Friday, May 24, 2019

Illegal ozone-depleting gases traced to rogue factories in eastern China

The science behind the claim that CFCs cause the ozone hole has been drastically revised so it is no surprise that the hole is NOT shrinking.  It oscillates but it was at its biggest in 2015, many years after it was supposed to start shrinking.  So China is doing no harm

Industries in northeastern China have spewed large quantities of an ozone-depleting gas into the atmosphere in violation of an international treaty, global scientists say.

And it’s slowing down the rate of recovery for the hole in the crucial ozone layer.

The ozone layer is a region of Earth’s stratosphere that essentially act as a shield and absorbs most of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

So when scientists discovered in 1985 that there was a hole in it over Antarctica and Australia, it was very unsettling news.

After that, we all got together and banned the use of harmful gases that depleted Earth’s protective layer in the 1987 Montreal Protocol and ever since it has more-or-less been on a slow recovery ever since.

China is a signatory of the Montreal Protocol but it looks as if the country hasn’t been keeping up its end of the bargain.

Since 2013 annual emissions from northeastern China of a banned chemical called CFC-11 have increased by about 7000 tonnes, researchers reported overnight in the peer-reviewed journal Nature.

“This increase accounts for a substantial fraction (at least 40 to 60 per cent) of the global rise in CFC-11 emissions,” they wrote.

Before it was phased out CFC-11, or Chlorofluorocarbon-11, was widely used in the 1970s and 1980s as a refrigerant and to make foam insulation. The chemical is a major cause of ozone depletion.

Ever since the ban, the concentration of the chemical in the atmosphere has been steadily declining but last year startled scientists discovered that the pace of that slowdown dropped by half from 2013 to 2017. Because the chemical does not occur in nature, the change could only have been produced by new emissions.

Using high-frequency atmospheric observations from Gosan, South Korea, and Hateruma, Japan, together with global monitoring data and atmospheric chemical transport model simulations, researchers investigated the likely culprit and have pointed the finger at eastern China.

Reports last year from the Environmental Investigation Agency fingered Chinese foam factories in the coastal province of Shandong and the inland province of Hebei, which surrounds Beijing.

Suspicions were strengthened when authorities subsequently shut down some of these facilities without explanation.

Manufacturers have said they continued to use the banned product because of its better quality and cheaper price.

The New York Times reported that some factories were producing the gas in secret, while other manufacturers said the local governments turned a blind eye.

“It wasn’t entirely a surprise,” said Matthew Rigby, lead author of the study and Reader in Atmospheric Chemistry in the School of Chemistry at the University of Bristol.

Paul Fraser, an honorary fellow at Australia’s CSIRO Climate Science Centre and co-author of the paper said while eastern China accounted for about half of the rise in CFC-11, global scientists don’t have the technology in place to monitor large parts of the rest of the world.

Along with other scientists, he presented the data last year to Chinese authorities and is optimistic action will be taken to reduce the harm done by the emissions.

“They were concerned, it was clear I think ... that they were going to tackle this issue,” he told ABC radio this morning.

But as yet, he has not seen or heard any indication that China has begun cracking down on the rogue factories thought to be responsible.

Because scientists have noticed the chemical increase in the atmosphere early, “that gives us a really good chance to make sure they don’t do too much damage,” he said.

But pouring more CFC-11 into the air could also prevent ozone from returning to normal levels, scientists warn.

“If emissions do not decline, it will delay the recovery of the Antarctic ozone hole, possibly for decades,” Mr Fraser said.

Paul Krummel, and expert in atmospheric composition and chemistry at the Climate Science Centre at the CSIRO said research like this was important to keep countries honest.

“This study highlights the importance of undertaking long-term measurements of trace gases like CFC-11 to verify the efficacy of international protocols and treaties,” he said.


'Authoritative propaganda': Skeptics blast U.N. warning of mass species extinction

A widely touted United Nations report predicting mass species extinction took a beating Wednesday at a House subcommittee hearing, with Republican-called witnesses blasting the claims as “highly exaggerated” and “authoritative propaganda.”

The executive summary released May 6 by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services concluded that “transformative change” was needed to save as many as 1 million species at risk of extinction.

“The evidence is unequivocal. Biodiversity, which is important in its own right and essential for human well-being, is being destroyed by human activities at a rate unprecedented in human history,” Robert Watson, former chairman of IPBES, told the Natural Resources subcommittee on water, oceans and wildlife.

Rep. Jared Huffman, the California Democrat who chairs the subcommittee, said Earth is “currently in what they call the sixth mass extinction, and species are disappearing 100 times faster than historic rates, mostly because of things that we are doing.”

Challenging that premise was Patrick Moore, a former Greenpeace leader, who argued that species extinction has declined in the past century thanks to international efforts. He insisted there was “zero evidence that any such event is occurring now or has even begun to occur.”

“As with the manufactured ‘climate crisis,’ they are using the specter of mass extinction as a fear tactic to scare the public into compliance,” Mr. Moore said in his prepared remarks. “The IPBES itself is an existential threat to sensible policy on biodiversity conservation.”

The result was a feisty hearing in which Mr. Huffman took aim at the credentials of the Republican witnesses and Republicans accused the subcommittee of holding a hearing based on a document that nobody had read.

The report was prepared by 145 authors over three years using 15,000 peer-reviewed publications and 15,000 comments, but the full document remains classified and has yet to be released. A summary was released two weeks ago at a plenary session in Paris.

“Right now, I feel like I’m part of a book club, and we’re going to give opinions on the book, except we’re all making it up because no one has actually read the book,” said Rep. Rob Bishop, Utah Republican. “If you’d actually waited until the report was released and people could look at it, maybe there would be a point at that point that this could be a legitimate hearing.”

The five factors driving the extinction threat are “land and sea use changes; exploitation of organisms; climate change; pollution; and invasive species,” Mr. Huffman said.

“All of these are things we can do something about, but we’re not on track to slow the extinction crisis,” Mr. Huffman said. “We need to do more.”

The “extinction crisis” claim met with skepticism from Rep. Tom McClintock, California Republican, who ticked off previous apocalyptic extinction predictions, including a 1970 warning by a Smithsonian official that 75% to 80% of all animals would be extinct by 1995.

He also challenged the report’s claim of an estimated 8 million animal and planet species, including insects, noting that the International Union for Conservation of Nature has cataloged only 1.8 million. About 800 are known to have gone extinct since 1500.

“You cannot call yourself a scientist if you pretend that there are 6.2 million species that have no names and have never been identified,” said Mr. Moore. “That is not science. That is fiction. Fairy tale stories. And that’s what we’re being told here.”

Climate Depot’s Marc Morano described the report as a politically driven document, “the latest U.N. appeal to give it more power, more scientific authority, more money and more regulatory control.”

“At best, the U.N. science panels represent nothing more than ‘authoritative bureaucracy,’ claiming they hype the problem and then come up with the solution that puts them in charge of ‘solving’ the issue in perpetuity,” Mr. Morano said in his prepared remarks. “A more accurate term for the U.N. than ‘authoritative science’ may be ‘authoritative propaganda.’”

Mr. Huffman fired back at the Republican witnesses by noting that Greenpeace has denied that Mr. Moore is a co-founder, despite a Greenpeace screenshot listing him as one of five founders, and referring to Mr. Morano as a troll.

“I don’t know what inspires someone to make a career out of trolling scientists or monetizing contrarian ideology on the YouTube and Ted Talk circuit, but it’s just a very different kind of conversation than the science-based conversation I think many of us would try to have,” Mr. Huffman said.

No House committee hearing this year would be complete without a climate change row. Republicans took aim at the Green New Deal, the Paris climate agreement and the 97% scientific “consensus,” while Democrats’ witnesses stressed the impact of global warming on species.

“As we’re already observing, climate change is radically changing our weather and moving species’ habitats,” said Defenders of Wildlife’s Jacob Malcom. “Climate change alone is a terrifying transformation of our planet. In combination with the other threats, the damage we have done and are doing is almost unimaginable.”

Mr. Moore argued that most animals that have gone extinct since 1500 were the victims of invasive species such as cats, rats and foxes brought by European colonialists.

“Today, it’s introduced species, especially on islands, where it’s a small area, and a rat can get on an island and eat all the bird’s eggs, and that’s the end of the bird,” Mr. Moore said. “That is the classical situation that has occurred lately.”

Rep. Raul M. Grijalva, the Arizona Democrat who chairs the House Natural Resources Committee, lamented the Republicans’ approach to climate change. “There’s not so much climate denial going on in Congress anymore,” said Mr. Grijalva. “It’s climate avoidance — anything to avoid the topic and to avoid doing something serious about it.”


Environmental indoctrination in our schools

Ever wonder why kids come home from school often sounding as if they had received woefully inadequate instruction in everything from English, history, and civics to mathematics, science, and other traditional fields of learning?

That’s because, in far too many K-12 classes across the country, these subjects have been pushed aside in favor of a curriculum specifically designed to set children on a path toward progressive indoctrination of their impressionable young minds. This is not a new development; it’s been gradually tightening its grip on our education system (public and private) ever since the poisonous progressive ideas of John Dewey and his acolytes started making their way into school curricula during the last century.

Over time, the discipline of history has given way to “social studies,” and the teaching of science has undergone a noticeable politicization.

In their 2017 book, “Deconstructing the Administrative State: The Fight for Liberty,” Emmett McGoarty, Jane Robbins, and Erin Tuttle discuss the battle of ideologies that has lasted over a century and continues today, pitting those who defend the American Experiment and its constitutional structure against those who seek to replace that structure with one that empowers them to implement their ideas with little or no popular input. All three scholars are affiliated with the Washington-based American Principals Project Foundation.

