Sunday, March 22, 2020

Coronavirus could help push us into a greener way of life

Yes.  A Greener way of life could mean losing your job, being unable to buy a lot of grocery basics and being unable to dine out.  Very Green

By the time this horror ends, it might have changed our way of life. Already, the coronavirus has achieved something that government policies and moral awakening couldn’t: it is pushing us into green living.

The nature of work, commuting and shopping changed this month. If that transformation sticks, then one day we’ll have happier and more productive societies, and we’ll look back on December 2019 as the all-time peak in global carbon emissions.

First of all, the pandemic may show that offices are an outdated way to organise work. This is something I have suspected since my three-year office experience in the 1990s. I was amazed at the inefficiency of the set-up: people spent much of the day distracting each other by gossiping, flirting, bitching about the boss or complaining about that morning’s commute. I’ve worked happily alone for 22 years now.

Offices exist largely so that bosses can check whether workers are doing the work (or at least putting in face-time). But nowadays, data can do much of the monitoring. Meanwhile, improved workplace software such as Slack and Zoom lets employees collaborate from home.

The tech may actually outperform real life: a professor who has hurriedly learnt Zoom told me he liked the way the software can instantly create small break-out groups of students to work on a problem. In an auditorium, everyone has to pack their bags, find a room and grab a coffee on the way.

Now that entire countries are learning to work from their bedrooms, many employers may end up concluding that they can ditch expensive office space. That wouldn’t merely reduce emissions, and liberate metropolitan workers from ghastly commutes (the daily round trip averages well over an hour in cities such as New York, Chicago and London).

The shift would also reduce urban house prices, as some offices get converted into homes, and some workers are freed to leave the city. In the next year or two, virtual-reality software will let the boss (or at least the boss’s avatar) step into underlings’ home-offices to root out shirking.

In short, work could follow dating, shopping and game-playing in going virtual. That would make life greener but also more isolated. To compensate, neighbourhoods will need more communal spaces. Already the death of bricks-and-mortar retail has allowed coffee shops and co-working spaces to take over high streets. But we’ll also have to build more playgrounds (with some for adults), community centres and parks.

Another benefit: the pandemic may help stop the decades-long rise in business travel. I discovered last week that each time a trip was cancelled, I mostly felt relief. I know the benefits of business travel: the two books I’m currently writing both came out of meeting someone while at a conference. So did my previous book.

However, most trips probably cause a net loss of productivity. While you search for the one or two useful people to talk to amid the 300 carbon-emitting duds at a disappointing conference, you’re missing work at home. Moreover, most conferences feature a lot more wannabe sellers than buyers.

Nowadays it’s quicker to find the perfect counterpart on LinkedIn. As for content, well-made virtual conferences could be as compelling to watch as good TED talks or TV — and more so than the endless panels of executives talking their own books.

As for shopping, even before the coronavirus we were shifting towards a world where the shop comes to you. That movement just accelerated, possibly for ever. It’s much greener for a supermarket to send an electric van (or a cargo-bike) to 100 homes in a neighbourhood than for all those people to drive to the supermarket. Some could ditch their cars.

Even in the very short term, the green lining to this pandemic is surprisingly large. Air pollution kills about 1.1 million people in China alone every year. The fall in pollution during the country’s lockdown in January and February “likely saved 20 times more lives in China than have currently been lost due to infection with the virus in that country”, calculates Marshall Burke of Stanford University’s Department of Earth System Science. He adds: “The fact that disruption of this magnitude could actually lead to some large (partial) benefits suggests that our normal way of doing things might need disrupting.”

That’s particularly true since climate change makes pandemics more likely. It expands the natural habitat of infectious insects such as mosquitoes, while reducing the habitat of animals, with the effect of pushing both into closer contact with humans.

Governments need to make good use of the current pandemic. Many states are preparing a fiscal stimulus. Donald Trump wants to bestow much of it on the carbon emitters that could go bust in the incipient recession: airlines, cruise ships, oil producers and his beloved hotel industry (which lives off travellers’ emissions). Forward-looking governments will instead prioritise green industries, while helping workers who lose their fossil-fuel jobs.

It turns out that developed countries (except possibly the US) can still do collective government-led wartime-style mobilisation. It’s a muscle we’re going to need.


