Friday, May 26, 2017

Astonishing news:  wind turbines may have caused the death of 3 whales

Save the whales! Report below  from The Times of May 22:


The Pope pressed Trump to help with persecuted Christians in the Middle East?  No such luck.  He harped on about global warming

A strange gospel. Has the Devil got to him? But the report below is from the NYT.  Could it be fake news?

Pope Francis put climate change on the agenda of his first meeting with President Trump on Wednesday, and the subject is likely to come up again and again in the president’s encounters with other world leaders in the coming days.

The pope presented the president with a copy of his influential encyclical on preserving the environment, while in a broader meeting, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s secretary of state, urged Mr. Trump not to pull the United States out of the Paris climate accord.

Mr. Trump told his Vatican hosts that he would not make a final decision until after he returned to the United States, despite some expectations that he could announce a decision at the Group of 7 summit meeting in Italy this weekend.

“They were encouraging continued participation,” Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson told reporters about the message from the Vatican. “We had a good exchange on the difficulty of balancing addressing climate change, and insuring that you still have a thriving economy and you can still offer people jobs so they can feed their families.”

In their first encounter, the pope and the president, two men with starkly different worldviews, sought to bridge the chasm between them with a handshake, a private audience and a mutual pledge to work for peace.

They stuck mainly to protocol, avoiding a public reprise of the barbs they aimed at each other during Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign or the pope’s thinly veiled critiques of the new president as a symbol of a dangerously reinvigorated nationalism.

But there was also a sense in the Vatican that Mr. Trump was easier to talk to than his tough language on the campaign trail or his sharp words toward Francis had led them to believe. That could be particularly true on the issue of American participation in the Paris accord, where there are sharply conflicting views inside the West Wing.

Francis left no doubt about his message in the gifts he gave to his guest, notably the essay on the importance of the environment, which stands as a rebuke to the climate change skepticism espoused by Mr. Trump. Francis also presented him with a medallion engraved with the image of an olive tree — “a symbol of peace,” he explained. “We can use peace,” Mr. Trump said. Francis replied, “It is with all hope that you may become an olive tree to make peace.” As he bade the pope farewell, Mr. Trump told him, “I won’t forget what you said.”

For Mr. Trump, who came here after stops in Saudi Arabia and Israel, the visit to the Vatican capped a tour of the ancestral homes of three of the world’s great monotheistic religions. For Francis, who made his own landmark visit to Egypt last month, it was a chance to welcome a second American leader, after President Barack Obama paid his respects in 2014. Unlike that meeting, few expected a meeting of the minds. Pope Francis and Mr. Trump have diametrically opposed views on issues like immigration, climate change and arms sales. Although both appeared determined not to let politics spoil their encounter, their fraught personal history and divergent personal styles made for a loaded backdrop.

In Saudi Arabia, Mr. Trump came with a $110 billion arms deal and was embraced by a royal family eager to improve relations with Washington. In Israel, he expressed America’s solidarity with a close ally and staked his claim as a peacemaker. At the Vatican and elsewhere in Europe, however, Mr. Trump has had to overcome suspicions.


Pocohontas names the no 1 'Threat to Int'l Peace and Security'--Climate Change

North Korea wants to nuke us; ISIS wants to kill us; Mexican drug lords want to addict us; China spies on us, Iran hates us, and Russia interferes in our elections. Those are just a few of the "global threats" outlined by Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

And then there's "climate change," a prime concern of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who raised the issue with Coats at Tuesday's hearing on "global threats."

"The science is unmistakable. Human activities are releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and contributing to climate change," Warren stated.

"A Defense Department report from two years ago observed, 'Global climate change will have wide-ranging implications for U.S. national security interests over the foreseeable future because it will aggravate existing problems such as poverty, social tensions, environmental degradation, ineffectual leadership, and weak political institutions,’ she quoted.

“In short, this DOD report describes climate change as a threat multiplier. Director Coats, do you agree?" Warren asked.

"I don't know if I would describe it as a threat multiplier," Coats responded, noting that his job is to assess the consequences of potential changes in climate as they impact migration and humanitarian issues. He said the science of climate change falls to other federal agencies.

“I think there have always, in the history of the world, been reactions to different climate changes, and this is an issue that continues,” Coats said.

Warren noted again that Defense Department has concluded that climate change exacerbates existing problems: “Do you disagree with any of that?” she asked Coats.

“No I don't disagree,” Coats responded. “I'm simply saying that I think that has been an ongoing issue -- throughout the -- throughout the ages.”

“Well, let me ask the question this way then,” Warren said. “How should we be integrating climate change risks into our national security strategy?”

Coats, haltingly, said: "We should be assessing … the consequences of changes that are relevant to security issues. That should be part of the assessment, and it is.”

“Well,” said a frustrated Warren, “climate change is clearly a threat to international peace and security, and I just think it's critically important that we take this seriously and we adapt accordingly.”


