Thursday, November 21, 2019

Climate Change to Have Harsh Effect on Children

You can count on the NYT to keep this arrant nonsense alive. Winter is the time of dying.  Warmth is on balance good for you

The health effects of climate change will be unevenly distributed and children will be among those especially harmed, according to a new report from the medical journal The Lancet.

The report compared human health consequences under two scenarios: one in which the world meets the commitments laid out in the Paris Agreement and reins in emissions so that increases in global temperatures remain “well below 2 degrees Celsius” by the end of the century, and one in which it does not.

The report, published Wednesday, found that failing to limit emissions would lead to health problems caused by infectious diseases, worsening air pollution, rising temperatures and malnutrition.

“With every degree of warming, a child born today faces a future where their health and wellbeing will be increasingly impacted by the realities and dangers of a warmer world,” said Dr.

Renee N. Salas, a clinical instructor of emergency medicine at Harvard Medical School and lead author of the United States policy brief that accompanied the report.

“Climate change, and the air pollution from fossil fuels that are driving it, threatens the child’s health starting in the mother’s womb and only accumulates from there,” she said.

Children are especially vulnerable partly because of their physiology.

“Their hearts beat faster than adults’ and their breathing rates are higher than adults,’” said Dr.

Mona Sarfaty, the director of the program on climate and health at the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University, who was not involved in the report.

As a result, children absorb more air pollution given their body size than an adult would in the same situation.

But unless nations halt emissions, air pollution, which, according to the report, killed seven million people worldwide in 2016 alone, will quite likely increase.

The burning of fossil fuels such as coal and gas also releases a type of fine air pollution called PM 2.5 that can damage the heart and lungs when inhaled. Exposure to PM 2.5 air pollution is correlated with health problems such as low birth weight and chronic respiratory diseases like asthma.

Research published in The New England Journal of Medicine after the passage of policies designed to improve air quality “shows that the children who grew up when the air was better quality literally had more functioning lung tissue,” Dr. Sarfaty said.

In addition to the emissions associated with burning fossil fuels, the report said future generations would be exposed to a growing source of fine-particulate pollution: wildfires.

As temperatures rise, wildfires are becoming more frequent in part because hotter temperatures dry out vegetation, making it easier to ignite. The smoke, like the smoke that comes from burning fossil fuels, has negative health effects.

According to the report, since the middle of this decade there has been a 77 percent increase in the number of people exposed to wildfire smoke worldwide. Much of that growth has been in India and China. The 2018 California wildfire season, though, when the Camp Fire became the state’s deadliest and most destructive blaze in terms of acres burned, and this year’s wildfire season make it clear that increasing wildfires are also happening in the United States.

Across the Western United States, the rise of giant wildfires has worsened air pollution enough to erode some of the airquality gains from the Clean Air Act.

“You have young kids escaping fires that are going to be, in effect, challenged for life,” said Gina Mc- Carthy, a former administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency. “There are mental health issues happening as a result of these climate events and fires and floods that children have never had to face, certainly not to the frequency and intensity that they have to face now.” The report said that there were many links between climate change and mental health, including the loss of property and the loss of livelihoods but stopped short of quantifying the impact.

Part of the exposure risk that children face is simply that they spend more time outside than adults. Coupled with their differing physiology, it makes them more susceptible to fine particulate pollution. These same factors also mean they are more likely to suffer from the effects of extreme heat associated with climate change; eight of the 10 hottest years on record have happened this decade.

The European heat waves in 2003 lead to the deaths of 70,000 people. “We know that climate change had its fingerprints there and that’s concerning,” said Dr.

Nick Watts, the report’s executive editor, adding that subsequent heat waves have “resulted in tens of thousands of deaths.” While many of those people were elderly, young people suffered, too.

As heat waves become more severe, parents and coaches “may not realize that the children are more exposed and therefore more vulnerable,” Dr. Sarfaty said.

A 2017 report that she helped prepare found that, in the United States, heat related illnesses were the leading cause of death and disability in young athletes.

This is the third time The Lancet has weighed in on the health impacts of climate change, but the first with a focus on children.

“It was our contention, both negatively, that the health costs were huge and underestimated.

But also, more positively, that by putting health first in our response to climate, there were dividends for both the public and for the economy in terms of cleaner and safer cities and healthier diets,” Dr. Richard Horton, editor in chief of The Lancet, said.

To that end, the report does contain glimmers of hope. Carbon intensity, or how much energy can be produced for each unit of greenhouse gas released, has increased.

And more cities are filing climate assessments detailing solutions that can be put into place.

But these actions are happening against a backdrop of greenhouse gas emissions that continue to rise.


UK: Climate change: Firms failing to tackle crisis will be delisted from stock exchange, Labour Party says

Companies that fail to act on the climate change they cause will be axed from the stock exchange, under radical Labour plans.

John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, pledged his government would ensure firms are “pulling their weight” to tackle the “existential threat” to the planet.

And he warned: “For those companies not taking adequate steps under Labour they will be delisted from the London Stock Exchange.”

Vowing to “rewrite the rules” of the economy to benefit workers, Mr McDonnell also insisted curbing the climate crisis would be “Labour’s overriding priority” if it wins the general election.

The Corporate Governance Code would be beefed up to “set out a minimum standard for listing related to evidencing the action being taken to tackle climate change”.

“If we are meet the climate change target to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels, we need to ensure that companies are pulling their weight alongside government,” he told an event in London.

And, claiming some support from the corporate world, he added: “Business bodies are calling for companies to improve climate related financial reporting and for all companies to bring forward decarbonisation plans.”

Earlier, the Green Party lashed out at Labour for dropping plans to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030, as a shadow cabinet minister revealed on Monday.

It said the decision proved only the Greens are willing to wage “a war” on climate change, with a £100bn pledge to end emissions by that date.


Climate Extremism In The Age Of Disinformation


Do the global warming wars ever change anyone’s mind?

I suppose there are a few people whose minds have been changed. As I recall, Judith Curry has said Climategate (now “celebrating” its 10-year anniversary) was her wake-up call that institutionalized climate science might not be all it claims to be.

She is now a well-informed and unabashed skeptic of the modern tendency to blame every bad weather event on humans.

While I’m sure there are other examples, the unfortunate truth is that fewer and fewer people actually care about the truth.

The journalist who broke the Climategate story, James Delingpole, yesterday posted an article entitled The Bastards Have Got Away with It!, James concludes with,

Climategate was the event when, just for a moment, it seemed we’d got the climate scamsters bang to rights, that the world’s biggest scientific (and economic) con trick had been exposed and that the Climate Industrial Complex would be dismantled before it could do any more damage to our freedom and our prosperity.

But the truth, it would seem, is no match for big money, dirty politics and madness-of-crowds groupthink. We’ve lost this one, I think, my friends. And the fact that all those involved in this scam will one day burn in Hell is something, I’m afraid, which gives me all too little consolation.

You see, it does not really matter whether a few bad actors (even if they are leaders of the climate movement) conspired to hide data and methods, and strong-arm scientific journal editors into not publishing papers that might stand in the way of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) mission to pin climate change on humans, inflate its seriousness, and lay the groundwork for worldwide governmental efforts to reduce humanity’s access to affordable energy.

The folks were simply trying to Save the Earth™, and we all know that the ends justify the means, right? So what if they cheated? Boys will be boys, you know. The science is sound, and besides, 97% of all scientists agree that…something.

The Roots of Polarization

One would think that the practice of science would be objective. I once believed this, too.

As a fresh post-doc at the University of Wisconsin, when I discovered something new in satellite data, I was surprised to encounter NASA employees who tried to keep my work from being published because they feared it would interfere with a new satellite mission they were working toward.

I eventually got it published as a cover article in the prestigious journal, Nature.

But the subject I was dealing with did not have the profound financial, political, policy, and even religious import that climate change would end up having.

Furthermore, 35 years ago things were different than today. People were less tribal. There is an old saying that one should not discuss politics or religion in polite company, but it turns out that social media is far from polite company.

From a practical standpoint, what we do (or don’t do) about human-caused climate change supports either (1) a statist, top-down governmental control over human affairs that involves a more socialist political framework, or (2) an unconstrained individual-freedom framework where capitalism reigns supreme.

So, one could easily be a believer (or non-believer) in the ‘climate emergency’ based upon their political leanings.

While I know a few socialists who are skeptical of human-caused climate change being a serious issue, this is the exception rather than the rule.

The same is true of capitalists who think that we must transition away from fossil fuels to wind and solar energy (unless they stand to make money off the transition through subsidies, in which case they are financially rather than ideologically driven).

Or, on a spiritual level, a human who desires to worship something must ultimately choose between the Creation or the Creator. There is no third option.

I find that most Earth scientists are nature worshipers (showing various levels of fervor) and consider the Earth to be fragile.

In contrast, those who believe the Earth was created for the purpose of serving humanity tend to view nature as being resilient and less sensitive to lasting damage.

Both of these views have equally religious underpinnings since “fragile” and “resilient” are emotive and qualitative, rather than scientific, terms.

So, I would argue it really does not matter that much to most alarmists or skeptics what the evidence shows.

As long as 8 billion people on the planet have some non-zero effect on climate — no matter how small or unmeasurable — the alarmist can still claim that ‘we shouldn’t be interfering with the climate system’.

As a counterexample, the skeptical environmentalist Bjorn Lomborg actually believes the alarmist science from the IPCC, but claims that economics tells us it’s better to live in and adapt to a warmer world until we have more cost-effective substitutes for fossil fuels.

For this stance regarding policy, he is labeled a global warming denier despite fully believing in human-caused climate change.

