Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Lord Monckton accuses the Pope of supporting genocide – And says Carbon dioxide is NOT a ‘satanic gas’

An open letter to His Holiness Pope Francis about the weather, by Christopher Monckton of Brenchley – Former advisor to UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and a clever Latinist

Christopherus Monachorum Brencleiensis servus Servi servorum Dei Servi servorum Dei salutem pluriman dat.

Now that the amiable British habit of talking about the weather – like so much that originates in these inventive islands – has been adopted worldwide, perhaps I may sound a respectful cautionary note.

A few days ago, at yet another meeting about global warming, er, climate change, um, climate disruption, aargh, climate emergency at the elegant palace of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in the Vatican gardens, Your Holiness saw fit to stray from the missio canonica of the successors of St Peter, which is to uphold the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Faith.

Your Holiness is reported as having told chief executives of oil companies and investment houses that inflicting heavy taxes on their corporate emissions of the satanic gas carbon dioxide was “essential” to prevent dangerous “global warming”. With respect, that was off message.

What is more, Your Holiness proclaimed that “we have collectively failed to listen to the fruits of scientific analysis, and doomsday predictions can no longer be met with irony or disdain.”

Well, I have listened carefully, and I can inform Your Holiness that science is divided on the climate question. A small number of totalitarian profiteers of doom in various self-serving national academies have issued pompous statements about it, but a large number of papers from reputable scientists, and a larger amount of hard data, suggest that global warming is and will continue to be a non-event.

Consider the warming from 1850-2011. It was just 0.75 degrees, equivalent to 1 degree of warming in response to doubled CO2 concentration. That is less than a third of the 3.35 degrees that is the totalitarian scientists’ grossly inflated midrange prediction.

The totalitarians got the science wrong. They made a strikingly elementary error of physics. They forgot the Sun was shining. So they misallocated the feedback response to the Sun, erroneously counting it as part of the feedback response to greenhouse gases. Their predictions should be one-third of their current midrange estimates.

What that means, Your Holiness, is that the global warming that will happen between now and the exhaustion of accessible resources of coal, oil and gas will be small, slow, harmless and net-beneficial.

The same cannot be said of the insane policies currently being inflicted upon the world’s blameless population by crazed Western extremists, now unwisely supported by Your Holiness.

Why has Your Holiness never spoken out in condemnation of the World Bank, which, from 2010 onward, refused and still refuses – citing global warming as their rationale – to lend to developing countries so that they can build coal-fired power stations? This dismal institution has decided that from this year it will not lend for oil or gas projects either, for the same reason.

And what is the effect of this wicked policy? Let me repeat the figures I gave recently here. According to the International Energy Agency, 1.3 billion people – one in six worldwide – has no access to electrical power, even though the Agency defines “access” as the ability to turn on no more than one 60-Watt lightbulb for an average of just four hours a day.

The World Health Organization estimates that 4.3 million people die every year from particulate pollution in open cooking fires because they have no mains electricity or gas, and that another 500,000 women die in childbirth each year because they have no electricity. These are just a small fraction of the tens of millions who die in developing countries each year because they cannot so much as turn on a light.

In darkest sub-Saharan Africa, where there is hardly any electricity, life expectancy is about 65 years, compared with 80 years in the electrified West. And it’s no good telling third-world countries they should install solar panels and windfarms: the electricity produced by these boondoggles is up to five times costlier than proper electricity from coal-fired power stations. They can’t afford it (and nor, come to that, can we).

A few more scientific facts. First, sea level, the mother of all scares. The sea is not rising at a rate equivalent to 33 cm/century, as the totalitarians claim. It is rising at only 11 cm/century.

Floods? Schumds. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, neither the frequency nor the intensity of flooding has changed or will change as a result of global warming.

Droughts, then? The most comprehensive survey ever conducted, just five years ago, showed that in the previous 35 years the percentage of global land area under drought had declined.

Food production? Output of all staple crops is increasing rapidly worldwide. Warmer weather is good for them, because they breathe in carbon dioxide. CO2 is not a satanic gas. It is plant food.

Forest fires? The acreages destroyed in forest fires have been declining worldwide for 30 years.

Hurricanes, tropical cyclones and tornadoes? All in decline. Why? Because warmer weather reduces the temperature differentials that power such storms.

Deaths from extreme weather? Over the past 100 years, the number of weather-related deaths has plummeted worldwide. What is more, research for the EU Commission found – to the unelected Kommissars’ horror – that in the next 100 years deaths from global warming will be comfortably outstripped by lives saved from cold weather. More people will live than will die if the world continues to warm, because warm weather is better than cold weather.

Cuddly polar bears? They’re not cuddly, but there are now thought to be 35,000 of them, compared with just 5000 in the 1940s. Hardly the profile of a species at imminent threat of extinction.

Given the egregious lack of evidence for harm caused by warmer weather, and the overwhelming evidence that current global-warming policies are killing tens of millions, I invite Your Holiness to speak up for the poor who are poor, and dying, because the policies Your Holiness imprudently advocates are not just scientifically unjustifiable, not just theologically off message. They are – not to put too fine a point on it – actually genocidal.


Markets can handle climate change

Despite the concern about manmade climate change, surprisingly little attention is paid to emerging technology that could extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and turn it into useful products like petrochemicals and synthetic fuels.

Top-down policy solutions like carbon taxes and the recently defeated “Green New Deal” plausibly could reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, but, as with all government mandates, would be costly to implement and would undoubtedly generate unintended consequences that do more harm than good.

While environmental lobbyists push their favorite plans for doing something — anything — to avert catastrophe, the private sector is quietly finding innovative ways to limit the rise in the average global temperature to 1.5 degrees centigrade (compared to pre-industrial times).

According to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 100 billion to 1,000 billion tons of carbon dioxide must be removed from the atmosphere this century to meet that warming target. At first glance, extracting carbon might seem like a pipe dream, but a process for doing just that is nearing commercialization. 

Three startup companies seeking to deploy direct-air-capture systems have attracted substantial capital since global emissions hit a new high last year. One of the startups, a Canada-based company, has raised $68 million in private equity from investors, including multibillionaire Bill Gates, the venture arms of oil companies Chevron and Occidental Petroleum, the mining company BHP Billiton, several equity firms, and private family foundations.

While the precise technologies being developed vary among the startups, they all share the basic concept of giant fans pulling air across a contact surface that binds with carbon-dioxide molecules. The contact material is then heated to unbind the carbon dioxide so that it can be collected and used. The Canadian firm is developing a process for using carbon dioxide to achieve industrial-scale production of synthetic fuel.

A Switzerland startup has raised $50.1 million and now operates 14 plants around the world. A New York-based company has raised $42 million and is in the middle of further fundraising. 

Until recently, extracting one ton of carbon cost $600 to $700 per ton, but the Canadian company says its process can reduce the cost to less than $100. It expects further cost reductions as the systems are deployed and the manufacturing process scales up. The company plans to announce the sites of two commercial direct-air-capture plants later this year. It says facilities can be placed in any country and in any climate.

While other ways of reducing carbon dioxide are possible — for instance, planting more trees and storing carbon in topsoil or the sea — direct-air-capture plants offer cost-effective options, though an estimated 20 or 30 very large facilities would be needed to pull 5 billion to 10 billion tons of carbon dioxide out of the air every year.

While converting carbon dioxide into synthetic fuel itself requires considerable energy, the process could be powered with renewables to reduce its cost. Any carbon dioxide remaining after conversion would be pumped underground into geologic formations and depleted oil and gas wells.

Global consumption of fossil fuels is increasing, especially in India, China and other industrializing nations, along with atmospheric carbon dioxide. But environmental alarmists tend to forget that CO2 has benefits as well as costs. It is essential for plant life, and more of it promises to raise global crop yields, thereby increasing food production. Nowadays, CO2 is being piped directly from a petroleum refinery in Holland to grow roses in a nearby greenhouse.

The bottom line is that the information that price signals transmit about climate change supplies alert entrepreneurs with incentives to search for innovative ways to adapt to projected rising sea levels, droughts, wildfires and other predicted disasters. It is often better for governments to do nothing, especially if what they do is impose new taxes and heavy-handed regulations to address perceived collective-action problems.

But government inaction doesn’t mean that nothing will be done. Figuring out ways to capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is just one of many examples showing that, left to their own devices, market processes can discover solutions that even well-intended policymakers predictably miss.


Biden Not Alone: All Dem Climate Policies Are Plagiarized

Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., tells Capitol Hill reporters in Washington Wednesday, Sept. 23, 1987 that he is quitting his campaign disclosures that he committed plagiarism. Mrs. Jill Biden, his wife stands beside him. (AP Photo/John Duricka)
Besides his obvious affinity for plagiarism, it should be no surprise that Joe Biden stole his ideas for dealing with climate change. He couldn't possibly have any of his own. He doesn't have anywhere near the background or, to be honest, the intelligence to comprehend the necessary physics and chemistry. He could barely make it through law school (without plagiarizing). And, all apologies to attorneys, a Ph.D. in physics or chemistry is somewhat more of a heavy lift than an LLD.

Undoubtedly it was the former vice president's staff that placed the stolen material in the unwitting candidate's hands. (One can only wonder how long this clueless crew will last.) But they weren't alone, I would wager. The process was probably similar to virtually every other politician in our government with a very few exceptions, like Rand Paul, who is an ophthalmologist and we can assume made it through a number of upper-level science courses. The rest of our pols are simply relying on what others tell them and, even more, of course, what's popular—the very opposite of science.

