state protection. Those who do not understand this can do as much “desk exercise” as they like. In the meantime, the COVID-19 pandemic has put off the discussion indefinitely.

What will happen now, and how much teeth the new law will have, no one knows. One thing is for sure: the powerful institutions do not like the idea. But what is also certain is that climate activists are not thinking about giving up the fight.



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Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Study: The Ozone Layer Is Repairing Itself, Affecting Wind Flows

This is a curious study.  Changes in the ozone layer may indeed be affecting wind flows but are those changes traceable to the Montreal protocol? The protocol entered into force on 1st January 1989.

The fact that the hole was at its largest extent in 2015 would indicate that the protocol had done nothing even by that stage. A quarter of a century is a long time to have an effect

I add the journal abstract to the article below.  Note that they attribute the ozone change to the year 2000.  So by even their reckoning that Montreal agreement is pretty laggard in having any effect

While most people’s focus remains directed at the coronavirus pandemic, some good news has emerged: a hole in our ozone layer is now in recovery.

The hole—located above Antarctica—is continuing to recover and bringing changes in atmospheric circulation as a result, according to New Scientist.

Many dangerous changes are being brought to a halt in the atmosphere of the Southern Hemisphere due to the ongoing recovery.

Ozone depletion began to bring air currents in the Southern Hemisphere further south in the 1980s. This caused a change in ocean currents and rainfall patterns.

Global News reported that the new changes suggest that a ban on producing ozone-depleting substances, called the 1987 Montreal Protocol, is now having a positive effect on the world.

On Wednesday, a research paper released in Science Daily showed that the ozone layer has started recovery due to changing wind patterns.

Antara Banerjee and her colleagues at the University of Colorado Boulder did the research and noted that the ozone layer in the Northern Hemisphere is on track to fully recover to its 1980s levels sometime in the 2030s.

They added that in the Southern Hemisphere should return to that state by the 2050s. The Antarctic hole is expected to take longer and is estimated to recover by the 2060s.


A pause in Southern Hemisphere circulation trends due to the Montreal Protocol

Antara Banerjee et al.


Observations show robust near-surface trends in Southern Hemisphere tropospheric circulation towards the end of the twentieth century, including a poleward shift in the mid-latitude jet1,2, a positive trend in the Southern Annular Mode1,3–6 and an expansion of the Hadley cell7,8. It has been established that these trends were driven by ozone depletion in the Antarctic stratosphere due to emissions of ozone-depleting substances9–11.

Here we show that these widely reported circulation trends paused, or slightly reversed, around the year 2000. Using a pattern-based detection and attribution analysis of atmospheric zonal wind, we show that the pause in circulation trends is forced by human activities, and has not occurred owing only to internal or natural variability of the climate system.

Furthermore, we demonstrate that stratospheric ozone recovery, resulting from the Montreal Protocol, is the key driver of the pause. Because pre-2000 circulation trends have affected precipitation, and potentially ocean circulation and salinity, we anticipate that a pause in these trends will have wider impacts on the Earth system. Signatures of the effects of the Montreal Protocol and the associated stratospheric ozone recovery might therefore manifest, or have already manifested, in other aspects of the Earth system


Trudeau’s Green Crusaders Can’t See The Forest For The Trees

Canada’s boreal forest comprises about a third of the huge forest that circles the northern hemisphere, mostly north of the 50th parallel.

The boreal forest originated with the end of the last ice age and covers a tenth of the Earth’s land surface. Canada has retained 91 percent of the forest that existed since Europeans first settled.

There are 318 billion trees (more than 8,000 for every one of the 37 million population), mostly conifers, and it is home to 85 species of mammals including grizzly, brown and black bears, 130 species of fish and 300 of birds.

Many other countries have scarcely any of their boreal forest remaining, such as Sweden with only 5 percent left.

The lack of boreal forest in other countries is quite tragic because in Canada the boreal forest is effectively a carbon sponge, capturing and storing carbon in the trees and the peatland.

In Canada’s north, the temperature can easily fall to -65 C. The cold acts to hinder the release of carbon dioxide from dying and decomposing trees.

