Wednesday, September 23, 2020


Joe Rogan apologises for saying lefties were arrested for lighting the bushfires in Portland, Oregon

A prison psychologist I know comments as follows:

“Having worked with hundreds of crims and prisoners of all sorts, including arsonists, in my experience all of them are lefties.

They are emotionally focused, resentful, begrudging, envious, self righteous people who hate society, have an external locus of control, and a one-way sense of respect — that is that respect should be from others towards themselves. And if they vote at all, they vote left. And that goes for drug users and most teenagers, and, interestingly, counsellors, youth workers, social workers and most psychologists.

So I doubt Joe Rogan was wrong in saying the arsonists are lefties. Based on my own experience with crims, I would bet that an arsonist would be a low IQ leftist”

In a recent chat with controversial political commentator Douglas Murray, Rogan casually stated:

“They’ve arrested left-wing people for lighting these forest fires. You know, air-quote, ‘activists.’ This is also something that’s not widely being reported.”

Indeed, Rogan’s claim has not been “widely reported,” because it is false, according to the FBI and local law enforcement. The terrifying wildfires, which, in some areas, changed the color of the sky into a tone resembling dystopian sci-fi film Blade Runner 2049, has sparked numerous conspiracy theories, as most disasters do.

Quickly, Rogan was chastised by CNN, and faced an internet backlash for spreading dangerous misinformation. After all, it’s not as though he lacks the resources to look into these things – fact checking might disrupt the flow of conversation, but it’s better than spreading baseless conspiracies.

Thankfully, Rogan actually addressed the mistake and apologized profusely, an uncharacteristic action that might just mark the beginning of a new era of social responsibility.

SOURCE

Israel fish deaths linked to rapid warming of seas

This is a big stretch. How can slowly rising CO2 levels be responsible for a sudden spike in East Mediterranean water temperatures?

High temperatures and the persistent warming of oceans have triggered profound changes in marine ecosystems, but a new study suggests that the rate of onset of warming – rather than the peak – could also play a key role in the damage fuelled by climate change.

In early July 2017, researchers were drawn to the coast of Eilat, Israel, following sightings of fish carcasses, a rare occurrence in the region’s coral reefs.

“The fish were absolutely fresh … their gills were still red,” said the lead author, Amatzia Genin of the Interuniversity Institute of Marine Sciences in Eilat.

Soon after, a citizen-science campaign was initiated and by early September, 427 carcasses belonging to at least 42 species were collected. Necropsies were performed on 14 freshly dead and moribund fish from eight different species. In 13 cases, severe infection directly caused by a pathogenic bacterium, Streptococcus iniae, was observed.

a close up of a pond: Fish in the Red Sea off the Israeli city of Eilat, where water temperatures rose 4.2C over only 2.5 days in July 2017.© Photograph: Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images Fish in the Red Sea off the Israeli city of Eilat, where water temperatures rose 4.2C over only 2.5 days in July 2017.

Although this pathogen is ubiquitous in fish in warm waters, a healthy immune system usually prevents debilitating infections. So, what caused the mass casualties?

Typically, mass fish mortality events in the aftermath of marine heat waves are chalked up to factors such as toxic algal bloom or oxygen deprivation (hypoxia).

“It was not marine heat waves because the water temperature was not exceptionally high,” Genin said.

But further examination revealed that the rate of warming – a rise of 4.2C over 2.5 days in early July – was the steepest recorded since daily measurements were registered 32 years ago. In August, the water warmed by 3.4C in 2.5 days.

The same pattern emerged in two earlier documented mass coral reef fish deaths in Kuwait Bay in 2001 and western Australia in 2011. Both were immediately preceded by rapid warming spikes, suggesting that the rapid onset of warming, regardless of the final temperature, might trigger widespread mortality, the researchers wrote in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“This study isn’t quite the loud canary in a coal mine, but it’s part of the canary chorus, announcing that that the ocean has changed, and ecosystems are degrading … declining in both robustness and ability for organisms to survive,” said Dr Brad de Young from the Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada, who was not involved in the study.

“Ocean systems are being stressed out in many different ways – and like the background stress of Covid-19 on people, it makes everything else in life just that much more difficult,” he said.

When you add events such as sudden warming to overfishing, pollutants, changes in ocean acidity and oxygen levels – the abruptness of it can be devastating because fish are already metabolically and physiologically stressed, he suggested.

It is unlikely coral reef fish will swim to cooler water to escape, given their shallow habitat, he added. “There’s no food there, no grocery stores for them in deep water.”

A key question is whether the rapid warming weakened the fish immune system or provided an environment for the offending bacteria to proliferate.

“What you have here is one biotic (bacterial infection) and one abiotic (increase in temperature) challenge that occurred at the same time. It is possible that the infection lowered the thermal tolerance of the fish, and this resulted in the number of mortalities … but it certainly is very unlikely that it was temperature alone,” said Dr Kurt Gamperl from the Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada, who was not involved in the study.

The authors did not make any direct connection between the mortality and the rapid warming, he cautioned. “The evidence is all circumstantial.”

SOURCE

Green bonds don’t achieve much

Companies that issue green debt aren’t necessarily reducing their carbon emissions, underscoring the need for firms to have an environmental rating, according to a report from the Bank for International Settlements.

The median change in carbon intensity — the ratio of carbon emissions to revenue — of green bond issuers has been minimal over time, according to the global forum for central banks. That’s because green bonds are issued to finance specific projects without impacting a firm’s environmental credentials as a whole.

“Overall, there is no strong evidence that green bond issuance is associated with any reduction in carbon intensities over time at the firm level,” authors including senior economist Torsten Ehlers wrote in a report released on Monday. “Because green labels apply to standalone projects rather than to the firm’s overall activities, projects promising carbon reductions could be offset by carbon increases of the same firm elsewhere.”

Debuting more than a decade ago, the green bond market has exploded to about $1 trillion, according to BloombergNEF data, as investors demand more sustainable investment options. With that growth has come worries about greenwashing — misleading claims about environmental responsibility.

“Naive investors might expect firms with very high carbon intensities to be disqualified as issuers of green bonds,” the researchers said.

Concern about standards in the green bond market were raised when Spanish oil company Repsol SA in 2017 became the first major refiner to sell the securities. Royal Schiphol Group NV in Amsterdam set a precedent for other airports this month when it sold green debt.

JPMorgan Chase & Co., the biggest U.S. bank by assets, issued bonds to finance environmentally-friendly projects for the first time this month, while Saudi Electricity Co. sold the first green bond from the world’s largest oil-exporting nation, the latest milestone in the expansion of environment-friendly debt instruments.

The vast majority of green bonds are defined by “use of proceeds,” meaning the company must spend the money on environmental projects although there is no obligation to achieve group-wide compliance with environmental criteria, said Richard O’Callaghan, partner at Linklaters LLP in London.

“Any step on an environmental journey has to start somewhere,” he said.

The BIS says a rating system that ranks a company’s so-called greenness would help investors who don’t have the resources to do their own due diligence. It would also provide firms with an incentive to lower their carbon intensity.

SOURCE

La Nina summer expected as ‘inland seas’ form in Queensland outback

What happened to global warming? Global warming caused by increasing levels of CO2 was said to explain the droughts. So have CO2 levels dropped? They have continued to rise – so can they cause opposite effects? In the dream world of the Greenies maybe they can. But nobody can say how

The old truth that Australia is a place where “droughts and flooding rains” naturally alternate is what is really going on but the Greenies don’t want to know that

Minor flood warnings have been issued for the Bulloo, Thomson and Barcoo, and Diamantina rivers.

It comes as Australia braces for a La Nina summer, the same weather event that brought drenching conditions to Queensland between 2010 and 2012.

Graziers Andrea Curro and Peter Magoffin said over 80mm of rain has fallen on their property southwest of Longreach since Friday, forming vast flooded areas. Aerial pictures show vast areas of their property now inundated.

It’s the most rain they’ve seen in over a year, and is potentially drought-breaking for them. “It went from literally being a barren wasteland to 3.5 inches of rain,” Ms Curro said. “We’ve had nothing since January.”

“For a couple of days it just looks like an ocean,” she said. “It sets you up for summer,” she said.

It comes as the Bureau of Meteorology predicts a La Nina for Australia’s east coast over summer, bringing the possibility of rainfall well above average.

Bureau of Meteorology mapping shows rainfall totals of between 50 and 100mm of rain fell across vast areas of Queensland’s interior, with the system expected to impact the state’s southeast corner later today.

Longreach resident Jenna Goodman said the rain was “quite heavy at times.” “I think outside of town got more than we did in town which is nice,” Ms Goodman said. “Not a flood by any means, but hopefully we get some good follow up rain!”

SOURCE

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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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Tuesday, September 22, 2020


Charleston aims to force fossil fuel companies to pay $2bn to combat climate crisis

This is deliberate deception. Most Charleston residents would be aware that their problem is land subsidence, not rising seas. If they are not aware of it, the oil companies will soon make them aware of it. The lawsuit has zero merit

Charleston, the architectural jewel of the US south, has survived the ravages of revolutionary wars, an earthquake and even a siege waged by the notorious pirate Blackbeard. But the city now needs saving from its largest existential threat yet – the climate crisis.

Flooding has, in recent years, become a regular menace to streets lined with colonial and Georgian buildings. Protecting the historic core of South Carolina’s largest city from being consumed by the rising seas now comes with such a hefty price tag – around $2b – that Charleston is pinning its hopes on a bold gambit to force fossil fuel companies to foot the bill.

Charleston recently became the first city in the US south to sue large oil firms for damages, claiming they concealed knowledge that their product would heat up the planet and cause the sort of inundation that now bedevils many coastal cities around the world.

