Tuesday, September 15, 2020

BBC One viewers left 'terrified' by Sir David Attenborough's new documentary Extinction: The Facts

Sir David is a talented entertainer and he is good at using that to worry people. The loss of  species to extinction is his big concern, particularly furry species that we can relate to.  Most of our pets are furry and it seems likely that in our recent evolutionary past we too were furry

To my knowledge he has never  shown concern about species such as cockroaches.  Yet cockroaches are an important lesson in extinctions. Mankind has attacked them furiously yet they thrive.  So a species can be very hardy.  Modernity and mankind generally   may have little effect on a species.

So the science in the Attenborough show is slight.  The basic scientific fact is that species differentiate and go extinct all the time. On some estimates over 98% of all the species that have ever lived on earth are now extinct. You do not see dinosaurs wandering around these days.

It is of course sensible and congenial to  make efforts to conserve species we admire but nature has its own way in these things, so we are unlikely to do much that will change its trajectory.  The fittest will survive.  Others will not.

Sir David claims that species loss is higher now than it once was.  But that is unknowable.  To prove that you would need to have good data on species numbers over a long period of time. Yet we have no firm numbers on how many species there are right now.  It is entirely possible that human conservation efforts have SLOWED the rate of extinction.  So Sir David's claims are pure propaganda with no basis in science

And as for his claim that global warming has been detrimental to species abundance, the reality is likely to be the opposite.  Warmth is generally helpful to life.

My favourite example of that is Australia's Great Barrier Reef, a reef that stretches over a thousand miles North to South along the Australian East coast -- from cool subtropical waters in the South to near equatorial temperatures in the Torres Strait (Yes. Strait, not straight). So where on the reef are species (fish, corals, algae, invertebrates etc.) most abundant along that stretch? In the cool South or the equatorial North? I think you know the answer. Warmth is GOOD for life

Sir David is a likeable character but in the end he is just another bullsh*tter

BBC One viewers have been left 'terrified' and 'angry' by Sir David Attenborough's new documentary Extinction: The Facts.

The hour-long programme, which aired tonight (September 13), saw the legendary natural historian and fellow experts investigate the devastating effects of climate change and habitat loss on wildlife and plant life, and how it's also impacting humanity and the planet.

Disturbing scenes saw Attenborough detail how a million different species are at risk of extinction due to the biodiversity crisis, which is also putting us at greater risk of pandemic diseases like COVID-19.

While it all might seem like doom and gloom, the documentary did end on a hopeful note, as we revisited the forest slopes of the Virunga Volcanoes in Rwanda, where Attenborough had a memorable encounter with a group endangered mountain gorillas over four decades ago.

Back in 1978, there were just 250 of the gorillas left, but thanks to the conservation and protection of their habitat over the last forty years, their population now exceeds 1000.

"It just shows what we can achieve when we put our minds to it," said Attenborough.

"I do truly believe that, together, we can create a better future. I might not be here to see it, but if we make the right decisions at this critical moment, we can safeguard our planet's ecosystems, its extraordinary biodiversity and all its inhabitants.


Why I rebelled against Extinction Rebellion... and went nuclear: In an astonishing and brave volte-face, the eco-group's ex-spokesperson ZION LIGHTS reveals why she has changed tack over the future of energy


Like many people, I’m planning a small gathering this weekend while government rules still allow, heading to a stretch of beach for a picnic.

My choice of venue is arguably a little less orthodox, however: I’ll be camping out on the precise stretch of shingle in Suffolk over which the Sizewell nuclear plant looms.

It’s not an obvious spot, especially for someone who has long prided herself on being a passionate and committed environmentalist and who until earlier this year was spokesperson for the direct action group Extinction Rebellion, or XR.

Certainly there are several people in that organisation who will be horrified by the very notion of going anywhere near Sizewell — but unlike me, many of them refuse to confront what I believe is an undeniable truth: that a pivot to nuclear power is the only thing that can truly rescue us from our burgeoning energy and climate crisis.

