Thursday, August 11, 2011

What does the 'E' in Environmentalist stand for? Ego, exaggeration, and error'

Says Marcus Gibson, ex-Financial Times journalist in his ‪'Global warming speech' at the Oxford Union, Oxford, UK

[13-minute video] What does the 'E' in Environmentalist stand for? Ego, exaggeration, and error', says Marcus Gibson, ex-Financial Times journalist, who demolishes the claims of the global warming clique at the famous Oxford Union debate, on July 14th, 2011. Marcus is the only journalist to have interviewed all of the key members of Royal Society who rebelled against the 'catastrophe' theory accepted by the council at the society - and finally got its stance radically changed. Marcus Gibson disputes the conventional view held by the global warming clique.


Militant Environmentalists Call for Executions and ‘Decisive Ecological Warfare’

“Do we need a militant movement to save the planet (and ourselves)?” That was the question posed in recent article on the left-wing site Alternet when it interviewed a group of radical environmentalists who are allegedly endorsing “Decisive Ecological Warfare.” And in order to realize their goal of ridding the planet of industrial civilization — even modern agriculture — the group intends to employ tactics “of both militaries and insurgents the world over.”

One of the activists, Derrick Jensen, allegedly even believes those who destroy the environment should be summarily executed: “If it were up to me, all the people associated with the Gulf oil spill, which is murdering the Gulf, would be executed. That would be part of the function of a state,” said Jensen.

In addition to Jensen, the two other environmentalists interviewed in the article – Lierre Keith, and Aric McBay — have spearheaded a fringe movement called the “Deep Green Resistance” (with a book of the same name) that calls for “direct attacks on infrastructure” and an annihilation of civilization as we know it.

According to the far-left triumvirate, humanity must devolve into living primitive, “indigenous” lifestyles. To this end, Keith targeted a litany of ills that must be stopped, declaring: “We need a culture that is self-consciously oppositional to things like corporate power, capitalism, industrialization and ultimately civilization, because that is the arrangement of power on this planet right now.”

But how does the group intend to implement such extreme goals? That is where the Decisive Ecological Warfare part comes in.

According to DGR’s website, their type of warfare has four phases that will allegedly lead up to the “fall of industrial civilization.” The first phase, according to the organization’s charter, is “Networking & Mobilization“ followed by ”Sabotage & Asymmetric Action.” The site lays out the group’s strategy:

Strategy A: Engage in direct militant actions against industrial infrastructure, especially energy infrastructure.

Strategy B: Aid and participate in ongoing social and ecological justice struggles; promote equality and undermine exploitation by those in power.

Strategy C: Defend the land and prevent the expansion of industrial logging, mining, construction, and so on, such that more intact land and species will remain when civilization does collapse.

Strategy D: Build and mobilize resistance organizations that will support the above activities, including decentralized training, recruitment, logistical support, and so on.

Strategy E: Rebuild a sustainable subsistence base for human societies (including perennial polycultures for food) and localized democratic communities that uphold human rights.

The stated goal of DGR is to “deprive the rich of their ability to steal from the poor and the powerful of their ability to destroy the planet. This will require defending and rebuilding just and sustainable human communities nestled inside repaired and restored landbases. This is a vast undertaking but it needs to be said: it can be done. Industrial civilization can be stopped.”

All infrastructure, even modern agriculture did not escape the threesome’s wrath as they apparently consider “sustainable agriculture” an “oxymoron.”

The original Alternet interview with DGR leaders went on to reveal what McBay believes should replace industrial civilization if the movement were successful in carrying out its goals: “If we are talking about a post-industrial society, then I think we have to draw on the examples of traditional, indigenous societies.”

What’s more, the group barely tries to conceal its disdain for the average Americans who probably find DGR’s brand of extremism distinctly repugnant. Keith stated, “I’m not speaking to mainstream America. I don’t know how to talk to those people, and there is no point in me trying.” And Jensen only mirrored the sentiment, saying, “I don’t understand why it is even controversial to talk about dismantling industrial civilization when it has shown itself for 6,000 years to be destroying the planet and to be systemically committing genocide.”

But don’t worry. As Alternet points out, Keith does make a distinction about violence in the book.

“I would urge the following distinctions,” writes Keith, “the violence of hierarchy vs. the violence of self-defense, violence against actual people vs. violence against property, and the violence as self-actualization vs. the violence of political resistance.”

“Just because they mention violence doesn‘t mean it’s the best policy,” Alternet says in its article as a way of trying to salvage readers who might be non-violent. But it is an option.