WH Budget Director: Obama Administration Spent Too Much on Climate Change 'and Not Very Efficiently'

White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said Tuesday that the previous administration spent too much money on climate change in the past "and not very efficiently."

"Can you characterize the treatment of climate science programs and cuts to those? And do you describe those as a taxpayer waste, if you do not cut them?" a reporter asked Mulvaney.

"You tell me. I think the National Science Foundation last year used your taxpayer money to fund a climate change musical. Do you think that's a waste of your money?" Mulvaney asked.

"What about climate science?" the reporter asked.

"I'll take that as a yes, by the way," Mulvaney said. "So you see my point. What I think you saw happened during the previous administration is the pendulum went too far to one side, where we were spending too much of your money on climate change and not very efficiently."

Mulvaney said while the budget doesn't get rid of programs that focus on climate change, it does target them.

"We don’t get rid of it here. Do we target it? Sure," he said.

"Do a lot of the EPA reductions aimed at reducing the focus on climate science? Yes. Does it meant that we are anti-science? Absolutely not. We're simply trying to get things back in order to where we can look at the folks who pay the taxes, and say, look, yeah, we want to do some climate science, but we're not going to do some of the crazy stuff the previous administration did," Mulvaney said.


Are Microbiologists Climate-Denying Science Haters?

Recently, I gave a seminar on "fake news" to professors and grad students at a large public university. Early in my talk, I polled the audience: "How many of you believe climate change is the world's #1 threat?"

Silence. Not a single person raised his or her hand.

Was I speaking in front of a group of science deniers? The College Republicans? Some fringe libertarian club? No, it was a room full of microbiologists.

How could so many incredibly intelligent people overwhelmingly reject what THE SCIENCE says about climate change? Well, they don't. They just don't see it as big of a threat to the world as other things. Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of them felt that antibiotic resistance and pandemic disease were the biggest global threats. One person thought geopolitical instability was the biggest concern.

I told them that I believed poverty was the world's biggest threat. The reason is poverty is the underlying condition that causes so much misery in the world. Consider that 1.3 billion people don't have electricity. And then consider how the lack of that basic necessity -- what the rest of us take completely for granted -- hinders their ability to develop economically and to succeed, let alone to have access to adequate healthcare. If we fix poverty, we could stop easily preventable health problems, such as infectious disease and malnutrition.

Was I booed out of the room? No, the audience understood why I believed what I did. But woe unto you who try to have a similar conversation with climate warriors.

Conservative columnist Bret Stephens, formerly of the Wall Street Journal, landed a new gig at the New York Times. His very first column, "Climate of Complete Certainty," caused much weeping and gnashing of teeth. And probably the rending of garments. What did he say that caused so much outrage?

In a nutshell, his thesis was that certainty often backfires. He used the Hillary Clinton campaign as an example; in his view, certainty of victory was one factor in her defeat. Next, Mr. Stephens drew an analogy with climate science, worrying that the certainty expressed by the most vocal proponents of major climate policy reforms are speaking with a sense of certainty that is not well-founded. He warned against taking imperfect models too seriously and the dangers of hyperbolic doom-mongering.

It often irks me when political commentators write about science, usually because they haven't the foggiest clue what they're talking about. But Mr. Stephens' article used reasonable and cautious language, and to my knowledge, he didn't write anything that was factually incorrect. He simply concluded, as I myself have, that doomsday prophesying is wrong -- and even if it was right, it convinces few people, anyway. (Do the antics of the Westboro Baptist Church change anyone's mind?)

Yet, the reaction was swift and entirely predictable. Vox, whose stated mission is to "explain the news," called Mr. Stephens a "bullshitter." GQ ran the headline, "Bret Stephens Is Why Liberals Have Every Right to Be Dicks." And Wikipedia (whose founder is going to try to solve the problem of fake news) labeled him a "contrarian."

All that because Mr. Stephens warned against speaking hyperbolically. The concept of irony appears to be lost on his critics.

Can Smart People Disagree About the Threat of Climate Change?

What so many in the media (and apparently the climate science community) fail to understand is that people have different values and priorities. Foreign policy analysts are terrified of North Korea. Economists fear Brexit and a Eurozone collapse. Geologists, especially those in the Pacific Northwest, fear a huge earthquake. Experts across the spectrum perceive threats differently, usually magnifying those with which they are most familiar.

That means smart people can accept a common core of facts (such as the reality of anthropogenic global warming) without agreeing on a policy response.

Yet instead of being a place to debate a policy response for complex science issues, the media have chosen to be an extension of the militant Twitterverse. Even if you are just discussing courses of action, you are not allowed to deviate from climate orthodoxy lest you be labeled a science-denying heretic.

Perhaps journalists should spend more time talking to microbiologists.



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.  

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