Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Extinction Rebellion Activists Break Down After Failing To Close Heathrow

Young climate change activists broke down in tears on television today as they protested at Heathrow Airport on the fifth day of Extinction Rebellion demonstrations in London.

Around 15 youths, all aged under 17, arrived at the UK’s busiest airport on Good Friday for the planned demonstration, where they unfurled a banner with the words “Are we the last generation”.

Footage showed the youngsters becoming emotional, with one protester saying he was “afraid for the future of this planet”.

The protest is part of wider demonstrations around the capital organized by the campaign group Extinction Rebellion (XR), which has blocked routes around Marble Arch, Oxford Circus, Parliament Square, and Waterloo Bridge since Monday.

Protesters stood by the tunnel that leads to Terminals 2 and 3 at the airport, but all roads around the roundabout remained open.

Extinction Rebellion said police had warned the youngsters at Heathrow that they could be arrested.

Dozens of police officers surrounded the group, who were stopped from blocking the road.

The airport had said it was braced for disruption after protesters announced plans to target the transport hub.

A spokesman for Heathrow Airport had said it was “working with authorities to address any threat of protests which could disrupt the airport”.

Pictures showed the youngsters becoming emotional and embracing during the demonstration.

The activists said they were motivated by a “constant fear” for their future, according to a statement from Extinction Rebellion.

In an interview with LBC, one boy said: “This is more of a symbolic protest to show the fear… the love that we have for this planet. “I’m not afraid of arrest, I’m afraid of the future of this planet.

Organizers said the action would be escalated to include Heathrow on Good Friday, with around 500,000 people expected to fly out for Easter breaks over the bank holiday weekend.

The airport said it was “working with the authorities”, while Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave said: “Protesters can expect a robust police response. We are determined to keep the airport operating.”

Scotland Yard has warned protesters the force had “strong plans” in place with a significant number of officers ready to respond.

Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, told BBC Breakfast on Friday that protests had been “very, very difficult” for the force because it was an “alien” situation for most of them.

But he said that with more than 1,000 officers being deployed the streets will begin to be cleared.

He added: “This is very, very difficult for us because my colleagues have never come across the situation that they are faced with at the moment.

“They are dealing with very, very passive people, probably quite nice people, who don’t want confrontation whatsoever with the police or anyone else but are breaking the law.

“We are having to adjust to that, we are having to deal with the circumstances that are put in front of my colleagues, but be very robust so we can start clearing the streets and you will see that starting to happen today.”


What Gives? UN Climate Report (Due 2022) Excludes Geologists

As usual, the Green/Left need to shield themselves from the facts

Geology is a key science to help our understanding of earth’s past climate. Yet, once again, the corrupt UN IPCC will deliver another biased report in 2022 that excludes ANY geologists.

Geologist, Dr Roger Higgs exposes the reasons for this shameful omission in his paper ‘IPCC Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change next report (AR6, due 2022) − 784 authors, yes 784, but again NO geologists!‘

Published at researchgate.net Dr Higgs writes:

“My Technical Note 2018-2 exposed the astonishing lack of geologists (the very scientists most qualified to speak on climate change) among the 838 (sic) authors of the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5, 2013-14) of the United Nations’ IPCC.”

The IPCC’s next report, AR6, is just as much a betrayal of open and honest assessment of our planet’s climate system.

Dr Higgs explains:

“The author listings (below) show the “necessary expertise” is lacking: geologists are again excluded, rendering the collective authorship  incompetent  for  their  stated  mission  of  reviewing  the  scientific  literature  to  assess  climate  change.  By  this omission, IPCC ignores Earth’s history  (!)  and  the  copious  geological  evidence,  latterly  backed  by  archaeology, that sea level (barometer of global temperature, via ocean-water expansion and polar ice melt) undergoes a rapid (100-500 year) and large (1-3 metres)  oscillation every 500-2,000 years, caused by  volcanism and solar fluctuations, certainly not  by industrial CO2! See my other 2019 technical notes here on ResearchGate, giving some of the evidence for such sea-level oscillations.”

Anyone examining the list of authors posted for the new UN climate (AR6) report can see that Dr Higgs has a point: in Working Group  I  (WGI),  ‘The  Physical  Science  Basis’ there are 232  authors,  including  meteorologists, oceanographers, climate scientists, glaciologists, physicists, geographers and computer modellers.

But nowhere will you see ANY geologists.

Meanwhile, WGII, titled ‘Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability’ shows 323 authors and again among them are no geologists. Then there is WGIII, Mitigation of Climate Change. This lists 229 authors and, surprise, surprise – no geologists.

So, that is a grand total 784 expert authors and not a single geologist among them. Why is this?

Dr Higgs thinks the problem is political, not scientific. He identifies that there is an unabashed political quota of authors to represent designated (politically correct) groups.

These include:

*   44% from developing countries and countries with economies in transition

*  53% new to the IPCC process

*  33% women

This ‘diversity’ is politically and ideologically concocted; not determined by excellence but rather whether the authors meet pre-approval not for what they know, but simply by being a particular identity (i.e. identity politics replacing scientific competence).

Dr Higgs laments:

”How lovely: no geologists, but at least we have politically correct quotas of  women,  third  worlders  and  youngsters!  Worse: the 53%  “new”  people  are  doubtless nearly all younger than 50, i.e. biased, indoctrinated through school and university with the ‘CO2 = pollutant’ fallacy.”

If the oh-so-noble UN can craft a body of authors that neatly fulfils its identity politics agenda, why then cannot it serve the interests of science and rightfully include in that group at least a small number of geologists to ensure this important field of research is adequately considered in the mix?

Higgs puts it bluntly to readers:

“Are you content that this biased, under-skilled, politically-driven organization, having judged the greatest issue of  modern time, global warming, to be manmade, has unleashed multi-trillion-dollar expenditure (relentlessly raising  your family’s taxes & energy bills) to cripple the global economy and downgrade human living standards worldwide?”

Higgs, R., IPCC Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change next report (AR6, due 2022) − 784 authors, yes 784, but again NO geologists!  https://www.researchgate.net/publication/331974185


Apologists for poverty: There is nothing progressive in green calls to overthrow capitalism

Climate protesters Extinction Rebellion have spent the week blocking London’s roads, staging die-ins, glueing themselves to trains, climbing on top of buses, and even chaining themselves to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s house. The activists’ aim is to cause maximum disruption and get themselves arrested to draw attention to climate change. Protest leaders claim that humanity faces extinction unless carbon emissions are cut to net zero by 2025.

They have compared themselves to Gandhi and Martin Luther King. A BBC podcast asks if Extinction Rebellion are ‘the new Suffragettes’. They have been endorsed by many on the radical left who have persuaded themselves that a serious rebellion is afoot.

Last week, left-wing new media outlet Novara Media posted on social media a video of veteran eco-warrior George Monbiot. In it, Monbiot calls for an end to green tinkering and the ‘micro-consumerist bollocks’ of sustainable cotton buds, etc. Instead, he says, ‘we need to get to the heart of capitalism and overthrow it’. The audience cheered and the clip went viral, with over one million views. James Corden from Gavin and Stacey retweeted it. Leftists tweeted excitedly about a decisive and radical shift in the ‘Overton Window’ in favour of abolishing capitalism.

Traditionally, the left would campaign in favour of human progress, more wealth, with a greater share of that wealth going to ordinary working-class people. Novara Media’s organising principle of ‘Fully Automated Luxury Communism’ nods to this aspiration. In Marxist terms, capitalism would come to be replaced with a communist society of abundance for all.

But strip away the pseudo-radical talk of rebellion and revolt and it becomes clear that neither Extinction Rebellion nor Monbiot’s eccentric ramblings should be talked about as a serious left challenge to capitalism. It is not a call to ditch capitalism in favour of a new system that could provide abundance for all. On the contrary, the environmental critique of capitalism is that we have too much stuff, too much wealth, and we should now return to a pre-industrial feudalistic state.

For instance, in that viral clip, two of the things Monbiot told us to give up are meat and air travel. Flight, the ability to traverse continents in ever shorter periods of time, is surely one of the greatest gains of modern times. For several hundred pounds, you can travel to the other side of the world. For less than £100, you can travel to practically any nation in Europe. Similarly, the abundance of food that the developed world is able to enjoy is a triumph of modernity. Developments in modern farming, packaging and transport mean that meat no longer has to be rationed. Even the poorest people in the West can enjoy a meat-based diet in a way that would have only been possible for aristocrats less than a century ago. According to environmentalists, this progress is a very bad thing.

The environmental attack on increased living standards for the poor is often explicit. Back in 2007, annoyed that teenagers ‘in one of the poorest parts of Britain’ could afford ‘expensive haircuts, fashionable clothes and mobile phones’, Monbiot concluded in a Guardian column that rich nations have reached the logical place to stop growing. Not only that, but they should start shrinking and become poorer. ‘Bring on the recession’ was the headline he chose when he republished the article on his website.

In his 2007 book Heat, Monbiot described environmentalism as ‘a campaign not for abundance but austerity, not for more freedom but less… It is a campaign not just against other people, but against ourselves.’

Many observers have noted the overwhelmingly white and middle-class composition of the Extinction Rebellion protests. Unsurprisingly, few working-class people are likely to share the environmentalists’ belief that we are all too wealthy and should embrace restraint, rationing and recession.

Where calls to overthrow capitalism were once made in the name of abolishing human misery, today’s anti-capitalists make clear that their goal is to promote human misery. Capitalism may be exploitative and unequal, but the new anti-capitalism is downright anti-human.


Dealbreaker? Electric vehicles emit more CO2 than diesel ones, German study shows

Electric vehicles in Germany account for more CO2 emissions than diesel ones, according to a study by German scientists.
When CO2 emissions linked to the production of batteries and the German energy mix - in which coal still plays an important role - are taken into consideration, electric vehicles emit 11% to 28% more than their diesel counterparts, according to the study, presented on Wednesday at the Ifo Institute in Munich.

Mining and processing the lithium, cobalt and manganese used for batteries consume a great deal of energy. A Tesla Model 3 battery, for example, represents between 11 and 15 tonnes of CO2. Given a lifetime of 10 years and an annual travel distance of 15,000 kilometres, this translates into 73 to 98 grams of CO2 per kilometre, scientists Christoph Buchal, Hans-Dieter Karl and Hans-Werner Sinn noted in their study.

The CO2 given off to produce the electricity that powers such vehicles also needs to be factored in, they say.

When all these factors are considered, each Tesla emits 156 to 180 grams of CO2 per kilometre, which is more than a comparable diesel vehicle produced by the German company Mercedes, for example.

The German researchers therefore take issue with the fact that European officials view electric vehicles as zero-emission ones. They note further that the EU target of 59 grams of CO2 per km by 2030 corresponds to a “technically unrealistic” consumption of 2.2 litres of diesel or 2.6 litres of gas per 100 kms.

