Monday, October 12, 2015
Global warming behind mysterious kidney disease, says research
Utter bulldust again. That it is caused by warming is just speculation which in fact goes against the evidence. My father was one of many cane-cutters in tropical Australia in the old days and there was no notable kidney failure among those men. The illness specific to canecutting was Leptospirosis (Weil’s disease), which is a well-understood and preventible bacterial infection. And temperatures in the fields there often reached 100 degrees F. It was once thought that white men could not do manual work in those temperatures. But they did. So the problem is NOT caused by doing manual labour in hot climates. Use of illegal chemicals in South America would be the most probable cause. Respect for law in those parts is notoriously weak. Note that Wikipedia says the cause of the disease is unknown
A mysterious kidney disease that has killed over 20,000 people in Central America since 2002, and now spreading to other countries including India, may be caused by chronic, severe dehydration linked to global climate change, says a new study.
"This could be the first epidemic directly caused by global warming," said one of the researchers Richard Johnson, professor of medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in the US.
So far, the manual labourers on sugar cane plantations in the hotter, lower altitudes of Central America's Pacific coast have been hit hardest by the disease. It has also been reported among farmworkers, miners, fishermen and construction and transportation workers in the region.
"Some districts of Nicaragua have been called the `land of widows' due to the high mortality rates occurring among the male workers from chronic kidney disease," Johnson pointed out.
The epidemic was first described in 2002 and has been dubbed Mesoamerican Nephropathy.
Theories abound about what may be causing it, including exposure to heavy metals, pesticides and other toxic chemicals. But Johnson believes the actual culprit is chronic recurrent dehydration.
His research team studied sugar cane workers in Nicaragua and El Salvador. They found that the labourers routinely worked in conditions exceeding the recommended heat standards of the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
And even though some of them drank up to one to two litres per hour, the researchers found they still suffered serious dehydration on a daily basis.
One of the major side-effects of this dehydration was hyperuricemia or excess uric acid levels in the blood.
In one study, sugar cane workers in El Salvador had uric acid levels of 6.6 mg per decilitre in the morning which increased to 7.2 mg in the afternoon.
And 21 of 23 people with chronic kidney disease (CKD) had hyperuricemia.
Dehydration also activates a pathway in the kidney which generates fructose that, when metabolised, produces uric acid.
Johnson's team also found that these dehydrated workers had high concentrations of uric acid crystals in their urine.
The uric acid crystals are thought to trigger tubular damage and fibrosis in the kidneys.
The study suggests that this epidemic may be gaining momentum now because global warming is increasing the risk of dehydration.
Johnson said that this kind of CKD is now being observed in Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, and Egypt.
He recommends improving work conditions and hydration practices among those most at risk for developing the disease.
The study was published in the the American Journal of Kidney Diseases.
India Declines UN Climate Agreement Unless They Get $2.5 Trillion
The third biggest carbon emitter in the world has shown displeasure in the draft text of the United Nations Climate Change Conference which is slated to unfurl in December.
Prakash Javadekar, climate change minister of India stated he was “not at all happy” with the draft for reasons of “equity” and signified that India will clash with it during the upcoming round of negotiations. Under proposed commitment of India, the country will increase its CO2 emissions tree-fold.
In the negotiations, India is possibly the most vital developing country as it has spearheaded the effort made by poorer countries to compel wealthier nations to augment financial support in return for cooperation on climate change. India has made it clear that it will only start lowering its carbon emissions if it obtains considerable assistance from Western countries, amounting to $2.5 trillion in the next 15 years in grants, direct aid, and cheap financing.
The Obama administration has previously devoted $4 billion to fund the development of solar power in India.
India and slew of other developing nations are hesitant to reduce emissions since their economies are deeply reliant on inexpensive, carbon emitting, forms of energy. In 2014, India obtained 59% of its electricity from coal, while the US only produced 39% of its electricity from coal in the same year, although the US produces more coal than India. India is reducing its dependent on coal two-fold, by coming up with 87,122 megawatts of capacity.
With that amount of coal usage it is approximated that 400 million Indians, 31% of the nation’s population, still have to access to electricity.
Judges plan to outlaw climate change 'denial’
A semi-secret, international conference of top judges proposed to make illegal any opinion that contradicted climate change. Quite loony in its self-importance
We might think that a semi-secret, international conference of top judges, held in the highest courtroom in Britain, to propose that it should be made illegal for anyone to question the scientific evidence for man-made global warming, was odd enough to be worthy of front-page coverage.
Last week I mentioned that the Prince of Wales had sent a message to this conference calling for the UN’s forthcoming climate meeting in Paris to agree on “a Magna Carta for the Earth”. But only a series of startling posts by a sharp-eyed Canadian blogger, Donna Laframboise (on Nofrakkingconsensus), have alerted us to what a bizarre event this judicial gathering turned out to be (the organisers even refused to give her the names of those who attended).
