Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Graham Readfearn is very shouty in his latest climate peroration

Graham lives in Australia and makes part of his living by writing articles in support of global warming.  So he is not an impartial commentator.  He is well-funded for his puerile efforts. But he has clearly run out of ideas.  What he writes below is just a shouting match -- a stream of abuse.  It's  totally "ad hominem", which is the antithesis of science.

He mentions not a single climate statistic.  No mention, for instance, that after all the El Nino excitement, the global temperature has returned to its 21st century plateau level. I guess that would be too awkward altogether.

All he was able to do in his article below was to summon up a host of boogeymen.  You are just supposed to agree with him without any benefit of facts and rational argument.  He comes across in his article as a would-be ecofascist Dr. Goebbels, a propagandist for hire.  If he ever knew any science, he seems to have long since forgotten it

For well over a decade now, Australia’s climate policy has been battered, torn and held back by climate science denial and a broader antipathy towards environmentalism. The same interests and ideologies that have worked for decades to reach the current crescendo in the US have been doing the same thing here.

Neatly connecting Australia and the US is the One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts, who earlier this week met with a who’s who of the climate science denial industry in Washington DC, including Ebell.

Think we’re immune to the Trump denialism? You haven’t been paying attention.

When Malcolm Turnbull lost the Liberal party leadership to Tony Abbott in 2009, it was Turnbull’s then refusal to back away from pricing greenhouse gas emissions that turned the party room against him. From that point onward, pricing carbon became a no-go zone for the Liberal party.

A chief architect of that leadership coup was the then South Australian senator Nick Minchin, who, a month earlier, told ABC’s Four Corners he didn’t accept that humans caused climate change. Rather, Minchin considered the issue a plot by the “extreme left” to “deindustrialise the world”.

After the ABC program aired, the journalist Sarah Ferguson said Turnbull had refused interview requests because he “didn’t want to face the sceptics”.

You might think Turnbull would have learned his lesson. But, from his latest meek surrender to the deniers in his party, it seems not. He still won’t take them on.

Earlier this month, the energy minister, Josh Frydenberg, said a review of Australia’s climate change policy would include a look at an emissions trading scheme for the electricity sector – the biggest single source of greenhouse gas emissions in the Australia.

Within 24 hours, Frydenberg backed down and, soon after, Turnbull said carbon pricing was not party policy and this would not be considered – even though all the expert advice tells him that it would be the cheapest way to cut emissions and would likely deliver billions of dollars in savings on power prices in coming years.

That capitulation was another example of Turnbull giving in to the deniers in the right of the party – in particular, another South Australian senator in the form of Cory Bernardi.

Bernardi, too, refuses to accept the mountains of evidence that burning fossil fuels is causing climate change.

The recently appointed chairman of the Coalition’s backbench environment committee is the Liberal MP Craig Kelly – another climate science denier.

Going further back, Abbott’s position on climate science was heavily influenced by the mining industry figure and geologist Ian Plimer’s book Heaven and Earth – a tome packed with contradictory arguments, dodgy citations and errors too numerous to count (actually, celebrated mathematical physicist Dr Ian Enting did count them and found at least 126).

Cardinal George Pell, Australia’s most senior Roman Catholic, also took his lead from Plimer’s book.

And who can forget Abbott’s business adviser Maurice Newman and his claims that climate science is fraudulent and acting as cover for the UN to install a one-world government – the exact same position taken by Roberts and other fake freedom fighters.

Another Coalition MP seen as influential is the Queensland Nationals MP George Christensen.

Like Roberts and Bernardi before him, Christensen has attended US conferences of anti-climate science activists hosted by the Heartland Institute (that group has been heavily funded by the family foundation of Robert Mercer, the ultrarich conservative hedge fund manager whose millions helped get Trump elected and whose daughter Rebekah is a pivotal member of Trump’s transition team).

