Wednesday, November 11, 2015

World Bank foresees global warming as hurting the poor

It probably would not, though Warmism certainly will.  It would open up large parts of Siberia and Northern Canada to farming and thus increase world food supply.  And on past form, food surpluses tend to be given away to needy nations. In the days of the Soviet Union, Europe used to give its food surpluses to Russia! And even if the food is not given away, its price would fall, thus making it easier for poor nations such as Egypt to buy it.

And a warmer ocean would give off more evaporation, thus leading to more precipitation -- i.e. rain and snow. And erratic rainfall is the big bugbear for farmers rich and poor alike.  So poor farmers would in fact find it EASIER to grow their own crops, thus making them richer in real terms.  So I can't see how global warming would hurt the poor. It would probably make them richer.

But some poor farmers live in low-lying areas -- notably the multiply unfortunate Bangladeshis -- so would they not get flooded off their land altogether by rising sea levels?  Probably not.

To revisit for a moment what I wrote yesterday: The feared 2 degree temperature rise might not melt glaciers at all. And no melting glaciers means no sea-level rise. The principal influence on glacial mass is precipitation.  More precipitation leads to greater glacial mass. So polar and other glaciers could grow rather than shrink and might in doing so cause sea levels to FALL!

Be that as it may, in past warm periods a lot of polar ice did not melt.  How much would 2 degrees melt?  Given that temperatures at the poles are MANY degrees below the melting point of ice, NO polar ice at all might melt.  And it's the poles that matter.  Antarctica alone has 91% of earth's glacial mass.

But what about disease?  Warmists are always going on about how tropical diseases will become more prevalent and poor people have fewer resources for dealing with illness. At the risk of being nauseatingly repetitious, I come from the tropics so I have seen and probably experienced Ross River virus and Dengue fever up close. They are rarely fatal and are mostly experienced as a bad bout of the 'flu.

And the real issue is surely in any case total mortality, rather than individual ilnesses. And the seasons tell us about that.  Winter is when most people die so it is cooling rather than warming that has most effect on total mortality.  A warmer climate would be healthier overall for every one -- rich and poor alike

The one thing that will undoubtedly hurt the poor is Warmism.  Warmists are constantly trying to stop poor countries from building hydro-electric dams and they obstruct economic development in poor countries generally.  If poor countries get rich they will indeed use more resources and emit more CO2, so it is needful to keep them poor, in the ethical desert that is Warmism.

Things left out of a scientific or scholarly discussion are often politely referred to as "lacunae".  I think I have demonstrated that the World Bank could aptly be renamed the "Lacuna Bank".

Climate change could push more than 100 million people into extreme poverty by 2030 by disrupting agriculture and fueling the spread of malaria and other diseases, the World Bank said in a report Sunday.

Released just weeks ahead of a UN climate summit in Paris, the report highlighted how the impact of global warming is borne unevenly, with the poor woefully unprepared to deal with climate shocks such as rising seas or severe droughts.

‘‘They have fewer resources and receive less support from family, community, the financial system, and even social safety nets to prevent, cope, and adapt,’’ the Washington-based World Bank said.

How to help poor countries — and poor communities within countries — deal with climate is one of the crunch issues in talks on a global climate accord that’s supposed to be adopted next month in Paris.

Those who say rich countries aren’t doing enough to help the poor said the report added emphasis to demands for billions of dollars in so-called climate finance to developing countries. ‘‘The statistics in the World Bank report are suitably shocking and I hope they force world leaders to sit up and take notice,’’ said Mohamed Adow of Christian Aid.

Separately on Sunday, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius of France said more than 100 world leaders will attend the upcoming UN climate conference in Paris, including President Vladimir Putin of Russia.

Fabius said Putin will be among speakers on the first day, with President Obama and leaders of India and China. Organizers expect 40,000 to attend the Nov. 30-Dec. 11 conference, plus thousands of activists from environmental, rights, and other groups.

Despite pledges to rein in emissions of carbon dioxide and other global warming gases, climate change isn’t likely to stop anytime soon.