Cholera outbreaks 'not caused' by warmer seas

The conclusion that cholera outbreaks are linked to global warming has been challenged by a study that has found that warmer sea temperatures that correlate with the outbreaks do not cause them.

Outbreaks follow the blooming of phytoplankton which is associated with warmer seas in the Bay of Bengal — but these blooms are driven by river discharges rather than warmer seas, say authors of the study, published last week (3 August) in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

Previous studies have suggested that periods of warmer sea temperature could be one of the conditions for promoting the disease, such as in the recent outbreak in Haiti, and that such knowledge could help set up an early warning system.

But it was not clear why this happens, as phytoplankton, microscopic plants that feed tiny crustaceans to which Vibrio cholerae bacteria attach, thrive in cold, not warm, water.

Now, by examining 12 years of data from several major river basins around the world, including the Amazon, Congo, Ganges and Orinoco, the researchers have found that nutrient-rich river discharges that coincide with periods when seas are warmer can fuel phytoplankton blooms, which then drive cholera outbreaks.

"Our results suggest there is no causal association between sea surface temperature and cholera outbreaks. Consequently, such a relationship cannot be used to develop cholera warning systems," Shafiqul Islam, lead researcher of the study and engineering professor at Tufts University, United States, told SciDev.Net.

But he added that global warming could lead to more extreme climate effects, such as droughts and floods — making cholera epidemics more severe.

Earlier research by Islam and colleagues has also shown that cholera outbreaks in Bangladesh were driven by river flow. Lower water levels allow nutrient-rich seawater to seep into the river basin, spreading infection, while high levels lead to river contamination with faecal matter.

"A better understanding of macro-environmental variables like river discharge and coastal plankton bloom together with recent advances in satellite remote sensing and cholera intervention and mitigation will allow us to develop such a system," he told SciDev.Net.

According to Rita Colwell, an environmental microbiologist at the University of Maryland, United States, and one of the authors of the latest study, the findings may apply to other cholera-endemic countries where freshwater discharges are a predominant mechanism for algae production in coastal areas.

She expects to work in Haiti soon to test whether the Artibonite River, along which cholera epidemics started last October, has high river discharges that create the nutrient-rich conditions that cholera bacteria thrive in.

Peter Hotez, president of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, told SciDev.Net that the findings "may help refine predictive models of the disease. This is more important than ever given large and protracted outbreaks in Sub-Saharan Africa and Haiti."


A Government That Kills

President Obama has declared that auto companies' fleets must average 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, almost double the current 27.5. Standing at his side when he made the announcement were executives from the Big Three automakers.

The New York Times reported: "It is an extraordinary shift in the relationship between the companies and Washington. But a lot has happened in the last four years, notably the $80 billion federal bailout of General Motors, Chrysler and scores of their suppliers, which removed any itch for a politically charged battle from the carmakers." Right. They're happy to agree to stupid rules, since they are now dependent on government favors.

Obama said that under his new rule, "everyone wins. Consumers pay less for fuel, the economy as a whole runs more efficiently."

Sounds impressive, but he didn't mention the costs. The Center for Automotive Research says the new standard will raise the price of cars by about $7,000. You'd need to save a lot on fuel to break even.

But that's not the worst of it. The new rules will kill people. Sam Kazman of the Competitive Enterprise Institute explained this to me. The MPG standard "has been killing people for the last 30 years," Kazman said.

How can that be? "It forces cars to be ... made smaller and lighter. ... They are simply worse in just about every type of auto collision."

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration actually backs Kazman up. It estimates that smaller cars are responsible for an additional 2,000 deaths each year.

Imagine that -- a government safety agency promotes a rule that kills people.

"Think about the minute risks that agencies like Environmental Protection Agency go into a tizzy about. ... If any private product had a death toll one fraction of what the miles-per-gallon rules cost, that product would have been yanked off the market years ago."

Do we at least end up using less gasoline and saving money?

No, given the increased upfront cost of the car. "It is not clear that it saves people money," Kazman said. "If these technologies in fact save people money, you don't need a government law to force them down people's throats." Right. We're not stupid.

Bob Deans of the Natural Resources Defense Council, one of America's biggest environmental groups, said that Kazman and I are wrong. "Cars like the Chevy Cruise -- 42 miles per gallon -- get top marks on safety. The Ford Focus, more than 40 miles per gallon -- top marks in safety. We're getting safer cars, and they're not coming at the expense of fuel efficiency."

Deans added: "By increasing that gas mileage for our auto fleet, we can cut our oil consumption in this country by 4 million barrels per day by 2030. That would almost wipe out our OPEC purchases daily. It will make our country stronger."