A trove of internal documents show oil companies knew from at least the 1960s that burning oil and other fossil fuels would cause the global temperature to rise, triggering heatwaves and causing the seas to rise due to rapidly melting glaciers. Charleston’s lawsuit claims that by obscuring these findings and funding a campaign of misinformation, the oil companies are liable for damage caused due to deception.

“It’s tragic, just imagine what we could’ve done to avoid all this if they didn’t deceive everyone,” said John Tecklenburg, Charleston’s mayor, who said the world hasn’t seen such flooding “since Noah built the Ark”.

Flooding was a rare occurrence when Tecklenburg, who is 65, was growing up in Charleston but it now blights the city. Each of his five years as mayor has seen a major flood, with Hurricane Matthew, in 2016, and Hurricane Irma, in 2017, causing vast volumes of water to pour over the Battery, a historic seawall and tourist drawcard.

“Our city and harbor became one,” he said. “It’s now an annual occurrence. People’s homes have been damaged, causing hundreds of millions of dollars in insurance claims. It’s a major threat to our city.”

Even regular high tides now drench downtown Charleston, which is perched on a peninsula surrounded on three sides by water. Half a century ago, water flowed onto the streets around four days a year. By 2019, this had increased to around 89 days a year on average. Within 30 years, Charleston faces its downtown streets being underwater every other day of the year.

Several people have had their homes inundated multiple times, others have fled the city while some with the means to do so have made the costly decision to elevate their stately abodes beyond the reach of the floodwater, 16ft or more above the mean sea level.

“You’ve got these multimillion dollar homes that are historic, so what can you do?” said Buz Morris, an architect who has overseen the raising of seven homes in the last few years. “On a rainy day here you can a foot or two of water in the street. We are helping protect the historic fabric of Charleston.”

The majority of residents can’t afford such expensive fixes, however, so the city is looking to make a huge investment to fend off the encroaching Atlantic ocean. A new seawall, fortifying the aging Battery, and a new network of drainage tunnels will, Charleston hopes, buy it some time. “This is a treasure of a city, a gem of American history and elegance,” said Tecklenburg. “I’m not going to be the mayor that raises the white flag of surrender and evacuates.”

The Charleston lawsuit – which targets a clutch of oil companies including Exxon, Shell, BP and Chevron – is the latest in a flurry of court actions aimed at forcing fossil fuel giants to meet the mounting costs of the climate crisis they helped stoke. Since 2017, nearly two dozen cities, counties and states, including San Francisco, New York and Massachusetts, have attempted to recover billions of dollars from the industry.

Over the past week this number has swelled further, with Hoboken in New Jersey, the state of Delaware and Charleston entering the fray. “We are seeking accountability from some of the world’s most powerful businesses to pay for the mess they’ve made,” said Kathy Jennings, Delaware’s attorney general.

These efforts have yet to garner a significant breakthrough, with a number of cases dismissed by judges, as the oil companies have argued the moves are a frivolous waste of time. “There is no merit to the claims,” said a Chevron spokesman in response to the Charleston lawsuit. “They are not a serious solution to a serious problem. There is no evidence Chevron misled the public about climate change. Those claims are false.”

Climate activists have retained hope, however, that the courts will start to swing behind the cases and have been further buoyed by promises made by Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee for US president, that his administration would pursue fossil fuel companies for climate damages.

The best sign the legal strategy is working is that “these cases are proceeding through the court system”, according to Ama Francis, a fellow at the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School.

“The public is ready to hold this corrupt industry accountable for causing and lying about climate change, and officials across the country are stepping up to take action,” said Richard Wiles, executive director of the Center for Climate Integrity.

“As climate change floods cities like Charleston, Big Oil is now knee-deep in lawsuits seeking justice for decades of the industry’s lying about their central role in causing the problem.”

SOURCE

‘Climate arson’ and other wildfire nonsense

Real goal is to avoid responsibility for policies, and increase control over energy, lives, property

Paul Driessen

In what has become an annual summer tragedy, wildfires are again destroying western US forests. Millions of acres and millions of animals have been incinerated, hundreds of homes reduced to ash and rubble, dozens of parents and children killed, and many more people left missing, injured or burned.

Air quality across wide regions and entire states is so bad people are told to stay indoors, where many have hibernated for months because of the coronavirus, but indoor air is also contaminated. Acrid smoke and soot have been carried to Chicago and beyond. Firefighters are profiles in courage, as they battle the blazes for days on end, while all too many politicians are displaying profiles in opportunism.

“If you give a climate arsonist four more years in the White House, why would anyone be surprised if more of America is ablaze?” Joe Biden thundered. “Mother Earth is angry,” Nancy Pelosi pontificated. “She’s telling us with hurricanes on the Gulf Coast, fires in the West, that the climate crisis is real.”

Despite finally starting to thin out overgrown forests, California Governor Gavin Newsome resorted to the longstanding party line about his state’s wildfires: Manmade “climate change is real. If you don’t believe in science, come to California and observe it with your own eyes.” Washington Governor Jay Inslee agreed. “These are climate fires,” he said. “And we cannot, and we will not, surrender our state and expose people to have their homes burned down and their lives lost because of climate fires,”

It’s ideological nonsense, intended to deflect blame and avoid responsibility for decades of public policy errors and forest mismanagement – and to justify new laws that would multiply government control over energy, industries, jobs, living standards, lives, property, and freedom to choose where and how we live.

One could argue that people shouldn’t have built homes in and near these forests. That they should have been persuaded or compelled to live in crowded urban areas, where crime, riots and Covid run rampant. But they do live in rural areas – and our politicians, land managers and judges have a duty to implement policies and practices that protect their homes, communities and lives, as well indigenous wildlife.

Perhaps slightly warmer or drier summers have made the wildfires slightly more likely or frequent. But decades of laws, lawsuits, fire suppression policies and forest mismanagement practices have guaranteed the buildup of massive amounts of dead and diseased trees, dry brush and grass, and decaying leaves, needles and debris. With every wet spring spurring plant growth that dries up every dry summer, just one lightning strike, careless camper, gender-revealing pyrotechnic or angry arsonist can ignite an inferno.

Because timber harvesting and thinning have been banned for decades, thousands of scrawny trees grow on acreage that should have just a few hundred full-sized mature trees. As of 2017, tens of billions of scrawny trees mix with 6.3 billion dead trees in 11 Western states; state and federal forests in California alone had over 129 million dead trees. Those numbers have most assuredly skyrocketed since 2017, while steadily increasing dry brush and debris now provide even more tinder for super-heated conflagrations.

Flames in average fires along the ground in managed forests might reach several feet in height and temperatures of 1,472° F (800° C), says Wildfire Today. But under conditions now found in western tinderboxes, flame heights can reach 165 feet (50 meters) or more, and crown fires can generate critter-roasting, soil-baking temperatures that exceed 2192 degrees F (1200 C). Wood bursts into flame at 572 F. Aluminum melts at 1220, silver at 1762, and gold at 1943 degrees F (1064 C)! 2192 degrees is hellish.

Most of this heat goes upward, but super-high temperatures incinerate endangered wildlife – as well as organisms and organic matter in thin western soils that for decades afterward can support only weeds, grass and stunted, spindly trees. Western conflagrations jump fire breaks because these ferocious fires are fueled by the unprecedented increase in combustibles that radical environmentalist policies have created.

These monstrous fires generate their own high winds and even mini tornados that carry burning branches high into the air, to be deposited hundreds of feet away, igniting new fires.

None of this has a thing to do with climate change. To say a 0.1, 0.5 or even 1.0 degree change in average global temperatures would alter these forest fire dynamics defies credibility. To say the monumental fuel buildups in our forests are irrelevant is like claiming a minimally furnished home will burn as easily and ferociously as one filled to the brim with furniture, books, old newspapers and cans of gasoline.

The solution is simple, though expensive and time-consuming at this point. Cut the red tape. Remove some of that fuel, so that fires don’t get so big, hot, powerful, and destructive. Clear wider areas around buildings, homes and communities. Create more, wider fire breaks. Build more roads that let people escape the flames. Send the timber to sawmills, to create jobs and tax revenues, and American lumber for affordable homes. Clear out brush and grass under transmission lines – and upgrade the transmission lines. Bolster rapid-response airborne and ground-based firefighting capabilities.

Up to now, all this has been prohibited, litigated and shut down in states that now have horrific fires. Radical Greens have even blocked cattle grazing that would control grass and brush in national forests.

Still not convinced? Look at recent major fires that petered out when they reached managed forests.

For years, San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation foresters chain-sawed overgrown trees, harvested better timber, improved timber stands, and used controlled, prescribed burns, weed killer and other measures to keep their forests healthy, protect sacred sites, and preserve jobs and wildlife. They even turn scrubby trash trees into particle board and sell it for furniture, as part the tribe’s timber business.

In 2017, the Wallow Fire, the most destructive wildfire in Arizona history, burned 538,000 acres – but fizzled out when it reached the reservation’s well-managed forest. A year later, the Rattlesnake Fire torched more than 20,000 acres in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest – but likewise faded out when it reached the neighboring White Mountain Apache timberlands, which had also been managed responsibly and proactively, using the same management practices that guide San Carlos Apache foresters.

Similar success stories can be found in the most unlikely place: California. For decades, the Southern California Edison electric utility employed selective logging, prescribed burns and other management strategies in its Shaver Lake Forest. This year’s Creek Fire raged through treetops and several hundred thousand acres in the Sierra National Forest. But when it reached the SoCalEd timberlands, it dwindled into a low-intensity surface or ground fire – which doesn’t incinerate big trees and wildlife.

Back in August 2013, the monstrous high-intensity Rim Fire immolated 180,000 acres in the Stanislaus National Forest. Thankfully the National Park Service (NPS) had been employing prescribed burning and other proactive management practices for years in Yosemite National Park next door. When the wildfire reached the park, it turned into a far less destructive surface fire.

