Thursday, September 19, 2013

No, Sir David Attenborough, Adolf was wrong

It is amusing to see how consistent Leftists are in their follies.  Greenies following Fascists is a regular phenomenon.   Does anybody remember why Hitler sought "Lebensraum" for Germany in the East?  It was because he was just as ignorant as David Attenborough.  Hitler looked at the population increase in Germany and the prospects for increases in German farm production and concluded that  Germany would soon be unable to feed itself.  So it needed to grab land off its neighbours in the East if it was not to starve.  Hitler knew as little about agricultural science and economics as Sir David did but was nonethless certain that he was right. Socialists such as him are like that.  And just as Hitler didn't care about starving Russians, Sir David doesn't care about starving Africans. Sir David should learn from history -- but since when did any Leftist do that?  They are too arrogant to learn.  They "just know"  -- JR

Malthus is shaking his hoary locks. The old seer does it every so often, and no amount of being proved wrong will keep him in his coffin. His latest manifestation takes the unlikely form of Sir David Attenborough, one of television’s otherwise warmest personalities. Sir David thinks that the population of the planet has reached capacity, and that we had better tell the world to stop making babies. For good measure, in his interview with The Daily Telegraph yesterday, he added that getting the UN to send sacks of flour to famine regions was “barmy” and that famine in Ethiopia is about “too many people for too little piece of land”.

He is not alone. Jonathan Porritt, the environmentalist – and like Sir David, a patron of the lobby group Population Matters, which argues for “living within the constraints of renewable resources” – has written about famine in the Horn of Africa and put the blame squarely on the failure of women to control their breeding habits: “It’s no good blaming climate change or food shortages or political corruption. Sorry to be neo-Malthusian about it, but continuing population growth in this region makes periodic famine unavoidable – as many have been pointing out since the last famine.”

At the end of the Second World War, many farmers in Britain still ploughed with horses and recoiled from using “artificial”, as they called fertiliser at the time. Fields are now harvested by machines as big as houses and inputs such as fertiliser are applied using computer and satellite technology. Simply applying these techniques across India, Africa and South America would fill the bread baskets of the world to overflowing. That is without even mentioning the miracles that could be wrought by GM, by enabling drought-resistant crops and blight-free potatoes to flourish.

If this revolution doesn’t take place, an accusing finger will point at those people who stopped it. Robert Mugabe has destroyed the agriculture of Zimbabwe for political ends. The European Union sucks in food from the rest of the world because it doesn’t want its inefficient peasant farmers to go bust. Oxfam now recognises that “The romanticisation of 'the peasant’ and rejection of new technologies and trade have the potential to lock farmers into poverty.” Aid charities haven’t always.

Sir David is a master communicator: he knows how to make a point and is not averse to shock tactics. No doubt that is why he disparages sending sacks of flour to the starving. But the phrase contained an undoubted truth. It isn’t sacks of flour that are needed. Until recently, the United States undermined the agriculture of the developing world by dumping its subsidised food surpluses at below market prices. This prevented local farmers from making money, discouraged enterprise and entrenched food dependency.

Far better is to export improved techniques and new ideas. This is recognised by innovative charities such as Excellent Development, a beneficiary of the Telegraph charity appeal in 2009, which encourages communities to build sand dams that provide clean water. Innocent Smoothies supports a charity that teaches farmers to build little rings of mud around the shoots they plant; this simple technique means that water is maximised rather than lost.


European Climate Czar: Doesn’t Matter if Climate Science Wrong

Two things have happened with the climate debate recently that reveals that climate change apologists—better known as Europeans-- owe the rest of us an apology.

OK, make that three things have happened.  Or to put it more correctly: two things have happened and one thing has not.

What hasn’t happened, as most of us know by now, is that temperatures have not risen in the last two decades.  This pause in “global warming” has confounded the models that climate change evangelists cite when they propose to tax the rest of us, ration our energy and herd us into urban areas where we all get to ride bikes, buses and electric train cars “for our own good.”

This non-event has led to a bit of nervous laughter from the Left.

In a pre-release of the upcoming IPCC climate change report, UN scientists reportedly concede that their models have failed to account for this almost two decade long pause of global warming.

