Tuesday, March 29, 2016

A vegan who loves nukes

There is a HUGE rant by Geoff Russell on "New Matilda" about  global warming being caused by farm animals.  It bemuses me to see how many words the Green/Left usually take to make their points and this is an example of that. The article seems to go on forever.  The Green/Left must be boiling with rage to pour out so many bile-filled words.  

And despite all those words absolutely nothing is said about how humans have evolved to be omnivores and that any attempt to take meat off our dinner tables would be so widely and strongly resisted as to make the attempt futile. He seems to think it is only a "conspiracy" that keeps us eating meat.  What a wacko!

He also dosn't question global warming orthodoxy but that is unsurprising. It gives him a hook to hang his vegan crusade on.

That he is actually capable of critical thought is revealed by the second oddity about him.  He likes nuclear power.  That's perfectly rational if you believe in the evils of CO2 and CH4 but is rare on the Green/left.

And speaking of CH4, the usual swipe that Warmists take at farm animals is at their farts, which do have a lot of CH4 in them.  But CH4 intercepts warming in certain wavelengths only and water vapour also absorbs those wavelengths so the theoretical effect of CH4 on global warming translates in practice to a nil effect. So that part of Mr Russell's argument is a washout.

It's amusing, though, that Mr Russell aims primarily at fellow Greenies.  He thinks they are conveniently overlooking  a major source of global warming. Just a few excerpts:

The makers of the US eco-ethical-documentary “Cowspiracy” are attempting to explain why the world’s largest environmental organisations have ignored the role of meat in both climate change and more generally in trashing the planet.

They use the well-worn tactic of simply asking them… or trying to. When it comes to slandering people for buggering the planet, Greenpeace apparently thinks it’s more noble to give than to receive, so they aren’t keen on being asked inconvenient questions.

This doco has lots of Michael Moore moments. People knocking on doors, asking pointed questions and getting sheepish looks. All the big US players get a mention: The Sierra Club, Greenpeace, NRDC, Rainforest Action Network, Amazon Watch, and more.

These groups all love asserting the high moral ground and aren’t used to being questioned about their submersion in a deep trench of cattle excrement.

The inconvenient truth is that none of these environmental icons care enough about their beloved planet to order the vegan option, let alone make the whole menu vegan.

In the case of Greenpeace, their PR people did the old “turn that camera off” shuffle and refused to be interviewed; … priceless!

But after all the fun and games… does Cowspiracy actually explain the inaction of at least the US environmental movement on the meat and dairy industries? Is it really a conspiracy? Is it organised and funded?

US Professor of Nutrition, Marion Nestle blew the whistle years ago with “Food Politics” on how the meat industry stacked and bullied US Government nutritional advice committees.

Cowspiracy lacks Nestle’s academic rigor, but still delivers a few hits.

When asked if the meat and dairy industries donate to environmental organisations, the Animal Agriculture Alliance spokesperson looked like a kid caught with both hands and feet in the cookie jar, and said she couldn’t comment. She refused to answer a direct question about funding Greenpeace.

In Australia, the funding link is clear and a matter of public record. As is the lack of any major campaign against meat by the big green groups (ACF, FOE, AYCC, Greens to name but a few) getting this funding. Tim Flannery is also a recipient of pastoral largess from the bovine broverhood.

Let’s be clear here: different meats have different impacts. It gets tiresome to differentiate constantly, so I’ll do it once now.

Ruminants are the primary climate culprits by way of methane and deforestation, while pigs and chickens primarily pollute air, water and other foods while diverting deforested land from food to feed, while also killing people directly via new diseases (e.g. Swine Flu) while adding to our risk of losing antibiotics.

The cattle barons supporting our big green groups obviously don’t care that their funding is common knowledge. Why? Probably because our mainstream media don’t give a damn. Aussie BBQ culture is at least as strong here as in the US; and don’t forget meat industry advertising.....

