Friday, July 10, 2020

Top Scientists Say Modern Climate Change Is ‘Natural Variability’

A commentary titled “‘Just don’t panic – also about climate change’” by Prof. Fritz Vahrenholt appearing at German site tells us there’s no need for panic with respect to climate change, as leading scientists dial back earlier doomsday projections.

No warming until 2050

Vahrenholt claims a negative Atlantic oscillation is ahead of us and the expected second weak solar cycle in succession will reduce anthropogenic warming in the next 15-30 years.

He cites a recent publication by Judith Curry, who sees a pause in the temperature rise until 2050 as the most likely scenario.

Vahrenholt and Curry are not alone when it comes to believing natural-variability-watered-down warming is in the works.

Also, IPCC heavyweight Jochem Marotzke from the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg takes a similar stand in a publication in the Environmental Research Letters.

In the paper, Marotzke concludes that all locations examined show “a cooling trend or lack of warming trend” and that there is “no warming due to natural cooling effects” and that in calculations up to 2049.

The researchers find “a large part of the earth will not warm up because of internal variability.”

Distancing from alarmists Schellnhuber, Rahmstorf

And recently The Max Planck Institute Director Marotzke said in an interview with Andreas Frey of the Frankfurter Allgemeinen Zeitung (FAZ) that there was no need to panic, thus clearly splitting from the doomsday scenarios put out by his alarmist colleagues Hans-Joachim Schellnhuber and Stefan Rahmstorf.

In the FAZ interview, Marotzke also said there was no need to worry that the port city of Hamburg would be flooded in 2100: “Hamburg will not be threatened, that is totally clear.”

Areas not going to be wiped out

Marotzke then told the FAZ that the fears that children have today for the future are not absolutely well-founded, and that entire areas are not going to be wiped out, as often suggested by alarmists.

Sensational French models

When asked why the French issued a press release warning of worse than expected warming, Marotzke said:

“We thought, my God, what are you doing? Because it is very unlikely that the true climate is as sensitive as shown in the new models.”

When asked by the FAZ why the French had put out such dramatic numbers, Marotzke said: “I don’t know,” adding that the climate models are highly complex. “Too many calculation steps overlap, and sometimes we ourselves are amazed at what we do not understand.”

Speaking up against alarmist models

Vahrenholt summarizes the growing doubt by scientists such as Curry and Marotzke over the use of alarmist models:

One gets the impression someone is speaking out against the alarmist use of models. Perhaps Jochem Marotzke is aware that with the warming coming to an end in the next 30 years, model alarmists (Schellnhuber: “We only have 10 years left“) will have unpleasant questions to answer.

When society realizes that the climate modelers have exaggerated in order to make a political difference, we will know who misled the politicians.”


California Regulators Approve Diesel Power Plan to Avert Wildfire Blackouts

California regulators approved a plan for Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) to spend up to $170 million on diesel-powered generators to keep electricity flowing during anticipated preemptive blackouts in the 2020 wildfire season.

The plan, approved by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) on June 11, allows PG&E to use about 450 megawatts of diesel-powered electricity to power homes, businesses, medical facilities, and other essential places in the event of a wildfire.

CPUC determined PG&E’s use of diesel generators for backup power was the option most likely to avoid a repeat of the electric power blackouts used by PG&E in 2018 and 2019 to reduce the threat of wildfires.

Fossil Fuel Power Needed

PG&E plans to install generators at 63 locations in fire-prone counties, to be activated during dangerous wildfire weather when transformers are turned off to prevent them from sparking wildfires. The power company also plans to install temporary electric microgrids, which operate independently of the main power grid, to provide electricity to streetlights, hospitals, police stations, and stores.

“Our specific objective with the development of temporary microgrids is to provide electricity to resources such as medical facilities and pharmacies, police and fire stations, gas stations, banks, markets, and other shared community services when weather conditions make it unsafe to operate the grid,” Debbie Powell, vice president of PG&E’s Asset & Risk Management, Community Wildfire Safety Program said in a statement.

Clean-Energy Opposition

Dozens of residents and members of environmental groups argued against PG&E’s proposals in a virtual hearing held by CPUC. Opponents said the plan would undermine California’s goal of ending the use of fossil fuels by 2045 and the use of the diesel generators would produce unwanted noise and air pollution in local communities.

“We should not be using the same technologies which got us into this mess and causing these wildfires,” Harlow Pittinger of Sunrise Movement told Courthouse News.

PG&E said it considered non-fossil fuel power generation options but concluded they would be impractical to implement in time to provide power during this year’s wildfire season. CPUC agreed with PG&E’s assessment.

To reduce emissions, the company said its mobile generators can use some amount of vegetable oil-based fuel. PG&E is working with communities to develop microgrids powered by renewable power sources located in the areas where power is needed on an emergency basis in future years to replace the fossil fuel dependent microgrids being brought online this year.

CPUC approved PG&E’s plan for 2020, determining the choice was between Californians suffering through potential preventable blackouts during this fire season, as they have in recent years when power was shut down and no backup was available, or the use of fossil fuel powered generators.

CPUC directed PG&E to find cleaner alternatives to use after 2020.


Obama Judges Undermine Pipelines: A ‘Sneak Peek Of The Biden Energy Plan’

The nation may be awash in oil and natural gas, but U.S. pipelines are running on fumes after three high-profile conduits ran aground in 24 hours, the victims of Obama-appointed judges and regulatory uncertainty under the possibility of a climate-woke Biden presidency.

In this week’s triple whammy, a federal judge ordered the 3-year-old Dakota Access Pipeline to empty pending an environmental review. The Keystone XL pipeline, still under construction, was further delayed after the Supreme Court upheld a lower-court order blocking a permit.

Despite winning a Supreme Court case last month, Dominion Energy and Duke Energy stunned the industry by abandoning after six years the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, citing the “increasing legal uncertainty that overhangs large-scale energy and industrial infrastructure development in the United States.”

Environmental activists gushed over the historic three-fer, raising the possibility that the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines could be erased next year by a Biden administration, while Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette blasted the “well-funded obstructionist environmental lobby” for killing the Atlantic Coast project.

The decisions were “more reminders that activist judges and special interest litigants are determining the fate of our national and energy security,” Mr. Brouillette said. “These developments should be deeply concerning for every American at every socio-economic level.”

The rulings show that the U.S. pipeline infrastructure has become the soft target for environmental groups seeking to bring down the fossil fuel industry and replace it with renewable energy in the name of fighting climate change.

“To avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis, our companies must transition away from the use of fossil fuels,” said Lila Holzman, energy program manager of As You Sow. “Building more gas infrastructure now without a clear justification is a recipe for stranded assets.”

The Sierra Club hailed the cancellation of the $8 billion Atlantic Coast project as a “monumental, historic victory and will have far-reaching implications,” a “watershed moment in the fight for climate action” and “another indicator of the end of fossil fuels.”

Rep. Dan Crenshaw, Texas Republican, called that view ironic, given that the nation leads the world in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which fell by 12% from 2005 to 2017 thanks largely to the increased use of natural gas instead of coal in electricity generation.

“FACT: Natural gas is responsible for majority of emissions reduction over the last 15 years,” tweeted Mr. Crenshaw. “When leftist radicals stop a natural gas pipeline — the safest way to transport natural gas — you have to wonder if they really care about the environment.”

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, the presumptive 2020 Democratic presidential nominee, has vowed that if he wins, he will pull the plug on the Keystone XL pipeline’s U.S. leg, which would run shale oil from Canada to Nebraska.

Bill McKibben, the founder of the climate change group, tweeted that “if Biden wins it’s all over” for the Keystone XL.

“Any investor thinking of putting cash into fossil fuel infrastructure projects should be warned they’re tossing their money away,” Mr. McKibben tweeted.

Heartland Institute President James Taylor said Tuesday that “America just got a sneak peek of the Joe Biden energy plan: ‘Better Green than Employed.’”

“Back in December, Biden said he would be willing to sacrifice oil and gas jobs for his green economy,” Mr. Taylor said. “Now, cancellation of the Atlantic Coast pipeline plan cancels 17,000 jobs and $2.7 billion in economic activity at a time when the American economy and American workers desperately need some good news.”

Stephen Moore, founder of the Committee to Unleash Prosperity, called the pipeline cancellation “more evidence that if Biden wins in November our domestic energy industry will be in rubbles and Saudi Arabia and Russia will be the big winners.”

The Keystone XL was hamstrung in April when U.S. District Court Chief Judge Brian Morris, an Obama appointee, canceled the so-called Nationwide Permit 12 allowing work across waterways.

The Supreme Court on Monday allowed other pipeline projects to proceed while environmental reviews are conducted, but not Keystone XL.

TC Energy in Alberta, Canada, said the company remains committed to the Keystone XL, but will “continue to evaluate our 2020 U.S. scope. In Canada, our work in 2020 remains unchanged.”

Environmentalists said the Dakota Access ruling, which was handed down by U.S. District Court Judge James Boasberg, an Obama appointee, ordered the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to prepare an environmental impact statement, which could take years.

“The shutdown will remain in place pending completion of a full environmental review, which normally takes several years, and the issuance of new permits,” said Earthjustice, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes. “It may be up to a new administration to make final permitting decisions.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Brouillette described the decision as a loss for the economies of North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois.

The 1,172-mile pipeline, which went online in June 2017, carries oil from North Dakota’s Bakken field to oil terminals in Illinois but was challenged by the tribes over fears about environmental damage. The pipeline runs a half-mile from the Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota.


New Study Shows Oceans At Their Deepest In 250 Million Years

Sea-level rise would be a complicated topic even if it were not politicized. People often talk as though the seabed were like a bathtub, rigid and immobile, into which water either pours or does not.

But it’s not; it rises and falls in complex local patterns, it erodes and accumulates, it shifts about. And it seems to be drifting downward if you get our drift.

This is continental because a new study says thanks to landmasses moving away from one another the seas are about 250 meters deeper than they were in the heyday of the dinosaurs and the seabeds are older than they’ve ever been.