But efforts to protect the poor, such as generally improving access to health care and social safety nets, and targeted measures to upgrade flood defenses and deploy more heat-tolerant crops could prevent most of the negative consequences of climate change on poverty, the World Bank said.


GAO: Climate Change Could Cause More: Cardiovascular Disease in Northwest, Allergies on Great Plains, Drownings in Midwest

This may all be true but warmer weather also has benefits and the fact that most deaths occur in winter testifies that the benefits outweigh the harms.  It's cooling that kills most people, not warming.  So bring on more warming!

Climate-related risks to public health in the United States could include a rise in cardiovascular disease in the Northwest, more allergies in Great Plains states, and an increase in drownings in the Midwest, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

Other potential impacts of climate change include a disruption of community water supplies in Alaska, more cases of dengue fever in Hawaii and West Nile virus in the Northeast, higher incidents of heat stress in the Southwest and increased fish poisoning in the Southeast.

Citing the U.S. Global Change Research Program’s (USGCRP) third National Climate Assessment (NCA), GAO warned that “climate change is expected to impact human health in the United States by exacerbating some existing health threats and by posing new risks.”

Besides “heat-related illnesses and deaths,” and “an increase in the length of pollen season,” climate change “may contribute to the spread of vector-borne diseases.”

Extreme weather events, "which are expected to become more common with climate change, are linked with increases in injuries, deaths, and mental health problems, such as anxieity and post-traumatic stress disorder," the report added.

“The magnitude of climate change beyond the next few decades depends primarily on the amount of heat-trapping gasses emitted globally, and how sensitive the Earth’s climate is to those emissions."

GAO notes that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requires state and local public health departments participating in its $3.6 million Climate Ready States and Cities Initiative to “take steps to raise public awareness about the risks that climate change poses to public health.”

The initiative is “the only HHS financial resource that has been offered to state and local public health departments that directly targets these risks,” GAO pointed out.

Cities and states are also using CDC’s $22.6 million National Environmental Public Health Tracking Program, which includes “indicators on climate change, among other environmental hazards, related to extreme heat exposure” and its $611.1 million Public Health Emergency Preparedness program to support their climate change activities.

But local public health officials who have used the federal money to hire “dedicated staff within their departments to work on this issue,” are reporting difficulty in communicating the warning message to the public.

Difficulties include “challenges in identifying potential health risks of climate change as a result of research gaps” and “insufficient data on health impacts,” according to the performance audit, which GAO conducted between June 2014 and September 2015.

State and local health officials told GAO that “it is difficult to develop messages about climate change impacts on health because of uncertainties inherent in climate change projections…[and] because some of the potential effects have not yet been observed in their jurisdictions.”

“State and local officials find it difficult to communicate and bring attention to long-term issues, such as climate change, when there are immediate public health concerns drawing attention, such as the 2014 Ebola virus outbreak.”

As a result, "only about one-quarter of all states have incorporated public health considerations into their statewide climate adaptation plans," according to the report.

"A federally-led public awareness campaign… could help and provide legitimacy to the work of public health officials in addressing and planning for these risks… and increase climate literacy,” GAO recommended.


New York Attorney General Tries to Criminalize Scientific Dissent on Climate Change

Everyone reading this should do the attorney general of New York, Eric T. Schneiderman, a big favor: buy a copy of the U.S. Constitution, highlight the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights with a bright yellow or orange Sharpie, and mail him a copy.

Schneiderman obviously needs a remedial lesson in the fact that the government is banned from censoring or restricting speech, and certainly has no business “investigating” Americans, including corporations, for their views on – of all things – a contentious scientific theory.

The New York Times is reporting that Schneiderman has subpoenaed extensive financial records, emails and other documents of Exxon Mobil to investigate whether the company “lied to the public about the risks of climate change or to investors about how such risk might hurt the oil business.”  In addition to ignoring the First Amendment, Schneiderman is apparently unaware that the claim that the world is endangered by a warming climate is a scientific theory, not a proven fact. There is dissention in the scientific community about this theory, and robust debate about both the temperature evidence and computer models on which the theory is based.