Environmental tribalism has our environmental groups automatically anti-GM and anti-nuclear as a matter of ideology. This illustrates a profoundly anti-science bias. They simply don’t get it.

You can’t credibly accept climate science but reject any other science which contradicts your policies. All the science of the last 30 years on the causes of cancer and the mechanism of DNA repair contradict the radiophobia behind green anti-nuclear policy.

When science conflicts with your policy, you may wait a little to make sure the science is solid and well supported, but if it is, then you change your policies. Any high school student can understand this, except perhaps those in AYCC.

When your science is shallow and you don’t really understand the process, you tend to pick and choose what you like. But science isn’t like that.

The human population, even the 9 billion of us expected by 2050, could actually live without doing too much environmental damage if we ate at the bottom of the food chain (vegan) and used nuclear power for all our energy needs.

Energy doesn’t have to have a large adverse footprint on the planet, unless we go with sources having a low power density, like wind, solar and biofuels. It is ironic that our environmental movement has opted for the sources of energy that will have the most impact on wildlife habitat, and therefore biodiversity.


Global warming will dump rain on dry areas – but not in a helpful way (?)

Some unwarranted journalistic enthusiasm below. The Donat study simply showed that there will be more big storms.  It showed nothing about how helpful or unhelpful or how useful or unuseful they would be.  Donat speculated about that but his study had no way of showing it

New research challenges the view that drier areas will get drier with global warming. Climate scientists suggest that as the world warms, dry regions will get more rain. Drought-stricken farmers, rejoice!

Hold the champers. While there will be more rain overall on populated areas, it's unlikely to be useful, and may make life harder for those unused to regular drenchings.

In a study published in Nature Climate Change, climate scientists from Sydney's University of New South Wales and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology looked at 60 years of climate observations and modelled future rainfall.

They found the tropics will receive more rain with climate change – as will arid areas such as western and central Australia, California, central Asia and southwestern Africa.

Most of the rainfall will be tied up in massive storms that could lead to flash floods. Areas used to little rainfall may not be able to handle such deluges.

"The concern with an increased frequency and in particular intensity of extreme precipitation events in areas that are normally dry is that there may not be infrastructure in place to cope with extreme flooding events," lead author Markus Donat says.

And when it's not pouring, the added heat in the atmosphere will lead to more evaporation.

While climate modelling studies have suggested that wet parts of the world will become wetter while dry parts of the world will become drier, this, the authors argue, holds for large-scale simulations over oceans, not land.

To determine how wet and dry parts of the world will fare under climate change, the researchers decided to steer clear of comparing wet places to dry and try to work out the complexities between the two. Instead, they compared like with like.

When the modelling was extended into the late 21st century, he saw that rate continue for arid regions.

They took the most extreme rainfall (as in, the most that fell in a day in a year) from similarly dry land in Australia, Asia, Africa and elsewhere from 1951 to 2010. They repeated it with similarly wet regions across the world.

They averaged, separately, the extreme rainfall events across the wetter and drier areas. Over the 60-year period, they saw the fraction of annual rain that falls on the wettest day of the year matched what's known as the Clausius-Clapeyron rate.

Named after German Rudolf Clausius and Frenchman Benoît Clapeyron, both physicists known for their work in thermodynamics, the Clausius-Clapeyron rate predicts those days of extreme rainfall should increase by 6 to 7% per 1°C of warming.

Donat's simulations, using a general climate model, of that period matched the observations. When the modelling was extended into the late 21st century, he saw that rate continue for arid regions.

And while the tropics will receive more rain, Donat admits exactly how much is as yet unclear. This could be because there's simply less historical data from those areas.

William Ingram, a climate scientist at Oxford University, writes in a News and Views article that while the work won't help local meteorologists forecast days of extreme rainfall, it tells us "how risks will change – which is precisely the information needed by emergency planners".