The effect on ocean currents, heat absorption, and climate is… unclear.

It’s strange to realize that, deep as the seas are, they’re not very deep, in the sense that you wouldn’t think a 2.3-mile car ride very far.

You may have heard that if the Earth were the size of a billiard ball it would be smoother, a very cool factoid lacking just one key quality: accuracy.

Actually the Earth’s surface is rough, like sandpaper. But there is an important truth hidden in that urban legend: The mighty mountains and ocean depths that stir our souls are as grains of sand to the Earth.

If our planet were the size of a billiard ball (namely 5.715 cm give or take .127 mm), Mt. Everest would be 0.04 millimeters high, which would certainly simplify one item on the old bucket list.

And the awesome Marianas Trench would be barely bigger, at 0.45 mm. (Don’t ask how big you’d be unless you fancy a session in the Total Perspective Vortex.)

So yes, even the Marianas Trench is nothing to the planet, despite the intricate way life depends not just on oceans but ocean tides.

As to the importance of ocean depth to the biosphere, well, it’s hard to tell, isn’t it?

Back when Allosaurus roamed the Earth, there were very high levels of CO2 and it was warmer (which are not causally related) and despite Al Gore’s blather about a “nature hike through the Book of Revelation” life was doing pretty well… except for the stuff that blundered into the path of Allosaurus.

But how much of the warmth, and biological abundance, is related to the oceans being relatively shallower around the slowly separating Laurasia and Gondwana? Did it contribute to the Jurassic being lusher than the Triassic? And if so how? It’s very complicated.

It’s even hard to know what exactly we’re trying to measure when it comes to “sea-level rise” given that some places, including study author Krister Karlsen’s native Norway, have risen hundreds of meters since the ice last retreated and are still rising a few millimeters a year in a rebound from the glaciers’ crushing mass.

But we have bigger fish to fry here, possibly caught at greater depths.

Are deeper oceans bad for life? Are the currents different? How does this depth, and capacity to store more water, affect other processes including climate?

Notwithstanding the science being settled, no one knows.

But over the last 2.5 million years the planet has seen some very harsh conditions for life, with prolonged glaciations and desertification proving that cold is bad and warmth is good. Does it also prove deep oceans are bad for life?

If so, there’s hope on the horizon. Regrettably, it’s the geological horizon. According to this study, continental drift has moved the various bits of land that resulted when Pangaea broke up as far apart as they can get, and the farther apart they are the older and deeper the seabed gets.

Now they should start moving back together again to form a new supercontinent for which the boring name Pangaea Proxima has been proposed. Before Pangaea, there was Rodinia c. a billion years ago and “earlier yet, the supercontinent Nuna might have existed more than 1.5 billion years ago.”

Those names sure beat calling them Pangaea I, II and III or Pangaea Praevia or some dumb thing. But focus on the “might have” there. Don’t we know?

Well, it turns out we don’t. In fact, the article says, “whether this cycle is related to a sea-level supercycle remains uncertain. ‘It’s hard to say anything about the regularity of such a possible cycle,’ says Karlsen.”

With all this uncertainty, it’s important to hang on to the key point: Sea levels are rising because of bad people doing bad things and it will be bad for the good things.

For instance, we noted last week that after years of warnings that the oceans cannot absorb the man-made CO2 that therefore hangs around in the air cooking the planet and it’s a catastrophe, we were suddenly told the oceans were absorbing too much man-made CO2 and it’s a catastrophe.

But this week we’re again told they can’t absorb enough of it, at least in the western Arctic Ocean and, you’ll never guess, it’s a catastrophe.

That’s always the punchline, which at least saves you the trouble of listening carefully to the joke.

Thus, “thresholds of mangrove survival under rapid sea-level rise” warns us that mangroves cannot cope with the supposed recent doubling in sea-level rise although “The response of mangroves to high rates of relative sea-level rise (RSLR) is poorly understood.”

In fact, NASA is boasting that this November, it will launch the best “state-of-the-art” satellite ever to “collect the most accurate data yet on sea level—a key indicator of how Earth’s warming climate is affecting the oceans, weather, and coastlines.”

Not “whether”, you’ll notice. They already made the finding. Now they just need to corral suitable data.

They’re quite up-front about it. NASA boasts that: “These measurements are important because the oceans and atmosphere are tightly connected. ‘We’re changing our climate, and the clearest signal of that is the rising oceans,’ said Josh Willis, the mission’s project scientist at JPL. ‘More than 90% of the heat trapped by greenhouse gases is going into the ocean.’ That heat causes seawater to expand, accounting for about one-third of the global average of modern-day sea-level rise. Meltwater from glaciers and ice sheets account for the rest. ‘For climate science, what we need to know is not just sea level today, but sea level compared to 20 years ago. We need long records to do climate science,’ said Willis.”

Um if you don’t even know how sea level today compares to 20 years ago, let alone 2,000 or 2 million or 200 million, how do you already know that the clearest signal that “we” are changing our climate is rising oceans, and that about a third is expanding seawater and two-thirds is meltwater? Verdict first, huh?



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Thursday, July 09, 2020

Objective Facts Falsify Laughable New Jersey Climate Report

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) unveiled an alarming climate report last week that is so outrageous that climate realists should print copies and use it to win over alarmists. The media, nevertheless, are trumpeting without scrutiny the report’s “findings,” and even adding to the alarm. But don’t panic, New Jersey will be just fine. Let’s debunk some of the report’s claims.

Among the top Google News search results today for “climate change” is an article by The Press of Atlantic City. The article, titled “State climate change report offers sobering predictions for South Jersey,” provides a useful summary of the DEP report’s claims. According to the opening paragraph of the Press article, “Imagine flooding in Atlantic City almost every day of the year, blueberries and cranberries no longer grown in the state, and birds like the American goldfinch, the state bird, at risk because of changes in the climate.”

Let’s start with blueberries. The DEP report, which was required under an executive order signed by New Jersey’s Democratic governor, and the report’s fawning, uncritical media coverage claim that New Jersey will soon become too hot to grow blueberries. Nevertheless, three of the top 10 states for blueberry production are Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi. Indeed, Florida hosts a large number of blueberry festivals every year during April, May, and June to celebrate the local blueberry harvest. Yet, the alarmist DEP report and the fawning media coverage claim New Jersey will soon become hotter than present-day Tampa, Florida, which hosts many of the local blueberry festivals.

To show how preposterous the blueberry claim is, Atlantic City, New Jersey has an average high temperature of 64 degrees, and an average low of 45 degrees. Tampa, Florida, where blueberries grow quite well, is 19 degrees hotter, with an average high temperature of 82 degrees and an average low of 65 degrees. The claim that New Jersey will soon become so hot that blueberries “will no longer be grown in the state” is clearly a preposterous lie.

Let’s move on to New Jersey’s state bird, the American goldfinch. As shown here, the American goldfinch lives year-round as far south as Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and Louisiana. It is also a common winter resident in Florida. Yet, New Jersey bureaucrats and their media sock-puppets claim it will soon become too hot in New Jersey for the goldfinch. Even the most alarmist of alarmists do not claim New Jersey will become hotter than Louisiana and Florida. The claim that global warming will soon drive goldfinches from New Jersey is also clearly a preposterous lie.

Finally, let’s examine sea level and Atlantic City flooding. Atlantic City sits at an elevation of 7 feet. During the past 100-plus years, sea level at Atlantic City has been rising at a steady pace of approximately 4.12 millimeters per year, or 1.6 inches per decade. There has been no recent increase in the pace of sea level rise. Atlantic City has dealt with the slow, steady sea-level rise quite well utilizing 20th century technologies. Sand dunes and sea walls protect Atlantic City and cities all over the world from sea level rise and floods. Despite this, New Jersey bureaucrats claim that, even with the advantages of 21st century technologies, a city that sits at 7 feet above sea level will see flooding “almost every day of the year” if it experiences just a few more inches of sea level rise? That is simply ridiculous.

So, the media tee up three key “findings” in the New Jersey DEP climate report, while objective science shoes each finding is an alarmist lie.

Time to cancel the New Jersey climate crisis.


Chancellor set to announce £3bn green investment package

Rishi Sunak is to announce a £3bn package of green investment to decarbonise public buildings and cut emissions from Britain’s poorly insulated homes as part of the government’s Covid-19 economic recovery plan.

The chancellor will seek to use Wednesday’s summer statement on the economy to fend off criticism that his proposals lack ambition by insisting that he can “kick start” an environment-friendly revival through the creation of thousands of green jobs in the construction industry.

Sunak will say that the extra money for decarbonising houses, schools, hospitals, prisons and military bases will help the UK meet its target of being a carbon net zero economy by 2050, and is likely to say that further green spending will be announced later in the year.

Opposition parties and environmental groups said, however, that the green investment pledge was inadequate to meet the challenge posed by global heating.

Rosie Rogers, Greenpeace UK’s head of green recovery, said: “Surely this is just a down payment? The German government’s pumping a whopping £36bn into climate change-cutting, economy-boosting measures and France is throwing £13.5bn at tackling the climate emergency. £3bn isn’t playing in the same league.”

The Treasury said the summer statement was about “securing the recovery” and would be followed by two bigger events – a spending round and a budget – in the autumn. Sunak’s plan was on top of the £5bn of infrastructure spending announced by Boris Johnson last week.

Of the £3bn, the chancellor will earmark £1bn to improve the insulation and energy efficiency of public buildings, and to invest in green heating technology.

Sunak will also announce £50m to pilot new approaches to retrofitting social housing at scale to make them greener, through measures like heat pumps, insulation and double glazing, which the Treasury said would support landlords to improve the least energy efficient social rented homes in England.

Warmer homes for social tenants could lower annual energy bills by £200 a year for some of the poorest households, the government estimates. The UK’s homes are the draughtiest in Europe, accounting for about a fifth of the UK’s carbon emissions, but sporadic attempts at insulation programmes by governments over the last two decades have failed to make much progress.