These new limits pressure German and other European car manufacturers into switching massively to electric vehicles whereas, the researchers feel, it would have been preferable to opt for methane engines, “whose emissions are one-third less than those of diesel motors.”


‘We are in a crisis’: Australia’s recycling nightmare

For some reason, plastic is a great Greenie demon and there is a big imperative to recycle it.  Dropping it down a hole is apparently not good enough any more. A lot of Australia's playing fields and parks were once dumps but that is no longer wise, apparently.

But most plastic cannot economically be recycled so the little we do recycle requires government subsidies and support of various kinds. It costs money to recyle.  Making something useful out of rubbish is difficult. The fantasy that recycled rubbish can pay for itself is long gone. And the great bulk that we do not recycle we send overseas where they mostly burn it. But now other countries don't want it either, even if we pay them

If the Greenies had a brain they would be pushing for a total ban on plastic food and drink containers.  Many drink containers are already made of glass, steel or aluminium, which are fully and easily recylable. One's shopping would get slightly heavier as plastic bottles are lighter than steel or glass ones and aluminium containers do not work well in the larger sizes.  But I guess that glass, steel and aluminium are just boring old stuff that you cannot get a virtue claim out of

As our plastic waste piles up at overstretched facilities or is dumped in Malaysia and Indonesia, the crisis is getting too big to ignore.

Australia has catapulted headfirst into a crisis that’s been building for a long time.

The nation is trapped under a mountain of its own waste, lacking the resources to even begin to deal with it — and plastic is our biggest demon.

While Aussie households have gradually become accustomed to sorting rubbish for recycling, the illusion of success was shattered when China abruptly stopped accepting our refuse in 2017.

The country had been processing 60-70 per cent of the world’s recycling, but when it realised the negative impact on its environment, it suddenly shut the door. India has cut us off, too.

Australia has only a few dozen processing plants compared with China’s thousands. So our bottles, containers and coffee cups have been piling up at overstretched facilities, or shipped off to be illegally burned or buried in Southeast Asia.

“Nobody’s built any infrastructure,” Plastic Forests founder and owner David Hodge told news.com.au. “The Federal Government is a basket case.

“Just imagine there’s no garbage trucks coming down the street any more to pick up rubbish. That’s the situation we’re in. “We are in a crisis.”

After 20 years of relying on China, Australia is suddenly facing a visceral nightmare, as we start to drown in our own materialism.

While we have made some steps towards reducing single-use plastic, we still use around 3.3 billion plastic bags, 2.6 billion coffee cups, 2.4 billion plastic straws and 1.3 billion plastic bottles each year.

Soft plastics cannot be recycled, and when households dump plastic bags in the recycling bin, it acts “like chewing gum going through the machine”, which may have to be stopped and decontaminated.

“When we put it in our recycling bin, where does it go?” asks Mr Hodge. “It’s taken almost a generation to train Australians to recycle.

“It needs this — almost emergency powers to step in and address it.”

NSW is the only state or territory without at least a commitment to ban single-use bags. Major retailers have already cut them out, with Coles and Woolworths driving an 80 per cent drop in the consumption of plastic bags nationwide by December last year.

Many want to see federal action, with Labor promising to ban single-use bags and microbeads by 2021 if it wins the election as part of a $290 million plan to cut waste and clean up the oceans. But the solution to our self-made hell will not be easy.

Australians are becoming aware of their impact, with the ABC’s War on Waste having a huge impact in 2017 after it exposed that we were ranked fifth in the world for generating the most municipal waste. A video of supermarkets dumping edible bananas helped it become the broadcaster’s most successful social media campaign.

Nine’s 60 Minutes this week tackled how recyclable rubbish is being dumped in Indonesia, Vietnam and, in particular, Malaysia, which received more than 71,000 tonnes of our plastic in the last year alone.

But the wake-up call has come late in the day, and answers are desperately needed.

Suggested solutions include replacing our plastics with biodegradable versions, taxing non-recyclable or “virgin” plastics, stockpiling the rubbish while we improve our recycling capabilities or burning plastic to create energy.

All of these ideas come with their own costs and challenges. Mr Hodge says he’s concerned the Government will rush headlong into burning plastic for electricity — a hugely expensive energy source — when it could focus on investing in the “circular economy” and creating jobs in the process.

We are living in what he calls a “DUD economy” — Dig it up, Use it, Dispose of it. Most things don’t work like that: more often, water, food and materials are part of a cycle.

“Everybody’s trying to do everything as cheaply as possible, it’s not long-term sustainability,” warns Mr Hodge. “It’s just an enormously expensive fuel.

“We want to keep plastic as plastic.”

Companies are now manufacturing garden furniture, bollards, park benches and cable insulation from recycled plastic. Plastic Forests has found a way to create a mini wheel stop from plastic film using a grant from NSW Environmental Protection Agency’s “Waste Less Recycle More” $802 million initiative.

Australia needs smart investment, clear thinking and innovative ideas to deal with the monumental challenge. This catastrophe may be the wake-up call we need.



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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Monday, April 22, 2019

What David Attenborough told BBC viewers about this raging orangutan fighting a digger is only part of the truth... and that's just one of the flaws in the great naturalist's 'alarmist' new documentary

DAVID ROSE issues a cautious rebuttal

One of the most talked-about programmes of the past week – a primetime documentary on BBC1 – featured two people many seem to regard as living saints.

One was the presenter, Sir David Attenborough, the other Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teenage activist inspiring climate change ‘school strikes’ in several countries, including Britain.

The film’s title was Climate Change: The Facts, and these, Sir David claimed, are now ‘incontrovertible’. The film’s message was so bleak it could have been made by Extinction Rebellion, the eco-anarchist protest group which has brought Central London to a standstill.

No one has done more to convey the marvels of the natural world than Attenborough, and his long career has rightly earned him public acclaim.

Sadly, on this occasion, I believe he has presented an alarmist argument derived from a questionable use of evidence, whose nuances he has ignored.

According to Sir David, climate change, is the ‘greatest threat’ to humanity in thousands of years. ‘We are facing the collapse of our societies,’ he intoned, insisting we ‘must all share responsibility… for the future of life on Earth.’

Attenborough is about to turn 93, while Thunberg is just 16, but they issued the same warning. ‘It’s our future and we can’t just let it slip away from us,’ she told viewers. Yet ‘nothing is being done, no one is doing anything’.

The film rounded off a week which had already seen the BBC invite Extinction Rebellion extremists on to its news shows to expound the message – without serious challenge – that unless we cut greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2025, ‘our children will die’.

Last year, the BBC issued guidelines instructing editors that inviting comment from ‘climate change deniers’ was ‘false balance’. In practice, this has meant that those who accept climate change is real, but less threatening than some such as Attenborough claim, have effectively been banished from the airwaves.

Now the Corporation has given acres of airtime to protesters demanding the overthrow of democratic governments and an almost immediate end to fossil fuel-derived power, heating and transport – in other words, the abrupt termination of civilisation as we know it.

Thunberg has become a global media darling, her pronouncements cherished as if they were holy writ.

‘I want you all to panic,’ she told the Davos economic forum in January: and Attenborough’s film may well have persuaded viewers to do just that – and, perhaps, to join the Extinction Rebellion barricades.

Watching it did fill me with horror, but not at the threat from global warming. It was at the way Sir David and the BBC presented a picture of the near future which was so much more frightening than is justified.

Climate science remains a field riven by deep uncertainties. The film largely glossed over these – and where faced with alternatives, it plumped unerringly for the most pessimistic version of the ‘truth’.

Let me be clear: I am not a ‘denier’. Global warming and climate change are real, in large measure caused by humans. According to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), our emissions were responsible for more than half the 0.6C – 0.7C global average temperature rise recorded between 1951 and 2010.

But I am also convinced that the ‘panic’ Thunberg desires and Attenborough’s film will encourage is not helpful when it comes to making policy designed to tackle it. Moreover, it is a grotesque travesty of the truth to claim that ‘nothing’ has been done: for example, since 1990, UK emissions have fallen by 43 per cent, according to the Government’s Committee on Climate Change. Not only that, Government statistics say 56 per cent of our electricity came from low carbon sources in 2018, our last coal-fired power station will close in six years and the Government has pledged to ‘decarbonise’ electricity by 2030.

Above all, the Climate Change Act requires Britain to reduce its 1990 carbon emissions by no less than 80 per cent by the year 2050, making us the first major economy to make such a dramatic commitment. To say that ‘nothing’ has been done is as risible as it is dishonest.

One of the film’s most questionable aspects was its claim that extreme weather events such as floods and storms have already got worse and more frequent, thanks to global warming, along with wildfires.

It did say that attributing reasons to any single event is difficult, and derived from probabilities. But in the words of interviewee Michael Mann, a US climate scientist, the effects of climate change are ‘playing out in real time’, and are ‘no longer subtle’. Cue images of monster waves and hurricanes, accompanied by doomy music.

But is this true? The IPCC, regarded by mainstream scientists as the world’s most authoritative source, says there have been some changes, such as higher rainfall. But its Fifth Assessment Report, published in 2013, stated there are ‘no significant observed trends in global tropical cyclone frequency over the past century’. It added: ‘No robust trends in annual numbers of tropical storms, hurricanes and major hurricane counts have been identified over the past 100 years in the North Atlantic basin.’

A separate IPCC report last year said that cyclones in the tropics would in future be less numerous, although some would be stronger.

In 2014, a group of IPCC experts published a paper about flooding. So far, they said, ‘no gauge-based evidence has been found for a climate-driven, globally widespread change in the magnitude/frequency of floods.’

Another memorable segment of the film showed a father and son narrowly escaping from one of several devastating fires last year in California. These, too, were ascribed to global warming.

Surprisingly, several recent scientific papers suggest that wildfires have been declining in recent years – even in California, where statistics gathered by the local agency, Calfires, says the number across the state has roughly halved since 1987, following a peak in the 1970s.

According to a study published by the Royal Society in 2016, ‘many consider wildfire as an accelerating problem’. In reality, however, says the study: ‘global area burned appears to have declined in past decades, and there is increasing evidence that there is less fire in the global landscape than centuries ago.’

Equally questionable was the film’s claim that global warming is triggering a wave of extinctions, with eight per cent of species under threat solely because of it.

This also appears to oversimplify the findings of the IPCC, which said in 2014: ‘There is low confidence that rates of species extinctions have increased over the last several decades. Most extinctions over the last several centuries have been attributed to habitat loss, over-exploitation, pollution, or invasive species.

'Of the more than 800 extinctions documented by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, only 20 have been tenuously linked to recent climate change. It says: ‘Overall, there is very low confidence that observed species extinctions can be attributed to recent climate warming.’

The IPCC is clear that further warming will make things worse, but has found ‘low agreement’ over which species are at risk, and when extinctions might occur.

Attenborough made yet another contentious claim about corals, claiming that one third of the world’s reefs have perished due to ‘heat stress’ in the past three years.

