Tuesday, May 12, 2020

LA Times Caught Inventing Fake Link Between Climate, Drought, Wildfires

The Los Angeles Times has launched a new way to make money and gain leftists accolades from the false climate crisis: a new newsletter called “Boiling Point.” Sammy Roth, a Times energy reporter, opened a May 5 preview of the newsletter by telling quite a whopper – and providing no scientific evidence to back it up. Roth claimed, “Drought conditions in Northern California may prompt an early start to the 2020 wildfire season – and as Californians have learned in recent years, climate change is fueling more devastating droughts and fires.”

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) does report, here and in the chart below, that Northern California is currently experiencing “moderate drought,” and is one of the few places in the country experiencing dryer than average conditions. At the same time, NOAA reports most of California is experiencing normal conditions, while Southern California is experiencing “moderately moist” conditions.

Hmmm… some areas are dry, some are moist, and most are normal. Must be a climate crisis!

In reality, as shown here and in the same NOAA graph above, only a small amount of the country is experiencing drought. Also, Climate at a Glance: Drought reports the United States is undergoing its longest period in recorded history without at least 40 percent of the country experiencing “very dry” conditions, with peaks in drought around 1978, 1954, 1930, and 1900 being much larger than what the U.S. experienced during any time in the 21st century or the late 20th century.

Just as compelling, Climate at a Glance: Drought reports that in 2017 and 2019, the United States registered its smallest percentage of land area experiencing drought in recorded history.

Even the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change acknowledges with “high confidence” that precipitation has increased over mid-latitude land areas of the Northern Hemisphere (including the United States) during the past 70 years, while IPCC has “low confidence” about any negative trends globally.

Since drought conditions are low, and drought is easily the single biggest climate factor regarding wildfires, it should come as no surprise that wildfires have not become more frequent or numerous in recent years. In the few regions that have experienced particularly severe wildfires, such as California and Australia, geologist Gregory Wrightstone and Montana state Sen. Jennifer Fielder explain that the root cause of these fires is government policies hampering proper land management in areas prone to wildfires.

Perhaps all this good news and scientific evidence are why Roth and the Times are required to make false statements, without presenting scientific evidence, in order to perpetuate their money-making climate scare.


Pulling the curtain off energy subsidies

It is time to end the quagmire of outdated energy subsidies built up over a century of programs once intended to help develop innovative ideas for energy development. They are now nearly all aiding and abetting taxpayers money flowing to companies and individuals no longer deserving to feed at the government trough.

No one in the lifetime of my readers will ever see energy shortages in the United States again. Awesome new technologies have allowed our nation to move from worrying about running out of oil to no longer having space to store all the oil and gas we are capable of developing.

Of course that problem of abundance has been exacerbated by the pandemic that has shut our nation and the world down for weeks. That will in time pass away and our abundance will settle back to normalcy. Sadly the energy industry will shake out with the survival of the fittest, but that ultimately is the way of the world for all industries.

While the vast dollars expended on dozens of subsidy type programs are near impossible to pin down, the great number of programs developed long ago can give us an idea of wasted tax dollars. Most of these programs should have ended long ago, but as we all know government programs never die. An example is that, believe it or not, Peter Ferrara was able to track the names of 187 different means tested welfare programs in his 2016 book, Power To The People. Obviously many of them should have been phased out long ago. I will not attempt to uncover the breadth of all energy subsidies but rather to make a case that it is time to end all of them.


Elites issue climate warning in overdrive – C’est!

Another call-to-arms to rescue the planet has appeared.  An “open letter” this week from about 200 self-important signatories warned the world’s inhabitants that we face “a global ecological collapse” worse than the pandemic, and that “massive extinction of life on Earth is no longer in doubt.”

This vacuous letter, published in the French media outlet Le Monde, reads almost as parody. It demands a “profound overhaul of our goals, values and economies.” The signatories include Nobel laureates for medicine, chemistry and physics and—unsurprisingly—entertainers.

This letter is pure hysteria and nonsensical.  Are we are supposed to give it credence because some signatories are Nobel Prize winners?

Those from the entertainment industry include: Cate Blanchett, Monica Bellucci, Jane Fonda, Robert De Niro, and Madonna – all of whom are highly successful in their professional careers and exactly the wrong messengers.

“We believe it is unthinkable to go back to normal,” they wrote. If any of these do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do mega-rich entertainers—who have lived opulent lifestyles for decades—now practice a smidgen of what they are demanding of everyone else, please someone inform me.  How many homes do they have (and how large?), or how many frequent-flyer miles do they accumulate in a single month (pre-pandemic)?  How big are their carbon footprints, and what have they relinquished? Carbon credits, electric cars and solar-powered gadgets showcased by elites count for nothing as climate virtue, as their fellow alarmist, Michael Moore, inconveniently reminded everyone.

There is more to discredit them. Ms. Fonda has never adequately apologized for mocking our POWs in Vietnam or calling American soldiers “war criminals.”  Mr. De Niro has become sadly unhinged in his twilight years as evidenced by his frequent foul-mouthed tirades.  Madonna has her own challenges with the aging process based on her inability to eschew clothing worthy of a college Halloween keg party.