The ferocious Rough Fire of 2015 roared through California’s Sequoia and Sierra National Forests, totally torching 150,000 acres. But it too became a ground fire when it reached Sequoia National Park, where the NPS had also used prescribed burns and other good management practices for decades.

A final point. The raging fires in our long mismanaged forests are not natural. They are not what used to burn with regularity through America’s forests. A century of fire suppression and fuel accumulation means they turn into superheated infernos. Manage them properly first. Then let nature work again.

The lesson? Regardless of what Earth’s climate may do – regardless of who or what may be responsible for any fluctuations – we must take responsible, appropriate, effective measures now. Doing so will save habitats, wildlife, homes and human lives today, and tomorrow.

We cannot and must let more megafires incinerate forests and people for decades to come, under an hubristic, misguided, ideological belief that we can eventually end global fossil fuel use and control planetary climate and weather conditions, thereby somehow making monster wildfires a dim memory.

Via email

Blaming Trump for climate change is ‘ironic’ given two per cent emissions reduction

Environmental policy expert Michael Shellenberger says it is completely unscientific and “crazy talk” to suggest temperatures rise and forests burn because Donald Trump is the president.

Mr Shellenberger said it’s ironic how climate activists level blame upon President Donald Trump for climate change when emissions are “lower now than when he took office”.

“They declined two per cent last year”.

He said it’s a crazy notion to suggest Donald Trump is responsible for the current Californian wildfires given it takes “30 years or more for the carbon dioxide to translate to warming”.

“It’s so unscientific and yet it’s clearly been given a pass because the media has been so bias on this because they hate Trump so much,” Mr Shellenberger said.

“They basically want to ascribe every natural disaster, every fire on him.

“It’s really the state’s fault that you have this huge accumulation of wood fuel, Donald Trump doesn’t have anything to do with that.”

SOURCE

The most infuriating protest ever: Climate activist pests bring peak-hour traffic in Brisbane to a standstill by deliberately cycling as slowly as possible on a busy major road

Interesting that I had an easier than usual drive from Woolloongabba to the Valley this morning

Climate change activists have brought Brisbane’s peak hour traffic to a crawl by cycling as slow as possible on a major road.

Up to 45 demonstrators from Extinction Rebellion are riding bicycles through the city in a slow-moving blockade on Monday.

Kicking off at Kurilpa Park, South Brisbane, at 7.30am the two-hour-long protest is part of a push for Australia to sign on to a binding target of zero net carbon emissions by 2025, overseen by a citizen’s assembly.

‘We will be riding as slowly as possible to disrupt peak hour traffic to bring attention to the climate and ecological crisis,’ organisers said in a Facebook post.

‘We are headed for complete annihilation. The amount of warming we are on track for, will literally mean the death of billions of people.’

‘Scientists say that at 4 or 5 degrees of warming, the earth could sustain a billion people. Our governments could push us to 7 degrees of warming.’

Rally organisers have told demonstrators to be COVID-19 safe by travelling in small groups of 10, social distancing and donning masks as they cycle towards King George Square.

Organisers listed ‘legal tips’ in a Facebook post advising attendees not to communicate with police.

‘There will be police liaisons at this protest, they will communicate between the police and activists,’ the post read.

‘If the police approach you please direct them to the designated police liaisons.’

‘In the past they have not arrested anybody for cycling slowly at similar events …’

Protesters live streamed the disruptive ride over Facebook, with footage showing them chanting ‘climate justice’ and blasting anthems, such as John Farnham’s ‘You’re the Voice’.

SOURCE

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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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Monday, September 21, 2020


The Facts About Climate Change and California Fires

The article below is generally sensible but at one point the author did not feel safe to deny global warming orthodoxy. He writes:

“It stands to reason that as the planet warms, the American West will become drier and states’ wildfire seasons will be longer. ”

That does NOT stand to reason It is often asserted but ignores basic physics. The oceans in a warmer would evaporate off more water vapor and that would come down as more rain. A warmer world would be a WETTER world

Despite some progress made by heroic firefighters, wildfires continue to tear through the West. Tragically, the fires have taken more than 30 lives (with many more missing), destroyed thousands of structures, and burned millions of acres.

Here are answers to some of the commonly asked questions on causes for the wildfires and obstacles that stand in the way of solutions.

What caused the wildfires?

At least several factors. At the end of August, a storm with a lot of lightning and little rain struck. An estimated 11,000 lightning strikes hit California over a three-day span, sparking fires throughout the state.

More recently, two of the fires started because of hot soot from a car tailpipe and a family using a “smoke-generating pyrotechnic device” for a gender reveal party. One man in Oregon has been charged with arson.

Investigations continue into the causes of some of the fires. In the past, campfires, discarded cigarettes, fallen power lines, and arson have been the culprit.

Despite accusations that extremists on both the left and right set certain wildfires, neither has been the case. In fact, false rumors have served only to spread resources thinner and detract from serious investigations.

The more than 3.2 million acres burned thus far in California are the most in recorded history.

According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, data over the past 30 years shows that the number of fires is on a downward trend while the number of acres burned is on an upward trend.

However, as Mother Jones reports, ecologists and fire scientists estimate that prehistoric fires were worse, burning between 4.4 million and 11.8 million acres per year.

On a national scale, data from the National Interagency Fire Center shows a downward trend for both fires and acres burned from 1926 through 2019, though reporting methods differed before 1983.

California is a hot and dry place. The winds can be fierce this time of year and the steep slopes of the topography can make them practically unstoppable. Although the winds come every year, they’re also unpredictable.

Alexandra Syphard, an ecologist at the Conservation Biology Institute, noted that “wind-driven fires are the ones most associated with catastrophic losses” because of their difficulty to contain and propensity to reach places where people live.

Then there’s the fuel load. Without proper management, whether prescribed burns or timber harvesting, California is a tinder box comprised of dry trees, grass, and shrubs. Invasive species, including grasses and shrubs, also contribute to worse wildfires because they dry out and have a higher likelihood of burning than native plants.

Better land management long has been understood as a necessity to reduce the severity of fires. Malcolm North, of the U.S. Forest Survey, says: “Climate dries the [wood] fuels out and extends the fire season from four to six months to nearly year-round. [B]ut it’s not the cause of the intensity of the fires. The cause of that is fire suppression and the existing debt of wood fuel.”

Timothy Ingalsbee, executive director for Firefighters United for Safety, Ethics, and Ecology, told ProPublica: “We need to get good fire on the ground and whittle down some of that fuel load.”

If controlled burns and thinning forests are effective, why are they so hard to do?
California’s fuel load has been a long-standing, worsening problem and a top priority for ecologists and land managers who want to reduce the severity of wildfires.

Jon Keeley, senior scientist at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Western Ecological Research Center, said: “We ought to be much more concerned with ignition sources than a 1- to 2-degree change in temperature.”

Prescribed burns (see photos here) are an effective, non-controversial way to reduce the fuel load and consequently reduce the destruction caused by a wildfire. Fires also help to control pests, to remove non-native plants, and to provide nutrients to trees and other vegetation.

As the narrator says in this National Geographic video: “Giant sequoias depend on fire to reproduce. The heat opens their seed cones, their seeds are released, the flames clear the earth for their germination. While lesser trees blaze around them, the giant sequoias stand virtually unscathed by the flames.”

Studies have shown that these prescribed burns do not harm the ecology of the forest. California has implemented controlled burns for an average of 13,000 acres from 1997 to 2017. But a February article in the journal Nature Sustainability suggests that California needs about 20 million acres burned.

Controlled burns are by no means a silver bullet, but an overwhelming consensus exists among land managers that such burns are the most immediate and effective action to take.

As for why that hasn’t happened, the same article in Nature Sustainability breaks it down to three categories: risk, resources, and regulation.

Some have concerns about the smoke from controlled burns, and that the fires may get out of control; others have concerns over liability should that occur. Even so, the practice largely has won public acceptance.

Another barrier is presented by weather and location. Controlled burns take into account ideal humidity ranges, as well as wind direction and speed. Some controlled burns occur where there are power lines or pipelines, which require additional attention. COVID-19 postponed many of the prescribed burns.

Regulation presents a major obstacle. Prescribed burns go through a lengthy approval process. Securing a permit can take up to 18 months. These burns are subject to the National Environmental Policy Act and must meet federal, state, and local air quality standards.

Of course, the pollution and air quality is much worse from the wildfires than from a controlled burn. Even when a plan seemingly checks all the necessary boxes, it still may be held up in the courts. Although some progress has occurred to expedite the process, more needs to be done.

Another solution is timber harvesting, which helps thin the landscape and put those resources to productive use.

What is the role of climate change?

It stands to reason that as the planet warms, the American West will become drier and states’ wildfire seasons will be longer. The planet has been in a warming period for the past 160 years, and part of that warming is a result of human activity.

One study out of UCLA estimates that the number of days with extreme fire weather in the fall has more than doubled over the past 40 years. Another study in Earth’s Future found similar results for warming’s effect on fuel drying, but noted that a changing climate has not affected wind or precipitation patterns:

In fall, wind events and delayed onset of winter precipitation are the dominant promoters of wildfire. While these variables did not change much over the past century, background warming and consequent fuel drying is increasingly enhancing the potential for large fall wildfires.

Cliff Mass, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington, emphasizes that even without the warming that is occurring, fuels are “plenty dry enough to burn already.”

Soil moisture is another factor that can determine how severe a wildfire might be. Last year, in a very mild season, soil moisture in California was 40% above average for most of the state and even higher in some parts.

Droughts can be both bad and good. Droughts obviously create a dry climate for vegetation to burn, but extended droughts can result in less fire because, as NASA’s Ben Cook points out, “the vegetation will not grow back as vigorously, and you may run out of fuel to burn.”

Some parts of California, such as the area where the Camp Fire wildfire occurred in 2018, saw no discernible trend in fuel moisture or precipitation, but the winds were strong enough to dry out the vegetation anyway.

