Sunday, March 26, 2017

Media Touts A New Study Blaming Diabetes Epidemic On Global Warming

The findings below may be totally correct -- though I wouldn't believe them until they are replicated -- but they are an attempt to make a general case from one observation.  You can "prove" anything that way.  There is no doubt that global warming would have some bad effects -- and increased diabetes may be one of them. But it would have good effects too.  So where is the balance?  I think the higher incidence of illness and death in winter tells us all we need to know about that

The media is touting a new study claiming global warming could be, at least in part, to blame for the "diabetes epidemic" sweeping the globe.

"When it gets warmer, there is higher incidence of diabetes," Lisanne Blauw, a Ph.D. candidate at the Netherlands-based Einthoven Laboratory and the study's lead author, told The Huffington Post Tuesday.

"It's important to realize global warming has further effects on our health, not only on the climate," Blauw said.

Blauw and her colleagues wrote "the diabetes incidence rate in the USA and prevalence of glucose intolerance worldwide increase with higher outdoor temperature" based on a meta-analysis of 14 years of data on diabetes and temperature in U.S. states.

Researchers hypothesize "the global increase in temperature contributes to the current type 2 diabetes epidemic" since warmer weather could inhibit brown adipose tissue (BAT) that turns food into energy for the body.

That could reduce the body's ability to metabolize glucose, making Type 2 diabetes more likely.

"Hot weather can be more difficult for people with diabetes," Mona Sarfaty, director of the Consortium on Climate Change and Health, told Popular Science.

"The heat keeps people from being active, which means they expend less calories, which can lead to more weight gain," Sarfaty said. "Also, people with diabetes often have kidney problems. Dehydration?-?which comes with heat?-?can worsen kidney problems when people are dehydrated."

HuffPo, of course, mentioned climate scientists declared 2016 the hottest year on record.

"On the basis of our results, a 1øC rise in environmental temperature would account for over 100?000 new diabetes cases per year in the USA alone, given a population of nearly 322 million people in 2015," Blauw and her colleagues wrote.

Sounds terrifying, until you get into the data. Blauw and her colleagues even state that causality between temperature and diabetes can't be drawn from their meta-analysis.

"The associative design of our study does not allow us to draw conclusions on causality," the researchers wrote.

Also, the way the study measured diabetes prevalence is based on "self-reported" surveys collected by the U.S. government. That survey asks people if a doctor told them they had diabetes in the last year - it does not get actual diagnosis data from medical professionals.

Blauw's study examines self-reported diabetes in the U.S.from 1996 to 2009, but right at the beginning of the study period medical professionals relaxed the definition of what constitutes diabetes.

The National Institutes of Health noted in 1998 that "these changes are likely to lead to an increase in the prevalence of diagnosed diabetes as it would become practically much easier to detect the large number of people whose disease is currently undiagnosed."

On a more basic level, though, Blauw's meta-analysis masks a confounding phenomenon. Many states actually showed a decrease in diabetes incidence rate as temperatures rose.

How can warm weather cause more incidents diabetes in South Carolina, but fewer in Louisiana? Not all researchers agreed with the study's findings.

"I think calorie consumption and weight are probably the biggest by a country mile," Adrian Vella, an endocrinologist who was not involved in the new study, told CNN.

"I think the general message always should be that association studies do not actually imply causation," Vella said.


Trump approves Keystone pipeline

The Trump administration gave the Keystone XL pipeline its key federal permit Friday, clearing a major hurdle for the project that former President Obama rejected in 2015.

The State Department announced Friday morning that its undersecretary for political affairs, Tom Shannon, issued the permit, two months after President Trump signed a memorandum to revive the project after Obama’s rejection.

“In making his determination that issuance of this permit would serve the national interest, the under secretary considered a range of factors, including but not limited to foreign policy; energy security; environmental, cultural, and economic impacts; and compliance with applicable law and policy,” State said.