It could be made illegal for any government, corporation (or presumably individual scientist) ever to question the agreed “science” again
Including senior judges and lawyers from across the world, the three-day conference on “Climate Change and the Law” was staged in London’s Supreme Court. It was funded, inter alia, by the Supreme Court itself, the UK government and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).
As one of the two UN sponsors of its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, UNEP has been one of the main drivers of alarm over global warming for 40 years. The organiser and chairman of the conference was the Supreme Court judge Lord Carnwath, a fervent believer in man-made climate change, who has worked with the Prince of Wales for more than 20 years, and with UNEP since 2002.
The purpose of this strange get-together was outlined in a keynote speech (visible on YouTube) by Philippe Sands, a QC from Cherie Blair’s Matrix Chambers and professor of law at University College, London. Since it is now unlikely that the world will agree in Paris to a legally binding treaty to limit the rise in global temperatures to no more than 2 degrees C from pre-industrial levels, his theme was that it is now time for the courts to step in, to enforce this as worldwide law.
Although his audience, Sands said, would agree that the scientific evidence for man-made climate change was “overwhelming”, there were still “scientifically qualified, knowledgeable and influential individuals” continuing to deny “the warming of the atmosphere, the melting of the ice and the rising of the seas”, and that this is all due to our emissions of CO2. The world’s courts, led by the International Court of Justice, said Sands, could play a vital role “in finally scotching these claims”.
“The most important thing the courts could do,” he said, was to hold a top-level “finding of fact”, to settle these “scientific disputes” once and for all: so that it could then be made illegal for any government, corporation (or presumably individual scientist) ever to question the agreed “science” again.
Furthermore, he went on, once “the scientific evidence” thus has the force of binding international law, it could be used to compel all governments to make “the emissions reductions that are needed”, including the phasing out of fossil fuels, to halt global warming in its tracks.
The fact that it could be seriously proposed in the highest courtroom in the land that the law should now be used to suppress any further debate on what has become one of the most contentious issues in the history of science (greeted with applause from the distinguished legal audience) speaks volumes about the curious psychological state to which the great global warming scare has reduced so many of the prominent figures who today exercise power and influence over the life of our Western societies.
For perspective, we need only think of the likely responses to all this claptrap by China and India (which has just announced that it intends to triple its CO2 emissions by 2030). Not only have they already kicked into touch any chance of a “binding climate treaty” in December. At the thought of these self-important lawyers trying to force them to comply by international law, they will merely respond with inscrutable smiles, as they continue to rely on fossil fuels to power what will soon be the two largest economies in the world.
Global Warming: Making the Ruling Class into the Crackpot Class
What links global warming and the ruling class? A fervent belief in the former seems to have a powerful inverse correlation with the impressiveness of the latter.
The ruling class is made up of people from privileged backgrounds. They are usually wealthy. They go the elite colleges and often hold important jobs. They are the class from which many of our important leaders are drawn.
The Italian sociologist Pareto theorized that ruling classes, after time, lose their vigor and sense of purpose. They go soft. When that happens, they are replaced by tougher upward strivers.
Compare two secretaries of state. John Foster Dulles was born in 1888 and was Eisenhower's during the 1950s. John Kerry was born in 1943 and is the current one for Obama. Both of these men were born into the ruling class.
Dulles had both an uncle and a grandfather who were Secretary of State. Dulles entered Princeton at 16 and graduated as valedictorian. Dulles distinguished himself in a long career, both in government service and as an international lawyer. He organized the countries of the world to resist communist expansionism during his term as secretary.
John Kerry's maternal relatives were members of wealthy old-money families. He is the beneficiary of various trusts from these relatives. He went to elite New England prep schools and to college at Yale, where he was a mediocre student. He has been married twice, both wives coming from wealthy circumstances.
Kerry is tall and impressive-looking. He is a talented politician but lacks intellectual depth. According to Kerry, climate change is the most serious problem we face. Apparently, Kerry isn't much worried about international relations. If it is any comfort, the Obama administration runs foreign policy out of the White House, granting little discretion to the secretary of state.
A vociferous belief in the danger of climate change may be a marker for a shallow thinker. It doesn't take a lot of research to realize that the "we are doomed by climate change" story is full of holes. Frustrated climate change promoters often demand that those who are skeptical be prosecuted and jailed. That should be enough to convince any sensible person that something is rotten in the climate change establishment. A lot is rotten. Predictions of climate doom come from computer models that are absurdly inadequate and heavily manipulated. Junk science rules, because junk science has vastly improved the career prospects of the scientist-promoters of climate doom. For environmental organizations, climate change is the latest scare story, useful for fund raising.
