Friday, January 24, 2020



My palm oil problem: how can I save orangutans?



Orangs are gorgeous and I would like to save them too -- but there seem to be no good options -- JR

Watching a documentary about orangutans is like seeing a simian snuff movie. In the most recent one I saw with my family, we watched as a baby was orphaned, her mother starved after their forests were burnt down for palm oil. The baby turned her sweet Yoda eyes on the camera. My children, genuinely distressed, turned their eyes on me for moral guidance. It’s at that point that I thought to look at the list of ingredients on the packet of chocolate biscuits we had just eaten. Oh. They had palm oil in them. We were growing fat on baby orangutan tears.

Modern life is complicated. On the one hand we like orangutans. On the other we like chocolate biscuits, possibly, in my case, even more. It’s not that I want my chocolate biscuits to kill orangutans. It’s just that I’m not really doing much to stop it. And I’m not the only one.

So I thought I’d spend a week without palm oil. It feels, if not simple — palm oil is estimated to be in half of all packaged goods sold by UK supermarkets — at least clear and righteous. I palm off my palm oil-filled Nutella and go on a mega shopping expedition to Sainsbury’s and Tesco, accompanied by one of Britain’s leading palm oil experts, Jane Hill, a professor of biology at the University of York.

One of the first things that you need to give up palm oil is super-strong eyesight. That afternoon we make our way around the aisles of the supermarkets squinting at ingredients in micro fonts. Hill takes her glasses on and off, twisting a box of Oreo cookies to the light. I’m yo-yoing the Mr Kiplings in front of my face like a Where’s Wally? of ingredients panels, straining for “palm oil” to come into focus. “Oi, Jane!” I call from the shampoo aisle, “what about sodium palm kernelate?” Together we look like the most neurotic shoppers in north London, and that’s saying something.

The second thing you need, to do the right thing on palm oil, is a strong stomach for complexity and compromise. Hill tells me that she has been visiting Borneo every year or so for the past 15 years, drawn to catalogue its ancient forests. The way she talks, they sound like Eden. But we’re burning down paradise for oil palm, arguably the most destructive crop in the world. Every year she went back, 1.3 million more hectares of Bornean forest were gone. Orangutans are on a fast track to extinction, probably within decades. I nod, my face grave. And that’s why, Hill tells me, I should be eating more palm oil. More nodding.

Wait, what?

“Yes, that’s correct,” she says. “Boycotting palm oil could have the opposite effect to that intended, resulting in forests still being lost and more decline for wildlife.”

It turns out that, confusingly, oil palm is a kind of environmental wonder crop. It needs a fraction of the fertiliser and pesticide of oil crop rivals, and most importantly it requires up to ten times less land. To switch to soya or coconut oil could put more habitat at risk. “Sustainable” palm oil is one way forward, via certificates from the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). Palm-boycotting — which critics call “palm-phobia” — is the other approach. Some big British shops, such as Selfridges and Iceland, are trying to remove all palm from their own-brand products. They subscribe to the hard line taken by Greenpeace, that sustainable palm is just not achievable.

I’m only on aisle one when Hill hits me with this dilemma and I’m tempted to dump my basket with exhaustion. I’ve taken three granola bars in and out of my basket, for having palm, not having palm and finally the wrong type of palm. The thing I’ve learnt about palm oil: it’s slippery.

I need a moment to understand how we have got into this mess. Oil palm is native to west Africa. Chinua Achebe, in his finest novel, Things Fall Apart, wrote of Nigeria that “proverbs are the palm oil with which words are eaten”. As demand for soap in Europe boomed with the Industrial Revolution, William Lever sought out more west African forest to cultivate for palm, using cruel “forced labour” practices to boot. Now Unilever is considered one of the world’s largest users of palm oil and, in recent years, a leader in RSPO palm.

Palm can only thrive in proximity to the Equator: a few Dutch and French fortune-hunters had been drawn to bring African palm to Indonesia and Malaysia at the end of the 19th century, but the Brits were especially successful. Now Indonesia and Malaysia account for more than 80 per cent of global production.

Palm, under a dizzying range of names, is a staple of our bathroom cabinet, from toothpaste to lipstick. But up until the 1990s the preferred fat of choice in the food industry was animal, high in saturated fat, or margarine, riddled with trans fats. The industry was looking for something better, and palm oil was perfect. Unlike runny sunflower oil, it’s sticky and rich, like delicious thick cream (with a rather symbolic blood-red colour).

Unilever’s European food factories began going heavy on palm oil in 1995 and the rest of the food industry followed suit. Now two thirds of palm is used for food, from ice cream to bread, and our appetite is only whetted. When McVitie’s swapped palm oil out of its digestives in 2010, a public outcry over “dunkability” had the palm oil — RSPO-certified — returned. At present rates, the land used for palm oil, so often competing with virgin forest, is forecast to double by 2050.

“When we talk about palm, two things always come up,” Hill says. “Orangutans and Nutella.”

Ah yes, Nutella, the first product I dumped and public enemy of the palm-phobes. About two thirds of the reviews of Nutella on Ocado are spitting with middle-class fury about palm: “Stop using palm oil!” and “Won’t buy until palm oil goes.” Hill disagrees.

“Is Nutella sustainable? The answer is yes. Unilever has been driving the sustainability agenda for years.”

At this point I drag Hill over to the Nutella jar on the supermarket shelf. Nowhere does it mention its palm is sustainable. She sighs. She has worked with the RSPO for years, as well as researching how trustworthy it is. It’s far from perfect. “RSPO standards are a work-in-progress,” she says. “Commitment to zero deforestation only came in last year.”

Hmm. Is it just me, or is hacking down forests stretching the definition of sustainable? Last week, in its latest review of the impact of palm oil manufacture, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) found big food retailers to be falling short on their commitment to eliminate the environmental damage being caused by the supply chain. Still, Ferrero, the maker of Nutella, scored 21.5 out of 22 on the WWF Palm Oil Buyers Scorecard, and M&S and the Co-operative Group featured among the top 10 per cent of those rated, so at least that’s progress.

Hill says that if I want to do right by the orangutans, I need to consume more RSPO palm because “it produces a lot of food very quickly and efficiently”. It is better to eat sustainable palm oil, Hill says, than to switch to less sustainable fats.

Yet almost no manufacturers, that of Nutella included, label their RSPO products. Normally companies shout about every tiny “eco” gesture, however trivial, but in the world of palm there is a reverse twist. When companies attempt to do the right thing, they make it hard for the consumer to find out. When does that ever happen? It is a perplexing economic case study.

This means that hunting for “good palm” requires not only laser focus to spot it on the packet, but also a phone at the ready, possibly using the array of new palm-oil shopping phone apps to cross-reference parent companies. For example, Cadbury’s Dairy Milk uses RSPO palm in Europe and no palm oil in the US recipe. Most of the big UK supermarkets have committed to RSPO palm oil in their own-brand products, but we search in vain for any sign of this on their products.

Packaging is littered with logos: packets of Maltesers have the Fairtrade symbol and Tesco own-brand chocolate is stamped with the Rainforest Alliance logo. Sainsbury’s does use RSPO palm oil, but its own-brand chocolate cake would rather advertise its cardboard “comes from a sustainable source” than mention its sustainable palm. After examining dozens of products, we come across our first RSPO logo on a packet of Jordans Country Crisp, and even there it’s muted; the one for the Wildlife Trusts is far more prominent.

Why is such a confusing area made even more confusing by a lack of labelling? The RSPO logo is a palm frond, nicknamed “the green spider”. Some joke that it looks too much like a cannabis leaf — you may think that breakfast cereal will give you a mellow start to the day. An investigation last year by the website Eco-Business found that 70 companies in the UK were licensed to use the RSPO logo (the second highest in Europe, after Germany), but few did. Their inquiries to these companies got no answers as to why, but palm experts suspect that these brands are so aware of palm negativity, they want even responsible palm use to slip by unnoticed. The RSPO logo only alarms when it should reassure.

“The public are cynical about trusting big organisations to do the right thing,” Hill says.

I go home. My conversations with Greenpeace have me convinced that the RSPO has a long way to go, but my conversations with Hill have me convinced that sustainable palm is worth fighting for, especially in the context of feeding the world’s booming population in the most efficient way.

I speak to Bhavani Shankar, a professor of economics at the School of Oriental and African Studies (Soas), University of London, who has been studying palm oil for years. He believes that we should get real about palm: few, after all, get freaked out by soya bean oil as an ingredient, yet it’s the second most popular edible oil in the world, just behind palm, but with the same, or worse, deforestation issues. Instead of a world dominated by cheap palm and soya oils, or “unrealistic” bans, Shankar says that we should aim for a diversity of more local oils. In other words, demand olive oil in your food, the way you would free-range eggs.

“The unsustainability is the dominance of a single oil,” Shankar says.

The Nutella comes back on to our shelf after I give my children the, er, gold-standard reassurance that it’s “probably OK”. Every other product has me tapping at my laptop, doing the kind of deep research on multinationals that is far from “sustainable” alongside the packed-lunch rush. It’s just about possible for food, but checking for palm oil derivatives in washing powder and shampoo requires a scientific thesaurus. It’s an eye-straining if not eye-popping week.