Successful entertainers have vastly more recognizable names than scientists, and thus draw worldwide attention to this letter. But, they simultaneously serve to discredit its message as a specious diatribe.  I do not begrudge entertainers becoming wealthy by performing their craft since millions of people willingly pay to watch and listen. Rather, it is their ongoing flagrant hypocrisy that makes a mockery of their ecological message, even without refuting the dubious science it claims.

Seriously, are Madonna, De Niro and Fonda the best spokespersons to tell us in this letter, “the pursuit of consumerism and the obsession with productivity have led us to deny the value of life itself; that of plants, that of animals, and that of a great number of human beings”?

It is human “productivity” and “pursuit of consumerism” that enabled millions of people worldwide to purchase Madonna CDs, Jane Fonda exercise videos, and movie theater tickets and DVDs to watch De Niro, Blanchett, et.al.  Will they now give refunds?

It is long become tiresome to reiterate that such people are impervious to self-awareness.

What of these Malthusian-like scientists? This letter they also signed claims “pollution, climate change, and the destruction of our natural zones has brought the world to a breaking point.” Really? This sensationalism retreads Paul Ehrlich’s, The Population Bomb, circa 1968.

The planet is quite resilient and is getting cleaner and more livable by greater environmental awareness, technological advances and freer economies. A true environmentalist should take credit for laws that reduced pollution, cleaned up waterways, and so much else. Energy development itself is getting cleaner and more efficient, in particular, hydro fracturing for natural gas, which emits less carbon than coal and crude oil.

This is not “an ongoing ecological catastrophe” or “a meta-crisis.” As the letter says, we should “examine what is essential.”

Poverty in the developing world has been reduced dramatically in the last 30 years. As economic growth and prosperity spread globally, health improves, life expectancy increases, and the environment gets cleaner. “Climate change” of maybe one-half degree warmer in the last four decades is no threat and hardly noticeable. Arctic ice remains; polar bears are flourishing.  Humans inhabited a much warmer planet in centuries past.

Yes, the world has plenty of environmental problems remaining, including plastic litter in the oceans, and still millions of people globally without electricity and running water. The drivel in this letter does not address their needs, and solutions from such planet alarmists would make their condition worse.

The open letter in Le Monde has it exactly backwards. It is a screed, bereft of substance or sound ideas, worthy of Hollywood actors wishing—and failing—to be seen as serious people on the environment.


Malaria 'completely stopped' by microbe

Malaria is spread by the bite of infected mosquitoes
Scientists have discovered a microbe that completely protects mosquitoes from being infected with malaria.

The team in Kenya and the UK say the finding has "enormous potential" to control the disease.

Malaria is spread by the bite of infected mosquitoes, so protecting them could in turn protect people.

The researchers are now investigating whether they can release infected mosquitoes into the wild, or use spores to suppress the disease.

What is this microbe?

The malaria-blocking bug, Microsporidia MB, was discovered by studying mosquitoes on the shores of Lake Victoria in Kenya. It lives in the gut and genitals of the insects.

The researchers could not find a single mosquito carrying the Microsporidia that was harbouring the malaria parasite. And lab experiments, published in Nature Communications, confirmed the microbe gave the mosquitoes protection.

Microsporidias are fungi, or at least closely related to them, and most are parasites.

However, this new species may be beneficial to the mosquito and was naturally found in around 5% of the insects studied.

How big a discovery is it?

"The data we have so far suggest it is 100% blockage, it's a very severe blockage of malaria," Dr Jeremy Herren, from the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe) in Kenya told the BBC.

He added: "It will come as a quite a surprise. I think people will find that a real big breakthrough."

More than 400,000 people are killed by malaria each year, most of them children under the age of five.

While huge progress has been made through the use of bed nets and spraying homes with insecticide, this has stalled in recent years. It is widely agreed new tools are needed to tackle malaria.

How does the microbe stop malaria?

The fine details still need to be worked out.  But Microsporidia MB could be priming the mosquito's immune system, so it is more able to fight off infections.

Or the presence of the microbe in the insect could be having a profound effect on the mosquito's metabolism, making it inhospitable for the malaria parasite.

Microsporidia MB infections appear to be life-long. If anything, the experiments show they become more intense, so the malaria-blocking effect would be long-lasting.

When can this be used against malaria?

At the very least, 40% of mosquitoes in a region need to be infected with Microsporidia in order to make a significant dent in malaria.

The microbe can be passed between adult mosquitoes and is also passed from the female to her offspring.

So, the researchers are investigating two main strategies for increasing the number of infected mosquitoes.

Microsporidia form spores which could be released en masse to infect mosquitoes

Male mosquitoes (which don't bite) could be infected in the lab and released into the wild to infect the females when they have sex

"It's a new discovery. We are very excited by its potential for malaria control. It has enormous potential," Prof Steven Sinkins, from the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research, told the BBC.

This concept of disease control using microbes is not unprecedented. A type of bacteria called Wolbachia has been shown to make it harder for mosquitoes to spread dengue fever in real-world trials.

What happens next?

The scientists need to understand how the microbe spreads, so they plan to perform more tests in Kenya.

However, these approaches are relatively uncontroversial as the species is already found in wild mosquitoes and is not introducing something new.

It also would not kill the mosquitoes, so would not have an impact on ecosystems that are dependent on them as food. This is part of other strategies like a killer fungus that can almost completely collapse mosquito populations in weeks.



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