Curse of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

By hijacking the traditional school curriculum and transforming it into an instrument of indoctrination, progressive educators can mold minds to their hearts’ content. The authors note that many students are subjected to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), written in 2011 under the direction of Achieve, Inc., the same organization that wrote the controversial Common Core national standards for English, arts, and mathematics.

After evaluating the NGSS, the Fordham Institute, an education policy think tank that actually supported Common Core, determined that the NGSS was “inferior” to standards in 20 other states. In physical science, it observed that “it would be impossible to derive a high school physics or chemistry course from the content included in the NGSS.”

Instead of introducing students to the world of scientific inquiry, NGSS seeks to inculcate progressive social values. It does so by striving to “engage” students during classroom instruction by brainwashing them and pressuring them to become active participants in rescuing the planet in accordance with environmentalist dogma.

The NGSS provide targeted goals for what students should know at the end of different grade levels. Quoting directly from the NGSS playbook, the authors cite the NGSS Global Climate Change standards for three grade levels:

By the End of Grade 5: If Earth’s global mean temperature continues to rise, the lives of humans and other organisms will be affected in many different ways.

By the End of Grade 8: Human activities such as the release of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels are major factors in in the current rise in Earth’s mean surface temperature (global warming). Reducing human vulnerability to whatever climate changes do occur depend (sic) on the understanding of climate science, engineering capabilities and other kinds of knowledge, such as understanding of human behavior and on applying that knowledge wisely in decisions and actions.

By the End of Grade 12: Global climate models are often used to understand the process of climate change because these changes are complex and can occur slowly over Earth’s history. Though the magnitudes of humans’ impacts are greater than they ever have been, so too are humans’ abilities to model predict and manage current and future impacts. Through computer simulations and other studies, important discoveries are still being made about how the ocean, the atmosphere and the biosphere interact and are modified in response to human activities, as well as to changes in human activities. The science and engineering will be essential to both to understanding the possible impacts of global climate change and to informing decisions about how to slow its rate and consequences – for humanity and well as for the rest of the planet.

The underlying assumptions of human-induced climate change are never challenged, nor are students, including those at higher levels, encouraged to consider alternative explanations for climate variability.

Education Establishment’s Relentless Campaign to Adopt NGSS Nationwide

By 2017, 18 states had adopted the NGSS since the standards were completed in 2011. “The remaining states face a relentless campaign from the education establishment to adopt the standards,” McGroarty, Robbins, and Tuttle point out. “For example, the National Association of School Boards of Education (NASBE) has pushed adoption of NGSS by state school boards, which generally exercise authority over state academic standards. Efforts to reject the NGSS face a barrage of ‘export’ reports by the NASBE to refute any objections raised.”


UK says 100% renewables won’t work

A lot of countries (as well as many U.S. states and utilities) are announcing so-called zero-carbon plans, typically with a target year around 2050. These are often reported as calling for 100% renewable energy, which is wrong.

There is a difference between zero-carbon and 100% renewables, but this is often hidden and unclear. In the new UK plan it is still hidden, but once found it is very clear. Renewables provide just 57% of the energy, which is a lot less than 100%. Perhaps most surprising is that nuclear might provide as much as 38% of the energy!

By way of introduction, the plan comes from the government’s own Committee on Climate Change (CCC), in a report titled “Net-Zero: The UK’s contribution to stopping global warming.” The CCC is the UK’s top climate action planning group.

The surprising numbers occur in an obscure Technical Annex, titled “Integrating variable renewables into the UK electricity system.” As the title suggests, the UK CCC is well aware of the severe limitations that intermittency creates for renewables.

These limitations are succinctly summarized right up front, in the second paragraph of this 17 page Annex. Here is what the CCC says:

“Variable (or ‘intermittent’) renewables – which are weather dependent – are different to other forms of electricity generation, and increased deployment of them could require additional system services. For example, renewables cannot be guaranteed to generate during winter peak demand periods, and renewable output is generally correlated across different sites. Similarly, wind and solar generation can change substantially over periods of just a few hours, requiring non-renewable plants to be held in reserve to meet any sudden shortfall in supply.”

The CCC therefore proposed a mix of zero emission power generating technologies, as follows:

“Our Further Ambition scenario for the power sector sees low-carbon sources providing 100% of power generation in 2050, through a mixture of variable renewables (57%), firm low-carbon power like nuclear or plants fitted with carbon capture and storage (38%) and decarbonised gas such as hydrogen (5%).”

Renewables provide just 57%. A whopping 38% comes from some combination of nuclear and fossil fuel plants fitted with carbon capture and storage (CCS), or perhaps from some unknown new technology. Another 5% comes from decarbonised gas, making fossil fuel use at least 43%.

Of these alternatives, nuclear power is the only proven technology, so it is the only sure bet.

There has been a lot of research on CCS but it may never be feasible. Existing CCS technologies require a major fraction of the power plant’s energy output, making them very expensive. Plus all this extra needed energy would jack fossil fuel use way up.

There is also the huge unresolved environmental issue of safely sticking billions of tons of CO2 down into the ground. Perhaps worst of all, it would violate the Green goal of eliminating fossil fuel use, especially if the full 43% of UK power comes from that hated stuff.

Or they could burn wood and the Annex even suggests this, except they call it “bioenergy,” so maybe it includes Indonesian palm oil. What an environmental disaster that would be! If CCS can be made to work, why not burn readily available coal, oil and gas? In fact Big Oil & Gas are spending nearly a billion dollars on CCS research.

So this plan seems to give the greens a very nasty multiple choice, between nuclear power and continued fossil fuel use and destructive bioenergy. It is hard to say which they like least.

But the CCS zero-carbon is clear, accurate and honest, which is very rare in this policy zone. It should be a lesson for every country, as well as for every U.S. state and utility. 100% renewables will not work, so you have to find a very different way to get to zero carbon emissions. Also, let’s all try being honest about it for a change.

The CCC makes it very clear that zero-carbon will be very difficult. But then, zero-carbon is an insane goal, so it should be hard to get to.


Australia: Leftist Queensland Premier backflips on Adani coal mine - after Labor's obstruction of the mine cost them the Federal election

The Queensland Labor Premier has demanded action over the Adani coalmine after Labor's federal election defeat.

Annastacia Palaszczuk criticised her own government's delays in approving Australia's biggest mine.

She said federal Labor's loss of core support in the Sunshine State has given her a 'wake-up call.'

Traditional Labor voters deserted their party at the ballot box after Bill Shorten vowed to change the nation and take 'real action' on climate change.

Before the federal election, Ms Palaszczuk promised there would be no political interference in the decision to approve the Adani mine.

But on Wednesday she stood before cameras in a hard hat in Mackay and demanded a meeting between Adani and her own government ministers.

'The community is fed up with the processes, I know I'm fed up with the processes, I know my local members are fed up with the processes,' Ms Palaszczuk said.

'We need some certainty, and we need some timeframes. Enough is enough… the federal election was definitely a wake-up call to everyone.'

Ms Palaszczuk said she understood there was frustration in the community about the lack of a decision on the mine. 'I think everyone's had a gutful of this, frankly,' she said.

The Adani coalmine will provide 1,500 jobs in regional Queensland but building work is on hold pending approval from the regulator, Queensland's Environment Department. 

A Queensland government representative will meet with Adani on Thursday to thrash out a timeline for the Carmichael mine approval process in an attempt to resolve delays that caused a voter backlash.

Ms Palaszczuk intervened to order her state co-ordinator-general to meet with Adani and the independent regulator to fix a timeline and deadline for a decision by Friday. 

Two outstanding environmental management plans, involving the site's Black-Throated Finch habitat and complex groundwater sources, have contributed to delays.

Adani Australia chief executive Lucas Dow said if approvals were not complete within two weeks then the meeting would prove to be just another government 'delaying tactic'.

CFMEU National President Tony Maher welcomed a clear timeline for the project which he said had significant community support on the grounds it would create local jobs.

He said he wanted Adani to confirm how many permanent full-time jobs the mine would generate.

Mackay Conservation Group coordinator Peter McCallum said Queensland's water and wildlife are not put at risk by the project.



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.  

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Thursday, May 23, 2019

Costly wind power menaces man and nature

The true costs of wind energy are too often (deliberately?) ignored or underestimated

Dr. Jay Lehr and Tom Harris

Wind energy can never replace fossil fuels, despite claims of environmentalists and advocates of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal (GND). It’s not environment-friendly either. Indeed, wind power is hampered by many limitations, including:

* its intermittent and inefficient nature

* insufficient sites with adequate, reliable wind

* acreage required to erect turbines and harness wind

* excessive expenses, many of them rarely mentioned

* dangers to bird and bat populations

* dangers to human health from light flicker and low frequency throbbing noise (infrasound).

* costs, limitations, and health and environmental impacts of batteries and other back-up systems

Wind turbines are highly inefficient. Large industrial wind turbines (IWT) typically produce about 2.5 megawatts of power when wind speed is between about 8 and 25 miles per hour. However, most of the time it’s not, even at the best locations.

Today’s wind farms have a 30–40% average “capacity factor.” That means their average annual output is only 30–40% of “nameplate” capacity, or what they would produce if the wind were blowing 8–25 mph 24/7/365. As we erect more turbines, they must be placed in less optimal locations, and capacity numbers will drop, perhaps dramatically. And no one can predict when they will generate electricity.

