Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Greenie food faddism kills Orang Utans

Food processors used to use a lot of animal fat in making their products.  Then Greenies discovered that such fats were "saturated", which was a very bad thing -- even though the human race has been consuming animal fats as far back as we can go.  Anyhow, with their constant attention-seeking activism, the faddidsts managed to get saturated fats banned and looked with favour on the alternative: hydrogenated vegetable oils.  But wait a minute!  Hydrogenated vegetable oils contain trans-fats, which are VERY bad.  So after a while  everybody had to dance to that insane tune.  

But there was a substitute to trans-fats which the manufacturers wearily adopted:  Palm oil.  So a huge new demand for palm oil arose.  It was a new goldrush.  If you had palm oil you were in the money.  So businessmen in S.E. ASia started huge palm oil plantations.  OK?  No problem?

BIG problem.  To create those big new plantations,  lots of natural jungle had to be cut down.  Greenies might have objected to that but did not.  So lots of jungle was lost.  But the jungle was where the Orang Utans lived.  They were thrown out of their homes and often died along the way. So that is how food faddism kills the Orangs.  People who care for them are doing what they can but they are up against a juggernaut

Major zoos in New Zealand are joining their Australian counterparts in calling for the clear labelling of palm oil in food products.

Auckland Zoo, Hamilton Zoo, Wellington Zoo and Orana Wildlife Park have joined the initiative, spearheaded by activist group Unmask Palm Oil, asking patrons to send postcards to NZ Food Safety Minister Jo Goodhew to show their support.

Unmask Palm Oil founder Ben Dowdle said palm oil was estimated to be in about half of products available in supermarkets, and was only currently required to be labelled as "vegetable oil" in Australia and New Zealand.

"Every New Zealander should be able to choose what's in their food," he said.

"Clear labelling is the best step forward."

Palm oil is controversial due to its environmental impact — its production is linked to deforestation, which Unmask Palm Oil says results in the deaths of up to 1,000 orangutans in South-East Asia each year.

Food Standards Australia and New Zealand has previously rejected an application for its mandatory labelling.

The New Zealand campaign follows on from a long-running initiative of Zoos Victoria to have palm oil clearly labelled in Australian products.

What's the deal with palm oil?

What you need to know about the environmental impacts of palm oil and the worldwide movement to make it sustainable.

"We have worked on the palm oil issue for the last seven years," Zoos Victoria general manager of communications Jacquie O'Brien told the ABC, adding that she was thrilled to see New Zealand's zoos on board.   "It's really important because this is really about the consumer's right to know what is in their food.   'How they use that information is up to them.

"[Whether they have] environmental values or health values ... what we're asking is to give people that right."

She said polling conducted this year by Zoos Victoria in Australia and New Zealand showed 84 per cent of Australians supported palm oil labelling, along with 92 per cent of New Zealanders. The research included 1,125 New Zealanders and 1,003 Australians.

So far, 50,000 people have signed Zoos Victoria's petition for more transparent food labelling.


Water purity panic in NC involves known liar

RALEIGH – Environmental groups opposing Gov. Pat McCrory have seized on the under-oath deposition statements of Ken Rudo, a toxicologist for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, to accuse the governor of interfering in ‘do-not-drink’ recommendations for private wells around coal ash ponds.

This isn’t the first time that Rudo has created a public controversy. His current accusations against other scientists and the governor mirror a similar controversy that boiled over in 1997 between Rudo and an N.C. State University scientist named JoAnn Burkholder. A June 5, 1997, Associated Press article highlighted a confidential memo from Rudo that was leaked to the press. The memo attacked Burkholder, calling her “not normal by any standard.” The memo claimed that on a telephone call with Rudo she told him that certain top health officials “deserved to die.” In the memo, Rudo also wrote that Burkholder “really didn’t give me a chance to talk” when they spoke by phone.

Burkholder’s audio recording of the same conversation characterized by Rudo proved his accusations to be either exaggerated or false. The AP article stated that “the 35-minute tape shows that he [Rudo] carries the conversation” rather than Burkholder dominating the discussion and the AP writer, Scott Mooneyham, also challenged Rudo’s “not normal” characterization by saying that Burkholder “doesn’t sound irrational.” The tapes also reveal that Burkholder did not say state health officials “deserved to die.”