Nevertheless, the myriad Democratic presidential aspirants are all busy trying to out-green each other, oblivious to the actual situation on that ground known as Earth. Facts don't matter. Armageddon is twelve years away or, in Biden's case (or his "researchers"), coming to us by 2050. I wonder if any of them have read anything by Denmark's Bjorn Lomborg—a longtime genuine climate researcher—who wrote in the New York Post only last week:

Ever notice how, in the last decade or so, we quietly stopped just having storms and started having “extreme weather events”? It feels like no temperature drop or seasonal downpour is too small for the media to slap a scary name on it and issue minute-by-minute warnings. Well, now some news outlets and campaigners are trying to do the exact same thing for climate change itself.
“Global warming” isn’t scary enough to push through the expensive bills campaigners want. Instead of “climate change,” The Guardian has now decided to call it “climate emergency.” And the British newspaper isn’t alone: Democratic presidential candidates including Beto O’Rourke and Kamala Harris use similar language, as does Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

What the Democratic candidates are doing is exploiting climate for political gain and actually hurting the environment in the process, not to mention the economy. Not only is their approach anti-science, but it is also a dumbing down of our culture, especially our all-too-gullible young people who already have had their brains drilled by a ridiculously biased educational system.

The candidates and everybody else—especially AOC—might want to have a look at another Lomborg column in the Australian: "A mountain of money won't change the climate."

As for plagiarism, as a professional writer for fifty years, you can assume I'm not very fond of it. I would rather flunk my Wasserman test than vote for Joe Biden—or listen to a word he says for that matter. In fact, I won't listen to or read the words of any plagiarist (like that creep on the Scarborough show and the historians Doris Kearns Goodwin and Stephen Ambrose) for even one minute. It's an unforgivable sin for me.

But on the general subject, the great  (not LATE) Tom Lehrer had the last word in his immortal "Lobachevsky." (Click and play, if you haven't heard it. And if you have, I know you will want to hear it again. Who wouldn't?)

Plagiarize, Let no one else's work evade your eyes, Remember why the good lord made your eyes, So don't shade your eyes, But plagiarize, plagiarize, plagiarize - Only be sure always to call it please "research."


How NPR, Washington Post, Bloomberg and other media botched reporting on EPA’s ‘ban’ of 12 ‘bee-killing’ neonicotinoid insecticides

If recent headlines are the measure, advocacy groups making a case that bees are endangered because of the misuse of pesticides just scored a significant victory. On May 20, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that after a 6-year-long legal battle with anti-pesticide activists, it endorsed a voluntary withdrawal of 12 insecticides by a group of agri-chemical companies that a coalition of environmental groups had blamed for causing health problems in bees.

George Kimbrell, Center for Food Safety legal director and lead counsel in the case against the EPA, immediately claimed that that the settlement represented a massive victory in support of his claims that neonics are ‘harmful’ and ‘toxic’ chemicals. According to a post on the CFS site:

[The] cancellation of these …. pesticides is a hard-won battle and landmark step in the right direction,’ said …. Kimbrell …. ‘But the war on toxics continues: We will continue to fight vigilantly to protect our planet, bees, and the environment from these and similar dangerous toxins.

Facts aside—we will address that—Kimbrell’s casting of the court agreement as a victory for anti-pesticide campaigners was the narrative angle adopted by much of the media. According to reports that flooded the Internet, from the Washington Post to fringe activist sites, the EPA ‘banned’ 12 ‘dangerous’ neonicotinoids, a class of insecticides that environmental activists blame for bee health issues.

Unsurprisingly, CFS acolytes like Care2 crowed in its headline and blog about the success in bringing American regulators to heel. VICTORY! EPA Cancels 12 Bee-Killing Pesticides, Care2 wrote on its activist social community site:

The environmentalists, food safety organizations and beekeepers spent the last 6 years holding the EPA accountable for its lack of diligence in preventing or addressing bee Colony Collapse Disorder and to demand that the EPA protect livelihoods, rural economies and the environment.

Most mainstream media outlets parroted the CFS line. Business Insider’s Aria Bendix told readers, The US just banned 12 pesticides that are like nicotine for bees. Bloomberg reported, EPA Curbs Use of 12 Bee-Harming Pesticides. According to Washington Post energy reporter Dino Grandoni,”EPA now blocks a dozen products containing pesticides thought harmful to bees. The respected publication The Scientist headlined its article, EPA Cancels Registrations for 12 Neonicotinoid Pesticides, noting in the first line:

Out of concern for bees, the Environmental Protection Agency announced on May 20 that the registrations for 12 neonicotinoid-based products used as pesticides in agriculture would be canceled…

But not one of those articles, or dozens of others in news sites across the world, accurately represented what the EPA actually said or the actions that it took.

What did the EPA say and do

The EPA brokered a settlement between activists and companies that manufactured the pesticides: Syngenta, Valent and Bayer. As the agency noted to the GLP in an email, this action amounted to a voluntary withdrawal by the manufacturers; there was no ‘cancellation’ initiated by EPA and no ‘blocking’ of products as has been widely claimed.

The EPA also rejected the claim made by Kimbrell that the 12 neonicotinoid insecticides pose significant harm to bees as The Scientist and many other media outlets claimed; in fact in an email exchange with the Genetic Literacy Project, the agency took pains to underscore that no research supported that allegation.

There are two approaches for cancelling pesticide registrations under federal law: voluntary cancellation of a pesticide product or use and pesticide cancellation under EPA’s own initiative. Voluntary cancellations are by far the most common. Cancellation under EPA’s own initiative [which did not occur in this case] begins when the Agency has identified unreasonable adverse effects from registered uses, and the registrants have not made necessary changes (to the extent changes are possible) to the terms and conditions of the registration to address the unreasonable adverse effects. EPA has not identified unreasonable adverse effects associated with the 12 voluntarily cancelled products.

Biased or botched representations from fringe environmental groups is standard operating practice. That’s not surprising. After all, these professional protestors often promote an ideological agenda even if it conflicts with science. They sometimes do get the science right, but often the bottom line is whether its position on an issue serves its institutional interests, helps with fund raising or otherwise stirs its activist base.

But here’s the disappointing twist: Many reputable journalists and globally respected news organizations fumbled the story as well, acting more like enablers rather than skeptical inquirers with a commitment to truth, ideology be damned. Perhaps that is ‘old school.’ In this case, many journalists parroted the claims in news releases sent out by anti-pesticide ideologues, such as CFS, distorting what the EPA and the presiding judge actually decided in this case.

Celebratory comments from Kimbrell aside, an expensive multi-year court battle initiated by environmental activists to try to force the EPA to ban or heavily restrict neonicotinoids on the basis of their alleged harm ended with a whimper—an affirmation by the judge in the case that there is no evidence that the pesticides cause demonstrable harm. No ban was ordered. The ‘perpetrating’ companies voluntarily agreed to halt the marketing of 12 of the least used neoncotinoids that they sold in the US.

A balanced reading of the EPA’s action is that the brokered settlement was a major blow to activist anti-neonicotinoid efforts. The voluntary agreement was reached on the basis of what amounted to a technical process violation: the EPA had failed to consult other federal agencies in what is a truly byzantine process before it originally approved 59 neonic insecticides. The various companies involved in the settlement agreed to withdraw 12 of the approved neonics. Two aren’t even sold in the US and five were never commercialized. Most of the rest are barely in use. The court pointedly rejected the plaintiffs’ argument that neonics threaten pollinators. The effective impact on the companies and on farmers who rely on these insecticides: essentially zero.


We Shouldn't Be Surprised Renewables Make Energy Expensive Since That's Always Been The Greens' Goal

It's a feature, not a bug</>

Michael Shellenberger

The Green Party’s success in last weekend’s European elections will likely result in demands to expand and extend decades-old subsidies to renewables.

Like a lot of people, I used to think that subsidies to promote the switch from fossil fuels to solar and wind would be a one-time thing. Once a solar or wind farm was built, I thought, it would produce electricity forever, without further subsidy, because sunlight and wind are free. Renewables would thus allow a “sustainable” and even “circular” economy without waste or mining because everything would be recycled.

But it turns out that only nuclear can produce sufficient clean energy to power a circular economy.

That’s partly because nuclear plants have seen their efficiency increase dramatically. Nuclear plants used to operate for just 50% of the year. Now, thanks to greater experience in operations and maintenance, they operate 93% of the year.

Nuclear plants were expected to run for 40 years, but thanks to greater experience, they’re expected to run for 80. And simple changes to equipment allowed the amount of power produced by existing nuclear plants in the US to increase the equivalent of adding eight full-sized reactors. 

By contrast, the output of solar panels declines one percent every year, for inherently physical reasons, and they as well as wind turbines are replaced roughly every two decades.

As for circularity, solar panels and wind turbines are rarely recycled because the energy and labor required to do so are much more expensive than just buying raw materials.

As a result, the vast majority of solar panels and wind turbines are either sent to landfills or join the global electronic waste stream where they are dumped on poor communities in developing nations.

And that’s just at the level of the solar and wind equipment. At a societal level, the value of energy from solar and wind declines the more of it we add to the electrical grid.

The underlying reason is physical. Solar and wind produce too much energy when we don’t need it and not enough when we do.

In 2013, a German economist predicted that the economic value of solar would drop by a whopping 50% when it became just 15% of electricity and that the value of wind would decline 40% once it rose to 30% of electricity.

Six years later, the evidence that solar and wind are increasing electricity prices in the real world, often without reducing emissions, is piling up.

In 2017, The Los Angeles Times reported that California’s electricity prices had risen sharply, and hinted it might have to do with the deployment of renewables.

In 2018, I reported that renewables had contributed to electricity prices rising 50% in Germany and five times more in California than in the rest of the US despite generating just 17% of the state’s electricity.

And in April, a research institute at the University of Chicago led by a former Obama administration economist found solar and wind were making electricity significantly more expensive across the United States.

The cost to consumers of renewables has been staggeringly high.