If the “green spider” RSPO logo isn’t being used, I wish the government would legislate to label harmful palm. Similar to cigarettes, dirty palm products could display an orphan monkey or similar. And why stop at palm, for that matter, when meat fed on cheap, deforesting palm and soya crops are part of the issue? I finally check out with Hill. What feels wrong, I tell her, is that I am allowed to kill orangutans with my chocolate biscuits. It feels wrong to put the fate of these precious forests in the hands of us consumers who can’t read all the small print.

“Yes,” Hill says. “But that’s the same with so many decisions that are left up to us: cheap flights, cheap meat, fast fashion.”

SOURCE 






Climate policies harm black and brown communities

Presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren at the most recent candidates’ debate in Iowa repeated the canard that climate change “particularly hits black and brown communities.” On this Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, it should be alerted that it is climate change policies promoted by her and fellow alarmists that would particularly hit black and brown communities by raising their cost of living and eliminating many of their jobs.

The several proposals for a “Green New Deal” for America have the common central feature of replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy on the assumption that such energy is feasible in the near-term, and that carbon emissions will decline to lower the Earth’s temperature.

Carbon emissions and temperature data, in fact, have risen far more slowly in recent decades than what is claimed by the climate models posited by the alarmist camp of scientists, as CFACT recently explained. Accordingly, the Earth and its inhabitants do not face an “existential threat,” nor are we sooner facing the “point of no return.”

If America is to turn away from fossil fuels and transform to more carbon-free renewable energy sources, there is plenty of time for further research and development to make it practical. This would allow a far more seamless transition over decades as technological advances continue apace.

Instead, the current political effort to rapidly destroy America’s fossil fuel and gasoline auto industries through premature government mandates for non-fossil fuel use is reckless and harmful – particularly to black and brown communities. Upper income households can afford the resulting rise in energy and utility costs for heating our homes or driving our cars. By contrast, lower income households will struggle making financial ends meet.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 12 percent of Americans lived below the poverty line in 2017. Disaggregated by race, the poverty rate for black and brown Americans is substantially higher, at 21 percent of blacks and 18 percent of non-white Hispanic Americans.

The laws of mathematics are simple: poor people have less disposable income than wealthy people to absorb inexorable higher energy costs resulting from climate policies. For people living in poverty this will exacerbate their condition, especially for black and brown Americans since greater percentages of them already are poor.

Then there is the baleful effect of climate policies on jobs, particularly in fossil fuel and related manufacturing and transportation industries, which are heavily cost-sensitive to energy. Curtailing fossil fuels would result in less extraction and increased transportation costs, resulting in fewer jobs overall, which would particularly hit black and brown Americans.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 5.4 percent of Americans work in construction and extraction industries (mining, drilling, etc.) and 6.4 percent work in transportation and material moving industries.

For Hispanics, 11.4 percent of them work in construction and extraction industries, more than double the overall percentage of Americans, while 8.2 percent work in transportation and material moving jobs, nearly one-third higher than the overall percentage of Americans. For blacks, 10 percent work in transportation and material moving occupations, nearly double the overall percentage of workers.

For black and brown males, the percentages that work in these energy sensitive industries are even higher. Accordingly, they will suffer greater harm from climate policies that target these job sectors.

Another way to examine the economic and societal harm of climate alarmist policies on minority workers is to understand their disproportionate representation in those affected industries. For example, a BLS study of 2014 industry data showed that Hispanics comprise more than 43 percent of farming, fishing and forestry employment, the latter category of which is particularly vulnerable to climate policy restrictions on logging. Hispanics also comprise nearly one-fifth of the workers employed in mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction.

Industry and job sector transformation in America is not a new phenomenon. It is part of our history and the natural outcome of technological advances. Agriculture employs a much smaller percentage of Americans than a century ago, and manufacturing employment, while having increased in recent years, has declined in recent decades as a share of the workforce.

Still, the climate policies that prematurely force the declination and destruction of fossil fuels will unnecessarily raise costs and accelerate thousands of job losses, especially for blue collar workers, as former Vice President Joe Biden recently acknowledged. As the data shows, greater economic harm will result in more vulnerable black and brown communities by worsening their poverty and employment opportunities.

SOURCE 





In State of the Commonwealth speech, Baker presses for more aggressive climate action

[Massachusetts] Governor Charlie Baker on Tuesday pledged more aggressive action in tackling climate change and the region’s transportation woes, using his State of the Commonwealth address to press for increased MBTA funding, quicker cuts to greenhouse gas emissions, and stronger support for a hotly debated carbon pact.

Addressing lawmakers and a television audience, the second-term Republican laced his 35-minute speech with new initiatives and attempts to rally the Democratic-led Legislature behind many of his biggest priorities.

Baker vowed to move the state toward net-zero emissions by 2050, effectively accelerating the goals already laid out in law. His pledge won early plaudits from advocates who’ve pushed for more ambitious action on climate change.

Baker, who has generally opposed calls to raise taxes to funnel more money into the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, proposed $135 million in additional funding in the coming fiscal year for the beleaguered agency.

And he previewed a new $15 million partnership with vocational schools that he said would “turbocharge” the training provided to both adults and teens, changes he estimates will better prepare tens of thousands of would-be trade workers.

Without invoking President Trump by name, Baker leaned into his trademark calls for pragmatism as the country barrels into a divisive campaign to elect a president in November.

“People who deal with much greater troubles than ours will rightly question us if we waste our time, and theirs, on the politics of personal destruction,” Baker told a packed House chamber. “They want us to be better than the yelling they see on TV and across social media.

“We all know campaigns are contests, and the siren call of sloganeering and cheap shots will be everywhere this year. Let’s rise above it,” he added to a lengthy standing ovation, one of 15 he received during the night.

In many cases, Baker’s address cited his administration’s accomplishments as much as it posed new arguments for proposals. He framed his push for a long-stalled bill to help ease the housing crunch in terms of equity, saying the status quo “has been hurting families for years.”

“Our current zoning laws aren’t working. They’re a wall between the well-off and the up-and-coming,” Baker said, adding: “Let’s find the common ground on housing policy that must be in here somewhere.”

He also refocused his argument for complex health care legislation that he said would put a greater emphasis on primary care and behavioral health services. He said the system should reward clinicians who “invest in time and connection with patients and their families,” but it does not. “And this is a major problem,” he said.

It was transportation and climate change, however, that made up large parts of his address.

The state’s Global Warming Solutions Act, signed in 2008, includes a target of 80 percent emissions reduction by 2050. Baker’s commitment to net-zero emissions by then was immediately hailed by environmental groups, many of which have been critical of him in the past. The pledge is a “crucial directive [that] puts Massachusetts in the vanguard of states and nations combating climate change,” said Brad Campbell, president of the Conservation Law Foundation.

The Senate is preparing to unveil on Thursday its own bill addressing climate change, which Senate President Karen E. Spilka said Tuesday will include the accelerated 2050 goal. House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo indicated he, too, supports the new target.

In a thinly veiled shot at the Trump administration, Baker said there have been “significant steps backward in Washington” in addressing climate change. He also trumpeted a stalled proposal he called critical to helping fund climate-resiliency projects through a tax hike on real estate transfers.

He devoted part of his speech to pitching lawmakers on a regional pact known as the Transportation and Climate Initiative, or TCI. It’s designed to curb carbon emissions but would probably raise gas prices. Without action, he said, the state won’t meet its objectives on reducing all greenhouse gas emissions.

SOURCE 





Obama's crooked EPA administrator still spouting off


She's obsessed.  I guess it gives her life meaning

Recently, as meteorologists from around the country assembled in Boston for their annual convention, Gina McCarthy took center stage, carrying an even darker forecast than those of epic storms like the Blizzard of ’78, which she keenly remembers.

It’s nothing less than an urgent bulletin. Our planet is warming. It’s not an opinion. It’s real.

And the consequences are more dire than canceled school classes or thousands of cars stranded on highways from Marshfield to Marblehead.

“The big deal is that global warming is changing the entire system of the way energy is distributed in the planet,’’ McCarthy told me the other day at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, where she is a professor.

“Our climate is temperate. It’s not going to be anymore. The climate isn’t tomorrow. Or five years from now. The climate is forever. It’s a system of change over 30 to 40 years. So you are literally going to see places that flourish as farmlands today that will be deserts tomorrow. This is an entire shift in how the globe’s going to look if we don’t do something about it.’’

Gina McCarthy intends to do something about it.

And those who know her track record — her long and well-earned reputation for no-nonsense, plain-spoken advocacy, her tenacity in the face of nay-sayers or climate-change deniers — say she is a formidable weather system all her own. Inexorable. Relentless. Blunt.

“Gina is a rock star,’’ said Jenni L. Evans, president of the American Meteorological Society. “We see climate change. It’s there. She will talk about how to think about it. How do we give people a sense of self-determination and not a sense that they should slit their wrists?’’

There is nothing academic or hypothetical about this. Evans grew up in Australia, parts of which have been blackened by historic wildfires.

Last year, record temperatures were broken in France and Germany. Greenland’s ice sheet saw historic melting. Average global temperatures were the second highest on record, less than one-tenth of a degree cooler than 2016.

So Evans knows what hangs in the balance. And so does McCarthy, who has made this work the centerpiece of her professional life.

As a young woman, she was the health agent for Canton’s Board of Health. Governor Michael Dukakis named her to a hazardous waste facility site safety council. After that, she served four Republican governors in Massachusetts and one in Connecticut, Jodi Rell.

