Tuesday, June 09, 2020

The Green New Deal dress rehearsal

The Covid-19 lockdown as a blueprint for a permanent economic shutdown to ‘save the Earth’

Paul Driessen

More than 1.4 million cases of Wuhan Coronavirus and 106,000 deaths in the United States alone have accompanied stay-home lockdowns, businesses bankruptcies, over 40 million unemployed workers, plummeting tax revenues and unprecedented debt. Ongoing rioting, vandalism, arson and looting are compounding problems for many cities and minority communities.

But where many see disaster, others see opportunity. Some want to use the crises to enact laws and welfare programs they could never get otherwise. More ambitious activists see the lockdown as a blueprint or dress rehearsal for a total energy, economic and lifestyle transformation to “save the planet.” If three months of Covid lockdowns can reduce fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions, they argue, permanent fossil fuel bans are possible, essential and should be undertaken immediately.

Five years ago, former UN official Christiana Figueres said the real goal of climate actions was to “intentionally transform the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years” – and replace it with socialist-environmentalist global governance. More recently, she said post-Corona economic stimulus packages should be used to “kick-start” investments “in low-carbon infrastructure projects that will create jobs and put the world on a safer, fairer, more resilient path.” Others want to use climate change as a pretext for dictating how global wealth and resources will be redistributed.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff is on the same page. The Green New Deal “wasn’t originally a climate thing at all,” he said in May 2019. It was “a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing.” Presidential candidate Joe Biden and other leading Democrats have endorsed the GND.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres believes “the pandemic could create an opportunity to rebuild the global economy along more sustainable lines.” His environment chief thinks COVID-19 presents “a chance to do capitalism differently.” The UN Green Climate Fund says it “offers an opportunity to direct finances towards bolstering climate action” and “re-launch[ing] economies on low-emission, climate-resilient trajectories,” to control climate and weather and prevent massive extinctions.

In short, echoing former Obama science advisor John Holdren, they want the United States and other modern societies to de-develop and de-industrialize, establish low-consumption life styles that ensure “more equitable distribution of wealth,” and tell poor countries how much “ecologically feasible” development they will be permitted to pursue.

Perhaps most important, these “visionary” ruling elites will be in charge. They will define what is clean, green, renewable, sustainable, ecologically feasible, safer, fairer, more resilient. They will demand less travel, trade and commerce – for the masses. They will live quite well, while telling today’s oilfield and factory workers their industries must disappear and they must be content with minimum-wage jobs installing, maintaining and dismantling wind turbines and solar panels made overseas.

Fans and implementers of Covid-19 lockdowns have been oblivious to the economic, societal and human devastation caused by the lockdowns: not just economic losses, depleted savings and ruined dreams, but millions of cases of depression, drug addiction, alcoholism, domestic violence, obesity, stroke, heart attack, thousands of deaths from these causes, and suicide and murder attributable to the lockdowns.

Add to that millions of future or still uncounted deaths and disabilities from missed biopsies, skipped cancer screenings and chemotherapy, missed early treatments for stroke and heart-attack patients, and organ transplants simply not performed – because “non-essential” medicine was closed down, people lost their health insurance, or patients were afraid to go to clinics and emergency rooms.

Many hospitals, clinics and practices lost so much money that they may have to close their doors. The cumulative long-term impact from that on healthcare, life spans, and death tolls among obese, diabetic, elderly and severely ill patients could be enormous. These human costs will take years to manifest themselves and be calculated. Indeed, the ultimate cost of the lockdown could be worse than the virus.

We still do not have reliable data on Covid infections, cases and deaths – and don’t know whether deaths were due to Corona, or merely associated with the virus and primarily due to age or serious underlying health problems. We don’t even know how many vulnerable elderly people died from Covid complications inflicted on them by decisions by New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and other officials to force nursing homes to accept recovering Corona patients and keep Covid-infected staff working in those facilities.