With the focus of the spending statement on jobs, it is thought most of the remaining £2bn will be spent on creating “green” employment opportunities for construction workers. The Conservative manifesto at the 2019 election promised to invest £9.2bn on improving energy efficiency in homes, schools and hospitals, saying that this, if done at sufficient speed, would create around 100,000 jobs.

“The government remains committed to decarbonising buildings to keep us on track to reach net zero emissions by 2050,” a treasury spokesperson said. “The funding expected to be announced this week represents a significant and accelerated down payment on decarbonising buildings, to help stimulate the economic recovery and create green jobs. Allocations for future funding will be determined in due course.”

Rogers added: “Of course this money is better than nothing, but it doesn’t measure up to the economic and environmental crises. It’s not enough to create the hundreds of thousands of new green jobs that are needed. It’s not enough to insulate all of the homes and buildings that need to be kept warm and more energy efficient. It’s not enough to ‘build back greener’, and it’s certainly not enough to put us on track to tackle the catastrophic impacts of the climate emergency.”

Rain Newton-Smith, chief economist at business group the CBI, said: “Investment in green jobs and technology must be at the centre of our efforts to revive the economy.

“This £3bn package of measures will undoubtably fast-forward progress towards net-zero. With the government’s own manifesto promising £9.2bn on energy efficiency alone, we look forward to seeing the full details on delivery of its ambition to build back greener.


Reporting Renewable Energy Risks

Joe Biden has drifted far to the left and made it clear that, if elected president, he would restrict or ban fracking, pipelines, federal onshore and offshore drilling, and use of oil, coal and even natural gas. He’s selected Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as his climate and energy advisor and is expected to choose an equally “progressive” woman of color as his running mate (and president-in-reality).

He may also employ federal financial regulations to slow or strangle fossil fuel companies’ access to low-cost capital, further preventing them from producing oil, gas and coal. His official climate plan promises to require “public companies to disclose climate risks and the greenhouse gas emissions in their operations and supply chains.” By compelling them to present a litany of climate and weather risks supposedly caused or worsened by fossil fuel emissions, the rules could sharply reduce lender and investor interest in those fuels and hasten the transition to wind, solar, battery and biofuel technologies.

Those risks exist primarily in highly unlikely worst-case scenarios generated by computer models that reflect claims that manmade carbon dioxide has replaced the sun and other powerful natural forces that have always driven Earth’s climate (including multiple ice ages) and extreme weather. Actual data are often“homogenized” or otherwise manipulated to make the models appear more accurate than they are.

Models consistently predict average global temperatures0.5 degrees C (0.9 F) higher than measured. The12-year absence of Category 3-5US-landfalling hurricanes is consistently ignored, as are the absence of any increase in tropical cyclones, the unprecedented absence of any violent tornadoes in 2018 – and the fact that violent twisters were far fewer during the last 35 years than during the 35 years before that.

However, pressure group mob politics and the refusal of climate alarmists to discuss model failures and contradictory scientific evidence would likely make these realities irrelevant in a Biden administration. That would have devastating consequences for a US economy struggling to recover from Covid-19 and compete in a world where Asian, African and other countries are not going to stop using fossil fuels to improve living standards, while they mine the raw materials and manufacture the wind turbines, solar panels, batteries and biofuel equipment the USA would have to import under a Green New Deal (since no mining and virtually no manufacturing would be permitted or possible under Biden era regulations).

Replacing coal, gas and nuclear electricity, internal combustion vehicles, gas for home heating, and coal and gas for factories – and using batteries as backup power for seven windless, sunless days – would require some 8.5 billion megawatts. Generating that much electricity would require some 75 billion solar panels ... or 4.2 million 1.8-MW onshore wind turbines ... or 320,00010-MW offshore wind turbines...or a combination of those technologies – plus some3.5 billion100-kWh batteries ... hundreds of new transmission lines ... and mining and manufacturing on scales far beyond anything the world has ever seen.

That is not clean, green, renewable energy. It is ecologically destructive and completely unsustainable – financially, ecologically and politically. That means any company, community, bank, investor or pension fund venturing into “renewable energy” technologies would be taking enormous risks.

Once citizens, voters and investors begin to grasp (a) the quicksand foundations under alarmist climate models and forecasts; (b) the fact that African, Asian and even some European countries will only increase their fossil fuel use for decades to come; (c) the hundreds of millions of acres of US scenic and wildlife habitat lands that would be covered by turbines, panels, batteries, biofuel crops, power lines and forests clear cut to supply biofuel power plants; and (d) the bird, bat and other animal species that would disappear under this onslaught – they will rebel. Renewable energy markets will be pummeled repeatedly.

Public backlash will intensify from growing outrage over child labor, near-slave labor, and minimal to nonexistent worker health and safety, pollution control and environmental reclamation regulations in foreign countries where materials are mined and “renewable” energy technologies manufactured. As the shift to GND energy systems brings increasing reliance on Chinese mining and manufacturing, sends electricity rates skyrocketing, kills millions of American jobs and causes US living standards to plummet, any remaining support for wind, solar and other “renewable” technologies will plummet or evaporate.

Pension funds and publicly owned companies should therefore be compelled to disclose the risks to their operations, supply chains, “renewable energy portfolio” mandates, subsidies, feed-in tariffs, profits, employees, valuation and very existence from embarking on or investing in renewable energy technologies or facilities. They should be compelled to fully analyze and report on every aspect of these risks.

The White House, Treasury Department, Securities and Exchange Commission, Federal Reserve, Committee on Financial Stability, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation and other relevant agencies should immediately require that publicly owned companies, corporate retirement plans and public pension funds evaluate and disclose at least the following fundamental aspects of “renewable” operations:

* How many wind turbines, solar panels, batteries, biofuel plants and miles of transmission lines will be required under various GND plans? Where? Whose scenic and wildlife areas will be impacted?

* How will rural and coastal communities react to being made energy colonies for major cities?

* How much concrete, steel, aluminum, copper, cobalt, lithium, rare earth elements and other materials will be needed for every project – and cumulatively? Where exactly will they come from?

* How many tons of overburden and ore will be removed and processed for every ton of metals and minerals? How many injuries and deaths will occur in the mines, processing plants and factories?

* What per-project and cumulative fossil fuel use, CO2 and pollution emissions, land use impacts, water demands, family and community dislocations, and other impacts will result? Where will they occur?

* What wages will be paid? How much child labor will be involved? What labor, workplace safety, pollution control and other laws, regulations, standards and practices will apply in each country?

* What human cancer and other disease incidents and deaths are likely? How many wildlife habitats will be destroyed? How many birds, bats and other wildlife displaced, killed or driven to extinction?

* For ethanol and biodiesel, how much acreage, water, fertilizer, pesticides and fossil fuels will be required? For power plant biofuel, how many forests will be cut, and how long they will take to regrow?

* What “responsible sourcing” laws apply for these materials, to ensure that all materials are obtained in compliance with US wage, child labor and environmental laws – and how much will they raise costs?

* How will home, business, hospital, defense, factory, grid and other systems be protected against hacking and power disruptions caused by agents of overseas wind, solar, battery and grid manufacturers?

* What costs and materials will be required to convert existing home and commercial heating systems to all-electricity, upgrade electrical grids and systems for rapid electric vehicle charging, and address the intermittent, unpredictable, weather-dependent realities of Green New Deal energy sources?

* What price increases per kWh per annum will families, businesses, offices, farms, factories, hospitals, schools and other consumers face, as state and national electrical systems are converted to GND sources?

* How often and severely will industrial wind and solar installations (and household solar panels linked to the grid) cause uncontrolled surges and power interruptions? With what economic and health impacts?

* How many power interruptions will occur every year, how will they hurt families, factories and other users – and what will be the cumulative economic and productivity damage from those power outages?

* To what extent will policies, laws, regulations, court decisions, and citizen opposition, protests, legal actions and sabotage delay or block wind, solar, biofuel, battery, mining and transmission projects?

* How many solar panels, wind turbine blades, batteries and other components (numbers, tons and cubic feet) will have to be disposed of every year? How much landfill space and incineration will be required?

These issues illustrate the high risks associated with Green New Deal energy programs. They underscore why it is essential for lenders, investment companies, pension funds, manufacturers, utility companies and other industries to analyze, disclose and report renewable energy risks – and why significant penalties should be assessed for failing to do so or falsifying any pertinent information.


Spotting the Spotted Owl

When the U.S. Supreme Court decided the case of the dusky gopher frog in 2018, it attracted press coverage around the world, because of two details that fascinated observers everywhere. One was the frog itself, a cute little thing smaller than the palm of your hand. Second, the court’s ruling – in an era noted for divisive party-line splits – was unanimous.

The dusky gopher frog was listed as endangered in 2001, and is found only at one pond in Mississippi. But the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) had designated 1,544 acres of private land in Louisiana as “critical habitat,” even though no dusky gopher frog had lived anywhere in Louisiana for at least 50 years. Previously, federal courts generally “deferred” to the agency’s judgment on what constitutes “critical habitat,” but the unanimous court said this time the agency went too far. They issued an unusual opinion, essentially a grammar lesson, explaining that “critical” is the adjective and “habitat” is the noun. Land cannot be “critical habitat” if it is not “habitat” at all.

The Court’s unanimous “scolding” of the USFWS was the subject of many editorials and columns, but only a few of us actually speculated, at the time, about the ripple effects it might have on other cases. In fact, USFWS has designated “critical habitat” on over 200 million acres of land across the country for various species – an area larger than Texas – very often in areas where the protected species does not actually live.

Some might remember the government declaring critical habitat in the heart of San Francisco for an endangered shrub called the Franciscan manzanita. Previously thought extinct, one plant was discovered in 2009, and before most people knew what was happening, almost 300 acres had been designated, including some federal land and some local parks, but also a number of private back yards. The shrub didn’t actually exist in any of those areas, and several lawsuits are still pending.