In fact, as the Heritage Foundation’s Nicolas Loris points out, “flaws discovered in the scientific assessment of climate change have shown that the scientific consensus is not as settled as the public had been led to believe.” Leaked emails and documents from various universities and researchers have “revealed conspiracy, exaggerated warming data, possibly illegal destruction and manipulation of data, and attempts to freeze out dissenting scientists from publishing their work in reputable journals.”

Furthermore, the “gaffes” that have been exposed in the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports “have only increased skepticism” about the credibility of this scientific theory.

Yet the attorney general of New York is investigating one of our largest oil and natural gas companies because it might disagree with a scientific theory.  What is worse, the New York Times article reports that the attorney general has been engaged in a similar, secret investigation of Peabody Energy, the nation’s largest coal producer, for the past two years.  Unfortunately, Peabody has apparently been cooperating in the investigation that violates the company’s fundamental First Amendment rights.

One wonders whether General Schneiderman realizes that he seems to be following the Soviet technique of having the government interfere in science and prosecute anyone who doesn’t agree with the theory most in vogue with politicians and the state.

Joseph Stalin was infamous for his direct involvement in academic disputes in areas ranging from linguistics to physics.  According to “Stalin and the Soviet Science Wars,” a 2006 book published by the Princeton University Press, he only “called off an effort to purge Soviet physics of ‘bourgeois’ quantum mechanics and relativity” as the Soviets were developing their first atomic bomb.   Aleksandr Solzhenistsyn’s book, “In the First Circle,” was all about the Soviet government’s suppression of scientists and engineers with the wrong scientific views.

Besides the dangers of criminal or civil charges being lodged against these companies, the other obvious result of such investigations, which may be their intent, is to chill the speech and advocacy of any “bourgeois” who disagrees with the so-called “consensus” that the climate change theory is real and that it is human activity that is the main cause of the world warming up by a miniscule amount.  Exxon Mobil already may have been deterred since its spokesman said that it stopped funding any groups doing research on climate change in the middle of the past decade “who were making the uncertainty of the science their focal point.”

Science About Climate Change Still Far From Settled

But then, the science is still uncertain and unproven.  But saying that may be a crime according to Schneiderman.  Since the federal government won’t fund anyone who disagrees with the climate theory, drying up any private research funding that might raise questions is obviously the next step for those who want to stop all scientific dissent.

Criminal and civil investigations of individuals and other entities over disputed scientific theories are not just legally unjustified, they are immoral and plain un-American.  This is politicized law enforcement of the worst kind.    The fact that this is going on in the United States is not just embarrassing, it is shocking.

The New York Times article cites Wall Street analysts who say “this is not good news for Exxon Mobil or Exxon Mobil shareholders” and that they are “uncertain” whether the case will inflict long-term damage on the company.  What is certain is that such politicized law enforcement and government suppression of dissent is not good news for Americans in general and the liberty, freedom, and economic opportunity protected by the First Amendment and the Constitution.

This type of grotesque prosecutorial abuse will inflict long-term damage on our industrial capacity and energy production.  And it may severely damage our ability to conduct the type of research and development in science and engineering that has made us a world leader and driven the economic engine of our high quality of life.


Understanding the Climate Science Boom

Like an economy, a scientific discipline can undergo periods of boom and bust. Is climate science experiencing an unsustainable boom? Certainly its growth has been astounding. Over the past 20 years, the number of scientific papers related to “anthropogenic climate change” has increased twelve-fold, according to a search using Google Scholar. But whether or not climate science will ultimately suffer a bust may depend on the causes of its surge. While several factors have contributed, the role of Big Players—namely, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and various government agencies that dole out huge sums as research grants—has been critical. It also raises a red flag.

One reason is that a change in the priorities, funding, or prestige of Big Players can turn a boom into a bust. But another reason may yield greater cause for concern, William N. Butos and Thomas J. McQuade explain in the Fall 2015 issue of The Independent Review. Although large organizations that set the direction for scientific inquiry or business activity can conceivably accelerate progress, their tremendous size and influence—and the way they interact with social phenomena such as opportunism and ideology—distort the feedback loops that otherwise help make science and markets self-correcting processes.