All this is from lockdowns lasting several months. Suggestions that we “transform” our economy with expensive, unreliable, weather dependent energy – and endure energy, employment, healthcare and other deprivations in perpetuity – border on homicidal insanity. They would postpone or eliminate any economic recovery, result in unimaginable misery and death in now-developed countries – and condemn tens of millions of people in still impoverished nations to horrible suffering, disease, starvation and death.

As to saving the planet and ensuring “ecologically feasible” development, GND energy systems would be vastly more devastating to scenic areas, habitats and wildlife – and to human health and welfare – than any likely effects from manmade portions of future climate changes or weather events.

As Michael Moore’s new film, “Planet of the Humans,” dramatically demonstrates, wind, solar, battery and biofuel technologies are the antithesis of clean, green, renewable and sustainable. Even worse, the ecological devastation it documents is happening in a world that is still 81% dependent on oil, natural gas and coal, 4% on nuclear and 7% on hydroelectric. The impacts and species losses would be orders of magnitude greater if we were 100% dependent on pseudo-renewable energy sources.

Adopting UN-AOC energy prescriptions would require literally millions of 800-foot-tall wind turbines, billions of solar panels, billions of half-ton batteries, thousands of biofuel plantations and clear-cut forests, billions of battery-powered vehicles, and thousands of new and expanded mines to provide tens of billions of tons more metals and minerals. The ecological impacts would reach every corner of every continent. Hundreds of bird, bat, reptile and mammalian species would disappear. Household, hospital, school, business and factory electricity costs would skyrocket. Jobs and industries would vanish.

Those prescriptions would also make the United States enormously dependent on China, not just for medical devices and pharmaceutical components – but for metals, raw materials and component parts needed in wind turbines, solar panels, backup power batteries, and defense, aerospace and high-technology applications. And all that mining and manufacturing, in Asia and other distant lands, would require fossil fuels, at levels far beyond anything seen in history, under minimal to nonexistent pollution, workplace safety and human rights laws, accompanied by prodigious emissions of carbon dioxide.

Fans and implementers of GND transformations are willfully oblivious of these realities. They refuse to discuss them or allow others to discuss them – because to do so would destroy their phony “saving the planet” narrative and quest for total control over our lives, livelihoods, living standards and liberties.

No wonder the UN-AOC-environmentalist crowd went ballistic over Moore’s film. YouTube yanked the movie from its viewing platform, and “mainstream” media, social media, search engines and information sites are now engaging in blatant censorship on climate, energy and environmental issues.

An increasingly activist, liberal media complex also wants to dictate and control what people see, hear, say and think on race relations, medicine and virtually every other political topic. From the NY Times and Washington Post, to Facebook, Twitter, Google, YouTube and Wikipedia, platforms that should be forums for robust debate instead are used to dictate what is true or false, permissible or banned.

US, EU and UN green new deals are just one component of the battle for our future. Corona lockdowns should serve as a bitter taste of what could come – not as a dress rehearsal or blueprint for it.

Via email

Book review: “Natural” asks the wrong question

Alan Levinovitz begins Natural: How faith in nature’s goodness leads to harmful fads, unjust laws, and flawed science by asking the question, “How can we live in harmony with nature?” A better question might be, “Should we?”

Levinovitz spends the rest of the book showing how attempts to “live in harmony with nature” have created havoc in our society. He seeks to convince us that “natural” itself is but a social construct that lacks real definition. More specifically, this “scholar of religion” asserts that “natural” is a religious term – and that is the primary flaw in his analysis.

“Natural” in this context means “holy,” and thus to the believer, unnatural (everything else) is unholy – whether you are speaking of childbirth, legal principles, or the food we eat. Wherever the term “natural” is used to describe a favored practice, there is, Levinovitz would have you believe, a religious foundation.

But it is paganism (a term he ignores) that has at its heart the recognition of the divine in nature. A true religious scholar would know there is a massive gulf between worship of the creation (nature) and worship of the Creator.