It is true that the record high temperatures recorded during the powerful ‘El Nino’ event of 2015/16 – which saw the central Pacific warm by several degrees and drove warmer weather elsewhere – damaged corals badly.

But many have begun to recover, including those of the supposedly moribund Great Barrier Reef.

I suppose it could be argued that this film merely jumped the gun a little, by portraying climate impacts which, while not discernible yet, soon will be.

But here we must turn to its most provocative claim of all – that IPCC computer model projections show that, by the end of this century, world average temperatures will be between three and six degrees higher than now. Needless to say, this would be devastating.

In fact, the IPCC issues not one but four such projections, each one showing what would happen with differing levels of future greenhouse gas emissions.

The most pessimistic – known in the trade as ‘RCP 8.5’ – suggests that by 2100, the world would indeed be much hotter: according to the 2013 IPCC report, between 2.6 and 4.8 degrees above the average between 1986 and 2005.

This, of course, is lower than the 3-6 degree range predicted by Attenborough.

Meanwhile, there is evidence that RCP 8.5 is almost certain not to take place. First, it posits population increases far higher than those now thought likely by many demographers.

UN forecasts claim the global population will reach 11 billion by 2100, but several expert teams now say falling birthrates mean it will peak much earlier.

‘It will never reach nine billion,’ says the eminent futurologist Jorgen Randers. ‘It will peak at eight billion in 2040 and then decline.’

For the RCP 8.5 prediction to become a reality would also require a massive increase in the use of coal, and the reversal of the emissions cuts which many countries have already achieved.

All of which means the world is more likely to conform to what are known as RCP 4.5 or RCP 6. Under RCP 4.5, the IPCC says, the ‘likely’ range of warming by 2100 would be between 1.1C and 2.6C; under RCP 6, between 1.4C and 3.1C.

A BBC spokesperson said yesterday that the film said the 3-6 degrees of warming was a reasonable estimate given the current emissions trajectory, and said emissions ‘have been following the RCP 8.5 curve rather than the alternatives.’ Under this, an upper limit of 6C was possible.

She added: ‘The film sought to make clear that scientists don’t know exactly what may happen.’

I’m not trying to argue that climate change is trivial, nor that the world doesn’t need ‘action’ to deal with it. On the other hand, we have already seen what can happen when ‘panic’ determines policy: the introduction of measures conceived by a need to be seen to be doing something under pressure from groups such as Extinction Rebellion.

Without making this clear, the film revealed one of the worst examples of this unfortunate effect. A powerful sequence showed an orangutan, fleeing loggers who have been eradicating Borneo’s rainforest.

This is disastrous for both wildlife and the climate because, as the film pointed out, a third of global emissions are down to deforestation, because giant trees lock up a lot of carbon.

But why are Borneo’s forests being cut down? The reason, as Attenborough said, is palm oil, a lucrative crop used in products ranging from soap to biscuits. Unfortunately, he left out the final stage of the argument.

Half of all the millions of tons of palm oil sent to Europe is used to make ‘biofuel’, thanks to an EU directive stating that, by 2020, ten per cent of forecourt fuel must come from ‘renewable’ biological sources. Malaysia says this has ‘created an unprecedented demand’.

To put it another way: misguided ‘action’ designed to save the planet is actually helping to damage it – although the EU has pledged to phase out palm oil biofuel by 2030.

Another example of a misconceived effort to save the planet is Drax power plant in Yorkshire which is fed, thanks to £700 million of annual subsidy, by ‘renewable’ wood pellets made from chopped-down American trees – while pumping more CO2 into the atmosphere than when it burnt only coal.

In theory, the trees it burns will be replaced – but a large part of its supply comes from hardwood forests that take 100 years to mature.

There are times when climate propaganda – for this is what this was – calls to mind the apocalyptic prophets of the Middle Ages, who led popular movements by preaching that the sins of human beings were so great that they could only be redeemed by suffering, in order to create a paradise on earth.

Perhaps this is how Attenborough, nature journalism’s Methuselah, sees himself. But climate change is too important to be handled in this manner. It needs rational, well-informed debate. Too often, cheered on by the eco-zealots of Extinction Rebellion, the BBC is intent on encouraging quite the opposite.


Delingpole: ‘Climate Change: The Facts’ Was the BBC’s Biggest Lie Ever

The increasingly unwatchable and slavishly woke BBC plumbed new depths last night. It gave a prime time slot to a piece of environmental propaganda so blatant, shameless, and dishonest it might just as well have been a political broadcast on behalf of Extinction Rebellion.

Even the programme’s title was a lie. "Climate Change: The Facts" was a farrago of alarmist cliches, exaggerations, and untruths which have been debunked on numerous occasions.

It lied about the cause of wildfires; it lied about heatwaves; it lied about storms and floods; it lied about polar melting; it lied about sea levels; it lied about coral reefs; it lied about droughts.

Yet many viewers may well have been taken in because the programme was presented with breathy earnestness and apparent authority by the doyen of TV wildlife ‘experts’ Sir David Attenborough. And accompanied by the kind of dramatic footage and stirring music guaranteed to bypass the brain and appeal directly to the emotions — as all the most effective propaganda does.

“If you liked Triumph of the Will then you’re going to love Our Planet,” I wrote recently of Attenborough’s new Netflix series, which uses exactly the same techniques: amazing nature photography; manipulative music; a trembly voiceover making all manner of scientifically dubious assertions in order to scare the viewer into the appropriate state of climate fear.

But "Climate Change: the Facts" was more unscrupulous and dishonest still.

What I found particularly objectionable was its use of emotive trickery to help deceive the viewer into buying its specious arguments.

For example, on the subject of heatwaves, we were shown heartbreaking footage of thousands of flying foxes (giant fruit bats) in Australia which had dropped dead out of the trees during a particularly hot spell last November in Queensland.

“There was a deafening sound of babies crying,” said the voiceover of a distraught Australian conservationist, over images of piles of dead bats, and an orphaned baby bat being hand fed some milk from a bottle. “This is climate change in action,” muttered an unnamed Australian. “We need to wake up!” said another.

The unwary viewer might easily have been gulled into drawing two erroneous conclusions from this.

First, that the bats really had been killed by “climate change”. (Which they hadn’t. This was an extreme weather event of the kind which, no doubt, has killed many thousands of flying foxes on previous occasions in history — only without the presence of camera crews to record the incidents.)

Second, that the world divides into two kinds of people: those who love the planet and cute baby bats and who consequently believe in the urgency of combating climate change; those who don’t give a damn. (Which is another entirely false premise. It is quite possible to care very much about the natural world without buying into the false claims of green-ideology driven, anti-growth, anti-human environmental activists.)

Paul Homewood has been through its various claims with a fine-tooth comb and found many to be misleading and inaccurate.

Among his criticisms:

Attenborough shows a surface temperature chart of dramatically rising temperatures but a) fails to mention that the more accurate satellite temperature data shows no increase since 1998; b) fails to explain why temperatures rose sharply in the early 20th century, long before CO2 emissions began to rise significantly; c) fails to mention that since the 19th century, Earth has been emerging from the Little Ice Age — probably the coldest period since the end of the Ice Age.

The extreme weather bogeyman. Various talking head ‘experts’ assure us that heat waves are getting more intense. But last summer’s heatwave in the UK — cited as evidence of this — was no hotter than the summer of 1976; nor was the recent one in Queensland when temperatures reached 42 degrees C — also cited — anywhere near as bad as the one in 1972 when temperatures reached 49.5 degrees C. In fact, Homewood notes, there is considerable evidence that heatwaves are actually becoming less common.

Michael Mann (quoted as an expert witness): “You’re going to get more rainfall, more superstorms, worse flooding. We’re seeing the effects of climate change now play out in real time” Homewood: Maybe one of the most dishonest parts of the programme. Even the IPCC can’t find any long term trends in tropical cyclone activity or flooding. And severe tornadoes are have become much less common in the US.

Attenborough: “Rising seas are already displacing hundreds of thousands of people from already vulnerable coastal areas.” Homewood: Pure hyperbole. Where is the evidence to support this claim? Sea levels have been rising steadily since the mid 19th century.

On polar ice caps, it is claimed that ice loss from Antarctica and Greenland is “worse than expected”. Homewood: In fact, according to NASA, the Antarctic is actually gaining ice. It is symptomatic of the whole programme, that Attenborough does not mention this inconvenient fact.

As for Greenland, I’m not sure what the experts were “expecting”, has any relevance at all. What we do know though, is that temperatures in Greenland are no higher now than they were in the 1930s.

Attenborough: “In the last three years, repeated heat stress has caused a third of the world’s corals to first bleach and then die.” Homewood: There is absolutely no evidence for this, and I have not even seen that claimed about the Great Barrier Reef. And as we now know, the death of GBR corals was drastically overstated. Indeed, as scientists like Peter Ridd and local reef experts have long maintained, corals quickly recover from bleaching, which was just as bad in the 18thC.

In sum, where in reality there is increasing doubt and debate among scientists on the issue of ‘climate change’, this #fakenews documentary pretended the opposite: that the weight of evidence points unquestionably to an imminent climate catastrophe which can only be averted if we take concerted global action now.

“It may sound frightening but the scientific evidence is that if we have not taken dramatic action in the next decade we could face irreversible damage to the natural world — and the collapse of our societies,” said Attenborough. [Fact check: there is not a single piece of scientific evidence which suggests anything of the kind. Perhaps that’s why he covered himself with the word “could.”]

“What is happening now in the next few years will profoundly affect the next thousand years,” he declared elsewhere. [Fact check: no it won’t; barely in the slightest. The planet is 4.5 billion years old. It’s perfectly capable of taking care of itself, regardless of our ludicrous delusions otherwise.]

This isn’t science. This is the purest political activism — and it’s quite extraordinary that the BBC, theoretically committed by its charter obligations to fair and accurate broadcasting, should have allowed itself to be used as a platform for such blatant fearmongering, misinformation, and propagandising.

The BBC supposedly represents the entire viewing population. (Otherwise, why should we all be forced to fund it with our compulsory annual £154.50 per household licence fee?) Yet here it is speaking on behalf of a narrow clique of mostly metropolitan, left-liberal types who pay lip service to the green religion because it’s such an easy way of publicly signalling their virtue.

Those many of us — perhaps the majority of the population — who, with good reason, are sceptical about the global warming scare are treated with utter contempt, as if our opinions don’t matter.

Anyone with an even rudimentary grasp of the climate debate knows, for example, that Michael Mann, James Hansen, and Naomi Oreskes are key members of the climate industrial complex with a long track record of aggressive political activism on behalf of the environmental movement. Yet here they were being presented by the BBC — and by Attenborough — as if they were dispassionate, wholly trustworthy climate experts.

