Friday, March 20, 2020

Banning plastic grocery bags spreads disease

Environmental virtue signaling and folly continues apace, the latest example of which is New York State’s ban on plastic grocery bags that went into effect earlier this month.

Count on at least two results from the outlawing of plastic grocery bags: increased energy use and environmental cost to produce more paper grocery bags; and increased spreading of germs from reusable tote bags at grocery stores, which is especially worrisome with the coronavirus pandemic.

New York last year became the second state after California to ban single-use plastic grocery bags, though there are some exceptions allowed. There are now approximately 400 local jurisdictions in the United States with such bans.

The primary reason for banning plastic grocery bags is to reduce litter, yet only 0.5 percent of U.S. municipal waste is comprised of plastic bags. Plastic bags are not biodegradable and can end up polluting waterways, but they are recyclable. It is axiomatic that litter is a bad thing, but banning such bags is still more harmful than positive. Plastic grocery bags also have a secondary use as garbage pail liners, carrying other items, and for various household purposes.

Rebecca Taylor, an economist at the University of Sydney, Australia, has studied the effects of banning plastic bags and concluded such laws increase greenhouse gas emissions based on the substitutionary effects of plastic garbage bags and paper.

The absence of plastic grocery bags means more paper bag usage, which further studies show is worse for the environment. More paper bags means more trees cut down to produce them, which requires more energy and chemical use in the process. Though paper bags are biodegradable, they can still end up as litter and take up more landfill space than plastic grocery bags.

In locations with bans on plastic grocery bags, Taylor found that plastic garbage bag sales sharply increased since they can substitute for the outlawed bags for groceries and secondary use. Plastic garbage bags also are thicker than the banned grocery bags, which diminish the erstwhile benefit of banning them.

Then there are the germs from reusing cloth tote bags for groceries in the absence of plastic grocery bags. Viruses and bacteria that linger in and spread from these reusable tote bags are a hazard to merchants and shoppers who touch items and surfaces that become infected.

A study by the University of Arizona found that reusable bags that were collected from shoppers were rarely cleaned from prior use and that “large numbers of bacteria were found in almost all bags.” This was especially true for bags that contained meat juices.

Compounding the risk is that bacteria and pathogens like coronaviruses can linger on surfaces for up to nine days.

Journalist John Tierney who writes for the City Journal summed it up well: “disposable plastic is the cheapest, simplest and safest way to prevent foodborne illnesses.”

This obvious truth seems not to penetrate those self-proclaimed environmentalists who are committed to banning plastic grocery bags and impervious to the boomerang effects.

The downside of the alternatives to plastic single-use grocery bags beg the questions: will policymakers reconsider the bans in place; or will efforts continue to enact new bans? Environmental religiosity is hard to overcome no matter how many facts come to light on issues including carbon emissions, man-made global warming, nuclear energy, or plastic grocery bags.

Plastic itself faces continued hostility from some environmental quarters for the growing problem of litter, particularly its baleful effect on oceans, but also for the simple fact that it is derived from fossil fuels. Plastic waste indeed is a problem – a crisis – but banning its use, especially for single-use grocery bags, is not the way to address it. There are other means underway to deal with the larger issue of plastic waste, as CFACT has reported.

The environmental cost of alternatives to plastic grocery bags should cause policymakers to resist further bans on them and to reconsider existing bans. More so, the spread of coronavirus and other bacteria demands the repeal of the bans on plastic grocery bags.


Fear of (everybody else) flying

Air travel worsens climate crisis – unless passengers are climate activists and wealthy elites

Duggan Flanakin

Just over a year ago, newly elected U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and U.S. Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) shocked the world by proposing a Green New Deal. One of its more controversial provisions was a proposal to build high-speed rail at a scale that would make air travel unnecessary.

In 2013, Elizabeth Rosenthal told New York Times readers that air travel is the “most serious environmental sin” for many Americans. A single round-trip flight from New York to Europe or San Francisco adds 2 or 3 tons of carbon dioxide per passenger to the atmosphere, she claimed. Air travel emissions are rising, because the volume of air travel is increasing much faster than gains in flight fuel efficiency.

The website Green Choices calls air travel “one of the most greenhouse-gas-rich forms of transport in existence,” and laments that the lack of fuel taxes on aviation fuel is a subsidy that makes air travel “surprisingly” (and unacceptably) cheap. In addition to carbon dioxide, air travel generates nitrogen oxides and water vapor that also contribute to the greenhouse effect. In the view of allegedly Green Choices, aviation industry growth is incompatible with efforts to combat climate change.