Scientists Acknowledge Ocean Currents Not Slowing

Scientists are admitting ocean currents have been speeding up in recent years, dealing a stunning blow to ‘consensus’ climate science claims. For the past 20 years, climate alarmists and the alleged scientific consensus have claimed ocean currents are slowing down, causing harmful and potentially disastrous consequences, and that global warming is to blame.

In the February 5 issue of the peer-reviewed journal, Science Advances, a team of scientists documented the recent acceleration in ocean currents. The article, titled, “Deep-reaching acceleration of global mean ocean circulation over the past two decades,” reports “a statistically significant increasing trend in the globally integrated oceanic kinetic energy since the early 1990s, indicating a substantial acceleration of global mean ocean circulation.”

The article and related media coverage claimed global warming is the reason for accelerating ocean currents. This directly contradicts what they have been claiming for the past two decades.

Climate alarmists have long stated their computer models have consistently predicted global warming would slow down the ocean currents. Hollywood presented the slowdown theory, along with predicted catastrophic consequences, in the 2004 movie, The Day After Tomorrow.

A December 2009 Scientific American article observed, “Most climate change models predict global warming will slow these flows, in part by altering a key component of the Atlantic’s circulation, called deep-water formation.”

The 2009 Scientific American article reported scientists believe a slowdown in ocean currents “will alter African and Indian monsoon rainfall as well as hurricane patterns in the South Atlantic, resulting in ‘a profound impact on the global climate system.’”

Even very recently, alarmists have been repeating, and sensationalizing, their claims of an ocean current slowdown. National Public Radio (NPR) published an article in April 2018 titled, “Atlantic Ocean Current Slows Down To 1,000-Year Low, Studies Show.” The article claimed melting ice from Greenland was the culprit.

The NPR article quoted University College London geologist David Thornally claiming, “The only thing we really can do is obviously try and prevent global warming because that’s the root cause of why we think it’s weakening now with increasing temperatures.”

The NPR article claimed, “scientists agree that [the asserted ocean current slowdown] could have a dramatic impact on ocean ecosystems, such as coral reefs and deep-sea sponge grounds.”

Business Insider published a May 2019 article making similar claims. The article, titled, “The film ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ foretold a real and troubling trend: The ocean’s water-circulation system is weakening,” claimed ocean currents are currently moving slower than at any time in the past 1,600 years. The article quoted a scientist claiming, “We are definitely going into a world where AMOC [Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation] is getting weaker.”

Now, these same publications are reversing course, apparently hoping people will have forgotten their previous claims about global warming slowing ocean currents.

Scientific American published a February 6, 2020, article claiming, “Climate change may in part be spurring the acceleration, which could change how heat and nutrients are pushed around the oceans.”

The 2020 Scientific American article claims, “[M]odels suggest that continued global warming may have a growing effect in the future. More climate change may mean a greater strengthening of ocean winds, and potentially even faster ocean circulation.” This is exactly the opposite of what we were previously told models predicted.

Nevertheless, the topic of ocean currents consistently illustrates one truth – climate activists will blame everything on global warming, even if they have to reinvent history and their computer models in the process.


Cognac Production Sets New Records, Despite Media Climate Scare

I pointed out recently that the French wine scare was a lot of hokum

The establishment media is claiming climate change is decimating French cognac production, yet French cognac production and exports have risen for five consecutive years, setting multiple new records.

A favorite tactic of climate alarmists is to identify something that people enjoy and then claim climate change is destroying it. This week, alarmists are targeting Remy Martin, Hennessy and other cognacs. Cognac is a fine brandy produced from grapes grown in a small region in France.

On March 15, the UK Guardian published an article titled, “Climate change forces cognac makers to consider other grape varieties.” The theme of the article is that global warming is decimating the Ugni blanc grape, which dominates grape production in the Cognac region of France.

According to the Guardian, global warming is causing cognac grapes to ripen later, jeopardizing production. Also, “Extreme and unpredictable weather has blighted the region: in 2018, powerful hailstorms caused serious damage to 3,500 hectares of vineyards in the Cognac area. Hail and heavy rain also reduced the 2016 harvest, while 2017 was marred by frost.”

If climate change is decimating the Ugni grape and cognac production, however, you would never know it from the production numbers. Cognac exports rose last year for the fifth year in a row, setting new records. Exports account for 98 percent of cognac sales.