Even by the BBC’s abysmal standards, this programme was a disgrace: an insult to the intelligence, a betrayal of the Reithian principles on which the BBC was founded, and a shameless piece of propaganda on behalf of the watermelons who would destroy our civilisation.

As for Sir David Attenborough, it’s time this whispery voiced, gorilla hugging, walrus scaring Malthusian was recognised for what he is: not as a national treasure but as a national embarrassment long, long past his sell-by date.


Democrats Want to Rejoin the Paris Accord. Let’s Recall Why It Was Such a Bad Deal

When the Obama administration negotiated the Paris climate agreement, conservatives argued that it should move through the proper treaty process and be sent to the Senate, where elected senators could weigh in and potentially reject the deal.

President Barack Obama didn’t do that. Instead, he unilaterally signed the deal, making it all the more easy for a future president to un-sign it.

Now that President Donald Trump has announced his intent to withdraw from the costly, ineffectual agreement, House Democrats think it’s time to involve Congress.

Last week, the House Foreign Affairs Committee advanced the Climate Action Now Act, a bill that would block the Trump administration from withdrawing from the Paris accord and enforce the commitments made under the Obama administration. Those commitments include reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2025 by 26-28% compared to 2005 levels.

Trump was right to announce his intent to withdraw from Paris. While the climate is indeed changing and human activity is playing a role, the chances of looming climate catastrophe are simply unrealistic and not grounded in reality.

But even granting such a looming catastrophe, the Paris Agreement itself would do little to alter the climate. To have any impact whatsoever on climate, the entire world would either have to quickly change the way it consumes energy or simply remain undeveloped. Both options are devoid of reality.

While many countries are rapidly expanding their use of renewable power, forecasts indicate that coal, oil, and natural gas will continue to provide the overwhelming majority of the world’s energy needs well into the future. For developing countries, the highest priorities are to reduce energy poverty and improve living standards.

Those who are clamoring for action on climate change are the ones who should actually be most upset with what a sham the Paris agreement is. It’s been celebrated as a breakthrough achievement of the world’s developed and developing countries coming together, but it is anything but that.

With no enforcement mechanisms in place and no repercussions for failing to meet emissions reduction targets, countries are essentially free to do whatever they want, meaning they will continue on their business-as-usual trajectory without making any changes. China, for instance, can peak its emissions in 2030 even though projections have their peak emissions falling before that year.

India, for its part, has pledged to reduce its emissions levels, or cuts its ratio of carbon emissions to gross domestic product. That ratio may well go down so long as carbon emissions rise at a slower rate than GDP, but carbon emissions will keep rising all the same.

Actually, India committed to emissions reductions that are less than what the country would achieve if it continues on the same track it is currently on today. In other words, it set the bar so low that it can continue along its businesses-as-usual trajectory of emissions intensity and come out looking like a climate hero.

As the Manhattan Institute’s Oren Cass wrote, “It’s easy to slim down to 180 pounds, if you weigh 175 to begin with.”

Pakistan was more honest than most about its emissions prospects, stating bluntly, “Given the future economic growth and associated growth in the energy sector, the peaking of emissions in Pakistan is expected to take place much beyond the year 2030. An exponential increase of [greenhouse gas] emissions for many decades is likely to occur before any decrease in emissions can be expected.”

Global compliance with the Paris Agreement has been nothing short of abysmal. In fact, most nations will soon fail to meet the deadlines they agreed to.

The original hope that each nation’s contribution might somehow push other countries to “do more” is not playing out. This deal was a hodgepodge of arbitrarily defined commitments with no enforcement mechanism. It was doomed from the start.

Following through with the Obama administration’s commitments would impose clear economic harm on the U.S. by driving energy prices higher—and that’s just a small part of the overall cost. Americans would pay more for food, health care, education, clothes, and every other good and service that requires energy.

These higher costs would be spread across the entire economy and would shrink overall economic growth and employment. Heritage Foundation analysts estimated that the regulations required to meet the Obama administration’s commitments would impose the following costs by 2035:

An overall loss of nearly 400,000 jobs, half of which would be in manufacturing.

A average total income loss of more than $20,000 for a family of four.

An aggregate GDP loss of over $2.5 trillion.

Other countries would continue getting a free pass under the agreement, but if the U.S. signed back on, one can be sure that environmental activist lawsuits would make sure the U.S. kept its obligations.

To make matters worse, the climate regulations encompassing the U.S. target may not even achieve the desired results and would require additional regulations. And that would just be the beginning. The Paris Agreement requires ever-increasing targets as time goes on, which would further increase the cost of compliance. These efforts would return us to the same costly and ineffective policies that the current administration is unwinding.

Congress should instead advance pragmatic policies that will actually drive innovation in energy and environmental protection.


NAACP Embraces ‘Green’ Agenda, Showing It No Longer Represents Black Interests

I try to keep an open mind about policies and regulations that impact communities of color. After all, the government’s No. 1 priority should be the welfare of its people.

But with interest groups now linking arms despite having little if anything to do with each other, it can be hard for the average person to discern which policies will serve them best.

For example, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People released a new study this month called “Fossil Fueled Foolery,” which claims to reveal how the fossil fuel industry manipulates communities of color.

Yes, you heard that right.

The contradictory 28-page report criticizes the industry and even highlights its “Top 10 Fossil Fuel Industry Tactics”—but nowhere does it offer a solution to our growing energy needs. There’s also no mention of energy poverty, a real phenomenon plaguing the black community in which households can’t afford basic electric and heating needs due to high energy prices.

Those energy prices are only pushed higher by “green agenda” policies. So the very people the NAACP claims it is helping are actually the ones being negatively impacted by the energy policies it promotes.

The NAACP’s report states that “[t]he Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has put the world on a 12-year countdown to take urgent and aggressive action on eliminating the greenhouse gas emissions that drive climate change.” This same statement caused hysteria among environmentalists calling for drastic measures like the Green New Deal.

And despite studies and articles written about how the Green New Deal would hit minorities and black communities the hardest, many presidential hopefuls continue to embrace the plan.

In the report, the NAACP lists the “Top 10 Fossil Fuel Industry Tactics” that it claims are being used to manipulate communities of color. Yet some of these tactics are nonsensical, including the very first one, which says the fossil fuel industry “invest[s] in efforts that undermine democracy.”

The irony is that the NAACP is doing just that: investing in a study and promoting misleading information.

Another tactic listed (and the most absurd) is No. 10: “Embrace renewables, seek to control the energy economy, and quell energy sovereignty.” Come again?

The NAACP is simply trying to smear conventional energy sources in an effort to stay in with the left. But such tactics will only backfire on the people the NAACP claims to represent: low-income and black communities. We need look no further than the city of Baltimore, the national headquarters of the NAACP, where some residents pay 50% to 75% more in energy bills because of green energy policies that have fallen short.

This reflects a loss of mission on the part of the NAACP, which was founded to advance the interests of black people—not buy wholesale into one side’s energy policies.

In recent years, new organizations like Black Lives Matter have fostered a stronger presence in the black community than the NAACP. Other groups like the African American Episcopal Church Council of Bishops have called for the NAACP to reinvent itself.

Many black people, including myself, have questioned the relevance of the NAACP and its views. There is in fact more diversity of viewpoint within the black community than the NAACP lets on.

Proving this point, Rev. Clenard Childress Jr. and Alveda King—the niece of Martin Luther King Jr.—slammed the NAACP in 2017 for supporting abortion, despite the fact that abortion is the largest destroyer of black lives in America.

Even the NAACP’s name is outdated. I can’t remember ever being called “colored.” That word was removed from the U.S. census report in 1980. It’s no wonder the NAACP is struggling to stay relevant.

The truth is that the NAACP has been left behind. This “Fossil Fuel Foolery” paper shows exactly who the NAACP serves: the coalition of the liberal elite. Low-income and black Americans will have to look elsewhere for genuine representation.


Australian chefs pledge to no longer serve unsustainable seafood

Keeping fish stocks healthy is a laudable goal but very large areas of Australian waters are national parks in which fishing is prohibited so the panic is unfounded.  The restaurateurs will end up giving their business to some of our many Vietnamese restaurants if they are not careful.  Viets are brilliant cooks -- including seafood

Chefs from 40 leading restaurants across Australia have pledged to no longer serve unsustainable seafood as part of the Australian Marine Conservation Society’s (AMCS) new GoodFish Project launched today.

All the restaurants have agreed not to source or serve seafood that is red-listed as “Say No” in Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Guide - an independent scientific analysis of seafood production researched and published by AMCS.

World-renowned Australian chef Ben Shewry, owner of Attica in Melbourne, is also announced today as the project’s official GoodFish Ambassador. Attica is currently ranked the 20th best restaurant in the world.

Chef and GoodFish manager Sascha Rust said: “Chefs have an incredible ability to talk to people through food. We are trusted guides for society on how we eat and what we eat.

“Chefs that are coming onboard with GoodFish are sending a very clear message. This community does not want to support practices that are damaging our oceans and putting the long-term sustainability of the oceans and food they love at risk. Instead, they want to be able to celebrate great seafood that’s sustainable.”

Shewry’s restaurant Attica was ranked 20th in “The World’s 50 Best Restaurants” awards for 2018 - the only Australian restaurant to make the list, independently judged by chefs, restaurateurs and critics.

Shewry said he was "absolutely thrilled and honoured" to be asked to be the GoodFish ambassador having first started using Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Guide some 10 years ago to guide his sourcing.

He said: "The GoodFish project aims to build a community of chefs in Australia to come together to work on this problem. We have a moral responsibility. We need to understand the ingredients that we are cooking with, and no more so than what comes from the oceans."

"In my position as a chef, I have a big influence on what people eat and what other people cook because our restaurant is well known.  If I don't have have what I would call a clean menu - if I don't have best practice, the most sustainable menu I can have in terms of shellfish and seafood - then I am contributing to the problem."

So far 40 restaurants across the country have signed up to GoodFish, including Alanna Sapwell (Arc Dining, Brisbane), Alejandro Saravia (Pastuso, Melbourne; Uma, Perth), Ben Devlin (Pipit, Pottsville), Thi Li (Anchovy, Melbourne), Jacqui Challinor (NOMAD, Sydney) and the team behind Three Blue Ducks (Byron Bay, Sydney and Brisbane).

Rust added: “Our aim here is to bring together a strong community of voices to protect our oceans so they can continue to provide joy, and food, for generations to come.”

Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Guide, which celebrates its 15th birthday in 2019, covers some 92 per cent of all the seafood consumed by Australians, including locally-produced and imported species.

The guide has three colour-coded classifications, where consumers and chefs are advised on green-listed “Better Choice” species, and to “Say No” to red-listed species and “Eat Less” from an amber list.

Adrian Meder, AMCS Sustainable Seafood Program Manager, said the guide assesses fisheries and aquaculture operators on a range of practices, such as the stock status of the species, the methods used to catch or farm them, and impacts on other marine wildlife and habitats.