Two weeks ago, Der Spiegel reported that Germany spent $36 billion per year on renewables over the last five years, and yet only increased the share of electricity from solar and wind by 10 percentage points.

It’s been a similar story in the US. "All in all,” wrote the University of Chicago economists, “consumers in the 29 states had paid $125.2 billion more for electricity than they would have in the absence of the policy."

Some renewable energy advocates protest that more evidence is needed to prove that it is renewables and not some hidden factor that is making electricity expensive.

But there is a growing consensus among economists and independent analysts that solar and wind are indeed making electricity more expensive for two reasons: they are unreliable, thus requiring 100% back-up, and energy-dilute, thus requiring extensive land, transmission lines, and mining.

After The Los Angeles Times failed to plainly connect the dots between California’s simultaneous rise in electricity prices and renewables, a leading economist with the University of California pointed out the obvious. 

“The story of how California’s electric system got to its current state is a long and gory one,” James Bushnell wrote, but “the dominant policy driver in the electricity sector has unquestionably been a focus on developing renewable sources of electricity generation.”

Renewables Are For Degrowth

We shouldn’t be surprised that renewables are making energy expensive. For as long as Greens have been advocating renewables they have viewed their high cost as a feature, not a bug.

Environmentalists have for decades argued that energy is too cheap and must be made more expensive in order to protect the environment.

Greens viewed energy as the source of humankind’s destruction of the natural world and sought to restrict energy supplies in order to slow and eventually reverse the destruction.

Indeed, the reason environmentalists turned against nuclear energy in the 1960s was that it was cheap and effectively infinite.

In the early 1970s, the Sierra Club’s Executive Director advocated scaring the public about nuclear to increase regulations to make it more expensive. And that’s what his organization, and many others, proceeded to do over the next four decades.

But Greens got the relationship between energy and the environment backward.

As people consume higher levels of energy the overall environmental impact is overwhelmingly positive, not negative. As we consume greater amounts of energy we can live in cities, stop using wood as fuel, and afford to have fewer children.

And as humans use more energy for agriculture in the form of tractors and fertilizers, we are able to grow more food on less land, allowing marginal lands to return to grasslands, forests, and wildlife.

Over time, rising electricity consumption, such as for high-speed trains in population-dense places like Europe and Asia, drives the transition from fossil fuels to zero-emissions nuclear.

Engineers and other critics of renewables often assume Greens are simply misinformed. Many if not most of them are. I certainly was.

Few university environmental studies students today, for example, ever learn of the mostly positive relationship between rising energy consumption and environmental protection.

Fewer learn that the energy density of the fuel, whether wood, coal, sunlight, wind or uranium, determine energy’s environmental impact.

Because sunlight is energy-dilute, solar panels are the most extractive of all energy resources, requiring 17 times the resources as nuclear while returning just 2% the energy invested.

But the ideologically-driven leadership of European Greens and American environmentalists knows renewables make energy expensive and view raising energy prices as a high priority.

In 1994, then-Vice President Al Gore pushed an energy tax as a central plank in the Clinton administration’s environmental agenda, which later evolved into a complicated and corrupt “cap and trade” proposal. Such taxes hurt the poor the most and were wildly unpopular.

As energy taxes failed politically, environmentalists in the US and Greens in Europe focused instead on subsidizing or mandating renewables.

At bottom, renewables make electricity expensive by returning so little energy relative to the energy invested. For instance, solar panels with storage deliver just 1.6 times as much energy as is invested as compared to the 75 times more energy delivered with nuclear.

Greens and environmentalists also seek to make food, another form of energy, more expensive. They do so by making agriculture more labor-intensive, land-intensive, and resource-intensive.

Moving to organics, as Greens demand, and away from synthetic fertilizer to manure, would require doubling the amount of land required for agriculture. Currently, humans use a whopping 38% of the ice-free surface of the earth for agriculture.

Moving to organics would thus decimate the 15% of the ice-free surface of the Earth that humans have to date protected for wildlife conservation, and destroy much beyond that, too.

Making farming more labor-intensive would take humankind back toward an agrarian economy where far more people work in farming, and everybody is much poorer.

Unlike the original New Deal, a Green New Deal would thus result in what Greens call “de-growth,” not growth.

The idea of de-growth came out of efforts by Malthusian Greens in the 1960s and 70s to persuade developing nations to cede control of their natural resources to Earth scientists under the auspices of the United Nations.

Originally the Green Party in Britain advocated “deindustrialization, a return to living in small peasant communities, the sterilization of women and an end to all immigration.”

It was only in the last decade that Greens started insisting that the renewables transition would “create jobs” as part of a Green New Deal.

What they rarely mention is that the jobs are usually low-paying and low-skill, like spreading low-yield solar and wind collectors across landscapes, or collecting and spreading manure at organic farms.

Circling Down

There is a perfect fit between the abstract physical theories, economic predictions, and real-world effects of renewables.

It was predictable that energy-dilute renewable fuels like sunlight and wind would require far more land than either fossil fuels or nuclear, and they do.

It was predictable that renewables with such a low return-on-energy-invested would fail to produce enough energy to make recycling worthwhile, and they have.

And it was predictable that such unreliable technologies would make energy so expensive, and they did.

Consider that while our high-energy economy can produce solar panels and wind turbines, a low-energy economy cannot.

Imagine solar panels powering the mining, trucks, and factories needed to manufacture solar panels. There would hardly be any energy left over for society’s other needs.

In that sense, the renewables-powered economy is circular, but not in a way that produces abundant energy for infinite recycling.

Rather, renewables-powered economies are circular in the sense of spiraling downward, as in a drain, or like a snake eating its tail until there is nothing left.



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Monday, June 17, 2019

Syrup Is as Canadian as a Maple Leaf. That Could Change With the Climate

Another NYT scare below. It is highly likely that the changing seasons noted below are part of a natural fluctuation. Nobody is even trying to correlate the changes with CO2 levels. And even if there is a real decline in syrup production, it's not going to bother anybody much. Most syrup sold is ersatz, a factory product. We read: "In the United States, consumers generally prefer imitation syrups, likely because of the significantly lower cost and sweeter flavour"

UPDATE: It seems that the "decline" fears did not work out. We read: "Maple syrup production rises, despite shorter season. US maple syrup production increased slightly this year, even though the sap-collecting season was shorter than last year’s, the US Department of Agriculture said. The country produced 4.2 million gallons, up 1 percent from 2018."

A growing body of research suggests that warming temperatures linked to climate change may significantly shrink the range where it’s possible to make maple syrup.

In fact, climate change is already making things more volatile for syrup producers. In 2012, maple production fell by 54 percent in Ontario and by 12.5 percent in Canada overall, according to data from the Canadian government, because of an unusually warm spring.

Canada produces roughly 70 percent of the world’s maple syrup. That was worth about $370 million in 2017.

Warm weather can hurt syrup production because the process depends on specific temperature conditions: daytime highs above freezing with nighttime lows below freezing. This specific variation — which tends to happen as winter turns to spring, and fall into winter — causes pressure differences in the trees that allow the sap to flow. And it’s the sap that the farmers boil to create maple syrup.

To release the sap, maple producers make a small hole in the tree and insert a tap that allows it to spill out. But there’s only a small window of time when conditions are right.

“You’re really only talking six to eight weeks,” said Mark Isselhardt, a sugar maple expert at the University of Vermont. “Everyday that you don’t get sap flow has the potential to really impact the total yield for that operation.”

But because of climate change, some years those key temperatures are more elusive.

Instead of six or eight weeks to produce syrup in 2012, the Fultons had just 13 days. “We started the 8th of March and finished the 21st of March,” Mrs. Fulton-Deugo said.

“That type of condition will happen more often and it can have an impact like the impact it had in 2012,” said Daniel Houle, a biologist at the Quebec Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks.

In addition to the shorter tapping window, spring is also arriving earlier. The phenomenon is called season creep and it means that fall ends later as well.

That creates more headaches for producers, and not only in Canada, because the timing of putting in taps is crucial. “I’m in my sixties,” said Helen Thomas, executive director of the New York Maple Producers Association and a syrup producer. “When I was a kid, my dad had the rule that you tapped around March 15th.” This year, they were tapping in late January.

Production techniques, though, are thoroughly modern. For now, that has helped the farm to adapt.

While many imagine sap collecting into metal buckets attached to trees, the Fultons and most other syrup producers now use plastic taps connected to long lines of food-grade plastic tubing. The tubes zigzag through acres of forest from tree to tree before pouring out into a collection tank. Because the system is cleaner than older methods, it allows producers to tap earlier without fear that the trees will plug the holes, the way a scab covers a cut, before the sap begins to flow. On the Fulton’s sugarbush, the taps were in the trees weeks before the sap ran.

To help coax the sap out of the trees, producers use vacuum pumps. “We’ve seen that you get basically double the amount of sap when you use vacuum,” Mr. Isselhardt said.

But the weather conditions still need to be right. And, of course, you still need trees.

Maples need to be about 40 years old before they can be tapped, though they don’t come into their prime, according to Ms. Thomas, until they’re about 90 years old. “If I planted maple trees today, it would be my grandchildren that would be harvesting the sap from them,” she said.

But a recent study suggests that the changing climate is a threat to that process of growth and renewal. Andrew B. Reinmann, an ecologist at the City University of New York, along with colleagues at Boston University and the United States Department of Agriculture, looked at what happens to trees when snowpack declines.

Snowpack is important because, when temperatures dip, it acts as a blanket over the ground that prevents the soil, and the tree roots that reside in it, from freezing. By scraping off snow from some of the forest plots at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in New Hampshire during the first four to six weeks of winter, Dr. Reinmann and his colleagues were able to mimic the delayed snowfall that is predicted by century’s end in the National Climate Assessment.

