Thursday, May 07, 2020

Costly Climate Policies Must Be Abandoned To Save Economy

European governments have no choice but to abandon costly climate plans that are threatening to burden nations with huge costs and millions of job losses if they want a strong economic recovery from Covid-19 lockdowns. That’s according to a new report by Rupert Darwall, a former special adviser in the UK Treasury.

In a new paper released today, Darwall shows how the imposition of unilateral climate policies on business and industry will have a devastating effect on any economic recovery from Covid-19. With Net Zero costing up to 60 times hypothetical climate benefits, voters in Britain, America and Australia are putting economic recovery ahead of the environment, according to a recent IPSOS Mori poll.

The report reveals that the West’s pre-pandemic carbon dioxide emissions accounted for only one quarter of global emissions. “It is na├»ve as well as futile to think the tail of the West’s emissions is going to wag the global climate dog,” Darwall says.

What is more likely to doom UN climate talks is the deep rift that’s opening up because of China’s disastrous cover-ups about the Covid-19 virus.

“It is not a coincidence that the UN climate talks got under way after the end of the Cold War,” Darwall says. The deterioration in relations between the US and China and the re-emergence of geopolitical rivalry after 30 years are likely to prove terminal for the global climate agenda, Darwall suggests. 

Mr Darwall’s report is being published today by the Global Warming Policy Foundation


How To Make Money By Spreading Anti-GMO Propaganda

Anti-GMO activists routinely label scientists and biotech supporters "shills for Monsanto." However, a new study suggests that those who spread GMO disinformation are the ones who are actually motivated by money.

The anti-GMO movement is bizarre in so many ways. The topic is essentially non-controversial in the scientific community, with 92% of Ph.D.-holding biomedical scientists agreeing that GMOs are safe to eat.

Yet, GMOs have become a perverse obsession among food and environmental activists, some of whom have gone so far as to accuse biotech scientists of committing "crimes against nature and humanity." Why? What's in it for them?

A new paper published by Dr. Cami Ryan and her colleagues in the European Management Journal examined this issue. They came to the conclusion that many of us had already suspected: It's all about the Benjamins, baby.

The authors, who work for Bayer (which acquired Monsanto), begin by explaining the attention economy. Like most everything else, from money to coffee beans, human attention can be thought of in strictly economic terms. Attention is a scarce commodity; there is only so much of it to go around. Entire businesses, like social media, have developed a revenue model that relies on capturing as much of your attention as possible. In various ways, that attention can be monetized.

To quantify the attention that the topic of GMOs receives, the authors utilized BuzzSumo, a website that aggregates article engagement from all the major social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter. The authors identified 94,993 unique articles from 2009 to 2019, and then whittled down the list to include only those domains that published at least 48 articles on GMOs (which is an average of one per month for four years). Thus, the researchers identified 263 unique websites.

And now, the depressing results. By far, the most shared articles on GMOs came from conspiracy, pseudoscience, and/or activist websites. The image on the right depicts the top 25 websites based on median article shares. Of these, only two -- The Guardian and NPR (highlighted green) -- are widely considered to be mainstream news outlets. (It should be pointed out, however, that The Guardian is often not a reliable source of information on science, technology, and public health.)

It isn't a coincidence that many of these same websites also peddle snake oil., for instance, is a website that sells everything from hydrogen-infused water to krill oil supplements for your pet. The website publishes anti-GMO and anti-vaccine articles, as well as a whole host of other fake health news, in order to drive traffic to itself. Then it sells the reader phony medicine.

If you're wondering how gets away with this, here's how: (1) It's not illegal to lie, and (2) It's not illegal to sell phony medicine, provided that there is a tiny disclaimer somewhere on the website admitting that the FDA hasn't evaluated any of the health claims.


Release The Franken-Nuts! GMO Chestnut Trees May Repopulate Forests

A serious infectious disease nearly wiped out a beloved species in the United States. Scientists have now discovered how to bring it back. Should they restore this once prevalent species to its former glory?

Yes, of course! That's one of the primary goals of conservation and environmentalism.

Oh, what did you say? Scientists did it using biotechnology? Never mind. It's Frankenstein.

That's essentially the argument that's playing out in regard to the American chestnut tree. As is often the case, environmentalists are in favor of restoring the environment as long as scientists aren't involved.

The American chestnut tree was nearly wiped out by a fungal pathogen that was imported from Asia. The blight was detected in 1904, and within 50 years it had destroyed 90% of American chestnut trees, which had no natural resistance. (It is for the same reason that perhaps 90% to 95% of Native Americans were killed by smallpox, measles, and influenza.)