Furthermore, in areas where there is permafrost, the carbon remains trapped under the soil.

A quick google search would reveal a plethora of articles saying that Canada’s forest emits more carbon than it absorbs.

When these articles claim Canada’s managed forests aren’t a carbon sink anymore, they are misleading as the data typically does not include Canada’s unmanaged forest, accounting for approximately 35 percent of its total forest area.

So how is it that the Canadian boreal forest has changed from functioning as a carbon sink of 115 million tonnes of CO2 in 1992 to being a source of 221 million tonnes of CO2 in 2015?

The Liberal government headed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his minority government cronies on environmental policies (the Green Party and New Democratic Party) say it is clearly a result of, you guessed it, man-made climate change

It is to suggest flooding, forest fires, and natural disasters did not exist at all prior to the green agenda.

In Canada, we have a Prime Minister who emphatically joined a climate strike in September in Montreal, Quebec, and met with Greta Thunberg. She promptly told him he was not doing well enough and he agreed.

As the fourth-largest supplier of oil in the world, never has a nation or a prime minister done so much to torpedo their own nation’s major industry.

Countless canceled projects and scandals – Northern Gateway, Energy East, Trans Mountain, Keystone XL, Line 3 and now Coastal Gaslink pipeline. Canada cannot get anything built.

Despite the self-sabotage, Canada is still projected to fail its ambitious Paris Agreement pledge to reduce emissions by 232 megatonnes in 2030.

The data indicate that Canada emits 722.29 (excluding land-use) megatonnes of CO2 per year and 585 megatonnes result from the energy sector alone (2017).

In total, Canada is responsible for 1.6 percent of the global carbon emissions and is the tenth-largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world.

Interestingly enough, Canada has elected not to include the forests when tabulating its emissions.

Given the option, Canada elected to attempt some clever accounting, since negating forest fires could help Canada meet its Paris Agreement pledge.

Surprising that a country can just elect not to include whole sectors (such as forestry) and yet Canada is looking into selling carbon credits to other countries in what the Paris Agreement refers to as ITMOs (internationally transferred mitigation outcomes) by using the forest to make the claim.

Thus, Canada is hoping the accounting will include wetlands, farmland, and forestry but please exclude the forest fires and pests.

Back in reality, the boreal forest has been suffering from an increase in a variety of factors including forest fires as a result of humans (setting fires or carelessness) and lightning, pests (such as the pine beetle), environmental policies against active forest management and to an extent, the modest warming from climate change.

First and foremost, among the culprits, fires are particularly damaging and result in 170 tonnes of CO2 released per hectare burned.

Next, pests are subsiding in recent years but still serve as the second leading concern hurting the boreal forest.

Then, of course, the forestry industry is heavily regulated, less than 0.5 percent is available to harvest annually; and thus, the effects on emissions are negligible.

Furthermore, the data actually infers that where there is forestry activity, there is a negative carbon count.

Lastly, the bureaucracy behind the current forest management is laughable and extremely mismanaged.

The climate change alarmists and environmentalists have wormed their way with their degrees in environmental studies into jobs managing the forests, no doubt created by Justin Trudeau in the ‘green’ and ‘clean’ sectors.

Now they are running the show and crafting policies in the logging and forestry industry that sadly misses the mark.

What we are seeing are ineffective policies from the new wave of clean sustainable management so-called experts when what we need are methods such as strategically planned burns, varying the species regenerated, thinning and proper harvesting of timber.

If Canada were to improve its management of fires, continue to see a decline in pests and increase forestry, the negative drawbacks of the boreal forest could be negated and the reality is that Canada could be charging other countries for its carbon credits.

Think of the billions Canada could be receiving to compensate for the loss of all those oil and gas projects Trudeau has canceled. However, I wouldn’t hold my breath.

The current government believes everything can be solved with more taxation and the Prime Minister believes the budget will ‘balance itself’, while he travels using not one but two private jets (though not at the same time).