Which brings us to another point of the discussion: how climate change affects wind patterns. California is known for intense winds, such as the Diablo winds in the north and the Santa Ana winds in the south.

Several studies show that warming actually could reduce the frequency of the Santa Ana winds and potentially weaken the pressure of Diablo winds. If precipitation patterns change, however, that merely might push the wildfire season from the fall into the winter.

That’s to say that the link between climate change and wildfires exists, but it also is quite complex.

What about where we live, and housing policies?
Residents of the West are moving to more fire-prone areas. The New York Times podcast “The Daily” explains that this is called the Wildland Urban Interface, where development meets wild vegetation.

People choose to live in more rural areas for a host of reasons. They may want to be closer to nature and where houses are more affordable. The higher number of homes and businesses in these areas also increases the likelihood of a human-induced fire and puts more lives and structures at risk. These threats as they pertain to the Wildland Urban Interface are not specific to California, but exist in many places around the country.

Housing policies also contribute to the decision by some to move to the Wildland Urban Interface. A homelessness problem plagues California and home prices are high, particularly in the cities.

The combination of the difficulty in expanding housing in the cities, the ease of building on green space, and state and local incentives to build in more remote locations encourages development in places that are at higher risk for wildfires.

Both state-subsidized housing (140,000 units in the Wildland Urban Interface) and local subsidies result in more houses than otherwise might be there. Also, because subsidies for building are still there, not to mention that a town’s budget and operations are paid for through property taxes, a strong incentive exists to rebuild.

And yet another piece of this puzzle is insurance. Insurance prices can be the great arbiter of accepting a certain amount of risk, whether that’s accepting the insurance premium of a sports car or purchasing a home in a flood- or fire-prone area.

A major part of the problem, however, is that the government can distort that risk by socializing it among taxpayers, or, in the case of California, banning insurers from refusing to renew fire insurance policies they deemed too risky. At the same time, some of the state’s housing policies encouraged expansion of homes and businesses to these more remote areas.

It’s understandable why homeowners are frustrated at the prospects of not being able to have insurance, but these policies skew the actual risk of living in these areas.

Alternative, market-based risk models are cropping up in parts of the country to better assess the risk and deploy fire- suppression resources where they’re needed most.

When the risk is accurately assessed, it should incentivize more prescribed burns, timber harvesting, and installation of fire- resistant materials on homes and other buildings. But even then, it is challenging because most often reducing the fuel load is out of the hands of the home or business owner.

The Western wildfires are tragic and devastating. A nearly universal consensus exists that prescribed burns can measurably reduce the risk of future fires.

Now is the time for the political will to make it happen, so we’re not writing and reading the same story a year from now.

SOURCE

A Successful Solution to Attack Wildfire

Here are two ideas that can make a difference and save lives.

First, create, fund and deploy a true Fire Attack Air Force to attack the inferno the way our military attacks an enemy: use overwhelming force, agile and adaptable tactics, amass the right resources, mobilize allies and deploy them strategically. Air attack cannot single-handedly stop a fire. But using water and retardants, it can help contain a fire if deployed as soon as a fire breaks out, slow its movement, and help open a corridor of escape for trapped residents. They can build a fire-line around flames. Planes can reach areas too hot and dangerous for fire crews to work in. It is critical to have this overwhelming force applied immediately on a fire before it builds into an uncontrollable inferno.

California boasts some of the best, most seasoned firefighters in the country. That goes for pilots. View footage of a helicopter dropping water or fixed wing aircraft like a DC-10 tanker soaring low over the landscape and emptying a bellyful of 12,000 gallons of water or retardant in eight seconds. It’s hard to quantify the impact, but sensible people agree that it helps.

What’s frustrating is watching only a single helicopter or plane dropping their loads. Imagine the impact if we deployed an air armada of 60 craft over a targeted area. They might not put out a fire, but massive bombardment would make a difference and certainly would slow progress enough for firefighters on the ground to succeed. It could contain damage and protect escape routes.

This idea is no pipe dream. California boasts some of the best. These firefighters are incredibly brave. Yet CalFire is today under-staffed and under-budgeted. That’s the product of unimaginative, incompetent leadership.

Some complain that an air attack force is expensive. What value do they place on a human life? A family or a community destroyed? Let’s shift priorities. We’re wasting over $100 billion dollars on a high-speed train of limited value whose costs keep ballooning. Why tolerate that? We need to be agile, flexible and adaptable.

Let’s also get aircraft into the air earlier. Current policy allows aircraft to launch after 10:00 a.m. But experts tell us that fires are more effectively attacked very early in the morning. We must balance pilot safety and effectiveness. But our pilots are capable. We owe them our deepest thanks.

Such action may or may not save a Camp Okizu or Big Creek, but it would improve their chances, and may well save future lives.

A second idea is understanding what is plausible. Battling California’s wildfires is not question of resources alone. We need good “generals” and smart strategy. Land and homeowners have done everything they can to prepare, but fire does not respect property lines. Roughly 129 million trees died on California’s federal, state and private lands between 2010 and 2017, according to one analysis. And yet state and federal authorities failed to devote the resources to address this unprecedented die-off. The ill-conceived policies that undermine sound forest management policies to safeguard land, property and above all, lives, should be swept away like deadwood.

Wildfire requires military-minded resolve and attack. Assembling a modern, dedicated California Fire Air Attack Force is a key to winning this war. We can win the battle and the war. That starts with demanding and having the right leadership.

SOURCE

Doubling down on climate change and censorship

A year ago, we showed in a Washington Examiner op-ed that the mathematical computer models used to promote global warming fears had been, for years, systematically overpredicting the rate of warming in the tropical lower atmosphere, typically by a factor of three. This touched off a hysterical response, starting with censorship.

Facebook “fact-checker” Climate Feedback labeled our opinion piece “false,” which blocked its distribution on the social media giant. Tech mogul Eric Michelman has for over a decade funded efforts to end debate on climate change, saying that “the science is settled.” In 2015, he founded and funded Climate Feedback and staffed it with the very climate modelers whose work we criticized in our op-ed.

We and the Washington Examiner appealed to Facebook, providing a detailed basis for our opinion, and Facebook removed the label, which again allowed our piece to be viewed and advertised.

We were referring to the tranche of climate models that formed much of the basis for the most recent U.N. “Assessment” of the state of climate science from 2014. The next one, due out in 2021, features a new generation of models. According to Ross McKitrick at the University of Guelph and John Christy at the University of Alabama, all of the new models that were available to review are now overpredicting globally, and they are even warmer than the last batch. Their article will soon be published in the peer-reviewed journal Earth and Space Science.

The new set of models keeps growing, and the Department of Energy now lists 40 centers worldwide running their own models. Each one costs a fortune. If “the science is settled,” then why do we need so many models solving the same problem (and getting different solutions)?

Further, a landmark encyclopedia-length study of the climate’s “sensitivity” to changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide, just published in Reviews of Geophysics, repeatedly notes that these new models aren’t reproducing the observed geographic patterns of warming. For example, they predict substantial warming to be occurring in the Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica. It’s not; in fact, many parts of it are cooling. The lead author, Australian Steven Sherwood, wrote that the warming of that ocean will “likely [take] hundreds of years or more” to appear and that the models’ behavior “may call into question their ability to accurately simulate the long-term pattern of warming.”

Nonetheless, the study raised the lowest expected warming for doubling atmospheric carbon dioxide from the United Nation’s current value of 1.5 degrees Celsius to 2.3 degrees. This change would roughly equal the total warming from the year 1900 to 2100, though ascribing the earliest warming, 1910-1945, to carbon dioxide is debatable because emissions had barely risen by the time it began. Sherwood also noted discrepancies between the new climate models and the early warming.

It remains to be seen, given the public’s new understanding of how incorrect assumptions drove COVID-19 modeling to scary heights, whether the U.N., in its upcoming report, will accept this raising of the floor.

Consider that many of the new models, about 15, depending upon where you look, predict more warming for this century than their predecessors. However, when run as historical simulations, all of these hot models predict more, sometimes much more warming to have occurred in recent decades than what has actually been observed.

As the alarmist E&E News has candidly admitted, “climate models … are the foundation for policies used to craft many carbon regulations.” It appears that the newest latest-greatest ones not only get the magnitude of observed warming wrong but that they also put it in the wrong places.

It’s hard to figure how Facebook’s climate squad is going to come down on us for merely opining on the new models and the Sherwood opus. But bigger names and tons of money have joined the censorship bandwagon. Now, we have Tom Steyer, Stacey Abrams, the heads of 17 of the biggest green lobby groups, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and three of her colleagues all calling on Facebook to ban us and our alliance of 55 climate scientists and energy economists.

Newer models that have increased errors shouldn’t be the basis for jettisoning the health and environmental benefits of our fossil-fueled energy or for censoring informed scientific opinion.

SOURCE

Australian miner declares victory over Greenie activists

Resources giant Adani has declared victory over environmental activists who tried to stop its $2 billion coal mine in central Queensland.

The Indian-owned company’s chief executive David Boshoff says the Carmichael project in the Galilee Basin has already created 1500 jobs, despite sustained opposition from green and Indigenous groups.

“The Stop Adani movement said our project would never go ahead and would never create a single job. We have proved our opponents wrong,” Mr Boshoff said in a statement on Friday.

His comments come a week after the Supreme Court in Brisbane ordered chief activist Ben Pennings to remove posts on social media from 2017 and 2018 encouraging people to get jobs at Adani to obtain information about the coal project to use aganist the company.

Mr Pennings, who runs the Galilee Blockade, was also ordered to stop asking others to disclose information to him about the project or using confidential information he obtains in his campaigns.

Mr Boshoff said Adani had helped prop up the resources sector and the state’s economy during the pandemic with 88 per cent of its contracts being delivered in Queensland.