When the wind isn’t blowing, the electricity grid cannot provide the energy we need to operate and maintain our standard of living. Today fossil fuels stand ready to step in when wind speeds decline. But under the GND, virtually all fossil fuels would be eliminated, making it impossible to keep the lights on without a major increase in nuclear power, which environmental activists hate even more than fossil fuels.

To generate significant wind energy, facilities must be located where there is steady wind most of the time. Such areas exist along the West Coast of the United States and a strip of the Midwest from the Dakotas to Texas. But 75% of the conterminous 48 states have only half the wind of these locations. Offshore areas have higher wind potential but are be at least three times more expensive to develop.

Perhaps the biggest drawback to relying on wind power is the immense amount of land required. IWTs must be placed far apart so they don’t interfere with each turbine’s “wind capture area.”

In his keynote address at the 2018 America First Energy Conference , Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry explained that generating enough electricity to power just the Houston metropolitan area would require almost 900 square miles of wind turbines. This is six-times more land than an equivalent solar farm of photovoltaic cells, assuming they operate at full efficiency 24/7/365; dozens of times the land required for an equivalent nuclear power plant; and 16 times the size of Washington, DC.

Wind is also much more expensive than existing conventional energy sources. The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) claims that wind power can generate electricity for 8¢ per kilowatt-hour (kWh). However, this is based on poor assumptions and glossing over important realities.

It assumes average wind turbine lifetime is 30 years, the same as a conventional fossil fuel power plant. In reality, most turbines last only 15 years, and less offshore. It ignores the cost of backup power. It includes no cost for transmission lines from wind farms to distant cities. Most significantly, it omits subsidies.

A 2016 Utah State University study shows the following extra costs omitted or miscalculated by the EIA for wind power: 15-years not 30-year life expectancies (US 7¢ per kWh), backup power (at least 2.3¢ cents if the back-up is natural gas), transmission costs (2.7¢), government subsidies (23¢). All that means the real cost of wind power is a staggering 43¢ per kilowatt hour! That’s seven times the cost of natural gas-generated electricity! What family, factory, hospital, office, church or school can afford this?

GND promoters would like wind farms everywhere, but even the most supposedly environmentally friendly communities often do not want wind turbines in their own neighborhoods: they spoil the landscape and cause serious environmental impacts, such as killing many birds and bats each year.

In 2013, Loss, Will and Marra estimated that 140,000 to 328,000 birds are killed each year in the contiguous United States by wind turbines. The Audubon Society says that makes wind “the most threatening form of green energy.” Other sources say the death tolls are far higher.

Bat deaths are even worse and potentially more threatening to human health and welfare. Spain’s Save the Eagles International says industrial wind turbines “kill millions of bats & birds, worsening an environmental and epidemiological crisis.” The 2016 study “Multiple mortality events in bats: A global review” reports that since 2000 industrial wind turbines have overtaken all other causes of mass mortality for bats in North America and Europe.

A conservative estimate of bat mortality in the USA is that at least 4 million bats have been killed by wind turbines since 2012. Bats are our primary natural defense in keeping mosquito and crop-damaging insect populations in check. One bat can eat between 500 and 1,000 mosquitoes and other insects in just one hour, or about 6,000 per night.

Fish and wildlife specialists were stunned at the number of dead bats they found at industrial wind turbines in the eastern US. About half were due to barotrauma: a bat only has to come close to a spinning blade, and the pressure change bursts the blood vessels in its lungs.

Save the Eagles explains that killing millions of bats results in billions of extra mosquitoes. It is no coincidence that mosquito populations have increased up to tenfold over the last 50 years, according to long-term mosquito monitoring programs, which also note that increased urbanization and reduced use of insecticides were the main drivers of this change.

Finally, noise generated by wind turbines is akin to that of a helicopter, affecting quality of life and causing serious health problems for people living within a quarter-mile of a turbine. A 2013 Canadian paper reported, “People who live or work in close proximity to IWTs have experienced symptoms that include decreased quality of life, annoyance, stress, sleep disturbance, headache, anxiety, depression and cognitive dysfunction.” Other studies report the same problems.

A woman who was forced out of her Ontario, Canada home said “the problem is not just cyclical audible noise keeping people awake, but also low frequency infrasound, which can travel many kilometres.” The former operator of the Wind Victims Ontario website added, “Infrasound goes right through walls. It pummels your body.” Sherri Lange, CEO of North American Platform Against Wind, says she has “personally received hundreds of phone calls from distressed people who need to vacate their homes.”

Across the world, governments have received tens of thousands of complaints. They rarely even try to address the problems raised. “It is my experience from talking to doctors, researchers and other high-level professionals, that governments seem to be [under the influence of] the industry,” Lange says.

Less frequent but more serious are 192 deaths over the past decade, primarily from massive failures of turbine blades. The deaths have prompted Finland, Bavaria and Scotland to propose legislation that no wind farm be allowed within 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) of any housing.

Many Americans think wind energy is cheap, eco-friendly and wonderful. But that’s because few are ever exposed to the real human, animal, scenic and environmental costs. Green New Deal supporters are counting on people to remain in the dark about these serious problems, to turn their plans into law.

We all need to do more to get the truth out, and confront activists, legislators, regulators and journalists with tough questions and hard realities.

Via email

This Vet Imprisoned for Digging Ponds on His Land Died. Now His Widow Continues the Fight

The name of a Navy veteran may be cleared after he was convicted, fined, and imprisoned for digging ponds in a wooded area near his Montana home, to supply water in case of fire.

The Supreme Court has vacated a lower court ruling against Joe Robertson, who was sent to federal prison and ordered to pay $130,000 in restitution through deductions from his Social Security checks.

Any definitive legal victory for Robertson would be posthumous, since he died March 18 at age 80.

But his lawyers describe the Supreme Court’s action as a “big win” for Robertson’s widow, Carrie, who plans to carry on the fight.

President Barack Obama’s Justice Department had prosecuted Robertson for digging in “navigable waters” without a permit, in violation of the Clean Water Act.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling against Robertson in November 2017 and denied him a rehearing in July 2018.

The Navy veteran’s initial trial at the district court level resulted in a hung jury and a mistrial. He then was convicted after a second district court trial.

Robertson was 78 when he was sentenced in 2016; he completed his 18 months behind bars in late 2017. At the time of his death, he was supposed to be on parole for another 20 months.

In November, he had petitioned the Supreme Court to review his case.

Prior to his conviction, Robertson operated a business that supplied water trucks to Montana firefighters. Because he himself resided in a “fire-prone landscape,” he was concerned for his safety and that of his property, according to his petition to the Supreme Court.

In 2013 and 2014, Robertson had dug a series of ponds close to an unnamed channel near his home, to store water in case of fire. The foot-wide, foot-deep channel carried the equivalent of two to three garden hoses of water flow, his petition explains. 

Robertson argued that he didn’t violate the Clean Water Act because digging the ponds did not discharge any soil into “navigable waters,” since the water flow in the channel didn’t amount to that. The ponds are more than 40 miles away from “the nearest actual navigable water body,” the Jefferson River, the petition says.

On April 15, the Supreme Court vacated the 9th Circuit ruling in response to Robertson’s petition and said his widow, Carrie, could pursue his case and represent his estate. The high court also ordered the 9th Circuit to determine whether the estate may continue to contest the $130,000 in restitution.

Pacific Legal Foundation, a nonprofit, public interest law firm specializing in property rights, represented Robertson in his legal dispute with federal officials.

Tony Francois, a senior attorney with the firm, told The Daily Signal in an email that if the 9th Circuit decides to leave the fine against Robertson’s estate in place in one form or another, the Supreme Court possibly could review long-standing concerns over how the government applies the Clean Water Act.

Robertson’s petition makes the point that some Supreme Court justices have expressed concern over the “vagueness” attached to the term “navigable waters,” and that the dispute over the veteran’s ponds in Montana “offers an ideal vehicle” to resolve uncertainty over the definition of navigable waters. The petition also suggests that the court could void the term.

“The Supreme Court vacated the 9th Circuit’s decision in Joe’s case because of his death,” Francois told The Daily Signal. “It is the usual practice when a criminal defendant dies before his appeal is final for the federal courts to vacate the conviction and dismiss the indictment, regardless of the merits. There is some disagreement among the lower courts how this applies to restitution orders, including amounts paid prior to death.”

Francois added:

Because of Joe’s death, the Supreme Court ordered the 9th Circuit to consider whether the case is moot. We think this means that the court of appeals will have to consider whether all of his restitution obligation should be abated.

If they decide that to be the case, including return of the amount he paid before he died, then that would likely fully resolve the case and it would likely be moot. Joe’s estate would have no further obligations and would get back what he has paid to date.

If the 9th Circuit decides that any of the restitution remains due, including allowing the government to keep the amount he already paid, then we would likely return to the Supreme Court to ask for a substantive review of his convictions. It seems likely that only in that case would the Supreme Court address the Clean Water Act issues.

Congress initially passed the Clean Water Act in 1948, but lawmakers greatly altered and expanded it into the current form with amendments in 1972.

The law “establishes the basic structure for regulating discharges of pollutants into the waters of the United States and regulating quality standards for surface waters,” according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s website.

Under the 1972 amendments, it is illegal to discharge any pollutant from a point source into navigable waters without a permit from the EPA. The Army Corps of Engineers oversees the permitting process and shares enforcement authority with the EPA.

In 2015, the Obama administration implemented its Clean Water Rule, widely known as the Waters of the United States rule or WOTUS rule, which expanded the ability of the EPA and the Corps to regulate bodies of water throughout the country.

