Thursday, September 05, 2019

Australian Medical Association declares climate change a health emergency

Warmists have been pushing this claim for years but it was always nonsense.  The bottom line is that winter is the great time of dying, not summer.  On balance, warming is good for you

 AMA president Tony Bartone says climate change will affect health by increasing the spread of infectious diseases and through more extreme weather. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP
The Australian Medical Association has formally declared climate change a health emergency, pointing to “clear scientific evidence indicating severe impacts for our patients and communities now and into the future”.

The AMA’s landmark shift, delivered by a motion of the body’s federal council, brings the organisation into line with forward-leaning positions taken by the American Medical Association, the British Medical Association and Doctors for the Environment Australia.

The American Medical Association and the American College of Physicians recognised climate change as a health emergency in June 2019, and the British Medical Association the following month declared a climate emergency and committed to campaign for carbon neutrality by 2030.

The World Health Organisation has recognised since 2015 that climate change is the greatest threat to global health in the 21st century, and argued the scientific evidence for that assessment is “overwhelming”.

The AMA has recognised the health risks of climate change since 2004. Having now formally recognised that climate change is a health emergency, the peak organisation representing doctors in Australia is calling on the Morrison government to promote an active transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy; adopt mitigation targets within an Australian carbon budget; promote the health benefits of addressing climate change; and develop a national strategy for health and climate change.

The AMA president, Tony Bartone, argues the scientific evidence is clear. “There is no doubt that climate change is a health emergency. The AMA accepts the scientific evidence on climate change and its impact on human health and human wellbeing,” he says.

Bartone says the climate science suggests warming will affect human health and wellbeing “by increasing the environment and situations in which infectious diseases can be transmitted, and through more extreme weather events, particularly heatwaves”.

“Climate change will cause higher mortality and morbidity from heat stress,” the AMA president says. “Climate change will cause injury and mortality from increasingly severe weather events. Climate change will cause increases in the transmission of vector-borne diseases. Climate change will cause food insecurity resulting from declines in agricultural outputs. Climate change will cause a higher incidence of mental ill-health.

“These effects are already being observed internationally and in Australia.”

Bartone told Guardian Australia the motion adopted by the federal council had followed an ongoing discussion among stakeholders, and medical practitioners within the AMA membership.

Health and medical groups, including Doctors for the Environment, the Climate and Health Alliance, the Royal Australian College of Physicians, and the Australian Medical Students’ Association wrote an open letter to all political parties in April pointing out the “significant and profound impacts climate change has on the health of people and our health system”.

The AMA president said the decision to pass the motion followed on from those events both domestically and internationally, and was “pretty much unanimous” internally. “I don’t recall anyone speaking against it,” he said.

Asked whether the current government was pursuing ambitious enough policy action to combat the risks of climate change, whichthe Morrison government argues it is, Bartone said “it’s really difficult to say because this issue is clouded in conjecture and conflicting reports”.

He said all of the political groups in the Australian parliament had a responsibility to move past the toxic partisan politics that had characterised the debate and find durable solutions to a difficult public policy challenge.

Bartone said the AMA would continue to assess the evidence about climate change as it emerged and update its stance to reflect the science.

The latest official data released last week confirms that greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise in Australia. National emissions increased by 3.1m tonnes in the year to March to reach 538.9m tonnes, a 0.6% jump on the previous year.

Emissions in Australia have increased every year since the Abbott government repealed a national carbon price after taking office in 2013.


Automakers’ Flip-Flop on CAFE Standards Kicks Car Buyers to the Curb

After advocating for the Trump administration to relax former President Barack Obama’s stringent fuel economy mandates, several major automakers have rebuked the administration’s proposed rule for freezing the mandate at model year 2020.

Now, the automakers are siding with California, voluntarily agreeing to increase the average fuel economy of their fleets to about 50 miles per gallon by 2026.

But what’s been lost in the administration’s tussle with California and the automakers is what’s best for the consumer.

Each time the federal government imposes more stringent fuel-efficiency mandates, Washington overrides the preferences of car buyers.

The market for vehicles is not one-size-fits-all. Some consumers value speed, size, or safety over fuel efficiency.