The decision closes a significant chapter in the long-running saga over the controversial oil sands pipeline, which has been a flashpoint in the debate surrounding climate change and dependence on foreign oil.

Obama rejected the application in November 2015, arguing, in part, that it would harm the United States' standing in the world as a leader in fighting climate change.

The approval fulfills a major campaign promise of Trump's and a top priority that congressional Republicans and the oil industry have had for years.

“This is a significant milestone for the Keystone XL project,” Russ Girling, president of Keystone’s developer, Canada-based TransCanada Corp., said in a statement. “We greatly appreciate President Trump's Administration for reviewing and approving this important initiative and we look forward to working with them as we continue to invest in and strengthen North America's energy infrastructure.”

The 875-mile line would carry up to 830,000 barrels a day of heavy oil sands petroleum from Alberta, Canada, to Nebraska. From there, the oil would continue through existing lines to the Gulf Coast to be refined.

Despite the president's promises, the $8 billion project is not subject to Trump’s promise that oil pipelines built in the United States would have to use American steel. The White House announced earlier this month that that would only apply to pipelines with new applications.

TransCanada has already bought the pipe for the project. About half came from an Arkansas plant owned by an Indian company, a quarter from a plant in Canada owned by a Russian company and the remainder from Italy and India.

TransCanada needed a presidential permit to build the line because it is planned to cross an international border.

The company first started applying to build Keystone XL in 2008. But in the ensuing years, it became a central point in the debate between weaning the United States off fossil fuels and increasing the use of energy from friendly allies.

Trump’s permit is not the final hurdle for the project. State officials in Nebraska still have to approve the line’s route through that state, something that could take another six months.

Environmentalists might also sue to stop the construction.

“The Keystone XL tar sands pipeline was a terrible idea when it was first proposed nearly ten years ago, and it’s an even worse idea today. This dirty and dangerous export pipeline would run right through America’s heartland, threatening our water, our land, and our climate — all to pad the profits of a foreign oil company,” said Tiernan Sittenfeld, senior vice president of government affairs at the League of Conservation Voters.

“This pipeline is all risk and no reward, and we will continue to fight it every step of the way,” she said.

The business community welcomed the approval.  “After many years of unfortunate delays and partisan posturing, Keystone XL pipeline finally got the green light it has long deserved,” U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue said in a statement. “This pipeline, and countless other projects around the nation, will improve America’s energy security, create jobs, and help get the economy back on track.”

The State Department previous estimated that the project would create 42,100 jobs. The vast majority of them would be temporary jobs related to Keystone’s construction, and about 35 would be permanent jobs operating it.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson would usually have been in charge of considering the permit. But he recused himself from the process, due to his previous position as the CEO of Exxon Mobil Corp., the country’s largest oil company.


Earth's worst-ever mass extinction of life holds 'apocalyptic' warning about climate change, say scientists

Typical Warmist grab at anything that might support their dotty theory.  The extinction event actually happened during an ICE AGE, not a warm period

Some 250 million years ago, life on Earth nearly died out completely.  Researchers studying the largest-ever mass extinction in Earth’s history claim to have found evidence that it was caused by runaway global warming – and that the “apocalyptic” events of 250 million years ago could happen again.

About 90 per cent of all the living things on the planet were wiped out in the Permian mass extinction – described in a 2005 book called When Life Nearly Died – for reasons that have been long debated by scientists.

Competing theories have been put forward, including meteor strikes, huge volcanic eruptions and climate change.

Now a team of researchers from Canada, Italy, Germany and the US say they have discovered what happened and that their findings have “an important lesson for humanity” in how we deal with current global warming.

According to a paper published in the journal Palaeoworld, volcanic eruptions pumped large amounts of carbon dioxide into the air, causing average temperatures to rise by eight to 11°C.

This melted vast amounts of methane that had been trapped in the permafrost and sea floor, causing temperatures to soar even further to levels “lethal to most life on land and in the oceans”.