Bees: What happened on Oahu didn’t stay on Oahu

Scientific detective work stopped cholera – now it needs to separate myths, mites and neonics

Paul Driessen

If modern activist groups held sway in the mid-nineteenth century, countless multitudes would have died from typhoid fever and cholera. The “miasma” paradigm held that the diseases were caused by foul air arising from putrid matter – and only dogged scientific work by William Budd, John Snow and others finally convinced medical and health authorities that the agent was lethal organisms in drinking water.

Ultimately, the investigators’ persistence led to discoveries of Vibrio and Salmonella bacteria, the use of chlorine-based disinfectants for drains, water purification and hand washing, programs that kept sewage away from drinking water supplies, and steady advances in germ and virus theories of medicine.

Parallels exist today, with activist politics driving the science, rather than solid science guiding informed public policy decisions. One such arena is neonicotinoid pesticides and large-scale bee deaths.

Europeans introduced domesticated honeybees to North America in the early 1600s. They helped foster phenomenal growth in important food crops like tomatoes and almonds. Indeed, over 60% of all U.S. beehives are needed each spring just to pollinate California’s extensive almond groves. By contrast, staples like wheat, rice, corn and most citrus fruits do not require animal pollination at all (by bees, hummingbirds, hover flies, butterflies and bats); these crops are self-pollinating or wind-pollinated.

Commercial beekeeping grew steadily, and today about 1% of all beekeepers manage nearly 80% of the 2.7 million U.S. honeybee colonies. The system generally functioned well until 1987, when a vicious new pest arrived. As the appropriately named Varroa destructor mite spread, beekeepers began reporting major to total losses of bees in Iowa, Michigan and Wisconsin hives in spring 2006, and later in Florida, the Dakotas, southern states, both U.S. coasts, Europe and elsewhere.

Dubbed “colony collapse disorder” (CCD), the problem led to scarifying news stories about a “bee-pocalypse” and the imminent demise of modern agriculture. However, inexplicable bee colony losses had been reported in 1898, 1903, the 1960s and 1970s – even as far back as 940 AD in Ireland!

Explanations included an undefined “disappearing disease,” organophosphate pesticides, cell phone towers, GM crops that embed Bt insect killers in their genetic makeup, climate change (of course), and even a lack of “moral fiber” in bees, Paradigms and Demographics blogspot editor Rich Kozlovich notes. A psychic, he adds, claimed she was communicating with domesticated bees, who told her they were tired of being enslaved by humans and were leaving their hives to protest their crowded, inhumane conditions!

Mounting evidence suggests that today’s die-offs are primarily due to Varroa mites, along with parasitic phorid flies, Nosema fungal parasites, the tobacco ringspot virus – and even beekeepers misusing or over-using pesticides in hives to control disease outbreaks, by killing tiny bugs on little bees.

However, anti-pesticide activists and some news stories continue to blame colony deaths and other bee problems on neonicotinoid insecticides. This new class of chemicals protects crops primarily (97% of the time) by coating seeds, letting plants incorporate the pesticide into their leaves and stems, to target insects that feed on them, without harming beneficial bugs. The regular rotation of different neonic products is also the only means currently available to kill the Asian psyllids that spread “citrus greening disease” (HLB), which is decimating citrus groves in Florida and is now spreading to Texas and California groves.

This is where solid scientific detective work becomes vital. Without it, the wrong conclusions are drawn, the wrong “solutions” are applied, and the unintended consequences can be serious. For example, banning neonics will likely mean farmers are forced to use insecticides that truly are dangerous for bees.

Over the past 50 years, Varroa mites have killed off millions of honeybee colonies around the world, scientists note. Among the diseases the mites carry is deformed wing virus, which results in short, twisted or otherwise deformed and useless wings. Like many other viral infections, DWV had long been present in hives, but was generally considered harmless before Varroa became ubiquitous. Disease-carrying mites bite through the bees’ hard shell (exoskeleton) and inject viruses and infections directly into the bee blood (hemolymph). The mites’ saliva also carries an enzyme that compromises the bees’ immune systems, making the diseases far more toxic. Modern transportation methods disperse the problems far and wide.