Former Extinction Rebellion spokesperson Zion Lights appears on Good Morning Britain in October last year +3
Former Extinction Rebellion spokesperson Zion Lights appears on Good Morning Britain in October last year


Yet like so many lobby groups, my old colleagues peddle messages of doomsday gloom that alienate as much as they motivate, offering little in the way of positive solutions. It is scaremongering rather than inspiring, and while for a time I aligned myself with their world view — and their tactics — in recent months I have come to see things differently.

In fact, after years as a member of one campaigning group or another, I now believe passionately that environmentalism — that umbrella term for the loose collection of organisations that have existed for decades trying to bring about an end to climate change — has failed.

By that I mean that for all the picketing, and the direct action, and the exhortations to use less fuel, fly less and conserve water, nothing has really made a difference to how we choose to live. Day after day, we still hear of energy crises around the world, increasing drought and wildfires, and species facing extinction.

Turn the clock back 30 years, and I was hearing much the same messages in the classroom at my Birmingham comprehensive school. Some of the words and the numbers may have changed, but not much else.

It certainly lit a fire in me: growing up in a working-class, inner-city area, the daughter of immigrants from the Punjab who worked punishing hours in factories to make ends meet, I was an unlikely budding environmental campaigner.

But by the time I went to university I helped found a green organisation and later joined the Green Party.

From there I joined another small climate action group, but when it died out I stayed out of activism for a while to concentrate on my own freelance writing, taking a Masters in science communication because, unlike the slightly ‘crazy hippy’ connotations my unusual name may conjure, I’ve always been a firm believer in following the science.


It’s one reason I was first attracted to XR. Their mantra — initially anyway — was ‘listen to the scientists’. So when they gave me the role of a spokesperson, it felt like I had a platform to talk about what I truly felt mattered.

That is, until in early October last year, when I appeared on current affairs programme the Andrew Neil Show on behalf of the organisation.

I was fully briefed and confident, my mind whirling with rubber-stamped facts and figures — until he confronted me with one figure I couldn’t defend. It was co-founder Roger Hallam’s claim that unless climate change was halted, six billion people would die this century.

It’s a headline-grabbing assertion — but unfortunately, it’s also not true, or certainly not backed up by any evidence. As was obvious to anyone who knows me — and even to the casual viewer — I was plunged into a PR nightmare.

I could not defend the number, but as the official spokesperson nor could I be seen to condemn it.

All I could do, instead, was flounder under the hot glare of the studio lights for what felt like an eternity.

Even now, the memory of it makes me shiver.

It proved to be the beginning of the end of my relationship with XR: whether it was hate mail from XR supporters accusing me of letting the organisation down, or more measured messages from colleagues saying we could ‘get’ scientists to back up Hallam’s claim, it was clear that my world view and theirs were parting ways.

Then, less than two weeks later, XR members caused sizeable disorder at an East London Tube station, preventing commuters from getting to work.

The ploy made me deeply uneasy — while XR’s entire strategy is based on disruption, targeting London’s public transport network at rush hour felt beyond the pale.

I made it plain that it shouldn’t have been done, a sentiment that, in fairness, many other members came to acknowledge.

Running parallel to this was my sense that like so many other environmental lobby groups before them, XR seem to have fallen into the trap of telling people what not to do, while also peddling the notion that the solution to the climate crisis was to ‘turn back the clock’ to a simpler time.

It’s something that has long infuriated me: try telling that to the people living in poverty in the Punjab. They want clean water, but they also want laptops. In short, they want what we here in the West have had for a long time — and it is rank hypocrisy for those of us who have benefited from the comfortable advances in technology in recent years to suggest they can’t have it.

For that, of course, you need energy. But while renewable energy can and should be part of the mix in supplying energy to the UK and the rest of the world, the reality is that there is only one reliable, low-carbon energy source that we can invest in now.


It’s why, in June, I resigned from XR and took a new role overseeing British campaign group Environmental Progress UK, which is campaigning in particular for the creation of the mooted Sizewell C nuclear power station in Suffolk.