The European Union brought aviation into its emission trading system in 2012. However, protests from China, the USA and other countries confined that program to intra-EU flights through 2024. Transport & Environment, which bills itself as “Europe's leading clean transport campaign group,” claims the aviation sector has a climate impact that “continues to spiral out of control,” with “no sign of abating.”

Over in the United Kingdom, which just left the European Union and supposedly left EU climate doctrines behind, decades-old plans to build a third runway at London’s busy Heathrow Airport ran into yet another roadblock, as the UK’s Court of Appeal ruled that the runway proposal was “illegal” because it did not take into consideration the government’s own climate change commitments.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan and his environmentalist allies cheered the decision, which Heathrow Airport Holdings (but not the British government) promises to appeal to the country’s Supreme Court. Khan has long condemned the third runway plans, calling them “the wrong decision for London and the whole of Britain,” and claiming its construction and the increased number of flights it would allow would be “devastating for air quality across London.”

The much-needed runway would increase airport capacity from 85.5 million passengers a year to 130 million and increase annual total flights from 474,000 to 740,000. It would result in up to $228 billion in economic growth across the United Kingdom and create up to 180,000 new jobs nationwide – all at a cost estimated at under $20 billion.

Even if Heathrow ultimately wins the right to build its third runway, the delays brought about largely by Britain signing the Paris climate agreement will surely raise the price of construction, hugely inconvenience travelers, and postpone much needed revenues from landing fees and commerce.

The Confederation of British Industry in June 2018 had lauded the decision by then-Prime Minister Theresa May and her full cabinet to approve the airport expansion. But current Prime Minister Boris Johnson does not favor it. CBI Deputy Director-General Josh Hardie has said, “Our aviation capacity is set to run out as early as 2025, so it’s crucial we get spades in the ground as soon as possible.”

Those who hope we can replace jet engines with “clean” energy will be sad to learn that, while there are solar airplanes, they are slow (maximum speed 100 kilometers or 65 miles per hour), unable to carry passengers, and dependent on good weather. They also provide very narrow margins of error for pilots.

As Dan Reed explained in a 2019 Forbes op-ed, applying the Green New Deal just to air travel would devastate the U.S. economy, while addressing only the 3.5% of greenhouse gas emissions attributable to air travel. Severe cutbacks in air travel would eliminate many of the nation’s 700,000-plus airline jobs (average 2016 salary $86,000), and severely impact industry vendors, airports, cargo hauling companies, hotels, other travel-related companies, and all who rely on goods and services – including I would add flu and COVID test kits, cures and vaccinations for every corner of America and the world.

Such an action by the United States would also threaten U.S. dominance in aircraft manufacturing, advanced aviation and aerospace technology, as well as aircraft design and production, Reed noted.

Meanwhile, UN climate conferences involve thousands of activists, bureaucrats, politicians and reporters, who fly to distant places, stay at 5-star hotels and eat lavishly, while hectoring us average citizens about our travel and emissions, and devising new agreements to rule humanity with an iron fist. (Why do so many have to attend these gabfests, and why can’t they conduct these meetings via videoconference?)

Meanwhile, Prince Charles and his entourage of family, servants and security staff tour the realm and planet by private jetliner, to warn us that climate change and lost biodiversity are “the greatest threats” humanity ever faced. Former President Obama and his family and entourage still enjoy Hawaiian vacations.

Al Gore and Leo DiCaprio are (in)famous for using private jets, SUVs and limousines to get to climate events, where they lecture us lesser mortals on what we must do to protect Planet Earth from catastrophic warming caused by (other) humans (than themselves). Ultra-billionaire Mike Bloomberg tries to justify his use of private jets and helicopters by explaining that they are essential if he is to continue his global quest to eliminate fossil fuels (and fossil fuel jobs) and end the supposed climate crisis.

None of them have any intention of ending their private travel extravagances. They just think we should end our modest and occasional use of commercial travel. They’re not afraid of flying. They’re afraid of everyone else flying. Or more accurately, they don’t think the rest of us deserve the opportunity, joy or necessity of flying for vacation, business or any other matter. They are privileged. We are not.

Instead of airplanes flying overhead through the atmosphere – and landing at airports near urban centers large and small – they want hundreds of new rail lines, with thousands of miles of track slicing through forests, grasslands, farmlands and backyards, put there largely through powers of eminent domain, however much locals might object. (The trains would be electric, of course, powered by “clean, green,” intermittent, unreliable wind and solar power, and requiring vastly more mining, wind turbines, solar panels, batteries and child labor.) The impacts on property rights and biodiversity would be significant.