“One of the central issues [dealt with in the new report] is believed to be why the IPCC failed to account for the ‘pause’ in global warming,” writes the UK’s Telegraph, “which they admit that they did not predict in their computer models. Since 1997, world average temperatures have not shown any statistically significant increase.

The summary also shows that scientist have now discovered that between 950 and 1250 AD, before the Industrial Revolution, parts of the world were as warm for decades at a time as they are now.”

But still a group of scientists, who have more time on their hands than is wise, and also more money than common sense, happened to put out a new “world” map that will help us with spending more money on things scientists now admit that they don’t know about. This map is based on the climate change model we know to be flawed.

The map purports to show the world areas most susceptible to climate change; areas that will be vulnerable, of course, in some distant future when the flawed climate model suddenly, miraculously, imitates reality, likely by Divine intervention or just plain old coincidence.

“Scientists said that the new world map,” writes IBTimes, “which is created using data from the world’s ecosystems and predictions of how climate change will impact them, is expected to help governments, environmental agencies and donors identify regions that would be best served by investments in programs such as the creation of protected areas, restoration efforts and other conservation activities.”

Yup, um, scientists are always saying stuff like that with other people’s money: proposing tax credits and restoration work and off-limit areas where really, really important stuff is happening in nature.  Or perhaps not.

See, I used to think that the point of science was to actually figure out how the world really works, not how we would like it to work.  But I can see now that it’s more important to have scientific models of how the world should work.

Because just this week, the European Commissioner of Climate Change Action—a sort of European Power Ranger on climate—happened to say: so what if we got the science regarding the earth’s temperature wrong? Can’t we just be grateful to the climate model without being nitpicky on actual temperature or consequences?

"Let's say that science,” said EU weather czar Connie Hedegaard, “some decades from now, said 'we were wrong, it was not about climate', would it not in any case have been good to do many of things you have to do in order to combat climate change?"

What? Like riding bikes more? Drinking one glass of red wine a day? Shipping more Powder River Basin coal to China so that the Chinese can enjoy the benefits of the cheap, domestic U.S. coal reserves while Americans pay more for energy?

In fairness to science, Hedegaard, isn’t really a scientist. She’s more of a literary historian. Her Wikipedia entry describes her as a “public intellectual,” whatever that is.

And her defective thinking exemplifies why I’ve always been troubled by liberals’ obsession with Europe.

Talk about making bad, bad decisions as a continent.  Here’s a region of supposedly educated and superior people-- Europe that is-- who have made very few correct decisions over the last 200 years.

And after hearing from Hedegaard, I don’t think those bad decisions are chance. It’s ingrained poor processing, it’s public intellectualism.

There was that whole Hitler thing; before that the World War I thing; Napoleon, Stalin, monarchies, socialism, communism, green parties, not shaving your underarms. Horsemeat is considered a delicacy in Europe!

And another thing: Europe controlled North America for longer than there has been the United States.  In all that time they couldn’t make it profitable.  Why?

The taxes were too high. Everyone besides Obama and the Europeans know this.

So on behalf of the rest of the country, even the rest of the world, I accept your apology Europe for getting so much of history wrong.

Now let’s talk about that science thing…


Beware Watching A Critical Film – It May Turn You Into A Climate Sceptic, Psychologist Warns

Eminent scientists have condemned films that are sceptical about climate change. After airing of the Great Global Warming Swindle in 2007, for example, Sir Martin Rees, President of the Royal Society at the time, said "those who promote fringe scientific views but ignore the weight of evidence are playing a dangerous game."

Of course there are also films that affirm the idea that human activity has contributed to the rise in global temperatures - Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth is probably the most well known. Unfortunately for environmentalists and people who believe global warming is a threat, a new study claims that sceptical films have a more powerful influence on viewers' attitudes than climate change advocacy films.

Tobias Greitemeyer recruited 97 students at the University of Innsbruck. Thirty-three of them watched the climate change affirming film Children of The Flood - a futuristic tale depicting the life-threatening impact of melted ice-caps. Thirty-six watched The Great Global Warming Swindle, which challenges the idea that global warming is affected by human activity. The remainder acted as controls and watched a neutral film Forgotten Country in The Mekong Region, about life in Laos. The participants watched the first 15 minutes of each film.