Lynx habitat was designated on 11,584 square miles across a six-state region, virtually none of which was actually occupied by lynx. In Mesa and Garfield Counties, 54,000 acres were designated critical habitat for plants like the Parachute beardtongue (including two areas where no such plants live). Obviously, the Supreme Court has opened the door for re-evaluation of such habitat designations, and made clear that agency “deference” will not be automatic.

Sure enough, that re-evaluation is beginning now, and starting with one of the most high-profile and consequential endangered species of all – the spotted owl. Since the 1990s the northern spotted owl has been the major excuse for drastic reductions in timber harvesting throughout the Pacific Northwest. The USFWS increased the protected “critical habitat” by almost 40 percent in 2012, and that designation now includes 9.6 million acres across Washington, Oregon and Northern California – including vast swaths of timberlands where no spotted owls have ever been spotted. National Forest plans were then adopted, setting aside 20 million acres reserved from any timber activities.

A coalition of businesses, local governments, and labor unions sued the government in 2012, because the critical habitat included 1.1 million acres of federal lands specifically designated for active forest management (which was stopped because of the spotted owl), and because it failed to consider the economic impact of shutting down the forest products industry there. The law requires the government to take “into consideration the economic impact, the impact on national security, and any other relevant impact, of specifying any particular area as critical habitat.” USFWS had not done so there, and has not done so in dozens of other cases.

The spotted owl case has languished in courts ever since. But this spring, because of the Supreme Court’s ruling in the dusky gopher frog case, USFWS agreed to officially re-evaluate its habitat designation, which will inevitably lead to other re-evaluations. In this case, a new rulemaking process will include the usual opportunities for public comment.

It is unfortunate that lawsuits are so often needed to call attention to the obvious. Common sense dictates that many of these habitat designations ought to be re-examined. When Supreme Court justices as different as Clarence Thomas and Ruth Bader Ginsburg easily agree on such a serious and far-reaching legal issue, it is clear that something went terribly wrong. The effort to stop legitimate business activity, by declaring land as habitat for a species that does not live there, went too far.

My guess is that many existing critical habitat designations will be re-evaluated, and scaled back, in the next few years. And in the future, before walling off the forest for spotted owls, someone ought to ask, “Has anyone actually spotted one?”



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


Wednesday, July 08, 2020

Can COVID-19 be treated with low-dose radiation?

Climate skeptics are well aware of radiation hormesis

A new paper published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation asserts that low-level nuclear radiation might be much less dangerous than previously thought. At the same time, other researchers are renewing interest in applying low-dose radiation therapy – studied as early as 1905 as a tool to fight pneumonia – in the ongoing fight to contain and control deadly and disruptive outbreaks of the virus known as COVID 19. Yet, still other research recommits many in the medical field to fighting ANY use of radiation therapy as too dangerous to risk.

According to authors Dr. Edward Calabrese and Dr. Mikko Paunio, recent reviews of seminal research conducted following the end of World War II have uncovered serious flaws in the “linear no-threshold” assumption that all nuclear radiation is dangerous no matter low the level of exposure.

Dr. Calabrese, a UMass – Amherst professor of toxicology, has for two decades focused his research on understanding the nature of the radiation dose response in the low-dose zone. His observations are leading to a major transformation in improving drug discovery and development and in the efficiency of the clinical trial, as well as the scientific foundations for risk assessment and environmental regulation for radiation and chemicals.

In a 2013 paper, Dr. Calabrese partnered with Dr. Guaray Dhawan to review the historical use of radiotherapy for fighting pneumonia and determine if low-dose radiation might still be a valuable pneumonia killer. They found a 1905 study by noted University of Pennsylvania professor John Herr Muller and D. L. Edsall of five pneumonia patients who benefited from X-ray treatments.

A decade later A. W. and W. A. Quimby successfully treated 12 cases of unresolved pneumonia, stating that “no pathological process in the body responds quicker to an X-ray exposure than the non-resolved following pneumonia.”

In 1924 German researchers Heidenhain and Fried reported that they had used X-rays to treat 243 cases of acute and subacute pyrogenic infections. The X-ray treatments blocked or reduced all types of inflammation, regardless of location in the body and whatever the cause. Fried reported that patients with high fever, severe dyspnea, and cyanosis typically reported improved breathing with six hours of being irradiated.

American researcher Eugene Powell championed X-ray therapy for treating pneumonia at the Medical Association meeting in Houston, Texas, in May 1936. Later, Powell blew off a double-blind trial because his patients who were receiving the X-ray treatment were relieved of respiratory and circulatory distress in less than 3 hours.

Until now, the latest use of radiotherapy to treat pneumonia came in 1943, when A. Oppenheimer reported using X-ray treatment to control coughing in recovering pneumonia patients. He later extended the application to patients suffering through acute pneumonia.

X-ray treatments proved effective against a broad range of pneumococcal pneumonia strains/types, offering a distinct advantage over the use of serum therapy. But with the arrival a few years later of sulfonamides, and later penicillin, X-ray therapy never became a component of systemwide public health measures to treat pneumonia.

Upon reading these positive reports, Dr. Calabrese weighed the lack of any new research on using radiotherapy to help pneumonia patients since 1946 against the findings of highly protective effects on about 850 patients along with rapid resolution of the disease. X-ray treatments had prevented considerable human suffering, reduced health care costs and the burden on families, and accelerated a return to normal living, whether work, school, or other activities.

Yet the question remained as to how to reactivate a well-established, yet 65-year-old hypothesis, with contemporary research questions, methods, and technologies that still may hold public health potential. Calabrese and Dhawan proposed a focused clinical research program to assess the use of X-ray therapy for pneumonia as an adjunct treatment for high-risk patients. Seven years later, X-ray therapy has found a new target – the high-risk patients infected with COVID 19, of which up to 20 percent develop pneumonia and are at risk of death.

Standing in the way of this research, should believers in the precautionary principle take control of the science, is the belief, expressed in a new report by Richard Bramhall and Pete Wilkinson, which was produced by the Low-Level Radiation Campaign for Children With Cancer UK. The authors assert that even tiny doses of radiation can have devastating effects on the human body, particularly by causing cancer and birth defects. This, they believe, makes a strong case for a basic rethink on so-called “safe” radiation doses.

But Calabrese states the claims that any dose of radiation is dangerous are now known to be based on scientific studies that were deceptive, flawed, or even fraudulent. Dr. Paunio, former chair of the Finnish Radiological Protection Board, explained that support for the linear no-threshold assumption was bolstered by began with a study that followed the life histories of the Hibakusha – survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs.

According to Dr. Paunio, another team of Japanese researchers recently found major flaws in the older research. As he explained, “Their error was extraordinary. They failed to account for the effects of secondary radiation exposures and fallout. This means that the rather low numbers of cancers observed in the Hibakusha were actually caused by quite high exposures to radiation.

Calabrese and Paunio should be thrilled at the Number of major clinical trials already under way to determine the value of low-dose radiation in fighting the COVID 19 pandemic. Radiation’s track record with pneumonia may prove helpful to the 15 to 20 percent of those infected with COVID 19 who otherwise develop severe inflammatory effects that can lead to pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, and death.

Just a few weeks ago, James Conca, writing in Forbes, confirmed the Calabrese-Paunio research, noting the early 20th Century success using low doses of radiation to treat the deadly inflammation of pneumonia, particularly viral pneumonia like that caused by COVID-19, and agreeing that radiation may have a role in mitigating today’s pandemic. Conca reported that several medical institutions are set to start radiation therapies for COVID-19.

Dr. James Welsh at Loyola University Medical Center, is moving to begin a national trial within the next few months on this treatment using low-dose radiation to the lungs. Trials are already underway at  at Emory University and in Italy and Spain. At least five other trials are recruiting patients, and the U.S. FDA has been urged to conduct a low-dose radiation trial at the Hines VA Medical Center in Chicago.

Just remember, as Calabrese and Dhawan said in 2013, radiotherapy had been broadly accepted by the radiological community starting in the second decade of the 20th century, with notable successes in the treatment of a wide range of inflammatory and infectious diseases such as gas gangrene, carbuncles, sinusitis, arthritis, and inner ear infections.


Sen. Cruz Among 141 Political Leaders Pledging To Keep US A Dominant Natural Gas Producer

Sen. Ted Cruz is among 141 political leaders in a pledge to keep the United States’s energy industry dominant amid the coronavirus pandemic and the consequential economic downturn.

The Texas Republican, as well as seven additional senators, three governors and 15 attorneys general are among those who signed The Empowerment Alliance’s Declaration of Energy Independence, promising to take steps to establishing the United States’s energy independence.

“American energy producers have ushered in an energy renaissance and made the United States the number one producer of oil and gas in the world,” Cruz said in a joint statement with The Empowerment Alliance. “Maintaining our energy dominance is key to ensuring American families have access to affordable energy and it’s imperative for our national security.”

Other signatories include Republican Sens. Rob Portman of Ohio, John Cornyn of Texas and Joni Ernst of Iowa.

The Daily Caller News Foundation obtained an exclusive copy of the pledge, which says it represents a commitment to “four principles that will help power America’s economy for everyone over the next century and beyond.”

Those principles listed are: affordable energy for families; clean energy for the environment; abundant energy for the future; and domestic energy for national security.

The principles list benefits of energy independence, which include decreasing utility bills, cleaner air, “a continuous 100-year supply of natural gas. They also note that ensuring energy dominance would make certain that the U.S. “is no longer dependent on rapidly changing global markets and unstable or hostile countries.”

The Empowerment Alliance is a nonprofit that was formed in 2019 to oppose supporters of the Green New Deal, a proposal crafted that year that sought to shift the U.S. entirely away from fossil fuels within a decade. Senate Republicans defeated the proposal shortly after it was introduced, but Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other Democrats are hoping to bring it back

“For too long, Americans have spent their hard-earned dollars on energy that is produced overseas, risking our nation’s security and stability and shunning millions of family supporting jobs,” Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said in the statement alongside Cruz. The Declaration of Energy Independence is “something all Americans can agree on.”