“After the first year of snow removal, growth rates of the sugar maple trees declined by 40 percent or so, and growth rates remained suppressed between 40 and 55 percent below their growth rates prior to the start of the experiments,” Dr. Reinmann said.

Dr. Reinmann has also been running a separate experiment where he heats up the soils to see if the increase in warmer temperatures linked to an earlier spring would offset losses from frost damage. So far, his results suggest that it doesn’t.

Diane M. Kuehn, a professor at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, has researched the perceptions of climate change by maple syrup producers. “What I heard frequently from people was that they’re not concerned about themselves during their lifetime,” she said, “But they are concerned about future generations and their families.”


75 Conservative Groups Oppose ‘Any Carbon Tax’ Days After Mitt Romney Was Reportedly ‘Looking At’ One

Dozens of conservative groups signed an open letter opposed to “any carbon tax” bill that Congress might consider.
The letter comes after Republican Utah Sen. Mitt Romney told reporters he was “looking at” a carbon tax bill.
“A carbon tax increases the cost of everything Americans buy and lowers Americans’ effective take home pay,” conservative groups wrote.

Seventy-five conservative groups signed a public letter to Congress opposing “any carbon tax” days after reports that Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney openly considered backing carbon tax bill.

“We oppose any carbon tax,” conservative groups, led by Americans for Tax Reform, wrote in their letter, which was published online Monday morning.

While the letter is not specifically aimed at Romney, it’s meant to warn Republicans that their conservative base is not in favor of taxing carbon dioxide emissions. (RELATED: Mike Bloomberg Devotes $500 Million To Ending Coal Industry, Influencing 2020 Elections)

Only a few GOP lawmakers have backed carbon tax legislation, but there’s been a growing lobbying effort by some groups to get Republicans to back a carbon tax as a way to fight global warming.

Big corporations, including oil and gas companies, have increasingly embraced a carbon tax. Exact proposals vary, but supporters often push carbon taxes in exchange for tax cuts elsewhere, fewer regulations or a liability shield against climate change lawsuits.

U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) speaks at a news conference about the Tobacco to 21 Act, which would raise the minimum age to buy tobacco products and e-cigarettes to 21, on Capitol Hill
U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) speaks at news conference about the Tobacco to 21 Act, which would raise the minimum age to buy tobacco products and e-cigarettes to 21, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., May 8, 2019. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein.

Romney recently told E&E News he was “looking at” carbon tax legislation put forward by Delaware Democratic Sen. Chris Coons — the same legislation Coons co-sponsored with former Arizona GOP Sen. Jeff Flake in 2018.

“Taxes have never been my intent, but we’ll see what he has to say,” Romney said. “I would very much like to see us reduce our carbon emissions globally, and we’ll see if this might help.”

Romney’s remarks got a strong response from conservative activists opposed to carbon taxes, which they say will hit working-class Americans hardest and do little, if anything, to fight global warming.

“It isn’t surprising that a man with a car elevator in his garage would consider supporting a tax that would hurt the working man while benefiting the money changers in the financial temples of Wall Street,” Dan Kish, distinguished senior fellow at the Institute for Energy Research (IER), told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Romney’s office said Romney has not committed to any legislation to tax CO2 emissions. Though if Romney did embrace such a policy, it would stand in stark contrast to his 2012 presidential run when he railed against the Obama administration’s “war on coal.”

“Senator Romney is listening and having discussions with many of his colleagues about various proposals, and he hasn’t committed to any legislation,” Romney spokeswoman Liz Johnson told TheDCNF.

Americans for Tax Reform Founder and President Norquist speaks during an on-stage interview with The Atlantic's Senior Editor Thompson at The Atlantic Economy Summit in Washington
Americans for Tax Reform Founder and President Grover Norquist (L) speaks during an on-stage interview with The Atlantic’s Senior Editor Derek Thompson at The Atlantic Economy Summit in Washington March 18, 2014. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst.

Even with GOP support, a carbon tax bill is not expected to pass Congress or get signed into law by President Donald Trump. Conservative activists, however, see carbon tax legislation as an ever-present enticement for moderate Republicans looking to score political points with liberals.

“A carbon tax increases the cost of everything Americans buy and lowers Americans’ effective take home pay. A carbon tax increases the power, cost, and intrusiveness of the government in our lives,” conservative groups wrote to lawmakers Monday.

So far, GOP-sponsored carbon tax bills gone nowhere in Congress. Legislation introduced by Coons and Flake last Congress gained little traction, and a carbon tax bill introduced by former Florida Rep. Carlos Curbelo fizzled out after he lost his 2018 re-election bid.


Reality bites Joe Biden’s “Clean Energy Revolution”

Tallying its huge impacts on our energy, industries, living standards and personal freedoms

Paul Driessen

Presidential candidate Joe Biden recently announced his “Plan for a Clean Energy Revolution and Environmental Justice.” While it might be viewed as a Green New Deal Lite, the plan would inflict enormous economic, environmental and societal pain on most of the nation, for no climate benefits.

First, as I’ve pointed out here and elsewhere, Mr. Biden’s “climate emergency” exists in computer models and alarmist reports, but not in the Real World windows. Tornadoes, hurricanes, droughts, floods, melting ice and rising seas are no more frequent or severe than humanity has experienced many times before.

Before we destroy our energy and economic system, we need to see solid, irrefutable proof that we face an actual climate crisis – and be able to debate and cross examine those who make such claims. So far, instead of a debate, climate crisis skeptics just get vilified and threatened with prosecution.

Second, anytime you hear the term “environmental justice,” you know someone is trying to create a new category of victims, sow more discord along racial and economic lines, and punish someone new in the name of “justice.” While we still have pockets of pollution, America’s cars, air and water have been cleaned up dramatically since 1970. Moreover, the best way to prevent, survive and recover from any disaster is to have the energy, wealth and technologies that fossil fuels continue to make possible.

Third, there’s nothing clean, green, renewable or sustainable about wind, solar or battery power. Those technologies require enormous amounts of land, concrete, steel and other raw materials – and many of their most critical materials are extracted and processed using child labor and near-slave wages for adults, with few or no workplace safety rules, and with horrific impacts on land, air and water quality.

Fourth, the Biden plan would cost many times the “$1.7 trillion in federal funds over ten years” that his talking points use to entice voters: dollars, lost jobs, lower living standards and fewer freedoms.

The former VP would rejoin the Paris climate treaty; reverse many Trump corporate tax cuts; seek or impose multiple mandates, “enforcement mechanisms” and “legally binding” emission reductions; and at some point demand cap-and-trade schemes and/or taxes on what he likes to call “carbon emissions.”

That term is intended to suggest dirty soot coming out of smoke stacks. The actual emissions are carbon dioxide, the life-giving gas that humans and animals exhale, and plants use to grow and produce oxygen. The more CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere, the better and faster crop, forest and grassland plants grow.

Mr. Biden would also impose tariffs on “carbon-intensive” goods imported from countries that “fail to meet their climate obligations.” That will quickly affect just about everything we eat, drink, drive, do and use – because his plan would soon make it difficult for America to grow or produce much of anything ... and China, India and other rapidly developing countries are not about to reduce their fossil fuel use.

Every Biden Plan provision would increase the cost of living and of doing business. The folks he hobnobs with – who will write, implement and enforce these rules ... and bankroll his election campaign – won’t much notice or mind the soaring prices. But middle and blue-collar classes certainly will.

Other components of the Biden Green New Deal multiply those impacts and costs.

* His ultimate goal is to rapidly replace America’s fossil fuels with industrial wind and solar facilities – to provide electricity for factories, hospitals, homes, offices, data centers, vehicles and countless other uses.

Modern industrialized societies simply cannot function on expensive, intermittent, weather-dependent electricity. As Germany, Britain, Spain, Australia and other countries have shown, that kind of energy eliminates 3-4 times more jobs than it creates – especially in factories and assembly lines, which cannot operate with repeated electricity interruptions ... and cannot compete with foreign companies that get affordable 24/7/365 coal-based electricity and pay their workers far less than $15, $25 or $45 per hour.

* “Rigorous new fuel economy standards” would speed the rate at which 100% of all cars and light trucks become electric.

This program would be supported by “more than 500,000 new public charging outlets by the end of 2030,” to augment private charging stations in homes and neighborhoods – paid or subsidized by taxpayers. It would also require upgrading home and neighborhood electrical systems to provide far more power for rapid vehicle charging, and longer hours of peak demand. Another trillion dollars?

Extending mileage for (much more expensive) electric vehicles would mean lighter, smaller cars ... and thus thousands of additional deaths and millions of additional serious injuries. Dollar costs would soar. But how do we quantify the cost of  injury and death tolls?

* Federal tax and environmental laws, subsidies and other incentives would be used to persuade counties and communities to “to battle climate change” by altering their zoning and other regulations “to eliminate sprawl and allow for denser, more affordable housing near public transit.”

This would significantly impact suburban living and property values. And packing more people into more apartment buildings would likely mean diseases spread more rapidly and to more people.

* Other federal programs would provide subsidies and incentives for home and business owners to reduce “the carbon footprint” of US buildings 50% by 2035. battery disposal?

This could involve retrofitting them for improved energy efficiency and/or replacing gas furnaces with electric heat or heat pumps – or just tearing down and replacing entire buildings. More trillions of dollars.

* The Biden plan would also ban new oil and gas permitting on public lands and waters.

This would lock up vast quantities of valuable, vitally needed fuel. It would replace tens of billions of dollars of annual federal and state government bonus, rent, royalty and tax revenue with tens of billions in subsidies for pseudo-renewable energy. It would eliminate millions of jobs in the petroleum and petrochemical industries, in numerous companies that rely on those industries, and in countless sectors of local and state economies that depend on all that public land energy activity and revenue.

* Finally, a new transcontinental high-speed (electricity-powered) rail system would connect the coasts – or at least a couple of cities on each coast – for a few trillion dollars and with a lot of eminent domain.

