Sunday, August 21, 2016
Should We Be Having Kids In The Age Of Climate Change?
It's hard not to laugh but some galoot is trying below to convince women that they should not have babies because the babies are going to grow up into a world that is a few degrees warmer!
I myself grew up into a world that was a LOT of degrees hotter -- in the tropics of Australia's Far North Queensland. And guess what? We had a life indistinguishable from Western civilization elsewhere! We probably drank more beer but that was about it it. No disaster at all!
The high rainfall did give us problems with farm machinery rusting out on us at a great rate, but with the assistance of a Stillson wrench (I still have one) anything that needed replaced, was replaced regardless. Long live Mr Stillson! A Stillson wrench moves ANYTHING. And real people know that.
Rather good, though, if the Green/Left breeds itself out of existence. You would have to be pretty Green or pretty credulous to believe the stuff below. I note that anti-reproductive thinking has a long history on the Left, starting with Karl Marx's hatred of the family.
Such thinking is a logical outcome of the Leftist hatred of the world around them. "If the world is so flawed, it would be cruel to bring children into it" is the thinking. Such thinking also affects feminists. They dislike the whole sex-role system about them so see a refusal to be a mother as a rejection of the system they hate.
In the days of the Soviet confrontation, the fear was of imminent nuclear war -- and that possibility was seen as a reason not to bring children into a world in which they could suddenly die
And the old Leftist "zero population growth" movement was also anti-natal. That movement was an outcome of Greenie scares about impending resource shortages (e.g. by Paul Ehrlich) and pre-dated the global warming craze
It is rather cheering that the Left keep finding reasons not to have babies. May they succeed in their campaigns!
Standing before several dozen students in a college classroom, Travis Rieder tries to convince them not to have children. Or at least not too many.
He's at James Madison University in southwest Virginia to talk about a "small-family ethic" — to question the assumptions of a society that sees having children as good, throws parties for expecting parents, and in which parents then pressure their kids to "give them grandchildren."
Why question such assumptions? The prospect of climate catastrophe.
For years, people have lamented how bad things might get "for our grandchildren," but Rieder tells the students that future isn't so far off anymore.
He asks how old they will be in 2036, and, if they are thinking of having kids, how old their kids will be.
"Dangerous climate change is going to be happening by then," he says. "Very, very soon."
Rieder wears a tweedy jacket and tennis shoes, and he limps because of a motorcycle accident. He's a philosopher with the Berman Institute of Bioethics at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and his arguments against having children are moral.
Americans and other rich nations produce the most carbon emissions per capita, he says. Yet people in the world's poorest nations are most likely to suffer severe climate impacts, "and that seems unfair," he says.
There's also a moral duty to future generations that will live amid the climate devastation being created now. "Here's a provocative thought: Maybe we should protect our kids by not having them," Rieder says.
His arguments sound pretty persuasive in the classroom. At home, it was a different matter.
"I have been one of those women who actually craved to have a baby," says Sadiye Rieder, smiling as she sits next to her husband in the sunroom of their Maryland home. "To go through pregnancy and everything, that mattered to me a lot."
Sadiye also wanted a big family. She grew up among extended relatives in the Turkish part of Cyprus and says she enjoyed having people around all the time.
This was not a problem early in their marriage, as each focused on their studies. But by the time Sadiye began feeling ready for motherhood, Travis' research had delved into the morality of adoption, which led to the ethics of procreation and to its impact on the climate.
They knew they had to talk.
"It's not easy to convince a philosopher!" Sadiye says with a laugh.
Scientists warn that a catastrophic tipping point is possible in the next few decades. By midcentury, possibly before, the average global temperature is projected to rise by more than 2 degrees Celsius, the point scientists and world leaders agree would trigger cataclysmic consequences. Last year's historic Paris climate agreement falls short of preventing that, so more drastic cuts in carbon emissions are needed.
Adding to that challenge, the world is expected to add several billion people in the next few decades, each one producing more emissions.
In fact, without dramatic action, climatologists say, the world is on track to hit 4 degrees Celsius of warming by the end of the century, and worse beyond that. A World Bank report says this must be avoided, and warns of unprecedented heat waves, severe drought and serious impacts on ecosystems and "human systems."
"It's gonna be post-apocalyptic movie time," he says.
The room is quiet. No one fidgets. Later, a few students say they had no idea the situation was so bad. One says he appreciated the talk but found it terrifying, and hadn't planned on being so shaken before heading off to start the weekend.
Still. Even given the apocalyptic scenarios: Can you actually expect people to forgo something as deeply personal as having children? To deny the biological imperative that's driven civilization?