Although the students were allocated randomly to the different conditions, those who watched the sceptic film subsequently reported more negative attitudes toward the environment than those who watched the neutral film or the affirming film. By contrast, there was no difference in attitudes to the environment between students who watched the neutral film and those who watched the affirming film.

A second study was similar but this time 92 students watched either Six Degrees Could Change the World (climate change affirming); The Climate Swindle: How Eco-mafia Betrays Us; or Planet Earth: Caves (a neutral film). Also, Greitemeyer added in a questionnaire about participants' concern for the future.

This time participants who watched the sceptical film ended up with greater apathy towards the environment as compared with participants who watched the neutral or affirming films, an outcome that was mediated by their having reduced concern for the future in general. This was the pattern both for participants who tended to engage in pro-environment behaviours in their everyday lives and those who didn't so much. As in the first study, there were no differences in post-viewing environment attitudes between those who'd watched the affirmative or neutral films.

When it comes to a lack of belief in the human causes of global warming, Greitemeyer said his results suggest "the media are part of the problem, but may not easily be used to be part of the solution." He thinks sceptical films have a negative influence on people's attitudes, but that films advocating for the human impact on climate change are ineffectual.

Unfortunately his claims are undermined by the limitations of the study. Above all it's unfortunate that he didn't measure his participants' baseline attitudes. This means we can't get any idea of the size of the influence of the films and we have to trust on faith that the randomisation to conditions was effective (i.e. that students in the different film conditions didn't differ in their attitudes before watching the films). There is also a question mark over how much the results would generalise to a non-student sample.

Indeed, in a subsequent survey of different students at the same uni, Greitemeyer found that they had an overwhelming bias towards believing in the reality of human effects on global warming. Therefore, perhaps the sceptical films appeared to be more influential because they contradicted students' pre-existing beliefs whereas the affirmative films told the students only what they already knew. A final limitation is the lack of analysis of the content of the films - we don't know what the active ingredients might be nor whether these were found equally in sceptical and affirmative films.


The New York State wind wars

Production tax credit lets Invenergy hide the facts and desecrate rural America

Mary Kay Barton

Congress’s last minute extension of the PTC or Production Tax Credit (aka: “Pork To Cronies”) within the December 31, 2012 fiscal cliff deal was good news for Big Wind corporate welfare profiteers, like Michael Polsky’s Invenergy. It was very bad news for rural/residential towns that are being targeted by industrial wind developers here in New York State, and across the nation.

Even though the Wyoming County, NY Town of Orangeville’s conflicted Town Board approved Invenergy’s “Stony Creek” project in the Fall of 2012, Invenergy admitted it would not go ahead with the project unless the PTC was extended. This again highlights the fact that the only thing Invenergy is interested in “harvesting” via its “wind farms” is taxpayers’ money. Even worse, once Crony-Corruptocrats in DC extended the PTC in that midnight fiscal cliff deal, the once-beautiful rolling hills of the Town of Orangeville were doomed.

While Mr. Polsky enjoys his new mansion, many Orangeville residents are now helplessly looking on in disgust as Invenergy turns their town into a sprawling industrial wind factory – rendering their homes virtually worthless – thanks to the legalized thievery of their own tax dollars for The Wind Farm Scam.

As Big Wind CEO, Patrick Jenevein candidly pointed out in his Wall Street Journal op-ed, “Wind power subsidies? No Thanks” and follow-up TV interview, “Wind farms are increasingly being built in less-windy locations,” because the wind industry is focused on reaping the lucrative taxpayer and ratepayer subsidies, rather than providing efficient, affordable, reliable electricity.

Nowhere is this proving to be more true than right here in New York State. Orangeville borders the Town of Attica here in the western part of the state. It’s a town that “First Wind LLC” pulled out of a number of years ago, after admitting that the Attica area “was not a good wind area.” It seems Jenevein knew exactly what he was talking about.

According to NYISO’s Goldbook, New York State’s installed wind factories averaged a pathetic 23.5% actual capacity factor in 2012. New York State wind factories are not generating enough electricity even to pay for themselves over their short life spans. It’s Economics 101, but it’s being ignored by politicians.

Renowned energy analyst Glenn Schleede examined the data on New York State’s wind factories and found that one 450-MW combined cycle generating unit near New York City (where the juice is actually needed) would provide more power than all of New York State’s wind farms combined, at one-fourth the capital costs – and would significantly reduce CO2 emissions, while creating far more jobs than all those wind farms … without the added costs and impacts of all the transmission lines to New York City.