“Based on measurements of gases trapped in [the mineral] calcite, the release of methane … is deemed the ultimate source and cause for the dramatic life-changing global warming … observed at the end Permian.

“Global warming triggered by the massive release of carbon dioxide may be catastrophic, but the release of methane from hydrate [its frozen state] may be apocalyptic.

“The end Permian holds an important lesson for humanity regarding the issue it faces today with greenhouse gas emissions, global warming, and climate change.”


The World's First State Of The Climate Survey Based on Observations Only

A report on the State of the Climate in 2016 which is based exclusively on observations rather than climate models is published today by the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF).

Compiled by Dr Ole Humlum, Professor of Physical Geography at the University Centre in Svalbard (Norway), the new climate survey is in sharp contrast to the habitual alarmism of other reports that are mainly based on computer modelling and climate predictions.

Among the key findings of the survey are:

    While 2016 was one of the warmest years on record, global temperatures dropped back at the end of the year to levels prior to the strong 2015/16 El Ni¤o. This fact suggests that much of the global 2015-16 temperature peak was caused by a one of the strongest El Ni¤os on record.

    Since 2003, the global temperature estimate based on surface station measurements has consistently drifted away from the satellite-based estimate in a warm direction, and is now about 0.1?C higher.

    Much of the heat given off during the 2015-16 El Ni¤o appears to have been transported to the polar regions, especially to the Arctic, causing severe weather phenomena and unseasonably high air temperatures.

    Data from tide gauges all over the world suggest an average global sea-level rise of 1-1.5 mm/year, while the satellite-derived record suggests a rise of more than 3 mm/yr. This noticeable difference between the two data sets still has no broadly accepted explanation.

    Arctic and Antarctic sea-ice extents since 1979 have developed in opposite directions, decreasing and increasing, respectively. In the Arctic, a 5.3-year periodic variation is important, while for the Antarctic a cycle of about 4.5 years duration is important. Both these variations reached their minima simultaneously in 2016, which explains the recent minimum in global sea-ice extent.

Prof Humlum said: "There is little doubt that we are living in a warm period. However, there is also little doubt that current climate change is not abnormal and not outside the range of natural variations that might be expected."




Three current reports below

Another sawmill becomes a victim of Greenie policies

Victoria's Heyfield timber mill, Australia's largest hardwood mill, will close in 2018 -- which will close down the whole town around it. Heyfield is totally dependent on the mill. It will become a ghost town, greatly disrupting the lives of most people in the town

Victoria's Heyfield timber mill is to close, putting 250 people out of work, after the owners rejected a government lifeline.

Australian Sustainable Hardwood chief executive Vince Hurley says the Gippsland-based mill will close in September 2018 after the state government cut its timber supply.

The mill, Australia's largest hardwood mill, is now looking to relocate to northwestern Tasmania to process plantation hardwood, he told AAP.

The company rejected Victoria's offer of a three-year contract of one year's timber supply at 80,000 cubic metres and two years at 60,000 cubic metres as well as a $4.75 million, three-year operational subsidy.

ASH maintains it needs at least 130,000 cubic metres of saw logs a year to continue operations - a number the government says is not environmentally sustainable.

Premier Daniel Andrews offered to buy the mill if ASH didn't want to run it any longer because he said the business had a strong future.

Mr Andrews said the government would offer a reasonable price if another buyer could not be found. "This is a fair offer and a reasonable offer as we have had a look at the books of the company and we believe it is viable even at those lower volumes," he told ABC radio.

But Mr Hurley says ASH hadn't heard of the offer until the premier's statement was released on Friday morning and is "disgusted" staff had to find out through the media. "We were expecting the premier to honour a commitment that things should have been heard from us first," he said.

If the government did buy the mill, it would have to substantially change operations to be viable on just 60,000 cubic metres of logs, Mr Hurley said. "Not only would you have to buy it, you would have to refit it. It would be a huge risk," he said.