Just like the US, Australia too has its own “free market” conservative groups pushing climate science denial. Look no further than Melbourne’s Institute of Public Affairs (which only last year was called in to “balance” a climate science briefing to Kelly’s committee).

How about the media? Rupert Murdoch’s outlets the Wall Street Journal and Fox News help to push themes that climate scientists are frauds, that action to cut greenhouse gas emissions will wreck the economy and that renewable energy can’t keep the lights on.

The stable of flagship commentators working on Murdoch’s News Corp Australia, led by the likes of Andrew Bolt, Miranda Devine, Chris Kenny and Terry McCrann, are all happy to repeat and embellish those same talking points.

On the radio, the US has popular conservatives such as Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh pushing climate science denial. In Australia, we have Alan Jones and his stable of shouty Macquarie Radio colleagues.

At this point, some will argue Australia and the rest of the world is investing heavily in renewables. The US, like Australia, is seeing strong growth in the renewable energy sector. That’s all true.

Also true is the progress made through the international agreements made in Paris, even though the climate pledges that make up the deal still fall well short of averting dangerous climate change.

But there’s little doubt that climate science denial is on the march, backed by a conspiracy culture that’s rapidly gaining audiences online.

Trump is climate science denial’s greatest propaganda victory so far. Australia is not immune.


A reasonable bit of research with the compulsory global warming add-on

The authors below do a persuasive job of explaining the big California oyster die-off of 2011 but, on the basis on no data whatever, suggest that such event will become more frequent.  Pitiable

Atmospheric rivers and the mass mortality of wild oysters: insight into an extreme future?

Brian S. Cheng et al.


Climate change is predicted to increase the frequency and severity of extreme events. However, the biological consequences of extremes remain poorly resolved owing to their unpredictable nature and difficulty in quantifying their mechanisms and impacts. One key feature delivering precipitation extremes is an atmospheric river (AR), a long and narrow filament of enhanced water vapour transport. Despite recent attention, the biological impacts of ARs remain undocumented. Here, we use biological data coupled with remotely sensed and in situ environmental data to describe the role of ARs in the near 100% mass mortality of wild oysters in northern San Francisco Bay. In March 2011, a series of ARs made landfall within California, contributing an estimated 69.3% of the precipitation within the watershed and driving an extreme freshwater discharge into San Francisco Bay. This discharge caused sustained low salinities (less than 6.3) that almost perfectly matched the known oyster critical salinity tolerance and was coincident with a mass mortality of one of the most abundant populations throughout this species' range. This is a concern, because wild oysters remain a fraction of their historical abundance and have yet to recover. This study highlights a novel mechanism by which precipitation extremes may affect natural systems and the persistence of sensitive species in the face of environmental change.

DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2016.1462

British power firms could raise bills by £30 a year to prevent blackouts: MPs also suggest industry could return to a three-day week because of a lack of electricity

Household energy bills could rise by £30 a year just to stop the lights going out in winter, MPs warn today.

The influential British Infrastructure Group said the push towards green energy and chronic mismanagement of the system had left the energy sector in ‘crisis’.

Its members, led by former Cabinet minister Grant Shapps, warned it was even possible that British industry could face a return to the three-day week because of a lack of electricity at peak times.

The study says the National Grid’s safety buffer – the amount of spare capacity it has in the system to cope with surges in demand – has shrunk to 0.1 per cent this winter. This is down from about 17 per cent in winter 2011-12.

The report warns there ‘is a sustained danger of intermittent blackouts for the foreseeable future, thanks to dwindling base capacity and freak weather events’. And it says that, by next winter, the lights could go out. The bill for keeping them on could be an extra £30 a year per family by 2020, in addition to current trends for price rises.

The report points much of the blame at green policies and carbon reduction targets which led to a focus on renewable energy and the closure of coal-fired power stations.

Mr Shapps said: ‘It is clear that a perfect coincidence of numerous policies designed to reduce Britain’s carbon dioxide emissions has had the unintended effect of hollowing out the reliability of the electricity generating sector.’