The Role of the Disinformation Superhighway

Baylor Professor Alan Jacobs has an interesting essay entitled On Lost Causes regarding the tendency for people to believe anything they see on the internet if it supports their biases.

He mentions a recent novel in which a high-tech billionaire, fed up with the disinformation he sees on the Web, concocts an elaborate online story that Moab, Utah, has been obliterated by a nuclear explosion.

He has CGI video, actors, witnesses, and an elaborate (but fake) social media presence to support the story.

The plan is to then show the world how easily they were duped so that people would become less credulous when digesting information.

But instead, people cling to their belief. Even after many years, the ‘Moab truthers’ claim that anyone who disputes that Moab was destroyed is a troll or paid shill. People could actually travel to Moab to see for themselves, but virtually no one does.


N. Hemisphere In Hypothermic Shock! Record Cold, ‘Historic Snowstorms’

Winter hasn’t even officially arrived, but already large areas of the northern hemisphere are seeing “historic snowfalls,” frigid temperatures, and even avalanche alarms.

The Northern Hemisphere has certainly caught a major cold, one certainly not caused by the human CO2 virus.

Instead of fever, parts of the northern hemisphere are in hypothermia!

Alarmists, media desperate

Though global warming scientists will never admit it, they are really surprised and stunned.

All that is left for them is to make up some cockamamie warming-causes-cold explanations and hope there are enough severely stupid among the media and masses to believe it.

“United States — Rewrite the Record Books”

Beginning in North America, “sub-zero temperatures are now blasting” millions of Americans following “the three historic snowstorms which buried parts of the U.S. last month,” reports weather site here.

Electroverse writes that “lows throughout the week will be more like January temperatures” with readings below zero for many U.S. states and “temps down into the teens are even forecast as far south as Texas.”

Yesterday, 97 records were toppled.

“It’s a big deal,” Electroverse writes in its headline. They also add:

“No, record cold & snow IS NOT made ‘more likely in a warming world.’ In fact, the IPCC’s line—until not that long ago—was that ‘milder winter temperatures will decrease heavy snowstorms.’”

Solar activity suspected

It’s not the sort of thing we are supposed to be expecting from a “warming planet”.  Some climate experts blame natural factors, like solar activity, for the cold, and that these warnings have long been known since the sun has entered a new period of calm.

Freeze watches and warnings also extend as far south as Florida. And it’s only early November. And don’t expect to see many FFF activists show up at rallies protesting hot weather any time soon.

Polar Bear Science site here also reports that the Hudson Bay in Canada has started freezing up earlier than normal three years in a row!

Europe starting to get clobbered by snow, 2m in the Alps

Meanwhile cold has also spread across Europe, though not quite as brutal as what we’ve been seeing across North America.

In central Europe, the Austrian online Heute here reports that “huge amounts of snow” are on the way for the Alps.

German site reports here of “new, severe snowfalls in the Alps” with “up to two meters of fresh snow are possible in places up to the weekend” in Switzerland, Austria, and Northern Italy. “This is good news for winter sports enthusiasts – but the danger of avalanches is increasing.”

Biggest November snowstorm in 40 years

Even global warming child activist Greta Thunberg’s Sweden is getting hard hit by extreme cold and snow. Electroverse reports the Nordic country is suffering “its biggest November snowstorm in 40 years.”

On November 10th, Mika tweeted that temps in northern Sweden fell 10 -34.5°C.

Most snow in 60 years

The German Ruhrkultur site reports how also Finland just saw “the coldest autumn temperature and the highest snow depth in at least 60 years” and that “the temperature in Enonteki√∂, a municipality in Finnish Lapland, dropped to 28.2°C on Tuesday 5 November.”

Deepening cold across Siberia as well

“On November 11 in Yakutia, the daily temperature never rose above −30°C (-22F),” reports the SOTT site here. “Some parts of Siberia were even colder: In Evenkia and the northern regions of the Krasnoyarsk Territory, the temperature dropped to −41 … −44°C.”

SOTT comments (sarcastically): “I wonder how much ice will melt at −44°C (-47F).

With all the early winter weather, it’s ridiculous to claim the globe is burning up. So it’s no wonder the alarmists have taken their climate ambulance to the far side of the globe, NSW Australia, and kept their narrow focus on brush fires.


Venice Flood Due To Climate Change – Only It Wasn’t

On November 13th, the BBC website carried an article about the flooding in Venice, quoting the Mayor Luigi Brugnaro. He said “Now the government must listen. These are the effects of climate change… the costs will be high.”

This latest flood in Venice reached 1.87 metres according to the tide monitoring centre. Only once since official records began in 1923 has the tide been higher, reaching 1.94 metres in 1966. The BBC article said ‘Photographs showed people wading through the streets as Venice was hit by a storm’.

Hit by a storm. Hang on, the mayor said it was because of climate change. Storms are natural events, so which is it?

A storm coinciding with a high tide is what it is, and they are surprised it caused a flood? In a city sinking into the ground? A city that has flooded multiple times before?

The BBC article also said it was a result of the highest tide in 50 years. Tides are a natural event, they happen every day, caused by the Moon not the climate. Unless we are now to start blaming the Moon for climate change? It’s also interesting to note that in February 2018 & 2017, after weeks of no rainfall, the canals in Venice almost ran dry. Did the BBC article mention that? No of course not.



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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

An omen of what the Green New Deal would be like

Alistair Pope

Permit me to recount a short history detailking the reality of life without electricity, something I experienced in Dubai during the massive power outage of 2005.  The reports that followed made light of the incident as just a minor inconvenience. It wasn’t.  Rather, and the reason that nightmare comes to mind all these years later, is the recognition that I was experiencing the Green Dream, the ordeal we will likely suffer this coming summer as a stressed and diminished grid falters and fails.

Dubai back then had just witnessed a decade-long building frenzy and commensurate expansion of the population to such an extent that the electricity-generating capacity was barely adequate until, one day, it wasn’t adequate at all.

I had been in Dubai for ten days and was due to fly at 2am flight for London. As I had a lazy day to kill. I woke at about 9.00am, not because it was time to get up but due to my hotel room being uncomfortably hot.  My sweat was soaking the sheets. Clearly we had a problem, so I called reception and was told that the air conditioner was off due to an electrical fault, but it should be OK in an hour or so.  As I was sticky with sweat (I am male, so I sweat, not genteelly perspire) so I had a shower — or at least I began to have a shower.  Three minutes into my ablutions the water stopped. I was covered in soap and hair conditioner, so this was a problem.  I considered my choices, and in the end selected Option A which was to towel off the soap and dry myself as best I could. Option B would have been to rinse with water from the toilet bowl, which I rejected. As I later discovered, the toilet would have been the far better option.  I will explain at the appropriate time.

It was not yet 10.00am and the room was stifling.  The windows were sealed, so no chance of fresh air (or jumping out). I sat down to check my emails.  There were plenty, but none of my replies were leaving my outbox as the server was down.  I was out of contact with the world. About 30 minutes later the battery on my laptop expired, so that was that.

I packed and decided to leave my bags with the concierge so I could go to a cool restaurant in a cool mall for a cool drink of cool water.  Cool was becoming an obsession

Once packed, I left the room and dragged my suitcases to the lift, which wasn’t working.  I was not surprised to find that I could not return to my room, since the door was electronic and my card no longer worked.  Using the emergency telephone (totally inappropriately) as it was still working (don’t ask me why) I implored the reception desk for help.  They declined, saying all staff had been allocated to other tasks.  She offered no advice.

Oh well, it’s not really that bad, I thought, as I dragged my bags down 10-flights of stairs to the ground floor. The stairwells were not air conditioned, so the temperature must have been 50°C. This attempt at resolving my checkout problem turned out to be a near fatal move, as the ground floor door was electronically alarmed and sealed automatically when the power failed, surely a serious safety hazard and trap in the event of a fire!

Going back up ten floors, or even a few floors, was not an option. The floor hallways were not accessible from the stairwells without a pass key, as they were for escape (allegedly), not inter-floor travel.  Anyway, I found I was not alone.  At least 80 other guests were now jammed into the lower stairwell and in the same desperate position.  The people at the front were now banging with a panicked urgency on the steel door, and the stairwell behind me had already filled with as many as were in front.  I thought I caught a glimpse of Dante and Milton in the crowd as we wilted in the hellish heat, sealed off from cool water and rescue by that steel security door.  To our great relief, it eventually opened as a tradesman of sorts smashed the lock. By then the stairwell crowd was 200 strong, and together we surged in a staggering mob into the “cool” 42°C lobby, where we each given a bottle of cold water.  All were upended immediately and drained in seconds.

I had a late checkout arranged for 8.00pm, but when I got to the counter after another hour’s wait in an ever-lengthening queue, I discovered no electricity meant no bill, which meant no checkout and no credit cards. I was luckier than most as I was carrying several thousand in US dollars, so I could pay cash. But how much cash?  Now I found out what the absent staff were doing. Equipped with keys that bypassed the electronic stairwell locks, they were climbing to each and every of the 30 floors to check mini-bars. Nobody was leaving without paying to the last cent.

My bill was compiled manually as I sat on the carpet, there being no other seats available as every single guest, like me, had sought refugee in the Lobby.  Again, I was lucky as after only another hour they called my name and presented me with the handwritten bill, a (now warm) bottle of water and some sushi they were giving away before it spoiled. We agreed on the amount, I handed over the cash, checked out, gave my bags to the concierge and went to find a taxi. It was just after 3.00pm, 11 hours before my flight was due to depart.

Once more I was blessed by fortunate, as I had a taxi within 15 minutes, the usual swarm having vanished, but I presumed this was because the power outage had made them busier than normal as people followed my example and headed for the malls. Not so, as I soon found out.

