Friday, September 04, 2020

NPR Falsely Links Disease To Climate Change

National Public Radio (NPR) followed its sister organization Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) this week in pushing false climate claims.

Among the most egregious lies told in NPR’s story, “Everything Is Unprecedented. Welcome To Your Hotter Earth,” was linking the seasonal outbreak of mosquito-borne tropical diseases to climate change.

However, as detailed in Chapter Four of Climate Change Reconsidered II: Fossil Fuels, the vast body of scientific literature refutes NPR’s claim that climate change is likely to exacerbate the spread of mosquito-borne diseases.

Studies from Africa, to England and Wales, to North and South America, to Thailand and beyond refute any link between climate change and the spread of malaria, Dengue fever, West Nile virus, and other vector-borne diseases.

For example, a 2010 study in the peer-reviewed journal Nature reports, “[The study’s authors] compared historical and contemporary maps of the range and incidence of malaria and found endemic/stable malaria is likely to have covered 58% of the world’s land surface around 1900 but only 30% by 2007.”

Clearly, malaria has become less prevalent and deadly as the climate has warmed.

The authors rebut potential assertions that there would be even further reductions in malaria but for global warming.

The authors write, ‘widespread claims that rising mean temperatures have already led to increases in worldwide malaria morbidity and mortality are largely at odds with observed decreasing global trends in both its endemicity and geographic extent.’

Vector-borne disease expert Paul Reiter, a member of the World Health Organization’s Expert Advisory Committee on Vector Biology and Control, has written extensively on the transmission of vector-borne diseases.

Reiter concludes any links between such diseases and climate change are not supported by evidence.

For example, in a 2008 article in the Malaria Journal, Reiter writes,

“Simplistic reasoning on the future prevalence of malaria is ill-founded; malaria is not limited by climate in most temperate regions, nor in the tropics, and in nearly all cases, ‘new’ malaria at high altitudes is well below the maximum altitudinal limits for transmission.”

Reiter adds,

“…future changes in climate may alter the prevalence and incidence of the disease, but obsessive emphasis on ‘global warming’ as a dominant parameter is indefensible; the principal determinants are linked to ecological and societal change, politics and economics.”

NPR and PBS should stick to entertainment topics for which they have better expertise – like Big Bird.


The Green New Deal Means Monumental Disruption

Democrat Party vice-presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) cosponsored the Senate resolution to support the Green New Deal (GND). Now, former Vice President Joe Biden, the party’s nominee for the presidency in the 2020 election, has endorsed the plan. Naturally, people want to know what the GND will cost, usually meaning in state and federal government spending. But that is the wrong question.

The real question is, how much do Green New Dealers expect to get out of it, at what total cost? Biden says he wants the feds to spend nearly $7 trillion over the next decade on health care, energy and housing transformation, climate change, and other GND agenda items. But that is only part of the picture.

Getting the Big Picture

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), who has a degree in some socialist version of economics, and the folks who helped her write Biden’s so-called Climate Plan have a clear idea of how much money they want, and they pretty much know where they expect the money to come from. Here it is in its clearest form, as stated by Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff at the time, Saikat Chakrabarti:

“The resolution describes the 10-year plan to transform every sector of our economy to remove GHG [greenhouse gases] and pollution. It says it does this through huge investments in renewables, at WW2 scales (which was 40 to 60 percent of America’s GDP).” [emphasis added]

World War II was a time of great sacrifice and hardship, as part of a dramatic and historic mobilization to win a horrific global war. However, that hard reality doesn’t matter to these folks. They say we are now waging a war to stop catastrophic climate change. So money, sacrifice, and disruption are irrelevant.

Our nation’s GDP is around $20 trillion a year, or $200 trillion in ten years. Forty to 60 percent of that is $80 trillion to 120 trillion. For simplicity, let’s call it an even $100 trillion to finance the Green New Deal utopian dream.

$100 trillion! The ways and means of raising this stupendous sum are also clear in their minds. It will be done the same way WW2 was financed, however that was. To them, it’s obvious that we can simply do this, because we did it before. The specifics don’t matter. Government elites will figure them out.

WW2-Like Mobilizaton

But even this arrogant, cavalier attitude is only part of the picture.