He said with 1500 jobs already, more permanent roles will be created when the mine and rail line are operating.

“We are looking forward to the day next year when we can celebrate our success with our Queensland partners and employees, while watching the first shipment of coal being exported. Until then, it remains full speed ahead on construction,” Mr Boshoff said.

Meanwhile, the miner says it has managed to protect a traditional cultural heritage site after workers clearing grass for the railway found it last weekend.

The Jangga people, the area’s Traditional Owners, told the company the site is believed to be a women’s quarry, which was used to create tools and may be thousands of years old.

Mr Boschoff said with Jangga consent the company moved a vehicle access track to the railway, which will protect the site.

“This is a great outcome for both the Jangga People and Adani,” he said.

“The delivery of the Carmichael Project has enabled the Jangga People to do further exploration of their Country and discover more about their own rich history and culture.”

SOURCE

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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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Sunday, September 20, 2020


Solar panels generate mountains of waste

They also heat the planet, blanket wildlife habitats and cause other ecological damage

Duggan Flanakin

The problem of solar panel waste is now becoming evident. As environmental journalist Emily Folk admits in Renewable Energy Magazine, “when talking about renewable energy, the topic of waste does not often appear.” She attributes this to the supposed “pressures of climate change” and alleged “urgency to find alternative energy sources,” saying people may thus be hesitant to discuss “possible negative impacts of renewable energy.”

Ms. Folk admits that sustainability requires proper e-waste management. Yet she laments, “Solar presents a particular problem. There is growing evidence that broken panels release toxic pollutants … [and] increasing concern regarding what happens with these materials when they are no longer viable, especially since they are difficult to recycle.”

This is the likely reason that (except in Washington state), there are no U.S. mandates for solar recycling. A recent article in Grist reports that most used solar panels are shipped to developing countries that have little electricity and weak environmental protections, to be reused or landfilled.

The near-total absence of end-of-life procedures for solar panels is likely a byproduct of the belief (and repeated, unsupported assertion) that renewable energy is “clean” and “green.” Indeed, Mississippi Sierra Club state director Louie Miller recently claimed that unlike fossil fuels and nuclear energy, “Sunshine is a free fuel.” Well, sunshine is certainly free and clean. However, there is a monumental caveat.

Harnessing sunshine (and wind) to serve humanity is not free – or clean, green, renewable or sustainable.

The 1977 Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act mandates that new surface coal mines include plans and set aside funds for full reclamation of mine properties. The law also sets standards for restoring abandoned mine lands. There is nothing akin to this for solar facilities and wastes.

Similarly, the 1980 Superfund law (Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act) created a tax and trust fund to pay for preventing and fixing actual or threatened releases of hazardous substances that could endanger public health or the environment. Again, still nothing for solar.

The 1982 Nuclear Waste Policy Act prioritizes deep geologic repositories for safe storage and/or disposal of radioactive waste. Unfortunately, 25 years after being designated as the disposal site, Nevada’s Yucca Mountain has never opened, because of conflicts among politicians, locals, anti-nuclear activists, government officials and the nuclear industry. The U.S. still stores its nuclear waste at 75 scattered sites, including some near New York City, New Orleans and Chicago. For solar no steps have been taken.

While coal, nuclear, and petrochemical companies must come up with detailed, costly plans for dealing with real or potential negative consequences of their operations, solar (and wind) companies have been rewarded with massive subsidies and absolutely no disposal standards or requirements.

No government grants require that solar companies set aside money to dispose of, store or recycle wastes generated during manufacturing or after massive solar “farms” have ceased functioning and been torn down. Solar (and wind) customers are likewise not charged for waste cleanup, disposal, or reuse and recycling. This and the massive subsidies distort and hide the true costs of solar power.

But reality is starting to catch up. Disposal (or recycling) costs will have to be paid, ultimately by consumers. The more solar panels we have (likely billions within a few years), the higher those costs will be. Consumers in states like California that have committed to heavy reliance on solar (and wind) energy (and already have the nation’s highest energy bills) will have to pay even more.

California is also facing a secondary problem from the proliferation of subsidized industrial solar installations. A 2015 study by Stanford University and the Carnegie Institution for Science found that nearly a third of the state’s solar development is occurring on former cropland, where many farmers are shifting from growing crops to using their land to generate electricity – rather than letting it become wildlife habitat. As Big Solar also moves into natural areas, California is losing even more habitat and scenic land, while the integrity of state and national parks suffers from the nearby glare of countless solar panels and towering transmission lines to distant cities.

The Stanford study highlights another problem: localized higher temperatures. It found it will take an area the size of South Carolina filled with solar arrays to meet California’s goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. [It would take at least eight South Carolinas if the California mandate were extended nationwide.]

Other research has found that these large-scale solar power plants raise local temperatures, creating a significant solar heat island effect. Temperatures around one solar power plant were 5.4o-7.2 °F (3o-4°C) warmer than nearby wildlands. Imagine such manmade “global warming” across 20 million acres (South Carolina) or 160 million acres (Texas), to meet California or U.S. greenhouse gas reduction goals!

Australia is already coping with this unwelcome reality. Not until 2018 did Aussie environment ministers mandate fast-track development of new product stewardship schemes for photovoltaic (PV) solar panels, like those television and computer manufacturers and retailers have had to comply with since 2011.

Total Environment Centre director Jeff Angel admitted that setting standards for life-of-product management for solar panels was “long overdue,” and that the 30-year delay in imposing standards revealed a “fundamental weakness” in Australia’s waste policies. He further noted that while solar panels contain hazardous substances, Aussies are “sending hundreds of thousands of e-waste items to landfills” and creating significant pollution problems. And Australia has less than a tenth of the U.S. population!

Since 2002, the European Union’s Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive has required that original producers of e-wastes guarantee and pay for taking back and recycling their wastes, so that end-user consumers aren’t surprised by additional disposal costs.

However, PV solar panel waste was not included in this mandate until July 2012 – and “some uncertainty remains” about the cutoff date for such wastes, because the directive has yet to be implemented in national laws. Producer financing of PV waste treatment thus cannot be applied to older solar panels. So who will pay? And how much?

Ms. Folk and others look to waste-to-energy plants, and indeed the EU does send much of its solar panel waste to incinerators – which many environmentalists oppose. Landfilling is not a viable option in the U.S., because toxins could leach out. Unscrupulous companies ship solar panel waste to developing nations, but that is a stopgap solution that is environmentally irresponsible.

Tao Meng, lead author of a new study, says “the big blind spot in the U.S. for recycling is that the cost far exceeds the revenue” – by nearly 10-to-1, especially when including transportation costs. Chemicals must be used to remove silver and lead from silicon modules before they can be safely placed in landfills, Meng notes.

The problem of solar panel waste will continue to grow as more panels reach their end of life. Four years ago the International Renewable Energy Agency estimated there were already about 250,000 metric tons of solar panel waste worldwide – and that total will explode to 78 million metric tons by 2050!

So when you read that solar energy is already cheaper than natural gas, don’t be fooled. They are omitting the pollution and disposal costs, as well as habitat losses, solar heat islands, and the need for backup power generation or batteries – to lowball the true costs of intermittent, season, latitude and [weather]weather-dependent solar. We need some honest math now, before it’s too late to turn back.

Via email

UK: Metaldehyde slug pellets to be banned from spring 2022

A ban on the outdoor use of metaldehyde slug pellets is to be introduced across Great Britain from spring 2022.

Defra farm minister Victoria Prentis said the decision to ban the use of the pesticide on farms and in gardens, except in permanent greenhouses, was being taken “in order to better protect wildlife and the environment”.

It follows advice from the UK Expert Committee on Pesticides and the Health and Safety Executive about the risks that metaldehyde poses to birds and mammals, especially birds, toads and hedgehogs.  

Ms Prentis said: “The scientific evidence is clear – the risks metaldehyde pose to the environment and to wildlife are too great.

“The government is committed to building back greener and the restrictions on the use of metaldehyde are another step towards building a cleaner and greener country for the next generation.”

Metaldehyde will be phased out by 31 March 2022 to give growers and gardeners appropriate time to switch to alternative slug control measures.

It will be legal to sell metaldehyde products until 31 March 2021, with use of the products then allowed for a further 12 months.

Slugs are a significant pest for agricultural and horticultural crops such as oilseed rape, cereals and potatoes, which, if left unchecked, can cause significant damage.

SOURCE

One Democrat Governor Already Looking for a Way Out of Biden’s Suffocating Energy Proposal

Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico has quietly been trying to find a way to evade an energy proclamation by a potential Joe Biden administration.

Lujan Grisham has been a vocal supporter of Biden throughout his campaign, even making the shortlist of potential vice presidential picks. She also had the distinction of announcing her state’s commitment to supporting Biden as the Democratic presidential candidate during the virtual roll call of the Democratic National Convention. Lujan Grisham has also been named to Biden’s potential transition team.

But while the governor appears to be all in for Biden on the surface, his energy proposals seem to have her spooked and looking for a way to be exempt should new laws come to New Mexico.

Earlier this month, a study suggested that Biden’s current stance on fracking, a position he has flip-flopped over and left supporters and critics scratching their heads, would be “devastating” for New Mexico.

“Restricting oil and gas development on federal lands will rob New Mexico of opportunities for economic growth and hollow our schools of critical resources that put teachers in classrooms and help our young children learn,” said New Mexico Oil and Gas Association Executive Director Ryan Flynn. Currently, New Mexico accounts for more than 30 percent of onshore natural gas production in the United States and nearly 60 percent of all onshore oil production.

Though the prospective Biden administration has been less than clear about their policies on fracking in general, they have been crystal clear that leasing of federal land or waters for the purpose of fracking or any production of natural energy would be strictly banned.

This is a huge problem for states like New Mexico, whose recent years of economic achievement have been due to investments in the future of energy in the state.