I thought of rejecting the cab driver’s demand for the usual fare multiplied by five, but as no other taxi was in sight and with more people checking out the queue would only grow, so I agreed to the exorbitant demand. I realised the transport situation could only get worse, so I retrieved my bags and told the driver to head straight to the airport, where I pictured myself relaxing in the Business Class Lounge.  I could even have a shower! This was becoming an obsession as my skin itched from the soap and sweat and I found it impossible not to scratch like a mangy dog.  There are only so many poses you can adopt before everyone knows your crotch is the worst-affected area in need of serious attention.

I had driven the journey to the Dubai Airport dozens of times so I assumed it would be only a 20-minute journey at most, depending on the traffic. On this day it was nearly two hours before the airport finally came into sight, and then half as much time again until we arrived at the departures concourse. The drive from the hotel had been akin to a scene from a B-grade mega-disaster movie.  When the power and air conditioning failed throughout Dubai — not just our hotel, as we had been lead to believe — the entire population piled their families into SUV’s, turned on the air conditioning and drove aimlessly around. Those who ran low on fuel were soon reminded that petrol and gas pumps also need electricity.

And a lot of vehicles ran dry. Cars were driven until they stopped and left wherever that happened, usually in the middle of the road. Entire families then piled out and sat under trees, or, if there was no shade, lay down under their cars. My driver chased some people out of their shade, doing ‘whatever it took’ to collect his fare, even mounting the kerb and mauling the painstakingly watered and nurtured grass verge with his tyres before returning to the road and squeezing between abandoned cars.  No traffic lights were working so each junction was clogged – they were by far the favourite places to abandon automobiles no longer mobile.  We finally made it to the departure ramp three hours after leaving the hotel.

It was now only 8-hours until my flight, but things weren’t about to get any better.

This world-renowned mega airport had no power either! No fight details, no check-in terminals, no baggage conveyors and, apparently, no flight-control radar.  Fortunately, the control tower could still talk to the pilots, so they were able to divert 90 per cent of the air traffic to other airports. Again my luck held because they had already printed a hard copy of the manifest for my flight.  As the plane was already on the tarmac they would be able to take my bags, write the flight number on them and manually load them on to the aircraft.  However, as no intercom was working I had to stay within a designated area from midnight while waiting for my flight to be called.  I was assured that it was ready to fly.

At the airport nothing worked. No coffee, tea or cooked meals were available and all transactions were cash, but there was nothing for sale, not even water. As a business class passenger I staked out a piece of carpet for a bed, rather than taking a spot with the commoners on the polished floor.  Although it was still daylight, I rejected the idea of going to the Business Class Lounge, as it was deep in the bowels of the terminal and I had thought ahead about what it might be like trying to find my way back to the ticket counter in the dark. So stayed where I was.

Darkness fell, but there was no relief from the heat.  One serious improvement was that I could now scratch my head, armpits and crotch like a demented chimpanzee, and do so without the disapproving looks of my soap-free non-traveling traveling companions.

At midnight, right on the dot (just as the airline had told us), my flight was called. We gathered in the darkness, where the announcement was made that the flight would be delayed until the next day, as the air traffic controllers were only able to use the inadequate emergency backup system, the main system not having its own generator (something they have long since fixed).

All water from the taps stopped and bottled water ran out about 02.00am.  Surprisingly, despite the 40°C heat there was no riot, no robberies, no bad behaviour and no violence (as in New Orleans after Katrina), just a subdued resignation. The possibility of deaths from dehydration was, I suspect, quite real.  Airline staff with torches did distribute bottled water to women and children, but I did not see any men demanding their places in this modern version of Titanic’s lifeboat drill and I did not ask for anything for myself, though I knew I was seriously dehydrated.

Sometime between 04.00am and 08.00am power was partially restored and a semblance of civilised life began again.  However, the authorities had to manage the load, so the airport air conditioning was set at 28°C — still uncomfortable, but better than 42°C.  Also, the recovery of power meant they were able to pump water the refill the water tanks, bringing the taps and toilets back to life.  The toilets were a major problem, though, as nothing had been flushed for the past 18 hours. The low-paid foreign workers set uncomplainingly to work in those appalling conditions.  No sooner had they finished than the toilets went out of commission again as a backlog of desperate people filled them up faster than the system could cope.

Time crawled in a slow, sweaty, scratchy torment.  Finally, at noon the conveyors and terminals sprang to life and real, energy-guzzling civilisation returned. It was reported that fewer than a dozen CO2 producing humans had expired in the heat, thus returning their carbon to the Earth and ceasing their polluting, breathing ways. Surely a poor result from the perspective of the green-minded, who seem to think the world would be a far better place were humans not on it.

Suffice to say that at 2.00pm we were bussed to the plane where I found the smell of my fellow passengers more than somewhat unpleasant.  No doubt the feeling was reciprocated, as I had been in the same clothes in fearsome heat for over 30-hours. Our departure then endured yet another two-hour delay as two of the plane’s toilets were blocked to overflowing.

It was only after we took off that the pilot informed us that the control tower was supplementing radio communications with binoculars in addition to the emergency backup radar.  He said it was the first time in ten years he had made a ‘visual takeoff’, but he assured us that, as only 10 per cent of normal traffic volume was trying to get into the air, there was no real danger. Oh, good.

My relative good fortune (I hadn’t expired from heat fatigue) continued on my arrival in London for two reasons: first, I had an EU Passport, so I was not checked by Immigration.  Those with foreign Passports did not have an exit stamp from Dubai so were held for interrogation Second, my checked luggage was distinctive, so I found my bags with ease.  Neither mine nor anyone else’s had been security-checked in Dubai. Heathrow management was not pleased by this and put every bag through their own intense security screen.  It took me more than an hour to clear Customs, despite having nothing to declare.

My nightmare glimpse of the Green Dream had taken me 54-hours ‘bed-bed and ‘shower to shower’.  I had red soap burns on my skin and my crotch was raw from scratching.  I note by way of advise in regard to our coming summer that, when the power goes out, the toilet bowl option I rejected should be embraced. As the Greens keep telling us, we must adapt to our changing  world.

Within a few years of my experience, Dubai resolved the majority of their energy deficiencies.  They have built a massive oil-burning power station and provided backup diesel generators to all essential services.  They saw the problem and took the sane, appropriate action required to benefit themselves, leaving the planet to look after itself – something it is perfectly capable of doing.


Cal EPA studying ways to sunset the California economy

California is about to take one giant step toward following Germany’s failed climate goals which should be a wake-up all for governments everywhere. Yes, you guessed it, our legislatures have authorized CalEPA in the 2019 – 2020 California State budget and Assembly Bill AB 74 to conduct studies and identify strategies to manage the decline of in-state crude oil production and decrease demand and supply of fossil fuel.

Germany tried to step up as a leader on climate change, by phasing out nuclear, and pioneered a system of subsidies for industrial wind and solar that sparked a global boom in manufacturing those technologies. Today, Germany has the highest cost of electricity in the world.

From Alberta to Australia, from Finland to France and beyond, infuriated voters are increasingly showing their displeasure with expensive energy policies imposed by politicians in an inane effort to fight purported human-caused climate change. Now you can add Chile to the growing list of countries whose governments are suffering a backlash as average people, tired of elites forcing costly climate policies down their throats with continuous proposals to raise public transport fares and energy bills.

Like Germany and a slew of other countries, California continues to make decisions based on their believe that intermittent electricity from renewable wind and solar will be the replacement to fossil fuels to run the 5th largest economy in the world. Like Germany, this has come at a HIGH COST to Californians.

With its green dreams of an emission free state, California has not even been able to generate enough of its own electricity in-state and imported 29% of its needs in 2018. The bad news is that imported electricity comes at higher costs and those costs are being borne by residents and businesses alike. California households are already paying 50% more, and industrial users are paying more than double the national average for electricity.

The future of electricity in California does not bode well as the State has chosen to not challenge the closure of the States’ last nuclear zero emission generating plant at Diablo Canyon, and 3 natural gas generating plants in Southern California.

The four upcoming losses of continuous generating electricity are:

1. PG&E’s Nuclear 2,160 megawatt Generating Plant at Diablo Canyon’s to be shuttered in 2024.
2. The 823 mw Natural Gas Power Plant at Scattergood in Playa Del Rey, to be shuttered in 2024.
3. The 575 mw Natural Gas Power Plant at Haynes in Long Beach, to be shuttered in 2029.
4. The 472 mw Natural Gas Power Plant at Wilmington, to be shuttered in 2029.

With NO plans for industrial wind or solar renewable intermittent electricity projects to generate “replacement” electricity in-state, especially with the huge land requirements for those renewables, there will be a need to import from other states. States with greater percentages of California’s electricity needs in the years ahead. And as you guessed it, more costs to the consumers and businesses who are already infuriated with high costs.

Could it be that our legislatures are also unaware that those unstoppable costs of more regulations, taxes and increased minimum wages targeted toward businesses are just passed through to the consumers of the services and products from those businesses? Those higher costs roll directly into housing, utilities, food, and entertainment if there’s any money left, and may be very contributory to California’s growing homelessness and poverty populations.

I know our legislatures want to sunset the oil industry, BUT imagine how life was without those fossil fuels before 1900 when we had NO militaries, NO vehicles, NO airlines that now move 4 billion people around the world, NO cruise ships that now move 25 million passengers around the world, NO merchant ships that are now moving $50 Billion dollars of products monthly through California ports, NO space program, NO medications and medical equipment, NO vaccines, NO fertilizers to help feed billions, NO tires for vehicles, and NO asphalt for roads.