Rieder and two colleagues, Colin Hickey and Jake Earl of Georgetown University, have a strategy for trying to do just that. Rieder is publishing a book on the subject later this year, and expects to take plenty of heat. But he's hardly alone in thinking the climate crisis has come to this.
"The climate crisis is a reproductive crisis"
Meghan Hoskins is among a dozen people gathered in the spare office of an environmental group in Keene, N.H., earlier this year. They sit on folding chairs in a circle, the room humming with multiple conversations.
"If I had told my boyfriend at the time, 'I'm not ready to have children because I don't know what the climate's gonna be like in 50 years,' he wouldn't have understood. There's no way," says Hoskins, a 23-year-old whose red hair is twisted in a long braid.
This is one of 16 meetings over the past year and a half organized by Conceivable Future, a nonprofit founded on the notion that "the climate crisis is a reproductive crisis."
Hoskins says she's always wanted "little redheaded babies" — as do her parents, the sooner the better.
But she's a grad student in environmental studies, and the more she learns, the more she questions what kind of life those babies would have.
Physicist who foresees global cooling says other scientists tried to ‘silence’ her
A physicist who foresees a 30-year period of global cooling says other climatologists have tried to “silence” her latest research on solar cycles.
Valentina Zharkova, a professor at Northumbria University at Newcastle in the United Kingdom, said the Royal Astronomical Society received requests to withdraw a press release on her team’s latest research pointing to a significant drop in solar activity by mid-century.
She presented her results July 9 at the National Astronomy Meeting in Llandudno, Wales.
“Some of them [scientists] were welcoming and discussing. But some of them were quite, I would say, pushy,” saidMs. Zharkova in a video interview posted Tuesday by the Global Warming Policy Forum. “They were trying to actually silence us. Some of them contacted the Royal Astronomical Society demanding behind our back that they withdraw our press release.”
She said the society refused. “The Royal Astronomical Society replied to them and cc’d to us, and said, ‘Look, this is the work by scientists who we support, please discuss this with them,’ ” she said.
“We had about eight or 10 exchanges by email when I tried to prove my point, and I’m saying, ‘I’m willing to look at what you do,’ ” Ms. Zharkova said.
She offered to work with the scientists by adding their data to her results, but she said that “they didn’t want to.”
The press release on her research, “Irregular heartbeat of the Sun driven by double dynamo,” was posted July 9 on the society’s website.
Her sunspot modeling indicates a reduced solar magnetic field from 2020 to 2053, producing conditions similar to those during the Maunder Minimum, or “Little Ice Age,” a 65-year period of reduced solar activity and low global temperatures during the 17th century.
“We didn’t have many measurements in the Southern hemisphere, we don’t know what will happen with that, but in the Northern hemisphere, we know it’s very well protocoled,” Ms. Zharkova said. “The rivers are frozen. There are no winters and no summers, and so on.”
Her research has been controversial because it appears to challenge the prevailing climate-change consensus predicting rising global temperatures from increased carbon dioxide from human-caused emissions in the atmosphere.
“Of course, things are not the same as they were in the 17th century — we have a lot more greenhouse gas in the atmosphere,” the GWPF said in its post. “And it will be interesting to see how the terrestrial and the solar influences play out.”
Coal makes a comeback
Less than a year after the coal industry was declared to be in terminal decline, the fossil fuel has staged its steepest price rally in over half a decade, making it one of the hottest major commodities.
Cargo prices for Australian thermal coal from its Newcastle terminal, seen as the Asian benchmark, have soared over 35 per cent since mid-June to more than one-year highs of almost $US70 a tonne, pushed by surprise increases in Chinese imports.
"Coal markets, after five years of declining prices, appear to have found a bottom in the first quarter," Sydney-based Whitehaven Coal said on Thursday, as its shares hit a three-year high on the release of its annual results.
"Reasons for the increase in prices include mine closures in Indonesia, United States and Australia and policy change by Chinese authorities," Whitehaven said, adding it was confident that coal prices will rise.
China has limited its coal production to 276 days a year, which cut its output by 16 per cent, and provided funding to assist coal miners to exit the industry and shut down mines, Whitehaven explained.
Goldman Sachs, reversing a gloomy outlook it issued last September, said this week restrictions on domestic production by Chinese regulators had turned coal "into one of the best performing commodities so far this year."
Global mining companies like Glencore and Anglo American, but also more regional players like Whitehaven and Thailand's Banpu, are reaping the benefits. All four have seen their shares rise sharply.