If you read what Green New Dealers say, confusion arises because people think the GND is an ordinary policy proposal: “Here’s what we want done, and this what it should cost.” It is nothing like that. The GND is more along the lines of, “Here’s the level of effort we require to transform our entire economy, and this is what we should be able to do with that much money.”

People tend to interpret Green New Dealer talk of a WW2-like mobilization as a simple metaphor. But these folks mean it as an actual measure of what they are determined to do. So far they have glossed over and ignored the extreme hardships of mobilization. Here’s just one example—not from front-lines mayhem but from the United States home front during World War II.

Gasoline, meat, and clothing were tightly rationed. Most families were allocated three U.S. gallons of gasoline a week, which sharply curtailed driving for any purpose. Production of most durable goods, such as cars, new housing, vacuum cleaners, and kitchen appliances, was banned until the war ended. In industrial areas, housing was in short supply, so people doubled up and lived in cramped quarters. Prices and wages were controlled (Harold Vatter, The US Economy in World War II]).

No doubt the GND mobilization would impose different hardships. But all mobilizations are oppressive. You can’t commandeer half of the GDP without inflicting severe disruption on people’s lives.

No Justification for Climate War

The argument is sound in its way, provided there is a need for all-out war, but there is not. The minor to modest temperature, climate, and extreme weather changes we’ve been seeing (in the real world outside computer models) explain why most Americans see no need for a painful war. So does the fact that China, India, and other emerging economies are not about to give up fossil fuels anytime soon.

In fact, polls show that roughly half of Americans do not even believe in the idea of dangerous human-caused global warming, much less that it is an “existential threat,” as Sen. Harris claims it is. The latest Gallup poll found that only 1 percent of U.S. adults consider “climate change/environment/pollution” to be “the most important problem facing this country today.” That’s down from a meager 2 percent in the May 28-June 4 poll.

Even more revealing, a 2019 AP-NORC poll found that 68 percent of adult Americans were unwilling to pay even an extra $10 on their monthly electricity bill to combat global warming. Indeed, 57 percent of them would not be willing to pay more than $1.00 in added electricity charges to fight climate change!

Just wait until they see what the Biden-Harris-AOC-Democrat Green New Deal would cost them!

Mounting Costs

And it’s not just that their costs would likely skyrocket from an average U.S. 13.2¢ per kilowatt hour (11.4¢ or less in ten states) to well beyond the nearly 20¢ per kwh that families are already paying in California and New York, or the 30¢ that families are now paying in ultra-green Germany. Or that factories, businesses, hospitals, schools and everyone else would also see their costs escalate, with blue-collar families, the sick and elderly, poor and minority communities hammered hardest.

It’s that the GND would force every American to replace their gasoline and diesel cars and trucks with expensive short-haul electric vehicles; their gas furnaces and stoves with electric systems; their home, local, and state electrical and transmission systems with expensive upgrades for a totally electric economy. They’ll see their landscapes, coastlines, and wildlife habitats blanketed with wind turbines, solar panels, transmission lines, and warehouses filled with thousands of half-ton batteries. Virtually every component of this GND nation would be manufactured in China and other faraway places.

The cost of this massive, total transformation of our energy and economic systems would easily reach $10 trillion: $30,000 per person or $120,000 per family, on top of those skyrocketing electricity prices. And that’s just the intermittent, unreliable energy component of this all-encompassing Green New Deal.

These are stupendous, outrageous costs and personal sacrifices. Every American, at every campaign event and town meeting, should ask GND supporters if they think America needs to, or can afford to, cough up $10 trillion or $100 trillion over the next 10 years. And not let them get away with glib, evasive answers, or attempts to laugh these questions off as meritless or irrelevant.

‘Huge Personal Sacrifices’

The American people are not about to be mobilized into an all-out war against dubious climate change, with price tags like these coupled with repeated blackouts, huge personal sacrifices, and massive joblessness in every sector of the economy except among the enlightened government ruling classes.

The American people have already seen news stories about the latest rolling blackouts in California (here, here, here and here) resulting from one-third of that state’s electricity coming from “renewable” sources, and with another third of the state’s electricity imported from other states that also get heat waves. They should ponder what their lives, livelihoods, and living standards would be under 100 percent wind and solar power.