The Trump administration has taken steps to withdraw the Obama administration’s rule and replace it with a new one that limits the regulatory reach of federal agencies.

The Daily Signal sought comment for this report from both the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers. Neither agency had responded as of publication time.

Daren Bakst, senior research fellow for agriculture policy at The Heritage Foundation, submitted comments last month to the EPA and the Corps expressing concern that “vague and subjective definitions” attached to the Clean Water Act affect how those agencies enforce the law.

Those imprecise definitions also create great uncertainty for average citizens who must comply with regulations, Bakst said.

Addressing the Trump administration’s proposed rule revising the definition of  “waters of the United States,” Bakst wrote:

In 2004, the General Accounting Office (GAO) highlighted the Corps’ inconsistent enforcement across districts and even asserted that definitions were intentionally left vague. If experts within the agencies are unable to agree if a water is a ‘waters of the United States,’ it is unreasonable to think that a lay person will be able to know that a water is a jurisdictional water.

In fact, if definitions are extremely vague and subjective, and enforcement is inconsistent, there is no way for anyone to know whether some waters are jurisdictional because the answers to those questions depend on the subjective whim of whatever government officials have decided to answer the questions …

Bakst told The Daily Signal in an email that the Robertson case “is a clear and horrifying example of how the vagueness problem with the definition of ‘waters of the United States’ is a major problem.”

“This vagueness problem is just one of the many reasons why the EPA and Corps need to develop a new definition of ‘waters of the United States,’” the Heritage research fellow said. “The definition should be clear and objective, and not allow the agencies to make subjective, after-the-fact determinations as to whether a specific water is regulated.”

Although the Robertson case is far from finished, the Pacific Legal Foundation in a blog describes the Supreme Court’s order moving the case back to the 9th Circuit as a “big win” for the veteran’s widow, Carrie.

“The high court’s decision came via summary disposition, which means it did not issue a written opinion,” the blog says. “But clearly the justices felt the 9th Circuit’s decision was erroneous, or they wouldn’t have granted Joe’s petition, or vacated the 9th Circuit’s decision, after his untimely death.”


The Idea That There Are Only 100 Harvests Left Is Just A Fantasy

WHEN it comes to science reporting, there are some headlines that are so frequently repeated, so intuitively plausible, so closely aligned to our cultural beliefs, that they can seem like incontrovertible truths.

The general public, and indeed many scientists, may fervently believe that these claims reflect the overwhelming scientific consensus. However, sometimes when you dig a little beyond the surface, the evidence underpinning even the most ubiquitous headlines can seem surprisingly shaky.

Perhaps the best example of such an assertion is that of an impending agricultural Armageddon, caused by decades of irresponsible farming practices that have degraded soils across the planet (or so the press narrative goes).

A quick scan of the headlines reveals that despite the confidence with which these forecasts are proclaimed, the actual timescale to D-Day varies rather widely from story to story. While some report that we have 100 years until the end of our soil’s ability to support farming, citing a University of Sheffield study, others claim that this is a mere 60 years away, referencing a speech at the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization.

Recently, the UK government’s environment secretary even stated that the UK is as little as 30 years away from an “eradication of soil fertility” because we “drench it in chemicals”. If this is indeed a likely end-game scenario, we should probably determine which of these estimates is most plausible as a matter of urgency: 30, 60 or 100 years. So let’s take a closer look at this claim.

Despite dozens of headlines quoting these predictions, surprisingly only one peer-reviewed paper from a scientific journal is ever cited as evidence to back them up. This 2014 study from the University of Sheffield compared the soil quality of a range of sites in the English city, including agricultural, garden and allotment soils.

Now, before we question whether the results of this single, small study can be extrapolated to represent all of England, let alone the whole UK or even the whole world, let us take a look at their findings: basically, some urban soils in Sheffield are higher in carbon and nitrogen than some nearby agricultural ones. OK, but where is the 100-year statistic? It turns out that nowhere in the study was there any calculation, prediction or even passing reference to the claim. None whatsoever. Perhaps not so much shaky evidence to support this assertion as much as non-existent.

“I asked leading soil scientists if they had ever come across such a prediction in published research. Not a single one had”

Maybe this is the result of a typo and the work is in another research paper? After an 8-hour trawl through the academic journals failed to pull up a single study that even attempted to make this calculation, I contacted six leading soil scientists across the world to ask if they had ever come across such a prediction in either the published literature or their work. Not a single one had.

In fact, the words they used to describe this claim were “bold”, “too Malthusian”, “hardly useful”, “almost insulting” and “I have used this in my soil science lectures to show the students to be wary of headlines!”. Ouch.

Does that mean there aren’t real threats to some agricultural soils around the world? Absolutely not. Indeed, all the scientists I spoke to went to great lengths to point these out, where they exist.

However, they also highlighted how incredibly complex the calculations needed to make such predictions would be, based on myriad factors, only some of which can be predicted with any reliability, with generalisations almost impossible. The boring reality is that while soils in some parts of the world might be in decline, others are not.

Furthermore, while agriculture may be one of the factors driving erosion and nutrient depletion, many modern farming practices such as no-till and synthetic fertiliser applications may actually be helping alleviate (rather than drive) this. In fact, according to many objective measures, modern, evidence-based farming techniques are more sustainable than those of an idealised past. Quite a different picture to that painted by the headlines.

Despite the thirst for simple truths in a complicated world, the researchers I contacted agreed that setting such a figure for an agricultural “end-point” would be nigh on impossible, which may explain why no published studies appear to have been able to do so. But this hasn’t stopped the newspapers. Welcome to 2019!


Back To The Medieval Green World

Greens dream of a zero-emissions world without coal, oil, and natural gas.  They need to think about what they wish for.

First, there would be no mass production of steel without coke from coking coal to remove oxygen from iron ore.

People could cut trees in forests for charcoal to produce pig iron and crude steels, but forests would soon be exhausted.  Coal saved the forests from this fate.

We could produce gold and silver without using mineral hydro-carbons, and with ingenuity, we could probably produce unrefined copper, lead, and tin and alloys like brass and bronze.  But making large quantities of nuclear fuels, cement, aluminum, refined metals, plastics, petro-chemicals, and poly pipes would be impossible.

Making wind turbines and solar panels would also be impossible without fossil fuels.  A wind turbine needs lots of steel plus concrete, carbon fiber, and glass polymers as well as many other refined metals — copper, aluminum, rare earths, zinc, and molybdenum.  Solar panels and batteries need high-purity ingredients — silicon, lead, lithium, nickel, cadmium, zinc, silver, manganese, and graphite, all hard to make in backyard charcoal-fired furnaces.  Transporting, erecting, and maintaining wind and solar farms plus their roads and transmission lines need many pieces of diesel-powered machinery.

Every machine on Earth needs hydro-carbons for engine oil, gear oil, transmission oil, brake fluid, hydraulic oil, and grease.  We could of course use oils from seals, beeswax, and whales for lubrication.  The discovery of petroleum saved the whales from this fate.

Roads would be a challenge without oil-based bitumen.  The Romans made pretty good roads out of cobblestones (this would ease unemployment).  But hard labor would not sit well with aging Baby-Boomers or electronic-era Millennials.

Cars, motor launches, airplanes, iPhones, and CAT scans would be out.  Horses, oxen, sulkies, wooden rowing boats, sailing ships, herbal medicine, and semaphore would have a huge revival.  Some wood-burning steam tractors may still work and wood-gas generators may replace gasoline in some old cars.

This is the return to the “zero-emissions” world that Green extremists have planned for us.

But modern life cannot be supported by a pre-coal and pre-oil economy.  Without reliable electricity and diesel-powered farm machinery and transport trucks, cities are unsustainable.  In Green-topia, 90% of us people will need to go.


Climate change: Cuttlefish of the Left extend tentacles on climate ‘truth’

Comment from Australia

Fortunately for all of us, the climate isn’t changing as rapidly as the politics and language around it. What started out as global warming was redefined by proponents as climate change, enabling them to pivot from having to explain record cold snaps to including them in the catch-all of change.

Now the political barometer is generating more language shifts. The alarmists, apparently, haven’t seen enough children crying at climate change protests so they want to up the ante. Left-wing newspaper The Guardian (along with The Guardian Australia online) is leading the crusade with a new dictate to staff — they should refer to the climate issue as an emergency, crisis or breakdown.

The paper’s official style guide has been amended saying the phrase “climate change is no longer considered to accurately reflect the seriousness of the ­situation”.

Wow. That is change you can almost believe in.

Up bobbed the phrase immediately in today’s Australian coverage. The Guardian Australia’s political editor Katharine Murphy covered the election fallout in full compliance. “This was an election in large part about the climate emergency, and the field evidence shows Australia in 2019 is deeply divided about the road ahead,” she wrote.

The Guardian is changing language in a brazen attempt to change politics. Later in the story, Murphy went on: “In his concession, Shorten noted that the ­divisions on the climate crisis were etched into Saturday night’s result.”

But a quick check of the transcript reveals a bit of an accuracy issue. Shorten never referred to a climate crisis. He spoke of “climate change” and “climate action” — guess he hadn’t got the memo.

It hardly needs saying this is the epitome of Orwellian. As ­George Orwell wrote in Politics and the Eng­lish Language: “If thought corrupts language then language can also corrupt thought.”

The Guardian doesn’t like the way you are thinking so it is adopting more emotive language to frighten you into its camp.

