Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The attention-seekers and people-haters never stop

Two Greenie organizations, the Foundation for Deep Ecology and Population Media Center have got together to commission and publish a set of magnificent color photos which display scenes said be of environmental degradation.  Needless to say, various newspapers and others have grabbed this free artwork and reprinted it.

But the text accompanying the pictures is systematically dishonest.  As usual, Greenies can only make their case by lying. I am not going to do a systematic fisking of such a large body of work but I will offer a few comments.  I will be referring to the pictures as reproduced by Britain's Daily Mail, a very widely accessed site.

As a preliminary comment, a lot of the unpleasant pictures come from Third World countries such as Indonesia and India.  Such scenes are not our fault and are certainly not the result of capitalism, market economies or modern industrial society.  They result primarily from a LACK of capitalism, market economies and  modern industrial society. They are the fruit of the low-energy economies that Greenies idolize.  A subset of the pictures could well be used to show the sad results of the lack of capitalism. So what the pictures show depends heavily on the text accompanying the pictures.

And the very first picture in the set is a case in point.  It shows an Indonesian surfer, surfing among trash. They had to go all the way to Indonesia to get that shot.  No distressing shots from neighboring Australia, with its thousands of miles of superb beach?  Australia has so much beach that you can find deserted and untouched ones with ease, just the sort that the people-haters want. Anyone who has taken the drive from Cairns to Mossman knows that.

The lesson to note is clearly that you can find bad examples of anything if you scour widely enough.  I think already at this point I have alerted readers to the essentially deceptive nature of the project but let me go on.

Next is a picture of power-station cooling towers in the UK.  The subtext reads: "Harder and harder to breathe: Air pollution, C02, and water vapor rise from that stacks at a coal-burning power plant in the United Kingdom".  That is an outright lie. With the scrubbers that modern power stations employ, the output of the towers is 99% pure steam --  and anything not caught by the scrubbers has certainly never been shown to hinder breathing! And do I need to point out that steam is just water?

The text beneath the next picture reads:  "Waterfall of melting ice: In both the Arctic and Antarctic regions, ice is retreating. Melting water on icecap, North East Land, Svalbard, Norway".  I have no doubt that the text is accurate but once again we encounter selective reporting and lack of any attempt at a balanced or comprehensive story.  I imagine the the picture and text are meant to assert that polar ice is in general melting.  It is not.

There has indeed been some melting of Arctic ice and ice associated with the Antarctic peninsula but Antarctica overall has been gaining ice at a rate which more than makes up for losses elsewhere. Why the ice cover in the Arctic and Antarctic sometimes moves in opposite directions nobody knows.  The one thing we DO know is that there has been no overall ice melt.  But who cares about the full story when you can cherrypick?

Then there is the dead polar bear -- with the probably made-up story of why it died.  Did they do an autopsy?  It was probably just old.  The story that it starved because it could not find a ice floe to hunt from is just fiction.  Polar bears do perch on ice floes at times but they don't need to.   Polar bears are extremely strong swimmers and can swim for hundreds of miles in search of food.  A few years ago, one swam from Greenland to Iceland.  The Icelanders promptly shot it.  Polar bears are dangerous predators and Icelanders are a no-nonsense sort of people. But the big point is that polar bear populations are increasing overall.  So again:  No cause for alarm.

And then there is the clear-felled forest.  Clear felling is normally done to make way for pine plantations.  Pines grow  rapidly so are a RENEWABLE resource.  Aren't Greenies supposed to LIKE renewable resources?

I could go on but I have spent too much time on this nonsense already.  Selective reporting is just as deceptive as an outright lie.  But the Green/Left rely on lies and don't even seem much bothered when their lies are exposed.  No amount of effort to rebut the lies will ever stop the cascade of them, it seems --JR.

Whoops!  Was the war on dishwashers mistaken?

Greenies have been sniping at mechanical dishwashers for decades. Being elitists, they hate anything that normal people like.  Dishwashers use too much power and their detergents are poisonous to some creature or other apparently.  The Greenies have even got them regulated so that their cycles are shorter and their detergents are less effective.  Which mostly means that you have to run every wash twice -- thus using MORE power and more detergent.  But now we see that they save water! So they are off the sin list, apparently

Washing up is one of the country's most-hated chores. So it can only be good news that scientists have revealed we should never handwash our dishes again.  Instead households are being encouraged to use their dishwasher in a bid to save water.