Levinovitz sees himself as an enlightened soul, one who knows that the best future for humanity and nature must be built on dialogue and evidence, “not taboos and zealotry.” Those who “wrap their rhetoric in the mantle of ‘what’s natural,’ he says, tend to be propagandists, bigots, demagogues, and marketers.”

High on Levinovitz’s list of debunkable myths is that of “natural childbirth,” which he rightly notes is fraught with dangers both for humans and members of the animal kingdom. A better standard, he suggests, is to prevent the transformation of childbirth into a dehumanizing experience, infused with fear and drained of symbolic power. After all, he reminds us, “nature gave birth to humanity.”

Or take “natural vanilla” versus artificial vanilla, about 85 percent of which today is derived from petrochemicals. “Natural” vanilla is extracted from orchids and was initially meticulously processed by Mayans in a four-step process involving killing, sweating, drying, and conditioning over a period of 8 to 10 months. Eventually, growers began artificially inseminating the orchid flowers, a highly labor-intensive practice that can hardly be described as “natural.”

Levinovitz dislodges the myth that noble savages lived in harmony with nature and suggests that our environmental crises are better
solved with technology than nostalgia. Citing the work of anthropologist Shepard Krech, Levinovitz points to tribes that slaughtered entire herds of buffalo and left the carcasses to rot. Slavery, rape, and torture were also common in many Native American cultures.

The central weakness of this book is Levinovitz’s assault on “the natural order” and later on “the laws of Nature and Nature’s God.” He speaks of the “myth” that humanity “fell” from a state of nature (perfection) as in reality a state of ignorance but laments that evolving societies have classified those living in more primitive cultures as subhuman and thus worthy of treating as pack animals.

Seizing upon a strange speech by one 19th Century preacher (Henry Drummond), who called out hermit crabs for “failing to live by nature’s laws” (by “borrowing” mollusk shells), Levinovitz juxtaposes the values of evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould, who asserted that science is the realm of descriptive authority while claiming that religion and secular ethics deal only with normative truths.

This viewpoint naturally leads to a deconstruction of the Declaration of Independence. Levinovitz argues that Jefferson followed the writings of the Swiss scholar Jean Jacques Burlamaqui in presuming that “natural” is a synonym for “rational,” hence that the law of Nature (and Nature’s God) is clearly discernible through reason.

Levinovitz disagrees, lamenting that the “very idea of ‘natural laws’ ordained by God invites haphazard conversions of the is of the natural world’s regularities into the ought of politics and religion.”

Levinovitz next challenges the concept of “the invisible hand” of Adam Smith, using as his foil a man who calls meat “the original bitcoin.” He cites a comment from a former Securities and Exchange Commission chair who saw his mission as allowing “the natural interplay of market forces to shape markets according to the demands of investors.”

But Levinovitz asserts that this “religious” worldview on markets belies the fact that “the benevolent design of Nature rarely works out in practice,” even though Smith assails monopolies for working against the common good (including elevating the real price of goods). He sees social Darwinism as the bastard child of the invisible hand and notes that social Darwinists lacked sympathy for the less fit.

While social Darwinism gave rise to the eugenics movement, which sought to eliminate “the unfit” from society, Levinovitz says many so-called social Darwinists merely picked and chose whatever biological principles happened to best fit their economic ideologies. But does not Levinovitz follow after these pickers and choosers when he rebukes as a religious construct the idea that transgender women have any unfair advantages over biological women?

In closing, Levinovitz admits that his skepticism about faith in nature’s goodness had become its own kind of faith, a photonegative of the false ideology he sought to discredit. His conclusion is that natural is neither good nor evil but rather a meaningless construct often exploited by advertisers, whether for healthful supplements or childbirth.