In March 2013, President Obama nominated McCarthy as the nation’s 13th administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, which she led until 2017, becoming the chief architect of Obama’s plan to combat climate change.

And now, the Natural Resources Defense Council has named McCarthy as its president and chief executive, calling her one of the most effective environmental champions of the modern era.

The challenges, particularly in the age of Donald Trump, are daunting.  According to a recent New York Times analysis, Trump has rolled back more than 90 environmental rules and regulations, raising the prospects for a significant increase in greenhouse gases. That means dirtier air. It means weaker auto pollution standards. It means looser rules governing toxic industrial emissions.

“We haven’t reached the point of no return, but we don’t have as much time as we thought we had,’’ said Mitch Bernard, NRDC’s chief counsel. “The next 10 years will be critical in terms of trying to avert the most severe catastrophes from the changing climate.

“Gina is going to try to mobilize the energy and enthusiasm that is out there, especially among young people, for appropriate and vigorous action on climate. Climate change is not out there on the horizon. It’s creating misery and huge health problems.’’

Still, amid all those storm clouds, McCarthy finds a way to be optimistic. For one thing, she’s shut off the endless cable TV chatter, a limitless electronic feedback loop of bad news, an echo chamber that serves only to reinforce embedded political views on the right and the left.

And then she looks for silver linings.  “The environment has had tremendous improvement,’’ said McCarthy, who, at age 65, is old enough to remember wiping oily residue off her legs after taking a dip in a polluted Boston Harbor. “But it didn’t improve by people saying, ‘We can’t do it.’ It improved by saying, ‘OK, we’ve got to do it.’ That’s my attitude. I’m not going to give up. I’m not going to claim defeat.

“I’m not going to focus on President Trump and his nonsense, which I know I can’t fix right now. We can fight it. And one of the reasons to go to NRDC is because that’s what they do. They fight it every day so we can get into the courts. And in most cases, we’re winning.”

During the Trump presidency, the NRDC has sued the federal government 96 times, fighting his administration on issues ranging from efficiency standards for lightbulbs to endangered species. Its track record? The NRDC says it has emerged victorious in 54 of the 59 cases so far resolved.

“Those are pretty good odds,’’ McCarthy told me. “I’m optimistic because they don’t govern well. So even on the stuff they’re rolling back in the courts they think they’ve stacked, we can win.’’

What does McCarthy want? More electric cars and buses. Energy efficient lightbulbs and toilets. More trees and playgrounds. Public transportation systems that work. Farms that don’t contaminate drinking water supplies.  “I need people to be motivated to act,’’ she said. “Not to be hiding out in their closets.’’

There are no closets in her future. No sandy beaches either. Retirement, she told me, will have to wait. “I can’t let it go,’’ she said. “How do I do that? I don’t just have three kids, I have two grandchildren. And I listen to the young people now. And they’re all debating, and many of them deciding not to have children. That breaks my heart. They don’t see a future.’’

From across the table, she shook her head slowly and sadly. And then, with resolve, added this: “So somehow the energy they’re generating needs to be channeled into something more meaningful than giving up. I just think we have to figure out where the positive energy is. It’s out there. We’ve got to nurture that and at some point you’re going to see people who, like this president, prey on people’s most negative thoughts and amplify those as if that’s a path to the future.  “And I’m not going to buy that. And I’m never going to buy that. And I’m never going to stop fighting it.’’

SOURCE 





Australia: How a tiny group of Greenie protesters managed to stop backburning in East Gippsland over worries baby birds would die - before fires ravaged the area killing four people and forcing mass evacuations from the beach



Greenies fighting to save baby birds blocked vital hazard reduction burns in a tiny Victorian town two months before residents had to be evacuated as a deadly bushfire closed in.

Holding placards that read 'be firefighters not firelighters' and 'spring burns kill baby birds', the protesters refused to leave the planned burn area in Nowa Nowa, Victoria in September.

Firefighters were forced to abandon what they considered a necessary step in bushfire mitigation before the government reduced the planned burn area by more than 97 per cent to appease activists.

The backdown has played out in similar scenes across the country with devastating consequences as hazard reduction burning drops to dangerous levels.

'Burning in spring is the worst time because the animals are breeding and trees are flowering and it is still so dry,' Mary from Nowa Nowa told her local ABC outlet during the protest.

'The Department of Environment, Land and Water and Planning (DELWP) is dividing the community because they are telling us this has to be done to save our lives but in fact they're just destroying the environment.'

The department scaled back the planned burn from 370 hectares to just nine in what would prove a disastrous move as Australia entered a summer of disaster.

Just two months later, the town's 200 residents would have to be urgently evacuated as the East Gippsland bushfire - which killed four people, destroyed 340 homes and burnt 1 million hectares - raged. The insurance bill from the Gippsland area alone is expected to surpass $100 million.

The ABC has since blurred the faces of the activists to protect their identities, having become a target for trolls in the wake of the East Gippsland fires. 

But also coming under fire online was the Victorian government and its agencies for bowing to the wishes of Greens and reducing its planned burns in the Nowa Nowa area by roughly 97.5 per cent.

A Royal Commission into the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires found that 385,000 hectares of hazard reduction needed to be carried out annually across the state.

But DELWP's annual reports reveal only one-third of that goal was accomplished in 2018/19, with 130,000ha burned.

SOURCE 

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

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, January 23, 2020


Green?  50,000 Tons Of Non-Recyclable Wind Turbine Blades Dumped In The Landfill

Funny, no one seemed to consider what to do with the massive amount of wind turbine blades once they reached the end of their lifespan.  Thus, the irony of the present-day Green Energy Movement is the dumping of thousands of tons of “non-recyclable” supposedly renewable wind turbine blades in the country’s landfills.

Who would have thought? What’s even worse, is that the amount of wind turbine blades slated for waste disposal is forecasted to quadruple over the next fifteen years as a great deal more blades reach their 15-20 year lifespan.  Furthermore, the size and length of the newly installed wind turbine blades are now twice as large as they were 20-30 years ago.

Honestly, I hadn’t considered the tremendous amount of waste generated by the so-called “Renewable” wind power industry until a long-term reader sent me the link to the following article, Landfill begins burying non-recyclable Wind Turbine Blades:

Hundreds of giant windmill blades are being shipped to a landfill in Wyoming to be buried because they simply can’t be recycled.  Local media reports several wind farms in the state are sending over 900 un-reusable blades to the Casper Regional Landfill to be buried. While nearly 90 percent of old or decommissioned wind turbines, like the motor housing, can be refurbished or at least crushed, fiberglass windmill blades present a problem due to their size and strength.

“Our crushing equipment is not big enough to crush them,” a landfill representative told NPR.

Prior to burying the cumbersome, sometimes nearly 300-foot long blades, the landfill has to cut them up into smaller pieces onsite and stack them in order to save space during transportation.

Wyoming isn’t the only landfill accepting worn-out wind turbine blades.  They are also being dumped in IOWA and SOUTH DAKOTA.  Although, there’s probably a lot more landfills across the country, especially in Texas, that are accepting old wind turbine blades.  Texas has the largest amount of wind-generated energy in the United States at 27,036 MegaWatts, followed by Iowa (8,965 MW), Oklahoma (8,072 MW), Kansas (6,128 MW), and California (5,842 MW). (source: Wikipedia)

So, with Texas powering more wind energy than the next three  states combined, they will be discarding an enormous amount of wind turbine blades in the state’s landfills over the next 10-20 years.

Now, why is the Wind Power Industry discarding its blades in landfills?  Unfortunately, due to the way the blades are manufactured, it isn’t economical or practical to recycle them even though some small-scale recycling has been done. 

The wind turbine blades are a toxic amalgam of unique composites, fiberglass, epoxy, polyvinyl chloride foam, polyethylene terephthalate foam, balsa wood, and polyurethane coatings.   So, basically, there is just too much plastic-composite-epoxy crapola that isn’t worth recycling.  Again, even though there are a few small recycling centers for wind turbine blades, it isn’t economical to do on a large scale.

As I mentioned, the wind power units built today are getting much taller and larger.  Check out the 83.5 meter (274 feet) long wind turbine blade being transported for a 7 MegaWatt system:

This picture was taken in 2016.  So, in about 15-20 years, this blade will need to be replaced.  Just think of the cost to remove three massive blades this size, cut them up, transport them to the landfill and cover them with tons of soil.  Now, multiply that by tens of thousands of blades. According to the data from Hochschule Bremerhaven & Ahlstrom-Munksjo, the wind industry will generate 50,000 tons of blade waste in 2020, but that will quadruple to 225,000 tons by 2034.  I have read that some estimates show an even higher amount of blade waste over the next 10-20 years.

I don’t believe the public realizes what a horrible waste of resources that wind energy is when you start to look at the entire operation from beginning to end. Wind energy is definitely not RENEWABLE.  And, even worse… the wind turbines are not lasting as long as the 20-25 years forecasted by the industry.  A study that came out in 2012 by Gordon Hughes, researching the relatively mature Dutch and U.K. Wind Industry, suggested that only a few of the wind farms would be operating for more than 12-15 years.

SOURCE 





EPA’s Science Blowout: Air pollution revisited

A unique event in regulatory science just happened. One that could only have occurred in the rock ’em, sock ’em Trump era.