Most importantly, before the 1900’s we had NONE of the 6,000 products that are manufactured from the chemicals and by-products from fossil fuels. Interestingly from each 42-gallon barrel of crude oil, half is for those thousands of products and the other half for the fuels to run commerce.

We’ve had more than 100 years to find alternative or generic methods to manufacture the thousands of products we get from those deep earth minerals, and to manufacture the fuels for commerce and the military. By nearly every quantifiable measure, we are better off than our pioneer predecessors because of fossil fuels. In more than a century we’ve only come up with electricity that can be generated intermittently from sunshine and wind.

When we look at what intermittent electricity from wind turbines or solar panels CANNOT do, we see they are blatant failures to qualify as replacements for the fossil fuels that produce those 6,000 products. Of which are the basis of our lifestyles and of our numerous infrastructures. With manufacturing more than 60 million gallons of fuels every day to meet the demands of the states’ commerce and nearly 40 million residents.

I believe it’s easy to understand that wind and solar alone are obviously incapable of supporting the military, airlines, cruise ship, and merchant ships. As a reminder just in case you’re still living in the pre-1900’s, without transportation and the leisure and entertainment industries, we have no commerce.

Imagine if politicians would tell voters that their utopian vision of a world run on solar panels and windmills is a fairy tell? But instead, they have doubled down to sunset the economy with legislature verbiage that pre-determines the outcome of the CalEPA efforts to study ways to decrease the size of the in-state oil industry that’s driving (no pun intended) the California economy.


You’ll Be Surprised Who Is Trying to Empower the Deep State at EPA

Some key House Republicans have chosen to support a Democratic bill called the Scientific Integrity Act. That nearly every House Democrat is a co-sponsor of the bill was apparently insufficient warning. 

Recently passed out of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, the bill actually has nothing to do with what one would reasonably think of as “scientific integrity.” It does nothing to ensure that federal scientists conduct legitimate science.

Instead, the bill is aimed at empowering deep-state scientists for the duration of the Trump administration.

In a nutshell, the bill requires that federal agencies set up formalized grievance procedures for federal scientists who claim they are being silenced by senior bureaucrats and political appointees.

Under the bill, the filing of a grievance would start a process that not only disseminates the underlying “science” to the public regardless of its merits, but also guarantees dramatic headlines of censorship and persecution.

Such claims of censorship are not new, but they’ve been greatly exaggerated.

Followers of the climate wars will recall, for example, during the Bush administration when NASA gadfly James Hansen ludicrously claimed the Bush administration tried to silence him. The truth is that Hansen had been talking to anyone who would listen to him, without any government interference.

Of course, the government has every right to rein in faulty, ideologically-driven science when it occurs. This year, for instance, the White House blocked a State Department intelligence employee from testifying about climate change and national security.

The media was appalled, but they conveniently overlooked the fact that a prominent scientist on the National Security Council staff had fact-checked the State Department employee’s testimony and found it in error.

Such oversight is important. The Scientific Integrity Act, however, would basically make it illegal for federal agencies to exert any control over the scientists that work for them.

The House Science Committee’s ranking member, Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., succeeded in mildly amending the bill so that “aggrieved” federal scientists can’t go straight to the media, but instead would have to follow agency procedures in doing so.

Having accomplished little, Lucas then rolled over and said, “With the adoption of my amendment, I will support passage of the bill and encourage all my colleagues to do so.”

Lucas and five other Republicans joined Democrats in voting for the bill.

House Democrats, of course, don’t need the support of Republicans to pass bills out of committee and bring them to the floor. But Lucas and the other Republicans he convinced to support him now make the bill “bipartisan.”

Besides aiding and abetting the Resistance against the Trump administration—which is supposed to be in charge of federal employees—the bill also allows Democrats to pose as the party of federal scientific integrity.

This does not comport with reality.

The Environmental Protection Agency has protected faulty science in the past. For example, during the Clinton, Bush, and Obama years, the EPA allowed taxpayer-funded scientists to hide scientific data on air quality research from Congress and independent scientists.

This data was then used by the Obama administration in its junk science-fueled war on coal, the principal cause of the coal industry losing about 94% of its market value between 2011 and 2016.

During the three previous Congresses, Republicans passed (with no Democratic support) a bill that would have prohibited the EPA from using such “secret science” as the basis for regulation. But without a filibuster-proof majority, they couldn’t pass the bill out of the Senate.

Since passing such a bill is hopeless for now, the Trump administration is trying to ban the use of secret science through an EPA executive action. But Democrats are again opposing the effort.

While House Science Committee Chair Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, acknowledges that the proposed rule would require the EPA to “rely only on scientific studies that are reproducible from the data that is publicly released,” she nonetheless called the bill an “insidious” effort to “cripple” the EPA.

Inevitably, the science put out by the EPA and other agencies is going to be politicized. The goal should be to have a process that allows for both free scientific inquiry and proper oversight. The fact is there are some rogue, ideologically-driven scientists in the government who need to be kept in check.

If Republicans are going to support something called the “Scientific Integrity Act,” they should ensure that such a bill makes at least some actual progress toward that goal. This bill falls way short.


The IPCC contradicts the Climate Emergency

Here is a recent screaming statement of the supposed climate change emergency: “Trump’s greatest dereliction of duty – – his disgraceful denial of climate change” in the Washington Post.

This alarmist diatribe says: “At a time when the international scientific community has concluded that we have 11 years to avert the worst of climate change, Trump and his Republican allies are working to intensify the threat, not deter it. A more egregious dereliction of duty is impossible to imagine. Trump’s denial mirrors the story of Nero fiddling while Rome burns. Like Nero, Trump is helping set the flames. Democrats are raising the alarm. The contrast cannot be clearer.”

Here is the wildly false claim: “At a time when the international scientific community has concluded that we have 11 years to avert the worst of climate change…” This claim occurs repeatedly in emergency declarations.

This false claim refers to the IPCC SR15 report issued in October 2018. What the IPCC really said was we have the 12 years until 2030 to prevent the small difference in impact between 1.5 degrees of total warming and 2.0 degrees. With one degree already done this is just the difference between 0.5 degrees of new warming and 1.0 degrees. The question only came up because both targets are mentioned in the Paris Accord. The question thus arises, what difference this difference makes?

According to the IPCC this difference in impact is very small. It is certainly not “the worst of climate change” as the Post and other alarmists repeatedly claim.

Proponents of the climate emergency scare often cite last year’s IPCC SR15 report as their scientific basis, but it is no such thing. The widely proclaimed 12 year deadline is just for holding warming to 1.5 degrees, which the IPCC says is almost impossible. The IPCC numbers also say that exceeding that warming is in no way catastrophic. The difference between the impact of 1.5 degrees of total warming (just 0.5 degrees of new warming) and 2.0 degrees is tiny. Thus, the IPCC report actually contradicts the unfounded claim of a climate emergency.

Here is an example from the SR15 Summary for Policy Makers: “Temperature extremes on land are projected to warm more than GMST: extreme hot days in mid-latitudes warm by up to about 3°C at global warming of 1.5°C and about 4°C at 2°C, and extreme cold nights in high latitudes warm by up to about 4.5°C at 1.5°C and about 6°C at 2°C.”

Extreme hot days, which are uncommon to begin with, warm by up to about just one degree going from 1.5 degrees to 2.0 degrees of total warming. This is certainly not an emergency. It is probably not even detectable due to natural variability.

Note that the 3 degrees of hot weather warming at 1.5 degrees of total global warming and the 4 degrees at 2 degrees both include the one degree that is supposed to have already happened. Presumably, something like half of this impact has already occurred, so that is not part of the future impact emergency issue.

In short we are talking about just a tiny amount of impact as being the difference between 1.5 and 2.0 degrees of total warming. There is simply no basis for declaring an emergency in these IPCC numbers. There is nothing catastrophic in going to 2.0 degrees of warming instead of 1.5 degrees.

Note too that extreme cold nights warm even more, which is arguably a good thing. Given that extreme cold is reportedly more dangerous than extreme heat, going to 2.0 degrees might even be net beneficial. Richard Tol’s integrated assessment model actually says this.

The proponents of the scary emergency need to be called out on this contradiction. No IPCC science supports the climate emergency. What the proponents of climate emergency are calling for is all cost with no benefit.

The emergency is a fallacy.


Australia: Blackouts risk to force states’ hand on coal

Blackouts particularly likely in "Green" Victoria

Energy Minister Angus Taylor will demand tougher energy ­reliability standards in a move that could trigger legal obligations on major retailers in some states, including Victoria, to source more power from coal, gas and hydro.

The intervention comes with the market regulator already warning of blackouts this summer in Victoria, which is under pressure to meet the current standard and will likely be forced to again seek emergency reserves during periods of high demand, with 1.3 million households forecast to be at risk of power outages.

Mr Taylor told The Australian that he would be asking for agreement on the tougher standards at a Council of Australian Governments meeting of his state and territory counterparts on Friday.

Victoria, which has placed a strong focus on renewables, has said it would agree to revised standards but wants to include a strategic reserve. The federal government claims this would risk pushing up prices.

Mr Taylor said the current reliability standard was too weak.

According to the Australian Energy Market Operator, under a revised standard Victoria would have a capacity shortfall of more than 435MW — the equivalent of a new gas-fired power plant — triggering a mechanism called the retail reliability obligation (RRO), which requires retail electricity companies to hold contracts or ­invest in generation to maintain reliability. South Australia is also likely to suffer supply issues this summer although it has moved to increase gas generation following statewide blackouts in 2017.