The company is backing a CFMEU and Committee for Gippsland campaign to get the government to change its mind about timber supply. The CFMEU says it does not accept VicForest's decision on the availability of wood.

Nationals leader Peter Walsh said there was enough supply to give ASH the timber it wants and he doubted the government's ability to buy the mill.

"As I understand it the mill's not necessarily for sale and it doesn't matter who owns the mill, it still needs timber," he told reporters.

ASH says it will now restart negotiations with the Tasmanian government about moving the mill to the island state.


Two quit Australian climate authority blaming government 'extremists'

Quiggin is a big-mouth Leftist from way back

Two members of the Climate Change Authority have resigned, with one accusing the government of being beholden to rightwing, anti-science “extremists” in its own party and in the media.

John Quiggin told Guardian Australia he informed the federal minister for environment and energy, Josh Frydenberg, of his resignation on Thursday. It follows the resignation of fellow climate change authority member, Danny Price, who quit on Tuesday.

“The government’s refusal to accept the advice of its own authority, despite wide support for that advice from business, environmental groups and the community as a whole, reflects the comprehensive failure of its policies on energy and the environment,” Quiggin said.

“These failures can be traced, in large measure, to the fact that the government is beholden to rightwing anti-science activists in its own ranks and in the media. Rather than resist these extremists, the Turnbull government has chosen to treat the vital issues of climate change and energy security as an opportunity for political point-scoring and culture war rhetoric.”

Quiggin said his immediate reason for resigning was the government’s failure to respond to the authority’s third report of the special review into potential climate policies, which the government had requested and which it was legally required to respond to.

“The government has already indicated that it will reject the key recommendations of the review, particularly the introduction of an emissions intensity scheme for the electricity industry.”

Quiggin said he didn’t believe there was anything to be gained “by giving objective advice based on science and economic analysis to a government dominated by elements hostile to both science and economics”.

Price told Guardian Australia he had resigned because he “didn’t think it was appropriate for a member of a government agency to be openly critical of government policy”.

“I think the authority does really good work, but I didn’t think I could stay if I was going to continue to criticise the government’s policy making and I didn’t see any chance that it would get any better,” he said.

“I really hate the complete ad hocery of it all … the idea that anything at all can be thrown out by a government in a political panic.”

Quiggin was appointed to the authority in 2012, and Price in 2015. Both were appointed for five-year terms.

The Climate Change Authority’s special review was undertaken last year, and recommended the government institute two emissions trading schemes and strengthen regulations if it was to meet Australia’s 2030 emission reduction targets.

The report was criticised by the Climate Institute, the Greens, and other climate groups and experts criticised elements of the report, and in August Guardian Australia revealed a split in the ranks of the authority, with three members writing a dissenting report.

However many groups – including the Business Council of Australia, Energy Networks Australia, retailer Energy Australia, electricity provider AGL, the Climate Change Authority, the National Farmers Federation and the CSIRO – have also called for the introduction of an emissions intensity trading scheme.

Frydenberg had canvassed a trading scheme following the release of the Finkel review into energy security in December, but the policy was dumped after three days following objections by senior government ministers.

The government’s openness to a scheme has also been cited as a reason for Cory Bernardi’s resignation from the party in February.

The Climate Change Authority was set up in 2011 as an independent statutory agency, and the Coalition has maintained that it should be abolished after failing to get its legislation to do just that through the Senate.

Frydenberg told Guardian Australia: “the government thanks both Danny Price and John Quiggin for their service and the government will continue to engage constructively with the authority”.

The Greens climate and energy spokesman, Adam Bandt, said the government’s “dangerous pandering to climate change deniers” had left it friendless. “When added to previous resignations, this exodus is the equivalent of half the reserve bank board resigning over the government’s economic policies.”


Tony Abbott: Hazelwood Power Station should stay open

IF WE are serious about tackling Australia’s looming energy crisis, the last thing we should be doing is closing 20 per cent plus of Victoria’s (and 5 per cent of Australia’s) base load power supply.