Banpu, which operates several export mines across Asia-Pacific, said this week that it expects to sell its 2016 coal supplies at an average price of over $US50 a tonne, up from a previous target of $US47 to $US48 per tonne.
The price recovery is an unexpected boon for miners, who were hit hard by a years-long downturn, and stands in sharp contrast to previous calls by Goldman and the International Energy Agency (IEA), who said last year that coal was in terminal decline.
As a result of China's surprise move, Goldman said there was now "support (for) global prices for the foreseeable future." The bank raised its three, six and 12 month price forecasts to $US65/$US62/$US60 per tonne for Newcastle coal, up as much as 38 per cent from its previous outlook.
Australian mines the big winners
Coal has also been getting support from Asian industrial powerhouses Japan and South Korea, while demand remains firm in India, Vietnam and the Philippines.
Japan and South Korea have both said they want to expand future coal imports while reducing more expensive imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG).
China's power consumption has also risen against expectations, jumping 8.2 per cent from a year ago in July to reach 552.3 billion kilowatt hours.
While almost all thermal coal miners were hit by the previous price decline, and most shut or sold assets, those left with the best assets now stand to benefit from the rebound.
And the biggest winners are those with mines in Australia, thanks to the high average quality of its coal.
Whitehaven said it was confident its high quality coal will continue to attract a premium price.
Shares of Anglo American, which is a major thermal coal producer with six mines in Queensland and NSW, have also recovered from record lows earlier this year.
Glencore, the world's biggest thermal coal exporter with huge local operations here, has seen its shares soar from around 70 pence early this year to nearly £2.
Obama Administration and Radical Environmentalists Seeking Massive Utah Land Grab
San Juan County, Utah is the poorest county in Utah and one of the poorest counties in the United States. The large majority of the land in the county is owned by the federal government, meaning that locals already face severe limits on economic activity, hardly what a struggling county needs. Now rich, out-of-state environmentalists in San Francisco want to inflict even more pain on the citizens of San Juan County. These environmentalists are urging the Obama administration to undertake a national monument land grab that would put much of the county off limits to productive use. Oppressing poor, rural Americans so that rich, city environmentalists can pat themselves on the back? Sounds like a project the federal government will be happy to help along.
The Antiquities Act, passed in 1906, gives the president of the United States unilateral power to designate so-called national monuments to protect historic landmarks, structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest on federal land. The act also specifically notes that these monuments should be confined to the smallest possible area. But the exact language of the legislation doesn’t matter to radical environmentalists and their ideological allies in the Obama administration. All they care about is power, and because national monument designations do not require input from Congress or locals, they have become a favorite tactic for federal overreach.
The proposed monument in San Juan County is known as Bears Ears. It covers nearly 2 million square miles, about the size of the states of Delaware and Rhode Island combined. Does that sound like the “smallest area” needed? But this national monument designation is not about protecting antiquities, it just one part of the efforts of radical environmentalists to put as much land off limits to productive use as possible, a pattern that is repeated all across the western states.
These radicals do not care about the people who have to live with the consequences of national monument designations. They don’t see the poverty and hardships that incompetent and restrictive federal land management policies inflict on the people on the ground. And make no mistake, the locals of San Juan County, supported by their elected representatives, oppose this national monument. Such is local opposition that environmentalist lobbying organizations had to bus in supporters when Interior Secretary Sally Jewell visited the area.
With the Obama administration coming to a close, no longer answerable to voters, these radical leftist groups are hoping that it will aggressively pursue more national monument land grabs. Yet again we see the danger of granting open-ended power to the federal government, it will always be corrupted to serve special interests. Restraining federal executive power should be a priority for all Americans who want to be free.
Hinkley Point and the fear of nuclear
Delaying building a new British power station is a brake on progress
On 28 July, bottles of champagne stood ready to receive celebrating VIPs at the site for two planned European Pressurised Reactors (EPRs) at Hinkley Point C in Somerset. But dignitaries and investors were left with empty glasses, as that same day, prime minister Theresa May announced a delay on plans for Hinkley and a freeze on the £18 billion building of a much-needed 3.2 gigawatt of electrical capacity.
This delay has caused considerable upset for French company EDF (the main contractor) and has outraged Chinese investors. May’s decision has also delighted anti-nuclear Greens, who view Hinkley as a costly white elephant, emblematic of the sins of nuclear power.
But May’s reversal isn’t just the cautious approach to be expected from a new, cost-conscious government. Within this unelected, prevaricate-about-Brexit administration, there’s also a disgraceful mix of nuclearphobia, Sinophobia and cyberpanic. Coupled with a policy of protectionism, it’s no wonder plans for Hinkley have been delayed.