“As an energy minister with a strong focus on reliability and the price impacts of a shortage of ­reliable generation, I can tell you my tolerance is tested,” Mr Taylor will say in a speech to an energy summit in Sydney on Tuesday.

“Over the last year, my view has hardened. My view is that we haven’t got the reliability standard right. The system inherently ­accepts too much risk and relies on too many contingencies.

“In addition, given shortages in supply in many states at crucial times, well-targeted supply should reduce prices. I think we need to strengthen the standards, and quite likely trigger the RRO in a number of jurisdictions. In a world of limited resources, it is clear that Victoria is a state that needs the most reliable investment.

“SA has obviously had challenges but is now on track to recovery, and we’re seeing that in their falling prices. It is also clear that NSW, if not managed properly, could have gone down the wrong path.”

Mr Taylor repeated his claims that the problem was “starkest in Victoria” and said its shortfalls could have national flow-on effects.

He accused Victoria of seeking to blame others for its problems and said the Andrews Labor government had failed to replace ageing infrastructure and address price and reliability issues.

The AEMO had already warned that Victoria was not expected to meet reliability standard this summer. “Most announced new-generation projects are variable renewable energy generators, which often do not generate at full capacity during peak demand or may be positioned in a congested part of the network,” it said. “While providing significant extra energy during many hours of the year, these projects are forecast to only make a limited contribution to meeting demand during peak hours.”



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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Tuesday, November 19, 2019

The Electric Car Fantasy

Hilariously unmentioned is that in a NY winter you will be able to drive electric cars only a small distance.  Winter heating gulps a huge amount of battery power, leaving a much reduced capacity to move the car.  So unless you have a very short commute, you will need a combustion car to get to work in winter. Fun!  A two car family is going to have a new meaning

And let me not mention congestion at charging stations.  Are you looking forward to waiting for half and hour while the guy in front of you charges up?

Greenie ideas are unbelievably dumb

Senator Chuck Schumer’s ambitious proposal bucks basic economics—and science.

New York Senator Chuck Schumer has promised that if Democrats win the Senate in 2020, they’ll pass a law requiring that every car in America be electric by 2040. Chinese policymakers must be celebrating, because China makes the majority of the world’s batteries and has the most new battery factories under construction.

The Chinese will need someone to buy all those batteries. This past summer, when China abandoned subsidies for electric vehicles (EVs), sales collapsed. China’s plan now is to require automakers to produce EVs, but at a paltry 3 percent to 4 percent of output. Perhaps Beijing will ultimately increase the allocation, but truly revolutionary technologies never require governments to order their adoption. As for Schumer’s plan, it will fail on every front—including saving China’s battery industry.

Let’s start with what consumers want. SUVs and pickups now account for 70 percent of all vehicles purchased. Most people, it seems, like big vehicles. The minority who buy purely for economy choose small cars with gasoline engines. This option, by the way, puts less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than a Tesla.

Consumers are price-sensitive in every category, a reality that politicians ignore at their peril. Batteries add about $12,000 to the cost of small and midsize cars. That’s meaningful for all consumers but the 1 percent. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, automobiles constitute the most expensive category of consumables for the average household, costing twice that of health care. (Housing is the biggest expense, but that’s not a consumable.) A recent McKinsey analysis suggests that automakers could “decontent” EVs to cut costs—that is, take out the extra features that every salesman knows are what sells cars.

Setting aside details like cost and features, the key claim is that widespread use of EVs will reduce global carbon-dioxide emissions—except that it won’t, at least not meaningfully. First, it bears noting that regardless of Washington’s creative accounting, the all-EV-option would entail at least a $2 trillion cost to America’s economy, just in higher car costs. Then, simple arithmetic shows that this option wouldn’t even eliminate 8 percent of world oil demand. And the impact on global carbon-dioxide emissions would be even smaller.

Why? It takes energy—the equivalent of 80 to 300 barrels of oil—to fabricate a battery that can hold energy equal to one barrel. Thus, energy used to make batteries brings a carbon “debt” to EVs which, depending on where the factories are located, greatly diminishes, or even cancels out, emissions saved by not burning oil.

None of this changes the fact that, for the first time in a century, EVs are exciting options for niche markets. Credit for that goes to the three scientists who received the 2019 Nobel Prize in chemistry for inventing the lithium battery—and to Elon Musk.

If Teslas weren’t well-designed and appealing, even subsidies wouldn’t have enticed well-heeled buyers. Nor would every automaker be trying to compete. But for perspective on sales adoption in niche markets: even Tesla’s impressive cumulative total of over 500,000 sold in the six years after its introduction was eclipsed by the Ford Mustang, selling 2.5 million in its first six years.

The reality: there’s no stroke-of-a-pen way to change energy use radically for mainstream cars, 100 million of which are purchased every six years in America. And, as the International Energy Agency notes, efficiency improvements expected for combustion engines will save 300 percent more global energy than will all the EVs forecast to be on roads by 2040.

Senator Schumer is looking for a transportation revolution in all the wrong places. New York City was the epicenter of history’s last mobility revolution, when citizens embraced the automobile, leaving behind the era of filthy streets congested with inconvenient and expensive horses and a fatality rate tenfold higher than for car passengers today. Changing the fuel used by today’s cars is no more revolutionary than changing the type and source of horse feed 120 years ago.

For a real energy revolution, policymakers should join Bill Gates in calling for the only viable path to a radically different future: much more research in the basic sciences. That’ll require different budget priorities, as well as patience. Someday a chemist or physicist may discover, for example, a way to make a low-cost room-temperature superconductor. That would really change the world. Such a discovery would mean that electrons could be poured into a meta-barrel as easily as oil is poured into a steel one. Meantime, if today’s electric cars were genuinely compelling, consumers wouldn’t have to be ordered to buy them.


Coastal NC storm shows fragility of solar farms

Solar goons and their bought-and-paid-for politicians (like Bob Steinburg and Bobby Hanig) like to tell you there’s nothing to fear from all these state-subsidized solar farms being erected all over the countryside.  A little poking-around by Currituck County commissioner Paul Beaumont is telling us otherwise.   Here is Beaumont’s personal testimony to his county board  colleagues which was supplied to The Haymaker:

Wednesday morning, September 18th, I was asked to come out and meet with a concerned resident neighboring the Grandy, EcoPlex Solar Electric Plant. The resident called because workers at the facility were wearing masks over their faces and she was concerned about her family’s health. After arriving, an additional two neighbors joined us. Their concerns consisted of:

How the facility had stood up to the winds during hurricane Dorian.

How flooded the site and the surrounding lots became, that the drainage was worse than before construction.

One neighbor had experienced electric arcing when using a sump pump. She was concerned that the damaged panels, which were lying in standing water, were electrifying the water.

Based upon the video showing the destruction of a section of panels during the storm, I called Michael Ali, (PE) in the State Construction Office. During the conversation I informed him of the damage suffered in Grandy. He told me that this was the first significant test of a solar plant during a hurricane in the coastal region and was alarmed at the damage I described, despite winds significantly less than “designed” wind load certification.

Thursday morning, September 19th, I requested that I be able to visit site to better understand how the damage was caused, and the extent the damage. I asked Ben if it would be possible to go out with Eric Weatherly and Bill News which occurred later that day.

In examining the damage, it appeared as though every failure of frame and panel was caused by the loss of the fasteners holding the system together. Nuts, washers, and bolts were frequently found by the failed components. The panels are attached by only four bolts; where two fell of, the remaining two were torn from the frame as the panels departed.

As of Friday, EcoPlex was waiting on the insurance company prior to securing the damaged sections or reinforcing the remaining sections; I’ve been told every time the wind blows, panel sections bang together.


Neither Eric Weatherly nor Bill News are qualified to contradict the obviously flawed certification by the EcoPlex Professional Engineer (nor permitted statutorily). Although the County has requested analysis and revised engineering, currently they may not be under a date of completion. EcoPlex is still permitted to install solar panels on the current frame system. For consideration of the Board of Commissioners:

Should a “Stop Work” be issued considering the design failed during significantly less winds than the 120/150 mph the system was “certified” able to withstand?

Should we require independent engineering analysis of the proposed solution as a second opinion?

Should a date be set for the revised engineering input to the county?

Should the Board consider a “Field Trip”?

There is a strong possibility the identical design was used in Shawboro.


NY State blows smoke to hide wind costs

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s energy agency issued a stern correction to an October 24 blog post in this space that said subsidies for offshore wind developers could cost ratepayers more than $6 billion.

NYSERDA, the state Energy Research and Development Authority, said my calculations (which were based on NYSERDA’s own data) were “incorrect and misleading.”

So I went back and double-checked. In one respect, I did make a mistake, explained below—but not in reaching the $6 billion estimate. In fact, the final price tag could climb even higher.


First, some basics: Wind turbines set for construction off Long Island and New York City can’t operate profitably under present market conditions, so the state must subsidize their installation and operation. In the case of two wind projects announced by Governor Cuomo in July, the subsidies will be collected by public utilities from ratepayers across the state—a form of indirect taxation.

The turbine operators will sell electricity (at a loss) into New York’s wholesale market. Over a 25-year period beginning around 2024, the difference between their revenues and a higher rate guaranteed by NYSERDA will be made up with money collected through “credits” that utilities must buy. The utilities will then charge higher rates to recoup that cost.

So what will this cost ratepayers? The wind projects were first announced months ago, but it wasn’t until last month that we got a glimpse of more specifics in a report filed by NYSERDA with the state Public Service Commission.