This is California’s costly “bullet train to nowhere” on steroids. It would bypass numerous towns and cities, marginalizing many of them and destroying trillions of dollars in property values – especially if his rail system is intended to replace or significantly reduce air travel and long distance driving.

The cumulative electricity demand for all these Biden Green New Deal programs would be at least double what the United States currently generates. It would mean wind turbines and solar panels on scales that few can even imagine ... especially as they are installed in less and less windy and sunny areas. And if all this power is to be backed up by batteries – since coal and gas-fired backup power generators would be eliminated – we would need billions of batteries ... and thus even more land and raw materials.

Exactly how many turbines, panels and batteries? On how many millions of acres? Made from how many billions of tons of metals and concrete? Extracted from how many trillions of tons of ore? In the USA or overseas, in someone else’s backyard? Under what child labor and environmental standards?

After banning oil and gas permitting, would Mr. Biden open other federal lands to exploration, mining and processing for the rare earth and other materials these massive “renewable” energy systems will require? That would certainly create new industries and jobs. Or will America just have to be 100% dependent on Chinese and other foreign suppliers for all these technologies?

All of this smells of eco-fascism: state control of companies and production, government control of our lives, and silencing and punishing anyone who challenges climate crisis claims or green energy agendas.

Perhaps Mr. Biden can address all these issues – at his next town hall meeting or press conference. Indeed, the time to discuss these issues is NOW. Before we get snow-jobbed and railroaded into actions we will sorely regret. Or maybe those of us who realize how insane all of this is will just have to opt out -- and establish Biden-free zones and climate sanctuary states where none of his policies and restrictions apply.

Via email

Pollen is getting worse, and climate change is the culprit

The claims below are nearly right.  Current higher levels of CO2 are good for plants so they send out more pollen.  But while CO2 levels continue to rise, global temperatures are not rising

For millions of people, high pollen counts are a perennial woe, and one that has kicked into high gear in the Boston area recently. But pollen seasons are getting longer and more intense, as allergy sufferers will surely attest, a trend specialists have linked to global warming.

“There’s really good research showing that allergy seasons are getting more severe, and more people are developing allergies, because of climate change,” said Dr. John Costa, medical director of the allergy clinic at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Higher concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere provide plants with more food, making them larger and leading to more pollen, sniffling, and sneezing, research has shown.

Jennifer M. Albertine, a visiting lecturer in environmental studies at Mount Holyoke College, grew timothy grass in a greenhouse with elevated carbon dioxide and ozone levels to try to simulate what might happen to the common pollen producer if carbon dioxide levels increased to 800 parts per million, roughly double what they are now.

The plants produced about 2.5 times as much pollen. “It’s plant food, right? So when you have more carbon dioxide, the plants are going to grow bigger,” she said. “And when you have bigger plants, you have more pollen.”

Making matters worse were April’s record rains, which allowed grass and vegetation to flourish.

In the past few weeks, pollen counts have increased because it has been dry, Costa said. Rain weighs down pollen, sending it to the ground. In dry, gusty weather, pollen flies into the air.

So rain offers a reprieve, but at a cost. “We will pay for it eventually,” Costa said.

The gender of trees also plays a role, said Naomi Cottrell, principal of the Boston landscape architecture firm Crowley Cottrell.

For years, cities and towns asked landscape architects to avoid planting female trees, which bear fruit or seed pods that can litter sidewalks and muck up car windshields. Instead they planted male trees, which emit pollen.

Male trees have become so prevalent that plant nurseries, bowing to supply and demand, overwhelmingly stock male saplings, Cottrell said.

In the meantime, pollen will continue to wreak havoc on allergies. Dr. Andrew MacGinnitie, clinical director of the Boston Children’s Hospital division of immunology, provided a few pointers — limit exposure by closing the windows and turning on the air conditioning, which can filter out pollen; shower before bed to wash the accumulated pollen away; and take an over-the-counter antihistamine, or use a nasal spray.


The environment is too important to be left to eco-warriors

Australia's Noel Pearson below draws on his consultive Aboriginal culture to argue that environmental issues should be resolved in a non-confrontaional way.  He makes a powerful case against current Greenie behaviour.  What he overlooks is that the Greenies WANT confrontation. They get their kicks out of parading as more righteous, more caring and wiser.  It fulfils ego needs for them.

You can see that in the way they immediately dream up a new issue as soon as they get their way on their previous issue.  Nothing satisfies them. Nothing can satisfy them.  Their lives would be dull and empty without their campaigns.  We are not dealing with psychologically whole people where Greenie campaigners are concerned

Can a cause for the right succeed in the long run if it is pursued through unrighteous means? Can causes for the good be selective in their adherence to science? Or do righteous ends justify unrighteous means?

This is the crisis confronting environmentalism. It suffered a grievous loss at the federal election and the Adani red line is broken. This may be a crisis of legitimacy. The question is whether political environmentalism is turning off voters and hardening attitudes against the necessary effective policies to secure future sustainability. Are the means employed by political environmentalism destroying the possibility of Australia achieving the desired end of sustainability through consensus? Or is consensus unnecessary because the morally right end means the maxim “by any means necessary” applies?

Political environmentalism is undermining the cause of sustainability because short-term expediency and tactical opportunism is trumping long-term strategic consensus-building. Environmentalism has degenerated into the binary of cultural war when it needs to transcend such wars. Its leaders have led the movement into a zero-sum game, where political victory in one battlefield is countered by loss in another.

We should first explain what we mean by causes for the right.

Political parties seeking power in government are not in the business of the right. Electoral politics are by definition ruthless, with few holds barred. Lies, half-truths, fake news, negative advertising and dirt files are part of the repertoire of power in politics. One party’s Mediscare is the other party’s retiree tax.

Former Labor NSW state secretary and federal minister Graham Richardson captured the ethos of politics in his memoir Whatever It Takes. Noble and ignoble things are achieved by marshalling political power.

While causes for power are amoral, there are causes for the right. Civil rights and the anti-apartheid movement are examples. Emancipation and antislavery are even older precedents. Such causes mobilise the political process and power for good ends. Conservation is such a cause. Few would dispute it is a moral duty of humankind regardless of political affiliation and preference.

Causes for the truth must be ethical, otherwise they suffer damage. Moral integrity is the great currency of righteous movements, but the political environmentalists have jeopardised the cause of conservation by allowing it to descend into the hyper-partisan battlefield of culture and politics.

It is exposed to the 51-49 per cent risk. When your party wins 51, then you may win tactical victories, but when it is 49 you have put your cause in peril. This is what has happened to Adani after the election.

I want to allege five profound mistakes the political environmentalists are making in Australia:

First, they are alienating the lower classes in their droves. This is the lesson of the 2019 election. The political environmentalists pushed climate policies that worked for the post-material middle class, but cared less about the economically precarious. More than the costs, it is the movement’s superior cultural attitude that pisses off the lower classes in such a visceral way.

Second, they are alienating indigenous peoples by pushing the costs of conservation on to those who have not created the crisis. Indigenous leaders such as Marcia Langton and Warren Mundine have highlighted the green lockup of indigenous lands from development.

These groups manipulate and exploit divisions within landowner communities. They divide and rule the same as mining companies do, setting up puppets that favour their agenda. We saw this in the campaign against the Kimberley Land Council. We see it in Cape York in relation to Wild Rivers and blanket World Heritage listing proposals.

Traditional owners supported conservation goals and helped create by agreement new national parks and other conservation tenures. But the political environmentalists are never satisfied. They want everything locked up.

They are making enemies of the country’s largest landowners because they use electoral leverage with governments to subjugate land rights. If they are alienating the land rights movement, which is more aligned to conservation than other sectors, what does that say about them?

A third problem is they are at the forefront of deploying so-called “new power” in their public campaigns. Through the diffusion of social media and decentralised campaigning, green groups began to seriously challenge the “old power”. GetUp co-founder Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms explain this development in their 2018 book New Power.

Breaking the old power monopoly is welcome; however, the dilemmas of social media and its susceptibility to manipulation and its effects on civil society and democratic governance are troubling. Twitter and Facebook have just created online mob behaviour. Hardly platforms for moral causes.

And the political environmentalists have used the new power to promote conservation and climate change action in as cynical a way as the forces against which they are pitted. Getup and Sleeping Giants use the same tools of manipulation as deliberately as Breitbart and Cambridge Analytica.

A fourth problem is the political environmentalists are highly selective in their adherence to science, and in so doing bring science into disrepute in public policy debates. Who really believed the black-throated finch was the environmental issue of Adani? The poor critters were used as a proxy for opposition to coalmining.

Why the charade? The Queensland Labor government should have been honest with the public and said: the policy question we face is whether the Galilee Basin should be opened up to coalmining in the context of its contribution to the crisis of global warming. But because they wanted to walk two sides of the street at once — intimating to greenies they did not support Adani while intimating to regional workers that they supported coalmining — they did not bring the crux policy question to a head and provide their answer to it.

They lacked the courage of their convictions and simply did not have the leadership to untie the Gordian knot that expanded coalmining in the Galilee Basin represents. And now the May 18 loss sees them stampeding over the poor birds and anything else standing in the way of their electoral prospects next year.

The stances environmental groups take in relation to any number of issues — nuclear energy and aquaculture, for example — evince a selective adherence to science.

Does not environmental science tell us about the interconnectivity of the planet, and if nuclear power is used in Europe, Asia and the Americas, and contributes to lower carbon emissions, why is the debate on nuclear power not on the basis of science and the mitigation of risks associated with nuclear energy, instead of a green version of obscurantism?