As Orwell wrote in his seminal essay: “The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns, as it were instinctively, to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink.”

And, just like that, you’ll now hear more words such as emergency, crisis and breakdown. Expect ABC reporters to broadcast them, too.

“The Guardian has updated its style guide to introduce terms that more accurately describe the environmental crises facing the world,” the paper said in a statement. “Instead of ‘climate change’, the preferred terms are ‘climate emergency, crisis or breakdown’ and ‘global heating’ is favoured over ‘global warming’, although the original terms are not banned. We want to ensure that we are being scientifically precise while also communicating clearly with readers on this very important issue. The phrase ‘climate change’, for example, sounds rather passive and gentle when what scientists are talking about is a catastrophe for humanity.”

Oh, The Guardian is also sceptical about the word sceptic. Apparently it’s not alarmist enough, either. The thought police have dictated that sceptics are now referred to as “climate science deniers” or “climate deniers” — terms that shamelessly echo the disgrace of Holocaust denial.

Even when they don’t have newsprint editions, the green Left is dealing in ink; like spurting cuttlefish, they want to muddy the waters and won’t be denied.



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, May 22, 2019

Greenpeace activists blockade BP headquarters

Just another attention-getting stunt in the usual Greenpeace mode.  BP may well ask: "Why us?".  Like many others, oil and gas is their business

Environment campaigners have shut down BP’s London headquarters in protest at its continued investment in oil and gas.

Greenpeace said that its volunteers arrived at the offices in St James’ Square at 3am and “encased themselves in specially designed, toughened containers weighing several tonnes each, blockading all the HQ’s main entrances and preventing staff from entering the building”.

It said that the protesters had enough food and water to keep the offices closed all week.

The campaign group said that it was demanding that BP “immediately ends all exploration for new oil and gas and switches to investing only in renewable energy”. It argues that companies such as BP have business models “in direct opposition to efforts to prevent catastrophic climate change”.


Buffett’s bet on oil and gas looks like a hint about the future

What’s Warren Buffett doing with a $US10 billion ($14.5bn) bet on the future of oil and gas, helping old-school Occidental Petroleum buy Anadarko, a US shale leader? For pundits promoting the all-green future, this looks like betting on horse farms circa 1919.

Meanwhile, broad market sentiment is decidedly bearish on hydrocarbons. The oil and gas share of the S&P 500 is at a 40-year low, and the first quarter of 2019 saw the Nasdaq Clean Edge Green Energy Index and “clean tech” exchange-traded funds outperform the S&P.

A week doesn’t pass without a mayor, governor or policymaker joining the headlong rush to pledge or demand a green energy future. Some 100 US cities have made such promises. Hydrocarbons may be the source of 80 per cent of America’s and the world’s energy, but to say they are currently out of favour is a dramatic understatement.

Yet it’s both reasonable and, for contrarian investors, potentially lucrative to ask: what happens if renewables fail to deliver?

The prevailing wisdom has wind and solar, paired with batteries, adding 250 per cent more energy to the world over the next two decades than American shale has added over the past 15 years. Is that realistic? The shale revolution has been the single biggest addition to the world energy supply in the past century. And even bullish green scenarios still see global demand for oil and gas rising, if more slowly.

If the favoured alternatives fall short of delivering what growing economies need, will markets tolerate energy starvation? Not likely. Nations everywhere will turn to hydrocarbons. And just how big could the call on oil and natural gas — and coal, for that matter — become if, say, only half as much green-tech energy gets produced as is now forecast? Keep in mind that a 50 per cent “haircut” would still mean unprecedented growth in green tech.

If the three hydrocarbons were each to supply one-third of such a posited green shortfall, global petroleum output would have to increase by an amount equal to doubling the production of the Permian shale field (Anadarko’s home). And the world supply of liquid natural gas would need to increase by an amount equal to twice Qatar’s current exports, plus coal would have to almost double what the top global exporter, Australia, now ships.

Green forecasters are likely out over their skis. All the predictions assume that emerging economies — the least wealthy nations — will account for nearly three-fourths of total new spending on renewables. That won’t happen unless the promised radical cost reductions occur.

For a bellwether reality check, note that none of the wealthy nations that are parties to the Paris Accord — or any of the poor ones, for that matter — have come close to meeting the green pledges called for. The International Energy Agency says: “Energy demand worldwide (in 2018) grew by … its fastest pace this decade … driven by a robust global economy … with fossil fuels meeting nearly 70 per cent of the growth for the second year running.”

The reason? Using wind, solar and batteries as the primary sources of a nation’s energy supply remains far too expensive. You don’t need science or economics to know that. Simply propose taking away subsidies or mandates, and you’ll unleash the full fury of the green lobby.

Meanwhile, there are already signs that the green vision is losing lustre. Sweden’s big shift to wind power has not only created alarm over inadequate electricity supplies; it’s depressing economic growth and may imperil that nation’s bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics. China, although adept at green virtue-signalling, has quietly restarted massive domestic coal-power construction and is building hundreds of coal plants for emerging economies around the world.

In the US, utilities, furiously but without fanfare, have been adding billions of dollars of massive oil- and natural-gas-burning diesel engines to the grid. Over the past two decades, three times as much grid-class reciprocating engine capacity has been added to the US grid as in the entire half-century before. It’s the only practical way to produce grid-scale electricity fast enough when the wind dies off. Sweden will doubtless be forced to do the same.

A common response to all of the above is to make more electric cars. But even the optimists’ 100-fold growth in electric vehicles wouldn’t displace more than 5 per cent of global oil demand in two decades. Tepid growth in fossil-fuel demand would be more than offset by growing economies’ appetites for air travel and manufactured goods. Goodness knows what would happen if Trump-like economic growth were to take hold in the rest of the developed world. As Mr Buffett knows, the IEA foresees the US supplying nearly three-fourths of the world’s net new demand for oil and gas.

Green advocates can hope to persuade governments — and thus taxpayers — to deploy a huge tax on hydrocarbons to ensure more green construction.

But there’s no chance that wealthy nations will agree to subsidise expensive green tech for the rest of the world. And we know where the Oracle of Omaha has placed a bet.


Evolution of climate fear

In the lead-up to the latest report warning of a cataclysmic future for the natural world there was a frenzy behind the scenes to make sure it got the world’s attention.

Environment groups were briefed to spread the message that a UN report would be a supercharged affair when it was released this month.

The headline figure would be that one million species faced extinction. Biodiversity on planet Earth was on the road to ruin.

“Protecting biodiversity means protecting mankind because we human beings depend fundamentally on the diversity of the living,” UNESCO director-general Audrey Azoulay said in announcing the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services report in Paris earlier this month.

For many the report had echoes of the dramatic projections made almost a half-century ago when Paul Ehrlich predicted a “great die-off” in which billions would perish.

In 1970, S. Dillon Ripley, the secretary of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, and an ornithologist and wildlife conservationist, had assessed that before the turn of the 21st century between 75 per cent and 80 per cent of all the species of living animals would be extinct.

There have been questions about exactly how the latest million species extinction figure was arrived at, particularly given that it includes species that will probably never be identified or recorded.

The full global assessment report is yet to be published but the extinction rate appears to have been generated by extrapolating existing threatened species lists into the unknown.

New climate

The real import of the global assessment, however, is the attempt to set biodiversity on to an equal footing in the world politic with climate change.

The next step will be an important meeting scheduled for China next year at which the IPBES is planning to emerge as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change equivalent for nature.

IPBES chairman Sir Robert Watson did not disappoint in setting the tenor of alarm. The overwhelming evidence of the global assessment presented an ominous picture, he said.

The health of ecosystems on which humans and all other species depended was deteriorating more rapidly than ever. Humans were eroding the foundations of their economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide. But it was not too late.

“Through ‘transformative change’, nature can still be conserved, restored and used sustainably — this is also key to meeting most other global goals,” Watson said.

“By transformative change, we mean a fundamental, system-wide reorganisation across technological, economic and social factors, including paradigms, goals and values.”

The punchline mirrors exactly that of the IPCC’s report into the impact of 1.5C warming released late last year to encourage governments to increase their action on climate change.

That report concluded “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society were needed”.

The message is being eagerly embraced by a new generation of activists increasingly persuaded by a resurgent consequentialist notion that, on climate and nature, the ends can justify the means.

Doubtless the natural world has problems. But there is a long history of dire predictions that simply have not come to pass.


A mountain of money won’t change the climate


This British parliament declared the other day the planet was facing a “climate emergency”, making the UK the first country to do so after cities such as Los Angeles, London, Vancouver and Basel.

It’s a move that sums up all that is wrong with climate policy: politicians are making grandiose, fearmongering declarations that are divorced from economic ­reality, as well as from what will fix the problem they claim to be addressing. Political rhetoric is cheap but drastic cuts in carbon dioxide emissions remain prohibitively expensive and technologically challenging. After all, emissions cuts have been promised (and mostly not delivered) since the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.

Cutting CO2 emissions to net zero by 2050 or much sooner is the ambitious goal being pushed by environmental protesters such as Extinction Rebellion and ­endorsed by politicians around the world, including several US presidential candidates. These protesters and politicians attract a lot of attention, but their pro­posals would incur far higher costs than almost any electorate is willing to pay.

Although opinion polls show that people care about climate change and want to spend a relatively modest amount to fix it, they want more spent on education, health, job opportunities and social support.

Most Americans are willing to pay up to $200 a year to fight climate change; in China, the amount is about $30. Britons are unwilling to cut their driving, flying and meat consumption significantly to combat climate change. And although the German government prioritises climate action so highly that it convened a “climate cabinet”, just one-third of Germans support a controversial proposed tax to ­reduce global warming.