But we use oil for lots of things. If we cut gasoline use by a third, unlikely as that would be, we'd still only reduce our fossil fuel use by 7 percent. That does not make much difference for $7,000 a car and 2,000 extra deaths each year.

"It's not necessarily a smaller car that we're talking about," Deans replied. "You look at Chevy Malibu. That is a 3,400-pound car. It's not a small car. It's getting 33-miles to the gallon. We believe Detroit can do this."

Maybe they can. Maybe they can't. If they could, I'd think they would do it to meet consumer demand. They'd do it without government forcing it on us.

"New technologies can make cars safer," Kazman acknowledged. "The point is, if you put the technologies in a large, heavier car, that car will be safer still. ... None of the proponents of these standards would acknowledge (the lives lost). It's always win-win, and that is nonsense."

Life involves tradeoffs. If we want to minimize deaths from auto accidents, we may use more fuel than we might otherwise use. Who should make that decision, the government? Or you and I?

In the land of the supposedly free, that really should not be a tough question.


Amusing IPCC economics

Comments by economist Tim Worstall

The IPCC process does also issue economic reports and those I find fascinating. They have to issue economic reports, of course, for those climate models I have no hope of understanding need to know what emissions will be. Emissions obviously being determined by what technology how many people are using to reach what standard of living. Thus we need estimates, models, of how many people there will be, how rich they’ll be, what technologies they will use, to be able to generate the emissions numbers for the climate scientists to put into their models.

The IPCC process has just released their first update to these models since 2000. The overview paper is here. I’m not going to delve into all of the details (for which readers will no doubt thank me) I just wanted to make a few general points with the use of a couple of their graphs.

Note please that I don’t have to believe these numbers, you don’t, no one has to believe any of this at all. However, we do need to realise that these are the numbers which are being fed into the climate change models (perhaps more accurately, that these are the numbers that will be) and thus produce those IPCC reports. Which means that anyone taking the outputs of those IPCC reports seriously needs to take these inputs seriously.

We know very well that there’s a connection between economic growth and population size. Richer countries on average have lower fertility rates so as the world becomes richer fewer children are born. So more economic growth leading to peaking and declining population really isn’t a surprise at all.

However, look at that light green line. The RCP 2.6 one, the “whew, we dodged it” one. The highest economic growth model leads to the lowest level of emissions considered. Less economic growth leads to higher emissions.

Note again that these are not my assumptions. They are those of the IPCC process. Which is something of a body blow to those telling us that we must cease economic growth if calamity is to be averted: the very assumptions built into the whole proof that climate change is something we should worry about say exactly the opposite. Economic growth is the way out, not the problem.

By the way, the assumption there about the rate of economic growth, from a roughly $50 trillion global economy in 2000 to a roughly $300 trillion one in 2100. That’s not all that far off the growth rate we had in the 20th century

We need to be more parsimonious in our use of energy, yes. We need to use less of it per unit of GDP (which is known as “energy intensity” and their desired decrease in that isn’t far off what the advanced economies already manage) but we don’t actually need to use less of it overall. Less oil, yes, but we can near double our energy consumption and still hit that “we missed the problem” sweet spot. It’s also amusing to note what a small role for solar and wind power is necessary to hit that target.

Again, I want to point out that these aren’t my assumptions, they’re not made up out of whole cloth by some denialist, these are the assumptions which the very scientists who tell us about climate change themselves think are the driving forces and likely outcomes.

Which leads to a very interesting conclusion indeed. We don’t have to stop economic growth at all, we can quite happily have around the same amount of it that we had in the 20 th century. So that’s a large number of the Green Miserablists shown to be wrong. We don’t have to reduce or even severely limit our energy consumption: we just have to get the growth in our consumption from other than the usual sources. A large number of the Energy Miserablists shown to be wrong there too.

Or, to boil it right down, the IPCC is telling us that the solution to climate change is economic growth and low-carbon energy generation. That’s absolutely all we have to do.

More HERE (See the original for graphics)

Australia's Green/Left government, not for turning?

"Why do you all hate Thatcher so much?" I asked a visiting British academic the other night. He looked at me in disbelief, as if the answer were self-evident.

"Look what she did to the coal miners," he retorted. "She deliberately put thousands of them out of work, threw them onto the scrap-heap. Fathers driven to suicide, families plunged into poverty. Twenty thousand working families sacrificed for pure ideology, nothing more."