The proponents of safer nuclear waste disposal in Australia (which included the late Bob Hawke) have got a point that is worth subjecting to science rather than outright prohibition. While the case for domestic nuclear power may not be strong, it is a substantial source of energy throughout the world, and as a uranium producer we are obliged to consider our role in the management of its waste. There are strong geopolitical arguments in favour of Australia assuming this responsibility and mitigating the large risks involved, which we are better placed to carry than most other countries. After all, it is the green­ies who tell us the planet is one and national boundaries are environmentally meaningless.

The fifth and most fundamental problem is the political environmentalists have aligned environmentalism with socialism rather than conservatism. Another way of saying this is they have aligned environmentalism with progressivism rather than conservatism.

There is a fundamental philosophical problem at the heart of contemporary environmentalism. I do not mean in respect of the appreciation of the natural environment. I mean in respect of where our motive must come from in order to conserve the good things we have been bequeathed from our ancestors for the benefit of our future unborn.

This is the motive that is unanswered by the utilitarian calculations of liberals and socialists. Not everything is about price. Conservatives understand that some things are valuable because they are priceless.

English conservative philosopher Roger Scruton’s 2012 book Green Philosophy is the starting point for a new conservative approach to conservation. The approach is old — about stewardship and our responsibility to bequeath to future generations the gifts we received from our ancestors — but its application to the environmental crises facing our homelands, including global warming, is new. The climate obscurantists who are in the same binary as the political environmentalists and who think themselves conservatives should read Scruton. They should be the first to understand the conservation in conservatism but, alas, ­cultural war has caused a degeneration on all sides.

Progressive socialists don’t know what Scruton is referring to: oikophilia, the love of home that speaks to people’s connection with their environment, which animates their responsibilities. Instead, they propose large schemes, imposed from above by state diktat, while doing violence to the most important engine of conservation: the local connection of communities with their environment, and their concern to leave their descendants what their ancestors left for them. Progressives are more concerned with environmental posturing, cutting the correct moral gesture, being seen to be more enlightened and selfless, in contrast to the deplorables and knuckle-draggers.

The green leaders all want to be the next Bob Brown, renowned for their own Franklin Dam or Wet Tropics. They trample over politically weaker communities such as Queensland property owners uncompensated for tree-clearing restrictions that underwrote our Kyoto target in the 2000s. It was John Howard’s federal government and Peter Beattie’s state government that dispossessed these landowners without proper compensation.

Indigenous landowners are another politically weaker community that are ridden roughshod over by political environmentalists.

The folly of all of this is now surely clear. What can be done?

Ever since Richardson alighted on the strategy of garnering the environmental vote, Labor began outsourcing its environmental policy integrity to the political environmentalists. This yielded electoral returns in 1987 and 1990 but ultimately led to Labor bleeding market share to the Greens and being held hostage to political environmentalism. Labor’s environmental credibility came from environmental group endorsements after adopting their policies and acquiescing to their demands.

Rather than undertaking the principal responsibility of government, coming up with policies that balance development with environmental sustainability, it did preference deals with the political environmentalists. Environmental groups became experts at marginal seat politics, turning 2 to 3 per cent of the environment vote to win 51 per cent victories for their pet campaigns.

The hook-up with GetUp is the apotheosis of Labor’s dalliance with political environmentalism. What electorate is not going to be suspicious of the next bunch of out-of-towners hectoring them about how to vote next time? GetUp was Bill Shorten’s long game at mobilising AstroTurf activism and it has all ended in tears.

Labor must define its own environmental credentials in its own right, not as an alliance with the Greens or as the lapdog of a certain environmental milieu. Watching Jackie Trad squirm as Queensland Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch approved the Adani mine this week told the whole sorry story. Labor can no longer walk two sides of the street at once. It worked for Annastacia Palaszczuk in 2017 but not for Shorten in 2019. Voters might be fooled once, but not all the time.

To develop environmental policies free from deal-making with the political environmentalists, Labor must balance human society and environmental sustainability. The last thing the environment portfolio needs is a progressive from an inner-city seat, surrounded by a milieu of political environmentalists. Labor needs to take environment policy back to first principles and get its philosophy right first.

The environment is too important to be left to the political environmentalists.



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Sunday, June 16, 2019

What Trump's new ethanol rules mean for you

Trump has just been on a tour in Iowa in which he takes credit for loosening restrictions on the use of ethanol in gasoline.  The move will be of huge benefit to Iowa corn farmers so will undoubtedly shore up Trump's vote in the next election. And putting more ethanol in your tank will cost you slightly less than using pure gasoline. But you will also get less mileage out of a fill-up.

So who loses from the new rules? All Americans.  America should not be growing corn at all, other than for inclusion in dinners.  Import restrictions, tariffs, are the only thing keeping corn farming alive in America. Corn is the principal feedstock for making sugar in America. And sugar is the main feedstock for making ethanol.  And making sugar out of corn is absurd.  You can make it for half the price out of sugarcane -- which is a very widely distributed tropical crop.

Americans would have sugar at half the price if imports of it were allowed from Brazil, the Caribbean and many other places around the world. Ethanol would be REALLY cheap if you made it from Brazilian sugar or imported it directly from the very efficient Brazilian distilleries.

And there is no strategic argument for America to be self-sufficient in sugar production.  There are major supliers close by and all are well protected by  American military power. You can grow sugarcane in almost the whole of central and South America, rainfall permitting. Australia too is a major sugar from sugarcane producer.

It is a considerable irony that Trump is being a Greenie in all this.  He justifies his facilitating of domestic ethanol production as  the use of a "renewable" resource, which it certainly is.  You grow it. And Greenies never care about the cost of anything.

But there is no conceivable chance of anything changing.  No politician would risk alienating all those Iowa votes

At the end of May, the Trump administration announced it would allow for the year-round sale of gasoline with higher concentrations of ethanol.

That action addressed a rule the Environmental Protection Agency had in place preventing the sale of so-called E15 fuel, which contains 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline, between June 1 and Sept. 15. The purpose was to prevent air pollution and curb dependence on foreign petroleum, but the ban has stopped some retailers from selling E15 at all because of the need to change out pumps.

One benefit is that gas prices could come down. As previously reported by FOX Business, E15 is typically priced about 5 to 10 cents cheaper than regular gasoline.

“Now in the summer months when consumers are driving more and oil companies usually jack up their prices,” Iowa Renewable Fuels Association executive director Monte Shaw said in a statement to FOX Business, adding that the new statute will allow drivers to save money at the pump.

According to the Renewable Fuels Association, E15 was approved for use in model year 2001 and newer vehicles by the EPA in 2012. The group says 90 percent of cars on the road are approved to run on E15.

Shaw previously noted that E15 has been in high demand where it is offered. E10, however, is still the default regular fuel sold across most of the country.

The move is also a boon to corn farmers, since corn is widely used to make ethanol domestically. Allowing for the year-round sale of E15 will give farmers more avenues to sell corn, which could bolster revenue especially when prices are low.


Canada is poised to join a growing list of places where single-use plastic items have been banned

Canada, following precedent set by the European Union, is poised to join a growing list of places where single-use plastic items have been banned. Though the government hasn’t specified which items will actually be outlawed in 2021, according to The Guardian, “bottles, plastic bags, and straws” are being considered.

First, they came for the bags. Then, they came for the straws, but perhaps instead of looking for other common products to ban, we should look at what these regulations actually do.

Of course, plastic bans aren’t just restricted to Europe and Canada.

Plastic bag bans have come to California and New York, and to a number of cities in the United States. The bans are typically aimed at grocery stores and other businesses that give out the bags to customers to carry out purchased items.

The bag bans are billed as a means to reduce waste and pollution by forcing Americans to bring reusable bags to stores.

However, it turns out that not only are those bans an inconvenience, they also have questionable positive benefits for the environment—and may actually be making things worse.

A recent study by University of Sydney economist Rebecca Taylor in Australia established that bans on plastic shopping bags change behavior; namely, people used fewer plastic shopping bags as the sources dried up.

However, people didn’t stop using plastic bags as a whole. Instead of reusing plastic bags as trash can liners, for example, customers purchased garbage bags to make up for the lost supply.

In areas with the shopping bag bans, there was a huge upsurge in the purchase of 4-gallon bags. These bags are typically thicker than the thin plastic shopping bags and use more plastic.

“What I found was that sales of garbage bags actually skyrocketed after plastic grocery bags were banned,” Taylor said in an interview with National Public Radio. “ … so, about 30% of the plastic that was eliminated by the ban comes back in the form of thicker garbage bags.”

In addition, a plastic bag ban causes a jump in the use of paper bags—creating, according to the study, about 80 million pounds of additional paper bag trash a year.

That may seem like a reasonable trade-off. After all, paper bags are biodegradable, right?

Yes, but the process of manufacturing those bags is still quite intensive, and there’s evidence that paper bags are actually worse for the environment, according to some studies.

Not surprisingly, some big-government nannies want to ban, or at least curtail, the use of paper bags also, for good measure.

As for the environmentally-friendly reusable bags, studies have found that they create few “green” benefits. Worse, they are often highly unsanitary.

Plastic bags are, of course, not the only plastic items that cities are trying to do away with. An even less useful crusade, this one against plastic straws, has been gaining steam as well.

The straw ban, which started in Seattle and has moved on to other cities, has largely been fueled by an informal survey by a 9-year-old activist and the mistaken notion the U.S. is causing plastic buildup in the oceans.

Again, the ban is ineffective or useless at best. It ends up being little more than an inconvenience for those who now have to suffer through soggy, melting paper straws that taste like a used paper towel halfway through a drink.

There are certainly worse laws and petty tyrannies to suffer under than bans on plastic bags. Nevertheless, it’s ironic that a progressive “utopia” such as San Francisco is waging war on plastic grocery bags, with a total ban looming in the near future, even as it is literally covered in trash, hypodermic needles, and human waste.