Meanwhile, left alone, the boreal forest will continue to be mismanaged despite being one of Canada’s strengths and biggest assets in the carbon wars. Instead, we’re banning plastic bags…


Dutch Govt Says COVID-19 More Important Than Climate Plans

The Dutch cabinet will not come up with new measures to reduce carbon dioxide emissions before April 1 as planned, economic affairs minister Erik Wiebes said after Friday’s cabinet meeting.

‘A lot of people, we included, have other things to do at the moment,’ Wiebes said. ‘The Urgenda court ruling still stands, but there are other priorities.’

Last December the Dutch Supreme Court ruled the state is required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to protect the health of its people, under the European treaty of human rights, ending a seven-year legal process.

The ruling means that the government must now reduce greenhouse gas pollution by 25% by the end of this year when compared with 1990. The plans should have been published next week.

Various researchers suggest the Netherlands is on course to reduce CO2 emissions by only 19% to 23% of 1990 levels by the end of this year.

Potential solutions include closing the remaining coal-fired power stations sooner than planned. The speed limit on motorways has already been reduced because of another court case.


Sweden Glacier Melt Far More Rapid In Mid-20th Century; Arctic Ice Stable

A recent paper published in the Swedish journal Geografiska Annaler: Series A, Physical Geography, authored by Holmlund and Holmlund, found that the strongest melts of the Storglaciären in Sweden occurred between the 1930s and 1960s.

The glacier mass even increased from the early 1970s to the mid-1990s.

According to the authors, geodetic volume estimates of Storglaciären in Sweden suggest a 28% loss in total ice mass between 1910 and 2015, but the greatest part of the melt occurred in the mid 20th century – a time when CO2 levels were deemed to be at a safe level.

The authors used terrestrial photographs of Tarfala valley, where Storglaciären is situated, from 1910 to allow an accurate reconstruction of the glacier’s surface, past volume, and mass.

They found say that the likely start of a melting trend is supported by imagery from 1922, which shows almost no snow was present on top of Storglaciären, and other glaciers showed tendencies of retreat.

76% of the mass loss seen from 1910 to 2015 occurred between 1920 and 1970, i.e. in less than half of that 105 year period, they estimate.

The mass change of Storglaciären stabilized and even contained periods of increases in mass after 1970, their analysis shows.

Arctic sea ice stable over the past 10 years

It appears Arctic ice melt has slowed down over the recent decades and has not accelerated like global warming alarmists like to claim.

Over  the past 10 years, Arctic sea ice minimum has not fallen in over a decade:


“Fraccidents” Study Yet Another Case of Junk Science

For years anti-fossil fuel zealots have used and abused the word “fracking” and its derivatives to describe horizontal hydraulic fracturing, and more generically to describe the entire shale oil and gas industry (drilling, pipelines, etc.). Antis love to slip in phrases like “fracked gas” and refer to those who work in the industry as “frackers.” They call themselves “fracktivists.” It all sounds so naughty. We happen to love the word and we embrace it, to shove it right back in their faces (others in our industry do not like the word and sometimes chide us for using it). A couple of so-called researchers have coined a new fracking-related term: “fraccidents.”

A “fraccident” is what happens when a truck hauling shale wastewater gets into an accident. The term was not coined by the likes of the nutty Sierra Club or odious Food & Water Watch. No. It has been used in the title of published research appearing in a so-called peer-reviewed journal!

The study is titled “Fraccidents: The Impact of Fracking on Road Traffic Deaths” and appears in Elsevier’s Journal of Environmental Economics and Management. The research study attempts to correlate an increase in traffic deaths to the presence of fracking in given regions. The fact the authors use a cutesy phrase like “fraccidents” is the tip-off this isn’t real research–it’s bought-and-paid-for propaganda.

When there are more wells, there’s more brine or produced water (wastewater that comes out of the borehole for years after it’s drilled), and that means more truck traffic to haul the produced water to an injection well or recycling plant. With more truck traffic comes, inevitably, more accidents and (yes) deaths due to those accidents.

So what do the “researchers” propose as a solution to cut down on traffic accidents/deaths from wastewater trucks? Why, a new tax, of course! Yes, taxing something somehow makes it safer and happen less often, dontcha know. (Yes, we’re being sarcastic. A next tax doesn’t do a darned thing to fix any given “problem.”)