It’s a decision that led to some abusive messages from a small cohort of my old colleagues, wedded to the ancient image of atom bombs and weapons instead of life-changing electricity and a dramatic reduction in carbon emissions. Yet the reality remains, if we are going to service our ever-burgeoning energy needs, then the only way forward is nuclear.

It’s one reason that instead of trying to barricade the gates of a newspaper plants or chaining myself to a barrier outside the Houses of Parliament I will be proudly holding a banner at my picnic this weekend, proclaiming something I believe to be true: Nuclear Saves Lives.


Combating the Tyranny, Waste, and Economic Devastation of ‘Green’ Agenda With Free Enterprise

Since publication of the last Mandate for Leadership, the Trump administration has taken productive steps to open access to energy development and reduce the regulatory burdens that have driven up energy costs while producing minimal to no environmental benefits.

Withdrawing the signature pieces of the Obama administration’s climate legacy—the Clean Power Plan and the New Source Performance Standards for new power plants—provided much-needed regulatory relief. The president also announced the intent of the U.S. to withdraw from the costly and ineffective Paris climate agreement.

The administration’s Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient Vehicles Rule provided modifications to Obama-era corporate average fuel economy standards with a “preferred alternative” for model years 2021 through 2026. The administration’s revision is a welcome victory both for consumers’ wallets and for consumer choice.

The president approved the Keystone XL pipeline, and his executive orders on the National Environmental Policy Act and energy infrastructure wisely called for modernization, improved efficiency, and good-governance measures for clarity and consistency across agencies in key permitting and regulatory activities.

The Department of Energy took action to expedite small-scale natural gas exports and relieve the permitting backlog facing the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act opened Alaska’s coastal plain (the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge) for energy exploration and production.

The energy potential of the section now open is enormous, and will provide much-needed economic opportunity for remote communities, in addition to which the environmental footprint is minimal.

In other instances, not doing anything at all was a win for energy consumers.

So far, the current administration has backed off from subsidizing specific coal and nuclear power plants. The plan would not have had any measurable impact on grid resilience and reliability but would have significantly disrupted competitive electricity markets, hurting consumers and choking off opportunities for new market entries.

President Donald Trump’s budget routinely proposed reduced spending for energy subsidies and also activities that are not legitimate functions of the federal government.

The news is not all good, however. Under this administration, the Environmental Protection Agency continues to ramp up volumetric requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard. The mandate requires that refiners blend costly biofuels into America’s fuel supply, and the administration has catered to the special interests of the biofuels lobby at the expense of consumers.

Moreover, the Trump administration imposed tariffs on solar technology imports in 2018, and its steel and aluminum tariffs increase the cost of energy projects domestically. Borders should not mean that individuals are forced to pay artificially higher prices for energy.

Cronyism also is still prevalent in the energy sector, and the government allocates special benefits to the well-connected instead of fostering a playing field that provides opportunity for all to compete.

These subsidies obstruct the long-term success and viability of the technologies and energy sources that they are intended to promote by distorting the actual costs of energy production and interfering with the price signals by which businesses monitor supply and demand.

When the government plays favorites, valuable resources shift to less productive uses.

Removing the cronyism and corporate welfare that are pervasive in energy markets is no easy feat. The Trump administration’s attempt to rescind unused funds in the U.S. Department of Energy Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing loan program provides a good case study.

In handing out only five loans, the program has wasted taxpayer dollars by subsidizing economic losers (Fisker) and has promoted corporate welfare by subsidizing well-off companies (Nissan and Ford). The program has $4.3 billion remaining but has been idle for more than eight years without a new loan administered by the department.

The Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 authorizes the president to rescind funding previously enacted into law, and the White House appropriately offered a $15 billion rescissions package that included the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing loan program.

Special interests prevailed, however, and the program remains in place.


Australian coal miner wins bid for injunction against activist

Environmental activist Benjamin Penning will be forced to cease his public attacks against mining giant Adani after the company won a Supreme Court injunction against him.