His solution is to see the problem as ideological monoculture in which disobedience to the stated norms is sacrilege. He proposes instead a polycultural approach that cultivates diversity, yet he admits that “I am more philosophically confused about nature than I was when I began.” Thus he embraces uncertainty as humility – and sees humility as a sacred concept.

After tediously following Levinovitz’s circular journey, there is some value in this book despite its ambiguities. Natural has (perhaps unwittingly) questioned traditional pagan and animist and quasi-religious ways of looking at the world and demythologized the very concept of “natural” – which he sees in many cases as little more than a sales pitch. In so doing, he demonstrates that faith in natural goodness belies the wisdom that comes from science, economics, and other intellectual disciplines.

But what is truly missing here is the distinction between the natural and the divine – that living in harmony with God is far more important than living in harmony with nature. Indeed, the Apostle Paul states clearly (I Corinthians 2:14) that “the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

Thus, Levinovitz does not truly grasp the concepts of the law of Nature and the invisible hand, for it is not NATURE’s goodness – but God’s – that is transformative.

Levinovitz thus has laid the foundation for debunking a society based on the premise that enriching oneself requires taking advantage of others. A far better template is the win-win approach that asks the question, how can we serve one another, which is the same question as “How can we live in harmony with the Divine?”


It’s time to follow Mexico and pull the plug on “renewables”

The only things ‘inevitable’ about the ‘transition’ to wind and solar are rocketing electricity prices and unstable power grids.

The only things ‘inevitable’ about the ‘transition’ to wind and solar are rocketing electricity prices and unstable power grids. Recognizing that industrial wind and solar electricity bring little to no value to electrical grids, Mexico is moving to avoid the higher electrical prices experienced by Germany, Denmark, Great Britain, South Australia, California, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and other governments that have heavily subsidized their supply of intermittent electricity. Time for California to follow the lead of our Southern neighbor and pull the plug on renewable subsidies.

To stop continuous increases in the cost of electricity, Mexico stepped up to the plate and pulled  the plug on subsidy dependent intermittent power from wind and solar that has been driving up the cost of electricity for its financially challenged population. The Mexican government has taken a stand that has sent renewable energy rent seekers into a tailspin.

Does California have the leadership mettle to reverse decades of price increases for electricity?

Based on what Newsom did in San Francisco, maybe not. Governor Newsom was the San Francisco Mayor for eight years. In 2003, Newsom was elected the 42nd Mayor of San Francisco, becoming the city’s youngest mayor in a century. Newsom was re-elected in 2007.  In the event our leadership does nothing to curtail continuous increases in the cost of electricity, this California Political Review article America’s Havana – Thousands Say Ciao to San Francisco may be a preview of the outlook for the entire state under current leadership.

Hopefully, Newsom could deliver such a message. I, as a Toastmaster graduate, focus on the number of “ahs” from public speakers. Governor Newsom starts almost every sentence with an “ah”, so much so that it’s so distracting that I have stopped listening to his COVID-19 updates and wait for a condensed summary from the news broadcasters.  When you listen to his next pandemic update, focus on all those “ahs” and you’ll understand!

For decades, California’s bizarre laws and regulations and subsides for “green” renewables have driven up the cost of electricity for its 40 million residents. It’s time for California to reverse that upward trend that gotten prices for electricity in California are already fifty percent higher than the national average for residents, and double the national average for commercial, and are projected to go even higher.

With the shuttering of Pacific Gas & Electric’s Diablo Canyon’s Nuclear 2,160 megawatts in 2024 and Los Angeles’ Mayor  Garcetti’s desire for the forthcoming closures of three natural gas-powered plants that have been generating continuously uninterruptible electricity. Our elected officials seem to be oblivious to the fact that the State has no plans for electricity generating capacity to replace what’s going to be lost. Further, that “green” electricity from wind and solar is only intermittent, as neither generates when the wind is not blowing, and when the sun’s not shining.