I recently attended a presentation on climate change and the economy put on by The Chicago Council on Global Affairs. The most prominent participant was Adele Simmons. Simmons is the bluest of Chicago old-money bluebloods. Her ancestors were accomplished and wealthy. She was the president of Hampshire College in Massachusetts. She left Hampshire to become president of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, one of the richest foundations in the country. That foundation gives out "genius" awards, often to far-left recipients. An acquaintance who attended Hampshire and works with foundations said: "She destroyed both Hampshire and MacArthur by taking them to the far, far left," and "I think her a cultural quisling of the first degree." Simmons has since left the MacArthur Foundation.
Simmons is a cheerleader for the gimmicks beloved by the climate doom crowd: plenty of studies, pronouncements, windmills, solar power, etc. According to Simmons, when a couple of minor coal-fired plants were closed in Chicago, it was a big victory, the more so because one plant was located in a Hispanic neighborhood. Even if you were to take seriously the predictions from the computer climate models, closing a coal plant in Chicago is of no importance when a new and bigger plant is being built in China every week. The climate change promoters are engaged in feel-good symbolic activities – nothing more. But they take themselves very seriously.
Tom Steyer is a wealthy climate activist based in San Francisco. His father was a partner in the law firm of Sullivan and Cromwell, John Foster Dulles's old firm. His wife, Kathryn (Kat) Taylor, is the granddaughter of the former president of the Crocker National Bank. Steyer went to Yale, and his wife went to Harvard. They both have professional degrees from Stanford. Tom Steyer made more than a billion dollars as chairman of the investment firm Farallon Capital. Ironically, his firm invested heavily in coal. He may not have had the global warming religion back then.
Steyer is like a slightly daffy English nobleman who discovers socialism and pesters his servants, trying to understand their lives. Steyer even has the modern equivalent of a noble estate – the 1,800-acre TomKat Ranch on the California coast. There he raises Leftcoast Grassfed beef.
Tom and Kat (regular folks) started a bank the stated purpose of which is to help homeowners in financial trouble. That's called noblesse oblige.
Steyer spent more than $50 million to get global warming believers elected in 2014. Unfortunately for him, there was a Republican sweep. Steyer has been mentioned as a candidate to take retiring Barbara Boxer's California Senate seat. Boxer, often considered the dumbest senator, is a fanatical supporter of global warming alarmism. Steyer would clearly be a senator very similar to Boxer.
The ruling class had connections and positions. They were rooted. They had a sense of belonging and a sense of responsibility. By the '60s, they started to lose confidence in their class worthiness. Rather than ignoring crackpots, they became crackpots. John Kerry, Adele Simmons, and Tom Steyer were born into the ruling class. Rather than becoming serious members of that class, they took up outré political activism – in their case, global warming.
Crackpots and eccentrics have always been part of the privileged classes. But no one took them seriously, least of all the members of their same class. Now the crackpots are in high positions and are taken seriously by the elite media. In some regions, like California, it's gotten to the point that common sense has been turned upside-down, and unless you believe in fashionable crackpot causes like global warming, you are the crackpot.
Vermont’s green energy plan to have no impact on global warming
At the first public hearing for Vermont’s updated energy plan, audience members criticized the siting of wind and solar projects, and the plan’s policy expert told Vermont Watchdog going completely green will have no impact on global warming.
The Vermont Public Service Department on Wednesday held the first of five public hearings on the state’s 2015 Comprehensive Energy Plan. The 380-page draft lays out a path to reaching Vermont’s goal of operating on 90 percent renewable energy by 2050.
The plan’s targets include reaching 25 percent renewable power by 2025, up from 16 percent in 2015. Targets also include a 15 percent reduction in Vermonters’ energy use by 2025, and a one-third reduction by mid-century.
Also by 2025, planners expect to attain 10 percent renewable transportation and 30 percent renewable buildings. A full 67 percent of electric power will be generated by renewable sources.
Sign-up for our Vermont Watchdog email list to receive the latest news and in-depth coverage.
“We’re after energy security and after bringing energy sources local and under our own control. We want to meet the state’s greenhouse gas reduction goals,” Asa Hopkins, the department’s energy policy director, told the audience at Lyndon State College.
NO IMPACT: Asa Hopkins, the director of energy policy and planning at the Public Service Department, says global climate change is so large an issue that no single state or nation can do anything about it.
“We want to keep more of our energy dollars local and be buying energy from each other rather than sending billions of dollars out of state every year to buy energy that’s imported.”