He said: “Chefs are real arbiters of our seafood choices and the best chefs are closely connected to the supply chains from the ocean to the plate. That so many of them are now using Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Guide to make sure their customers get the best seafood choices is not just a testament to the guide, but to them as guardians of the future of food.”

The guide assesses some 160 wild caught and farmed fish choices covering more than 92 per cent of the seafood consumed by Australians. Some 50 fish choices are green-listed, 53 are amber and 57 are coded red for “Say No”.

Because Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Guide is fully independent of government and industry, Meder said it remains the most used and trusted source of information for the seafood-loving Australian public.

Via email from media@amcs.org.au


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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Sunday, April 21, 2019

Defeat for environmentalists in Alberta

Conservatives in western Canada have won a critical regional election, with voters rejecting the province of Alberta’s incumbent leftwing government and setting the stage for a fight with the federal government over environmental policy.

The bitter election was fought largely over the economy, pipelines and the environment. Running on a campaign slogan of “Alberta: Strong and Free”, winner Jason Kenney and his right-wing United Conservative party (UCP) pledged to revive the province’s troubled oil and gas sector, cut taxes and scale back environmental policies enacted by the previous government.

“Alberta is open for business,” Kenney told a raucous crowd, after pulling up to the stage of his victory celebration in his blue campaign pickup truck. “Help is on the way and hope is on the horizon.”

Premier Rachel Notley of the leftwing New Democratic party was vying for her second mandate in the province of Alberta, having previously shocked the country when she and her party stormed to victory in 2015. The historic win broke an unprecedented 44 years of conservative rule in the province and was heralded as a new age in Alberta politics.

But a second time around, her promises of a balance between environmental regulation and businesses growth appears to have been rejected by a majority of Albertans, with frustrated residents defecting to the the UCP. Despite her strong favourability ratings, Notley becomes the first premier in the province’s history to fail to secure a second term.

She was the last remaining female premier in the country, a dramatic shift from 2013, when six women held the job in five provinces and one territory. “I am enormously proud of our record – and you should be too,” she told supporters as she conceded the race to Kenney – adding that she would remain as opposition leader. “I wish him and his government well. We all do and we must because we all love Alberta.”

With Kenney’s legislative majority, the province appears set to return to the status quo of conservative government.

Loud cheers broke out in the Big Four Roadhouse, a venue in the Calgary Stampede grounds where UCP members had gathered. Provisional results at 11pm eastern (0400 GMT Wednesday), an hour after voting ended, showed the party had won 62 of the 87 seats in the provincial legislature.

“This means vindication of the very, very difficult defeat that we received in 2015. That was a protest vote, this is a positive vote,” said Marguerite Denis, who co-managed the campaign of one UCP candidate.

Much of the bitter campaign centred around pipelines, with both Notley and Kenney vowing to complete the Trans Mountain pipeline, a critical infrastructure project for the province that has languished in regulatory review since the summer. A prolonged energy crisis in the province – largely the result of overproduction of oil with no clear access to market – has forced energy companies to sell crude at deep discounts, costing thousands of jobs and billions in lost government tax revenues.

While the majority of voters expressed frustration over the economic crisis in the province, they remained skeptical of the socially conservative positions taken by the UCP. Throughout the election Kenney’s party was dogged by accusations of racism and homophobia, promoting candidate resignations and statements of contrition from others.

Premier-designate Kenney will have to deliver on promises he made to revitalise the region’s oil sands, something experts caution might be more difficult than anticipated given the high cost of production and a wariness of investing in capital-intensive projects.

His victory is the latest in a string of conservative wins at the provincial level since 2015 and spells trouble at the national level for Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government, which has recently fallen in the polls after a political scandal and is locked in multiple legal battles with provinces over the federal carbon tax.

Kenney has vowed to scale back the key aspects of the province’s environmental legislation. But any changes to environmental policy that fall below Trudeau’s emissions threshold will trigger the federal government imposition of a carbon tax on the province.


Climate Change and the Ten Warning Signs for Cults

Have you thought to yourself that the Climate Change movement seems more and more like a religious movement?

I have, so I researched how to identify a religious cult. Rick Ross, an expert on cults and intervention specialist, developed a list of ten warning signs for unsafe groups, which is published by the Cult Education Institute. So let’s take a look at all ten signs and compare:

1. Absolute authoritarianism without meaningful accountability.

The leading advocates of the Climate Change movement are politicians, entertainers, and even children. Climate preachers such as Al Gore and Leonardo DiCaprio lack any formal scientific training whatsoever, and live personal lives of unparalleled luxury while prescribing carbon austerity for the masses. Yet no one is permitted to point out their scientific ignorance or call attention to their hypocritical lifestyles.

Child advocates such as Greta Thuneberg and the crudely indoctrinated children of the “Sunrise movement” are essentially sock puppets for their shameless activist handlers. Refuse to bend the knee to these tiny fascists, as Diane Feinstein most recently did, and the mainstream left will relentlessly attack you as an accessory to mass murder.

The authority of Climate Change leaders is entirely unmerited and absolute, yet no one is permitted to hold them accountable for their ignorance, inexperience, or brazen lies. Thus, the Climate Change movement clearly meets the first warning sign for unsafe groups.

2. No tolerance for questions or critical inquiry.

The conclusions of the Climate Change movement may not be challenged or questioned under any circumstances. Those who dare scrutinize the conclusions, methodology, or prescriptions of “climate scientists” are categorically dismissed as a “Climate Denier”, an excommunicated untouchable whose opinion is no longer valid on any subject.

Questions and critical inquiry aren’t merely dismissed or refuted. The unfortunate heretic immediately experiences a relentless ad hominem onslaught of scorn and hatred from the political and media left, and is often subjected to accusations of outright murder. Simply question the effectiveness of a “carbon tax” and you may find yourself tied to a stake.

There is no tolerance for questioning the Climate Change movement, and thus it clearly meets the second warning sign for unsafe groups.

3. No meaningful financial disclosure regarding budget, expenses such as an independently audited financial statement.

Hardly anyone knows just how much money is spent on “Climate research” every year. The cost is spread out among laughably useless study grants, wind and solar farm subsidies, carbon offset credits, “green” building code evaluation and enforcement, salaries for bureaucrats solely dedicated to “climate concerns”……you get the idea, it’s a lot of hazy money.

The abhorrent practice of “sue and settle” was a flat out money laundering scheme that allowed sympathetic government officials to transfer millions of tax dollars to radical leftist environmental groups. The practice only ended when the Trump administration used executive power to clamp down on it.

The total amount of yearly financial expenditure on the Climate Change movement is vague, difficult to track, and often carried out in unethical manners. Thus, the Climate Change movement exhibits the third warning sign for unsafe groups.

4. Unreasonable fear about the outside world, such as impending catastrophe, evil conspiracies and persecutions.

This one is pretty obvious. The Climate Change movement always shouts out revised and updated apocalypse predictions, eerily reminiscent of the stereotypical bum on the sidewalk with that “The End Is Near” sign. “The world will end in X years if we don’t do X” is the constant refrain. The years always pass, and the apocalypse never happens. Interestingly, this is a characteristic of multiple religious cults (such as the Seekers of Chicago, and the Order of the Solar Temple). At the moment, we apparently have 12 years to nationalize the entire economy and phase out fossil fuels before we all die a fiery death.

There’s also no shortage of conspiracy theories about who they consider to be Earth’s greatest saboteurs. They have an enemies list. The fossil fuel industry is at the top of it, with widespread tinfoil hat theories about oil companies burying patents for efficient renewable fuel recipes to keep us all guzzling gasoline.

The “repent or burn” doomsday preaching is the most well-known staple of the Climate Change movement, and quite clearly exemplifies the fourth warning sign for unsafe groups.

5. There is no legitimate reason to leave, former followers are always wrong in leaving, negative or even evil.

Climate alarmists who leave, step back from, or even lightly criticize the movement are immediately subjected to vicious smear campaigns. Dutch professor Richard Tol experienced this phenomenon firsthand when he removed his name from an IPCC climate report and criticized the reports excessively apocalyptic predictions.

The smear campaign was led by Bob Ward, director of policy at the London School of Economics’ Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change ‘This has all the characteristics of a smear campaign”, Tol said. “It’s all about taking away my credibility as an expert.”

The treatment of Professor Tol is not uncommon, and clearly demonstrates that the Climate Change movement exhibits the fifth warning sign for unsafe groups.

6. Former members often relate the same stories of abuse and reflect a similar pattern of grievances.

Professor Tol is not an anomaly. Dr. Richard Lindzen of MIT, Dr. Nils-Axel Mörner, and countless other former IPCC in-crowd climate experts were subjected to smear campaigns from their colleagues and the news media for the crime of throwing cold water on the outlandish predictions of the Climate Change movement.

This pattern is all too familiar to anyone who has studied what happens to individuals who leave the Church of Scientology, and clearly meets the sixth warning sign for unsafe groups.

7. There are records, books, news articles, or television programs that document the abuses of the group/leader.

The abuses of the Climate Change movement are loud and proud. They vociferously attack their perceived enemies for public consumption, and are cheered on by fellow travelers in the journalism class. Most recently they brainwashed a bunch of kids and marched them into an octogenarian Democrat Senator’s office to beg not to be murdered by a ‘No’ vote on impossible legislation. Have you seen those kids in Diane Feinstein’s office? You should, it’s creepy, here they are:


These tantrums and protests aren’t only meant to rally supporters of the Climate Change movement. They are a form of intimidation, a tactic used to silence those who question the gospel. There is ample evidence that the Climate Change movement meets the seventh warning sign of an unsafe group.

8. Followers feel they can never be “good enough”.

The atonement process for Climate warriors always demands more. It started with using a recycling bin and grocery bags. Now, in 2019, being a good follower means imposing veganism on the masses and issuing fatwahs against innocuous objects such as plastic straws and grocery bags. Despite all the efforts of the faithful, Climate minions maintain a constant state of dread and despair, knowing they can never truly do enough to stop the coming doom.

Clearly, the eighth warning sign for unsafe groups applies to the Climate Change movement.

9. The group/leader is always right.

When have the climate leaders been called wrong for their failed predictions? Regardless of the weather, they are always intrinsically correct.

Flood? Climate Change. Drought? Climate Change.

No Snow? Climate Change. Too much snow? Climate Change.

Tornado? Climate Change. Hurricane? Climate Change. Lack of hurricanes? Climate Change.

See how this works?

One of the best aspects of the movement is “weather is climate until it isn’t”. The acolytes of Climate Change will point out the window in a heat wave and say, “See? We’re right!”

If a skeptic points out the window during a blizzard, the same acolytes will simply cry “Weather isn’t climate!” It’s a game they can never lose, one in which they are never wrong and always right.

Thus, the ninth warning sign for unsafe groups clearly applies.

10. The group/leader is the exclusive means of knowing “truth” or receiving validation, no other process of discovery is really acceptable or credible.