Facts are facts. An increase in any kind of traffic leads to more accidents and, statistically, more deaths from accidents. If a Fluffernutter factory opens up resulting in an increase of truck trips, we could conduct a survey that shows a corresponding increase in accidents and deaths due to that factory. Should we tax Fluffernutter? Shut down the factory? Ban it? That’s the kind of inane logic baked into this so-called “study.”

Shamefully this “research” comes from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The researchers admit to using “back-of-the-envelope” calculations in their published results! Perhaps a little more academic rigor is needed at Urbana-Champaign?

Environmental concerns about hydraulic fracturing – aka “fracking,” the process by which oil and gas are extracted from rock by injecting high-pressure mixtures of water and chemicals – are well documented, but according to a paper co-written by a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign environmental economics expert, the technique also poses a serious safety risk to local traffic.

New research from Yilan Xu (“E-Lan SHE”), a professor of agricultural and consumer economics at Illinois, shows that the growing traffic burden in fracking boomtowns from trucks hauling wastewater to disposal sites resulted in a surge of road fatalities and severe accidents.

“Fracking requires large amounts of water, and it subsequently generates a lot of wastewater,” she said. “When trucks need to transport all that water within a narrow window of time to a disposal site, that poses a safety threat to other drivers on the road – especially since fracking occurs mostly in these boomtowns where the roadway infrastructure isn’t built up enough to handle heavy truck traffic.”

The study examined how fracking-related trucking affected the number of fatal crashes in the Bakken Formation in North Dakota from 2006-14, using the timing of fracking operations near certain road segments.

The researchers identified a causal link between fracking-related trucking and fatal traffic crashes, finding that an additional post-fracking well within six miles of the road segments led to 8% more fatal crashes and 7.1% higher per-capita costs in accidents.

“Our back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that an additional 17 fatal crashes took place per year across the sampled road segments, representing a 49% increase relative to the annual crash counts of the drilling counties in North Dakota in 2006,” Xu said. “That’s a significant number when you’re talking about a sparsely populated area like North Dakota.

“And besides the fatality and injury costs in fatal crashes quantified in our study, other costs may occur as well, including injury costs in nonfatal crashes and indirect expenditures on emergency services, insurance administrative costs, and infrastructure maintenance and replacement.”

To lessen the negative impact on traffic fatalities as well as the severity of traffic accidents, the study proposes a tax that can be charged per well to internalize the costs of fracking-related trucking activities, similar to the impact fees implemented in energy-rich towns in Pennsylvania that yield hundreds of millions of dollars per year for the state.

“The tax could serve as an economic instrument that affects operators’ drilling and fracking decisions and thus alleviate the hazard of the associated truck traffic indirectly,” Xu said. “Likewise, a toll fee by miles driven by trucks could be collected on highways to absorb the negative impacts of fracking-related trucking.”

The study also sheds light on more practical measures that local governments can undertake to curb the traffic risks associated with fracking.

“Since many fracking-induced fatal crashes take place in the daytime rush hours, local governments could adopt policies such as making a high occupancy vehicle lane for trucks carrying wastewater. An active traffic alert and warning system with live well-operations updates could also help drivers monitor traffic and avoid exposure to road hazards,” she said.

Moreover, the paper calls for the active involvement of the oil and gas industry to seek ways to improve their workplace safety and mitigate the traffic hazard of fracking to road users.

“Our findings suggest that oil and gas operators could redistribute the traffic loads over time to avoid concentrated water hauling during peak hours,” Xu said. “In the long run, since a well may need to be fracked multiple times over its productive life, operators may improve the water supply system by constructing water wells serving multiple well pads via a piping system. They could also develop the onsite wastewater treatment and disposal facilities as opposed to trucking wastewater over long distances. Such measures would reduce the long-term transport costs and the associated traffic effects.”

The findings should give local and federal policymakers information when conducting due diligence and evaluating the regional costs and benefits of shale energy development, Xu said.

“Our study provides an estimate based on the North Dakota experience where population density and traffic volume is relatively low, but our findings have implications for other regions planning future shale development.”