Around 6,000 gallons of water per household per year - the equivalent of a whole month's worth - are wasted by washing up in the sink, research by Consumer Reports claimed.  This amount of water could cost the average household up to £95.

Dishes are also never cleaned properly by hand, the scientists said. The perfect temperature for cleaning crockery is 60C (140F) but this is too hot to handwash plates.  Instead using a dishwasher - and water around this temperature - ensures plates come out clean and glasses are left with no streaks or spots.

A kitchen sponge can also contain more germs than any other item in the house.

In fact it can be 200,000 times dirtier than a toilet seat with around 10million bacteria per square inch, a study in 2012 found.


Another Leftist crook

Fort Chipewyan, Alberta doctor John O'Connor became a progressive "green" hero after he claimed that a high number of cancer cases in his community were tied to the oil sands.

After he was fired recently, the media tried to link his dismissal to his role as a "whistleblower."  But I've got evidence, including a leaked document from the College of Physicians and Surgeons, that tells a very different story.

The fact is:

Dr. O'Connor hadn't shown up to work in the aboriginal community he claimed to care so much about for years.

He invoiced them $5000 a month to be "on call" but spent much of his time at anti-oil sands activities.

But what about the bigger picture?  Was he right about his claims that cancer was rampant in Fort Chip and was connected to the oil sands?

Well, O'Connor didn't want people to read a report the College Physicians and Surgeons put out after a two-year investigation into his claims -- but The Rebel got a copy of it.

According to this report, Dr. O'Connor lied about that alleged cancer cluster outbreak.

While the rest of the media is still pushing their "whistleblower" narrative, only The Rebel brings you this damning report by Dr. O'Connor's professional governing body.


Environmental Impacts of Industrial Silica Sand (Frac Sand) Mining

The rate of silica sand mining in the United States has increased in recent years, due in large part to the tremendous growth in hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas using horizontal drilling techniques. Some environmental activist groups and community organizers contend silica sand mining presents significant threats to human health and the environment. Scientific evidence strongly refutes such claims.

Silica sand mining has minimal environmental impact, involves virtually no public health risk, and is an important part of domestic energy production that has substantial economic benefits. Heartland Policy Study No. 137, “Environmental Impacts of Industrial Silica Sand (Frac Sand) Mining,” documents the following facts:

Studies conducted by regulatory bodies and research groups have conclusively shown silica sand mining operations do not increase the concentrations of silica sand particles in the ambient air downwind of such operations.

Water use data show silica sand mining operations consume a small fraction of state-wide water resources.

The existing local, state, and federal regulatory structure is designed to ensure silica sand mining – and myriad other industrial operations – is conducted in a manner that ensures compliance with air and water quality standards, and thus protects human health and the environment.

The increase in silica sand mining has had substantial economic and employment benefits in the states that have benefitted from the silica sand mining boom.

Silica sand mining is an important part of the larger, recent revolution in domestic energy production, by which the United States is producing ever-increasing amounts of affordable clean energy by tapping into a huge supply of heretofore untouched resources.

Authors Isaac Orr, a research fellow at The Heartland Institute, and Mark Krumenacher, is a principal and senior vice president of GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc., write,

"For an informed discussion to take place, the public must have access to the best available information. Unfortunately, those raising fears of the effects of frac sand mining have taken advantage of the public’s limited understanding of the industrial sand mining process, limited recognition of the precautions taken to minimize potential environmental impacts, limited knowledge of geology, and lack of awareness of state and local regulations on silica sand production."

Orr and Krumenacher conclude silica sand mining can be done in a safe and environmentally responsible manner with the proper oversight and environmental protections. State and local governments have done a commendable job working with environmental and industry leaders to craft legislation that protects the environment while permitting industrial sand production to move forward. Regulations crafted to specifically regulate industrial sand mining would be duplicative, resulting in higher costs without tangibly increasing environmental protections.