He added: ‘Current projections place the cost of covering potential shortfalls at well over a billion pounds by 2020-21. With top officials suggesting candidly that some measure of energy austerity might be implemented to save costs, British energy policy will soon be, if it is not already, in crisis.’

This winter, National Grid will pay around £122.4million for so-called emergency power – which is purchased from suppliers who do not trade in the normal energy market.

The MPs say this is 800 times the average wholesale price for 2015 and four times the cost of last year’s emergency reserves. The report goes on: ‘While no precise projection can be made of costs in the future, if this trend were to continue year-on-year, by 2020-21 National Grid estimates that it could be spending nearly one and a half billion pounds procuring emergency power.’

It warns: ‘Currently, the British electricity network is going backwards. Capacity margins are so tight that National Grid’s emergency power deals have become the norm.

‘Some households may even face the prospect of power being rationed and returning to a three-day week. ‘Some businesses already have. This is surely a failure of any nationally-directed power strategy.’

Mr Shapps said: ‘The only thing standing between our Christmas lights glowing and total blackout this year will be exorbitant emergency payments to keep the power on.

‘It’s time to put a decade of dithering behind us and build the energy security Britain needs for her post-Brexit future. Hinckley is a good start, but we need to do more to get the shale revolution and renewables taking the strain.’

Daniel Mahoney, head of economic research at the Centre for Policy Studies, said: ‘Mismanagement of energy policy – both from the European Union and the UK Government – has left the UK with desperately narrow capacity margins.’

A spokesman for the National Grid said the 0.1 per cent figure was taken from a report published in July. He added: ‘Our Winter Outlook report in October put the surplus margin for this winter at 6.6 per cent.

‘This is the additional power we expect to have available over and above what is needed to meet electricity demand. We believe the margin is tight but manageable and that we have the right tools and services available, including extra power we can call on if we need it, for times of highest demand.’


Environmentalist insurance policies

Intellectual ammo for holiday party responses to claims that you need meteorite insurance

Paul Driessen

Many liberals went into denial, outrage and riot mode after November 8. Now they’re having meltdown over President-Elect Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees with climate and environmental responsibilities:

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry at Energy, Oklahoma AG Scott Pruitt for EPA, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions for Attorney General, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson at State, Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke at Interior. As Department of Agriculture secretary and multiple assistant, deputy assistant and other senior level positions are filled, the meltdown will likely raise sea levels by several feet.

It’s even worse than “white supremacists” and “Russian hackers” rigging and stealing the election. Having these people at the helm will be an “existential threat to the planet,” say meltdowners.

A typical over-the-top reaction came from an aptly named spokesperson for radical pressure groups and five-alarm climate scientists that feed at the trough of taxpayer and tax-exempt foundation funding “This is the wealthiest, most corporate, most climate-denying cabinet in history,” snorted Kiernan Suckling, director of the anti-development Center for Biological Diversity.

After eight years of anti-fossil-fuel, anti-growth, anti-job, anti-blue-collar policies – and the Left’s fervent wish for eight more years under Hillary Clinton – any Trumpian shift is bound to look that way to them.

So we’re likely to get a bellyful of bombast from like-minded (or ill-informed) office and neighborhood partygoers, especially if they’re too much imbued with holiday spirits. At the risk of offending those who do not share an NRA perspective on gun control (stance, grip, sight alignment, trigger control), here’s a little intellectual ammunition that conservatives may find helpful during those “spirited” discussions.

The United States needs to reduce taxes and regulations that have hobbled energy development and job creation – threatening to put federal bureaucrats firmly in control of our states, communities, livelihoods and living standards. However, as I noted recently, these essential, long overdue changes will come with no reduction in air, water or overall environmental quality standards that ensure our health and welfare. They will address rogue agency actions that actually impair our living standards, health and wellbeing.

Indeed, nearly all these autocratic government actions are based on some variation of the infamous “precautionary principle.” This infinitely malleable pseudo-guideline says chemicals and other technologies should be restricted or banned if there is any possibility (or accusation by radical activists) that they could be harmful, even if no cause-effect link can be proven.