Yet that’s what’s scheduled to happen next week unless there is an eleventh hour intervention by government or a last-minute change of heart by the station’s operator.

Sure, brown coal is more emissions-intensive than gas.

Yes, coal lacks the “big new thing” allure of pumped hydro.

Still it’s given Victoria and South Australia cheap, reliable base load power, making those states our country’s manufacturing hubs.

And until equally cost effective and reliable alternative supplies can be established, having Hazelwood close is sheer, avoidable folly.

Keeping Hazelwood open would make a lot more difference than pumped hydro which is trying to solve today’s problem in some years’ time.

Still the Prime Minister’s Snowy Scheme 2.0, plus the South Australian commitment to a new gas-fired base load power station, shows that our leaders are finally thinking about what might be done to keep the lights on.

So far, though, no one in authority is talking about the one thing that could boost base load power by almost 2000 megawatts immediately: not closing Hazelwood next week.

If we want secure and affordable power supplies, we can’t lose the ones we currently have, even if they involve burning coal.

The past few months, with the statewide blackout in South Australia and the blackout which badly damaged the Portland aluminium smelter in Victoria, have shown the damage that intermittent and unreliable wind and solar energy is doing to our power supply.

There’s no doubt that climate change obsessions have played havoc with Australia’s energy policy.

Fifteen years ago, thanks to a largely privatised and deregulated energy market, our power prices were among the world’s lowest.

With the world’s largest readily available reserves of coal, gas and uranium, we were an affordable energy superpower.

Since then, climate-induced political fiddling has put prices through the roof and removed Australian manufacturing’s one big comparative advantage.

It’s damaged our standard of living and it’s destroyed thousands of jobs.

My government scrapped the carbon tax and reduced the renewable energy target but the preference given to wind and solar power continues to drive coal and gas fired power stations out of business and to put security of supply at risk.

Depending on conditions, wind varies between providing nothing and everything that South Australia needs.

Because of wind’s preferential status and minimal marginal cost, more reliable and cheaper-overall forms of power generation simply can’t compete.

SA’s private Pelican Point gas-fired power station is currently mothballed because policy-driven market distortion and Greens-driven restrictions on gas supply have made it uneconomic. Meanwhile, renewable energy-obsessed Labor governments, dramatically increased coal royalties, and political risk have made coal-fired power unbankable here even though it’s still the most affordable and reliable source of energy.

If price rises are to moderate and if jobs are to be preserved, energy policy needs a complete rethink.

The renewable energy target, in particular, needs to be reconsidered so that unreliable power is no longer shutting down the reliable power everyone needs.

As always, it’s the unintended, unanticipated consequences of well-intentioned policy that turn out to be the most significant.

The dream of “clean, green” wind and solar power over “dirty, dangerous” coal — and the subsidies to bring it about — has led us to the verge of catastrophe.

Once Hazelwood is gone, the plant mothballed and the workforce dispersed, it will be almost impossible to reopen.

Meanwhile, all the other schemes to produce large amounts of coal-free base load power are years and years from fruition.

At least until Snowy 2.0 can produce 2000 megawatts of cost-effective and droughtproof hydro power, Hazelwood should stay open.

That wouldn’t be bailing out a failing business. It would be securing the services that Australians need until market forces are once more driving the system.

Keeping Hazelwood open would be a good way for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to show that energy policy in Australia won’t be hijacked by ideological fixations in France.

One of the factors in its looming closure — not the only one but an important one — is the French socialist government (which part owns Engie, which part owns Hazelwood) wanting to boast that it has closed down one of the world’s “dirtiest” power stations.

Keeping Hazelwood open would cap off a good week for the Prime Minister.

He’s fought for free speech, announced a new crack down on union corruption, and released an “Australia First” citizenship statement.

Stopping next summer’s looming blackouts with bold action now is a chance to keep the momentum.



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   main.html 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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