The paper, which was co-written by Minhong Xu of Nanjing Audit University, was published in the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management.



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


Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Humpback whales spout out slow, but steady recovery

Humpback whales are one of nature’s most majestic animals. Usually identified by their enormous size, curious songs and aerial acrobatics, they were once in numbers approximating 200,000 in the southern hemisphere alone.

Today its numbers have been reduced to about 16,200, due primarily to unrestricted hunting that took place in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Fortunately, humpback whales are making a comeback south of the equator. One such place where progress is being made is at the Francisco Coloane Marine Park near the southern tip of Chile. There, the humpback whale population has risen dramatically — from 40 individuals in 2003 to 190 in 2019.

What are the reasons for its success? As reported in Mongabay:

“There are several reasons for the whales’ recovery. Humpbacks have been globally protected from commercial whaling since 1966 (although the Soviets continued to catch large numbers of them in secret until 1973), and commercial whaling of all species has been banned since 1986. Furthermore, the creation of marine parks [like Francisco Coloane] along the Pacific coast of the Americas has conferred extra protection.

… Based on the number of whales identified up until now and the low rate of recapture, this population unit of whales [at the marine park] is in the middle of experiencing a period of post-whaling recovery and is probably much greater in size than current estimates indicate,” the Chilean Antarctic Institute (INACH) said in a 2014 report(PDF).

Nevertheless, their recovery is still in its early days, in part due to humpbacks’ slow rate of reproduction. A female gives birth to a calf once every two to three years, so the population is still well below the numbers recorded before commercial whaling. ‘We are probably somewhere between 20 and 25% of what it is thought there was before commercial whaling began, so we are relatively far off the initial population size but much better than we were 40 years ago,’ [wildlife expert] Capella said.”


Toyota partners with Hino to develop hydrogen-powered truck

Toyota has announced it will partner with commercial vehicle-builder Hino to develop a hydrogen-fuel-cell truck as part of a joint initiative to reduce emissions

Built on the foundations of a Hino Profia, the companies say they will optimise the truck’s chassis to package hybrid and hydrogen fuel-cell technology. The result will be a claimed 600km of zero-emissions driving range.

Toyota and Hino state that heavy-duty trucks account for approximately 60 per cent of total commercial vehicle CO2 emissions in Japan, and that the fuel-cell Profia will form part of the companies’ ‘Environmental Challenge 2050’ plans.

The sees both brands cut their average CO2 emissions from new vehicles by 90 per cent by 2050.


Fast Charging Stations Damage Tesla Car Batteries In Just 25 Charging Cycles

What Does Elon Musk Have to Gain From Giving Away Tesla's ...
A new paper shows that a selling feature of electric cars, fast-charging stations along highways, actually subject batteries to high temperatures and high resistance that can cause them to crack, leak, and lose their storage capacity.

What is needed is a method for charging at lower temperatures and therefore less risk of catastrophic damage and loss of storage capacity. A recent experiment did just that.

Scientists charged one set of discharged Panasonic NCR 18650B cylindrical lithium-ion batteries, found in Tesla cars, using the same industry fast-charging method as fast chargers found along freeways.

They also charged a set using a new fast-charging algorithm based on the battery’s internal resistance, which interferes with the flow of electrons.

The internal resistance of a battery fluctuates according to temperature, charge state, battery age, and more. High internal resistance can cause problems during charging and the UC Riverside Battery Team charging method is an adaptive system that learns from the battery by checking the battery’s internal resistance during charging. It rests when internal resistance kicks in to eliminate loss of charge capacity.

For the first 13 charging cycles, the battery storage capacities for both charging techniques remained similar. After that, the industry fast-charging technique caused capacity to fade much faster; after 40 charging cycles the batteries kept only 60% of their storage capacity. Batteries charged using the internal resistance charging method retained more than 80% capacity after the 40th cycle.

At 80% capacity, rechargeable lithium-ion batteries have reached the end of their use life for most purposes. Batteries charged using the industry fast-charging method reached this point after 25 charging cycles, while internal resistance method batteries were good for 36 cycles.