It’s not just cognac and cognac grapes that are doing so well as the climate modestly warms. Overall sales of French wines and spirits also set a new record last year.


Extinction Rebellion hopes to move climate activism online in wake of coronavirus

What do you do if you have a climate activist group whose basic strategy is to create a public spectacle but suddenly a dangerous virus is keeping everyone home? The plan for some of these groups, including Extinction Rebellion, is to move the activism online.

The coronavirus outbreak has prompted climate activists to abandon public demonstrations, one of their most powerful tools for raising public awareness, and shift to online protests…

A coalition of climate movements had planned huge protests around commemorations for the 50th annual Earth Day in April. Those have now been canceled or moved online. One group, Earth Initiative and March for Science New York City, plans to live-stream speakers and performers at an online event.

Greta Thunberg has also moved her activism online in light of the virus:

But not everyone is convinced the online activism will have the same impact:

Some experts, however, said reaching world leaders and the general public would be more difficult now as the pandemic shuts down large parts of public life.

“What you’re going to end up doing is amplifying within an echo chamber, which is really different from what the movement wants,” said Dana Fisher, a professor of sociology at the University of Maryland whose research focuses on activism

But Extinction Rebellion is trying to keep its supporters optimistic about online activism:

VIRTUAL PROTEST: Ask those who in normal times would have attended the protest to write a sign and take a photo of themselves (w friends and/or family). Organizers can print out all the photos and attach to cardboard to display publicly. For example, they could be laid out in front of a Chase bank or other target, possibly with a chalk outline of a person around it. Your group could also make a sign explaining that for public health reasons people are protesting at home…

SOCIAL MEDIA BARRAGE: people may have more time to be on a computer and post negative reviews of your target’s products. Organize a coordinated take-down of various publicly reviewed products and brands to apply pressure on your target.

I’m not convinced they are going to get the same level of public attention with this sort of thing, which happens online all the time, as they have been with stunts like digging up the lawn at Trinity College.

The whole energy behind Extinction Rebellion was the idea that the kind of climate extremism we routinely see online was entering the real world. Taking that activity back to digital space seems like a retreat. I suspect it won’t be as successful, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see.


Australian State poised for power revolution

This is all theory with no consideration of cost or practicality

QUEENSLAND has the chance to shore up the 32,000 jobs that rely on mining and energy generation by digging up the ingredients for renewables, a report produced for the state's biggest construction and infrastructure companies says.

The 2020 Major Projects Pipeline Report released yesterday by the Queensland Major Contractors Association and the Infrastructure Association of Queensland warns changing global attitudes and climate change represents a risk to the state's biggest industries. But it also says Queensland is "extremely well-placed to benefit from movements towards environmental sustainability and a zero-carbon economy".

"Queensland can leverage from its own natural and comparative advantages in the green economy including its world leading solar resources, access to 'next generation' commodities including copper, lead, zinc, silver, phosphate and rare earths to build new industries that will help drive down carbon emissions, and the development of new 'green' energy from renewable sources including hydrogen.

"Supporting the global effort to reduce emissions will benefit very important industry sectors in Queensland tourism and agriculture —- which are highly susceptible to climate change impacts.

"Increasing climate activism, both in Australia and globally, presents structural risks to traditional Queensland industries such as coal mining and fossil fuel power generation which directly provide employment to up to 32,000 Queenslanders, particularly in regional towns."

Coal tips $4.2 billion a year into the Queensland Government coffers in royalties, the report says. "Environmental sustainability provides Queensland with a massive economic opportunity which is potentially far greater than the fossil fuel industry," the report says.

The Queensland Mayor Projects Pipeline 2020 report shows significant projects such as Inland Rail, Gold Coast Light Rail Stage 3, Cross River Rail, Brisbane Metro and upgrades to the MI, Bruce Highway and essential water infrastructure developments are all underway or close to starting, but private investment is badly lagging and with it the 6600 extra construction jobs riding on megaprojects.

The report says there are 222 projects worth at least $50 million each across the state, totalling $50.6 billion in the pipeline from 2019-20 to 2023-24.

From the Brisbane "Courier Mail" of 19.3.20


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1 comment:

C. S. P. Schofield said...

"Extinction Rebellion hopes to move climate activism online in wake of coronavirus"

So, putting it with the porn and the kitten videos. At about the level of seriousness it deserves.