Our zeal to fix First World problems is also coming at the expense of not stopping re-emerging Third World problems.

That said, Americans live in a wealthy society, in which we have the luxury of making economic sacrifices to improve our environment. Local polities are free to eliminate plastic bags and straws—or other such things—as they see fit.

However, it’s telling that so many of these movements are based on little more than environmentalist virtue-signaling, and create additional hassles, rather than effective measures to make our communities better or cleaner.


Warmists believe in the tooth fairy

Bjorn Lomborg

What will be the solution to climate change? It would be very nice to be able to point confidently to a single technology. In fact, many people do. They say the answer to climate change has already arrived in the form of, say, wind turbines or solar panels, and we just need to build more of their favoured technology to achieve a so-called “energy transition” from fossil fuels to renewables.

This idea that we already have the needed technology is so pervasive that before we can establish what the solution to climate change really looks like, we first need to dismantle the faulty idea that we have the solution already.

The reality is, today, solar and wind energy together deliver only about 1 per cent of global energy. The International Energy Agency estimates that even by 2040 these will cover a little more than 4 per cent of global energy.

One of the world’s leading energy researchers, Czech-Canadian Vaclav Smil, has said: “The great hope for a quick and sweeping transition to renewable energy is wishful thinking.”

Former US vice-president Al Gore’s chief scientific adviser, Jim Hansen, who put global warming on the agenda back in 1988, agreed, saying: “Suggesting that renewables will let us phase rapidly off fossil fuels in the United States, China, India, or the world as a whole is almost the equivalent of believing in the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy.”

How has such a fundamental misunderstanding become so firmly entrenched at the centre of climate policy debate? Partly through self-interest. Many private companies — from Vestas to Tesla — have an interest in making us believe the solution is simply to buy lots of their products.

And partly because, as any good political strategist will tell you, it’s impossible to get people engaged in a problem without offering a solution.

There are a lot of political and activist groups that coalesce support around the idea that climate change can be solved with more green energy and less fossil fuels. But we need to remember that we don’t emit CO2 to annoy environmentalists. It is the by-product of today’s immense availability of power, which provides everything we need and demand from modern society: heat, cold, transport, electricity and food.

The link is strong and clear: if you have access to lots of cheap energy, this typically means you’ve escaped poverty, you will live a long life, you have access to a good education and healthcare, you won’t starve to death or die from easily curable diseases. These are manifestly good things, which is why the world has spent the past two centuries ensuring more and more people can access lots of energy.

In 1800, almost all energy was renewable. Humanity used energy from draught animals ploughing fields and pulling carts and from firewood heating hearths and homes. And almost everyone put in long hours of harsh, backbreaking labour. Studies from Sweden suggest that 80 per cent of energy came from wood, with animals and humans each providing about half of the rest. Wind and water provided crucial ship transport and flour milling but rarely much more — in Germany, this provided only 1.5 per cent of all energy.

After this, coal, then oil, gas and finally nuclear power were transformative in helping humanity. These gave us the ability to achieve much more with much less labour. At the end of the 19th century, human labour made up 94 per cent of all industrial work in the US. Today, it constitutes only 8 per cent.

Yet humanity has actually never experienced an “energy transition” — a shift from one set of energy sources to another set. Rather, we have added more and more. When the world first discovered coal, we didn’t stop using wood. In fact, global wood consumption has kept increasing during the past two centuries, and since 1850 coal has kept increasing, too. The same is true with oil, gas, hydropower and nuclear.

The only consistent development shift during the past centuries is the relative move away from ­renewables: in 1800 they provided about 94 per cent of all energy in the world, dropping to about 14 per cent by 1971 and flattening out from there. In 2017, after almost three decades of intense climate policies, the world still received 14.2 per cent of its energy from ­renewables (not only wind and solar but also hydro and biomass). This is not surprising: renewables have two big ­problems.

First, they take up an amazing amount of space that often rep­laces nature. To replace a 1ha gas-fired power plant, society needs 73ha of solar panels, 239ha of onshore wind turbines or an unbelievable 6000ha of biomass.

Second — and most important — solar and wind power are intermittent or unreliable. Solar energy isn’t produced when it is overcast or at night. Wind energy isn’t produced when there is little or no wind. We often hear that wind and solar energy are cheaper than fossil fuels, but at best that is true only when the wind is blowing or the sun is shining. It is deeply misleading to compare the energy cost of wind or solar to fossil fuels only when it is windy and sunny.

What’s more, because modern society requires 24-hour power, even when solar or wind is introduced, it’s still necessary to pay for back-up service from fossil fuels (for when there’s no wind or sun), only these are now more expensive because fossil fuels have fewer hours to back the capital investment. And batteries are nowhere near ready to help solar and wind energy last longer. In the US, total battery storage could power the nation for only 14 seconds.

But fixing global warming is not mostly about cutting Australian emissions. It is about finding a way to cut global emissions: from China, India, the US, all of Europe and the rest of the world. Furthermore, it is not only about fixing where we get our electricity from as electricity constitutes about only a quarter of global emissions.

There is a focus on emissions from electricity because although it is very hard to end our reliance on fossil fuels and solutions are far from effective, it’s actually easier and further ahead than the other sectors: agriculture (24 per cent of emissions), manufacturing (21 per cent), transport (14 per cent), buildings (6 per cent) and other (10 per cent).

Right now, our solutions to ­climate change are failing. We may feel as if we’re doing a lot, but the ­reality is we are mostly tinkering at the margins, often with incredibly ineffective policies.

The EU has already set up an emissions trading system, putting caps on how much CO2 the electricity sector emits. This means that when Germany or Denmark puts up solar panels or wind turbines with expensive subsidies, it doesn’t cut one single tonne of CO2. Every tonne of CO2 avoided there simply means the price on the ETS declines slightly, making it cheaper for, say, Polish coal to emit that much more CO2. While the EU likes to point to its green achievements, more than two-thirds of its energy still comes from fossil fuels. Nuclear energy contributes 13 per cent of CO2-free energy and renewables 15 per cent. And even this figure of 15 per cent is dubious.

Most people think renewables are overwhelmingly made up of solar and wind. Nothing could be further from the truth. Solar and wind contributed only 2.4 per cent of the EU total energy demand in 2017, according to the latest numbers from the International Energy Agency. Another 1.7 per cent came from hydro and 0.4 per cent from geothermal energy.

In comparison, 10 per cent — more than two-thirds of all the ­renewable energy in the EU — comes from the world’s oldest ­energy source: wood.

The EU adopts the fictitious position that biomass such as wood pellets produce no CO2 at all. The truth is wood emits more CO2 per kilowatt hour than even coal, mostly because its combustion is less ­effective. The EU position assumes that felled forests will be replanted, with each new sapling eventually soaking up all the burned CO2. But forests often are not replaced, in which case CO2 emissions are permanent and large, and even under optimal conditions the wood burned today will become CO2-neutral only towards or after the end of the century.

Moreover, reliance on burning American forests in EU stoves leads to “biodiversity loss, deforestation and forest degradation”, ­according to a European Commission report. This shows the EU’s climate “achievement” — of ­increasing its use of renewables — is mostly deceptive, and the vast part of it is unsustainable.

But climate policy is non-existent or failing even more markedly in the rest of the world for a very simple reason: more energy means more income, longer lives, less disease and more education. Typically, the cheapest way to achieve this is through coal. The International Energy Agency’s newest report finds that when adjusting for the unreliability of solar and wind, existing coal will be cheaper than new solar and wind everywhere at least until 2040, and dramatically so in the EU. This simple fact is the reason we do not yet have a solution to global warming: green energy mostly can’t yet compete globally with fossil fuels. Campaigners casually suggest we can capture CO2 and store it underground, disregarding the reality that even capturing a slim 15 per cent of emissions would require infrastructure larger than the world’s biggest $US2 trillion industry, the oil industry, which took 100 years and an incredibly profitable product to create.

Promises to populate the world with electric cars have failed just as spectacularly, despite unpreced­ented subsidies. Today, fewer than 0.3 per cent of all cars are electric, and even if we could reach 200 million electric cars in 2040, the IEA estimates this would ­reduce emissions by less than 1 per cent. That is why, in the face of years of failure, politicians have continued doing one thing: making ever bigger promises.

The promises made in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and in the Kyoto Treaty in 1997 fell apart. A new study of the promises made under the Paris Agreement finds that of almost 200 signatories, only 17 countries — the likes of Samoa and Algeria — are living up to them, and these are succeeding mostly because they promised so little. But even if every country did everything promised in the Paris Agreement, the emission cuts by 2030 would add up to only 1 per cent of what would be needed to keep temperature rises under 2C.

Failure has not made politicians more careful. If anything, they have doubled down on making nice-sounding promises, even ones that are objectively ludicrous with zero chance of happening. The German promise to phase out coal in 2038, for example, is ­described by Smil as “completely unrealistic”.

Politicians across the world happily promise to emit net zero CO2 by 2050, knowing they will be long retired from politics when those vows are broken. Achieving this will be almost impossibly expensive, likely provoking “yellow vest” street riots long before their conclusion. After New Zealand made its 2050 zero emissions promise, the government commissioned a report on the costs. This found that achieving this goal in the most cost-effective manner (which strains credulity because policy seldom if ever manages to be cost efficient) would cost more than last year’s entire national budget on social security, welfare, health, education, police, courts, defence, environment and every other part of government combined. Each and every year.

UN secretary-general ­Antonio Guterres is inviting all heads of state to New York next September to promise jointly to cut global emissions to zero by 2050. To see exactly how unrealistic this is, look at the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s five policy scenarios for the 21st century. The most optimistic “sustainable” scenario puts on green-tinted glasses to envisage a world in which the rich countries happily accept having their energy availability cut in half and people in the poor world accept they will never catch up even to half of rich-world energy availability.