Based on the numbers in that report, my blog post included the following:

State-of-the-art turbines … have capacity factors greater than 60 percent. The contracts with Empire and Sunrise appear to acknowledge as much, since NYSERDA has agreed to subsidize up to 9.9 million MWh per year—reflecting capacity factors averaging 66.4 percent. In that case, at $25.14 per MWh, the contracts now “valued” at $2.2 billion in 2018 dollars would cost ratepayers $6.2 billion over 25 years.

Within hours of the blog post, NYSERDA issued (to a single journalist, not the general public) the following unsigned statement:

"The Empire Center’s calculations are incorrect and misleading. In back-calculating the annual megawatt hours generated by the projects, Girardin confused real and nominal values to create erroneous ratepayer impact metrics. NYSERDA’s calculations did in fact utilize the generation from the Empire Wind and Sunrise Wind projects as bid – with an approximate 50 percent capacity factor, as noted in the OREC agreements themselves appended to the Phase 1 Report. NYSERDA used an outlook of wholesale energy and capacity prices to calculate the expected OREC prices, resulting in an average OREC cost of $25.14 per megawatt hour (2018 real dollars). The estimated total OREC contract value, in 2018 real dollars, is $1.2 billion and $1.0 billion for Empire Wind and Sunrise Wind, respectively.

My mistake: NYSERDA said the “contract value” of the two deals totaled $2.2 billion, and I assumed that was the total cost of subsidies. I wrote that such a price-tag wasn’t consistent with other project figures, and said NYSERDA had likely low-balled the subsidies by underestimating how many megawatt-hours it would subsidize.

That assumption was wrong, however, because NYSERDA never intended the “contract value” to represent how much New Yorkers would pay in subsidies (in today’s money). The agency used an accounting technique to put a “value” on the contracts as though they were an investment. This valuation used a 6.55 percent “discount rate,” which makes numbers look considerably smaller in future years than just adjusting them for expected inflation.

For example, applying NYSERDA’s 6.55 percent discount rate, a 2048 dollar will have dwindled in value to the equivalent of about 15 cents in today’s terms. But assuming average consumer price inflation of 2 percent, which is the Federal Reserve’s target level, a dollar in 2048 will be worth about 55 cents in today’s terms. Applying a discount rate, instead of adjusting for inflation, made the subsidies look considerably smaller.

So for the purpose of figuring out what New Yorkers will actually have to pay, the “contract values” are useless because we don’t know how much subsidy they can expect to pay in each year. NYSERDA has assured developers they’ll get up to $29 billion, in nominal dollars, over the life of the contracts. There is, to say the least, a lot of uncertainty baked into these deals, which will still have New Yorkers paying subsidies beyond Andrew Cuomo’s 90th birthday.

In short, the mistake was in trying to deconstruct NYSERDA’s $2.2 billion figure: it was never meant to represent a serious cost estimate, but to deliberately mislead.

Digging deeper

For anyone interested in calculating the actual cost impact of the wind turbine projects, the most substantive number in NYSERDA’s filing was a $25.14 “average” subsidy, in what the NYSERDA filing labeled “2018 dollars,” for every megawatt-hour generated over the life of the 25-year deals. Taken together with the 9.9 million megawatt-hours maximum generation NYSERDA has agreed to pay for each year, that puts the total ratepayer subsidies at up to $6.2 billion in “2018 dollars”—which presumably means an inflation-adjusted value.

Even this number relies on long-term energy market forecasts and on assumptions about how much energy NYSERDA expects to buy from each developer in each year. NYSERDA hasn’t released details of those forecasts and assumptions. Thus the per-megawatt-hour average subsidy could be even higher than $25.14.

So why does NYSERDA need to conceal the actual price-tag of these projects?

Because, for one thing, the agency has put New Yorkers on the hook for more money than it publicly acknowledges. And because NYSERDA has good reason to conceal what is shaping up to be a very bad deal.

State blew up wind costs

The Cuomo administration’s approach to offshore wind has been primarily driven by political considerations. Offshore wind has a cult-like following in certain environmentalist circles, and the state zeroed in on it as a solution instead of weighing it alongside other substantive mechanisms for reducing carbon emissions (such as a carbon tax or hydroelectric power).

The bidding process for subsidies was completed earlier this year, in a seemingly rushed manner, before the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management could let additional companies get leases directly off New York’s coast. In fact, the Cuomo administration has vocally opposed a federal plan to allow turbines off the Hamptons in Suffolk County, where they could potentially be built at a lower cost than those now set to get state subsidies.

Cuomo’s stance artificially shrank the pool of bidders, and left just four developers able to submit bids. Only one (Empire Wind) actually proposing anything in New York waters—even as several other companies were asking the feds for permission to build offshore the Empire State.

And for those that could compete, the state artificially hiked their costs: Governor Cuomo last summer pledged to force developers to pay union rates during the construction of these and other renewable energy projects. He also, unlawfully, coerced bidders into steering work to certain construction unions that had endorsed his re-election last fall. These steps have likely driven up the project costs, and the subsidies needed, considerably.

The subsidy contracts themselves, with 25-year terms, are curiously long, considering the rhetoric from offshore wind proponents about how the industry will eventually operate without subsidies. New Jersey and Maryland, for instance, gave developers 20-year deals, meaning they envision profitable operation without subsidies during several years when New York ratepayers will still be subsidizing ours.

And finally, NYSERDA (and by extension, ratepayers) are assuming tremendous risk under these contracts. If electricity prices end up lower than NYSERDA expects, the subsidies (for which more than half the cost will be borne by people living north of New York City) will have to be larger. At the same time, the Cuomo administration may even be counting on electricity prices to rise downstate and decrease the need to subsidize the wind projects—which is yet another reason why NYSERDA should, but won’t, be more transparent about these deals.


Pseudo science by pseudo scientists

It’s not often that an opinion piece makes headlines around the world. But last week, a ‘viewpoint’ article in the science journal Bioscience did just that. ‘World scientists’ warning of a climate emergency’ featured the grandiose byline ‘William J Ripple, Christopher Wolf, Thomas M Newsome, Phoebe Barnard, William R Moomaw, and 11,258 scientist signatories from 153 countries’. While the intent may have been to give the impression that the scientific community had come together to sound the alarm, the article actually seems to demonstrate that there is no ‘climate emergency’ at all.

Much fun has been had at the expense of the authors – members of the self-proclaimed Alliance of World Scientists – and their puffed-up claims because it has been shown to be pretty easy to put fake names on the list, including ‘Micky Mouse’ (sic) from the ‘Micky Mouse Institute for the Blind, Namibia’. The headmaster of Hogwarts, Albus Dumbledore, also makes a guest appearance. The list of signatories was withdrawn at one point to allow for a cull of obviously made-up names.

But such leg-pulling aside, the real problem was that the definition of ‘scientist’ was so broad as to be pretty much meaningless. This was not just a list of experienced academic researchers in climate science and its associated fields — it also included biologists, geographers, social scientists, undergraduate and postgraduate students, and others.

Of course, anyone should have the right to declare their concerns about climate change or any other issue. But the implication of the article, as amplified through the media coverage of it, is that these authors and signatories speak with authority. They are the experts, we are the numpties, therefore we should all just shut up and pay attention to every pearl of their wisdom. In truth, the vast majority of the signatories are not experts on the issue of climate change, never mind having the authority to tell the rest of us what we should do about it.

More strangely, the article seems to demonstrate the opposite of what the authors claim. If we are living in a ‘climate emergency’, what would that look like? Perhaps it would be a state in which living standards plummet, food supplies run short and we live a miserable existence, if we even survive at all. So what does the article tell us?

The article helpfully provides us with a myriad of different graphs – what the authors call ‘vital signs’ – showing the changes going on over the past four decades. Human population is shooting up (graph 1a), but birth rates have fallen sharply (graph 1b). That means that people are living longer lives than before. We’re farming more livestock (graph 1c), presumably because we’re eating more meat (graph 1d). World GDP is rising by 80.5 per cent each decade (graph 1e). This all sounds incredibly good to me, but the eco-worrying authors call these changes ‘profoundly troubling’.

Global forest cover is down, says graph 1f, but the authors also admit that: ‘Forest gain is not involved in the calculation of tree cover loss.’ They counted the trees lost, but not the ones gained. Data compiled by the World Bank suggests the total area of land covered by forest worldwide has fallen from 31.6 per cent in 1990 to 30.7 per cent in 2016 – a fall of less than one percentage point in 26 years. Even the authors of the Bioscience study have to admit that the rate of loss of the Amazon rainforest has fallen sharply since the early 2000s, though it has accelerated a little recently.

To summarise, we have a bit less forest than before and the decline of the Amazon rainforest, with its considerable biodiversity, has slowed down a lot. Not a perfect picture, but hardly worthy of being called an ‘emergency’.

Energy consumption has risen sharply, which is surely good news for poorer people, but not much of it is wind or solar power (graph 1h). The situation with air travel (graph 1i) is truly exciting, with the number of passengers carried by plane rising by over 64 per cent per decade. Wow! (Again, this is one of those ‘profoundly troubling’ trends, apparently.) Greenhouse-gas emissions are rising, of course, but that seems a price worth paying for wealthier and healthier lives – especially when global temperature has risen by just 0.183 degrees Celsius per decade over the past 40 years (graph 2d).

Other graphs show that there has been some melting of ice in both the Arctic and Antarctic, though simply putting this down to rising global temperatures is tricky. Ocean ‘acidity’ is increasing, but what that really means is that the oceans are slightly less alkaline than before. The change is not huge at all.

Overall, it is clear that the world is changing. It is different to the way it was before. This raises some problems. But in terms of human welfare, the changes of the past 40 years represent the greatest, fastest leap forward in history.