Bee facts changed – green agendas did not

Activists and White House appear ready to present new  justifications for unjustified policies

Paul Driessen

The White House finally appears ready to announce conclusions and policy recommendations from the Pollinator Task Force it appointed a year ago. Environmentalist groups eagerly await the decision. After clamoring and campaigning for years for government action, they hope to get tough restrictions on using innovative new insecticides called neonicotinoids.

Agricultural interests await the decision with trepidation. A ban or broad restrictions would cost billions of dollars annually, force them to employ pesticides that are more difficult to use and more toxic for beneficial insects, and compel them to confront more secretive government “science” and faulty justifications for policies that are not supported by the evidence.

The deadline imposed by President Obama’s task force memo passed months ago, and yet the White House has been strangely silent on the issue of pesticides and honeybee health. What initially looked like an easy lame-duck giveaway to green groups has turned out to be factually complicated.

Long before the White House weighed in, anti-insecticide activists promoted claims that honeybees were headed for extinction because of pesticides, specifically neonics – unless the government banned them. Time magazine picked up their refrain, devoting a long cover story to the scary prospect of “a world without bees.” Other news stories uncritically repeated the end-of-bees assertions. One-third of the food we eat could disappear without bees to pollinate crops, they proclaimed. But there was a problem.

The narrative turned out to be false, extensive evidence now demonstrates – and inconvenient truths had gotten in the way of another slam-dunk Executive Branch edict.

Neonicotinoids are actually much less toxic for bees, other insects, humans and animals than alternative pesticides, in part because they are primarily used to coat seeds. The neonics become part of the plant’s tissue structure and defense system, affecting only pests that feed on the protected crops. Farmers can greatly reduce pesticide spraying, especially with older, more toxic chemicals.

Field studies have repeatedly shown that bees are unaffected by neonics at real-world exposure levels. In fact, bees thrive in canola (oilseed rape) fields and other crops grown with neonic-treated seeds, and the number of bees has been rising steadily worldwide the past few years, even as neonic usage peaked.

U.S. Department of Agriculture annual beekeeper surveys reveal that the number of honey-producing hives in the United States has held steady at about 2.5 million since 1995. Indeed, the numbers increased four of the last five years and are actually higher now than when neonics first came on the market in the mid 1990s. Most beehive problems now involve less experienced hobby beekeepers.

A similarly hyped issue, “colony collapse disorder,” turned out to be a cyclical problem going back centuries. Recent large-scale die-offs of domesticated bees appear to be caused primarily by Varroa mites (which feed on bees and can transmit bee viruses and diseases), parasitic phorid flies, Nosema intestinal fungi, and tobacco ringspot viruses. Beekeepers have accidentally killed entire hives trying to combat these problems.

Honeybee habitat loss from urban, suburban and even agricultural development has also taken a toll. Just removing fences, to improve agricultural efficiencies and let cattle roam and feed, reduces bee forage and nutrition, increasing bees’ susceptibility to mites, disease and stress, entomologist and professional beekeeper Randy Oliver told me.

But facts like these never stopped organizations like Beyond Pesticides and the Natural Resources Defense Council from claiming America and the world faced a “bee-pocalypse” – never because of a convergence of problems; always because of their newest bogeyman: neonicotinoids. The facts likewise never stopped the White House from telling the EPA to scrutinize neonics intently, in the name of protecting pollinators.

Eventually, though, the facts caught up with the fear-mongering. As journalists wrote articles exposing the environmentalist falsehoods, the “honeybee Armageddon” justification began falling apart.

The White House and Big Green pressure groups did not want egg on their face. What to do? The preferred tactic: postpone the task force report and stall for time to concoct a new fable. It had worked before on other issues. A compliant, allied media and gullible public should make it work again.

The anti-pesticide groups used the postponement to switch their rationale for restricting neonics. Instead of critical threats to managed honeybees, they now say it is native or wild bees that need help. The shift reflects a shrewd, cynical calculation.

Since there are far fewer studies on the status of wild bee populations, activists can make any claims they like. As the NRDC’s Jennifer Sass said in November 2014, environmentalist groups can only “presume” that wild bees are in decline. But they sure know how to get ample press coverage for their presumption.