The gulf between politicians and citizens is most apparent in France. The government vowed to cut CO2 emissions sharply by 2050 — but, embarrassingly, there have been almost no meaningful measures by President ­Emmanuel Macron. That’s ­because the “yellow vest” protest movement took to the streets to push back against the government’s fuel price surcharges, which disproportionately hit car-dependent people in rural areas.

France is not alone in neglecting its lofty promises. Recent analysis shows that of the 185 countries that have ratified the 2015 Paris Agreement, only 17 — including Algeria and Samoa — are meeting commitments.

Achieving net-zero emissions wouldn’t just cost a little more than people are willing to pay but an order of magnitude more.

The main economic models ­assessing the EU’s plan to ­reduce emissions by “merely” 80 per cent by 2050, for example, estimate average annual costs of at least $1.4 trillion. And Mexico’s relatively unambitious pledge to cut its emissions by half by 2050 will probably cost 7-15 per cent of GDP.

A report commissioned by New Zealand’s government to study its promise of carbon neutrality by 2050 found that the ­annual cost of meeting this target in 2050 and each subsequent year would be higher than the country’s entire annual budget. Moreover, this estimate assumes that policies are implemented as ­efficiently as possible.

In reality, no government manages to do that — so the cost of becoming carbon neutral could easily double. (The New Zealand government is steaming ahead with its policy regardless.)

The costs of deep emissions cuts are so high because we are all utterly reliant on fossil fuels. Green-energy alternatives, including solar and wind, are generally not ready to compete. As a result, policies forcing people and businesses to shift to immature technologies will slow growth and exacerbate energy poverty.

The world is much further ­behind in its “energy transition” than people realise. Solar and wind together deliver about 1 per cent of global energy, and the International Energy Agency ­estimates this will reach only 4.1 per cent by 2040.

Vaclav Smil, Bill Gates’s favourite energy ­expert, says that “claims of a rapid transition to a zero-carbon society are plain nonsense”, adding that “even a greatly accelerated shift towards renewables would not be able to relegate fossil fuels to minority contributors to the global energy supply … certainly not by 2050”.

Panicky political declarations and climate protests are driven by the widespread belief that the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change told us we have 12 years left to save the planet. This is at best a fundamental misunderstanding of what the IPCC said.

The panel was asked to establish which policies would be needed to achieve the almost ­impossible target of keeping temperature rises under 1.5C. The IPCC answered that this would indeed be almost impossible, ­requiring a total economic transformation in 12 years.

In fact, the IPCC’s last major report said that if we do nothing to stop climate change, the impact will be equivalent to a reduction in overall incomes of 0.2-2 per cent by the 2070s — similar to the ­effect of one economic recession.

Instead of pursuing costly and unrealistic emission-reduction targets, we should respond to climate change by getting the price of future green energy below that of fossil fuels so that everyone can afford to switch. A true transition requires investment in green-energy research and development.

Copenhagen Consensus previously assembled an expert panel of economists, including three Nobel laureates, to discuss solutions to climate change. The panel concluded that R&D spending on green energy should be dramatically increased, to 0.2 per cent of global GDP. This would be a less economically painful and much more effective way to solve the climate problem.

Declaring a climate emer­gency generates headlines and makes politicians and activists feel better. But empty rhetoric that ignores economic reality and common sense will not help the planet.


Donald Trump, Jr. with Mark Levin on Green New Deal: ‘It’s Insanity,’ ‘Outright Stupidity’

On his nationally syndicated radio talk show “The Mark Levin Show” on Thursday, host Mark Levin had on his program Donald Trump, Jr. who said that the Green New Deal is “insanity” and “outright stupidity.”

“It’s insanity,” Donald Trump, Jr. said about the Green New Deal proposal. “It’s literally, just outright stupidity. But what’s scary about it, Mark, is that the leading Democratic contenders for the presidency of the United States are all like, ‘Oh, this is wonderful. We have to get onboard.’”

Below is a transcript, in pertinent part, of Mark Levin’s interview with Donald Trump, Jr. from Thursday:

Mark Levin: “Let me ask you one more question. Bernie Sanders, AOC and these folks are pushing this socialist agenda, this Green New Deal. You think the American people are going to support this?”

Donald Trump, Jr.: “Well, listen. Hey, you know what? Like all things, Democrats are good at one thing. They’re good at marketing, okay? Not so good with fact, not so good with numbers, and the reality— I’ve rallied about the Green New Deal because it sounds so wonderful. You know, the only problem is, Mark, it cost $93 trillion, okay? The U.S. government takes in, revenue, six point – you know, six and change trillion dollars a year. So, let’s just round it up and say, in 15 years, if we did nothing other than eliminate farting cows and come up with some miracle transportation that somehow doesn’t use energy to get to Hawaii – because we’re eliminating all air travel – in 15 years we will have paid for the Green New Deal. Now, they say it will somehow pay for itself. But they won’t show any facts how that happens.

“So, it’s insanity. It’s literally, just outright stupidity. But what’s scary about it, Mark, is that the leading Democratic contenders for the presidency of the United States are all like, ‘Oh, this is wonderful. We have to get onboard.’ They don’t have the guts, the gumption, the willingness to even look into or fact check a freshman congresswoman, who, two months ago, didn’t know what the three branches of government are.”


Climate lies of the Australian Left sealed their Federal election loss

Soon after the election was called I lamented that it might be the dumbest campaign we have ever seen, primarily because of the inanity around climate change. I am sorry to say that prediction turned out to be more accurate than any climate modelling.

But the good news was that voters were smart enough to see through it. Labor and the Greens continually made absurd claims — actually let us call a spade a spade — they told the same lies every day. They said Australia was not taking climate action now; they said they could take action that would stop floods, droughts, bushfires and cyclones; they said these same actions would create jobs and prosperity; and they refused to even countenance putting a cost on them.

Now these same politicians and their army of virtue-signalling barrackers in the media now wonder why they lost the election. The idiocy is beyond comprehension — at least it is entertaining.

As they pack up their placards and wash down their cars after their anti-Adani convoy, the activists are quietly wondering whether they might have helped deliver a Coalition win. A grateful nation applauds them.

And while commentators continue to call for an end to the so-called climate wars they still don’t understand where that settlement will be found. They are right in deducing that only a bipartisan agreement can lead to solid, medium-term arrangements and investment certainty. But they keep looking for that agreement in the wrong place.

Amid the noise of the election fallout yesterday I had the pleasure of hearing a new voice who brought utter clarity to a policy area that has been unnecessarily complicated and divisive. I had long heard that James Stevens was someone to look out for and although I had met him once or twice, I had never had a serious conversation with him.

On Saturday the former chief of staff to South Australian Premier Steven Marshall was elected as the new Liberal member for Sturt, replacing his former boss Christopher Pyne. Stevens is clearly identified as a moderate Liberal but when I interviewed him on The Kenny Report yesterday I was struck by his no-nonsense approach on climate policy.

“I do support our policy position on meeting the Paris targets, I think we should do our fair share as a country but no more than that,” Stevens said. “And we certainly shouldn’t penalise Australian businesses and Australian families by having a disproportionate approach to reducing carbon emissions that just exports our jobs to other countries that aren’t putting the same unnecessary, overly ambitious targets in place.”

At this point I interrupted him to say this was the clearest exposition of this issue I had heard from his party for a long time. He continued.

“All it means is that businesses, particularly in the manufacturing sector, the jobs that are lost in our economy, if we take unnecessary policy positions that increase power prices in an uncompetitive way, those jobs are going to go to countries that are emitting an enormous amount more carbon than we’re emitting here in Australia at the moment. So I don’t understand why even the environmentalists think that we should put ourselves in that position because you’ve got the perverse situation where we are penalising our economy but we’re also penalising the planet. If you consider increasing greenhouse gas emissions to be something that puts the planet in peril, that’s going to be achieved by sending jobs from this country to other countries that are not doing anywhere near what we already are.”

There you have it. It is obvious; it is based on fact rather than emotion; it involves not a hint of climate denial or economic vandalism; just responsible, pragmatic and committed environmental and economic management.

Then this morning we heard some sense spoken by Labor frontbencher Joel Fitzgibbon about how Labor must find a way to support climate action as well as the mining sector and the jobs, families and communities it supports. As Fitzgibbon pointed out, this is no more than giving voice to official ALP policy.

We are starting to see how Scott Morrison’s electoral triumph has unleashed an outbreak of intellectual clarity and common sense. The idiocy of the campaign is behind us, the emotive nonsense of the partisans is silenced (for a while at least) and there might be a chance for progress.

The answer is obvious. It is — as it always has needed to be — a bipartisan settlement. But not around reckless or overly ambitious gestures that aim to lead the world.

The major party consensus has to be a simple commitment to the Paris targets. No more, no less. A position Labor has held in the past before it started chasing unicorns. Labor has come back to the global consensus. It is that easy. If the major parties agree on that, the mechanism to deliver it is a doddle.



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, May 21, 2019

Chinese researchers find the OPPOSITE of what global warming theory predicts -- in a study of Antarctic ice 1978–2016

They found lots of ups and downs in sea ice extent but a significant trend towards MORE ice.