And yet, once again, even all this insanity is only a small part of the picture.

Remember, the GND is also about government-run healthcare and an economy and nation where “progressive” “woke” legislators, regulators, judges, and activists tell companies what they can manufacture and sell, and tell us what we can buy, eat, and drink; how and how much we can heat and cool our homes; and what we can read, hear, think, and say, as they “transform” our culture and traditions.

The GND is being promoted by politicians, news and social media, “educators,” and “reformers” who want to eliminate free-enterprise capitalism; have totally open borders, even for criminals and people who might have COVID and other diseases; and want to defund the police, put anarchists, looters, and arsonists back on our streets, and take away our right and ability to defend ourselves, our homes, and our families.

The time to think long and hard about all of this is NOW. Not sometime after the November 3 elections.


Exxon Mobil removal from Dow Jones a cautionary tale not to feed the Green New Deal crocodile

This week energy giant Exxon Mobil lost its prestigious place as one of 30 companies in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Its replacement: enterprise software company According to S & P Dow Jones, the change was driven by Apple’s decision to split its stock, which reduced the index’s tech-sector weighting.

However, some say Exxon Mobil’s removal is a direct result of its decision to cozy up with liberal climate change activists who are now pushing for the Green New Deal to eliminate petroleum production and all other carbon emissions.

“Not terribly long ago, Exxon was the most valuable company in the U.S.,” said Justin Danhof, Director of the Free Enterprise Project at the National Center for Public Policy Research, a free market-oriented research foundation. “And now they are a shell of what they once were.”

Danhof said Exxon Mobil used to contribute to market-oriented advocacy and policy groups such as the American Legislative Exchange Council that helped the energy giant grow and prosper. “Those kinds of group were very helpful to Exxon,” said Danhof. But he said beginning in the mid 2000’s the company made a strategic decision to cut ties with many of its allies and chase the approval of the Environment, Social, Governance (ESG) crowd. “I guess if you are Exxon, your strategy is to keep your enemies close and throw your friends under the bus,” quipped Danhof.

In 2015, Exxon Mobil very publicly supported the now discredited Paris climate agreement, noting in a press statement, “ExxonMobil has for many years held the view that a revenue-neutral carbon tax is the best option to fulfill these key principles.”

The ESG agenda has been driving corporate and even federal investment policies in recent years. Through regulatory channels, President Obama changed the guidelines for the Department of Labor’s investment duties regulations under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). Previously, the Act directed that pension fund managers make investments to maximize investor returns. The Obama administration changed the guidelines so that fund managers could make investment decisions based on a company’s ESG profile.

“This is nonsense,” said Rick Manning, President of Americans for Limited Government. “Investment decisions should always be based on maximizing returns for the investor, not in promoting a political agenda.”

Last month, Manning was part of a coalition of free-market advocacy groups and individuals that sent a letter to the Secretary of Labor voicing support for a return to the former ERISA guidelines. The letter called the Department of Labor’s new proposed rule an “important protection for pensioners and 401(k) investors against involuntarily paying the price for a political ‘thumb on the scale’…”

The letter warned that “Under the banner of ‘environmental, social (justice), and governance (ESG),’ mutual fund and pension managers are increasingly investing in ways that advance their political and social predilections, but may not be consistent with their duties to clients… The Labor Department is reminding pension managers that there is a place for politics and a place for sound investment decisions. When ESG investments put politics over fund performance, they are unsuitable.”

“The liberal mob can never be satiated,” added Manning. “Companies and politicians who try to appease them do so at their own peril.” He said Exxon Mobil’s “full embrace of the Left and climate hysteria, has led to their falling out of this listing of our nation’s top blue chip companies.”

Danhof said corporate embrace of “Left wing ESG causes gets them positive headlines in the New York Times, but is a poor long-term strategy.”

Or as Winston Churchill once famously said, “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”


The Folly Of Toronto’s Green Economics

Among the many items that stimulate curiosity about how public officials think, there was a small story out of Toronto concerning the city’s plans for a post-COVID green economy.