“An affordable and reliable energy supply is essential to a strong America and banning energy development on federal lands and in offshore waters not only threatens thousands of the best paying jobs but needlessly erases much needed revenue that helps pay for schools and other essential services,” Texas Oil and Gas Association President Todd Staples told the Carlsbad Current-Argus.

“American oil and natural gas is safe, clean and abundant, and misguided policies will only stifle our nation’s energy progress,” Staples continued.

The American Petroleum Institute estimated that the banning of new federal leases for energy production in New Mexico would lead to the loss of approximately 22,000 jobs in the state, a $1.1 billion loss in state revenue, and the reduction of oil and gas production by nearly 50 percent.

“Banning federal leasing and development on federal lands and waters would derail decades of U.S. energy progress and return us to the days of relying on foreign energy sources hostile to American interests,” said API director Mike Sommers.

A spokesperson for Lujan Grisham said the governor has not officially committed to seeking a waiver from the Biden-Harris policy vows.

“I would say it’s premature to be indicating anything about waivers for federal policies that don’t exist yet,” said spokesperson Nora Meyers Sackett. “If we are fortunate enough to have a President Biden, the governor knows that will require a close working relationship to both protect our environment and rebuild our state’s economy, and we look forward to those discussions and that work.

But Lujan Grisham has already faced tremendous pressure from residents and officials in New Mexico who see only disaster if Biden is voted across the finish line in November.

“No doubt Biden’s energy plans would spell disaster for our state and that’s why it’s critical for New Mexicans to know where their leaders stand,” said Western States Director of Power the Future Larry Behrens.

“Biden has spent the last weeks tripping over his position on fracking, so it’s no surprise some New Mexico leaders would rather stay silent. However, thousands of energy jobs and billions of dollars are at stake and we deserve answers.”

SOURCE

Australia: Much of Queensland’s legislation against farmers was ‘completely unnecessary’

Marine scientist and physicist Professor Peter Ridd says data showing pesticides bear a a negligible impact on the Great Barrier Reef means much of the Queensland government’s new legislation against farmers were “completely unnecessary”.

Professor Ridd said it was recently revealed by the director of the Australian Institute of Marine Science, that only 3 per cent of the whole Great Barrier Reef, the ‘inshore reefs’, was affected by farm pesticides.

He said it was revealed even for the affected 3 per cent, pesticides were a low to negligible risk.

“It’s only 3 per cent of the whole Great Barrier Reef, and even when you look at the data on that … even on that 3 per cent, pesticides are a low to negligible risk,” Professor Ridd told Sky News host Chris Kenny.

“(Which) basically means a lot of this new legislation the Queensland government is bringing on against farmers is completely unnecessary.”

SOURCE

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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

*****************************************


Solar panels generate mountains of waste

They also heat the planet, blanket wildlife habitats and cause other ecological damage

Duggan Flanakin

The problem of solar panel waste is now becoming evident. As environmental journalist Emily Folk admits in Renewable Energy Magazine, “when talking about renewable energy, the topic of waste does not often appear.” She attributes this to the supposed “pressures of climate change” and alleged “urgency to find alternative energy sources,” saying people may thus be hesitant to discuss “possible negative impacts of renewable energy.”

Ms. Folk admits that sustainability requires proper e-waste management. Yet she laments, “Solar presents a particular problem. There is growing evidence that broken panels release toxic pollutants … [and] increasing concern regarding what happens with these materials when they are no longer viable, especially since they are difficult to recycle.”

This is the likely reason that (except in Washington state), there are no U.S. mandates for solar recycling. A recent article in Grist reports that most used solar panels are shipped to developing countries that have little electricity and weak environmental protections, to be reused or landfilled.

The near-total absence of end-of-life procedures for solar panels is likely a byproduct of the belief (and repeated, unsupported assertion) that renewable energy is “clean” and “green.” Indeed, Mississippi Sierra Club state director Louie Miller recently claimed that unlike fossil fuels and nuclear energy, “Sunshine is a free fuel.” Well, sunshine is certainly free and clean. However, there is a monumental caveat.

Harnessing sunshine (and wind) to serve humanity is not free – or clean, green, renewable or sustainable.

The 1977 Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act mandates that new surface coal mines include plans and set aside funds for full reclamation of mine properties. The law also sets standards for restoring abandoned mine lands. There is nothing akin to this for solar facilities and wastes.

Similarly, the 1980 Superfund law (Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act) created a tax and trust fund to pay for preventing and fixing actual or threatened releases of hazardous substances that could endanger public health or the environment. Again, still nothing for solar.

The 1982 Nuclear Waste Policy Act prioritizes deep geologic repositories for safe storage and/or disposal of radioactive waste. Unfortunately, 25 years after being designated as the disposal site, Nevada’s Yucca Mountain has never opened, because of conflicts among politicians, locals, anti-nuclear activists, government officials and the nuclear industry. The U.S. still stores its nuclear waste at 75 scattered sites, including some near New York City, New Orleans and Chicago. For solar no steps have been taken.

While coal, nuclear, and petrochemical companies must come up with detailed, costly plans for dealing with real or potential negative consequences of their operations, solar (and wind) companies have been rewarded with massive subsidies and absolutely no disposal standards or requirements.

No government grants require that solar companies set aside money to dispose of, store or recycle wastes generated during manufacturing or after massive solar “farms” have ceased functioning and been torn down. Solar (and wind) customers are likewise not charged for waste cleanup, disposal, or reuse and recycling. This and the massive subsidies distort and hide the true costs of solar power.

But reality is starting to catch up. Disposal (or recycling) costs will have to be paid, ultimately by consumers. The more solar panels we have (likely billions within a few years), the higher those costs will be. Consumers in states like California that have committed to heavy reliance on solar (and wind) energy (and already have the nation’s highest energy bills) will have to pay even more.

California is also facing a secondary problem from the proliferation of subsidized industrial solar installations. A 2015 study by Stanford University and the Carnegie Institution for Science found that nearly a third of the state’s solar development is occurring on former cropland, where many farmers are shifting from growing crops to using their land to generate electricity – rather than letting it become wildlife habitat. As Big Solar also moves into natural areas, California is losing even more habitat and scenic land, while the integrity of state and national parks suffers from the nearby glare of countless solar panels and towering transmission lines to distant cities.

The Stanford study highlights another problem: localized higher temperatures. It found it will take an area the size of South Carolina filled with solar arrays to meet California’s goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. [It would take at least eight South Carolinas if the California mandate were extended nationwide.]

Other research has found that these large-scale solar power plants raise local temperatures, creating a significant solar heat island effect. Temperatures around one solar power plant were 5.4o-7.2 °F (3o-4°C) warmer than nearby wildlands. Imagine such manmade “global warming” across 20 million acres (South Carolina) or 160 million acres (Texas), to meet California or U.S. greenhouse gas reduction goals!

Australia is already coping with this unwelcome reality. Not until 2018 did Aussie environment ministers mandate fast-track development of new product stewardship schemes for photovoltaic (PV) solar panels, like those television and computer manufacturers and retailers have had to comply with since 2011.

Total Environment Centre director Jeff Angel admitted that setting standards for life-of-product management for solar panels was “long overdue,” and that the 30-year delay in imposing standards revealed a “fundamental weakness” in Australia’s waste policies. He further noted that while solar panels contain hazardous substances, Aussies are “sending hundreds of thousands of e-waste items to landfills” and creating significant pollution problems. And Australia has less than a tenth of the U.S. population!

Since 2002, the European Union’s Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive has required that original producers of e-wastes guarantee and pay for taking back and recycling their wastes, so that end-user consumers aren’t surprised by additional disposal costs.

However, PV solar panel waste was not included in this mandate until July 2012 – and “some uncertainty remains” about the cutoff date for such wastes, because the directive has yet to be implemented in national laws. Producer financing of PV waste treatment thus cannot be applied to older solar panels. So who will pay? And how much?

Ms. Folk and others look to waste-to-energy plants, and indeed the EU does send much of its solar panel waste to incinerators – which many environmentalists oppose. Landfilling is not a viable option in the U.S., because toxins could leach out. Unscrupulous companies ship solar panel waste to developing nations, but that is a stopgap solution that is environmentally irresponsible.

Tao Meng, lead author of a new study, says “the big blind spot in the U.S. for recycling is that the cost far exceeds the revenue” – by nearly 10-to-1, especially when including transportation costs. Chemicals must be used to remove silver and lead from silicon modules before they can be safely placed in landfills, Meng notes.

The problem of solar panel waste will continue to grow as more panels reach their end of life. Four years ago the International Renewable Energy Agency estimated there were already about 250,000 metric tons of solar panel waste worldwide – and that total will explode to 78 million metric tons by 2050!

So when you read that solar energy is already cheaper than natural gas, don’t be fooled. They are omitting the pollution and disposal costs, as well as habitat losses, solar heat islands, and the need for backup power generation or batteries – to lowball the true costs of intermittent, season, latitude and [weather]weather-dependent solar. We need some honest math now, before it’s too late to turn back.

Via email

UK: Metaldehyde slug pellets to be banned from spring 2022

A ban on the outdoor use of metaldehyde slug pellets is to be introduced across Great Britain from spring 2022.

Defra farm minister Victoria Prentis said the decision to ban the use of the pesticide on farms and in gardens, except in permanent greenhouses, was being taken “in order to better protect wildlife and the environment”.

It follows advice from the UK Expert Committee on Pesticides and the Health and Safety Executive about the risks that metaldehyde poses to birds and mammals, especially birds, toads and hedgehogs.  

Ms Prentis said: “The scientific evidence is clear – the risks metaldehyde pose to the environment and to wildlife are too great.

“The government is committed to building back greener and the restrictions on the use of metaldehyde are another step towards building a cleaner and greener country for the next generation.”

Metaldehyde will be phased out by 31 March 2022 to give growers and gardeners appropriate time to switch to alternative slug control measures.