Even worse, the bogus principle looks only at often-inflated risks from using chemicals, energy systems or other technologies that activists or regulators dislike – never at the risks of not using them; never at risks that could be reduced or eliminated by using them. Sustainability “guidelines” are very similar.

Just as perversely, if the Powers that Wannabe like a technology, they ignore or actively suppress any harmful impacts. For instance, since wind turbines can supposedly replace fossil fuels, they ignore bird and bat deaths, human health damage from infrasound, and the fact that essential metals are mined and processed under horrendous conditions by men, women and children in African and Asian countries.

Those environmental, health, human rights, and child labor violations are far away (literally not in their backyards), and thus can be conveniently ignored.

So can the poverty, disease, malnutrition and early death perpetrated and perpetuated by extremist groups that campaign tirelessly to shut down industries in developed nation communities – and prevent the poorest nations on Earth from gaining access to modern technologies that improve and save lives.

Eco-extremists claim they can save lives by preventing higher temperatures, rising seas, and more storms, droughts and crop failures due to “dangerous manmade climate change” decades from now. So they block fossil fuel power plants that provide reliable, affordable energy for modern homes, hospitals, schools and factories that improve health and living standards – and end up killing millions right now, year after year.

Climate change has been real throughout history. Sometimes beneficial (moderately warm, with ample rainfall), sometimes destructive (decades-long droughts or cold spells, glacial epochs with mile-thick ice sheets crushing entire continents), it is driven by solar, cosmic ray, oceanic and other powerful natural forces that humans cannot control. Carbon dioxide may play a role, but only a minor one, and rising atmospheric CO2 levels make crops, grasslands and forests grow faster and better.

The “unprecedented” manmade climate cataclysms that Al Gore and Barack Obama promised are not happening. For example, we were supposed to get more frequent, powerful and destructive storms; instead, a record 11 years have passed without one category 3-5 hurricane making landfall in the USA.

To attack fracking and natural gas use, bureaucrats claim methane is 86 times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas – but won’t admit that it is 1/235th as prevalent in Earth’s atmosphere (0.00017%), and at least 1/600,000th as prevalent as water vapor (1-4%), the most important GHG.

Their “social cost of carbon” schemes assign ever-higher monetary impacts to every climate and weather problem they can possibly attribute to using carbon-based fuels – but totally ignore the enormous and undeniable benefits of utilizing oil, natural gas and coal that still provide 82% of US and global energy.

They’re convinced their anti-energy diktats will “save the planet,” by shutting down US power plants and factories, despite vastly greater emissions from China, India and a hundred other nations that are rapidly expanding their fossil fuel use, to lift billions more people out of abject poverty, disease and malnutrition.

The same anti-technology activists and bureaucrats also detest biotechnology and genetically modified crops that require less water and can battle insect predators with a tiny fraction of the insecticides required for conventional grains and vegetables. They equally despise another GM marvel, Golden Rice, which prevents Vitamin A Deficiency that blinds and kills hundreds of thousands of children every year.

Instead of applauding the reduced blindness, malnutrition, starvation and death these crops can bring, precautionary and sustainability extremists obsess about imaginary risks of eating them, allowing more millions to die unnecessarily, year after year. It’s not their kids, after all. Why should they be concerned?

The same callous, phony ethics prevail on the disease front. Eco-activists support bed nets – but not insecticide spraying to kill malaria-carrying mosquitoes, and certainly not DDT, the most powerful, longest-lasting mosquito repellant ever invented. Sprayed once every six months on the walls of mud or cinderblock houses, DDT keeps 80% of mosquitoes from entering, irritates those that do come in, so they don’t bite, and kills any that land.

But radical ideologues focus on trivial, irrelevant side effects that “some researchers say could be linked” to DDT use – and let 600,000 parents and children die excruciating deaths every year from malaria.