Meanwhile, in 2018 China announced plans to build 216 new airports by 2035, almost doubling the number of airports in that country today, to meet “the growing demands for air travel.” China had 552 million air passengers in 2017 and wants to connect its far-flung cities and people more quickly and efficiently. COVID-19 may have delayed those plans, but it will be fixed and will not “derail” the plans.

India has launched a truly ambitious plan to build 100 new airports by 2024, to spur economic growth. The plan will also double the domestic aircraft fleet and upgrade existing runways, many of which date to World War II. Just four years ago, only 75 of India’s 450 runways were operational.

These are important issues. But will air travel bans and a Green New Deal benefit people and planet?

As my CFACT colleague Paul Driessen has pointed out (here, here and here) the GND would require mining on massive, unprecedented scales. It would blanket hundreds of millions of acres of cropland, scenic areas and wildlife habitats with wind turbines and solar panels. The impacts on wildlife, biodiversity, living standards and human rights would be monumental and catastrophic.

For the USA to shutter its airline industry is highly unlikely. However, 67 Members of Congress cosponsored the Green New Deal plan, including Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Sanders later introduced his own (slightly scaled-down) GND to transform America – away from modernity and prosperity and back to the pre-reliable-electricity “good old days” when living standards were a fraction of today’s.

Meanwhile, climate and extreme weather patterns will continue doing what they always have: change. In fact, the worst of all possible outcomes would be a cooler planet, with less atmospheric carbon dioxide, combined with organic and subsistence farming. Biodiversity loss and starvation would be rampant.

Via email

Greta preaches many of the first Earth Day’s failed predictions

More than three decades before Greta Thunberg was born — the Swedish environmental activist on climate change, diagnosed with Asperger’s — more than 20 million Americans participated in the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970.

We now look back at quotes from Earth Day, Then and Now,” by Ronald Bailey, May 1, 2000 of the spectacularly wrong apocalyptic predictions from Earth Day 1970.

Considering the current doomsday predictions scaremonger activists are verbalizing about global warming that will result in the demise of civilization within the next decade, many of those unscientific 1970 predictions are being reincarnated on today’s social and news media outlets.

Many of the same are being regurgitated today, but the best prediction from the first earth day five decades ago, yes 50 years ago, was that the “the pending ice age as earth had been cooling since 1950 and that the temperature would be 11 degrees cooler by the year 2000”.

The 1970’s were a lousy decade. Embarrassing movies and dreadful music reflected the national doomsday mood following an unpopular war, endless political scandals, and a faltering economy.

The first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970— okay, “celebrated” doesn’t capture the funereal tone of the event. The events (organized in part by then hippie and now convicted murderer Ira Einhorn) predicted death, destruction and disease unless we did exactly as progressives commanded.

Behold the coming apocalypse as predicted on and around Earth Day, 1970:

“Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.”  — Harvard biologist George Wald

“We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation.” — Washington University biologist Barry Commoner

“Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction.” — New York Times editorial

“Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make. The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.” — Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich

“Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born… [By 1975] some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.” — Paul Ehrlich

“It is already too late to avoid mass starvation,” — Denis Hayes, Chief organizer for Earth Day

“Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions…. By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.” — North Texas State University professor Peter Gunter

“In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution… by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half.” — Life magazine

“At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it’s only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable.” — Ecologist Kenneth Watt

“Air pollution…is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone.” — Paul Ehrlich

“By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate… that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, ‘Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, ‘I am very sorry, there isn’t any.'” — Ecologist Kenneth Watt

“[One] theory assumes that the earth’s cloud cover will continue to thicken as more dust, fumes, and water vapor are belched into the atmosphere by industrial smokestacks and jet planes. Screened from the sun’s heat, the planet will cool, the water vapor will fall and freeze, and a new Ice Age will be born.” — Newsweek magazine

“The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years. If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.” — Kenneth Watt

History seems to repeat itself as there will be a disproportionately influential group of doomsters predicting that the future–and the present–never looked so bleak. I guess we’ll need to critique the 2020 doomsday predictions in the year 2050 and see if they were any better than those from the first Earth Day 50 years ago.