While the objectives look good on paper, prominent environmentalists around the state say the goals could require siting wind turbines on one-third of Vermont’s mountain ridgelines, or solar panels across 90,000 acres. One well-known developer, David Blittersdorf, predicts Vermonters may have to abandon cars in favor of electric mass transit.
Noticeably absent from the plan are state targets for alleviating global warming.
Hopkins told Vermont Watchdog global warming targets aren’t in the plan because Vermont’s efforts won’t affect climate change.
“Climate change is a classic tragedy-of-the-commons problem where no one person’s actions, no one state, or even one country’s actions is attributable to even more than maybe a few percent of the global challenge. So, I haven’t calculated out what Vermont’s impacts would be,” Hopkins said.
Some environmentalists argue Vermont’s role is not to affect climate change, but to offer green-energy leadership that other states will follow. Asked if the draft had targets for states or nations following Vermont’s lead, Hopkins replied, “No.”
“We are focused on trying to take a path forward that works for Vermont. We’re not taking action … in hopes of inspiring action elsewhere.”
Hopkins said the goals are consistent with 2030 goals set forth by the regional New England governors and Eastern Canadian premieres and also Under 2 MOU, which Vermont and other sub-national jurisdictions have signed on to. Those agreements call for an 80 percent reduction of CO2 by 2050.
The hearing’s public comment period drew stern warnings about coercive siting of solar and wind projects, which has caused a backlash in towns across the state.
“Anybody who has ever been involved in an energy proceeding before the Vermont Public Service Board knows that communities have no authority to influence the siting of electrical power plants. The Public Service Department has opposed every attempt to grant a more meaningful role to our cities and towns in electricity siting,” Mark Whitworth, a resident of Newark, said.
He added the Board’s rubber-stamping of renewable projects has produced a sort of Wild West in which developers are set loose to cut down Vermont’s forests, compromise wetlands, ignore zoning regulations, encroach on neighboring properties and “bully neighbors.”
Along with his comments, Whitworth submitted an “energy rebellion” map in which 67 Vermont towns are shown mounting resistance to coercive siting, whether by resolutions or town votes against projects. Last week in Irasburg, voters delivered a stunning 274-9 rejection of developer David Blittersdorf’s 500-foot wind turbines on Kidder Hill.
Green Reverse: Denmark Abandons Climate Change Targets, Scraps Electric Car Subsidies
Denmark is slowly retreating from some of its most ambitious, self-regarding climate initiatives. In an unforeseen attack of common sense, the government is readying to end its generous tax breaks for citizens who buy low-carbon vehicles because of the expense imposed on the public purse.
This will triple the retail price of electric cars like the popular Tesla and remove their competitive price advantage against standard fossil fuel-powered models.
A draft budget proposed last week would extend an existing 180 per cent automobile tax to electric vehicles and place their pricing alongside all other standard competitors.
Bloomberg reports the country will also make diesel vehicles more attractive by cancelling a pollution levy, according to provisions in the 2016 budget draft. The government is defending the measures by saying they will help businesses save money and create more jobs.
“Things have to be done with reason,” Finance Minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen told reporters after the draft was unveiled in Copenhagen on Tuesday.
Denmark’s move marks its latest retreat from measures that had once put the Scandinavian country at the forefront of policies designed to promote renewable energy. The three-month-old centre-right Liberal government led by Lars Løkke Rasmussen has already said it is abandoning ambitious CO2 emissions targets and dropping plans to become fossil-fuel free by 2050.
Denmark’s government has also flagged a pull back from decommissioning coal-fired power stations. That policy shift was revealed on Sept. 2, the same day U.S. President Barack Obama made a global appeal for urgent action to fight climate change.
Mr. Frederiksen argues that tough decisions need to be made against the backdrop of a widening budget deficit and subsidising green power projects is no longer financially viable.
“The former government may have promised to keep electric cars exempt from car taxes, but they just forgot one thing: finding the money to do so,” Mr. Frederiksen said.
Norway accounted for a third of all European battery-powered car sales last year, official data shows, and 19 per cent of all cars sold so far in Norway in 2015 were electric, against 13 per cent in 2014.
A total of 1,240 electric cars were sold in Denmark during the first half of 2015, up 97 per cent from a year earlier, according to the latest figures from the European Automobile Manufacturers Association. Tesla’s Model S consolidated its role as a Danish best-seller during the period.
Those numbers are only made by possible by heavy government subsidy and ignores the fact that Norway is also Western Europe’s biggest oil and gas producer with about 3.7 million barrels of oil equivalents per day and its offshore energy sector accounts for a fifth of the economy.
Denmark plans to raise just short of 30 billion kroner on car taxes in 2016, while the Tax Ministry estimates that treating electric cars like their fossil-fuel equivalents will add 450 million kroner a year in revenue.
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
Posted by JR at 1:41 AM