In order to comply with fuel economy standards, car companies must forgo designing a vehicle based solely on what consumers actually want. The regulations force automakers to produce lighter, less safe vehicles. As the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety clearly states, “Bigger, heavier vehicles are safer.”

To be clear, drivers value fuel efficiency. One of the biggest expenses for American families is transportation. Fully 95% of American adults own a vehicle and spend thousands of dollars annually on car payments, maintenance, and insurance. Gasoline is another significant cost.

Importantly, it’s not a legitimate function of the federal government to tell consumers how to save money or what attributes should be most important when buying a product.

The federal government could ostensibly save consumers money by forcing all automakers to adhere to one design, but that would not make them better off.

Forcing automakers to meet fuel economy standards increases the upfront cost of new cars and trucks, as it requires new engineering designs, spending on new materials, and changes to vehicles that automakers might otherwise not make, just to comply.

The change in the price of new vehicles has ripple effects throughout the new and used car markets. Higher costs price new buyers out of the market and increase the demand for used vehicles, causing the price of used vehicles to rise.

Higher prices in the new and used vehicle markets cause car owners to hold onto their vehicles longer, resulting in less fleet turnover, which negates some of the intended fuel savings and emissions reductions.

Even when factoring in monetary savings from greater fuel economy, economists have shown that there’s a net cost to consumers.

Furthermore, the estimated fuel savings are difficult to project. When promulgating corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) rules, the federal government projects gas prices several decades into the future.

While those price scenarios are plausible, increases in oil supply and changes in consumer behavior could drive prices down, and consumers would save much less money than projected.

When gas prices are low, there’s less value to higher fuel economy. Either way, the reality is that it’s very difficult to project gas prices 30 weeks into the future, let alone 30 years.

As Car and Driver notes, the Obama administration’s targets, “first drafted in 2008, assumed a continuation of record-high gas prices, a heavy adoption of electric vehicles, and could not predict a U.S. oil boom that dramatically increased domestic production.”

The bottom line is that markets are unpredictable.

No matter how well-intentioned or allegedly flexible a regulation may be, regulations do not appropriately adapt to the pace of innovation or changes in prices and consumption trends.

The federal government implemented fuel economy mandates under the false premise of imminent resource exhaustion. They are a relic of the past. Those mandates were not good policy in the 1970s, and they make even less sense today in an era of oil abundance.

Furthermore, proponents of fuel economy mandates incorrectly label spending to comply with the standards as an “investment.”

They argue the mandates drive innovation and create jobs. However, the reality is automakers are paying to comply with an unnecessary regulation, and they pass the costs onto car and truck buyers.

Moreover, regulations are not economic drivers or job creators. Spending money to comply with mandates results in an opportunity cost. Money allocated toward regulatory compliance cannot be simultaneously invested elsewhere in the company, whether it be on creating innovations for consumers or hiring more employees.

Both the regulatory costs and the opportunity costs harm the consumer.

Whether it’s clothing, food, or vehicles, markets work more efficiently when products are consumer-centric. The administration’s rule moves the needle in the right direction by focusing on the consumers, not the automakers.


Banned by Big Oil — Jo Nova’s Christmas speech for geologists cancelled by Woodside

So much for being “funded by fossil fuels” — they not only don’t fund me, Big Oil won’t even let me speak

It’s all sweetness and light on the Woodside’s “part-of-the-solution” home page. But a ton of industrial bricks are coming for those who dissent.

In March I was invited to present the FESAus Christmas function in December this year. They’re the Formation Evaluation Society of Australia, a non-for-profit volunteer organisation for Petrophysicists and Well Log Analysts. A niche technical club of experts. It was unpaid, but I was happy to help make it a fun and push some buttons. “Hot” graphs, cartoons and all.

But in June, suddenly it became controversial to make jokes about climate change. Committee members started resigning, and dummy-spit declarations were made that “a discussion about climate was stupid”. People were shaken. The chips were on the table, the members said “yes” but the committee was split. When decision time came, the key committee meeting was hijacked by an outsider from Woodside who turned up by surprise and darkly threatened that all funding or support for the professional organisation and all future speakers from Woodside would be withdrawn if that climate denier, Jo Nova, was allowed to speak.