They were however mostly interested in what caused the fluctuations, in particular the very low ice cover in February 2011 and the big bounceback the year after.  They attributed it to variations in cloud cover. No mention of CO2

And they found that clouds had a COOLING effect, which is the exact opposite of what global warming theory says.  Warmists say that a warmer climate will produce more clouds -- which it well may do -- but then go on to say that the clouds will produce warming

They also note that trends in the Arctic are very different,  which rules out any global process being involved.  But by definition can you have ANY global process that does not include the poles?

The Contributions of Winter Cloud Anomalies in 2011 to the Summer Sea‐Ice Rebound in 2012 in the Antarctic

Yunhe Wang et al.


Antarctic sea‐ice extent exhibits a modest positive trend in the period of near four decades. In recent years, the fluctuation in Antarctic sea ice has been strengthened, including a decrease toward the lowest sea‐ice extent in February 2011 for the period of 1978–2016 and a strong rebound in the summer of 2012. The sea‐ice recovery mainly occurs in the Weddell Sea, Bellingshausen Sea, Amundsen Sea, southern Ross Sea, and the eastern Somov Sea. This study offers a new mechanism for this summertime sea‐ice rebound. We demonstrate that cloud‐fraction anomalies in winter 2011 contributed to the positive Antarctic sea‐ice anomaly in summer 2012.

The results show that the negative cloud‐fraction anomalies in winter 2011 related to the large‐scale atmospheric circulation resulted in a substantial negative surface‐radiation budget, which cooled the surface and promoted more sea‐ice growth. The sea‐ice growth anomalies due to the negative cloud forcing propagated by sea‐ice motion vectors from September 2011 to January 2012. The distribution of the sea‐ice anomalies corresponded well with the sea‐ice concentration anomalies in February 2012 in the Weddell Sea and eastern Somov Sea. Thus, negative cloud‐fraction anomalies in winter can play a vital role in the following summer sea‐ice distribution.


Contrasting to Arctic sea ice, which has decreased in all seasons and at nearly all locations (Comiso et al.,2017; Liu, Lin, Kong, et al., 2016; Liu, Lin, Wang, et al., 2016; Wang et al., 2018), the sea‐ice extent (SIE)around Antarctica has displayed a marked seasonal cycle (Polvani & Smith, 2013) and a modest, but statis-tically significant, positive trend since 1979 (Hobbs et al., 2016; Holland, 2014; Simmonds, 2015). Also, different regional trend distributions exist in Antarctic sea‐ice with rapid sea‐ice loss in the Amundsen Sea and Bellingshausen Sea, while significant and moderate ice gain in the Ross Sea and Weddell Sea, respectively. Large cancellations from different sectors have resulted in a net positive trend in the Antarctic totalSIE (Parkinson & Cavalieri, 2008).However, the causes of the Antarctic sea‐ice expansion remain a matter of debate, which could be caused by anthropogenic and natural factors. Some mechanisms have been suggested. Liu and Curry (2010) suggested that increased precipitation in the warming climate is an attributable factor for the current Antarctic sea‐icegrowth. In an ice‐ocean modeling study, Zhang (2014) suggested that strengthened westerlies increasesea‐ice volume by producing more ridged ice, which leads to sea ice more resilient to melting. There wasa hypothesis that increased surface freshwater from the Antarctic continent and enhanced snowfall promotesea‐ice expansion by stabilizing the upper water column (Rignot et al., 2013), which increases upper‐oceanstratification and suppresses oceanic heat transport (Bintanja et al., 2013; Liu & Curry, 2010). In addition,the dipole pattern of the Pacific sector, combined with increasing sea ice in the Ross Sea and decreasingice in the Bellingshausen Sea, has been ascribed to strengthening the Amundsen Sea low (Clem & Fogt,2015; Fogt et al., 2012; Meehl et al., 2016; Raphael et al., 2016; Turner et al., 2016). Moreover, these sea‐ice trend patterns around Antarctica have been attributed to interdecadal variability (Fan et al., 2014;Gagné et al., 2015), sea‐surface temperature warming in the tropical Pacific (Clem & Fogt, 2015), andatmospheric intrinsic variability in the Antarctic (Turner et al., 2016

Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 2018, Volume 124, Issue 6

Guardian Concocts Scarier Term For ‘Global Warming’ — Global Heating

Leftist verbal magic again.  They think they can change the nature of a thing by renaming it

The Guardian newspaper has decided to change the name ‘global warming’ because it doesn’t sound scary enough. From now on, the Guardian‘s editor-in-chief Kath Viner has ordered, ‘global warming’ is to be called ‘global heating.’

This, apparently, will more closely reflect the “scale of the climate and wildlife crises” now afflicting Mother Gaia.

The use of the names like ‘climate science denier’ or ‘climate denier’ for ‘climate skeptic’ makes Ms. Viner’s claim that the Guardian is trying to be more ‘scientifically precise and rooted in facts’ look nonsensical.

For a start, it presupposes that ‘climate science’ is a field with a fixed view of how climate works – which simply isn’t true. There are lots of competing theories on what it is that drives climate.

While climate alarmists insist that recent warming is primarily man-made and driven by anthropogenic CO2, many other respected scientists believe it is due to a combination of factors, ranging from solar activity to cycles in the deep ocean.

There is, in essence, no such thing as a ‘climate science denier’ because not even the most ardent skeptic denies the existence of ‘climate science’.

Even more problematic is that use of the word ‘denier’, which implicitly invokes the Holocaust – and in doing so, weirdly and irresponsibly puts ‘being skeptical about anthropogenic global warming’ in the same category as ‘denying that Hitler murdered six million Jews.’

"The next time someone talks about “climate change deniers,” ask them to name one — and tell you just where specifically you can find their words, declaring that climates do not change. You can bet the rent money that they cannot tell you"

There are scientists on both sides of that issue. Presumably, the issue could be debated on the basis of evidence and analysis.

But this has become a political crusade, and political issues tend to be settled by political means, of which demonizing the opposition with catchwords is one.

The Guardian is tacitly admitting that this is not an argument it is capable of winning on the science or indeed the facts. Therefore, it has decided to ramp up the rhetoric instead.

There’s a name for what it’s doing and it’s not ‘journalism’.  The word – just in case Ms. Viner feels like adding it to the Guardian style guide – is ‘propaganda.’


Ending Obama EPA climate deception

Let’s finally review Endangerment Finding used to justify trillions in climate and energy costs

Paul Driessen

In December 2009, the Obama Environmental Protection Agency issued its Endangerment Finding (EF) – decreeing that carbon dioxide (CO2) and other “greenhouse gases” (GHGs) endanger the health and welfare of Americans. In the process, EPA ignored the incredible economic, health and welfare benefits of fossil fuels – and the fact that (even at just 0.04% of the atmosphere) carbon dioxide is the miracle molecule that enables plants to grow and makes nearly all live on Earth possible.

EPA turned CO2 into a “dangerous pollutant” and ruled that fossil fuels must be eradicated. The agency subsequently used its EF to justify tens of billions of dollars in climate research, anti-fossil fuel regulations, and wind and solar subsidies; President Obama’s signing of the Paris climate treaty; and proposals to spend trillions of dollars a year on Green New Deal (GND) programs.

And yet, despite multiple demands that this be done, there has never been any formal, public review of the EF conclusion or of the secretive process EPA employed to ensure the result of its “analysis” could only be “endangerment” – and no awkward questions or public hearings would get in the way.

Review, transparency and accountability may finally be on the way, however, in the form of potential Executive Branch actions. If they occur – and they certainly should – both are likely to find that there is no valid scientific basis for the EF, and EPA violated important federal procedural rules in rendering its predetermined EF outcome. (One could even say the EF was obtained primarily because of prosecutorial misconduct, a kangaroo court proceeding, and scientific fraud.) Failure to examine and reverse the EF would mean it hangs like Damocles’ sword over the USA, awaiting another climate-focused president.

To the consternation and outrage of climate alarmists, keep-fossil-fuels-in-the-ground radicals, and predictable politicians and pundits, President Trump may soon appoint a Presidential Committee on Climate Change, to review “dangerous manmade climate change” reports by federal agencies.

Meanwhile, the Competitive Enterprise Institute has filed a formal petition with EPA, asking that the agency stop utilizing and relying on the EF – and instead subject the finding to a proper “high level” peer review, as required by the Information Quality Act. The reasoning presented in CEI’s succinct and persuasive petition is compelling. Its main points are these.

* EPA’s Endangerment Finding and the Technical Support Document (TSD) that supposedly justifies it did not meet Information Quality Act (IQA) requirements for how the work should have been done.

* The agency’s evaluation of the then-current climate change and related science was clearly a “highly influential scientific assessment” (HISA), which triggered important IQA and OMB rules governing rulemakings that have “a potential impact of more than $500 million in any year” … or present “novel, controversial or precedent-setting” changes … or would likely raise “significant interagency interest.”

* EPA’s “Clean Power Plan” to shut down coal-fired power plants alone would cost $2.5 billion in annual compliance costs, EPA admitted. Its motor vehicle rules would cost tens of billions. The Paris agreement and GND would add trillions per year in costs to the US economy. All are based on the EF. And all were certainly controversial and generated significant interest by multiple other government agencies.

* EPA deliberately downplayed the significance of its review and decision, ignored the IQA and OMB requirements, and refused to allow citizens, independent energy, climate and health experts, or even scientific and professional societies to nominate potential reviewers or participate in the EF analysis.

* Instead, the agency utilized an entirely internal review process, designed and conducted entirely by its own federal employees. Those employees had substantial conflicts of interest, because they were reviewing their own scientific work; would be writing, implementing and enforcing regulations based on that work; and had jobs and professional status that might be affected by the outcome of their review.

