Friday, March 13, 2020

ESA Study reveals the 2019 “Horrific” Amazon Fire Season was actually inline with the 2001-2018 Average

Never has the phrase “don’t believe the hype” been so relevant.

Last year media outlet after media outlet pumped the horror of the fires in the Amazon: “The Earth is burning up – The Earth is burning up.” However, the latest study released from the ESA points to the fact that last year’s burn, although 70% up on the previous year, was in fact in line with the previous seventeen years of acreage burn figures.

“While forest fires are common in the Amazon, they vary considerably from year-to-year driven by changes in climate, as well as variations in deforestation and forest degradation,” the ESA wrote.

The 2019 fires triggered an international demand for updated information about active fires, most importantly in Brazil. However, these figures were never compared to the number of blazes over a longer time period, reads a article.

Using information from ESA’s Fire CCI project, researchers studied fire-ravaged areas in South America in 2018 and 2019, then compared the data to the annual average from 2001 to 2018. The report indicated that the total burned area in South America was roughly 70 percent more in 2019 as compared to the same period of 2018– however, only a fraction more than the annual average over the previous 17 years:

The study also highlighted the need to look at the long-term trends and historical data concerning the seemingly unpredictable and fluctuating nature of these areas as well as the role of fire, human activity and climate change within the Amazon.

“These observations show the challenge we are facing – the processes on Earth and in the forests are very dynamic … satellite data is essential to get a clear and independent picture in order to also understand long-term trends,” said ESA’s Earth Observation Program director Josef Aschbacher.

So, Brazil’s 2019 fire season was inline with the average for the past 18 years, with no significant trend implied — yet still, the world’s media used it to obfuscate and confuse, and bang the climate catastrophe drum.

Is there an agenda here…?

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ESA article here

Getting Serious About U.S. Nuclear Power

While concern over climate change has spurred popular demand for more “clean” energy sources such as wind and solar, it has also provided an opportunity to highlight a technology with benefits yet to be fully appreciated — nuclear power. Demonized by ecofascists, nuclear power remains the cleanest, most efficient, and consistent means of meeting the growing power needs of the nation. Currently, nuclear power supplies 20% of America’s energy needs, but that percentage could easily be increased, benefiting both the environment and Americans’ power costs.

Unfortunately, leftist politicians like Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have called for not only limiting nuclear power but eliminating it. Thankfully, this extremist position does not appear to be winning the day. In fact, under President Donald Trump’s leadership, America’s nuclear industry is getting a much-needed boost. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is now working to accelerate the development of advanced nuclear reactors.

Furthermore, as Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN) writes at National Review, “In December of 2019, the NRC approved an early site permit for the Tennessee Valley Authority to build a small modular reactor at the Clinch River Site, in my district in Tennessee. In 2018, Congress passed and the president signed the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act, which eliminated financial and technological barriers that stood in the way of American nuclear innovation.”

Both China and Russia have been aggressively working to usurp American leadership on developing nuclear technology. Allowing either nation to become the world leader in nuclear technology would be a disaster for not just the U.S. but the world. Notwithstanding the Sanders-Warren-AOC trio, an encouraging development is growing bipartisan support in Congress for the U.S. to refocus efforts on maintaining our world leadership in nuclear development.


Draining the Juice From the Electric-Vehicle Dream
Are “emissions free” electric vehicles inevitable? No, they’re not. In spite of the propaganda, EVs have big problems. They may produce more emissions in their full lifecycles, are far more expensive than traditional cars and trucks, create environmental problems with toxic batteries, and they make us dangerously dependent on China. Whew! Who knew? Not many people. That’s the problem.

Electric cars, or EVs if you like, are the future, right? They will be less expensive, cleaner for the environment, slow carbon dioxide emissions, and we will be more secure because we won’t be so dependent on oil. These are the things we are being told by politicians and activists. But is any of this actually true?

I won’t say I’m sorry to drain the juice from this electric dream, because I’m not. We’ve got way too many supposed leaders selling us stories that are much more complicated than their simple talking points. Let’s begin with this idea that EVs are the next big thing.

There are currently 4 million of them on the road but there are 1 billion vehicles, so they aren’t even one-half of one percent of the market. EVs are currently 2 percent of auto sales, but that’s largely because WE ARE ALL paying for them through massive taxpayer subsidies. The U.S. federal subsidy alone is $7,500 per vehicle. When China cut subsidies in half in June of 2019, EV sales plunged.

And who is buying all these EVs? The wealthy are. The Congressional Research Service reports that 80 percent of EV subsidies were claimed by those with household incomes of more than $100,000. That means, the rich man’s Tesla is partially paid for by all the rest of us.

Operating and maintaining an electric vehicle is cheaper. But you’ll need to own it for many years before you make up the extra expense of the original purchase. But if those subsidies are taken away, you’re paying significantly more than if you bought a vehicle that runs on fuel. And who is going to pay to dispose of all the toxic batteries? Nobody knows. EV’s won’t meaningfully reduce our oil use either.

According to the Manhattan Institute’s Mark Mills, an all-EV America would barely trim 8 percent off world oil demand. Part of the reason is it takes a lot of oil-based energy to make batteries and much of our cars and trucks are made from oil and natural gas.

One thing many people are concerned about is carbon dioxide emissions. But EVs don’t help on that score either. Making batteries requires enormous amounts of mining and the construction of giant chemical factories. The CO2 produced making the batteries may actually be more than the CO2 saved by getting off gasoline and diesel.