It will be legal to sell metaldehyde products until 31 March 2021, with use of the products then allowed for a further 12 months.

Slugs are a significant pest for agricultural and horticultural crops such as oilseed rape, cereals and potatoes, which, if left unchecked, can cause significant damage.

SOURCE

One Democrat Governor Already Looking for a Way Out of Biden’s Suffocating Energy Proposal

Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico has quietly been trying to find a way to evade an energy proclamation by a potential Joe Biden administration.

Lujan Grisham has been a vocal supporter of Biden throughout his campaign, even making the shortlist of potential vice presidential picks. She also had the distinction of announcing her state’s commitment to supporting Biden as the Democratic presidential candidate during the virtual roll call of the Democratic National Convention. Lujan Grisham has also been named to Biden’s potential transition team.

But while the governor appears to be all in for Biden on the surface, his energy proposals seem to have her spooked and looking for a way to be exempt should new laws come to New Mexico.

Earlier this month, a study suggested that Biden’s current stance on fracking, a position he has flip-flopped over and left supporters and critics scratching their heads, would be “devastating” for New Mexico.

“Restricting oil and gas development on federal lands will rob New Mexico of opportunities for economic growth and hollow our schools of critical resources that put teachers in classrooms and help our young children learn,” said New Mexico Oil and Gas Association Executive Director Ryan Flynn. Currently, New Mexico accounts for more than 30 percent of onshore natural gas production in the United States and nearly 60 percent of all onshore oil production.

Though the prospective Biden administration has been less than clear about their policies on fracking in general, they have been crystal clear that leasing of federal land or waters for the purpose of fracking or any production of natural energy would be strictly banned.

This is a huge problem for states like New Mexico, whose recent years of economic achievement have been due to investments in the future of energy in the state.

“An affordable and reliable energy supply is essential to a strong America and banning energy development on federal lands and in offshore waters not only threatens thousands of the best paying jobs but needlessly erases much needed revenue that helps pay for schools and other essential services,” Texas Oil and Gas Association President Todd Staples told the Carlsbad Current-Argus.

“American oil and natural gas is safe, clean and abundant, and misguided policies will only stifle our nation’s energy progress,” Staples continued.

The American Petroleum Institute estimated that the banning of new federal leases for energy production in New Mexico would lead to the loss of approximately 22,000 jobs in the state, a $1.1 billion loss in state revenue, and the reduction of oil and gas production by nearly 50 percent.

“Banning federal leasing and development on federal lands and waters would derail decades of U.S. energy progress and return us to the days of relying on foreign energy sources hostile to American interests,” said API director Mike Sommers.

A spokesperson for Lujan Grisham said the governor has not officially committed to seeking a waiver from the Biden-Harris policy vows.

“I would say it’s premature to be indicating anything about waivers for federal policies that don’t exist yet,” said spokesperson Nora Meyers Sackett. “If we are fortunate enough to have a President Biden, the governor knows that will require a close working relationship to both protect our environment and rebuild our state’s economy, and we look forward to those discussions and that work.

But Lujan Grisham has already faced tremendous pressure from residents and officials in New Mexico who see only disaster if Biden is voted across the finish line in November.

“No doubt Biden’s energy plans would spell disaster for our state and that’s why it’s critical for New Mexicans to know where their leaders stand,” said Western States Director of Power the Future Larry Behrens.

“Biden has spent the last weeks tripping over his position on fracking, so it’s no surprise some New Mexico leaders would rather stay silent. However, thousands of energy jobs and billions of dollars are at stake and we deserve answers.”

SOURCE

Australia: Much of Queensland’s legislation against farmers was ‘completely unnecessary’

Marine scientist and physicist Professor Peter Ridd says data showing pesticides bear a a negligible impact on the Great Barrier Reef means much of the Queensland government’s new legislation against farmers were “completely unnecessary”.

Professor Ridd said it was recently revealed by the director of the Australian Institute of Marine Science, that only 3 per cent of the whole Great Barrier Reef, the ‘inshore reefs’, was affected by farm pesticides.

He said it was revealed even for the affected 3 per cent, pesticides were a low to negligible risk.

“It’s only 3 per cent of the whole Great Barrier Reef, and even when you look at the data on that … even on that 3 per cent, pesticides are a low to negligible risk,” Professor Ridd told Sky News host Chris Kenny.

“(Which) basically means a lot of this new legislation the Queensland government is bringing on against farmers is completely unnecessary.”

SOURCE

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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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Friday, September 18, 2020

Large gaps in climate data

NOAA’s global and US temperature estimates have become highly controversial. The core issue is accuracy. These estimates are made by very complex statistical models which are sensitive to a large number of factors, but the magnitude of sensitivity for each factor is unknown. NOAA’s present practice of stating temperatures with precision is clearly untenable, because it ignores these significant uncertainties.

Thus NOAA needs a focused research program to try to determine the accuracy range of these controversial temperature estimates. Below is a brief outline of the factors to be explored. The research goal is to systematically explore the uncertainty each factor contributes to the temperature estimates.

1. The urban heat island effect (UHI). This is known to exist but its specific effect on the temperature recording stations at any given time and place is uncertain.

2. Local heat contamination of temperature readings. Extensive investigation has shown that this is a widespread problem. Its overall extent and effect is highly uncertain.

3. The limited accuracy of individual thermometer readings. The average temperature cannot be more accurate than the individual readings that go into it. It has been suggested that in some cases this inaccuracy is an entire degree.

4. Other temperature recording station factors, to be identified and explored. Several have been discussed in the literature.

5. Adjustments to temperature data, to be systematically identified and explored. There are numerous adjustments made to the raw temperature data. These need to be cataloged, and then analyzed for uncertainty.

6. Homogenization, which assumes that temperature change is uniform over large areas, is a particularly troubling adjustment deserving of special attention.

7. The use of sea surface temperature (SST) proxies in global temperature estimates. Proxies always add significant uncertainty. In the global case the majority of the surface is oceanic.

8. The use of an availability or convenience sample rather than a random sample. It is a canon of statistical sampling theory that convenience samples are unreliable. How much uncertainty this creates in the temperature estimates is a major issue.

9. Area averaging. This is the basic method used in the surface temperature estimating model and it is a nonstandard statistical method, which creates its own uncertainties. For example, different thermometers are in effect given very different weights. Plus the global average is an average of averages.

10. Interpolation or in-filling. Many of the area averaging grid cells do not have good temperature data, so interpolation is used to fill them in. This can be done in many different ways, which creates another major uncertainty.

Other factors are likely to be identified and explored as this research proceeds. To the extent that the uncertainty range contributed by each factor can be quantified, these ranges can then be combined and added into the statistical temperature model. How to do this is itself a research need.

Note that it is not a matter of adjusting the estimate, which is what is presently done. One cannot adjust away an uncertainty. The resulting temperature estimates will at best be in the form of a likely range, not a specific value as is now done. This range may be large. For example, if each of the ten uncertainty factors listed above were to be about 0.1 degrees, then the sum might be a whole degree or more.

Note also that most of this research will also be applicable to the other surface temperature estimation models, such as GISS, HadCRU and BEST. All of these models use roughly the same data and methods, with many differences in detail.

SOURCE

NOAA Hires Climate Realist, Media Strokes Out

By statistician Briggs

Dear Men of the Right, you might complain that you have not got all you wanted from President Trump. But you will not be able to deny he has the unparalleled ability to send his enemies into shivering bat-guano fits of drooling insanity. It is a beautiful thing to see. The entertainment value alone of his presidency makes his re-election imperative.

Trump has done his signal service for us again by hiring a friend of ours, David Legates, for a top science position at NOAA.

Long-time readers will remember Legates. He allowed me to tag along on a few papers on the climate (example). The most infamous of which caused—I’m guessing—at least seven TIAs, three full strokes, seventeen angina attacks, and four fatal myocardial infarctions. This was “Why Models Run Hot: Results From An Irreducibly Simple Climate Model“, with lead author Christopher Monckton.

This peer-reviewed sensation made a simple claim: man, like all creatures, influences the climate; he is influencing this one, likely to the tune of a 1 degree C or so global temperature increase with a doubling of pre-industrial atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Now, with all the worry, angst, consternation, fretting, wailing, lamentations, and just plain unhappiness about global-warming-of-doom, you’d think a paper like ours would be greeted with cheers and sighs of relief! Here was hope! We thought we were all going to die of heat death, but here was evidence saying maybe it will be okay. Isn’t that wonderful!

Alas, no.

Word is that that MSNBC reporter lady’s hair caught on fire when reading our story. Environmentalist activists lit torches. Members of Congress—and here I do not jest—launched investigations. Willie Soon, one of the other authors, was hounded, harassed, and hectored. Monkton was disparaged in many foreign languages. My old site was hacked. All of us were called names that I hadn’t even learned in the military.

It was strange. It was almost as if the left did not want good news about the climate! It was as if the left hated the idea that their services to cure this non-problem were not necessary. But how could this be? They loved Science! Yet when science said “Calm yourselves”, that love evaporated.

It’s true. The left became science deniers. A sad thing to see.

Well, five years have passed and we have all grown in maturity and sobriety. We have come to appreciate the massive and unseen uncertainties that lurk in scientific models. We’ve seen how many forecasts have failed, we’ve seen that our fears were exaggerated. Our well-funded scientists, now abashed, have switched from temerity to timidity.

Strange, then, that NPR said “Longtime Climate Science Denier Hired At NOAA“. They said Legates, “a University of Delaware professor of climatology who has spent much of his career questioning basic tenets of climate science”.

Younger readers won’t recall that it used be the job of scientists to question basic, and even not-so-basic, tenets of science. That was how, in the old days, mistakes were recognized and progress made. All that has, of course, changed for the better. Tenets are now supplied by political agencies and are, as is proper, unquestionable.