The pledge comes nearly a year after the U.S. first became a net exporter of gas. The U.S. exported roughly 89,000 barrels of fossil fuels per day during September 2019, according to Energy Information Administration data. That’s the first full month the U.S. has exported more than it imported since the U.S. began tracking such data in 1949.

Government officials began locking down their economies in March to slow the spread of a coronavirus, which has killed a reported 127,000 people in the U.S.. Their orders resulted in a significant downturn in the economy and an oversupply of oil, which caused crude prices to collapse. Several shale companies filed bankruptcy to avoid ruin.

“In the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, it’s become even more important to support America’s energy producers to spur economic growth, lower energy costs, help employ thousands of hardworking men and women, and increase America’s energy independence,” Cruz said in the statement.

Empowerment Alliance Executive Director Jim Nathanson added: “Affordable, clean, and abundant domestic energy will be critical to America’s economic recovery. We cannot afford to squander our domestic energy advantage, and we call on all political leaders to join us and embrace natural gas as essential to our shared future prosperity.”


Michigan Court OKs Enbridge Pipeline Construction, Rules Process Constitutional

The Michigan Court of Appeals upheld the constitutionality of a law allowing the construction of a replacement Enbridge oil pipeline tunnel under the Straits of Mackinac.

The three-judge panel affirmed a lower-court decision finding the law under which the pipeline was approved was constitutional.

Enbridge’s line 5 pipeline, part of a much larger network of pipelines Enbridge operates, is a 645-mile, 30-inch-diameter pipeline that was first brought into operation in 1953. Connecting to other Enbridge pipelines, Line 5 originates in Superior, Wisconsin, travels through Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas, and terminates in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada. Beneath the Straits of Mackinac, Line 5 splits into two 20-inch-diameter, parallel pipelines that are buried onshore and deep underwater, crossing the Straits west of the Mackinac Bridge for a distance of 4.5 miles.

State Sues to Block Replacement

Under Public Act 359 (2018), Enbridge requested Michigan’s approval to replace the aging pipeline with a newer one.

At the request of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel sued to block replacement.

In a March 2019 opinion, Nessel argued Public Act 359 violated the Michigan Constitution’s title-object clause, which requires that each law portray its contents accurately, because “its provisions go beyond the scope of what was disclosed in its title.”

In the initial trial, Michigan’s Court of Claims ruled the law was constitutional, as it amended a 1952 law under which the original pipeline was approved.

The appellate court, composed of Judges Thomas C. Cameron, Mark T. Boonstra, and Anica Letica, agreed, ruling the 2018 law did not violate the title-object clause of the Michigan Constitution.

“Defendants’ argument that the Court of Claims improperly considered extraneous material is unsupported,” Cameron wrote in the opinion. “We conclude that the title of 2018 PA 359 does not address objects so diverse that they have no necessary connection.”

Good for Jobs, Environment

In response to the ruling, Enbridge released a statement saying the company will continue to operate the two existing Line 5 oil lines while the tunnel is being built.

“We look forward to working with the State to make a safe pipeline even safer,” an Enbridge spokesperson said in the statement. “We are investing $500 million in the tunnel’s construction—thereby further protecting the waters of the Great Lakes and everyone who uses them.”

The court’s ruling recognizes the importance of finding environmentally sound solutions to the region’s energy needs, John Walsh, president of the Michigan Manufacturers Association, told The Detroit News.

“Replacing the portion of Line 5 beneath the Straits with the Great Lakes Tunnel is the safest, most reliable, affordable, and environmentally sound energy solution for Michigan’s citizens and businesses,” Walsh told The Detroit News. “That’s why the tunnel is supported by Democrats and Republicans, business and labor.

“We’re glad the court rejected the latest stall tactic and are excited about next steps in the development process,” said Walsh.


An Endlessly Renewable Source of Green Agitprop

Stoking the fires of renewable energy’s purported advantages is the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), an intergovernmental outfit whose chief purpose is to serve as a spigot for endless propaganda. Its official message is that fossil fuel is an archaic source of electricity now being battered by upstart competitors wind and solar. Bear in mind that world electricity supply pans out at 38 per cent for coal, 23 per cent gas and 26 per cent hydro/nuclear. Wind/solar supply 10 per cent.

IRENA tirelessly advocates for renewables, saying they “could form a key component of economic stimulus packages in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.” And in the purple prose so common with these green-spruiking agencies it claims, “Scaling up renewables can boost struggling economies. It can save money for consumers, pique the appetites of investors and create numerous high-quality new jobs.” Investment in renewables is amplified by other benefits, the story goes, as it is alleged to bring “health, sustainability and inclusive prosperity.” When it comes to renewables, no snake-oil salesman of old could hold a carbon-neutral candle to the likes of their modern green-lipped urgers.

IRENA would have us see renewable power installations as a key component of economic stimulus packages in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, claiming that replacing one quarter of the world’s existing coal capacity with wind and solar would, in addition to cutting electricity costs, bestow a stimulus worth US$940 billion, or around one per cent of global GDP.

All this is, of course, is super-heated hot air billowing from the deep pockets of IRENA’s multi-government funding. It rests upon the sort of spurious arithmetic swallowed whole by Australian governments which, having granted regulatory favours to wind/solar, cheer the dynamiting of low-cost, dependable coal plants and the consequent price escalation and network unreliability.

IRENA estimates the cost of electricity from new coal plants at between US$50 per MWh and US$177 per MWh. The cost of plant itself is pretty standard internationally, but that of transmission and fuel is highly variable, as are construction costs. For Australia, rigorous analysis by GHD for the Minerals Council estimated a new, high efficiency/low emissions black coal generator would be as low as $40 per MWh. Australian coal’s locational advantages were the key to this low cost, offset somewhat by a “CFMEU” union loading disability (lifting labour costs 25 per cent above the level that would prevail without unionised rigidities).

Compared with its coal-generation cost estimates, the shaded area in the diagram below, IRENA puts the cost of solar photovoltaics as having declines to US$68 per MWh; of large scale solar to US$182 per MWh; and that of wind to $US53 per MWh.

Given all these entirely confected “advantages” of wind and solar, IRENA is disappointed that global growth in renewable investment seems to have stagnated over recent years. It attributes this to the concocted story — cooked up by itself, mind you — about “subsidies” to coal, the estimates for which are derived from another IRENA paper which confusingly traverses many different international sources with widely different approaches and estimates.

The global subsidy figure IRENA cites for fossil fuels is $447 billion, which excludes greenhouse “externality costs”. The subsidies for coal itself are said to be $17 billion (astonishingly, this includes the UK which no longer has any generation from coal). Germany is the largest coal subsidiser (to enable its coal industry to compete with imports). Coal comprises 40 per cent of German electricity supply, and IRENA quotes annual subsidy estimates ranging from $US 10 billion while also lending credibility to the (US)$58 billion Greenpeace estimate. Aside from coal, add a further $128 billions of subsidies to electricity generation generally, this from government-mandated price controls, estimates of concessional finance and support for carbon-capture and storage.

Coincidental to the IRENA release was a report of an agency dedicated to destroying the competitiveness of the Australian energy industry, the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute (GCCS).  Bear in mind that GCCS was bankrolled by the Rudd/Gillard government but, despite all that money from the public purse, it is very secretive about its accounting.  Its latest press release refers to yet another reputed success in carbon capture and storage, said to be burying 1.6 million tonnes of CO2 a year with Canadian government subsidies of C$558 million. Some may take a perverse comfort in knowing Australia is not the only country dedicated to committing economic suicide with addled “energy competitiveness” initiatives.

Agencies like IRENA parade their cost fabrications purely to arm the governments that finance them with the information they can use to promote the subsidies that are needed – temporarily of course – to get these “clean” energy investments over the line.

The message is heard loud and clear in all Western nations (except Trump’s America) and lip service is paid to it in the developing world just so long as rich countries pick up the tab. Most of the Western world is adopting economically debilitating emission-restraint policies, but there is no prospect of China, India, Vietnam and Indonesia sacrificing their possibilities of Western-style living standards by abandoning fossil fuels, always the cheapest energy source. As these nations are now responsible for two-thirds of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, all the international agitprop in the world will make no difference to the trivial global warming that the burning of fossil fuels may be causing.

Agencies like IRENA, their national counterparts, lobby organisations and leaders like that of EU President Ursula von der Leyen  continue to beat the drum even as reality bites elsewhere.

But reality bites elsewhere.  In Melbourne, several green-left councils have announced deferral of “sustainability” expenditures as they grapple with massive funding reductions in the light of the lockdown.  These councils will not be the only government agencies who decide that, with reduced incomes, saving the planet takes a back seat to saving public service jobs!



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


Tuesday, July 07, 2020

The Green Delusion continues to Perpetuate Costs upon the Poor

Those marketing the green delusion have convinced themselves and the public that intermittent electricity from wind and solar are somehow “clean, green, renewable and sustainable”. They have successfully kept transparency from those paying for the green delusion of any information that would damage their message.

Facts about greater human and ecological impacts around the world from intermittent electricity systems favored by the climate cult are numerous and purposely withheld from the Californians that can least afford rates that are already among the highest in the nation for electricity and fuel and the same Californians that represent less than half of one percent (0.5%) of the world’s population (40 million vs. 8 billion). Among a few subjects the climate cult avoids transparency are:

* Moving to electricity ALONE and eliminating fossil fuels would mean America would have to replace 100% of its gasoline and all its oil and natural gas feed stocks for pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, paints, synthetic fibers, fertilizers, and plastics for cell phones, computers, car bodies, packaging, wind turbine blades, solar panel films and more than 6,000 products that are manufactured from petroleum derivatives. As a reminder, without transportation and the leisure and entertainment industries that did not exist before 1900, we would have no commerce.