The charges against Hinkley Point C
What’s wrong with Hinkley? Firstly, the board of France’s indebted, state-owned, nuclear electricity specialist EDF has continuously argued about whether or not to go ahead with plans for Hinkley. EDF has already racked up enormous delays and cost overruns with its first two EPRs, in Flamanville, France, and Olkiluoto, Finland. Its indecision over Hinkley has had a similar effect, inflating costs from £6 billion to £18 billion.
Secondly, former prime minister David Cameron’s previous government agreed an exorbitant and fixed price at which to buy electricity from EDF for the next 35 years. The decided price of £92.50 per megawatt-hour in 2012 money has forced the government to find £30 billion or even £37 billion in extra taxes. Given the collapse of gas prices since 2014, that £92.50 compares very poorly with the current price of gas-fired electricity.
Thirdly, rather than loan Hinkley cheap government funds, the Treasury insisted that plans were carried out off its books. Instead, the Chinese energy corporation CGN (China’s largest reactor builder), and later the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), were each invited to take third of a stake in the project.
There was a bonus, too: the agreement with Britain signed by Chinese president Xi Jinping in October covered not just Hinkley, but also the erection of a Hualong One Pressurised Water Reactor, jointly developed by CGN and CNNC, in Bradwell, Essex. This gave the export of Chinese reactor technology a key foothold in Britain, as well as the world market.
So what’s the problem with that? May, and others, regard China’s presence at Hinkley and Bradwell not just as financially and physically intrusive, but a means of opening up a whole range of important industrial sectors in Britain to remote manipulation by Beijing.
An article in The Times outlined fears about threats from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, which, it suggested, could have as many as 100,000 hackers at its disposal: ‘China has a history of covert cyberintrusion against its commercial and military rivals. Of interest to the Chinese authorities appears to be infrastructure critical to society, including electricity grids, water purification plants, air traffic control, the rail network and telecommunications. By most estimates, these are strategically sensitive assets.’
Both Cameron and Osborne tried too hard to woo Chinese business during their time in government. But now, in the spirit of post-Brexit anxiety, Chinese business is abruptly feared by the new administration as a direct military threat.
However, Chinese inward investment in Britain remains more interested in Weetabix, Pizza Express and commercial property than manipulating an 8.68 per cent interest in Thames Water or bidding for contracts for UK high-speed rail. How serious can the charges made by Hinkley’s critics be?
A rational response
Much of the mud slung at Hinkley is the wrong kind. EPRs overrunning in France and Finland, for instance, are not necessarily failed technologies. Delays have largely stemmed from regulatory overkill in safety, as well as Europe’s shortages of nuclear skills. To sneer at EPR technology as untested is to ignore how every innovation begins – by being just that, untested. The suggested nuclear alternative, small modular reactors (SMRs), is one that, for all its potential merits, is also relatively untested. SMRs, like Hinkley Point C, are at least 10 years away from being made operational.
The real accusation being made against Hinkley is that, as the National Audit Office (NAO) reports, the cost competitiveness of nuclear power ‘is weakening as wind and solar become more established’. Yet the NAO’s bald statement is not a verdict on present prices, but a newly revised forecast for energy prices in 2025 – upward for nuclear and, guess what, downward for renewables.
Even though renewable energy has overtaken coal as a source of electricity in Britain (24.6 versus 22 per cent), it remains heavily subsidised and unavailable for at least 50 days a year. Handling renewable power also demands more back-up than a grid with conventional sources of electricity. Therefore, to spend £30-37 billion in exchange for meeting a full seven per cent of Britain’s power needs on an uninterrupted basis, for 35 or more likely 60 years, is not such a terrible bargain.
Having said all this, EPRs, EDF’s management and the British civil service’s contractual and forecasting competence, deserve interrogation. It might be better to run with the proven nuclear technologies of Toshiba (which, with a French partner, plans to build 3.4 gigawatt over three Westinghouse AP1000 Pressurised Water Reactors at Moorside, Cumbria) and Hitachi (which plans to build 2.7 gigawatt over two Advanced Boiling Water Reactors in Wylfa, Anglesey). But make no mistake. Were it not for Britain’s endless nuclear regulations, reactors could be built and made operational by 2021, not 2025, using those available on the world market.