The path to discovery for the Climate Change movement is an intentionally vague discipline referred to as “climate science”.

Did you carry out a study on gender and glaciers? Climate Science.

Did you think up the worst possible scenarios that have no actual chance of happening (actual portion of latest National Climate Assessment)? Climate Science.


Any “science” that confirms the tenets of the Climate Change movement is deemed “climate science”, while actual scientific research that disputes their conclusions is derided as “denialism”.

The tenth warning sign for unsafe groups is clearly met.

The Verdict: It’s a cult
According to the established, scientific guidelines developed by cult experts, the Climate Change movement fits the bill for a potentially unsafe group.

When I looked up these established warning signs, I honestly expected Climate Changeists to meet two or three of them, NOT TEN! The disturbingly religious nature of this supposedly “scientific” movement should alarm any thinking human being, especially since the movement now openly seeks to nationalize the entire economy.

It’s time for conservatives to realize what they are dealing with, and act accordingly. Rather than debating Climate Change activists, it may be time to start staging interventions.

If someone you know is a member of the Climate Change Movement, and you are interested in intervention strategies, please visit https://culteducation.com/prep_faq.html.


Bipartisan Support for Electric Vehicle Handouts Betrays Taxpayers
Excessive partisanship and endless acrimony are common complaints lodged against the political class. There’s a lot to be said in favor of this narrative, but bipartisanship isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be, either. As evidence, consider the latest attempt to extend corporate handouts for electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers.

The Driving America Forward Act was recently introduced to extend the existing EV tax credit well beyond its current limits. Unsurprisingly, its sponsors include both Michigan Senators, Democrats Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, as well as Republican Senators Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Susan Collins of Maine. A companion version was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Dan Kildee, also a Democrat from a district in Michigan.

Under current law, a federal tax credit of up to $7,500 is available to consumers of the first 200,000 vehicles sold by each manufacturer, after which the credit is phased out. Both Tesla and General Motors have exceeded the cap, a fact that has driven a lobbying frenzy to extend the benefit. This wouldn’t be the first time the credit was expanded, as the original incarnation of the credit applied only to the first 250,000 electric vehicles sold across all manufacturers.

This new legislation will allow for the purchase of an additional 400,000 vehicles to be eligible for a $7,000 credit, but it might as well be permanent. If Congress passes the bill and it’s signed into law, Washington will be sending a clear signal to manufacturers that the gravy train may never end. All the EV makers must then do is flood Washington with lobbying and campaign donations once the next deadline approaches and the cycle could no doubt continue.

The current credit is expected to cost $7.5 billion in federal revenue from last year through 2022, according to the Congressional Research Service and the Joint Committee on Taxation. The costs of the newly expanded credit are not yet available but would be considerably higher.

Almost 80% of those utilizing the EV tax credit have incomes over $100,000, making it not just a corporate handout but also a transfer from all workers to wealthier Americans. And despite its advocates’ claims, the EV tax credit fails to reduce the alleged threat of climate change.

Because all personal vehicles in the United States account for only a small fraction of global greenhouse gas emissions, even an unrealistic influx of electric vehicles would prove to be negligible. Besides, standard internal combustion engines emit far less pollution today than they have in the past. Simply replacing older cars can do as much or more to benefit the environment than even entirely switching over to electric vehicles.

This is at least the third major push to extend EV tax credits over the last year. The persistence of the issue is indicative of a political reality less obvious than the typical Republican versus Democrat framework. In economic parlance, it’s called concentrated benefits and diffuse costs. The benefits are conveyed to EV manufacturers and those few consumers (most of whom make over $100,000), but the costs are spread out across the larger population.

While the manufacturers and relatively wealthier consumers of electric vehicles have a strong incentive to support the tax credits, the average cost per taxpayer is low and thus of little political concern. Yet, when all the crony handouts that come about because of this same dynamic are added up, it represents a more significant sum and is a more obvious problem. But translating that burden into a political force that’s capable of resisting the well-funded pleading of special interests is extremely difficult.

In this case, the fact that the handouts are already set to end if Congress just does nothing should benefit the taxpayers. That’s often not the case, and it explains why the special interests have failed several times already in their attempts to preserve their benefit. Unfortunately, it’s readily apparent that they’re going to keep trying again and again to enrich themselves at the expense of the taxpaying public.


Time Traveler Ocasio Cortez Brings A Message From The Future: The Magical Green New Deal Has Saved The Planet

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez thinks she is the master of everything and now she is adding time traveler to her resume.

Now she has narrated a new video from the future when her magical Green New Deal has saved planet Earth from Republicans, Fox News reported.

The Federalist Papers Reports:

In a video released on Wednesday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., told a “story from the future” in which her “Green New Deal” transformed the American economy and rescued the United States from the dire threat of climate change.

The freshman congresswoman predicted that Democrats would take both chambers of Congress and the White House by 2020 — ushering in a “decade of the Green New Deal” that prompted the “social and ecological transformation to save the planet.”

“Lots of people gave up, they said we were doomed,” she said in the video in which she blamed fossil fuel companies for the damage.

“But some of us remembered that as a nation, we’d been in peril before — the Great Depression, WWII — we knew from our history how to pull together to overcome impossible odds,” Ocasio-Cortez said.

Championed by Ocasio-Cortez, the “Green New Deal,” has been criticized as unrealistic and too expensive. According to a conservative think tank’s estimate, the plan could cost upwards of $93 trillion, more than four times the national debt as of April 15, 2019.

But in the video, published by the climate-oriented Sunrise Movement, Ocasio-Cortez described Green New Deal legislation as “the kind of swing-for-the-fence ambition we needed.”

“Finally, we were entertaining solutions on the scale of the crises we faced without leaving anyone behind,” she said.

Her plan included public works projects, a “federal jobs guarantee,” and Medicare-for-all, which she predicted would become “the most popular social program in American history.”


Climate claim of the Australian Left dismissed

The Labor Party is caught with the arrogance of being the election favourite for too long. The economist whose research Labor belatedly invoked this week has dismissed Bill Shorten’s assertion that Labor and Coalition climate change policies “cost the same”.

Interviewed by The Weekend Australian, internationally recognised economist Warwick McKibbin criticises both sides for inadequate emissions reduction policies — but he says the Opposition Leader’s pledge to use international carbon permits to ensure there is no economic cost differential with the government is “completely uncertain” as a proposition. This knocks out the core justification used by Shorten this week to defend the economic cost of his climate change policies.

Labor has not done the analysis or the modelling of the economic impact of its 45 per cent 2030 emissions reduction target, announced three years ago.

The upshot is that it has relied on the 2015 McKibbin analysis commissioned by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, with the economist telling The Weekend Australian he is “surprised” Labor has not spoken to him despite relying on his work, now four years old and subject to substantial price changes in the marketplace since then.

McKibbin, who is based at the Australian National University, calls out the pathetic nature of Australia’s flawed climate change response. He brands Labor’s recently released policy using the current safeguard mechanism to cut pollution as “a third-best response but better than nothing”. He says the Morrison government’s hasty revamp of the Abbott government’s Emissions Reduc­tion Fund is “not very effective” and while “it will have an impact at the margins, if you are looking at long-term cuts in emissions then it becomes very expensive”.

Asked this week how he could justify his claim that Labor and Coalition climate change policies will cost the same — given Labor’s target is a 45 per cent reduction as opposed to the government’s 26 per cent — Shorten said: “Because we are costing our 45 per cent reduction with international offsets, so in fact it does cost the same.” The international permits become the vital factor in Shorten’s policy. In releasing his mechanism on April 1, Shorten said Labor would “open up access to international carbon markets that allow businesses to trade in those markets” — a policy widely welcomed by the business sector.

Questioned about this and the rising cost of international permits since his 2015 analysis, McKibbin says it is “extremely difficult” to estimate the future cost of buying permits. “This depends upon the relative cost of abatement in the future; that is, the domestic cost versus the cost of international permits. And this is completely uncertain,” he says.

Shorten’s claim was based on the modelling assumptions, McKibbin adds. His problem, however, is “if the price of international credits (is) higher than the abatement costs in Australia then there will be no international credits available because they will be too expensive.”

Slight problem? No, major problem. Hence, Shorten’s assertion about the “same” climate change cost is “completely uncertain”. The moral here is that if you are invoking the work of a prominent economist to justify a central election claim — because you have no other evidence — then it helps to have spoken to him.

Labor’s arrogance as an election frontrunner is extraordinary. Shorten’s initial denial on superannuation taxes was more such evidence. Shorten presumably thinks the government cannot touch him on the costs of respective climate change policies. Yet he sounded rattled replying to journalists during his main doorstop on Thursday.

“You keep going on cost,” he said. “I want to say to you, let’s get this straight. What is the cost of taking no action? … You know, these News Corp climate change deniers and, of course, their ally, the Prime Minister, a coal-wielding, climate-denying, cave-dweller on this issue. They all say ‘look at the cost’. Well, they never mention the cost of extreme weather events, do they?”

McKibbin, significantly, holds no brief for the government. Asked which side has the more credible policies, he says: “I would say it is a line ball. It really depends upon the policies implemented. Having said that, Labor appears to be more committed and more ambitious to deal with the climate issue, and that is an important part of the policy design.”

McKibbin warns it is “enormously important (to have) a bipartisan and flexible policy in order to generate fresh investment and benefit from new technology”. Yet this campaign reveals no end to the domestic culture war over climate change, with the grief this will bring to households and business.

It is noteworthy the Greens say they will oppose having international permits in any Labor scheme, with spokesman Adam Bandt saying the ALP must “give up” on such permits — suggesting more trouble in the Senate if Shorten forms a government.

Scott Morrison’s campaign argument is that Labor’s targets will damage the economy, thereby reinforcing the Prime Minister’s overarching attack on Shorten’s tax, economic, spending and industrial relations policies. But Shorten has a powerful pitch — he campaigns as the only major party leader prepared to take decisive action on climate change.

The McKibbin 2015 analysis came in two reports — the first on international action and the second on Australian action under different scenarios. Labor has a problem but it can also take heart from the conclusion: its higher targets have a higher economic cost but the difference is manageable.

McKibbin modelled four scenarios with emissions reduction targets by 2030 of 13, 26, 35 and 45 per cent. The report says: “A post-2020 target will cause a small slowing of economic growth. By 2030, all impacts are no more than 1 per cent of GDP.”

He found that under all four scenarios average annual GDP growth would be above 2 per cent.

The conclusion was that the government’s 26 per cent target saw the cost to GDP of 0.58 per cent by 2030, compared with a 1 per cent GDP cost under the 45 per cent Labor target.

“The difference in GDP between the 1 per cent and 0.6 per cent is about $60 billion,” McKibbin says. “And that $60bn figure is not a major impost on a $2 trillion economy.” It is not a major impost, but it is an impost.