Every one of these anti-technology, “precautionary” attitudes is the environmentalist equivalent of protecting American kids from powerful chemicals, fatigue, nausea, hair loss, and increased risk of illness and infection – by banning chemotherapy drugs, and just letting the little cancer patients die.

They are the equivalent of requiring you to carry a $10,000-a-year insurance policy that covers you only if you are killed by a meteorite – or by a raptor or tyrannosaur. At least meteorite risks are real, if extremely remote.

Raptors and T rexes exist only in our imaginations, special effects computers and movie theaters – much like the manmade climate chaos and other precautionary extremism that come from computer models and PR hype, and drive too many of our policies, laws and regulations.

Have fun at your holiday parties. This season promises to be even more animated than most.

Via email

The Case for Scott Pruitt to Serve as EPA Administrator

Last week, President-elect Trump tapped Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency. In the past, Pruitt has sued the EPA, so it’s understandable that a quick analysis of the situation has left many people wary of this cabinet pick. Nonetheless, a closer investigation reveals that Pruitt is one of Trump’s best cabinet picks yet.

The EPA has not been the only target to come within Pruitt’s iron sights. He has taken on the federal government, the Obama administration, and the IRS as well. In fact, his career has been defined by his willingness to confront a federal government which exceeds its bounds and casts American workers and consumers into a bottomless pit of regulations.

Of all the agencies that need to be reined in, the EPA is one of the more urgent cases. Founded in 1970, the EPA is relatively young but has already become one of the most burdensome agencies. In recent days, the EPA has lost cases in court and even turned the Animas River orange in a completely preventable incident where acid mine waste contaminated the water.

The regulations the EPA places on American businesses means that companies are made to comply with esoteric, ever-changing law. To stay afloat, companies need to spend money on lawyers who can help them navigate through the thicket of regulations. Combine this with a corporate tax and it becomes clear that America is not the most compelling place to have a flourishing business.

Confronted with this fact, American businesses have a choice. They can stay and hemorrhage money in order to stay abreast the regulations; productivity will decrease as workers will be laid off so lawyers can be afforded. Or they can take the more rational approach and relocate their operations to other countries with little to no regulations of this sort. This latter approach will likely entail a net global increase of carbon emissions, something which would not please many defenders of the EPA in its present state.

President-elect Trump’s victory was in no small part due to his consistent campaign promise to bring an era of prosperity to the American energy industry. Time and time again, the EPA has proven a roadblock to this mission.

Environmental issues have constantly been used as justification for more taxes and more regulations. Getting even one semi-qualified individual to advocate for something because it is “good for the environment” is often used as an excuse to write a blank check. And many well-qualified professionals told us that Hillary Clinton would win the Presidency. Let’s not forget that experts are subject to human error too.

Scott Pruitt has established himself as a bold and principled conservative, unable to rest easy while the separation of powers is violated and legislative authority is taken away from the hands of Congress. He has a unique understanding of the unconstitutional regulatory branch and he would surely be pleased to see an environmental policy that works not only for the environment of the natural world, but also the environment of the American worker and consumer.

Voters sent a loud message to Washington: Americans want change. The status quo is not working and America can do better. Regulatory overreach has become the status quo and has proven to have negative effects on Americans of every state and every class. A country that respects the rule of law needs a law that is clear, realistic, and stable.

With Pruitt at the helm, the EPA will be streamlined, legislative authority will be restored to Congress, and America will once more become welcoming to entrepreneurs.

Other picks may have continued down the path the EPA has been pursuing, creating a veritable jungle of regulations and thus disincentivizing innovation. Pruitt is not afraid to point out a mess when he sees one.

There is pollution in Washington. Pruitt saw this long ago. As head of the EPA, he can clear up the hot air and make America an easier place to breathe. Only when this political pollution is dealt with, can we have a clear line of sight and develop a sensible environmental policy that works for all Americans. Environmentalists, take heart! Only one swamp needs to be drained.



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


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