They, the White House and EPA need to check their facts this time. U.S. Geological Survey wild bee specialist Sam Droege says scientists still don’t know which species are declining or flourishing, but he believes most are doing fine.  (There are some 4,000 native species of wild bees in North America.) Similarly, a 2013 study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences analyzed U.S. native bee populations over a 140-year period and echoed that assessment. Of 187 native species analyzed, only three showed steep declines, and they were likely due to pathogens.

This may be why anti-pesticide activists are simultaneously employing another new tactic. By combining summer and winter bee losses, they can make it look like the honeybee crisis is worsening, as a May 14 Wall Street Journal article put it. This stratagem also benefits from the fact that summertime loss data go back only five years, so there is no way to look for historical trends or patterns.

The White House would do well to leave science to experts, rather than activists with an ax to grind. If bee numbers are increasing, it is much harder to justify restricting a pesticide that is needed by farmers – and that would be much better for honeybees, wild bees and other beneficial insects.

As Randy Oliver emphasizes, it is important to let science do its job, figure out and address what is really happening to bees, use all insecticides carefully and responsibly, and not stigmatize neonic seed treatments on ideological or junk science grounds.

Otherwise, bee problems are likely to get worse, while neonic bans cause crop losses and a return to spraying pesticides that really can cause significant environmental problems.

Via email

Is There Any Need for a Dike to Save Melbourne from the Rising Seas?

Independent scientist, Professor Albert Parker, explains that government estimates of a sea level rise of over 1 meter by 2100 is folly and building any such unecessary dam to cater for that would be a gross waste of public funds.  An extract of the paper, A. Parker, Is there any need for a dike to save Melbourne from the rising seas?, Journal of Geography, Environment and Earth Science International, 2015, Volume 2, Issue 3. DOI:10.9734/JGEESI/2015/17463 follows below


The Australian government is still basing policy on the concept that sea level will rise by 1.1 meters along the Australian coastline by 2100. The Department of the Environment has proposed a 10 billion dollar dike to save Melbourne from the hypothetical rising sea. In reality the tide gauges of Victoria are recording average relative rates of rise of less than 1 mm/year, in perfect agreement with the National average.

At this rate sea level will rise by only 8.5 cm by 2100 but even this estimate may be too high. The worldwide average sea level rise, based on only tide gauges of sufficient quality and length, is only about 0.25 mm/year, with zero acceleration over the last few decades.

Such a rise can be dealt with by local adaption, as in the last 100 years, and there is no need for any engineering structures, let alone the proposed 10’billion dollar scheme with its accompanying environmental and social problems

On the basis of the data presented here the average rise of sea level along the Victorian coastline is very likely less than 1 mm/year. The worldwide shows no acceleration in the rate of rise, so there is probably no acceleration in Victoria. This rise in sea level gives no cause for concern. The likelihood of a 1.1 meter sea level rise by 2100 is extremely improbable, in Melbourne and along the Australian coastline in general.  The department of the environment should not seek advice from the same discredited climate agencies that advised the previous Labor government and conclude there is in impending threat of huge sea level rise. Their proposed 10 billion dollar dike is not needed to save Melbourne from the rising seas.

The paper shows that there is not an urgent need to build a very expensive dam to protect Melbourne by sea level increase of more than one meter by 2100 as forecasted by the IPCC. The paper criticizes the IPCC and the local sea level monitoring projects and shows that sea level as measured by other longer and not investigated tide gauges is much less than 1 mm/year. So the proposed 10 billion dollar dike is not needed to save Melbourne from the rising seas.  The paper shows that the sea levels oscillate with up to a quasi-60 years’ periodicity detected, for which windows shorter than 60 years are misleading. On the other hand, the average of tide gauges of sufficient quality and length in the Permanent Service on Mean Sea Level (PSMSL) data base show a slow rise of relative sea level of 0.24 mm/year without any acceleration over the last few decades. The paper shows that the lack of trend in MSL was also confirmed by the GRACE experiment that is a satellite measuring system based on gravity rather altimetry.

The Australian Department of the Environment before basing policy on the concept that sea level will rise by 1.1 meters along the Australian coastline by 2100 should take into account the views expressed in this paper.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

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


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