Worse, after 60 charging cycles, the industry method battery cases cracked, exposing the electrodes and electrolyte to air and increasing the risk of fire or explosion. High temperatures of 60 degrees Celsius/140 degrees Fahrenheit accelerated both the damage and risk.

“Capacity loss, internal chemical and mechanical damage, and the high heat for each battery are major safety concerns, especially considering there are 7,104 lithium-ion batteries in a Tesla Model S and 4,416 in a Tesla Model 3,” said Professor Mihri Ozkan of UC Riverside.


Covid-19 Shows There Won’t Be Global Action on Climate Change

Pretty much Jason Bordoff’s headline in Foreign Policy magazine today, except I left out the “Sorry”. And that’s because I’m not.

Sorry, but the Virus Shows Why There Won’t Be Global Action on Climate Change

Bordoff believes in what is laughably called the scientific consensus on climate change but he seems, to his credit, to be an honest policy wonk. Here are some highlights.

To slow the spread of COVID-19, governments are clamping down to force collective action when individuals fail to follow guidelines. Cities across the world are shutting down businesses and events, at great cost. Yet the effectiveness of any one government’s action is limited if there are weak links in the global effort to curb the pandemic—such as from states with conflict or poor governance—even if the world is in agreement that eradicating a pandemic is in every country’s best interest. Climate change is even harder to solve because it results from the sum of all greenhouse gas emissions and thus requires aggregate effort, a problem particularly vulnerable to free-riding, as my Columbia University colleague Scott Barrett explains in his excellent book Why Cooperate? The Incentive to Supply Global Public Goods. And whereas governments can force people to stay home, there is no global institution with the enforcement power to require that nations curb emissions....

While public concern with climate change is rising, there remains a long way to go. Only half of Americans believe climate change should be a top priority for the federal government, and the figure is far lower on the Republican side of the aisle.

Indeed, COVID-19 itself may actually erode public support for stronger climate action, as the pace of climate ambition wanes during times of economic hardship.....

A huge hit to economic growth would likely mean carbon emissions will fall in 2020 for the first time since the Great Recession of 2008.

That may seem like good news, but it is not. First of all, economic contractions are not a desirable or sustainable way to curb emissions; emissions rebounded sharply after 2009. More importantly, the fact that it takes severe economic slowdowns like the Great Recession or COVID-19 to bring emissions down serves as a reminder of just how strongly tied emissions remain to economic growth—and thus how hard it is to lower them.

That is why energy from renewable sources can grow as rapidly as it has over the past decade and yet fossil fuel use can keep rising at the same time as total energy use rises around the world, especially in fast-growing economies like China and India.....

Policymakers have spent trillions of dollars and passed countless regulations, standards, and mandates to spur clean energy. That it takes a pandemic-induced economic standstill to actually bring emissions down should be a sobering reminder of just how hard addressing climate change will be.

COVID-19 may deliver some short-term climate benefits by curbing energy use, or even longer-term benefits if economic stimulus is linked to climate goals—or if people get used to telecommuting and thus use less oil in the future.

Yet any climate benefits from the COVID-19 crisis are likely to be fleeting and negligible. Rather, the pandemic is a reminder of just how wicked a problem climate change is because it requires collective action, public understanding and buy-in, and decarbonizing the energy mix while supporting economic growth and energy use around the world.

On his penultimate paragraph

COVID-19 may deliver some short-term climate benefits by curbing energy use, or even longer-term benefits if economic stimulus is linked to climate goals—or if people get used to telecommuting and thus use less oil in the future.

the Democrat attempt for the “economic stimulus [to be] linked to climate goals” was blown out of the water, quite rightly, by President Trump. But people getting used to telecommuting is definitely one possible positive, for all of us. Especially for those climate scientists and activists who up to now have had to do massive conferences all together in places like Bali. It so went against everything they believed. And the answer for their uneasy consciences is now being made clear.

But it’s bigger even than that. Much bigger.


How coronavirus has changed the climate war

The COVID-19 pandemic has added fresh rancour to the climate change debate.