It was Woodside or me…

So my presentation was cancelled, and by Woodside no less. What’s astonishing is the effort someone inside this 4 billion dollar revenue giant went to — to stop an unpaid blogger from speaking to a low profile, small technical organisation, with little, as in, almost zero, media influence.  Seriously? As if a group of experienced geos were at risk of being badly influenced by yours truly — there are people who analyze seismic logs and signatures of key stratigraphic surfaces for fun. Does Woodside think they need “protection”? Or is Woodside just running chicken itself? Scared of the Western Australian EPA, which is currently calling for submissions, and promising draconian guidelines that threaten to kill off the industry? Woodside need the EPA to approve all their new projects. Petrophysicists might be almost all skeptical, but some either work for Woodside or hope too. Woodside are the largest operator of oil and gas production in Australia.

When asked to put their objections in writing the Woodside representative refused. When put the test, they weakly said they objected to all climate change discussions. But of course, there were, and are, other discussions mentioning climate on the agenda and they’re not being threatened.

And the fallout hasn’t finished yet — more resignations may take place if threats from Woodside prevent an esteemed member of FesAus from speaking in my place and about climate change. I hear he is skeptical too. That decision is due soon.


Boofhead Booker Releases $3 Trillion Climate Fantasy

Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker on Tuesday released a $3 trillion dollar plan to combat climate change after several of his opponents released their versions in recent weeks.

The New Jersey senator’s plan aims to make the U.S. a 100 percent carbon-neutral economy by 2045 and combines two of his priorities, addressing economic inequality at the same time.

“As we address the existential threat of climate change, we must also confront deep and persistent economic inequality: the economy isn’t working for millions of Americans, with income and wealth more concentrated among the ultra-wealthy than at any time since before the Great Depression,” the plan reads.

Booker would earmark $400 billion for research grants for clean energy technologies and solutions, including “commercialization of clean energy technologies.”

He also plans to dedicate $100 billion by 2030 to programs already in effect through the Department of Agriculture that make farms more climate resilient.

Like fellow contenders for the Democratic nomination Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, Booker would also reverse the Trump administration’s permits to continue work on the Keystone Pipeline and Dakota Access Pipeline as well as rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement, which the Trump administration pulled out of in 2017.

Booker’s plan is $1 trillion more than Warren’s plan but much less expensive than Sanders’s plan which would sink over $16.3 trillion into fighting the climate crisis.


Australia: Melbourne council bans residents from putting glass in recycling bin

This is recycling that has lost the plot.  Glass is one thing that can easily be recycled. So glass recycling should be made easy, not hard

A Melbourne council has banned residents from putting glass in their recycling bins, forcing them to either travel to recycle the items or to let them go into landfill.

Macedon Ranges Shire Council has warned residents that if they place glass in their yellow bin then its whole contents will have to be thrown in landfill.

The council was forced to implement the sudden ban after the company behind Victoria’s largest recycling processor went bust.

Recycling giant SKM collapsed owing more than $100 million to creditors, and after a series of factory fires and government shutdowns because of stockpiling safety risks.

The shutdown affected more than 32 councils across the state, with Macedon Ranges Shire Council being one of them.

“Council has identified a recycling company which will process the shire’s recycling going forward as long as glass is removed and the other recyclables are not contaminated,” the Council said.

“Shards and small pieces of glass can become embedded in paper and cardboard in recycling bins and contaminate the other recyclables.”

In the coming weeks the council plans to install public skip bins around the area which residents can use to dispose of their glass.

But until then people that want to recycle their glass items will be forced to travel to one of three transfer stations in Kyneton, Woodend or Romsey.

For those residents that can’t make the trip or simply refuse, the council had one final suggestion. “As a last resort, glass can be placed in general rubbish bins,” the Council said.

The plan to remove glass from the mixed recycling bins was endorsed at an Ordinary Council Meeting last Wednesday.

A decision was also made to investigate whether to introduce a fourth bin that would be used for glass only.

Some people living in Lancefield are exempt from travelling to dispose of their glass as they have been provided with a special glass only bin as part of the trial.

Along with installing the public bins and introducing the glass bin trial, the Council also announced is allocated funds over temporary higher landfill costs and cover additional required staff and resources.

The Council will meet again in October to consider long-term options for recycling, like rolling out the fourth glass only bin across the shire.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

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