An Environmental Protection Agency science advisory panel informed the EPA administrator that 25 years and $600 million worth of the science underpinning the agency’s flagship air quality regulatory program is essentially worthless. Many of these problems are discussed in a new report from the Texas Public Policy Foundation, “The EPA’s Pretense of Science: Regulating Phantom Risks.”

Though this is a huge victory for those of us who have been critical of the EPA “science” for decades, it has come almost too late. The Clinton, Bush and Obama EPAs used this “science” to inflict trillions of dollars’ worth of compliance costs on Americans, not to mention incalculable lost economic opportunities.

The EPA’s Clean Air Act Science Advisory Board wrote to Administrator Andrew Wheeler on December 16 that the agency’s most recent assessment of the health effects of particulate matter like soot and dust (PM) in outdoor air is not comprehensive, systematic or adequate for determining that PM caused health effects.

The immediate regulatory implication of the letter is to inform Wheeler that there is no scientific basis for further tightening of the national air quality standard for PM, consideration of which EPA is undertaking as required by the Clean Air Act.

PM in outdoor air was first weaponized by the Clinton administration in 1997 as part of its controversial bid to tighten the air-quality standard for ozone (ground-level smog), then estimated to impose as much as $100 billion worth of compliance costs per year. EPA tried to offset these costs by claiming that its new standards would prevent 20,000 premature deaths per year. When valued at $5 million per prevented death, the ozone regulation was magically paid for.

When EPA’s outside science advisers and Congress separately challenged the EPA’s claim that PM killed by asking for the supporting scientific data, EPA ignored the science advisers and the brusquely told Congress that the agency saw no useful purpose in providing the data.

Reluctant to challenge anything environmental, the Bush administration failed to get a grip on the EPA and the agency staff proceeded to strengthen its PM case not with better science but rather with more science. Hundreds of millions of dollars were spent to get thousands of papers published claiming that PM killed.

The stage was then set for the Obama administration, which launched the war on coal behind the claim that reducing coal plant emissions via regulation would prevent tens of thousands of premature deaths every year. Obama EPA administrator Lisa Jackson even testified to Congress that PM “doesn’t make you sick …  it just kills you,” and that if PM was adequately regulated, as many as 570,000 lives could be saved every year.

Not only did the Obama EPA continue to ignore congressional requests for the underlying scientific data but it also ignored a House subpoena for the data.

To manage the problem of overly inquisitive outside science advisers, EPA replaced its largely independent outside air-quality science advisers with panels of almost entirely EPA-funded university researchers.

By stiff-arming Congress and rigging the statutorily mandated scientific review process, EPA successfully prosecuted the war on coal, driving the largest coal companies into bankruptcy and erasing 94 percent of the market value of the coal industry.

Then came the Trump administration.

The first thing to go was the EPA’s system of “pal review” from its outside science advisers. With new conflict-of-interest rules, Trump EPA administrator Scott Pruitt banned agency grantees from serving as reviewers. Pruitt then proposed to ban reliance by the agency on scientific data that wasn’t made publicly available upon request, setting off a furious response ginned up by those hiding their research data. Pruitt’s successor, Wheeler, then dissolved the extant panel of Obama administration-chosen PM science advisers.

And after available science advisory panel slots were filled with Trump administration picks, a more balanced board of science advisers has now, by majority vote, returned the panel back to where it was in 1996, when it first advised Clinton EPA administrator Carol Browner that the EPA had no evidence that PM caused premature death.

The claims, actions and consequences of this EPA saga have been extraordinary. Massive funding of university researchers to make dubious claims of mass death, arrogant hiding of taxpayer-funded scientific data, agency disregard for congressional oversight, rigged peer-review, destruction of the coal industry, huge ongoing compliance costs and much more.

And the drama is far from over. Wheeler will in 2020 make the final decision on the air-quality standards and the science transparency rule. Meanwhile the other side is furiously working to undermine both efforts while doubling down on their claims that PM kills. But their data remains secret.

SOURCE 




UK: Wind farms built to tackle climate change could be final nail in coffin for seabirds, RSPB warns

Wind farms built to tackle climate change could be the "final nail in the coffin" for sea birds, the RSPB has warned as it publishes a new report into their feeding hotspots.

The UK is a globally crucial place for these birds, as it contains 8 million breeding pairs. They are in fast decline - seabirds have faced a 70 per cent drop worldwide since the 1970s, and numbers continue to fall.

When the birds feed, they fly out to sea to find food sources such as sandeels. The RSPB has tracked over 1,000 of Britain's four most threatened bird species — kittiwakes, guillemots, razorbills and shags — and found they feed at certain "hotspots". Many of these are sandbanks where small fish are found - which happen to be the places developers find it easier to build offshore wind turbines.

The new research, published in the journal Biological Conservation, found that the hotspots are bigger than all the Special Protection Areas in the UK, where human activity on bird life is curbed.

It has also identified areas in which the building of infrastructure including wind farms should be banned, the RSPB said.

Gareth Cunningham, the bird charity's chief marine policy officer, told The Telegraph: "We are in the middle of the climate emergency and one of the methods for addressing that is offshore wind. Currently there's very little monitoring done on offshore wind farms.

"Wind farms need to be built where the sea is fairly shallow, sometimes this means they are built on areas which are meant for foraging.

"The new data shows where birds go so we need to not put offshore wind in these hotspots. We need environmentally sensible installations. We have a biodiversity emergency — we don't want to make this worse while tackling climate emergency. We need to deal with climate change but we need to make sure the measures we take to address climate change aren't the final nail in the coffin for seabirds."

Wind farms can harm these little birds because collision with the blades can cause death as they try to fly to their feeding spots. Even the birds which wisely dodge the structures are harmed; they are forced to take large detours, putting chicks at risk of starvation as they wait for their parents to return.

Dr Ian Cleasby, lead author of the research, said: “The sight and sound of hundreds of thousands of seabirds flocking to our shores is an amazing natural spectacle and something that we must help protect for future generations to enjoy. The results from this research provides better evidence that allows us to identify important areas of sea that should be part of protected areas and help to improve how we plan for development at sea to reduce conflicts between the needs of our seabirds and human activities at sea”

This comes as the government commits to a Seabird Conservation Strategy, to be published in December 2020, and has designated new Special Protection Areas for terns in the Solent  and near Middlesbrough .

These new areas will protect the birds from human activity, such as fishing or outdoor recreation. The new and extended locations join 47 existing sites in English waters.

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: "As the devastating impacts of climate change are only too visible, it is vital that we take decisive steps now that make a real difference to help protect our wildlife and allow vulnerable species to recover.

"We have already protected important nesting sites for seabirds, such as the little tern, and these new and additional protections to their feeding grounds, together with the development of a new strategy to protect our seabirds, will help the coastal environment recover, develop and, importantly, thrive."

Tony Juniper, Natural England Chair, added:  "Many of Britain’s sea and shorebird populations are globally important and for that reason we have a particular responsibility to protect and enhance them. I am delighted that, following an extensive evidence-based assessment by Natural England, these new areas, confirmed today by Government, will help to do that. They will ensure that species of conservation concern, such as terns and waders, have access to secure food sources, including during their critical annual breeding seasons."

SOURCE 




Regulatory Action Center Supports EPA's Cost-Saving Methane De-Regulation

FreedomWorks Foundation's Regulatory Action Center (RAC) is driving comments in support of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) reform on methane. This new rule would remove regulatory barriers erected by the Obama administration. It would save the American taxpayer tens of millions of dollars and help lower energy costs for U.S. households. You can make your voice heard HERE to support this crucial reform.

Existing Obama-era regulations on methane impose stringent regulations for the transmission and storage of methane. This means that even though the mere storage of methane did not contribute significantly to air pollution, the Obama administration counted it against organizations that store and transmit methane as if it had polluted the environment. This is predatory regulatory overreach at its finest.

The Trump Administration, under the leadership of Administrator Wheeler, has ruled that the Obama EPA erred in its judgment. In order to be regulated under Section 111 of the Clean Air Act, the agency must determine that there is a significant impact on air pollution. Otherwise, any regulation is unlawful. The EPA also expects minimal environmental impact by this de-regulation, because of its allowance for modifications and the aforementioned issue of methane storage not contributing to air pollution.

EPA’s regulatory impact analysis estimates that the proposed amendments would save the oil and natural gas industry $17-$19 million a year, for a total of $97-$123 million from 2019 through 2025. This is cost-saving to the American taxpayer and is an important step towards lowering the energy bills for all Americans.

SOURCE 




Tony Abbott says 'every extreme weather event' in Australia is being used as 'proof of climate change' by eco fanatics who have become 'religious' in their beliefs

He is clearly still aware that global warming is hokum

Tony Abbott says climate change zealots are wrongly using 'every extreme weather event' as undeniable proof of global warming, with the former prime minister denying it was the main cause of Australia's unprecedented bushfire crisis.

Mr Abbott launched a stinging rebuke of eco warriors at an event for the Heritage Foundation, a right-wing think tank, in Washington D.C. on Tuesday - where he also lauded US President Donald Trump's first term in office.

The former Liberal Party leader and volunteer firefighter said deadly bushfires were inevitable in Australia and pointed to the century-old Dorothea Mackeller poem 'My Country' which describes the country as a land 'of droughts and flooding rains'.