Climate science may or may not be experiencing a bubble that will burst in the foreseeable future. But this uncertainty is beside the point. The major lesson, Butos and McQuade write, “is that in science, as in the economy, Big Players of any sort distort normal systemic activity, render the emergent outcomes unstable and unreliable, and create an ideal breeding ground for incentives that motivate ideologically biased people to circumvent normal constraints in the name of pursing a ‘greater good.’”


Polar bear hocus-pocus again

You may or may not have noticed that even though Chukchi Sea ice coverage has been way below average this melt season, there has been no hue-and-cry about poor suffering Chukchi polar bears. That’s because polar bear biologist’s own research has shown that the health and survival of these bears has not been negatively impacted by low summer sea ice. There may be threats from poaching in Russia, but not lack of summer sea ice.

As of this date, developing sea ice is only just approaching Wrangel Island, a major polar bear denning region in the Chukchi Sea

Yet, polar bear specialists insist that neighbouring Beaufort Sea bears – who endure a much shorter open-water season – are in peril of extinction because of scarce summer sea ice.

NISDC’s Masie sea ice data graphs for Arctic regions (see below) show the Beaufort Sea is maxed out for ice coverage while Chukchi Sea is the lowest it has been in the last five years.

Here is how that sea ice looks on the landscape (as of 8 November 2015): the Beaufort Sea totally ice-covered, the Chukchi Sea still open water.

Although the Chukchi Sea polar bear subpopulation has been deemed “data deficient” due to lack of recent population counts, recent research showed Chukchi bears were in excellent condition and reproducing well (good indicators of a thriving population) despite recent extended open-water seasons (Rode and Regehr 2010; Rode et al. 2013, 2014).

More HERE  (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

Australia: Greenies do something useful

The navy should be looking after this

Conservation activist group Sea Shepherd will head to Antarctic waters to target illegal fishing of Patagonian toothfish for a second season after a "successful" 2014-15 operation.

The campaign will be similar to the previous voyage, even baring the same name, Operation Icefish.

The operation's first incarnation lasted five months and culminated in the scuttling of the ship Thunder, an alleged poaching vessel, after a 110-day pursuit by Sea Shepherd's ship Bob Barker.

Sea Shepherd Australia chairman Peter Hammarsteadt said last year's operation was regarded as very successful.

He said the operation's primary objective was to stop the "Bandit Six poaching vessels" that he said had operated in the Southern Ocean for more than a decade.

"Out of the original Bandit Six one is at the bottom of the ocean, another three are detained ... but two remain at large."

Mr Hammarsteadt said the fishing vessel Kunlun, which was boarded by Australian Customs officials in February, escaped detention in Thailand one month ago with a cargo of about 128 tonnes of toothfish aboard.

He said this year's operation would target the two ships that got away.  "[We will] once again intercept them in the southern ocean, shut down their illegal activities and to drag them back into the halls of justice," he said.

Mr Hammarsteadt skippered the Bob Barker in 2014-15 and watched the ship Thunder sink.

"On December 17 2014 my vessel the Bob Barker encountered the most notorious of the Bandit Six, the fishing vessel Thunder, a vessel wanted by Interpol, a vessel Interpol believed had made a profit of over $60 million in the 12 years that it was operating in the Southern Ocean," he said. "That action sparked the largest longest pursuit of a poaching vessel in history.

"For over 110 days the Sea Shepherd vessels Bob Barker and Sam Simon pursued the fishing vessel Thunder across three oceans and over 11,000 [nautical] miles until the poaching vessel finally sank off the coast of Sao Tom‚ and Pr¡ncipe.

"The captain of the vessel tried to sink his vessel in order to try to destroy evidence and just one month ago the captain and two of his officers were convicted in a court of law in Sao Tom‚ and Pr¡ncipe on evidence provided by Sea Shepherd.

"They were sentenced to terms of imprisonment of up to three years as well as a fine of 15 million Euros [$23 million]."

Sea Shepherd Australia managing director Steve Hanson said Hobart would again be an important port for Sea Shepherd with "Steve Irwin" likely to dock in the Tasmanian capital next month.

"Hobart really is the gateway to Antarctica and Sea Shepherd has launched many campaigns from here from saving whales to saving Patagonian toothfish."



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