Since California  is currently unable to generate sufficient electricity in-state to meet demand, the state is forced by its own policies to import more electricity than any other state, an outcome that is not in the financial interest of any California  resident. Without any known state-fostered plans to rebuild with more in-state power generation, California continues to shut down its safely functioning nuclear and natural gas electricity generation plants!

With this path forward, in the event other states cannot generate enough electricity to export to California to replace what’s being lost by shutting down the last nuclear plant and three natural gas plants in California, it’s lights out for California’s future. Who knows how high they will go as the state continues its importing appetite for expensive electricity?

Never mentioned by the green leadership is the worldwide ecological destruction from the mining of precious minerals to support renewables that leave lands uninhabitable and worthless for plants and trees. Renewable taxpayer handouts have stripped landscapes worldwide. Left in the wake of intermittent electricity farms and subsidized biomass-fueled power plants is cynical at best, and mercenary in their ability to destroy nature’s ability to alleviate the coronavirus via cleaner air.

During this global pandemic, dependence on China for rare earth minerals, which solar panels and wind turbines are useless without, renewable electricity a costly as well as dirty proposition.

Renewables make no sense when the entire world is sick. Only using Warren Buffet’s logic does chaotic wind power bring financial wealth when Mr. Buffett said: “We get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That is the only reasons to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit.”

The subsidies for “green” electricity has driven up California’s cost of electricity to be among the most expensive in America, and with decades of bizarre laws and regulations that have contributed to California being a complex regulatory state, Joel Kotlin from NewGeogrpahy summarized the future in the state in his article: The Coronavirus means millennials are more screwed than ever.

As America recovers from the COVID-19 shelter-in-place mandates, California  cannot rid itself from the continuing and state-prescribed high costs of energy that other states are not shackled by, and those elected California  officials are doing nothing to effectively and forever resolve the causes of the high energy costs that severely limit the state’s economic base and its potential for improvement.

It’s time for California to align Mexico’s leadership bold move and pull the plug on intermittent renewables as the state needs is continuous uninterruptable electricity that’s reliable and affordable, more than ever.


New Study: Climate Impact Of Cattle Grazing Overestimated

The climate impact of grass-fed cattle may have been exaggerated as scientists find emissions of a powerful greenhouse gas from certain types of pasture are lower than previously thought.

Researchers from Rothamsted Research found urine from animals reared on pasture where white clover grows – a plant commonly sown onto grazing land to reduce the need for additional nitrogen fertilizer – results in just over half the amount of nitrous oxide previously assumed by scientists to be released.

Nitrous oxide is a potent greenhouse gas some 265 times more harmful than CO2 and can account for 40% of beef supply chain emissions.

Co-author of the study, Dr. Laura Cardenas said:

    Due to technical and logistical challenges, field experiments which measure losses of nitrous oxide from soils usually add livestock faeces and urine they have sourced from other farms or other parts of the farm, meaning that the emissions captured do not necessarily represent the true emissions generated by the animals consuming the pasture.”

Writing in the journal Agriculture, Ecosystems, and Environment, the team report how they created a near ‘closed’ system whereby the circular flow of nitrogen from the soil to forage to cattle and, ultimately, back to soil again, could be monitored.

Lead author of the study, Dr. Graham McAuliffe and colleagues had previously discovered system-wide reductions of greenhouse gas emissions associated with the inclusion of white clover in a pasture.

This conclusion was primarily driven by a lack of need for ammonium nitrate fertilizer, whose production and application create greenhouse gases.

According to Dr. Cardenas, further research is required to explain the detailed mechanisms behind the observed complementarity between white clover and high sugar grasses – but that the data points towards an effect of sowing clover on the soil’s microbes.

    The evidence suggests that including white clover amongst high sugar grass decreases the abundance of microbial genes associated with nitrous oxide production compared with microbial communities observed under just high sugar grass.”

As the UK wants to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by mid-century, improving our understanding of greenhouse gas emissions and mitigation potentials has never been more important, she added.



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.  

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