Mr Abbott said climate change activists were almost 'religious' in their beliefs that global warming was to blame for the ongoing fires, which have devastated a record amount of land.

'I'm not one of those people who sees the current bushfires as confirmation of all we have feared about the changing climate,' he told The Sydney Morning Herald.

'I see the current bushfires as the sort of thing we are always going to be prone to in a country such as ours.'

Mr Abbott said those who believe climate change is the most important factor in extreme weather events use it as the reason for fires, floods and Hurricane Sandy - which devastated the Carribean in 2012.

'If you think climate change is the most important thing, everything can be turned to proof. I think that to many it has almost a religious aspect to it,' he said.

Mr Abbott, Australia's 28th prime minister, led the country between 2013 and 2015 while served 19 years as a volunteer firefighter for the Rural Fire Service.

He supported Prime Minister Scott Morrison's stance that climate change had some role in causing bushfires, and praised his response to the state of emergency caused by the fires.

SOURCE 

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

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

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

Wednesday, January 22, 2020


Banks warned to ‘mobilise all forces' to save the economy from climate change-induced disaster

Another stupid prophecy.  Global warming prophecies NEVER come true

The world’s most powerful banks have issued a warning that climate change could trigger the next global financial crisis.

In an expansive new report, the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) told its members they had to start including climate change in their thinking about the stability of the economy.

During the global financial crisis some central banks intervened to save private banks and insurance firms as part of a program to protect the economy.

The BIS said this could be the template used in the case of climate change.

“In the worst-case scenario, central banks may have to confront a situation where they are called upon by their local constituencies to intervene as climate rescuers of last resort,” it said.

The BIS warned that economic models mapping out possible climate change scenarios were “inherently incapable” of dealing with the many overlapping forces that would lead to a lower-emissions economy.

“Fundamentally, climate-related risks will remain largely uninsurable or unable to be hedged as long as system-wide action is not taken,” the BIS said.

It urged central bankers to “be more proactive” in pushing governments on the transition to a greener economy, while also urging governments to steer financial institutions and businesses towards accounting for climate-related risks in their investment decisions.

SOURCE




What Doomsayers Won’t Tell You About Earth’s Climate History

Absent historical context, extreme weather can be overhyped in ways that lead uninformed voters to conclude that acts of God such as severe droughts and floods never happened before humans began using fossil fuels.

In fact, extreme weather has occurred with monotonous regularity for millions of years.

Below is an infinitesimal sampling of the endless multitude of catastrophic weather events in Earth’s past, many of which occurred long before the Industrial Revolution.

 *  The Great Hurricane of 1780 killed 30,000 people in the Caribbean.

 *  Epic dust storms in the 1930s caused catastrophic ecological damage to the Central Plains of the U.S. and Canada.

 *  Massive flooding that hit Tokyo, Japan, in 1910 destroyed more than 400,000 homes.

 *  Consecutive years of extreme weather took the lives of one-third of the population during the Russian Famine of 1601-1603.

 *  In 1927, weeks of heavy rains in Mississippi caused flooding that covered 27,000 square miles, leaving entire towns and surrounding countryside submerged up to a depth of 30 feet.

 *  A catastrophic hurricane that hit sparsely populated Sea Island, Georgia in 1893 killed 2,000 people.

 *  The Blizzard of 1888 was so extreme that snow and ice covered the entire northeastern U.S., from Maine to the Chesapeake Bay.

 *  On Sept. 8, 1900, a Cat-4 hurricane obliterated the island of Galveston, Texas, killing an estimated 10,000 residents.

 *  In 1889, heavy rains that lasted for days caused massive flooding in Jamestown, PA, killing 2,200.

 *  Caused by a protracted drought, the Bengal Famine of 1770 killed 10 million people in South Asia.

 *  And, for those who believe in the Bible, Genesis 7:12 reports that rain fell upon the earth for 40 days and 40 nights, an extreme weather event by any definition.

What you’ve just read is a tiny slice of Earth’s turbulent climate history that global warming doomsayers hope voters will never know.

And, because there’s an agenda behind climate hysteria that has nothing to do with “saving the planet” – I wrote about that agenda here – there’s not much they won’t do to trick voters to believe that global warming is causing the environment to fall apart at the seams.

They even changed the name of the alleged threat.

Switching gears: Why “global warming” came to be called “climate change”

When the accelerated warming trend that began in the 1980s ran out of steam in 1997, an extended leveling-off period set in.

Instead of acknowledging their dire predictions of unstoppable rising temperatures were embarrassingly wrong, climate doomsayers came up with a new tag for the alleged threat.

What was once referred to almost exclusively as “global warming” was quietly given an alter ego: “climate change.”

Since global temperatures were in a virtual flatline, claims of cataclysmic warming were no longer believable.

Rather than admitting they were wrong and looking for another way to destroy capitalism, the doomsayers simply switched gears and invented a clever new trick to frighten voters with terrifying scenarios of imminent environmental calamity.

Since runaway warming wasn’t happening, they concocted the specious narrative that extreme weather events, every one of them, are caused by, you guessed it: climate change.

Almost overnight, climate change was made the scapegoat for every severe hurricane, drought, flood, heatwave, and blizzard that appeared, as if such unpleasant things had never before occurred.

MORE here





The Green assault on home ownership

With millennials postponing or wholly ignoring marriage while dealing with heavy student loan debt and greater mobility, home ownership for many Americans under 35 may not be as important a goal as it has been for the entirety of the American experiment. Higher prices even for entry-level homes may also be a contributor.

This shying away from home ownership has created an environment in which those who want to destroy the right to private property can find an audience. Thus it should be no surprise that UCLA urban planning professor Kian Goh, in an op ed in far-left magazine The Nation, wrote that, “If we want to keep cities safe in the face of climate change, we need to seriously question the ideal of private homeownership.”

Like wolves sensing weakness, some politicians have also jumped at the opportunity to propose a future without single-family homeowners. Maryland state legislator Vaughn Stewart wants to eliminate zoning regulations that protect single-family neighborhoods and instead mandate construction of tenements that will destroy property values in those “high-opportunity” neighborhoods.

Then Stewart, a white millennial who lives in ┼▒ber-rich Montgomery County, throws in the race card, ignoring well-enforced legislation that prohibits discrimination in housing. These property-value destroying steps, including ending “weaponized zoning codes” that push people of color and the working class “to the crumbling margins of cities and towns.”

Yup! Just as some far leftists want to take away private health insurance from 150 million Americans, others now want to take away the private property rights exercised by 83 million households!

Fortunately, current U.S. housing policy has a different idea. It’s called “Homeownership: The American Dream.”

That’s the title of an article by Rachelle Levitt, Director of the Research Utilization Division of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Policy Development and Research. Levitt pledged that increasing the rate of home ownership and the economic benefits that home ownership confers, continues to be a government and societal goal. This, so HUD will continue to ensure that the opportunity to seize this part of the American Dream is available to as many Americans as possible.

According to Levitt, “For many Americans, owning a home is an essential part of the American dream that conveys a number of economic benefits. Such as the ability to accumulate wealth and access credit by building home equity. Also to reduce housing costs through the mortgage interest deduction and gain long-term savings over the cost of renting.”

Now, while this may not be true for those who frequently relocated from city to city or for single adults not willing to rent out unused rooms in the typical three-bedroom bungalow, home ownership indeed makes all the difference in net worth.

Evidence is ample, but the fact that U.S. minority home ownership rates are just 46.3 percent (compared to 73 percent for whites) is a major reason that, according to Federal Reserve estimates, the median net worth of white families is nearly 10 times that of black families. Similarly, minority homeowners were twice as likely to face foreclosures than white homeowners in the wake of the 2008 big banks bailout.

This makes good fodder for those playing the race card. But then there are the millennials, who are facing a collective student loan debt [thanks to government and academia conspiring, perhaps unintentionally, to enslave even the brightest and best] of about $1.5 trillion. This is the primary reason even well-salaraied millennials are delaying home ownership, as reported by Casey Bond in the Huffington Post.

Bond cited a survey by the National Association of Realtors found that 83 percent of millennials ages 22 to 35 who have delayed home ownership, said they did so because of student loan debt. Bond quotes millennial certified financial planner Brian Face to illustrate the idea that many millennials are choosing to rent because it affords them better personal and financial opportunities. Face says:“Our generation is more about experiences,” and “the bottom line is you have to give up something in order to be a homeowner.”

With socialism, as taught in America’s public schools, gaining in popularity among the younger generation and a declining belief in (or even hatred of) the relationship between home ownership and the American Dream, it is not surprising that academics like Professor Goh are blaming climate change in part on home ownership itself.

Goh opines: “Cheap energy—both the monetary price of subsidized gasoline and the hidden costs of fossil fuels—and the idealization of individual homeownership have created the scorching landscapes we face today. Cheap energy is untenable in the face of climate emergency. And individual homeownership should be seriously questioned.”

In the face of ever-increasing, and ever more radical, socialist propaganda, is it possible that private property rights may go the way of freedom of speech and the right to bear arms? The social engineers of the Left surely hope so – but even Goh admits that, “Even with the threats of climate change and rampant fire looming, the ideals of the American Dream that have been instilled for more than 150 years [and which have blinded us to other possibilities (sic)] will be difficult to dispel.”