The point is that the cost difference between the Coalition and Labor targets is material and is upwards of twice as large under Labor. Having endorsed the McKibbin model, Shorten has to live with the consequences. Did he know what he was doing? Surely not.

McKibbin says: “If you use international permits then it is possible to reduce the cost by 50 per cent” — the proposition Shorten has seized upon. But the McKibbin qualification — and it is a big qualification — comes at this point: “That depends upon the price of such permits” — and McKibbin warns that enters the zone of never-never-land uncertainty, to borrow a Labor phrase.

There are three other fundamental features that arise from the McKibbin analysis. First, McKibbin found what most other studies have also concluded, namely that “Australia and Canada face larger economic impacts than other developed economies, including the US and EU, in achieving similar emissions reductions relative to a historical base year”.

That is, climate change action has a greater cost for Australia, which, by implication, raises the question: what is the justification for those politicians in demanding high Australian targets or asking the Australian people to carry a greater burden than people in most other developed nations?

Second, McKibbin says the economic harm to Australia arises mainly from what the rest of the world does — not what Australia does. He said in 2015: “The impact on Australia from the Paris Agreement largely depends on the actions of the rest of the world in reducing their demand for our fossil fuels and our carbon-intensive exports. Around 80 per cent of the loss in GDP in Australia is caused by the policies of other countries.”

This assessment comes in McKibbon’s first 2015 report on the international system, and this finding of the GDP damage to Australia is separate from his second report, which looks at the GDP damage arising solely from various scenarios that Australia adopts.

In a recent opinion piece McKibbin warns that the GDP damage from global restructuring could be significant for Australia. He suggests a reduction in real wages relative to trend of about 2-3 per cent by 2030. He says GDP by 2030 is estimated “to be 2 per cent lower than otherwise, of which 0.4 per cent of that is due to Australia’s policy”. In short, the climate change impact on this country from the rest of world will be serious. Our economy is exposed because of its fossil fuel nature.

Third, McKibbin says, looking at Australian decision-making, that policies are probably more important than the targets. “What matters are the policies that both parties use to reach their targets,” he says.

By implication, this is a critique of the Coalition for the past five years, given its chronic inability to agree on policy.

Morrison, who has campaigned strongly during the past week, tried to make a virtue of such chaos. Campaigning in Tasmania, he said: “See, we’re not going to have an emissions intensity scheme. We’re not going to have a carbon tax. We’re not going to have a carbon price. That’s not what we’re proposing.”

The government is left with its re-funded and renamed Emissions Reduction Fund with its $3.5bn budget to purchase emissions reductions with taxpayer funds. Labor, with its range of policies, looks far better equipped to deal with climate change but that’s essential given its higher 45 per cent target.

Whenever possible the government refers to the climate change report from BAEconomics led by Brian Fisher, former head of the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics, whose recent analysis contrasted the government and Labor targets.

The report found the government’s 26-28 per cent target would result in the economy growing at 2.8 per cent a year over the decade, compared with the trend of 2.9 per cent. It found cumulative GDP losses at $69bn, with the average real yearly income for a full-time worker to be about $2000 lower than trend and about 78,000 fewer jobs.

By contrast, it found under Labor’s 45 per cent target that the economy would grow at 2.3 per cent over the decade compared with the 2.9 per cent trend. This meant cumulative GDP losses of $472bn, and a fall in real annual wages of about $9000 a year by 2030, with job losses at 336,000.

Morrison rejected the report’s findings for the government but accepted them for Labor. He said the Fisher report was based on an economy-wide carbon price and this was not government policy.

Given the discrepancies between the McKibbin and Fisher results, it is timely to take heed of McKibbin’s warning: “There needs to be a healthy debate on the economics of climate policy and not an attack on the credibility of any model builder. Yes, the models will disagree — but a bad model with transparent assumptions is better than arbitrary analysis based on wishful thinking.”

Shorten was right when he said the climate change debate in Australia over the decade “has been dysfunctional and dishonest and divisive”. Labor has had the courage to run on ambitious targets but it has an obligation to put the economic consequences of its policies to the public.

The Opposition Leader said that “in climate change there will never be enough figures to satisfy the climate sceptics”. Forget the sceptics. This election is not about the sceptics. Labor proposes a radical policy change certain to have a far-reaching impact. It needs to satisfy the public. Voters are entitled to know the economic impact of Labor’s policies, and to not be treated as fools.

The government has done an impressive job treating them as fools with its own policy gyrations during the past four years.

“I don’t think either side of politics has the necessary
long-term policy to effectively make deeper cuts beyond 2030, if this is what is required,” McKibbin says.



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Friday, April 19, 2019

Ending California’s Wildfire Nightmare

Given the severity of last year’s deadly wildfires, let’s hope California’s new governor, Gavin Newsom, takes a more productive approach to the problem than his predecessor, Jerry Brown, who largely deflected blame to global warming.

While Mr. Brown did acknowledge that forest management is “one element” of controlling wildfires, the real culprit, he hastened to add, was climate change. “Managing all the forests everywhere we can does not stop climate change—and those that deny that are definitely contributing to the tragedy.”

Wildfire policy is incredibly complex and many factors contribute to the frequency and severity of fires. But global warming—human-caused or otherwise—is among the least of them.

In a December 2017 blog post, University of Washington atmospheric sciences professor Clifford Mass, who is no climate-change skeptic, used a detailed data analysis and literature review to debunk claims that California wildfires are related to global warming.

Because of California’s naturally dry summers, Mr. Mass noted, “grasses, shrubs and other fuels will be dry by the end of summer and during fall, no matter what. And even if the fuels weren’t dry, they would dry within hours of the initiation of strong, offshore winds—which accompany virtually every major fire event. So even if the summer/fall temperatures rose and the conditions dried further under global warming, IT WOULD NOT MATTER. Without any additional warming, the fuels in late summer and fall are dry enough to burn over coastal California and always have been [emphasis in original].”

There is “no credible evidence that global warming is causing an increase currently, or will increase in the future, the number or intensity of wildfires over coastal California from San Diego to the San Francisco Bay region,” Mr. Mass added, citing numerous studies. “Those that are claiming the global warming is having an impact are doing so either out of ignorance or their wish to use coastal wildfires for their own purposes.”

While human activity is not culpable for increasing the severity of fires by changing the climate, there is plenty we can do to mitigate the effects of fires. This includes conducting more prescribed, or controlled, burns; creating fuel breaks; and forest thinning and logging. These measures have been stifled, however, by stringent environmental policies, resulting in the buildup of flammable undergrowth and overgrown forests with weakened, less fire-resistant trees more susceptible to drought and bark beetle infestations.

As a 2018 report from California’s Little Hoover Commission—an independent state oversight agency—stated, California must shift from primarily reacting to large wildfires through emergency firefighting to more proactive forest management. “A century of fire suppression remains firmly entrenched within federal and state firefighting agencies and has left forest floors deep in flammable groundcover,” the commission said. Prescribed burns are often hampered by regional air-quality regulations, the report noted, because “while wildfires do not count against air quality standards, prescribed fires do”—a policy that should be changed immediately.

In addition to the mismanagement of forests and open spaces, the state and local governments have exacerbated the problem through policies that restrict the supply of housing and otherwise significantly hike housing prices, encouraging people to move farther from city centers and suburbs to more affordable—and more fire-prone—exurbs and rural areas. California has compounded this predicament by preventing insurers from charging the full risk-based cost of insuring homes in more dangerous fire-hazard zones.

There are some things beyond our control, such as California’s steep mountain slopes and the occasional strong Santa Ana and Diablo winds that spread fires quickly.

But there are many things political leaders could do, such as amending the environmental regulations, restrictive housing policies, market-distorting insurance regulations and forest-management practices that have exacerbated the personal and financial costs of the fires. In all these cases, government intervention has aggravated the problem while greater private property protections and free markets would help ameliorate it. More care also must be taken to prevent accidental fires, such as those triggered by sparks from utility equipment, which apparently started several of last year’s fires.

Scapegoating the nebulous notion of climate change, particularly when the scientific evidence appears to refute that it has any relation to the frequency or severity of the wildfires, will only ensure more destruction this year and in future years. The saddest part is that much of this destruction is preventable.


One way to save the planet: Build more nuclear plants

About 30 miles north of Manhattan, the Indian Point Energy Center looms over the banks of the Hudson. It produces 11 percent of the electricity consumed in New York state and a quarter of the power used in the New York City area. And that power is completely free of the carbon-dioxide emissions associated with fossil fuels.

But by early 2021, Indian Point will fall silent, the victim of environmental opposition, shaky economics and a governor who said closing the plant was his personal mission. Supporters of the shutdown said that the plant’s power could easily be replaced by conservation and renewable sources such as wind and solar.

That was wishful thinking. In reality, Indian Point’s power will be replaced mostly by electricity made from natural gas. Which means that, despite Gov. Cuomo’s ambitious plans to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, our region’s emissions are about to go up.

The scenario facing New York — nuclear plants closing as officials make rosy promises about renewable energy — has been playing out around the US, and around the world, in recent years.

Half a dozen US nuclear plants have shut since 2013, and at least a dozen more are on the chopping block. In Europe, Germany has closed about half its nuclear fleet. When these plants shut down, their power is almost always replaced by fossil fuels.

For example, Germany, which touts itself as a green energy leader, is actually Europe’s worst greenhouse-gas emitter.

Fortunately, there is a new wave of environmentalists who are speaking out in favor of nuclear. These include former NASA climate scientist James Hansen and onetime Whole Earth Catalog publisher Stewart Brand. If we’re serious about bringing down carbon emissions, they say, we need to save the nuclear plants now operating — and start building new ones.

These “pro-nuclear greens” need to overcome a mountain of disinformation. For example, on safety: Despite its scary reputation, nuclear power is actually the safest way to produce electricity. No one has ever died from radiation exposure involving a US nuclear plant. (In fact, more people have died falling off roofs installing solar panels.) Only one death has been attributed (somewhat dubiously) to radiation from Japan’s Fukushima accident. Even the 1986 Chernobyl disaster didn’t produce the predicted health catastrophe.

Compared with that of strip mines, oil wells, and pipelines… nuclear power’s total environmental footprint is almost dainty.
Meanwhile, people die when coal mines collapse, gas pipelines explode and oil trains derail. And millions of people have been killed by air pollution from coal-burning power plants. When nuclear replaces those energy sources, it actually saves lives.

Nuclear power is also the cleanest way to produce electricity. Unlike fossil fuels, nuclear plants don’t release toxic or smog-forming emissions. And nuclear plants take up very little land. Compared with that of strip mines, oil wells, and pipelines — or, for that matter, vast arrays of solar panels and wind turbines — nuclear power’s total environmental footprint is almost dainty.

Some renewable energy advocates say we don’t need nuclear because wind and solar power can quickly take its place. That’s wrong. Renewable energy can play a valuable role, but, since wind and solar only produce power part of the time, they always need a backup. A recent study from MIT showed that the best way to reduce emissions would be a mix of renewables and “carbon-free resources,” including nuclear power.