Adani and its Carmichael Rail Network claim Pennings’ ongoing campaign of harassment has cost millions of dollars, forced its insurance to skyrocket by 400 per cent, blown out its $1 million security bill to $5 million and cost millions of dollars in lost and renegotiated contracts.

Adani is suing Mr Pennings, an outspoken serial protester and former Greens mayoral candidate, who it claims has orchestrated a sustained campaign of harassment and intimidation against the company for almost a decade.

In addition to the damages lawsuit, Adani last week also applied for an injunction to force Pennings to remove previous online posts threatening the mine and its contractors and cease publishing any future posts relating to the mine on social media and websites including Galilee Blockade.

Adani alleges Pennings helped orchestrate an “infiltration campaign” whereby people were encouraged to leak the company’s confidential information, and a “Dob in Adani” campaign in which contractors were targeted by activists, causing a number of companies to cease relationships with the coal mine and its rail line.

This morning Justice Glenn Martin granted the mine’s injunction application, saying he was satisfied the evidence supported the conclusion that Pennings and others had “misused and will, unless restrained, continue to misuse confidential information with the purpose of frustrating or terminating the development of the mine and rail network”.

“The protest activity undertaken by the Galilee Blockade has led to at least three contractors withdrawing,” Justice Martin said.

“The information published on the social media accounts reinforces that the Galilee Blockade is determined to continue to obtain confidential information and to use it, and other information, to place pressure upon contractors to either withdraw from negotiations or to withdraw from contracts.

The evidence relating to the conduct of Mr Pennings and the Galilee Blockade allows for an inference to be drawn that, unless required to remove the statements complained of, they will remain on the social media accounts and will be acted upon by Mr Pennings and the Galilee Blockade.”

He said Adani had provided un-contradicted evidence that contractors and suppliers had been the subject of threats, some of which had been fulfilled through action being taken against contractors such as Downer Group, AECOM, and Greyhound Australia.

“The conduct alleged against Mr Pennings has, on the applicants’ case, resulted in a loss of many millions of dollars to the applicants,” Justice Martin said.

“Should they be successful in this matter then the potential size of an award of damages would, on the material, be beyond Mr Pennings. “There is nothing to suggest that an individual in his circumstances could make good the damage which is said to have been caused.”

Justice Martin said the balance of convenience “clearly favours” the granting of the injunction.

The order will require Mr Ben Pennings to remove online posts and campaigns remove any online material related to the Dob in a Contractor campaign, remove content from online channels that encourages the collation of confidential material about our business, and to stop what Adani alleges is threatening behaviour towards its contractors and employees.

“The plaintiffs have a good case against Mr Pennings and there will be no prejudice to him should orders be made which, effectively, require him to act in a lawful way,” he said.

“The injunction sought will have no financial repercussion for Mr Pennings but, if they are not made, the losses to the applicants will be very substantial.

“The injunctions sought do not seek to, nor would they, have any effect on any business or undertaking of Mr Pennings, nor do they restrict his right, or any other member of Galilee Blockade, to participate in lawful protest.”

Outside court, Mr Pennings said while he would comply with the court order, the “global movement” would not be deterred by the lawsuit. “Adani claims their legal strategy is not about inflicting hardship on me,” Mr Pennings said.

“Despite this successful injunction, Adani is still undertaking court action that could bankrupt my family. I shouldn’t have to sell our suburban family home to make a multi-billionaire even richer. So long as Adani threatens my family and the environment we all share I will do everything lawfully in my powers to stop them.”

“The global movement to stop Adani’s coal mine will not be deterred by the cold-hearted bullying tactics of a billionaire’s mining company targeting one individual.

“The Australian public will continue to oppose Adani’s destructive climate wrecking mine.”



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

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1 comment:

Tim Gilley said...

"Combating the Tyranny, Waste, and Economic Devastation of ‘Green’ Agenda With Free Enterprise"

The ultimate measure of 'sustainability and efficiency' is dollars. Period! When all is taken into account including minimizing pollution the cheapest forms of energy reveal themselves to be carbon based or nuclear.