SOURCE





CLIMATE CHANGE ROUNDUP FROM AUSTRALIA

Three current articles below

Amusingly empty-headed Leftism

Leftists run as if from the plague if they encounter conservative discourse.  They have to.  So much of what they believe is contrary to the facts that they have a desperate need not to be proved wrong.  Conservatives have no such fears.  Conservatives just want to know what the facts are. Conservatism is built around the facts.  Mr Gradgrind was probably a conservative.

So I read Leftist articles almost daily.  They can have useful facts in them but never the whole facts.  So I had a look at the current article below from the far-Left "New Matilda" site. It is written by Rosie Latimer, who is a medical student. I feel sorry for any patients she may one day have.  The heading on her article reads "Climate Change Is Science Not Politics. So Can We Talk About It Yet?"

Yet she mentions NOT ONE scientific fact in her article. She probably knows none. She uses "science" as a sort of magic word that opens all doors.  She relies on a fictitious "consensus" among scientists to "prove" the reality of global warming.  Has no-one ever told her that once there was a consensus among all good men that the earth was flat?  Science relies on facts, not opinions.

I reproduce just her opening paragraphs below.  I give the link for you to read the whole article if you are interested in any more "ad hominem" fallacies


Australia is under attack from unprecedented bushfires, which are decimating our country, leaving a trail of physical, mental, and emotional destruction. Many have lost loved ones, homes, and some of our native plants and animals are facing extinction.

People are suffering under the toxic smoke that is billowing throughout Australia and the Pacific.

Yet in the face of this, our government and the Murdoch media contend this is not the time to discuss climate change, because the discussion of climate change is a political issue.

Climate change is not a political issue.

There is overwhelming scientific consensus that global warming is occurring, caused by humans emitting greenhouse gases. The world has drawn links between Australia’s love affair with a coal-based economy and the bushfires ravaging our great nation.

This should be a bi-partisan issue, an issue that unites us all. So why is it a Liberal calling card to deny climate change, and a Labor calling card to let them?

SOURCE 


Climate change rally turns ugly in Melbourne as angry demonstrators clash with police and Extinction Rebellion protesters bury their heads in the sand at a popular beach

They are just attention-seekers getting high on their own righteousness

Thousands of protesters have marched through Melbourne calling for immediate climate change action and for Prime Minister Scott Morrison to be sacked.

There was a heightened police presence as the activists gathered at the State Library and walked through the city on Saturday afternoon.

One impassioned activist decided to target the on-duty officers by screaming in their direction and leaning uncomfortably close.

A police officer was forced to warn the angry protester to 'back off' and push him away.

The rally, organised by Uni Students for Climate Justice, is part of rolling January demonstrations for the city 'to demand real action on climate change and justice for the communities devastated by the fires'.

'These fires are the result of decades of climate destruction at the hands of fossil fuel industry and their mates in Canberra,' the event description said.

Activists are fighting for a levy on fossil fuel companies, the removal of Mr Morrison from office and firefighters to be paid for their work, among other demands.

Organisers estimated about 2,000 people took part in Saturday's event.

The march came one-day after Extinction Rebellion activists buried their heads in the sand to demand the government declare a climate emergency.

About 300 people descended on Inverloch Beach, about two hours south-east of Melbourne, for the 'peaceful' protest on Friday.

The demonstration comes amid a catastrophic and fatal bushfire season, which has ripped through the state's East Gippsland region.

The protest saw activists dig holes in the sand to bury their heads and lie on the side of the shore, Nine News reported.

Protester Nicky Miller described the protest as 'symbolism' for Australia's lack of action in reducing emissions.

A number of protesters displayed signs slamming the government for its reliance on fossil fuels.

The colourful demonstrators sung there was a 'climate crisis' with the assistance of ukuleles and other instruments.

Leticia Liang referred to the bushfires when explaining why she took part in the protest.

'I don't want my children to adapt to hazy days, I don't want me children to adapt to smoke and fires,' she said.

Lynn Atkinson from Extinction Rebellion said the location of the protest - Inverloch Beach - was eroding 'rapidly'.

Jessica Harrison, also from the activist group, said: 'We want our lovely beach to be preserved, this beach has eroded more than 30 metres in the last four to five years.'

Extinction Rebellion said they expected 100 protesters to attend the demonstration but the 300-strong crowd represented the local community are 'concerned' and 'need action'.

SOURCE 


Government is not even trying to reduce fuel for fires

A FIRE fighter has savaged the Queensland Government's hazard reduction burning process, claiming there was state-owned land that wasn't being monitored for fuel loads. Will Wilson, who is stationed in Mt Alma, West of Gladstone, said the local brigade had also stopped telling authorities about "intense fuel loads" building up because there were too many hoops to jump through.

"There's no one that drives along the highway that says 'There's a massive fuel load'," he said "There's no one checking fuel loads at those locations apart from landholders who don't own the land."

The first officer, who's been with the brigade for about 25 years, said the land which runs parallel to a highway was a big instigator for fires. "We've never been notified by main roads that we need to do some fuel reduction on their land," he said

Mr Wilson said it was not the volunteers' job to monitor areas such as rail corridors and main roads and called for financial incentives to better protect the community.

A Government spokesman said government agencies conducted hazard reduction burns on state-owned land only when it was safe to do so.  "Activities include hazard reduction bums, fireline maintenance, mechanical clearing and targeted community education," he said. "More than one million hectares of national parks were treated by planned burns last year. That is the most hectares treated in eight years."

Frank McKee, a fire warden for the Boyne Valley, said it was "all but impossible" to get all government departments to agree to hazard reduction burns on state-owned land. "You have to jump through hoops so high it's ridiculous," he said.

Asked why he thought it was hard to get approvals, Mr McKee said it was due to concerns about risk. "They (authorities) think 'Well what if it (fire) gets away'," he said.

Mr McKee also said officers were required to tell the Government whether there were endangered trees on land needing burning.

"They should be able to have land with no more than a seven-year build up (of fuel load)," he said. "Anything over seven years is uncontrollable."

From the Brisbane "Courier Mail" of 18 January, 2020

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

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, January 21, 2020



Trump’s EPA is said to cut scientists out of new water policy

With the Trump administration poised to roll back key protections for much of the nation’s wetlands, scientists at the US Environmental Protection Agency are accusing the agency’s political appointees of ignoring their advice and barring them from shaping sweeping new guidelines, violating the agency’s longstanding policies.

One scientist was so distraught that the agency veteran started to cry while explaining how EPA administrators have cut specialists out of the process of crafting rules that prevent development and pollution near streams, tidal waters, and ponds.

“This has been a very painful time to work for the agency,” the scientist said in a recent interview, speaking on condition of anonymity because of fear of reprisal. “We’re being asked to do things that most of us feel is the antithesis of what we’ve been trying to do, and, in some cases, undo things that we’ve worked very hard to accomplish.” Then, the scientist broke down.

As soon as this weekend, after three years of attempting to scale back a raft of other environmental regulations, President Trump is expected to announce a far-reaching new policy that could drastically curb protections of the nation’s streams and wetlands and impact critical headwaters across New England.

In late 2018, the Trump administration released a draft of its plan to alter the nation’s water policy, which aims to overturn protections introduced three years earlier during the Obama administration. The changes, according to the agency’s own data, would eliminate environmental protections from about half the country’s wetlands and millions of miles of streams.

In New England, despite state protections that could limit the impact of such federal moves, changes to the so-called Waters of the United States rule could affect thousands of vernal pools, bodies of water in forests that provide habitat to many species; isolated wetlands; and a range of streams that flow after heavy rains or during specific seasons.

That means in communities without specific bylaws that prevent pollution or development in those areas, a developer wouldn’t need a permit to fill those wetlands, or a company could legally dump chemicals on that property.

Elsewhere in the nation, particularly in the Southwest, the vast majority of streams could lose federal protections against pollution and development.

Proponents, including groups representing farmers and home builders, have hailed the new regulations as overdue. When announcing the draft rules a year ago, EPA officials said the changes would increase economic growth, reduce barriers to business development, and clear up nebulous language that has sparked litigation.

“Our simpler and clearer definition would help landowners understand whether a project on their property will require a federal permit or not, without spending thousands of dollars on engineering and legal professionals,” EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said at the time.

Miners, developers, and other industries have pushed for the change. Speaking last year at the annual convention of the American Farm Bureau Federation, one of the leading advocates for the new rules, Trump said the changes would save farmers from “one of the most ridiculous regulations ever imposed on anybody in our nation.”

But even the agency’s own board of scientific advisers — many of whom were appointed by the Trump administration — have dissented. In a letter to Wheeler late last year, the advisers wrote that the proposed rule was “in conflict with established science . . . and the objectives of the Clean Water Act.”

As the administration has worked on completing the final rules, more than 40 current and former scientists, career employees, and political appointees are voicing their concerns.

In a letter submitted this weekend to the agency’s inspector general requesting an investigation, members of the group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility alleged that political appointees in the agency have “suppressed” and “dismissed” the scientific opinions of career employees.

“There was no honest investigation, no commitment to the evidence, no culture of robust scientific inquiry and discussion, and no transparency,” they wrote in the complaint, which was signed by former EPA regional administrators and senior water specialists. “These headquarters employees have suppressed evidence, misrepresented data, exaggerated uncertainties, and let perceived policy implications improperly override undisputed scientific conclusions.”