It’s no wonder New York has earned the dubious distinction of having the highest electricity rates in the continental United States: 17.7 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) – a whopping 53% above the national average!  New York residents using 6,500 kWh of electricity annually will pay about $400 more per year for their electricity than if the state’s electricity prices were at the national average.

Despite making absolutely no economic sense, and despite the utter civil discord embroiling Towns across New York State for more than a decade, New York State continues to aggressively pursue further industrial wind development – with no effort whatsoever to protect the health, well-being or pocketbooks of New York State citizens, especially those living next to or under the wind turbines.

During his tenure as Attorney General, Andrew Cuomo did nothing to protect New York State citizens from the predatory practices and collusion evident among Big Wind developers. Once he became Governor of New York, Cuomo actively began aiding and abetting Big Wind’s efforts to trample rural communities’ Constitutional private property rights in his pursuit of all things “green” (aka: Agenda 21), by signing into law the new “Article X (10)” contained within his 2011 “Power NY Act.”

Cuomo's new Article X put in place an ”Energy Siting Board” comprised of five Albany bureaucrats who now have the final say regarding the siting of “power-generating facilities” in NY – redefined to mean anything generating 25 MW or more.  Cuomo’s intention to clear the way for Big Wind developers could not have been any more obvious had he rolled out a red carpet.

Article X proceedings are already being pursued by British Petroleum (BP) in Cape Vincent, NY, and by Iberdrola in Clayton, NY. BP intends to turn our beautiful Thousands Islands, St. Lawrence Seaway area into sprawling industrial wind factories.  Devastating some of the most scenic, historic areas in the nation in pursuit of the “green” energy boondoggle should have all Americans incensed – especially since they are paying for it! For our communities, scenery and wildlife, Cuomo’s article is Triple X rated!

In Lichtfield, NY, another Big Wind LLC tried to override the town’s restrictive zoning laws, by using Cuomo’s “Article X,” so that they could install 490-foot-tall turbines.  Luckily for Litchfield residents, the FAA struck down Big Wind’s plans there.

Robert Bryce, Senior fellow at The Manhattan Institute, reported on the lawsuit going on in Herkimer County, NY due to the intolerable noise problems associated with industrial wind factories. His article title sums it up: “Backlash against Big Wind continues.” Other wind factories are in the works in New York, with unsuspecting towns yet to recognize the fate that awaits them.

Considering the growing list of problems associated with industrial wind factories in New York State (and worldwide), Governor Cuomo’s actions reflect criminal negligence by a duly-elected “public servant,” as he has not demanded health studies to safeguard those he was elected to serve and protect.

Adding insult to injury, Ben Hoen and his pals at the NRLB just came out with yet another bogus “report,” claiming industrial wind factories do not hurt property values. They can't really be serious, can they? It’s Real Estate 101: “Location, location, location!” Any realtor who is not in bed with the wind industry will tell you, Location is the most important factor when considering a home’s worth and value.

If you industrialize a neighborhood with monstrous, noisy, flickering, bird-killing turbines (and in the case of industrial wind energy, entire towns, and those neighboring them), you are going to devalue it. Pretty much a no-brainer, right? Not according to Hoen and his pals in the ideologically-driven media.

After nearly a decade of researching and writing about industrial wind power, I’ve lost count of how many times my comments responding to wind-promoting articles have been rejected, and how many news publications refuse to report all relevant information regarding industrial wind power.

A number of local newspapers serving our area here in Western New York State – which has been targeted by industrial wind developers – have literally cut off all letters to the editor from local citizens regarding the industrial wind issue. These same newspapers continue to publish “Press Releases” on behalf of wind developers, and yet refuse to do any responsible, investigative journalism on the efficacy, effects and economics of wind power. The pro-wind media obviously control the message.

If “news”papers wonder why their circulation continues to drop, as people choose to get honest news elsewhere, they need look no further than their own refusal to adhere to “The Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics,”  which says “Support the open exchange of views, even views they find repugnant.”

If wind enthusiasts actually believe all they claim to about the supposed “wonders of wind,” then why do they need to seize power and control the message the way they do? The answer is evident.