What really gives the game away is the authors’ mini-manifesto for what we should do about all of this: stop using so much energy, leave fossil fuels in the ground and transfer resources from the greedy developed world to the developing world. They also say we should restore ecosystems (even when they are constantly changing anyway), eat mostly plant-based foods, reorganise the economy away from GDP growth, and control population. This, they claim, ‘promises far greater human wellbeing than does business as usual’.

In truth, most of these ideas are reactionary, a way to ensure the continuation and exacerbation of poverty. Such claims are an insult to the wonderful and profound achievements of science and human ingenuity in increasing human knowledge and improving lives across the world. These so-called scientists should stop taking the name of science in vain.


Chemicals in plastic could be harming our health

Groan!  This old scare has so often been debunked in the past that it is a pain to see it still popping up. Briefly, the toxicity is in the dose and the dose people are getting of these two compounds is regularly shown as too low to be harmful

Plastic is everywhere. We use it to carry our food, eat with, we drink out of it, buy our cosmetics in it and even cook with it.

While Australians have embraced plastic and its many uses, there is growing concern about what it’s actually doing to our bodies. has launched its series What a Waste to coincide with Planet Ark’s National Recycling Week, highlighting the impact single-use plastics have on the environment and encouraging readers to reduce their personal waste.

In September, there was a warning about the use of plastic kitchen utensils.

The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, which advises the German Government on issues related to product, chemical and food safety, released an advisory that recommended people limit the exposure of their polyamide utensils when dealing with hot food.

It said components called oligomers from plastic cooking spoons, spatulas and whisks could migrate from into food and be eaten.

While these utensils have not been proven to have negative health impacts on humans, the organisation said at high doses the compounds could cause adverse effects in the liver and thyroid.

It recommended consumers keep their utensil’s contact with food as brief as possible, especially at high temperatures above 70C.

There is also growing evidence on the impact of compounds found in plastics on fertility.

Dr Mark Green is a lecturer in reproductive biology and is studying the impacts of certain chemicals on people’s fertility.

He told that chemicals like Bisphenol A (BPA), which is used to make some types of plastics, is one of the most studied endocrine disrupting substances.

BPA can be found in takeaway containers, plastic bottles, the lining of takeaway coffee cups as well as polycarbonate (hard) plastics such as baby bottles.

It’s also used in the lining of cans to stop the food coming into contact with the metal, and is even found on the shiny coating of cash register receipts.

BPA is so common, about 95 per cent of people have detectable levels in their urine.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has decided it does not pose a significant human health risk for any age group, despite finding BPA at very low concentrations in some foodstuffs.

Other countries have taken a different stance. France has banned it and the European Union has removed its use in baby bottles.

The Federal Government did announce a voluntary phase-out of baby bottles containing BPA in 2010.

Dr Green said scientists had so far found a “strong correlation” between BPA and obesity, and recent research also suggests it increases people’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

There’s also evidence in fertility clinics that it may affects the number of eggs a woman produces, and there’s an increasing link to miscarriage.

Compounds such as BPA are considered endocrine disrupters and can “mimic” oestrogen, which impacts people’s hormones.

“We have gained a lot of knowledge and data on the effects of BPA from animal studies” Dr Green said.

“But we are never going to run a human study in which we expose people to BPA, as we know how harmful it is, which is why it’s hard to show causality, hence we can only show association.”

Phthalates are another class of chemicals for which there is a growing body of evidence to support detrimental effects on our health. These are used in soft plastic fishing lures, shower curtains, vinyl upholstery, adhesives, floor tiles, food containers and sex toys made of so-called jelly rubber.

It’s also an endocrine disrupter that may impact male fertility, including semen quality and the quantity of damaged DNA in sperm.

Dr Green said a chemical’s impact on the body might vary depending on how long people were exposed to it and how long it’s been in their system.

“It’s very hard to measure many of the chemicals that have effects on our endocrine systems,” he said. “Generally these can be at low levels in the environment but these levels are often high enough to have an effect on our bodies.”

Other factors such as exercise and poor diet could also influence people’s health.

“This area is quite hard to work in because we often study the effects of just one compound at a time, but we live in a soup of multiple environmental pollutants,” he said.

This is one reason why studies in different areas sometimes produce different results, as different compounds could be working with or against each other.

“If there is a mixture of compounds, it could be about how they work together to have a particular effect on the body and people’s health.”

Dr Green said these chemicals were so pervasive in our surroundings it was hard to avoid them, however he recommended people minimise their contact with plastic, especially if they were trying to conceive.

There are many simple ways people can easily reduce people’s exposure.

For example, people should avoid drinking or eating food out of soft plastic containers. This includes takeaway containers and especially plastic bottles, which he describes as “lethal if left to heat up in a car”.

“You are basically drinking water and a sizeable dose of BPA,” he said.

“Use glass or aluminium drink bottles; they are more sustainable.

“With a takeaway coffee cup, the lining is BPA, not to mention the plastic in the lid.”

However, looking for plastic products that are “BPA free” may not be safer as some manufacturers have begun replacing BPA with other similar chemicals that could be just as bad for us.

Avoiding plastic when possible is safer, while also being better for the environment.

“There are a lot of common messages around recycling or sustainability, but there is also the added benefit that it’s better for your health,” Dr Green said.

“It’s better for the environment and better for us, so why not do it?”


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


Monday, November 18, 2019

Italy: Venice ‘on its knees’ after second-worst flood ever recorded

The worst flooding in Venice in more than 50 years prompted calls Wednesday to better protect the historic city from rising sea levels as officials calculated hundreds of millions of euros in damage.

The water reached 1.87 meters (6.14 feet) above average sea level Tuesday, the second-highest level ever recorded in the city and just 7 centimeters (2½ inches) lower than the historic 1966 flood. Another wave of exceptionally high water followed Wednesday.

The flooding was caused by southerly winds that pushed a high tide, exacerbated a full moon, into the city.

Rising sea levels because of climate change coupled with Venice’s well-documented sinking make the city built amid a system of canals particularly vulnerable. The sea level in Venice is 10 centimeters (4 inches) higher than it was 50 years ago, according to the city’s tide office.

Brugnaro blamed climate change for the “dramatic situation” and called for a speedy completion of a long-delayed project to construct offshore barriers.

Called “Moses,” the moveable undersea barriers are meant to limit flooding. But the project, which has been opposed by environmentalists concerned about damaging the delicate lagoon ecosystem, has been delayed by cost overruns and corruption scandals, with no launch date in site.

Across the Adriatic Sea, an intense storm with powerful winds caused floods in towns in Croatia and Slovenia.

In the Croatian town of Split, authorities said the flooding submerged the basement area of the Roman-era Diocletian’s Palace, where emergency crews battled to pump out the water.

Hydrographic Institute Croatia said sea levels on Wednesday in Split and Ploce were the highest since 1955, when monitoring started.


Last year, global warming made Venice canals run dry

It's versatile stuff, that global warming

Venice's iconic waterways have run dry after no rain has fallen in weeks. A combination of high atmospheric pressure in the upper Adriatic, cold weather and low tides left the famous canals dry.

Water levels have been reported to be up to 60cm lower than normal levels.

The retreating waters mean gondolas and water taxis have been unable to navigate the city’s elegant canals.

It is the second year in a row that Venice's canals have been left without water despite being prone to heavy flooding several times a year.

A mix of high pressure, low rainful and low tides that are common this time of year have cause Veince to run dry
The Venice canals are running 70 cm below it's normal water level

The low water levels in Venice has caused transport and navigation problems

Studies have indicated the city is sinking at a rate of 1-2mm a year.

In 2015 water levels were as much as 28 inches below normal levels.

Tourists were shocked by the lack of water in the famous city.

Venice’s record low was set in 1934, when the tide was four feet below average.


Steel and concrete are naughty too

“DANGER. No unauthorized entry. Hot rolling in progress.” If anything, the sign beneath the dirty hunk of industrial machinery underplays things. When the 11-tonne slab of metal I’ve been watching emerges from the furnace, heated to 1300°C, it glows incandescent white. Then it zips along a conveyor belt, hissing and steaming as it is cooled by water jets, before a line of rolling cylinders press it into the final product: a sheet of gleaming steel.

For all that we live in the digital age, we still rely on hot and dirty processes like this to construct our cities, homes and vehicles. Walking around the steelworks in Newport, UK, I get a sense of the immense energy required – and this is only the stage at which the steel is worked. Making it from raw iron ore is even more intensive. In fact, the production of steel and that other construction staple, concrete, accounts for as much as 16 per cent of humanity’s annual carbon dioxide emissions. That is equivalent to the carbon footprint of the US.

In the fight against climate change, heavy industries are the final frontier. Decarbonising transport and energy is the easy part. Steel and concrete are different beasts. It is much harder to produce them without releasing enormous amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere. And yet if we want to reach net-zero carbon targets, we can no longer ignore them.


Climategate – The whitewash continues

This month marks the tenth anniversary of Climategate — the biggest scandal in the brief, ignominious history of “climate science”. So naturally, the left-wing media has commemorated the occasion with a series of articles and a documentary which could all have been titled: ‘Move along, nothing to see here.’
The most egregious offender was a BBC4 documentary, Climategate: Science of a Scandal.

This examined the evidence with about the same diligence and objectivity of Stalin’s formal investigations into the massacre of Polish officers by his NKVD at Katyn in 1940 and reached much the same conclusion: the perpetrators were completely innocent.

Not only were they innocent but, furthermore, they were heroic, wronged, and martyrly.

It began with Michael ‘Hockey Stick’ Mann describing his shock and upset on being sent a package of mysterious white powder in the post and went downhill from there.