They added, “This case is not one of a difference of personal views: the overwhelming number of former and current agency personnel, together with the [Science Advisory Board] and independent scientists, all agree that the headquarters employees improperly rejected science.”

Among those who signed the letter was Curt Spalding, the EPA regional administrator in New England during the Obama administration. He said there was a clear difference in how the Trump and Obama administrations approached changes to the nation’s water protections.

Before the Obama administration announced new rules in 2015, which expanded protections throughout the country, scientists and other specialists met repeatedly to help shape the rules and provided guidance that shaped the ultimate rules, he said.

“It’s clear that they’re not paying attention to the science about protecting water quality,” said Spalding, a professor at Brown University. “We tried to build a rule grounded in science; what they’re doing will mean a lot less protection for very important wetlands throughout New England that are vital to our ecosystems and drinking water.”

Another signatory of the letter , Matt Schweisberg, a former chief of wetlands protection at EPA in New England, told the Globe he worries that the agency’s final rules will be even worse than the draft version.

The proposed changes would mean that a vast number of streams and ponds won’t be protected by the Clean Water Act, a landmark law passed in 1972 that led to the cleanup and preservation of many of the nation’s waterways, he said.

“I have not seen such a wholesale abandonment of environmental protection in the 40 years I’ve been at this, and I went through the changes during the Reagan administration,” said Schweisberg, now an environmental consultant in Merrimac. “I think it’s certain that the impacts of this are going to be extremely harmful.”

In response to the allegations, EPA officials said in a statement that the agency “takes science integrity seriously” and that the “career professionals” at the EPA and US Army Corps of Engineers have been “actively involved” in the development of the new rules.

“Assertions that the Trump administration’s revised definition . . . will leave thousands of stream miles and millions of acres of wetlands unprotected are categorically false,” said Michael Abboud, an EPA spokesman.

He said previous federal definition of the waters subject to the new rules have proven “too speculative to be meaningful for regulatory purposes.” The final rule, he said, “will be grounded in the law, informed by science.”

He added, “A reputable newspaper like The Boston Globe should know better than to run a baseless story.”

Among the groups that have supported the EPA’s efforts to change the water rules is the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a trade group representing 25,000 beef producers around the country.

They said the rules implemented during the Obama administration meant that nearly every cattle producer with more than 20 acres of land would have been forced to wade through a sometimes-expensive, bureaucratic process to do basic things such as build a feedlot. A federal judge blocked the Obama rule from taking effect in many states.

“We think the new rule is going to be a step in the right direction,” said Scott Yager, chief environmental counsel to the association. “The 2015 rule expanded the federal government reach beyond what we have ever experienced in history.”

But environmental advocates said the arguments supporting the administration’s changes are misleading.

“The EPA’s own graphs and numbers show how much will be lost,” said Kyla Bennett, a former wetlands scientist at the EPA who now serves as science policy director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. “The fact that so many current and former federal employees have spoken out against this flawed rulemaking process speaks volumes.”

SOURCE





Fight fires with facts – not fake science

Eliminate fuel, prevent ignition, stop arson, end irresponsible land management policies

Paul Driessen & Duggan Flanakin

“We are all born ignorant,” Benjamin Franklin once said, “but one must work very hard to remain stupid.”

Greens are incensed over suggestions that anything but fossil fuels and climate change might be turning green California and Australian ecosystems into black wastelands, incinerating wildlife, destroying homes and killing people. The notion that they and their policies might be a major factor in these fires gets them so hot under the collar that they could ignite another inferno. But the facts are there for all to see.

PG&E certainly failed to maintain, upgrade and repair its transmission lines and towers, leading to sparks that caused multiple fiery cataclysms. However, California now has over 129 million dead trees in its forests – and a long history of refusing to thin them out, clear brush or permit others to do so. Fuel levels in Aussie forest, brush and grasslands areas have likewise climbed to near-historic levels in recent years.

The total area burned in New South Wales and Victoria is now approaching the area burnt in Victoria back in 1851, Australian scientist Dr. Jennifer Marohasy notes. 2020 summer temperatures in Australia may get as hot as they did back in 1938-1939. US climatologist Dr. Roy Spencer agrees.

In both California and Australia, people bemoan the loss of eucalyptus trees in fires. But many don’t want them removed or even thinned out. They don’t know (or won’t accept the fact) that fallen eucalypt leaves and bark create vast expanses of flammable material, while their spicy-smelling oil is highly flammable. A spark can ignite an explosive firestorm in air laden with gasoline-like vapors, followed by horrific crown fires among the trees and ground fires in the dead leaves and bark.

Rainy winters in both places cause rapid, lush plant growth that is aided by rising levels of atmospheric plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide. Long, hot, dry summers – or prolonged droughts – can follow, drying out the trees, brush and grass, and setting the stage for catastrophic wildfires.

Environmentalists, politicians, regulators and judges say removing trees and brush will damage habitats. But when the inevitable conflagrations hit, habitats are cremated and obliterated, down to soil organisms and organic matter. Subsequent downpours and snowmelts wash the remaining soil away. What habitats?

Some recent fires could be called “historic” or “unprecedented” – especially if monster fires of a century or more ago are left out of the calculation; or if conflagrations elsewhere are not included. Few people know about the Great Peshtigo, Wisconsin Fire of October 8, 1871, even though it killed 1,200-2,500 people, many of them turned into little piles of ash. The Peshtigo debacle was overshadowed by another big fire that day: the Great Chicago Fire, which burned 98% less land and killed far fewer people.

Yet another fact demolishes the all-too-typical claim that recent Australian fires are due to manmade climate change. Many (perhaps most) of those fires were caused by humans – some accidentally, but many deliberately. More than 180 alleged arsonists have been arrested since the start of the 2020 bushfire season, with 29 blazes deliberately lit in part of southeast New South Wales in just three months!

At least two dozen people have died in Australia’s fires, along with thousands of sheep and cattle, over 2,000 koala bears, and several hundred million other animals. US wildfires have likewise exacted horrific death tolls. A few years ago, Duggan hosted a benefit concert for the families of the Fallen Nineteen, the 19 City of Prescott firefighters who died battling the 2013 lightning-ignited Yarnell Hill Fire in Arizona.

Now, the Washington Free Beacon reports, “a media outlet affiliated with ISIS has been instructing the group's radical adherents to set forest fires in the United States and Europe to cause mass ecological disasters, according to posts on an internet forum dedicated to the terror group.” The Middle East Media Research Institute has flagged four posters published in the pro-ISIS Quraysh media outlet. The first said (English translation): “Oh monotheists [followers of ISIS], ignite fires in the forests and fields, and we are addressing especially those who live in Europe and America, for the fires are painful to them.” The fourth poster got more specific: “Ignite fires in the forests of America, France, Britain and Germany, for they are painful to them." Might some ISIS follower have viewed Australia as equally deserving of ecotage?

A recent report by Pulitzer Prize winning Los Angeles Times reporter Bettina Boxall may make greens even hotter under the collar: “Human-caused ignitions spark California’s worst wildfires but get little state focus,” the headline reads. Her key point is damning: “It doesn’t matter how dry the vegetation, how fierce the winds or how high the temperature; if there is no ignition, there is no wildfire.”

Noting that the 2019 California fire season was far less deadly than that in 2018, when the notorious “Camp Fire” destroyed the town of Paradise and killed 86 people, Ms. Boxall attributes the comparatively mind 2019 fire season to actions PG&E took to shut down power to many Californians, often for days. She quotes Stanford University researcher Michael Wara, who testified before a Congressional committee that Pacific Gas & Electric’s inspections of wind damage to its lines and equipment made it clear that, without preventive shutdowns, “we would have had a significant number of utility-caused fires” in 2019.

Boxall found that all of California’s 20 most destructive wildfires were human-related, with half due to power line or electrical problems. She also noted that a study of US records from 1992 to 2012 found that human activity (power lines, carelessness and arson) was responsible for 84% of wildfires and 44% of acreage burned nationwide. That’s the ignition factor. Two other factors are equally important.

Even if there is ignition, if there is insufficient fuel, there will still be no wildfire – at least not monstrous, deadly conflagrations. Thin the forests, remove dead trees, control brush and grass levels, especially in dry seasons and arid regions. It’s basic, intelligent land management; the Boy Scout motto: Be prepared.

Preparation also means maintaining fire breaks and access roads into forest, brush and grass lands; building and maintaining sufficient escape routes and warning systems, and making people aware of them; ensuring that each family and community has an escape plan; and having enough trucks, airplanes, helicopters, other equipment and personnel to respond to average fires and worst-case scenarios. It means educating children and adults about how to prevent fires, put them out, and get out of their path.

(California public schools offer multiple courses on climate change. Cool California lists even more. But as long as politicians and even industry leaders keep spreading the false gospel of climate change as the principal cause of wildfires, the need for personal and political responsibility will be ignored.)

Third, actual response to a fire means ensuring the political, social, financial and institutional support to get sufficient personnel, equipment and water to a fire before it turns into an uncontrollable inferno.

Do all that, and the recovery phase – rebuilding homes, businesses, habitats, wildlife numbers and shattered human lives – will be far less extensive, costly and traumatic. Difficult recoveries will also be minimized by not wasting scarce time and money on fashionable, politically correct, “woke” issues like how many fire fighters are of a specific ethnic or sexual identity group. People and animals in the path of a roaring inferno care only that first responders are prepared, equipped and on time. So should politicians.