When confronted with the direct evidence against his characterizations of Burkholder and the memo, Rudo attacked the recording as “profoundly dishonest” and said that he felt “violated” while making no comment as to the discrepancies between the memo and the audio tape.

The controversy and public support of Burkholder caused some public relations problems for Gov. Jim Hunt, a Democrat. Environment and health secretary Jonathan Howes had to make a public apology to Burkholder. Now, almost 20 years later, Rudo is back in the headlines.

According to an Aug. 2 article in the Winston-Salem Journal, McCrory, a Republican, summoned Rudo to his office in early 2015 for a meeting about drinking water notifications to homeowners around coal ash ponds. The Journal report was based on leaked deposition statements where Rudo said he was called, after hours, to the governor’s office because “the Governor wanted to discuss [health risk evaluations that were being drafted by DHHS].”

Rudo claimed in his sworn testimony that “he [the Governor] participated for a couple of minutes by phone” in a meeting held at the Capitol attended by McCrory’s communications director Josh Ellis, Ellis’s assistant, DHHS communications staffer Kendra Gerlach, and Rudo.

When asked in the deposition to “tell us [lawyers in the deposition] what the Governor said about his concern or why he had called you over there” Rudo was general in his comments about the governor’s concerns. Later in his deposition, Rudo was asked by the lawyers to read some of his notes into the minutes. In those notes, Rudo characterized the meeting as a request to “meet with the Governor’s Press Secretary and Kendra Gerlach about coal ash form” and he noted that during the meeting, Josh Ellis “took a call from the Governor about something else, but told him we were there for the coal ash well issue.”

Shortly after the Winston-Salem Journal article was published, McCrory’s chief of staff, Thomas Stith, released a statement accusing Rudo of lying under oath and said that “the governor absolutely did not take part in or request this call or meeting as he suggests.” Kendra Gerlach also refuted Rudo’s testimony saying, “The governor did not participate in that meeting, nor did he summon Ken Rudo. I was the one calling our public health officials, including Rudo. During my call with Rudo, he volunteered to come by, and I said yes.”

The current controversy revolves around an apparent debate between DHHS health officials and then-DENR water officials over water contamination thresholds under the federal Clean Water Act. Rudo advocated for permissible levels that DENR Assistant Secretary Tom Reeder called so stringent that users of 70 percent of public water systems in the country would be told not to drink their water if DHHS’s standard were used. In testimony before the North Carolina General Assembly’s Environmental Review Commission on Jan. 13, Reeder said that the level DHHS used for chromium is more than 1,400 times more stringent than the federal standard.

“Most of the major cities in the United States, including all major metropolitan areas in North Carolina, provide water every day to their customers that would technically receive a “do not drink” notification from the Department of Health and Human Services,” said Reeder. The state's environmental department, previously known as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, is now known as the Department of Environmental Quality.

At that same January meeting, Dr. Megan Davies, chief epidemiologist for DHHS’s Division of Public Health, said that the DHHS letters to residents were “recommendations, not regulatory requirements.”

North Carolina's public water officials have expressed concern over the limit Rudo chose for chromium. According to Raleigh’s public utilities website, hexavalent chromium is not a concern in levels that test under the federal limit of 100 ppb. Other municipal water systems use similar language in communications to their users.

“Something just doesn’t seem right at all about that,” said Robert Massengill, the director of Raleigh's water system following the January hearing. “We are trying to get clarification to find out where they came up with those numbers, what assumptions they’ve made, and what the implications are for public drinking water standards because right now we don’t have a standard for that and we are at a non-detect level anyway.”

While the scientific debates may continue over the appropriate levels of chromium in wells and water systems, the impact of Rudo’s accusations are also being seen in the political debates. Shortly after Rudo’s testimony was leaked, the Southern Environmental Law Center reserved $650,000 in 60-second advertisements in the Charlotte, Raleigh, Greenville and Wilmington markets for August 8 through August 29. Whether the advertisements will highlight the Rudo accusations remains to be seen, but environmental issues will most certainly be front and center as the 2016 election for Governor heads into the fall.