For multiple reasons, it has long been a goal to bring the American chestnut back. As Dr. William Powell and colleagues describe in a recent journal article, the American chestnut had ecological, economic, and cultural significance. The tree is large, long-lived, and fast-growing; was a good source of lumber and food; and served as the inspiration for songs and literary works. We roast chestnuts, not pine cones, on an open fire.

Using Science to Restore the American Chestnut

To make the American chestnut resistant to this particular fungus, Dr. Powell and his team genetically modified it with a wheat gene that encodes an enzyme called oxalate oxidase. Oxalate, a compound that also happens to form kidney stones, is produced by the fungus in cankers and eventually kills the tree. A tree modified to produce this enzyme destroys the oxalate, instead.

Dr. Powell's team is going about their efforts in the right way. To avoid creating a monoculture, they want to crossbreed their genetically enhanced chestnut with the remaining survivors in the wild. In this way, a genetically diverse population of blight-resistant trees can go forth and multiply. To ensure safety, the team is also working with the USDA, FDA, and EPA.

Going Nuts over Franken-Nuts

But as we have come to expect, none of this really matters to those who are ideologically (religiously?) opposed to GMOs. According to the Associated Press, opponents are worried about "a massive and irreversible experiment," whatever that means. Let's assume the worst happens and the blight resistance gene "escapes" into the environment. The result will be more plants resistant to fungus, hardly an ecological apocalypse.

Predictably, the anti-GMO (and poorly named) Union of Concerned Scientists -- which is really more akin to a union of fundraisers, PR flacks, political hacks, communications majors, and lawyers -- is deeply concerned about biotechnology. From the AP article:

"I think we have to step back and ask whether our ability to manipulate things is getting ahead of our ability to understand their impacts," said Gurian-Sherman, a former senior scientist for the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Perhaps we should take a step back and ask why journalists think the Union of Concerned Scientists speak for all scientists.

G-M-Oh Yes!

There is no legitimate reason to block Dr. Powell's project. Not only will the restoration of the American chestnut serve as a gigantic triumph for biotechnology, it will also help relieve public concerns over the safety of GMOs in the food supply. Likely, that's the real reason some environmentalists are opposed to this project.

They should be ignored. To shamefully appropriate a quote from The Economist, the GMO chestnut will help "take part in a severe contest between intelligence, which presses forward, and an unworthy, timid ignorance obstructing our progress."


“Renewables” scams on the ropes

The device you’re reading now is likely powered by nuclear, gas, or coal-fired electricity.

There’s a smaller chance it may be powered by hydro-electricity or biomass (burning trees, as if that’s Green).

There’s little chance, despite billions spent, that it came from wind or solar.  The climate folks and “renewables” corporate interests don’t want you to know that, yet people’s eyes are opening.

Wind and solar corporations push the rated output of their installations as if that’s actually the power you get.  They don’t want you to think about intermittency, that the wind doesn’t always blow or the sun always shine, and that if efficient power plants, mostly powered by nuclear and fossil fuels, were not kept running constantly, our lights would go out.

We just featured a fantastic series of articles at that delve into the important details that reveal just what a waste wind and solar have proven to be.  Add in that they have tremendous nature-crushing footprints, that wind turbines take a horrific toll on birds and bats, and the turbines themselves wear out quickly and can’t be recycled!

This entire discussion received a sharp jolt when Michael Moore released his latest movie, Planet of the Humans.  An arch-Leftist filmmaker actually documented the absurdities and lies surrounding the “renewables” industry.  With billions of your dollars at stake, this touched off a civil war on the Left, with those cashing in launching an effort to silence Moore and bury his film.

Dr. Jay Lehr details the hard truths Europeans refuse to acknowledge about the failure of renewable energy on their continent:

While these solar and wind plants could theoretically produce 46 percent of Germany’s needs, in actuality, they only produce about 12 percent of Germany’s total electrical output. Who knew that one of the world’s most prosperous and industrialized nations could not figure out how to produce enough electricity to meet the needs of its own people and industry from wind and solar power?

To relieve this national shortage, Germany has been importing vast amounts of electrical power, mostly from France, and are paying exorbitant rates for it.  The average cost of electricity in Germany is now almost three times the cost in the United States.

America needs to wake up, acknowledge the hard truths about “renewable” energy, and plan for a realistic power grid to supply abundant, affordable electricity to all.



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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