“Dear Greta,” former television meteorologist and popular US climate change blogger Anthony Watts began in an open letter to teenage climate campaigner Greta Thunberg last week.

“So you got what you wanted. System change & economic slowdown is a real thing now. Airplanes, industry, jobs, restaurants, recreation, and schools are all shut down. Instead we have fear, poverty, misery, joblessness, economic ruin, and a bleak future. Happy now?”

On the other side, Spanish climate activist, astrophysicist and philosopher Martin Lopez Corredoira observes the world economy has been turned upside down in a matter of weeks.

“Neither Greenpeace, nor Greta Thunberg, nor any other individual or collective organisation (has) achieved so much in favour of the health of the planet in such a short time,” Lopez Corredoira wrote in a Science 2.0 blog post earlier this month.

“Venice … is now deathly silent. What a respite for the Venetians! What good news for the ecologists and tourist-haters!

“This positively affects the reduction of CO2 emission and … the destruction associated with holiday and professional conference tourism. It is certainly not very good for the economy in general, but it is fantastic for the environment.”

Lopez Corredoira said he did not wish ill on anyone but added: “Let us view the circumstance from an objective sociological point of view, without taking individuals into account, and think about the changes that are being produced in the world owing to the rise of this coronavirus.”

This is the emergency climate response that Extinction Rebellion has repeatedly been told was not possible. Yet the pandemic raises challenging questions for all sides of the environmental debate.

It piques strongly held positions on controversial topics — overpopulation, the treatment of wild animals, the politics of authoritarian rule and the role of technology,

The crisis provides a test bed to assess the impact on climate and broader environmental health of reducing industrial emissions for an extended period.

Already it has forced businesses to push harder on technologies to work remotely, communicate digitally and cut down on air miles and lunch.

Former UN climate leader Christiana Figueres says there is a silver lining to the challenge. “If we really sustain several months of reduced travel we may realise that we don’t have to travel as much,” she says. “Can this have actual behavioural change impacts … maybe, and let’s hope.”

The internet is full of memes celebrating a form of nature’s revenge on humans.

But UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has made clear that tackling the coronavirus pandemic, not climate change, is now the world’s top priority. Guterres is still urging countries not to lose sight of the global warming challenge and the Paris climate accord but says all resources for now will be directed toward tackling the COVID-19 crisis.

China’s communist regime has been able to force obedience from citizens but a core weakness has been exposed in the capacity of others to trust information and statistics from the state.

Highlighted, too, has been the extraordinary extent to which the developed world has outsourced its industrial production to China.

These realities could have big implications for how the world might view China, including on the issue of climate change action, in future.

In tackling COVID-19 and climate change, the US is more likely to embrace technology and private industry for answers. Electric carmaker and space enthusiast Elon Musk has quickly thrust himself into the role of industrialist troubleshooter.

The teams of engineers assembled by Musk to inject his brand into the rescue of Thai students from flooded caves in 2018 have been told to turn their expertise to making ventilators for US hospitals.

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio responded directly to Musk on Twitter last week.

“New York City is buying!” de Blasio said. “Our country is facing a drastic shortage and we need ventilators ASAP — we will need thousands in this city over the next few weeks. We’re getting them as fast as we can but we could use your help! We’re reaching out to you directly.”

We’re at war and ventilators are our ammunition.

The speed and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic has left the otherwise most vocal climate change groups unsure where to turn. Europe is winding back the pace of green measures and it looks increasingly likely that what was supposed to be a groundbreaking global climate change meeting in Glasgow in November will be postponed or cancelled.

The default position of renewable energy campaigners has been an attempt to make a virtue of the COVID-19 crisis.

International Energy Agency executive director Fatih Birol says he is working to influence world leaders to ensure their stimulus programs are rich with green initiatives.

“I am telling them that we can use the current situation to step up our ambition to tackle climate change,” Birol said last week.

“This is a historic opportunity for the world to, on one hand, create packages to recover the economy but, on the other hand, to reduce dirty investments and accelerate the energy transition.”

Closer to home, Australia’s Climate Council says now “is exact­ly the right time to be spending on renewable energy infrastructure and zero emissions technology”.