* Dependency on intermittent electricity from wind and solar resulted in California importing up to 29 percent of its electricity to meet its demands. To the detriment of those that can least afford expensive energy, that lavishly expensive imported electricity has contributed to the poorest residents, particularly Latinos and African Americans, paying more than 50 percent more for electricity than the rest of the country.

* The impact of power plant closures in California are destined to increase the cost of power as California plans to shuttle three natural gas power plants and its last nuclear power plant. Those four power plants have been providing continuous uninterruptible electricity to Californians. With the state having no plans to replace the closure capacity with intermittent electricity from wind and solar, the state will need to import more high-priced electricity to fill the void and let residents and businesses pay the premium.

* The climate cult is fearful of sharing that all the mineral products and metals needed to make wind turbines, solar panels, and EV batteries are mined and processed in places like Baotou, Inner Mongolia, Bolivia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, mostly under Chinese control, under minimal to nonexistent labor, wage, environmental, reclamation, and worker health and safety regulations. The mere extraction of those exotic minerals presents social challenges, human rights abuses, and environmental degradations worldwide.

* Those numerous documentaries about the atrocities that the workers are put through in the cobalt mines, i.e. actually digging the mines by hand along with the horrendous living conditions. Amnesty International has documented children and adults mining cobalt in narrow man-made tunnels along with the exposure to the dangerous gases emitted during the procurement of these rare minerals.

* For cobalt alone, over 40,000 Congolese children, as young as four years old, slave away alongside their parents in mines, for a dollar a day, risking cave-ins and being exposed constantly to filthy, toxic, radioactive mud, dust, water and air.

* These environmental and human rights travesties can happen only under a system of rampant double standards, i.e., if they do NOT occur in the backyard of the climate cult, they are okay with any and all adverse impacts on foreign sites.

* Even if California or the entire USA eliminated all fossil fuel use tomorrow – it would not make an iota of difference for global carbon dioxide levels as China and India have more than 5,000 coal fired power plants and are building 600 more to provide their populations with scalable, reliable, and affordable electricity, that will continue to increase emissions.

* Since 1990 CO2 emissions from the Developed world have decreased, whereas the Developing world has shown a fourfold increase since 1985.  This differential has arisen because of:
the off shoring of major CO2 emitting industries to parts of the world that have less rigorous environmental standards or who care less about CO2 emissions.
the growing use of Coal-firing for electricity generation in the Developing world.

The primary reason that the climate cult is voraciously against transparency of any data about intermittent electricity from wind and solar favored by them, is that they would need to justify to the rural, poor, minority and working-class families and communities that  the public needs to accept  the worldwide ecological, health and economic damages being inflicted in pursuit of their pseudo-renewable electricity utopia. Additionally, for those that can least afford the passion for intermittent electricity, they need to morally accept that Africans, Asians, and Latin Americans must endure slave labor status to advance the climate cult agenda.

Let us hope the now-silent majority can restore law, order, civil debate, thoughtful reflection on our complex history, and rational resolution of these thorny problems as current climate policies are essentially discriminatory toward poor people and minorities worldwide.


Next-generation climate models: worse than ever!

Back in February, Pat Michaels dropped something of a bombshell. It was an exposé of the Achilles heel of alarmist climate science.

He did it in a lecture, just posted to YouTube on June 11, at a joint meeting of the Independent Institute and the National Association of Scholars. What he showed was that practically all the climate models on which the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and lots of national governments rely are wrong—hopelessly, egregiously, starkly wrong. And all (but one) in the direction of exaggerating CO2’s warming effect.

Why? Because modelers tune their models to reproduce the 20th-century temperature record. Yet the models supposedly model how global average (near-surface) temperature responds to rising atmospheric CO2 concentration. And the problem with that is that there’s no way the first half (roughly) of the 20th-century temperature record was driven by CO2.

Michaels demonstrates that by showing that, if the comparatively small amount of added CO2 in the first half of the century drove as much warming as occurred then, then the much greater amount of CO2 added in the second half should have added a whole lot more warming than actually occurred.

Having made that point, Michaels reminds us that good scientists, when observations contradict predictions based on their models, revise the models so as to come closer to the observations. But that’s exactly the opposite of what’s happening in the alarmist climate modeling community.

The “Coupled Model Intercomparison Project” 5th generation models (CMIP-5) simulated, on average 2.75 times as much warming as actually observed by radiosondes (temperature sensors carried aloft by weather balloons) from 1979–2018, as Michaels showed with this graph, courtesy of John Christy:

Now the CMIP-6 models are starting to come out. One would expect that refinements would bring their simulations closer to the observations. The opposite is the case. The new models—as many as had been reported as of late 2019—simulate not 2.75 but roughly 3.5 times the warming observed by radiosondes

In short, far from improving the models, the modelers are making them worse than ever. After the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on them, one would hope for a different outcome.

Perhaps it’s driven not so much by honest scientific endeavor as by an agenda.


3 Billion-A-Year Cost To Prevent Green Energy Blackouts

An in-depth study for the Global Warming Policy Foundation has revealed the skyrocketing costs of balancing the national grid, largely due to the intermittency of green power generation sources, most notably wind and solar. Since 2002, when these power sources began to be introduced at scale, the cost of balancing the grid has risen from £367 million to £1.5 billion per year by 2019. And now with the lockdown shrinking demand, balancing costs are optimistically projected to be £2 billion, potentially rising to £3 billion if the lockdown persists…

The conclusion of Dr John Constable, energy expert and author of the study, is stark:

“If demand remains low during the post-Covid recession the multi-billion pound costs of managing and subsidising renewables must be recovered from a much smaller volume of sales. That is a recipe for rapid and abrupt price rises, the like of which the British public have never seen. Enough is enough. In what everyone agrees is a very difficult moment the national interest demands a cost minimisation strategy for electricity, based on gas and nuclear.”

Fortunately, the UK could be on the brink of a nuclear revolution in small modular reactors (SMRs). Rolls Royce is leading a consortium of businesses urging the Government to accelerate plans for a swathe of high tech micro nuclear reactors across the north of England:

Plans are being discussed for sixteen micro-reactors to be built by 2050, providing enough consistent energy to power a city the size of Leeds and directly employing 40,000 people. Who knew that nuclear power stations even run when it’s not windy and at night!


Norway to rein in wind power after raging opposition from locals 

Norway is set to tighten rules for building wind turbines, caving in to massive protests from locals.

A government proposal on Friday to slow down the development of onshore wind power comes after increasing local resistance mirrors sentiment in other European countries. Norway already decided to scrap a plan for a new permission framework last year.

Norway, which has already developed a massive hydropower network, faces an increased need for clean energy for the electrification of everything from transportation to oil platforms.

The proposed changes include that permits are valid for a shorter time before construction starts, height restrictions on turbines and noise requirements, in addition to local acceptance of the projects. For instance, a turbine can not be closer to a house or cabin than four times the height of the turbines.

Norway’s Petroleum and Energy Minister, who presented the white paper with the proposed changes on Friday, felt the wrath of protesters herself. Only a week ago, Tina Bru experienced being blocked physically from attending an event on the west coast while being pummeled with insults, she wrote on her Facebook page.

“It’s legitimate to be opposed to wind power, both in principle and where you live – I understand that wind power can stoke strong feelings and heated debate,” Bru said at a press conference on Friday. “But I reject harassment, threats and vandalism.”

Although Norway has developed onshore wind in the recent years, hydropower is meeting virtually all the nation’s power needs.



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


Monday, July 06, 2020

Three Greenie heretics

First there was Michael Moore’s Planet of the Humans, then came Bjorn Lomborg’s False Alarm, and now Michael Shellenberger’s Apocalypse Never.  All three authors sound the common theme that the  hyper-green environmental activists who have captured, politicized, and monetized  the concern for the environment have, as Lomborg explains, created  a false climate  alarm  which has “costs us trillions, hurts the poor, and fails to fix the planet.”  To varying degrees, all three authors come from a strong environmental activist background, which observation makes their public revelations even more noteworthy.

Planet of the Humans, the recent film produced by Michael Moore, caused consternation and a considerable backlash from the green activists and their allied backers by pointing out how traditional energy companies had co-opted the environmental movement by donning a green alter-ego and embracing renewable energy.  By doing so, the corporations gained access to government funding/subsidies for wind turbine and commercial solar power installations and created a public relations victory for their vociferous eco-shareholders.  Moore’s revelation that the reality of needing to provide 24/7 reliable electricity to consumers ensures that fossil fuel plants will remain the primary energy sources because of the failure of wind or solar to provide power if there is no wind or sufficient sun.  Renewables do not displace reliable fossil-fuel power plants.  Consumers energy bills do not go down, but go up, when renewables are imposed.

Moore also documented that renewables require large amounts of rare earths, cement, and fossil fuel energy in their production.  They are both notoriously inefficient in land use, and impose destruction of large areas of native habitats.  Further environmental destruction is due to the fact that the best wind or solar location is often remote from the most needed consumer base, thereby requiring the construction  of massive electric transmission lines.  “Factories claiming to have gone ‘beyond coal’ again and again turn out to be relying on natural gas.”

The film notes that biomass/wood chip power plants in England now rely on American forests.  Rather than just using lumber waste as was first proposed, this has now turned into a major sub-set of the logging industry.  Our southern forests are leveled and the trees turned into wood chips.  The whole process of logging, processing, and trans-Atlantic shipping is all powered by fossil fuels.  The basic premise of using “renewable” lumber as a bio-fuel is that the carbon dioxide released upon its burning will become fertilizer for a new generation of trees and thus the cycle is carbon neutral. The basic fallacy of it is that the time scale of new tree growth greatly exceeds the day-to-day weather cycle.  No matter. Just imagine, American lumber keeping England eco-green -- a country well versed in cutting down its own forests.

With his recent book, False Alarm, Bjorn Lomborg continues to straddle the fence on global warming, aka climate change.  As the original “skeptical environmentalist,” Bjorn has argued that there are more productive ways to aid humanity than spending billions trying to influence climate change. He has argued for improving sanitation, clean water supplies, basic nutrition, and providing paths out of poverty for the millions living in underdeveloped countries.  In this book, he continues to press for a concerted effort to alleviate these ills, rather than accepting the decades of panic driven calls for “fixing the climate.”