Britain urgently needs that new nuclear capacity. The National Grid has a capacity margin of only 5.5 per cent, and, with the usual deftness, was forced last winter to stump up cash to persuade energy-intensive businesses to cut their electricity use. Nuclear power is a high-tech industry which, given the right economic, social and management regime, is entirely safe. Nuclear fuel is not especially labour-intensive to mine, it has a high-energy density, it’s relatively cheap to transport and, because it packs such a punch, it represents a small part of operating costs. It is thus ideal for the generation of baseload electrical power. Nuclear fuel is not bought continuously on rather volatile commodity markets, like coal and gas; rather, buying nuclear fuel for a reactor represents a one-off commitment to making energy for years.
Nuclear plants exemplify what economists call investment in fixed capital. You make the investment up-front, and, after taking that hit, most of the decades to come are about benefits, not running costs. But from High Speed 2 and Crossrail 2, through electrifying the TransPennine line between Manchester and Leeds, to building new runway capacity around London’s airports, the British state’s commitment to future investment in fixed capital is all for the future, if these projects ever happen at all.
A durable commitment to nuclear power is what is needed. Like gas-fired and renewable electricity, nuclear power needs to be bigger, better and cheaper, and it’s by no means a given that Hinkley Point C will provide this. But Hinkley is not just the product of ‘prestige, political vanity, diplomatic machismo and corporate lobbying’ that commentators would have us believe. In their fashionable opposition to megaprojects, Hinkley’s opponents ridicule, not just the usual capitalist stitch-ups, but all technological progress and all human ingenuity in the sub-atomic realm, too. Against that, the still-to-be-enacted crimes of Hinkley Point appear pretty modest.
Climate Alarmism: Probably the Greatest Hoax/Scam in World History
Climate change from the viewpoint of a skeptical former Sierra Club activist and USEPA senior analyst
Climate alarmism is probably the greatest hoax/scam in world history. The main evidence for catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW), the principal alleged adverse effect of human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), is climate models built by CAGW supporters in a field where models with real predictive power do not exist and cannot be built with any demonstrable accuracy beyond a week or two because climate and weather are coupled non-linear chaotic systems. Without the models, the whole hoax/scam collapses. Even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has stated (see Section 188.8.131.52 of the 2001 IPCC Report):
"In climate research and modeling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible"
Climate Modelers Knew or Should Have Known the Inherent Limitations of Climate Models
The hoax/scam appears to rest on the authors’ assumption that most people will not realize these inherent limitations of global climate models. Since the model authors all work in the field, they either knew this or should have known these limitations (unless they delude themselves, of course). The authors of the models have a self-interest in supporting CAGW since government grants almost always go only to supporters. This self-interest is what makes the hoax into a scam. If true climate believers understood that longer term projections cannot be made on the basis of these models, they would hopefully dismiss the whole hoax/scam for what it is.
Climate Alarmism Is Basically an Attempt to Scare People with Hypothetical Climate Outcomes Based on Models
Climate alarmism is nothing more than an attempt to scare people with unrealistic hypothetical climate outcomes based on computer models with no predictive power. The far left is trying to use this alleged threat to justify Federal Government intervention in the fuel and energy markets. Others, such as mainstream media, use it to sell their products.
The current proposition offered by climate alarmists is that if people who live in the more wealthy countries cut back their use of fossil fuels and therefore their human-caused CO2 emissions that the world can avoid the alleged catastrophic increases in temperatures based on the climate models. Even the proponents’ climate models do not show that the alleged effects could be avoided even if all the developed countries should somehow made substantial cuts in CO2 emissions. So the problems include the following:
Reductions by the developed nations will not have any measurable effect on either atmospheric CO2 or temperatures.
The less developed nations (where fossil fuel use is expanding much more rapidly) have not agreed to make such reductions.
Any nation that adopts such reductions will make its exports more expensive by raising the price of fossil fuels used to make the exports.
There is little or no evidence that decreasing CO2 emissions will do anything except raise prices for fossil fuels. Global temperatures appear to be the primary determinant of global CO2 levels, not vice versa.
CAGW Is a Failed Hypothesis since It Does Not Satisfy the Scientific Method
The CAGW hypothesis is a failed hypothesis since it does not satisfy the requirements of the scientific method, nothing more. Models showing that catastrophic temperature increases will or are even likely to occur as carbon dioxide levels may increase have no predictive value. Minor increases would be good anyway, not bad.
Various supporters of the hoax/scam have a variety of reasons for supporting it. Some left wing Democrats, for example, like it because if cap and trade should be used to implement the CO2 control program at the US level, the Federal Government would have increased income to use for increased public spending that they favor.
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 12:36 AM