One has to admit that this change makes doing science much easier. Used to take years, even decades, of gruesome and mostly vain toil to ferret out flubs in theories, and even longer to discover fixes. Now all we have to do is check with the press and we know all the right answers.

This is where the term denier originates. Anybody who questions the official line is called one. Anybody who can prove the parts of the official line are false are not only called deniers, but names I’m not allowed to print (my mother reads this blog). Truth and accuracy are not wanted. Compliance is all that counts.

CNN sent plaintive emails to people asking for dirt on Legates. That MSNBC’s lady’s hair caught fire again. Science magazine, an international journal of politics, not realizing the pun, called Legates’s hiring an “escalation”.

The most devastating critique of all came from the ex-head of the American Society of Interior Designers, Randy Fiser. He said Legates’s use of throw pillows and afghan carpet combination was sure to spell disaster for the country.

Kidding! No, Fiser was hired by The American Geophysical Union, which is evidently an organization devoted to settle the scientific debate of wood floors versus tile. Fiser demanded Legates’s position be revoked. It’s not clear, but Fiser may be holding his breath until he turns blue to show earnest he is.

Then came the hate calls. I have permission for you to delight in this mad woman’s ravings. She apparently believes “climate change”, and not admitted and caught arsonists, are responsible the wildfires out west (how many times have we been reminded that propaganda works?). I have removed all identifying information, so there are a few quiet spots.

SOURCE

Data Falsifies Alarmist Claims ‘Climate Migrants’ Are Heading North

Theory versus facts

At the top of Google News searches today for “climate change,” an article published by the website Pro Publica claims global warming during the next few decades will force millions of Americans from warm southern states to cooler states.

A look at state population patterns, however, shows exactly the opposite is happening. Even with our modest recent warming, more Americans prefer to move to warmer southern states than colder northern states.

The Pro Publica article, “Climate Change Will Force a New American Migration,” claims:

“[One] in 12 Americans in the Southern half of the country will move toward California, the Mountain West or the Northwest over the next 45 years because of climate influences alone. … It will eat away at prosperity, dealing repeated economic blows to coastal, rural, and Southern regions, which could in turn push entire communities to the brink of collapse. This process has already begun in rural Louisiana and coastal Georgia…”

So, according to the article, people moving from one part of the country to another to seek a better climate is disastrous and puts whole communities on the brink of collapse. If that is indeed the case, perhaps we should do something about it.

A map published, ironically, by the climate-alarmist website Daily Kos illustrates how Americans are reacting to climate by seeking warmer, not colder, temperatures.

As shown in the Daily Kos map below, U.S. Census Bureau data show Texas will gain the most congressional seats in the 2020 Census update. Florida will gain the second-most seats.

Texas and Florida are the two southernmost states in the contiguous 48 states. Other states expected to gain seats are hot-weather Arizona, warm-weather North Carolina, climate-neutral Colorado, climate-neutral Oregon, and cold-weather Montana (largely due to people fleeing liberal California).

By contrast, eight of the 10 states expected to lose seats are cold, northern states. One of the others is California, where people are fleeing liberal state government.

Alabama is the only warm-weather state expected to lose a congressional seat. Contrary to the Pro Publica article, Louisiana and Georgia will not lose any seats.

As the population data clearly show, if global warming will have any impact on U.S. interstate migration – which climate alarmists claim is inherently harmful – it will be to slow the existing migration flood from cold northern states to warm southern states.

Yet another objective clear benefit of our ongoing modest warming.

SOURCE

California likely would have had these wildfires ‘even without any global warming’

Environmental policy expert Michael Shellenberger says scientists agree high intensity fires can be moderated by managing the forests, but the fact is obscured by “this hyper politicisation around this climate apocalypse”.

Nearly 5,000 buildings have been destroyed and 20 people killed as more than 7,000 fires burned across the state of California.

Mr Shellenberger said the fires had been “catastrophic”.

Mr Shellenberger said before Europeans arrived in California, between four to 12 million acres annually would burn with low intensity fires, burning only the ground of the forest.

“What we’re dealing with today are these high intensity fires that reach into the tops of the trees,” he said.

“These fires are so intense because there is about five times more fuel wood, fuel debris in the forest than there was before we started fire suppression over a century ago.

“We have badly managed our forests, and the main reason for it is ideology.”

He said there were some well managed forests in the state and fires, burning around them with high intensity, would drop to low intensity upon reaching the well managed areas.

“What that proves is that we are not doomed to high intensity fires and the determining factor is forest management, not climate change,” Mr Shellenberger said.

Mr Shellenberger said the top forest scientists in the state said the determining factor for the spread of the fires was the accumulation of wood fuel.

“We’re obviously seeing that, we’re seeing that well managed forests are surviving climate change and they’re even surviving these mega fires, these high intensity fires,” he said.

“You are seeing more agreement that we do need to manage our forests well, and that’s at risk of being destroyed by this hyper politicisation around this climate apocalypse.

“You would probably have had these high intense fires without any global warming, and we know that even with this global warming that we’ve had, that well managed forests can survive.”

SOURCE

Australia singled out for mammal extinction in UN’s dire global biodiversity report

LOL. The good ol’ Bramble cay melomys again: A small rodent that has actually gone extinct in recent years. The Greenies love it so we keep hearing about it.

The whole thing is a beat up. It is only the Melomys on Bramble cay that has gone extinct. There are tons of them on the nearby mainland.

And their extinction has NOTHING to do with global warming. One of the cyclones that bedevil the far North blew most of the vegetation and a lot of the sand away that formed its habitat. Any that survived the big blow died of starvation, not of any temperature rise

The Greenies will of course say that the big blow was caused by global warming but that is nonsense. Big blows have always been a frequent occurrence in the Far North. Where they hit is random however. Bramble cay and its inhabitants just got unlucky on one occasion

The extinction of Australia’s Bramble Cay melomys has been singled out for criticism in a United Nation’s report on the state of biodiversity across the world.

The fifth Global Biodiversity Outlook, released last night, warned that biodiversity is declining “at an unprecedented rate [while] the pressures driving this decline are intensifying”.

Australia was named alongside Cameroon, the Galapagos and Brazil as countries having suffered at least one extinction in the last decade.

The Bramble Cay melomys — a native rodent found on a coral cay in the northern Great Barrier Reef — was officially declared extinct by the Australian Government in 2019, although it was last seen in 2009.

It is believed to be the world’s first mammal extinction due to climate change.

Today’s report is an update on the world’s progress with the Aichi biodiversity targets — a set of 20 conservation targets set out in 2010 to be achieved by 2020, and signed off on by 194 countries including Australia.

Those targets include the elimination of “incentives, including subsidies harmful to biodiversity”, and halving “the rate of loss of all natural habitats, including forests”.

“At the global level, none of the 20 targets have been fully achieved,” the report stated, “though six targets have been partially achieved.”

Strengthening and enforcing environmental protection laws is outlined as a key lever to help stop the loss of biodiversity — a warning that Australian Conservation Foundation spokesperson Basha Stasak said the Government needs to pay attention to.

“The Australian Government’s own report to the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity in March 2020 revealed the Government failed to meet or measure the majority of its [Aichi] targets,” Ms Stasak said.

“Yet the Morrison Government is trying to further weaken nature protection in rushed changes to the national environment law due to be debated in the Senate next month.”

Australia’s environment laws have come under scrutiny since the interim report into the Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act, released in July, found that the Act is failing to curb our loss of habitat and species.

The report’s recommendation for an independent “cop” to oversee the enforcement of environment protection laws was rejected by the Government.

Instead the Government is moving to introduce changes to the EPBC Act which would shift environmental assessments for major development projects to the states — a move critics say will further weaken an already failing system.

In a statement to the ABC, a spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment said that the Government was aiming to strengthen environmental protection.

“The Government continues to work on delivering both short- and long-term change that will make the Act more efficient and result in clearer, stronger protection for the environment,” the spokesperson said.

Australian species at risk of extinction without change
Australia currently has 21 species listed as critically endangered on the IUCN red list — a globally recognised database of flora and fauna conservation status.

A further 24 Australian animals are listed as endangered, with 19 of those having decreasing populations.

One of the biggest failings of our environment protection laws is the self-assessment criteria, according to David Chapple, who heads up Monash University’s Evolutionary Ecology of Environmental Change Laboratory.

Under the self-assessment guidelines, people are required to decide for themselves whether they think their activity needs to be referred to the Federal Government for approval.

Yet, researchers have found that 93 per cent of the over 7 million hectares of threatened species habitat cleared since 1999 (when the EPBC Act came into effect) were not referred for assessment.

More than 3 million of that 7 million hectares was koala habitat.

“Self assessment and whether you actually refer yourself to the Act in the first place is an area where there’s a lot of improvement to be made,” Dr Chapple said.

“The [EPBC report] recommendation for an independent panel to oversee the Act is one thing that most conservation biologists think is a key element to [improve] it.”

In research published earlier this month, Dr Chapple and colleague’s assessed the conservation trajectory of just lizards and snakes in Australia.

They found that there are at least 11 species of lizard and snake at significant risk of extinction by 2040.

The biggest driver of species loss in Australia and globally is habitat loss, according to Associate Professor Chapple.

He said he wasn’t surprised by the poor outcomes in the UN’s report today.

“There wasn’t anything in there that surprised me. It’s a reinforcement of what we already know,” he said.

“In terms of the Samuel’s review of the EPBC Act, it’s very timely. It remains to be seen how many of those things [the Government] do take on.”

A Department spokesperson told the ABC the Government has made “significant progress” across its Aichi targets.

“The Australian Government is investing in dedicated threatened species strategies, national environmental science programs, practical on ground action to reduce threats from feral predators and pests and $200 million in bushfire wildlife and habitat recovery strategies that focus heavily on threatened species impacts.”

SOURCE

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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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