He provides numerous references to substantiate his claims that climate change is real but is not the apocalyptic threat so widely advertised.  Science, he says, “shows that landfalling hurricanes in the US are not more frequent than in the past.  Droughts here have actually become shorter, less frequent, and cover a smaller area.  Seventeen times more people currently die from cold than heat, and these people will benefit from moderate warming.  In fact, global climate related deaths are an all-time low.”

He claims:

…the projections of Earth’s imminent demise are based on bad science and even worse economics.  In a politicized panic, world leaders have committed to wildly expensive, but largely ineffective policies, that hamper growth and crowd out other pressing investments in a better world, from immunization to education.

And yet, a schizophrenic-like mindset co-inhabits this rational evaluation of climate change and related issues.  Section 1 of the book is titled “Climate of Fear,” and evokes memories of Michael Crichton’s 2004 “State of Fear.”  A few pages into his introduction, Lomborg states, “Climate change is real, it is caused predominantly by carbon emissions from humans burning fossil fuels….”  No question that climate change is real; however, he gives no reference for this unsubstantiated claim of human causation, which is the basic UN position, and the foundation for much green eco-activism.  A few lines later, he seems to criticize the same UN:

After a 2019 UN climate science report led to over-the-top claims by activists, one of the scientists wrote: “We risk turning off the public with extremist talk that is not carefully supported by the science.” Media reports that we have to act by 2030 to solve the problem of climate change is the media defining what the science is.

Lomborg points out that this is indeed not science, but “what politics tells us.”  He does not clarify what the “problem” is with the climate, though his chapter 6 is titled “You Can’t Fix Climate Change,” and chapter 11 offers “Carbon Tax: The Market-Based Solution.”  Chapter 14 “Geoengineering: A Backup Plan” is recognized as “entering uncharted territory,” but “could play a role if we found that we needed fast action to avoid a looming catastrophe.”  After calling for consideration of this back-up plan, the chapter continues with an extended discussion of the pluses and minuses of actually implementing it.

The reader will have to evaluate this recent book to get the full import of Lomborg’s latest effort.  His most basic premise remains that there are better ways to alleviate human misery than spending taxpayer subsidies than on panic-driven, political non-solutions to a changing climate.  Few would argue with that goal.

Michael Shellenberger has green activist credentials going back to his high school years.  Yet over the ensuing years, he has had an environmental reality epiphany which now has manifested itself most clearly in his recent book “Apocalypse Never,” and with his starting the ecomodernism movement. The subtitle of the book, “Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All,” echoes the similar conclusions of Moore and Lomborg.

Shellenberger had a few road bumps on the way to his current reality check.  Notable was his 2002 support of the “New Apollo Project,” which called for a major global science and economics research program to make carbon-free baseload electricity less costly than electricity from coal by the year 2025 at an expenditure of $150 billion over a decade. The Obama administration adopted many of the renewable energy proposals, but Shellenberger documents that much of the money went to “companies that enriched donors to the Obama campaign” but failed to produce the promised renewable energy advances.

Disillusionment gave way to reality, and in 2017, Shellenberger told The Australian: "Like most people, I started out pretty anti-nuclear. I changed my mind as I realized you can't power a modern economy on solar and wind....  All they do is make the electricity system chaotic and provide greenwash for fossil fuels."  He has made numerous efforts to support nuclear power.

His current book skewers many of the claims of eco-environmentalists, including mass extinctions, saving of the whales by Greenpeace, waste plastic fouling the ocean for thousands of years, and increases in extreme weather events.

He reflects upon his early devotion to environmentalism as a manifestation of an “underlying anxiety and unhappiness in my own life that had little to do with climate change or the state of the natural environment.” It became a quasi-religion offering “emotional relief” and “spiritual satisfaction” for those, like him, who may have lost the guidance of traditional spiritual faiths.

Shellenberger concludes with the observation that “the trouble with the new environmental religion is that it has become increasingly apocalyptic, destructive, and self-defeating.”

So here are three environmentalists with different degrees of eco-activism in their past, but all now willing to speak out against the incessant climate propaganda of human-related guilt, the purveyors of anxiety, and the poisoners of childhood joy and wonder.  Climate change is the norm; it is not mankind’s original sin.  The readers here are encouraged to read the works of these climate realists.


Why the World's Most Advanced Solar Plants Are Failing

The government’s leading laboratory for renewable energy has released a new report detailing the strengths and flaws of concentrated solar energy. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) published the report with the stated goal of using very mixed feedback on existing concentrated solar projects to create a list of suggested best practices going forward.

The NREL report “is titled CSP Best Practices, but it can be more appropriately viewed as a mix of problematic issues that have been identified, along with potential solutions or approaches to address those issues,” it begins. What’s inside includes problems shared across concentrating solar power (CSP) projects as well as general issues of large-scale construction. There are also issues with specific kinds of CSP plants based on their designs.

Parabolic trough CSP plants use solar collectors to heat water and generate steam heat, the same as a traditional coal or even nuclear power plant. But in between is a stage called heat transfer (HTF), where a fluid medium like oil or liquid metals carries the heat from the collection area to the turbine.

The CSP report says some of the issues with these systems are the extreme and dangerous heat of the HTF and the waste hydrogen produced by these processes. Designers have also positioned elements vertically at a higher cost, when most CSPs are built in rural places with plenty of space.

The other kind of CSP plant is a tower design, where mirrors concentrate the solar power directly into a central reservoir usually made of molten salt. These plants take a very long time to come to temperature and are subject to leaks and underperformance. All of these factors mean that molten salt plants have not yet reached their performance goals or the numbers their builders have often promised locals served by these grids.

The report says these plants have often exceeded their planned operating budgets because of surprise maintenance costs as well as poor understanding of what the true operating costs will even be. NLER writes:

“There tend to be issues that are not fully considered, and it generally falls to the owner to pick up the additional costs. Some of these issues are related to obtaining and keeping quality O&M staff; lack of understanding of regional cultures; and availability and timeliness of spare parts and services.”

Even with just a few dozen CSP plants in the U.S., the report notes that many of these are placed on poor sites. At the Crescent Dunes solar facility in Tonopah, Nevada, hundreds of birds were killed in just the first 18 months. “That's just the number of dead birds biologists have seen,” E&E News reported in 2016. But site selection also includes making compromises about how far a construction crew must travel to make onsite repairs, or even how to find a qualified workforce to work on the project in the first place.

The bottom line? CSP contractors and operators are doing their best, but the technology isn’t uniform or understood enough for the approach these builders have been taking. “The very nature of fixed-price, fixed-schedule, full-wraparound performance-guarantee EPC contracts has likely been a main reason for issues experienced at existing CSP plants,” the report concludes.


Environmentalism: a racist ideology

Green neo-Malthusianism is the last redoubt of racist eugenics in mainstream society

As reported on spiked last month, it did not take long for green ideologues to seize on the chaos of the coronavirus pandemic. And in recent weeks, racial politics has exploded, putting the Black Lives Matter movement at the centre of global attention. In its wake, jealous greens have sought to capture the narrative of racial grievance. But by highlighting what they claim are the racial dimensions of climate change, what greens have instead exposed are their deep contradictions and a callous indifference to the plight of the world’s poor.

At the end of May, having only just been reinvented as an expert on coronavirus, Greta Thunberg tweeted: ‘Centuries of structural and systematic racism and social injustice won’t go away by itself. We need a global structural change. The injustices must come to an end.’

It is an interesting claim, not least for its remarkable resemblance to her claims about climate change. In a more recent tweet she opined: ‘The climate and ecological crisis can no longer be solved within today’s political and economic systems. That’s not an opinion. It’s just simple maths.’ This is not a coincidence.

As I have long argued on spiked, environmentalists’ preoccupation with ‘systems’ and global institutions to oversee their regulation belies their ability to identify and locate environmental problems. What is motivating their search is less a desire to understand the natural world than a desire to systematise the human world.

It was ‘simple maths’ which took the neo-Malthusians of the 1960s and 1970s to their demands to turn the clock back on population growth, economic growth and technology, lest their dire prognostications of apocalypse came to pass. Yet it was also simple maths that showed these prognostications to be false, dangerous and misleading.

Greta was not the only green to jump on the racial bandwagon. George Monbiot did the same in his review of Planet of the Humans – the new film from Jeff Gibbs and Michael Moore. The film makes a number of vague references to overpopulation, which Monbiot believes marks it as belonging to the ‘far right’. ‘Population is where you go when you don’t have the guts to face the structural, systemic causes of our predicament: inequality, oligarchic power, capitalism’, he writes. There’s that word ‘systemic’ again.

But Monbiot’s attack on population-environmentalism isn’t quite the commitment it seems. David Attenborough, patron of Population Matters (formerly the Optimum Population Trust), has never been called a ‘far right’ by Monbiot, despite Attenborough’s many explicit statements on population reaching vastly more people than Planet of the Humans has. Moreover, it was not the ‘far right’ which put Malthus back on the political agenda; it was Monbiot’s fellow green campaigners – the neo-Malthusians – back in the mid- to late 20th century.

If Planet of the Humans is ‘far right’, then so is the Guardian. In a 2018 interview, which was sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation, Paul Ehrlich, author of Population Bomb, told the Guardian’s Damian Carrington that the ‘collapse of civilisation is a near certainty within decades’ (again).

In the interview, Ehrlich claimed that he rejects the idea that the desire to control population is racist and that he is hurt by the allegation. But aren’t we constantly being told by the likes of the Guardian that it is not enough to say you are not racist, because racism lingers in systems and structures?