Corona virus is not a climate event
As predictable as the morning sunrise, we are hearing that the spread of the Corona Virus is enhanced by “climate change”. No proof of that for one, and for two it runs counter to the fact that life  THRIVED in warmer times. You have seen this chart many times so here it is again:

They are called optimums because life thrives more when its warmer. One may argue that a virus is a living organism, but the point is that in previous times if viruses thrived when it was warmer, plant and animal life which includes humans, thrived more.

Over the years, after studying all of this, I have made no secret that I believe the climate change agenda is a smokescreen for other agendas.  One of them is driven by the idea that there are too many people on the planet, using too much of the resources of the planet. This apparently flies in the face of the “be fruitful and multiply” which of course does not say be stupid and trash the planet. Then again, it does not imply that there is a set limit on what man can do with free will and a head turned toward the higher calling, something beyond the state.

Yet when I look at some of the statements by prominent people that are on the climate change bandwagon, I realize there is a link to population control. There is that word, control, the idea that one person knows better than another person what is good for the society as a whole.  Like it or not, Socialism/Marxism is not at all about equality for all but is a top-down form of government control where the vast majority of the people do not have a chance to rise into the upper echelon unless pledging loyalty to that doctrine. In essense the destruction of free will, which if you believe in God the way I do, runs counter to God’s gift of free will.

Basically it comes down to, you can make the choice vs someone else will make the choice for you.
But where is the evidence for this, I think a few choice quotes will make my point.

How about this from none other than Ted Turner.

Quote by Ted Turner: “A total population of 250-300 million people, a 95% decline from present levels, would be ideal.”

Now here are some real nice ones:

Quote by Paul Ehrlich, (former) professor, Stanford University: “A cancer is an uncontrolled multiplication of cells; the population explosion is an uncontrolled multiplication of people. We must shift our efforts from the treatment of the symptoms to the cutting out of the cancer.”

Quote by John Holdren, President Obama’s science czar: “There exists ample authority under which population growth could be regulated…It has been concluded that compulsory population-control laws, even including laws requiring compulsory abortion, could be sustained under the existing Constitution if the population crisis became sufficiently severe to endanger the society.”

Quote by Christopher Manes, a writer for Earth First! journal: “The extinction of the human species may not only be inevitable but a good thing.”

How about these:

Quote by David Foreman, co-founder of Earth First!: “My three main goals would be to reduce human population to about 100 million worldwide, destroy the industrial infrastructure and see wilderness, with it’s full complement of species, returning throughout the world.”

Quote by David Brower, a founder of the Sierra Club: “Childbearing should be a punishable crime against society, unless the parents hold a government license. All potential parents should be required to use contraceptive chemicals, the government issuing antidotes to citizens chosen for childbearing.”

Quote by Club of Rome: “…the resultant ideal sustainable population is hence more than 500 million people but less than one billion.”

Quote by Susan Blakemore, a UK Guardian science journalist: “For the planet’s sake, I hope we have bird flu or some other thing that will reduce the population, because otherwise we’re doomed.”

A wish for a flu to reduce population:

These are but a few choice ditties to make you aware that there is more than the increase of 1C in the temperature of the planet, for whatever reason, than meets the eye. An exhaustive list of quotes that will scare the daylights out of any rational (keyword rational)  human being can be found here:

I will end with the challenge I always do for people who have open minds and hearts. Don’t believe me, if it is important go look for yourself. Don’t believe what you are told. If it is important to you, you must do the research and come to your conclusion. That is what freedom is all about and believe me given the nature of what we are seeing today there may come a time when what you can look at will be out of your control.

Remember the words of HL Mencken:

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed — and hence clamorous to be led to safety — by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”, “The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false face for the urge to rule it.”


Earth Is Greening From Rising CO2, Expanding Planet’s Carbon Sink

Another of those good old corrective feedback loops again

In a break from the deflating global news of viral infections and rising death rates, a groundbreaking new study (Haverd et al., 2020) affirms the “beneficial role of the land carbon sink in modulating future excess anthropogenic CO2 consistent with the target of the Paris Agreement” via the fertilization effect of rising CO2.

There has been a 30% rise in global greening since 1900. CO2 fertilization is the “dominant driver” of these greening trends, with an additional positive contribution from climate warming.

When CO2 levels double (to 560 ppm), this CO2-fertilization-greening effect is expected to increase to 47%.

Growth in the land’s carbon sink – absorbing excess CO2 emissions – will reach 174 PgC by the end of the century.

This is the equivalent of eliminating 17 full years of human CO2 emissions.



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


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