[The review team even summarily dismissed one of EPA’s most senior energy and economic experts, because his probing analyses and comments “do not help the legal or policy case” for the EF decision.]

* EPA never allowed the general public or scientific, energy, health or economic experts to review its draft scientific assessment; never sponsored any public meetings; and never let its internal peer reviewers see any of the public comments that outside experts and organizations submitted to the agency.

* In fact, none of the EPA peer review panel’s questions and responses have ever been made public.

Each of these actions violated specific IQA and OMB peer review guidelines. Indeed, two years after the Endangerment Finding was issued, even EPA’s own Inspector General found that that agency had violated rules governing all of these matters. And yet even then nothing was done to correct them.

The entire Obama EPA process smells like a crooked prosecutor who framed CO2 and was determined to get a conviction. The agency built its entire case on tainted, circumstantial evidence, and testimony from agency officials who had conflicts of interest and their own reasons for wanting CO2 convicted of endangering Americans. EPA reviewers ignored or hid exculpatory evidence and colluded to prevent witnesses for the CO2 defendant from presenting any defense or cross-examining agency witnesses.

A full reexamination now is essential, and not just because the Obama EPA violated every procedural rule in the books. But because EPA ignored volumes of climate science that contradicted its preordained EF finding. Because real-world climate and weather observations consistently contradict alarmist computer models and headlines. Because science is never settled … must never be driven by ideology … and must be reevaluated when new scientific evidence is discovered – or evidence of misbehavior is uncovered.

We know far more about Earth’s climate and have far more and better data than a decade ago. But climatologists still cannot explain why our planet experienced multiple ice ages and interglacial periods, Roman and Medieval warm periods, the Little Ice Age, or Anasazi, Mayan and Dust Bowl droughts.

And yet some of them insist they can accurately predict calamitous temperatures, weather events and extinctions 10, 20, 100 years from now – based on computer models whose temperature predictions are already a degree Fahrenheit above what satellites are measuring … and that rely primarily or solely on carbon dioxide, while downplaying or ignoring fluctuations in solar energy and cosmic ray output, the reflective properties of clouds, El Niño events, ocean current shifts, and other powerful natural forces.

And then, in the face of all that uncertainty and politicized science, they demand that the United States slash or eliminate its fossil fuel use – and that the poorest nations on Earth continue to forego fossil fuel development, and instead remain wracked by joblessness, misery, disease, malnutrition and early death.

Thankfully, poor countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America are building or planning more than 2,000 coal and gas-fueled generating plants. They deserve to be freed from dictatorial carbon-colonialism and eco-manslaughter – and to become as wealthy, healthy and vibrant as modern industrialized nations that also relied on fossil fuels to develop … and are still 80% dependent on those fuels today.

But if those countries are building fossil fuel power plants, driving millions more cars and trucks, and emitting multiple times more CO2 and other GHGs than the United States – why should the USA slash or eliminate its coal, oil and natural gas? Why should we roll back our job creation, living standards, health and welfare, based on the IPCC’s junk science and EPA’s fraudulent Endangerment Finding?

For unfathomable reasons, a few White House advisors still oppose any PCCS or IQA-triggered review of the EF or junk/fraudulent science behind it. Perhaps they are too closely tied to the Deep State or invested financially or ideologically in the $2-trillion-per-year Climate-Industrial Complex. But whatever their reasons, they must be ignored in favor of science and the national interest. Let’s get the job done – now!

Write to President Trump: Ask him to appoint his Presidential Committee on Climate Science – and instruct the EPA to agree to the CEI petition and review the 2009 Endangerment Finding forthwith!

Via email

Five years of the Labour Party's "watermelon" policies would ruin Britain

Take Corbyn’s energy and environment policies, which have been leaked to the press. Here’s the Telegraph‘s take:

Jeremy Corbyn has drawn up plans to take control of Britain’s energy networks in a multi-billion pound power-grab modelled on the nationalisation of Northern Rock.

A leaked Labour party document has revealed plans for a swift and sweeping renationalization of the country’s £62bn energy networks at a price decided by Parliament.

Under the plans the energy companies will fall under the control of a newly formed public body, the National Energy Agency. The quango will control the energy system while operating the high voltage wires. It will also oversee a matrix of so-called “regional energy agencies” that will advance Labour’s plans to tackle climate change.

The agencies will be tasked with sourcing low carbon or renewable sources for 60pc of all energy use by 2030. They will also oversee the rollout of electric vehicle charging networks and new energy storage projects across the country.

Like John Constable at the Global Warming Policy Foundation, I have little sympathy for the big energy companies threatened with nationalization – nor, frankly, with their shareholders.

As Constable points out the UK energy industry is not about the creation of value but is essentially just a form of subsidy farming.

The big energy firms could have resisted. They could have said: “Look. Our job is to generate the power needed to keep the lights on in Britain as cheaply and efficiently as possible. Leave us out of your green politicking.”

But the easy money from rising prices and growing subsidies was just too tempting. Big energy colluded with the government by pretending that rising energy prices had nothing to do with green levies and climate targets.

When everyone finally wakes up to the degree to which their energy bills have been artificially inflated by climate change nonsense, the energy companies are going to be even less popular than they are already.

According to Constable:

It is obvious that energy and climate policies already accounted for a large a fraction of the price in 2014, prices being 17% higher than they would have been in the absence of policies. By 2020 policies were predicted to make prices 37% higher, and 41% higher in 2030.

And that’s just on the current trajectory. It doesn’t require much imagination to appreciate how much more energy bills will soar if Labour gets in and starts erecting still more bat-chomping bird-slicing eco-crucifixes as part of its renewables/low carbon “60pc of all energy use by 2030” target.

Before we start getting too cross about Labour’s watermelon lunacy, though, let’s remind ourselves which party has been in charge of Britain’s energy policy since 2010. The Conservatives.

The Conservatives, in other words, have had nearly ten years in office to demonstrate that on energy, they can be more fiscally responsible, consumer-friendly and evidence-driven than its left wing/green opponents.

Instead, they have bought wholesale into the anti-capitalist, anti-market, anti-science, anti-consumer, anti-freedom green agenda – killing through overregulation the nascent UK fracking industry, pouring more taxpayer subsidies into crony capitalist boondoggles like solar energy and offshore wind.

There are a few politicians who totally get this – from The Brexit Party’s Nigel Farage and UKIP’s Gerard Batten to, in the Conservatives, Liz Truss, Priti Patel, Owen Paterson and Jacob Rees-Mogg (whom I interviewed this week for Breitbart – watch this space!).

I hope these are the kind of people who are in office once the current storm afflicting British politics has blown over.

And let us pray that when that moment comes, we won’t have had to endure an interregnum by Jeremy Corbyn and his watermelon loons beforehand. The birds and the bats and the British countryside, not to mention the UK economy, would never forgive us.


The recent Australian Federal election: North Queensland MP  reveals how anti-coal extremists of the Left blew their chances in six must-win Queensland seats

Losing the whole of Queensland North of Brisbane was an amazing loss.  And there was no doubt why:  Leftist opposition to new coal mines.  Had they won those seats they would be in government now

Bob Katter has launched a blistering attack against Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek, claiming her comments cost Labor the 'unloseable' election.

The maverick MP said the potential future leader of the Labor party was out of touch with Queensland voters, and that her stance against coal mines alienated constituents in the regions.

'Tanya Plibersek ran amok,' the MP for the seat of Kennedy in north Queensland told Sky News.

'She was out there denigrating the coal industry and saying it will phase out. To say that on the eve of an election in which there are six marginal seats in north Queensland in the coal belt is absolutely disastrous.'

The seats in question include Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton's northern Brisbane seat of Dickson and the Townsville-based seat of Herbert.

George Christensen is expected to return to his marginal seat of Dawson while the Coalition also managed to retain the seats of Flynn, Capricornia and Leichhardt.

'The ALP were certain on the polls to take all six seats, but she and a bunch of loud mouthed extremists that have an immense amount of power in the Labor movement... they blew it to smithereens,' Mr Katter said.

Ms Plibersek has been vocal in her opposition to the Adani coal mine in Queensland.

She previously said Australians 'can't rely on an Indian mining company to bring jobs to central and north Queensland'.

She also said she was sceptical Adani would bring as many jobs to the region as it had promised, and believed backers may have underestimated the impact it could have on the environment.

Labor was accused of alienating their core electorate with policies that were too progressive and divisive on climate change and negative gearing.

Older Australians in particular appeared to turn on Labor over the controversial plan to scrap franking credits for self-funded retirees.

Labor's climate change policy and stance on Adani was at odds with many voters who wanted the new coal mine, which has promised to provide hundreds of jobs in regions struggling against drought and high levels of unemployment.

Liberal Senator Arthur Sinodinos said the result could be partially explained by those opposing the Adani project being seen as anti-jobs.

'Adani became about jobs. It became emblematic of 'we want jobs' and the Bob Brown caravan which went up there to talk about stopping Adani had locals thinking, 'hang on, you are not going to tell us how to live',' he said.

Tax cuts and ministry changes will be Mr Morrison's agenda as the nation awaits the final results of the federal election.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison looks likely to win 77 seats, allowing him to appoint a Speaker and govern in majority.

Out of three close seats listed on the Australian Electoral Commission website on Monday, the Liberals were on track to win Chisholm in Victoria and Bass in Tasmania, with Labor holding the NSW seat of Macquarie.

If the current count trends continue, this will give the Liberals 77 seats in the 151-seat House of Representatives, with Labor on 68 and six crossbenchers.



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