Olympic-sized climate propaganda

It was wrong to interrupt Rio’s delightful opening ceremonies with deceitful agitprop

Paul Driessen

XXXI Olympiad competitors are joyfully showcasing their skills and sportsmanship, while delighted fans revel in their amazing efforts. But opening ceremonies featuring colorful history, dance, song and athletes were rudely interrupted by an unprecedented propaganda film.

As audiences around the world were getting pumped up in eager anticipation for the upcoming events, a slick but deceitful video soured the mood by inserting partisan climate change politics.

Fossil fuels are warming our planet, and the manmade heat is melting its ice caps, narrators intoned. Animated maps showed Greenland “disappearing very quickly” and Amsterdam, Dubai, Miami, Shanghai, Lagos and Rio being swallowed up by rising seas.

Well, yes, if average global temperatures really did soar 4 degrees Celsius (7.5 Fahrenheit), and if all of Greenland’s ice melts, oceans certainly could rise 20 feet and other terrible things certainly could happen.

But wild assumptions, computer models and animations are not reality. Few of us are really worried about being eaten by raptors and Tyrannosaurs cloned from DNA in fossilized amber, even though Jurassic Park sure made them look real. Ditto for Hollywood sharks, werewolves, cave monsters – and global warming.

In the Real World outside the animators’ windows, average planetary temperatures barely budged for 18 years. After climbing a headline-grabbing 0.55 degrees C (1 deg F) in 2015, a strong El Niño year, they plummeted a media-ignored 0.5 degrees C the first seven months of 2016, as La Niña approached. That’s a far cry from the 4/7.5 temperature spike that animated the animators’ fear-mongering. The sun has entered a low-sun-spot phase, possibly heralding a new colder period for Planet Earth.

As to temperatures increasing “since the industrial era began,” that primarily reflects Earth’s emergence from the 500-year Little Ice Age. Of course, climate alarmists happily claim this natural warming is due to mankind’s growing fossil fuel use during the same period of time, though scientists still cannot distinguish human and natural factors. With temperatures rising 1850-1940, cooling 1940-1975, warming 1975-1998, and mostly flat-lining since then, it’s hard to blame oil, gas and coal for any warming.

So the likelihood of Greenland’s ice all melting is about zero. In fact, its ice mass has been growing since the time period the Olympics propaganda squad selected to show the ice sheets “disappearing.”

News stories about the Rio video also featured claims that climate change has “already had real effects in Brazil,” where 60% of the Amazon rainforest is located. Some 240,000 acres were clear-cut just in June 2016, “as a result of deforestation” – related to global warming, it was slyly suggested.

If they’re talking about replacing rainforests with biofuel plantations, to replace fossil fuels that could be produced from a fraction of that acreage, then yes, there’s a climate (policy) connection. But there would be little need to chop down all those trees if climate chaos campaigners weren’t obsessively opposed to the fossil fuels that power 80% of the world’s economy and provide other vital human needs.

The indispensable benefits of hydrocarbons and petrochemicals for Olympic Games alone are impressive.

They are the raw materials for uniforms of every description; swim suits, goggles and caps; kayaks and kayaker helmets and paddles; bicycle helmets, shoes and carbon-fiber frames; basketballs, vaulting poles, tennis balls and racquets, soccer balls and shin guards; bows and arrows; volleyball and field hockey nets; basketballs; seats and clothing for fans; prosthetics and wheelchairs for Paralympians; and much more.

No one could watch the games without plastics for computers, cameras, monitors, cell phones, dish antennas, banners and other equipment that promote, record and transmit the events. Neither athletes nor fans could get to the games without airlines, vehicles and fossil fuels.

In short, virtually nothing we make, grow, eat, use or do is possible without fuels and materials that come out of holes in the ground somewhere on our planet. But radical greens want it all put off limits. They would rather see billions of acres of croplands, rainforests and wildlife habitats cleared and plowed – and trillions of gallons of water and fertilizer expended – to grow biofuel crops to replace fossil fuels. “Keep it in the ground,” they demand.

African, Asian and European countries cannot afford to stop using oil, natural gas or coal. Nor can the United States or any other modern or developing country.

Naturally, the video and news reports mentioned none of this. So why did the Rio organizers agree to present this manmade climate cataclysm video?