If this sounds uncomfortably familiar, that's because it is. According to NSW Treasury figures, 20,000 is almost the exact number of coal mining jobs that will be lost – and not replaced – in the Hunter Valley by the carbon tax. Like Thatcher before them, Julia Gillard and Greg Combet are prepared to sacrifice these jobs and livelihoods for the sake of the "greater good". For ideology.

The OED definition of ideology is "a system of ideas and ideals, especially one which forms the basis of economic or political theory and policy". All political parties require an ideological framework on which to base their decisions. The point at which a set of beliefs moves from ideology to a legitimate political agenda is, of course, at the ballot box.

Thatcher never specifically asked the electorate if they wanted her to crush Arthur Scargill and his National Union of Mineworkers. But she never pretended the real battle was over anything other than ideological beliefs. "Economics are the method;" she said, "the object is to change the heart and soul".

Gillard is equally clear about the ideology of her carbon tax. "I believe climate change is real," is justification enough. Like Thatcher, she is using an economic tool so we "all change our behaviour".

For Combet: "this is a difficult political environment at the moment but this is a critical reform for the future of the country and future generations". In other words; 'even though we don't have a mandate, we have our ideological beliefs'.

Although Combet disputes the figures, the NSW Treasury modelling is unambiguous. The carbon tax will hit NSW harder than any other state and cost at least 31,000 jobs, particularly in regional areas. The analysis shows $3.7 billion will disappear from the annual output of the NSW economy by 2020, rising to $9.1 billion by 2030.

It predicts the loss of 1,850 jobs in the Hunter region alone and 7,000 fewer jobs in the Illawarra, a thousand less in the central west. "The reduction in jobs in the Hunter is absolute, not a mere reduction in growth prospects," it concludes.

NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell says the Treasury predictions are "disastrous" for the Hunter Valley. NSW Minerals Council CEO Dr Nikki Williams concurs: "The Federal Government said we were scaremongering when we flagged our concern for the 3,000 NSW coal mining jobs that are at risk, but the NSW Treasury modelling now shows that loss could be replicated tenfold across the state's economy," she said. "It is becoming increasingly clear that the carbon tax will cripple economic growth and put thousands of jobs at risk, especially in regional NSW."

Aha, you say, but we are sacrificing the coal miners and their livelihoods to save the planet. So our grandchildren will inherit a cleaner world. Those mining jobs would have gone anyway, your argument runs, when coal becomes obsolete, which it must eventually do. Besides which, there will be an equal number if not more new jobs created in the renewables industry.

This "greater good" argument, worthy as it may appear at first blush, is uncannily similar to that put forward by supporters of the Thatcher government to justify the closure of 20 mining pits across Britain's north in 1984. The greater good, in that instance, was the British economy. The mines were closed so that today's Britons could inherit a more prosperous world. A plethora of jobs were created in London's freewheeling financial services industry as the British economy took off on the back of the defeat of the left-wing unions. London quickly became one of the economic powerhouses of the world. All well and good.

Except it wasn't. Many of the Yorkshire miners never found work again. For decades, poverty, depression and suicide blighted their lives as the booming economy that their defeat ushered into the south-east failed to have any positive impact on the mining ghost towns of the north. Strange as it may seem, you can't just put down your hard hat and shovel, pick up a calculator, and become a hedge-fund manager overnight.

Equally, just because you were good at digging up coal doesn't mean you'll be any good at putting up windmills.

Combet claims that sufficient money is being set aside to compensate for job losses. Maybe. But these are working Australian families, not just a set of numbers. When do they sell up and move? Now? Should they quit work and start looking for new skills? New schools? Leave behind their homes, history and communities? What about Mum? Do they move her too? Combet maintains the Hunter will be one of the areas to benefit from a growth in renewable energy sector jobs. Let's hope so. Thatcher made similar commitments about a revitalised north which sadly never came to pass.

Ironically, Greg Combet rose to prominence in the Australian equivalent of the mining strike; fighting on behalf of the wharfies' unions in the 1998 waterfront dispute, where he famously maintained that "the laws were made against workers, and bad laws have to be broken". It will be interesting to see if he gives the same advice to the coal workers of NSW.

Combet and Gillard have made clear that the carbon tax will go ahead, regardless of adverse public opinion polls, the concerns of those with jobs to lose, and without being mandated at the ballot box. It's a question, purely and simply, of ideological belief.

"The government is going to stick to its guns," Combet says. Sounds awfully like Margaret Thatcher's "the lady's not for turning".



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


1 comment:

Joseph said...

Wait a moment... I thought Margaret Thatcher was on our side.