Making the beekeepers’ challenge even more daunting, female Varroas often lay eggs in the same hexagonal beehive cells where the queen lays newly fertilized eggs, before worker bees “cap” the incubator cells. New honeybees then emerge with an infected mite already attached. And to top it off:

Trying to kill vicious bugs you can’t even see, in a box filled with some 40,000 buzzing bees that you don’t want to hurt, using chemicals that could easily become toxic – and that the Varroa mites quickly become resistant to – is a devilishly complicated business, beekeepers like Randy Oliver attest. In fact, they are already on their third generation of miticides, and Varroa have become resistant to all of them. So the battle rages on, as pesticide companies again try to gain the upper hand against the crafty pests.

Varroa was discovered on Oahu in August 2007. By spring 2008, 274 of 419 honeybee colonies on Oahu had collapsed, and wild bees had disappeared from its urban areas. Despite quarantine measures, by late 2010 the mite spread throughout the island of Hawaii. Now even effective Varroa control cannot eradicate DWV, since the disease is in their hemolymph and transmitted through feeding and sexual activity.

Studies in the United Kingdom and New Zealand found similar mite, DWV infection and CCD patterns.

Another nasty plague on honeybee houses involves parasitic phorid flies, which have now been found in California, Vermont and South Dakota hives. The flies stab bee abdomens and lay their eggs inside. When they hatch, fly larvae attack the bees’ bodies and brains, disorienting them and causing them to fly in circles and at night – giving rise to stories about zombie bees, or “zombees.” As the larvae mature into new flies, they exit the bees at their necks, decapitating them. Not surprisingly, phorid flies also carry DWV, Nosema parasites and other bee diseases.

Meanwhile, in the real world where bees interact with nature, agriculture and pesticides (rather than with artificial laboratory conditions and egregious over-exposure to those pesticides), multiple studies in Canadian and other countries’ canola and corn fields have concluded that neonicotinoids do not harm bees when used properly. And in equally good news, U.S. Department of Agriculture, StatsCanada, EU and UN data show that bee populations have been increasing over the past several years, with American and Canadian colony totals reaching their highest levels in a decade or more.

And yet, news stories still say neonics threaten domesticated and wild bees with zombee-ism and extinction. That’s partly because anti-pesticide groups are well funded, well organized, sophisticated in public relations, and aided by journalists who are lazy, gullible, believe the activist claims and support their cause, or simply live by the mantra “if it bleeds, it leads.” A phony bee-pocalypse sells papers.

The activists employ Saul Alinsky tactics to achieve political goals by manipulating science. They select and vilify a target. Devise a “scientific study” that predicts a public health disaster. Release it to the media, before honest scientists can analyze and criticize it. Generate “news” stories featuring emotional headlines and public consternation. Develop a Bigger Government “solution,” and intimidate legislators and regulators until they impose it. Pressure manufacturers to stop making and selling the product.

Too often, the campaigns are accompanied by callous attitudes about the unintended consequences. If banning neonics means older, more toxic pesticides kill millions of bees, so be it. If a DDT ban gives environmentalists more power and influence, millions of children and parents dying from malaria might be an acceptable price; at least they won’t be exposed to exaggerated or fabricated risks from DDT.

When activism and politics drives science, both science and society pay dearly. The stakes are too high, for wildlife and people, to let this continue. The perpetrators must be outed and defanged.

Via email

EPA Chief: Climate Regs Meant To Show ‘Leadership’, Not Fight Global Warming

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy admitted her agency’s signature regulation aimed at tackling global warming was meant to show “leadership” rather than actually curb projected warming.

McCarthy admitted as much after being questioned by West Virginia Republican Rep. David McKinley, who pressed the EPA chief on why the Obama administration was moving forward with economically-damaging regulations that do nothing for the environment.

“I don’t understand,” McKinley said in a Tuesday hearing. “If it doesn’t have an impact on climate change around the world, why are we subjecting our hard working taxpayers and men and women in the coal fields to something that has no benefit?”