It is a story that is also pertinent to the federal government’s overall goal of leveraging the COVID-induced meltdown of the Canadian economy to pursue, with all the flamboyance that the cause can stimulate, its treasured ideal of fighting apocalyptic global warming.

The nub of the story is that Toronto’s ambulances are, thanks to federal funding, going to be outfitted with solar panels.

From one online resource, we read: “The City of Toronto is modifying its medical vehicles to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.… The Canadian government will release up to $1.1 million to help the city in this transformation.”

The report continues: “This funding comes from the ministry of environment and climate change.” To which I reply: where else?

I can think of many accouterments to ambulances — diagnostic equipment, better pay for the staff, great tires, updated electronics — that would better fit with their actual purpose — saving lives — than solar panels.

But the ministry of climate change — I presume having passed on miniature windmills for the hood — was probably most joyous when the request came through.

As for the need for such panels, or their utility for the service in question, who in the climate change bureau would ask such questions?

Toronto Mayor John Tory is very much in agreement with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau when it comes to the beautiful oxymoron, “green thought.”

And Toronto is a city whose progressive credentials are easily equal to those of Portland or Seattle, both havens of advanced social thought, so Torontonians have a high tolerance for progressive schemes and politicians.

It is, therefore, no surprise that so inventive, so original an initiative to stave off planetary oblivion as solar-paneling one city’s ambulance fleet occurred to him or was passed on from some green confrere.

Knowing that his city will be doing its bit surely made his fine civic heart thump a little more vigorously.

Let us agree that it will be very good for the residents of Toronto to know that any time one of them has to be carted off at high speed to the emergency department, as a smidgen of consolation for the personal crisis being endured, that person will have the knowledge that he or she is helping to save the rainforest.

And probably giving an anorexic polar bear a few more minutes on a melting ice pan. Not to mention “offsetting,” however infinitesimally, the emissions from China’s ever-expanding fleet of coal-fired power plants.

Such consolation will not be available, of course, should 911 be called on a rainy day, or during the night.

I think it was either Al Einstein or Al Gore who established the principle that you cannot gather the beams of the sun during the periods when it is not shining.

And even on the brightest day, driving an ambulance through the shadowed canyons of Bay Street will foil any harvesting of the sun’s beams.

But there is still much to be said for the symbolism of the gesture. For symbolism, and nothing practical beyond pure symbolism is what green economics is all about.

To put it in bare language, the Liberal craze for being seen as warriors against global warming is all about showing other countries how sublimely climate-virtuous we are.

It’s a summons for applause and praise from the green “thinkers” of the world, and a humble “giving the knee” to the IPCC.

Providing over $1 million for solar panels (and hybrid motors) for Toronto ambulances is just a start. Obviously, the plan cannot be limited just to one city.

So expect many more millions to be passed out to every other city and outsized town for rooftop sun-trapping accessories for every other ambulance service in Canada.

I take this folly as representative of what, in reality, is meant when Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland speaks so confidently about a green recovery and how all Canadians understand that it is what we must do.

Shut down the oilfields, yes. But we’re going to green the ambulances in Calgary to take up the slack. That’ll work. Alberta will drop all thoughts of Wexit.

There is nothing so unpromising in practical terms, so irrelevant to the real challenges of our time or so fruitful of strange and eccentric projects underwritten by the public purse as subservience to green politics.

Toronto’s future ambulance fleet is just a small illustration of what passes for green economics.

We shall see an exponential explosion of far larger, far more wasteful projects once the promised post-COVID recovery goes into full gear.

Our only consolation on this front may be that it is unlikely that the Kielburger brothers will be invited to manage it.

As an addendum, may I add that in my home province of fog-enshrouded, snow-blinded Newfoundland, the idea of harvesting sunlight, for ambulances or any other thing, would be seen as a sign of psychological distress, and a pitifully thin relationship with the nature of things.



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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Exxon Mobil ... a cautionary tale not to feed the Green New Deal crocodile."

LOL - The old 'feeding the crocodile so it eats you last' fallacy.

Feeding a crocodile often necessitates getting too close to it for safety sake, as due to the proximity, you may be the one eaten first.

Alternatively, sliding around on the fence, pretending at times you are on one side, and at other times on the other, means the only "stand" you will be taking, is due to being unable to sit because of all the splinters in your butt.