The take-home points of this shoddy, dishonest propaganda exercise were:

The Climategate scientists were just decent, hardworking, nice professionals doing an honest job

Climategate was a last ditch act of sabotage by a tiny minority of nasty, devious, anti-science climate deniers. A “rearguard assault on climate science” as Mann described it

The document dump was definitely not a leak but a criminal hack — an act of theft against a reputable and blameless scientific institution (the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia)

Any nefarious conclusions reached by sceptics were based on a few cherry-picked emails which they deliberately misrepresented to make them sound worse than they actually were, notably the ‘Hide the Decline’ email.

The Climategate scientists were really nice — oh, did we mention that already?

The Climategate scientists shed tears, real tears, not only at the time but also looking back, ten years on, when remembering how they felt at all those death threats they (allegedly) received from evil, vicious, hateful deniers.

Michael Mann’s ‘Hockey Stick’ chart, far from being just about the most widely discredited artefact in the history of junk science, was in fact an “iconic” image

The notorious Mike’s Nature Trick email was not, in fact, an extremely dodgy and unscientific “apples and oranges” attempt to fudge the results of inconvenient proxy data by splicing on real temperature data. It was – Mann again – “an entirely innocent and appropriate conversation between three scientists”.

Climate science is entirely trustworthy and in no wise did Climategate demonstrate anything to the contrary.

“The modern period was likely the warmest in the last 1,000 years” (Tim Osborn of the CRU). So take that, Medieval Warming Period! Just like Mann’s Hockey Team had always hoped you’ve finally been written out of history…

George Monbiot never wrote this in the Guardian after Climategate: “No-one has been as badly let down by the revelations in the emails as those of us who have championed the science”.

He can’t have done because he appeared on this documentary as one of the star witnesses, explaining how totally undamning and innocuous those emails in fact were.

The Climate Industrial Complex, as we know, operates like a giant tag team. Which is why a compliant media was ready and waiting to give this complacent piece of tosh the favourable attention it didn’t deserve.

Here is Guardian reviewer Lucy Mangan. (I love Lucy: she is my touchstone of wrong. If ever she writes favourably about something — be it the wokefest travesty that is the BBC’s His Dark Materials, or the PC atrocity that is Watchmen — you just know it’s going to suck, big time.)

She begins:

Is it pure arrogance that makes laypeople think they know better than scientists who have spent their lives painstakingly researching an issue? Or a desperate insecurity that makes them unable to stand the respect accorded to experts?

Yes, Lucy. Amateur psychoanalysis of your ideological enemies is so much easier than doing basic journalism, like, say, asking: “Do the claims in this TV documentary stand up?”

Unsurprisingly, Lucy can’t even get her basic facts right.

She dismisses Steve McIntyre, probably the most rigorous and scrupulous investigator of climate science shenanigans, as “Steve McIntyre, who worked in the fossil fuel industry.”

Not quite, but I can understand why young Lucy made this mistake. The documentary heavy-hinted that this was the case by captioning him — in order, of course, to slyly to discredit his testimony — “former minerals exploration executive”.

Here’s a bit more Lucy, just because I think it’s quite helpful to see how the left are busily spinning Climategate:

It is a story we are now depressingly familiar with, and it induces the same incredulous rage. Beyond the trolls, who have their own revolting pathology, who are these people who feel justified to try to undo a life’s work? Who feel able to set themselves up in judgment? What have they added to the sum of human knowledge?

Yeah — denying deniers with their wicked denialism! How dare they criticise such giants of intellect and integrity as Michael Mann and Phil Jones!

Meanwhile, the Evening Standard — a London freesheet read mainly as a last resort by desperate commuters when their mobile phones have run out of juice — went one further, by attempting to discredit one of the true heroes of the Climategate story, the guy who actually broke it in the mainstream media.

The mainstream media ran with the story just ahead of the UN conference on climate change in Copenhagen that December. James Delingpole published a piece in the Daily Telegraph, headed “Climategate: the final nail in the coffin of ‘Anthropogenic Global Warming’?” —  “climategate” being a  term he had picked up from an Australian blogger.

Hmm. I like the sound of that Delingpole guy. So much so that I’m going to tell you more about his side of the story in a Climategate special article tomorrow.

Finally, the Financial Times — a rampantly Europhile rag, highly favourable to the crony capitalism which gorges, leech-like, on the Potemkin industry of greenery. So, naturally enough, it too had kind words to say about the BBC’s Climategate whitewash.

Measured, circumspect, cautious, these were unlikely men to be at the heart of a global storm of controversy and invective. Although in a sense, global storms were their métier. 10 years ago, the scientists of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia were accused of withholding and manipulating data after more than a thousand emails were hacked in a malicious attempt to deny their findings on climate change. Police investigating the breach classed it as a Category A crime, as serious as terrorism: the perpetrator was attempting to sway the decisions of nations on an issue of global concern.

The hacker was never caught, but this documentary rounds up other key players to lay out the instructive tale of “Climategate”. It did indeed derail the 15th UN conference on climate change in Copenhagen, convening just a fortnight after the leak. Even more significantly, it sowed doubt in the minds of the public about the reality of global warming. And it all began with a simple, elegant image.

Actually, that claim about Climategate derailing the UN’s Copenhagen conference isn’t true: it’s a misleading claim made by the documentary in order to muddy the waters. In fact, Copenhagen fell to pieces because the Western nations (led by then U.S. President Obama) could not find an accommodation — and vice versa — with the emerging BRIC nations.

Correlation is not causation; anyway, it ought to be obvious that all the delegates at a UN climate conference are fully on board with the environmentalist programme. It’s hardly as though the release of a few emails, however discrediting of the alarmist cause, were ever going to derail the climate gravy train or deter those travelling on it.

At the beginning I mentioned Stalin. I’m going to end with him too by recalling this habit he had of airbrushing inconvenient people and events out of history.


Australia: Sacked Captain Creek fire brigade sits idle as state burns

Bureaucratic nastiness at work.  The brigade commander used his own initiative to fight a fire.  How Awful! The fact that the fire was defeated does not matter to the fire service top brass.  Their control was threatened and their own pathetic power is what really matters to them

While two states burn, most of the 49 volunteer firefighters of the rural brigade at Captain Creek, Queensland, twiddle their thumbs, seething that the well-performed unit was disbanded just when it was needed most.

As he tells the story, first officer John Massurit shakes his head: “Mate, you couldn’t make this up. We are ready, willing and able to go but they have taken away our vehicles, cancelled our membership and deregistered the brigade. It’s an absolute disgrace.”

By rights Mr Massurit’s team should be out there with their weary colleagues, holding the line against the dozens of bushfires that continue to threaten life and property from the tip of Cape York Peninsula to the Shoal­haven region south of Sydney.

But the brigade’s celebrated ­effort a year ago to help save Agnes Water, on the central Queensland coast, led to a bitter dispute ­between the outspoken Mr Massurit, 53, and Rural Fire Service command. It came to a head when its headquarters at Captain Creek was padlocked on November 2.

Fourteen homes have gone up in the Cobraball blaze near Yeppoon, less than two hours away. How sorely the RFS could use the skills and experience languishing at Captain Creek.

Venting her frustration, veteran firefighter Gail Jacobsen, 58, said she was so disgusted she would never again serve in the RFS after more than 20 years as a volunteer: “We are not perfect but we are bloody good at what we do. I think their problem is that John is loud. He is very passionate. He says what he thinks and I don’t think they like it.”

The brigade’s second officer, Jim Greer, 57, said the RFS had been so determined to drive out Mr Massurit it was prepared to sacrifice the rest of the unit.

“Why they would want to get rid of John Massurit, I have got no idea. He knows more about bushfires than those pencil-pushers ever will,” he said.

The Queensland Fire and Emergency Services command overseeing the RFS is standing its ground, insisting on Friday that an audit of the brigade had ­revealed “poor behaviour, misuse of brigade equipment and poor ­financial management”.

The unit was deregistered ­because it could no longer provide “an effective, safe and sustainable fire and emergency service ­response”, QFES said.

The finding was rejected by Mr Massurit and his supporters at Captain Creek, a hamlet of 100.

At the height of the Agnes Water drama a bulldozer broke down, leaving its driver and a two-person repair crew stranded in the path of the flames. Mr Massurit damaged an RFS 4WD while getting to them. He then boarded a QFES chopper to direct waterbombing operations credited with halting the fire before it could break into Agnes Water.

Last December, Mr Massurit was advised by QFES that he faced a long list of misconduct ­allegations including causing unnecessary damage to an RFS ­vehicle, improperly commandeering a helicopter, lighting unauthorised fires for backburning, unnecessarily calling in “expensive” aerial tankers and historic misuse of the brigade’s finances.

He was disqualified from his leadership role as first officer. Eventually, most of the adverse claims were downgraded or dropped. After Mr Massurit challenged the fairness of the QFES process, independent workplace investigators reported in July that only three allegations had been sustained: the vehicle damage, that he “went up in an operational helicopter without appropriate authority” and that he failed to comply with a direction to leave a fire ground for fatigue management, namely his own property.

On November 2 a site meeting of the brigade’s angry members was told by a delegation of brass headed by QFES Acting Assistant Commissioner Tony Johnstone that they were being disbanded.

Police and other personnel were waiting around the corner to clear out the shed and drive away the two fire trucks. The gates were then locked.

Mr Massurit said he still had not received an explanation for the brigade’s axing at such a critical juncture, an issue taken up by Liberal National Party MP Stephen Bennett in state parliament and directly with Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford and the QFES leadership.

Mr Crawford said he had been assured by QFES that neighbouring brigades had been reinforced to cover Captain Creek. A spokesman for the agency said former members could apply to join other units in the area.



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