Wind and solar are heavily subsidized by both federal and state governments today. Meanwhile, natural-gas prices are near historic lows. That combination puts many nuclear plants in an economic bind. What’s the answer? Nuclear advocates say nuclear should be included in the same subsidy programs that favor renewables.

And, in fact, New York state has done that with three upstate plants even as it moves to shutter Indian Point.

A better plan for taxpayers and ratepayers would be to reduce the subsidies going to wind and solar and use that sum of money to help keep nuclear plants functioning. In the long run, we’ll have a greener, more reliable and more affordable electricity grid if we keep nuclear in the mix.


"Wetland" abuses

Timothy Dayton

The North American Wetlands Conservation Act has resulted in a huge land grab by the federal government and the erosion of the rights of the property owner.

In most cases where the government decides it needs the rights to a property, or wants to restrict the use of a property for public good, the landowner is bought out or paid for the use. They go through a process of eminent domain.

In the case of wetlands, however, since the areas grabbed were huge, the government failed to compensate the owners for the loss of rights to the property.

My father bought farmland that backed up to a harbor off Lake Erie well before it was declared to be wetland. Then the government decided that area should be wetland, and thus my father could not develop the property unless he were to donate another property to be wetland in this piece’s stead. Really?

So those with financial backing bought up all kinds of swamp away from development and donated that, then built their housing developments and marinas along the shores of Lake Erie where the property values were truly high.

I am not blaming the developers, but was that really fair? And if you could trade for pieces of land in the next county, then, really, how vital were all these “wetlands” that the Environmental Protection Agency declared?

To add insult to injury, my father’s land was taxed as waterfront and lake accessible even though he could not launch a boat from it. He got no break on any score and no compensation, and he was not grandfathered even though he owned the land before the government grabbed his rights.

The government decided, the government took away his rights. If the government is all about needing wetlands, then buy the property and pay for it at market rates. Let’s share the cost of this wonderful program with everyone who might benefit.

That’s what they are supposed to do and what they do when they build a new road or put a new building: They buy the land


Green New Deal has a dirty secret

The dirty little secret of the Green New Deal is not that it is an unserious proposal that has nothing to do with the environment and everything to do with the sense of entitlement of elite progressives. That is not a secret at all. It is common knowledge. The secret of the Green New Deal is that this valentine to socialism from Senator Ed Markey and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is already obsolete.

For the American people have already passed their Green New Deal, through the miracle of free market innovation — not in the House and Senate but in the Permian Basin, at the Bakken Formation and the Marcellus Shale. The left will not admit it, but the fact is Americans are living in a golden age of clean energy, right now.

The natural gas revolution, made possible by both the discoveries of new reserves and the development of technologies to extract it from previously inaccessible deposits, has helped the United States cut pollutant emissions by 70 percent over the last three decades. Despite adding almost 100 million people to our population since 1990, an increase of 30 percent, even total carbon emissions have increased by only 2 percent. Greenhouse gas emissions are not just rising slowly. They are actually falling in recent years.

The left has long said we need to treat climate change and environmental protection as the moral equivalent of war. If that is true, where are the celebrations now that it is a battle we are finally winning? Why? Because when the facts do not fit with the liberal political narrative, they often print the narrative as fake news. Progressives said we need to find new, clean sources of energy to get us away from coal and oil. Well, we have. Natural gas is clean.

According to the climate group Carbon Brief, natural gas use has cut 50 percent more emissions than wind and solar power combined. Gas also has negligible local pollutants, 50 percent less carbon emissions than coal and 30 percent less than oil. What is not clean is the record on the left of opposing the development of natural gas-rich regions and the infrastructure such as pipelines that needed to further lower the costs of energy to consumers and the environment.

It often seems like the liberal environmentalism is not scientific at all. They know as well as everyone else that if fully renewable energy sources such as wind and solar will ever become competitive and cost-effective, that day is decades away. They know that in the meantime natural gas is answering the demands of our growing economy and the societal call to develop cleaner sources of fuel. But they do not care. They simply know in their hearts that all fossil fuels are bad, period, and renewables are good, period. But that is not science. It is a religion and a not very good one at that.

Countries such as Germany that have allowed their energy policy to be determined by feelings instead of facts are moving in the wrong direction. Despite spending massive amounts of money on clean energy “reforms,” Germany remains the largest consumer of coal in Europe. The German government now admits it will not achieve its goals to reduce emissions, yet the German people are still paying the highest energy prices on the continent. Hundreds of billions of dollars in government spending and artificially higher prices all in exchange for not much reduction in emissions. Unfortunately, that remains the approach the left wants to impose on the country with preposterous schemes such as the Green New Deal.

Rather that adopting an approach that has not worked, the United States should double down on what is already working. Happily, that is what President Trump and his administration are already doing. His administration has increased permitting for pipeline infrastructure and extraction leases. He has opened federal lands to more drilling and allowed the consumers, engineers and entrepreneurs of the energy industry to drive progress toward a smaller global carbon footprint. With our domestic surplus, we can export American natural gas around the world and replace coal and oil now being burned internationally.

A future of natural gas-powered vehicles and ideally more extraction of natural gas from Europe, Asia and Africa could accomplish more in a decade than what the “no fossil fuel” zealots have done in five years. There is enough natural gas in the earth now to meet our energy needs for years and years to come. The scientific, economic and political fact is that the American people and the world do not need a Green New Deal. We already have one.


Australian Left's carbon costs to hit $25bn

All in pursuit of a chimera

Australian businesses could be forced to spend more than $25 billion on international carbon credits to meet Labor’s 45 per cent emissions reduction targets by 2030, jeopardising one of Bill Shorten’s fundamental election pillars, which he declared would have no cost to the economy.

Threatening a repeat of their 2010 scuttling of Kevin Rudd’s emissions trading scheme, the Greens yesterday warned they could block Labor’s use of international carbon permits in the Senate over concerns that the policy was overly reliant on international permits to meet the 1.3 billion tonnes of carbon abatement needed in the next 10 years.

The Labor leader yesterday came under fire after being unable to explain what the cost of the ­policy would be, given carbon permits are set to play a key role in meeting the target.

Experts believe the price of international carbon offsets could hit $62 a tonne over the decade but, allowing for an average of $50 a tonne, the hit on businesses would be about $25bn to meet Labor’s target.

This is based on an assumption that more than 500 million tonnes of abatement would have to come through either the purchase of international carbon credits or further land-clearing controls and reforestation, which would prove politically explosive in the bush.

A day after refusing to answer questions on the cost to the economy of Labor’s climate policy, Mr Shorten yesterday declared a 2015 report by economist Warwick McKibbin showed “our 45 per cent reduction, including international offsets, has the same economic ­impact as the Liberals’ 26 per cent”.

Mr Shorten seized on the McKibbin report’s forecast that economic growth would continue at more than 2 per cent under ­either scenario through the 2020s to dismiss suggestions Labor’s policy would be a hit to the economy.

“I don’t accept the characterisation that it is a cost,” the Opposition Leader said. “We’re going to grow. And we’re going to grow ­because we are going to move to a lower carbon pollution economy.”

The McKibbin study, conducted for the Abbott government, showed that a 45 per cent carbon emissions cut on 2005 levels — the same as proposed by Labor — would strip about 1 per cent of GDP by 2030, compared with 0.6 per cent under the Coalition’s 26 per cent cut.

By offsetting nearly half the necessary cuts with international carbon offsets, which Labor has committed to doing, the McKibbin study found the GDP hit from a 45 per cent emissions reduction could be slashed to 0.6 per cent — the same cost as under the ­Coalition.

The study did not factor in the government’s use of carried-over credits from over-achievement in the Kyoto climate agreement, which Labor had elected not to use — a move that will further push up the cost of its policy.

Professor McKibbin cautioned that the modelling assumed a carbon price mandated by the government at the time of $US5 a tonne in 2020, rising to $US10 in 2030. “If the price of offsets in the world is higher than we assume, that effect is gone,” he told The Australian yesterday. “We don’t know what the price of offsets will be in 2030. These numbers are not precise in any sense.”

The price of carbon permits on the EU market has more than tripled in the past year due to reforms to curb oversupply. Permits for delivery in December traded at €26.86 ($42.22) per metric ton on Tuesday. Modelling by former government scientist Brian Fisher, an author on the Inter­governmental Panel on Climate Change and now head of BAEconomics, has estimated the international carbon price will be $62 a tonne by 2030.

A Labor campaign spokeswoman said yesterday the party was yet to determine how much of its 45 per cent in emissions cuts would be delivered through purchasing international permits.

Greens climate change spokesman Adam Bandt said the minority party would resist the use of international permits in any Labor scheme, threatening a Senate showdown with a future Shorten government.

“International offsets are like paying someone to go on a diet for you while you stay at home eating burgers and pizzas,” Mr Bandt said.

“I’m confident climate laws can pass the new Senate, but Labor is going to have to give up on international offsets and accept a plan to quit coal. Greens and Labor worked together and compromised in 2011 to get real climate ­action and we can do so again.”

The Greens under Bob Brown sank Mr Rudd’s carbon pollution reduction scheme, arguing it wasn’t ambitious enough. The party backed Julia Gillard’s carbon tax the following year.

Energy Minister Angus Taylor said yesterday Labor needed to tell voters and the business community how much would have to be paid to international carbon offset brokers under its policy. “Australians need to be informed about the amount of money that is going to be paid to other countries as part of this scheme,” Mr Taylor said. “If international credits average $50 over the decade, if they have to achieve 500 million tonnes, that’s $25bn going offshore.”

He said Labor was also yet to explain what emissions target ­industry would face, how fast would emissions be brought down, how its emissions trading scheme would work, and how it would treat emissions from the heavy transport fleet.

Under its policy, the Coalition has to cut 328 million tonnes of carbon emissions to meet its 26 per cent reduction under the Paris target by 2030. Labor has to cut about 1.3 billion tonnes. Government analysis of Labor’s policy suggests it will deliver just 815 million tonnes of abatement by 2030 without significant controls on land clearing and the purchase of international carbon credits. The 45 per cent reductions in the energy sector would lead to a reduction of 247 million tonnes, while emissions controls on cars would ­deliver a reduction of 59 million tonnes, according to the former Climate Change Authority.

Agriculture is exempt from Labor’s policy. The expansion of the safeguard mechanism on the business sector, which will cap carbon emissions for companies that produce more than 25,000 tonnes of carbon a year, is estimated to lead to a reduction of 509 million tonnes. This leaves 511 million tonnes still to be taken out of the economy that would have to be largely met through the purchase of international carbon permits.

The debate yesterday came amid new evidence of a surge in employment in the renewable energy industry, with new ABS figures showing 17,740 renewables jobs in 2017-18, up by 28 per cent on the previous year.



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