One possible reason is a desire to distract people from its real problems. Mosquitoes are spreading Zika. Shoddy athletic housing has bare wires and sinks falling off walls. The open-water swimming venue is a bacteria-infested open sewer. Swallowing just a few teaspoons of Rio’s tap water will make visiting athletes and fans horribly sick. Eleven construction workers died while preparing Rio for the games.

Brazil’s economy is on the rocks and #174 out of 189 nations for starting a new business. Its current and previous presidents are under investigation for corruption.

But once the games got underway, they were fantastic, fun, exciting and dramatic; their own distraction.

So the video could be simple “greenwashing” – making the 2016 games the “greenest ever.” Or it might be to reinforce Brazil’s claim to billions of dollars that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have promised for mitigation, adaptation and compensation for the climate chaos we supposedly caused.

Just as strange, even ExxonMobil played the politically correct climate game. Its Olympics TV ad says the company is doing all it can to reduce “carbon pollution.” Surely Exxon knows it’s not carbon (soot); it’s carbon dioxide. And it’s not pollution; the plant-fertilizing CO2 is enriching the atmosphere and making forests, grasslands and food crops grow faster and better. So why use Obama/EPA terminology?

Maybe the company just wants to buy some feel-good PR and “peace in our time.” Maybe it and its corporate and political colleagues are forgetting 1960s radical activist Jerry Rubin’s comment: “The more demands you satisfy, the more we’ve got.” And Winston Churchill’s blunt truth: “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”

All of it reminds me of the way several Egyptian journalists responded to President Obama’s 2015 commencement speech at the Coast Guard Academy. “Climate change is a serious threat to global security, an immediate risk to our national security,” he asserted. “It will impact how our military defends our country.” Anyone who fails to recognize this is guilty of “dereliction of duty.”

The journalists reacted in disbelief. “Is he insane? Is he on drugs?” asked one. “What did you expect from a president who never served in the military and never worked a day in his life?” said the second. “I’m sure he’s not deliberately trying to destroy his country,” the first suggested. “Of course he is,” the third said.

Now millions of Americans appear perfectly willing to sacrifice their livelihoods, living standards, liberties and country on the altar of manmade climate Armageddon. Are they insane? Are they on drugs?

Via email

Black gold rush in the USA by fracking has slashed the country's energy bills and created one million jobs

Exploitation of new oil and gas reserves by fracking shale rock has transformed the US economy since it started just 11 years ago – creating at least a million jobs and slashing electricity bills and greenhouse gas emissions.

The scale of this energy revolution is almost unimaginable.

The Marcellus shale bed in Pennsylvania is thought by geologists to contain enough gas to power and heat every home in America for 50 to 100 years. Yet a few hundred feet beneath it lies another giant formation, the Utica, that contains enough gas for a further century.

In 2013, the ‘black gold rush’ caused by shale oil from states such as North Dakota meant America produced more oil than it imported for the first time since 1995. There are also huge reserves in Texas, Colorado, Louisiana and other states.

Last year a study found fracking had added 725,000 jobs to the US economy between 2005 and 2012. The US National Bureau of Economic Research calculates there are $243,000 (£186,000) in wages generated for every $1million of oil and gas extracted.

In America, unlike in Britain, landowners own the rights to minerals and hydrocarbons from the surface to the centre of the Earth. This means that when firms want to drill, they have to pay large bounties and royalties, if they start to produce – thus transforming fracking areas’ economies.

Speaking at his home in Dimock, Pennsylvania, in the heart of the Marcellus region, former Democrat Congressman Chris Carney, a current member of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, said fracking had brought his community ‘immense benefits’.

It meant farmers who could ‘barely scratch a living’ had transformed their lives, while the town had built superb new facilities such as a handsomely equipped high school.

Mr Carney added: ‘Fracking means this country is awash with energy – which is a place we’ve never been before.’

He said recent falls in oil and gas prices, caused by competitors flooding the energy market and declining Chinese demand, had reduced landowners’ royalties, which average 12.5 per cent of the proceeds from a well.

‘But cheap energy is also a benefit. Overall, fracking isn’t a double-edged sword. It’s just a good thing.’

Elsewhere, fracking created overnight millionaires, and whole new towns to support the armies of oil workers who arrived to cash in.