The Rockefeller fortune has played a large role in funding the neo-Malthusian cause over the years. And it has a long history of racism. The Rockefellers were among the first ‘philanthropists’ to use their vast wealth to support eugenics programmes. According to Professor Stefan Kühl, ‘the Rockefeller foundation played the central role in establishing and sponsoring major eugenic institutes in Germany’ in the 1920s. Its funding kept them afloat through the depression and well into the Nazi regime.

After the Second World War, eugenics became less fashionable. Malthusian ideas became a more acceptable vehicle for racism. In 1952, the Rockefellers founded the Population Council, which established the population-control agenda on the global stage via the United Nations and the World Bank. Between the 1950s and 1990s, green billionaires – the Rockefeller and Ford foundations – were funders of mass sterilisation programmes across the world.

This obnoxious agenda asserted itself most aggressively in India, where millions were coerced and forced into sterilisation camps to ensure that brown people would not overrun the world. In a single year, more than six million Indian men were sterilised – more than 15 times the number sterilised by the Nazis. Thousands died from botched procedures.

It is not merely blindness to green neo-Malthusianism – arguably one of the few lasting legacies of racial eugenics – which troubles Monbiot’s attempts to distance himself from it. The problem is that all green thinking is intractably bound to it.

In the 1970s, Ehrlich and colleagues proposed a formula known as IPAT, stating that Impact = Population x Affluence x Technology. In other words, they believe that policymakers have three levers for combating environmental problems: reducing population and / or affluence and / or technology. Today’s greens have not transcended this rubric. ‘High consumption is concentrated in countries where population growth is low’, argues Monbiot: ‘Almost all the growth in numbers is in poor countries largely inhabited by black and brown people.’ Poor people do not consume so much, you see. Science!

If it is racist to tell black people not to breed, it is surely racist to tell black people they cannot be wealthy. Rejection of population control might well sound principled, but it is not in itself a rejection of the neo-Malthusian formulation. The IPAT, to its believers, is an expression of fundamental relationships, not a menu – greens who adhere to any part of it can in reality no more pick and choose than a Catholic can worship the Father and the Son but not the Holy Spirit.

Monbiot may not wish to slow population growth. But he does wish to make us all live in ecological austerity. We are talking here about what greens claim are the systems and structures of society. They claim that the system which produces climate change is racist. But what is revealed by a closer look at society’s tangible structures and systems is that it is environmentalism – not environmental degradation – that has been imposed on the poor. Green NGOs run riot in the developing world. Many, such as the World Wildlife Fund, are implicated in the murder, torture, rape and violent eviction of the world’s poorest people. Where is Monbiot’s condemnation of the WWF?

Greens do not even consider the possibility of these wretched souls of the developing world one day having their own shopping malls, domestic appliances, SUVs or intercontinental holidays. In ruling out the possibility of the poor becoming wealthy, environmentalism rules out the poor becoming a political force who might be able to speak for themselves.

Some climate activists have rebranded climate change as ‘climate justice’, in an attempt to marshall the lives of the world’s poor in their mission. ‘We can change our lifestyles, we can move’, says one self-styled ‘climate communicator’. But the poor cannot, of course: ‘Within countries and between continents, it’s people of colour and it’s indigenous people that bear the brunt of environmental destruction’, he adds.

But life in close dependence on ‘nature’ – poverty, to give it its real name – has always been precarious. Indeed, it is not climate change that is the real worry here – it’s poverty. Economic participation and wealth are what allow people to weather what nature might throw at them. And it is this wealth which greens are determined to deny to the world’s poor.

The green ideology is racist. It presupposes that others’ poverty and others’ futures are determined by weather rather than by the changes that can be brought by man-made technological, economic and political development. The disparity between the wealthiest and poorest people in the world allows this presupposition to become an imposition.

Despite green attempts to keep people in their places, there are far fewer people now living on the edges of global society than before. Contrary to Greta, Ehrlich and Monbiot’s understanding, diseases of poverty are on their way to being eliminated. Far fewer people die in natural disasters today than a century ago, when the population was a quarter of what it is now and when the world was considerably less industrialised.

Progress has not come fast enough, of course. But the claim that ‘stable’ weather will improve anyone’s living condition is a lie. Countless greens argue that, without rises in CO2 emissions, there would be no conflict, no poverty, no hunger, no inequality. But this is oblivious both to the present historical lows of all of the above, and to the implications of a political order that imposes ‘sustainability’ on a population – and one of those consequences is racism.

One problem we face is that so many ‘development’ agencies are dominated by environmentalist anti-development thinking. The boast of the World Bank’s ‘sustainability’ agenda, for example, is epitomised by this video, in which a family in Tanzania is ‘liberated’ from the necessity of buying or collecting firewood for cooking. Instead, wife, mother and housekeeper, Judith, must collect animal shit to put into a vat, which then produces gas the family can use for cooking. It’s not even shit generated by an industrial process. It’s shit from someone’s backyard.

If this strikes you as an improvement, and as a mark of success by a global political institution in abolishing poverty, you need to ‘check your privilege’. Judith’s domestic natural-gas reactor is a Heath Robinson contraption, not development. It ‘abolishes’ poverty only at best in a palliative sense – not in a structural or systemic sense. Where is the electricity grid? Where is Judith’s car? Where is Judith’s aircon, washing machine, dishwasher? If Black Lives Matter, then the grid matters, the car matters and the domestic appliances matter. Would you accept daily shit-collecting as a solution to your family’s energy needs?

Meanwhile, the World Bank and other global political and financial institutions, on the instructions of the United Nations, green billionaires and their pet NGOs, have withdrawn financial support for fossil-fuel-fired power stations for developing economies. Energy infrastructure, which has in recent decades proved essential to the rapid development seen in China and India, is being explicitly denied to the people who need it most. Their desire for a better life is not ‘sustainable’, you see.

And yet it is micro-aggressions, not macroeconomics, which trouble today’s anti-racist radicals. For all the talk of ‘systems’ and ‘structures’, it is ‘symbols’ which preoccupy them. As activists tear down statues of history’s racists, it is the present that they ignore.

Tycoons, who made vast fortunes from oil, gas and coal, and who built global institutions in their own image, have spent billions on PR campaigns to recast themselves as green philanthropists, who can buy favourable coverage in the Guardian, and are free to assert themselves and their designs over billions of people with impunity. This is ignored by Black Lives Matter and green activists alike. Environmentalism is racist.


Costly green deals are no pandemic panacea


After the ravages of the coronavirus pandemic, the world will be spending trillions of dollars to get us back on track. Increasingly, campaigners and policymakers demand this spending be tied to climate goals.

International Monetary Fund chairwoman Kristalina Georgieva urges “we must do everything in our power to make it a green recovery”. The Australian Greens, US Democrats, the European Com­mission and many countries are pushing “green new deals”. These could cost us tens of trillions and, unfortunately, will be one of the worst ways to help us recover.

The pandemic has resulted in the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives and led to widespread disruption. According to the IMF, the loss could easily top $US20 trillion ($29 trillion) this and next year. That is $US20 trillion of food, healthcare and opportunities for people around the world that we can no longer afford.

Similarly, school closures have had little effect on COVID-19, according to medical journal The Lancet, but they have left the next generation less educated. Because better-schooled children are more productive and help advance their countries, this will hamper the world’s growth for decades.

Norway estimates that every day a pupil is out of school steals $US160 from each child’s future. The World Bank estimates that school lockdowns for 1.5 billion children have taken $US13 trillion from these children’s future.

Now, nations will borrow trillions to help alleviate the current suffering. And we are told that a green recovery can quickly create plenty of jobs and economic growth, along with fixing the even bigger problem of climate change. This is mostly incorrect.

Climate change is a major problem and we must tackle it smartly. But climate policies also have enormous costs. Unfortunately, most current climate policies cost more than the benefit they deliver.

The Paris Agreement is wasteful, as it will cost $US1 trillion to $US2 trillion a year but reduce climate damages by only 10 per cent of its cost. It will not fix climate but reduce temperatures at century’s end by an almost immeasurable 0.2C. Moreover, studies show it will increase poverty and quadruple European power prices.

The biggest studies of the 2050 European Green Deal show enormous costs of €1 trillion ($1.6 trillion) to €2 trillion a year by 2050 just for Europe. This cost exceeds what governments across the EU today spend on health, education and environment, yet it will reduce global climate damages by only less than 10 per cent of its cost.

But surely green spending will produce more jobs, right? In the US, it takes 39 solar workers to produce the same amount of electricity as produced by one worker in natural gas. Hence, generating more solar power will create many more jobs.

But this is wasteful. Choosing to employ 39 people to do what one person can do means 38 people can’t help elsewhere in the economy, providing elderly care, education, better infrastructure and the thousands of other needs for society’s future. Moreover, green spending works slowly and creates almost no jobs in the short run, when jobs are needed most. It also doesn’t help those who most affected. It generates green jobs in construction and manufacturing, whereas most of the job losses due to COVID-19 occurred in services.

Finally, subsidised jobs from green deals will have to be financed by higher taxes, leading to fewer jobs elsewhere.

As the US National Bureau of Economic Research concludes in a new study, overall employment effects from environmental policies “are likely to be small, especially in the long run”.

Sometimes it is suggested that going green will make us richer. This not only fails the giggle test, it also is contradicted by the climate economic literature: energy is the main driver of economic growth, so making it less effective, less reliable and more expensive has real costs. Campaigners often misquote one OECD report to suggest climate policies can increase growth. The report actually shows that climate policies drag down growth, whereas smart non-climate policies such as investments in infrastructure and education, along with a more flexible labour market, increase growth.

Maybe we should pick the growth-enhancing policies first? To tackle climate, we need to spend less resources better on ramping up green investment to innovate the price of green energy down below fossil fuels.

But today we need to spend most of our scarce resources on the urgent needs: investments in healthcare to tackle the huge backlog and increase resilience to future epidemics; getting children back on track and in school; and helping the billions worldwide who have less food, less income and more insecurity.

As we begin our global climb out of the coronavirus depression, we shouldn’t start by letting bad green deals make us poorer, help climate little and ignore the many other urgent needs of the world.



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