Every one of these vital matters is within our power to control – if we can muster the political willpower to take appropriate action. None of them involves climate change.

It doesn’t matter if Earth’s or California’s or Australia’s average annual or summer temperature is 0.1 or even 1.0 degrees warmer. Or that a drought is a day, month or year longer than X. Or whether the climate and weather fluctuations are driven by human or natural forces. Or that America, Australia, Britain, China, India or Indonesia is “not doing enough” to curb fossil fuel use and carbon dioxide emissions.

Climate change did not cause 129 million trees to die in California – or prevent the state and feds from removing the dead trees, thinning the forests, and clearing overgrown brush and grass. Ditto for Australia.

We must play the hand we have been dealt. That means acting responsibly and intelligently to prevent and respond to wildfires under whatever climate, drought, diseased and dead trees, or other conditions exist, wherever and whenever we live. Ben Franklin would be proud of us.

Via email



>


Don’t blame climate change for Australian wildfires

If all you read was the liberal press, you'd think the Australian bush fires are Mother Earth’s punishment for the heresy of allowing global warming. Reality is a little different — actually, entirely different. The current wave of wildfires running rampant across the Australian countryside certainly isn't aided by dry weather and heat, but it's actually the result of environmentalists’ naivete, not climate change.

The problem is the same one the United States has with forest fires: people simply not understanding how the environment works. In both cases, the countryside has evolved to deal with and prosper from frequent and low-level fires. But if these are suppressed, then the large and hot fires, taking out the canopy, for example, will eventually happen and entirely devastate the flora and the fauna.

It’s been environmentalists insisting we suppress all examples and incidences of wildfires. Therefore, blame for the current damage should be laid at their door.

The evidence is all around us. When Europeans first came to North America, they were astonished at the glades and meadows found in the land’s forests. These were created by the Native Americans’ use of fire to clear the land. This was done on a regular basis, and fires only ever touched the underbrush. Because of these frequent fires, there was never enough fuel to spark a massive fire that would damage the adult trees and devastate the whole ecosystem.

Exactly the same is true of Australia, just even more so.

Australia’s native Aborigines got there some 50,000 years ago, so 40,000-odd years before Homo sapiens crossed the Bering Strait to inhabit North America for the first time. They've been using fire as a land management tool ever since — and 50 millennia trains an ecosystem rather well, it turns out. The land is not just adapted to fire, it depends on frequent and low-level fires to continue existing.

The move away from this approach is more than just some people doing the wrong thing. It is an example of hubris, which always is followed by disaster. Here, that end state is a wall of flames devouring towns, people, and every other living thing in its path.

The hubris is in environmentalists insisting on the management of their surrounding world without actually understanding it, to claim, as so many have for decades now, that we must suppress all fire simply because fire is bad. Disaster arrives when reality turns up to tell us different. Without that low-level burning, the fuel stock builds up — and, eventually, there will be that lightning strike, that cigarette end, that sets the entire area ablaze.

This is, of course, just Friedrich Hayek all over again and his insistence that politicians just never have enough information and knowledge to be able to plan societal matters for us. The plans that are laid go wrong when they meet the facts.

Just as one recent example, the Crescent Dunes solar plant was out of date before it was even completed. Yet the Nobel laureate, Steven Chu, happily left taxpayers on the hook for $737 million in government loan guarantees. And let's be honest about it, the Nobel only goes to really clever people, and Chu was supported by the entire information-gathering apparatus of the federal government. And, still, even he, with that backing, got it so woefully wrong.

So it will be with the Green New Deal, Elizabeth Warren's insistence that she can change capitalism, and all the rest. We will only see more smoke burning from any idea rooted in central government’s competence.

SOURCE






2015 prophecy: Bushfire scientist David Packham warns of huge blaze threat, urges increase in fuel reduction burns

He was ignored

Forest fuel levels have worsened over the past 30 years because of "misguided green ideology", vested interests, political failure and mismanagement, creating a massive bushfire threat, a former CSIRO bushfire scientist has warned.

Victoria's "failed fire management policy" is an increasing threat to human life, water supplies, property and the forest environment, David Packham said in a submission to the state's Inspector-General for Emergency Management.

And he argued that unless the annual fuel reduction burning target, currently at a minimum of 5 per cent of public land, "is doubled or preferably tripled, a massive bushfire disaster will occur. The forest and alpine environment will decay and be damaged possibly beyond repair and homes and people [will be] incinerated."

He said forest fuel levels had climbed to their most dangerous level in thousands of years.

Mr Packham produced his submission in response to a review of bushfire fuel management announced last month by the state government and to be conducted by the Inspector-General for Emergency Management.

In an interview with Fairfax Media, Mr Packham said a comprehensive fuel reduction burning regime reduced fuel loads, and consequently reduced the intensity of bushfires, cutting the speed at which they spread. This gave people more time to find safety and fire services more time to respond, he said.

Some people believe the Andrews government will dump the minimum 5 per cent burning target in response to the Inspector-General's report. Five years ago, both major parties backed the "minimum of 5 per cent" target, a key recommendation of the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission held after Black Saturday.

The Black Saturday fires killed 173 Victorians, while hospital emergency care was delivered to more than 800 others. The fires destroyed 2133 houses and burnt hundreds of thousands of hectares.

The royal commission examined the role of fuel reduction burning and in its final report recommended a prescribed burning program with "an annual rolling target of a minimum of 5 per cent of public land each year, and that the state be held accountable for meeting this target".

It also criticised what it described as the state's "minimalist approach to prescribed burning", and warned that the state had "allowed the forests to continue accumulating excessive fuel loads".

The commission investigated fuel reduction burning and the Black Saturday fires. It found that the rate of spread and size of the Beechworth-Mudgeegonga fire, which killed two people, "were significantly moderated by previous prescribed burning". And it said that in some places the rate of spread of the Kilmore East fire, which killed 119 people, was "appreciably slowed by previous prescribed burning".

But the commission also heard that no large-scale fuel reduction burns had been conducted in areas where the two most deadly Black Saturday fires, the Kilmore East and Murrindindi bushfires, gathered force in the first hours after they ignited.

Several weeks before Black Saturday, the Whittlesea fire captain noted excessive fuel loads and dryness around Strathewen (which was smashed by fire on Black Saturday) and Mount Disappointment. He attributed the "conditions to a lack of fuel reduction and drought".

Mr Packham said if the government scrapped the planned burning target it would have to be prepared to accept the consequences. "If they do decide that, and it's a democratic country, they can decide that, but I want them to stand up and take responsibility when the outcome falls apart," he said.

Mr Packham estimated that if Victoria had had a consistent 5 per cent planned burning regime on public land in the years leading up to Black Saturday, scores of lives lost in the devastating blazes would have been saved.

Submissions to the bushfire fuel management review will be accepted until 5pm on Friday. The Inspector-General for Emergency Management has been directed by the state government to deliver his report by the end of this month.

SOURCE





Platypuses said to be on the 'brink of extinction'

This just about "fears" and what "could happen".  There is nothing factual below.  The journal article is "A stitch in time – Synergistic impacts to platypus metapopulation extinction risk".  It is pure armchair modelling based on extensive guesses.  There was no actual research involved. No feet were muddied.

And the assumptions are all one-sided.  What if some features of  modern environments are actually helpful to the platypus?  There are plenty of examples of modernity helping a species. The "bin chickens" (Ibises) are known to most Brisbane people

It seems to me that dams might actually be helpful to the platypus. They give it a big choice of what water level they want to feed and breed at.  But that would never have occurred to our modellers.

And the major scare the modelling was based on was global warming.  What if there is no global warming?  There has certainly been very little warming for the last century or so

This whole article is just a tawdry attempt to get something into the journals by using conventional scares.  The journal editors were negligent in publishing something so insubstantial


Australia's beloved platypus is now feared to be on the 'brink of extinction'. Researchers at the University of New South Wales say the number of platypuses in the wild could fall by 66 per cent by 2070 because of climate change and other threats.

Researchers said soaring temperatures across the country, the intense drought and land clearing are all contributing to the species' decline.

Richard Kingsford, director for UNSW's Centre for Ecosystem Science said the future for the animal was 'grim'.

'This is impacting their ability to survive during these extended dry periods and increased demand for water,' Mr Kingsford said in the journal article, Biological Conservation, The Age reported.

'If we lost the platypus from Australian rivers, you would say, 'What sort of government policies or care allow that to happen?''

Gilad Bino, the study's lead author said the threat of climate change could affect the platypus's ability to repopulate, noting they could face 'extinction'.

'We are not monitoring what we assume to be a common species. And then we may wake up and realise it's too late,' Dr Bino said.

The platypus is listed as 'near-threatened' under the IUCN Red List of threatened species but Dr Bino says the government needs to assess how much the animal is at risk.

The study's researchers said in order to prevent total extinction the platypus' habitat would need to be managed.

The Victorian Environment Department said they were working with the federal government over whether the platypus' status needed to be changed to 'threatened'.

NSW said they recognised issues such as the drought could be placing the platypus 'at risk'.

Platypuses live in freshwater areas and are found along the east coast and southeast coast of Australia.

SOURCE 

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

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

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