Another key message has been that leaders should trust the scientists on climate change, just as they are on the pandemic.

Not everyone is convinced this is a fair comparison. US climate scientist Judith Curry says she does not accept that COVID-19 shows us how and why we need to act urgently on climate change. “The main similarity between climate change and COVID-19 is they are both situations of deep uncertainty,” she says.

“Apart from the brainwashed Extinction Rebellion folk, no one feels the urgent visceral need to drop everything and ‘act’ on climate change.

“The reason for that is that the potential adverse impacts of climate change have a long time horizon (decades to centuries), there is no simple ‘action’ that will reverse climate change, and premature actions could lock us into infrastructure that is not in our best long-term interests. And finally, diversion of all our resources to the climate change problem could make us more vulnerable to more urgent problems such as COVID-19.”

Curry says it remains to be seen what lessons will eventually be learned from the pandemic.

But there will be a new understanding of the loss of productivity from unnecessary business travel and a new questioning of international cruising.

There also may be some new data on the impact on climate of depressed economic activity.

NASA scientists have been able to track the steep decline in nitrogen dioxide levels over China in January and February to coincide with the lockdown of Chinese production because of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan.

The decline in pollution levels began over Wuhan and then spread across the country.

As lockdowns spread in Europe and North America, the impact on industry will mirror the 2008 global financial crisis, which resulted in a significant fall in global greenhouse gas emissions.

The shutdown of international air travel will allow a more thorough test of studies conducted after the September 11, 2001, terror attacks in the US.

Those studies claimed a temporary stop to air flights over North America had a noticeable impact on climate.

A reduction in vapour trails, or contrails, it was claimed, had been responsible for a greater subsequent spread in temperatures between day and night.

In 2004, NASA scientist Patrick Minnis wrote that “increased cirrus coverage, attributable to air traffic, could account for nearly all of the warming observed over the United States for nearly 20 years starting in 1975”.

The warming effect happened because the high-altitude clouds that contrails created tended to trap warm air, Minnis wrote. On balance, though contrails can both warm and cool, there is more of a warming effect.

Last year, Scientific American said the contrails left by aeroplanes were now so widespread that their warming effect was greater than that of all the carbon dioxide emitted by aeroplanes that had accumulated in the atmosphere since the first flight of the Wright brothers.

Meanwhile, studies already are under way to see if the shutdown in industrial production will have a measurable impact on atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide in the northern hemisphere.

Not so far.

Many will be hoping the bigger environmental impact will be on the illegal trade in bush meat and a greater preservation of wildlife.

There is a long history of Chinese abuses of the pangolin, or scaly anteater, a living dinosaur and the likely host to the COVID-19 virus.

Pangolin scales traditionally have been cooked in oil, butter, vinegar, boys’ urine or roasted with earth or oyster shells to cure a variety of ills, including excessive nervousness and hysterical crying in children, women possessed by devils and ogres, malarial fever and deafness.

According to an article in the journal Nature in 1938 that described the uses, pangolin numbers already were in peril because of Chinese demand.

Russian billionaire and British media owner Evgeny Lebedev has said it would be sweet irony if the COVID-19 virus were the saviour of the world’s most highly illegally traded animal.

Lebedev is patron of the conservation organisation Space for Giants and has visited wet markets such as those in Wuhan where COVID-19 is believed to have bred from bats, through pangolins, to become a threat to humans.

US environmentalist Michael Shellenberger agrees. “Who would have thought that the wet live markets in China would be a major source of global chaos and economic challenge and mass death, but that is the real­ity,” Shellenberger says.

“The animals are on top of each other and they are very unsanitary. Experts have been warning about those markets for two decades now.

“One of the things that ought to come out of this is that there ought to be some effort internationally to make sure countries get rid of these markets that are breeding grounds for these viruses and help countries move to more modern forms of meat production.

“The truth is that economic growth and lifting people out of poverty has been the most important way to reduce air pollution and negative impacts on the environment.”

The success of the developed world’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has significant impli­cations for how the world will deal with climate change into the future.



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