With the fall in prices, the early boom days are over: of the 80,000 workers who went to North Dakota in 2014, most have now left.

In Williston, once dubbed the boom’s ‘ground zero’, oil tax revenue is down 70 per cent on last year. Blocks of flats which sprang up to accommodate the workers now sit empty.

But industry sources say the downturn will not be permanent.

At the same time, the shift from coal to gas means America has cut carbon dioxide emissions by almost a billion tons a year – more than any other advanced nation.


Pronouncements of its death were premature – the pause has never gone away!

Despite temperatures peaking in February, just above the 1998 peak, satellite measurements show that temperature trends have only risen by a statistically insignificant 0.002C/year since 1998.

Pause deniers always object to comparisons with 1998. However, as we are now comparing two massive El Nino years, that objection no longer carries any weight.

That is not all. The strong La Nina event in 1999/2000 effectively cancelled out the 1998 El Nino, as far as trends go, as the Met Office explained in their 2013 paper, “The recent pause in global warming: What are the potential causes”:

The start of the current pause is difficult to determine precisely. Although 1998 is often quoted as the start of the current pause, this was an exceptionally warm year because of the largest El Niño in the instrumental record. This was followed by a strong La Niña event and a fall in global surface temperature of around 0.2oC (Figure 1), equivalent in magnitude to the average decadal warming trend in recent decades. It is only really since 2000 that the rise in global surface temperatures has paused.

 It remains to be seen whether we get a similar La Nina in the next 12 months, but even a return to average temperatures will see the above trend drop close to zero.


UK: The climate change brigade are wrong again

A few weeks of not abnormally warm summer weather have prompted light-headed journalists to report not only that this could be the “hottest August for years” and “the hottest year on record” but that, thanks to climate change, we can, within 30 years, expect “killer heatwaves” to become “the norm”. This claim was taken from the latest report by that curious body the Committee on Climate Change, which, under the Climate Change Act, has more influence than anyone else on Britain’s energy policy.

This report on the risks posed to the UK by climate change was produced by a special sub-committee chaired by the zoologist Lord Krebs, and made up of a solicitor, a doctor, an engineer, an economist and the former chief executive of the RSPB. None has any expertise in climate science. So their familiar predictions about Britain’s future climate – more floods, extreme weather events, rising sea levels, etc – were simply parroted from elsewhere.

Particularly interesting was their claim that “the number of hot days per year has been increasing since the 1960s” and that “heatwaves like that experienced in 2003 will become the norm by the 2040s”. This was taken directly from a particularly excitable report published by the Met Office back in 2004, which described that exceptional European heatwave in 2003 as having probably been the hottest since at least 1500, with a claim that by the 2040s, “half of Europe’s summers are likely to be warmer” while “by the 2060s a 2003-type summer would be unusually cool”.

We have not since then seen anything remotely to equal that 2003 heatwave, which meteorologists at the time explained was entirely natural, resulting from a freakish mass of hot air blown up from the Sahara. But the claim that hot days in Britain have been increasing since the Sixties has been subjected to expert analysis by Paul Homewood on his website, Not A Lot Of People Know That.

Using the Met Office’s own records, he meticulously plotted the days, months and years of greatest heat since the relevant data sets began in 1910. By far the hottest summer was the drought year of 1976, followed by 1911, with 1933 and 1947 not far behind. It is true that the hottest day on record was in August 2003, and that two of the 10 hottest summers were in 2003 and 2006. But what most strongly emerges from these graphs is how remarkably stable the overall trend of our summer heat has been, right back to before the First World War. Easily the summer with the greatest number of days above 29C was 1976. So when the Krebs committee claims that “the number of hot days has been increasing since the 1960s”, as Homewood points out, this may be true.

But it would be equally true to say that since the Seventies, their number has declined. And when Krebs tells us that future temperatures could reach 48C, such nonsense belongs in a comic strip, not in a supposedly serious study. To claim that temperatures like those of 2003 “are expected to become the norm” by the 2040s, is simply selling us snake oil. The only thing which should really concern us about such nonsense is that the Government is legally bound to treat these solemn pronouncements by a bunch of non-climate experts as a guide to Britain’s future energy policy. Only when the Climate Change Act is repealed will we get an end to such childish absurdities.



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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