China makes 60 percent of lithium ion batteries and will make 70 percent by 2021. As Mills points out, “Importing batteries manufactured on Asia’s coal-heavy grid means that consumers are just exporting carbon-dioxide emissions, along with jobs.” And don’t forget, the electricity used to power EV’s doesn’t just magically appear. In the U.S., fossil fuels generate almost 65 percent of electricity.

All of this comparing of EVs and traditional vehicles misses what is probably the most important factor in the electric vehicle discussion. China doesn’t just make most EV batteries. It also has a near monopoly on the entire supply chain used to make those batteries. It produces many rare earth metals and critical elements, and processes even more. Who thinks it’s a good idea to allow China to control world transportation?

We at CEA aren’t against electric vehicles. We just believe it’s important for people to consider the full picture. Massively ramping up the number of electric vehicles on the road doesn’t actually solve any problems, but it’s likely to create a few more that are much bigger.


Howls erupt over proposed removal of gray wolves from endangered species list

The proposal by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) last year to remove the grey wolf, or simply wolf (Canis lupus), from the Endangered Species List has encountered fierce resistance from environmental groups who insist that the apex predator still warrants protection under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).

FWS, a division of the Interior Department, is expected to issue a final rule in the coming months declaring the wolf recovered in the Lower 48, a step that would remove its protections under the ESA. Since the wolf was reintroduced in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming in 1995, its numbers there and elsewhere in the U.S. have soared. According to FWS estimates, there are currently 6,000 wolves in the Lower 48. (There are another 8,000 – 11,000 in Alaska, but Alaskan wolves were never placed on the Endangered Species List.)

Widespread Recovery

In addition to the three states where wolves were reintroduced, wolf packs have also been identified in recent years in parts of California, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, and Indiana. The largest concentration of wolves can be found in the Great Lakes states of Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin, where their number are put at 4,400.

Despite the wolf’s rebound, environmental groups are threatening to take FWS to court over the delisting. When the delisting was first proposed last year, Collette Adkins, the Center for Biological Diversity’s (CBD) carnivore conservation director, said the move would be “a death sentence for grey wolves across the country.”

With lawsuits looming, the Washington Times (March 3) reports that some lawmakers want to avoid a protracted court fight by passing a bill delisting the wolf. The Times notes that the grey wolf was delisted in the Northern Rockies in 2011, but that was accomplished through a rider added to a must-pass budget bill in the Senate. The rider contained language saying the delisting “shall not be subject to judicial review.”

Identical language, barring court challenges, can be found is a bill co-sponsored by Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) and Rob Bishop (R-Utah) that would extend the delisting nationwide.

“Grey wolf populations have reached sustainable levels, and it is well past time to return authority over their management to the states,” Peterson said in a statement. “This bipartisan legislation will allow states to protect the livelihood of their livestock owners and preserve a health balance of wild animal populations.”

Peterson’s predominantly rural northwestern Minnesota district has experienced a surge in grey wolf populations, accompanied with growing attacks by the predators on livestock. The problem is widespread, but there is little farmers and ranchers can do to protect their livestock as long as the wolf enjoys the protection of the ESA.

“It’s time to allow farmers and ranchers to lawfully defend their livestock against predatory animals,” Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union, said in a statement.

In the United States, wolves typically dine on moose, deer, elk, beaver, bighorn sheep, and mountain goats, though not all these preys are available everywhere. But cattle, sheep, pigs, and other livestock can easily find themselves on the menu of a nearby wolfpack.

CBD and other environmental groups oppose steps that would return management of wolves to the states, arguing the predators could be subjected to hunting to cull their populations. Yet, as the Trump FWS points out, that under the ESA, the agency’s task is recovery, and no more.

Prevent Extinction and Recover

“The ESA is not designed to permanently protect individual animals from hunting or other active management,” the agency said in its proposed delisting Q&A. “The purpose of the ESA is to prevent extinction of Imperiled species and to recover them. Once the threshold of recovery has been met, we can – and must – return the management to state and tribal wildlife agencies.”


Fluorescent pink slug survived the Australian bushfires

A fluorescent pink slug, found only on a single mountaintop in northern New South Wales, has survived the bushfires that burnt through much of its alpine habitat.

Around 60 of the brightly coloured Mount Kaputar slugs, which can grow to a size longer than a human hand, were spotted by National Parks and Wildlife Service rangers after recent rainfall in Mount Kaputar national park.

The Kaputar fire burnt through the area for more than six weeks from October to December 2019, affecting more than 18,000 hectares of land.

The mountain was formed by a now-extinct volcano, and is home to at least 20 species of snails and slugs found nowhere else in the world. The area has been identified as an endangered ecological community, the first of its kind in Australia.

Some of the fluorescent slugs would have managed to survive the fire because they had “retreated into rock crevices” in the heat, the Australian Museum malacologist Frank Köhler said.

But around 90% of the slug population, which also hibernates in bark and trees, would have been killed in the fire, he said.

Much of the slug’s food sources – fungi, moss and mould – would also have been burnt by the fire, but Köhler said these species should recover relatively quickly.

In coming months the slug might be at risk of being seen more easily in the burnt landscape by hungry birds and mammals, said Köhler, but the bright colour could also act as a warning to dissuade the predators.

The unmistakable slug is a “poster boy for snails and slugs” because of its distinctive colour, Köhler said, “but it comes with a number of other species that are similarly threatened by the fires that don’t get the same attention”.



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