“We see it as having had enormous benefit in showing sort of domestic leadership as well as garnering support around the country for the agreement we reached in Paris,” McCarthy responded.

McKinley was referring to EPA’s so-called Clean Power Plan, which forces states to cut carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants. The CPP is expected to double the amount of coal plant closings in the coming years, and even EPA admits it won’t have a measurable impact on projected global warming.

EPA has long argued the point of the CPP was to show the world America was serious about tackling global warming in order to galvanize support for United Nations delegates to sign a global agreement to cut emissions. Nearly 200 countries agreed to a U.N. deal last year.

“But even then no one is following us,” McKinley said. “Since that Paris accord China has already announced that they’re going to put up 360 [coal plants]. India has announced that they’re going to double their use of coal since the Paris accord.”
China has made promises to curb its coal use in order to tackle the country’s horrible air pollution problems, but China still plans on using more coal in the future. Likewise, India promised in December to double its coal production by 2020.

EPA, however, has bigger problems than global concern over warming. The Supreme Court forced the agency to stop implementing its rule in February, siding with a coalition of 29 states and state agencies suing to have the CPP thrown out.


Tasmania is on the brink of an entirely avoidable power crisis

Because of Green bribery for "renewable" power from the former Gillard government, Tasmania ran down its big hydro dams.  So the water is not now there when it is needed to cover a drought

Tasmania appears to be on the brink of a crisis, with the island state only weeks away from serious blackouts if there is no significant rainfall.

The seriousness of the issue at hand isn’t suggested by Techly as being down to mismanagement by Tasmanian officials, simply a sequence of unforeseen problems.

Multiple sources in Tasmania and the mainland describe the situation as dire.

Tasmania has just two months supply of water to feed its hydroelectric dams, unless there is significant rainfall. Energy storage, or the level of water available to generate hydro-power, is at historic lows. Rainfall into catchment areas in the past 12-months has been around one-third of projected rainfall, based on thirty-year modelling. Without hydropower, Tasmania’s energy demands at normal peaks far exceed current generation.

Dam levels were reduced during the carbon tax era, where hydroelectric or carbon neutral power generation was extremely valuable. Hydro Tasmania, the body who maintain and run a series of 55 major dams and 30 hydropower stations within, was very profitable during this time, as it drained water for great revenues.

Indeed, in the quirks of the carbon tax arrangements, the sale of renewable energy certificates or RECs accounted for more than 70 per cent of revenue inflows. (It is not suggested that reducing dam levels during this time was malfeasant.)

Basslink. Tasmania is supplied both power and data connections via the Basslink submarine cable. That cable is no small matter – it runs for 370 kilometres undersea, it is rated to 500MW and cost over a half a billion dollars to install between 2003-06, including testing and commissioning.

However, on 21 December 2015, it was announced the Basslink was disconnected due to a faulty interconnector. Given the cable is underwater, and the fault was located as around approximately 100 kilometres off the Tasmanian coast, the Basslink controlling body called Basslink first announced that it would be repaired and returned to service by 19 March 2016.

That date has since fallen into the abyss as more than 100 experts, including 16 or more from Italy, plus a specialist ship, try to fix the cable. Basslink advised on March 13th that the cable would be fixed by late May.

Normally, a Basslink outage isn’t a big deal. The mainland has to adjust how it distributes power across the Eastern Seaboard, and given the cable supplies an absolute peak of 500MW, it doesn’t shoulder the entire load, but provides greater flexibility for operators, and reduces the average cost of power. It also helps to balance peak and off-peak loads across the grid.

Additional power from non-renewables in Tasmania includes three significant gas turbine and thermal power stations which provide 535 MWh of power at full capacity.

But Tasmania has far more hydroelectric power – more than 2300MW of hydropower at full capacity.

Techly understands that if Basslink can’t be fixed for an economic cost, it may not be fixed at all, depending on the assessments currently underway.



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.  

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