Either they are so ideologically driven that facts are not “relevant” to them – or they are getting so rich via the wind scam that they must squelch factual information as much as possible, so that the “Emperor with No Clothes” doesn’t end up being exposed for what he is – a charlatan who is swindling taxpayers and ratepayers out of billions of dollars in the name of being “green.”


New conservative Australian federal government  axes climate change ministry

The new Australian Cabinet will be the first in six years to not have a ministerial role for climate change issues, merging instead global warming with the wider environment portfolio.

Announcing his Cabinet on Monday, incoming Prime Minister Tony Abbott appointed Greg Hunt, the Liberal-National Coalition’s spokesman on climate change issues since 2009, as the new Minister for the Environment.

“(Hunt) will have responsibility for the abolition of the carbon tax, implementation of the Coalition’s Direct Action plan, the establishment of the Green Army and the creation of a one-stop-shop for environmental approvals,” Abbott said in a statement.

Hunt, 47 and a member of parliament since 2001, has had the main responsibility of developing and promoting the Direct Action Plan, the Coalition policy to reach the national target of reducing Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions 5 percent below 2000 levels by 2020.

Under the plan, the new government will set up a fund to buy emission cuts from those companies that pledge to achieve them at the lowest cost.

"The change signals that as expected, the Abbott government will not give climate change the same weight as the previous government," said Frank Jotzo, deputy director of Australia National University's Climate Change Institute.

"The environment ministry traditionally holds less sway in cabinet than many others, and the integration of the climate policy bureaucracy into the Environment department will also tend to diminish its role," he said by email.

Meanwhile, Abbott appointed Ian Macfarlane the new Minister for Industry.

Macfarlane was Hunt’s predecessor as climate change spokesman, but lost his position after negotiating a compromise emissions trading scheme with the Labor party in 2009, a process that ended with then-Coalition leader Malcolm Turnbull losing his position to Tony Abbott.

The appointment of Macfarlane was welcomed by the Australian Coal Association, which said on Twitter that it was “delighted on the appointment of Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane; an excellent advocate for mining industry”.


New coal mines in Tasmania!

Pretty amazing for "Green" Tasmania -- and the ironically named Mr Green is a Labor Party man,  a Leftist.  Will a new dam be next?  Tasmania used to make a good dollar out of hydropower before the Greenies got involved

THE State Government has given approval for a major new coal mine in the Fingal Valley, which it expects will create more than 100 jobs.

Energy and Resources Minister Bryan Green has formally approved the mining lease for the project.

"It's great to see this project is ready to start," Mr Green said.

The mine, proposed by HardRock Coal Mining Pty Ltd, is touted to produce more than a million tonnes of coal a year, worth an estimated $100 million.

Mr Green said he expected the $50 million development of the mine would create more than 80 construction jobs and begin before the end of this year.

He said the mine was expected to be fully operational within three years.

"This is a very significant investment and clearly demonstrates that Tasmania is open for business," he said.

"The project will not only bring valuable investment and jobs to the Fingal Valley, it will also have enormous flow-on benefits for the North East region and the broader Tasmanian economy.

"When fully operational the new mine will provide economic benefits worth almost $180 million a year to the Tasmanian economy."

He said other jobs in services, transport and maintenance would follow.

"For example, when fully operational the new mine will see a 40 per cent increase in rail traffic and exports through the Bell Bay port grow by almost 30 per cent," he said.

"The project is also expected to generate mining royalties of $6 million a year.

"This will be a new export industry for Tasmania serving the needs of the rapidly growing Asian region."

Mr Green said the Fingal Valley project was further evidence of the industry's growing confidence in Tasmania.

It follows recent mine approvals near Smithton and at Tullah and strong growth in mineral exploration.

"Work is under way on Shree Minerals' new mine near Smithton and Venture Minerals' Riley iron ore mine west of Tullah is ready to go," he said.

The Riley mine is one of three major projects Venture is developing in the far North-West and will triple bulk mineral exports through the Burnie port.

"I have also granted a mining lease for Venture's Livingstone project, also near Tullah, and the company is finalising its Mt Lindsay tin and tungsten mine," he said.

"The Mount Lindsay project will create up to 1000 jobs during construction."




Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


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