Despite such heroic and far-fetched assumptions, this scenario expects the world to get only one-fifth of its energy from renewables by 2050. In this wonder-scenario, global emissions will be 10 per cent above what they are today. And of course all other, more realistic scenarios find 2050 emissions much higher.

The belief that we already have the solutions is a delusion on a planetary scale. It may be comforting to tell ourselves that global warming is effectively solved. It’s dangerous because it leads to us taking at face value promises and vows that have no chance of being enacted. And it is reckless because it stops us from focusing on what we need to do instead.

If we do care to fix climate, we need to change course. This was clearly shown by 27 of the world’s top climate economists and three Nobel laureates who looked at the whole gamut of climate solutions for Copenhagen Consensus.

If we keep doing what we’ve done so far and make more promises to cut carbon in ineffective ways such as subsidising wind and solar, each dollar spent will avoid only 3c of climate damage.

The Nobel laureates and ­climate economists found ­investing in green innovation is the best investment. To see why, think back to the 1960s and 70s when the world worried about mass starvation, epitomised by ­recurrent famines. If we had adopted today’s approach to climate, we’d have asked everyone (especially the rich) just to eat less while we sent small amounts of food from rich countries to poor. It didn’t succeed.

What did work was the Green Revolution. Through practical innovation — irrigation, fertiliser, pesticides and plant breeding — the Green Revolution increased world grain production by an ­astonishing 250 per cent between 1950 and 1984, raising the calorie intake of the world’s poorest people and reducing the incidence of serious famines.

Instead of tinkering around the edges, innovation tackled the problem head-on. Instead of asking people to do less with less, innovation offered the ability to produce more with less. Would-be catastrophes have regularly been pushed aside throughout human history because of innovation and technological development.

In general, investment in long-term innovation is woefully underfunded because it is hard for private investors to capture the full benefits of their innovations. If you discover a new technology that during the next 40 years becomes the foundation for a new, cheap green energy source, that is great for the world but your patent will have run out long before that happens. Therefore we can’t rely solely on private innovation. (This is true in medicine and many other areas where governments regularly invest huge sums into basic research, some of which eventually results in amazing breakthroughs.)

The best example in climate is the 10-year $US10 billion public investment into shale gas in the US. While it wasn’t intended as ­climate policy, it led the way for a surge in production of cheap gas, which outcompeted a significant part of US coal consumption. Because gas emits about half the CO2 of coal, the US has reduced emissions more than any other country in the past 10 years.

The evidence created by specialist climate economists for Copenhagen Consensus showed that a substantial increase in green R&D could do much more than any carbon-cutting promises. If we could help innovate the price of low or zero CO2 energy down below fossil fuels, not only rich Australians but also Indians, Chinese and everyone else would switch. Right now, unfortunately, the world is spending ever less on low-carbon research and development. Since the 80s, spending has slid from 0.06 per cent to less than 0.03 per cent of gross domestic product in the OECD.

There is a compelling case to do a lot more. The Nobel laureates looking at all the evidence for ­Copenhagen Consensus concluded that we should aim to reach about 0.2 per cent of global GDP — or about six times more than today. This could be funded by a low and moderately rising carbon tax (giving businesses an incentive to cut emissions but not telling them how to do it) and would set us on a pathway to resolving climate change.

On the sidelines of Paris in 2015, Tony Abbott, the prime minister at the time, US president Barack Obama and philanthropist Bill Gates promised to double green energy R&D by 2020 — much less than what the Nobel laureates suggest but at least a start. The government is not living up to this promise: since 2015, Australian investment has fallen from 0.02 per cent of GDP to 0.01 per cent in 2016 and 2017, the latest years for which the International Energy Agency has data.

Investing dramatically more into green energy R&D means we can start looking for lots of solutions. It could mean better solar and wind, combined with batteries. We certainly should research those areas further (rather than erecting masses more inefficient solar panels and wind turbines today). But we also need to focus on exploring fusion, fission, water splitting and many other ideas.

Craig Venter, the biotechnologist and geneticist who led the first draft sequence of the human ­genome, argues for research into an algae, grown on the ocean surface, that produces oil. Because it simply converts sunlight and CO2 to oil, burning it will be CO2-free. It is far from cost-effective now, but researching this and many other solutions is not only cheap but ­offers our best opportunity to find real breakthrough technologies.

If we could make alternative technologies cheaper than fossil fuels, we wouldn’t have to force (or subsidise) anyone to stop burning coal and oil. Everyone would shift to the cheaper and cleaner alternatives.

Nobody can predict with certainty whether the breakthrough technology will be algae, solar and batteries, fusion or something else altogether. Finding the solution could take a decade or it could take four. But we do know that we ­certainly won’t solve climate change with the current approach of making big promises and investing in inefficiency.

Climate economists for Copenhagen Consensus calculated the returns to society from investing in green energy R&D as $11 for every dollar invested — more than 500 times more effective than current EU climate policies.

Those who claim we already have a solution to climate change are right in only one sense: ­humanity has no shortage of ­capacity for innovation. It needs to be unleashed.


Outgoing British PM pledges to pass law to eliminate UK greenhouse gas emissions by 2050

A lot of silliness.  Passing a law will not make anything happen.  Unless concrete actions are taken to reduce carbon, the law will be a dead letter.  Passing laws that actually do something will be a lot harder and may never be seen

In one of her final acts as British prime minister, Theresa May pledged Wednesday to pass legislation that will commit the United Kingdom to eliminating its contribution to climate change by 2050, the first country in the Group of Seven advanced economies to do so.

May said that Britain will enact in law a commitment to produce net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, one of the most ambitious targets in the world.

"This country led the world in innovation during the Industrial Revolution, and now we must lead the world to a cleaner, greener form of growth," May said.

Environmental groups welcomed the announcement but raised concerns about how, exactly, Britain plans to meet these targets.

Major protests in the United Kingdom, including by children skipping school to march through cities, have helped push the issue of climate change to the top of the political agenda.

A campaign group called Extinction Rebellion has also organized several high-profile protests, leading to more than 1,000 arrests. One of its demonstrations included a "die in" at the Natural History Museum, where hundreds of demonstrators lay down in a big hall below a skeleton of a blue whale to raise awareness of predicted mass-extinction events caused by humans.

May is keen to cement a legacy beyond Brexit in her final weeks as prime minister. She resigned as party leader Friday and will officially step down as head of government once her successor is found, mostly likely in late July.

"It's clear this is a legacy issue, and it really is a tremendous legacy for her to leave behind," said Bob Ward, policy director for the London-based Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.

The UK has demonstrated that it knows how to rapidly decarbonize its energy mix. Ward said that since 1990, Britain's greenhouse gas emissions were reduced by 44 percent while the economy grew by more than 75 percent.

One of the main factors is the phasing out of coal. Last month, Britain went for two weeks without using coal to generate power, the first time it's done so since the late 19th century.

But achieving the new targets will require profound change - the current policy is to reduce emissions by 80 percent by 2050. Philip Hammond, the finance secretary, said that meeting the change could cost 1 trillion pounds, leaving less money for public services such as schools and hospitals, according to a letter leaked to the Financial Times.

The new law highlights the stark contrast between the UK and the United States administrations over their approaches to climate change. Speaking alongside President Trump at their joint news conference last week, May said that in talks with Trump, she "set out the UK's approach to tackling climate change and our continued support for the Paris agreement."

Trump has previously called climate change a "hoax" and announced his intention to pull the United States out of the Paris climate accord.

Trump told Britain's ITV broadcaster last week that he was pressed on the issue by Prince Charles, who has long been outspoken about the environment. Trump said he told Charles that "the United States right now has among the cleanest climates."

Analysts said the legislation could go through within a week or so, since it can be done through an amendment to the 2008 Climate Change Act.

Greenpeace UK said it was a "big moment" in the fight against climate change, but the group also raised concerns about loopholes that could mean Britain would achieve its goal partly through international carbon credits, which Greenpeace argued could shift the burden to developing nations.

Doug Parr, chief scientist for Greenpeace UK, said in a statement: "As the birthplace of the industrial revolution, it is right that the UK is the world's first major economy to commit to completely end its contribution to climate change, but trying to shift the burden to developing nations through International Carbon Credits undermines that commitment. This type of offsetting has a history of failure and is not, according the government's climate advisers, cost efficient."

The decision "fires the starting gun for a fundamental transformation of our economy," Parr said. "The government must immediately upgrade our electricity, construction, heating, agriculture and transport systems. They must cancel the Heathrow 3rd runway and road-building plans, and invest public money and provide significant policy support to protect communities, workers and the planet."

Several of the politicians seeking to replace May as prime minister have come out with strong positions on tackling climate change. Boris Johnson, the current favorite, has written several newspaper articles in support of the environment.

Ward, the climate change expert, said none of the candidates hoping to be the next prime minister are likely to speak out against the target, not least because it's seen as an important issue for younger voters.

"You won't see any of the Tory leadership hopefuls speaking out against this," he said. "That creates a sense of political stability, at least. It's not about whether we should get to the 2050 target, it will be a discussion about the best way of doing it."


Pete Buttigieg: ‘The Time Has Come to Treat Climate Disruption as the Security Issue That It Is’

Clever Pete has loaded the latest jargon: "Climate Disruption".  No evidence that he knows anything more though

Mayor Pete Buttigieg is calling for treating “climate disruption” as a national security issue.

Speaking at the Iowa Democratic Party Hall of Fame event in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Sunday, Buttigieg said Republicans don’t own national security.

“Don’t let anybody tell you that they own national security, not when their vision of security goes no further than putting up a wall from sea to shining sea, because that’s not going to help with cyber security. That’s not going to help with election security. That’s not going to help us name and confront the violent white nationalism that presents a clear and present threat to our country,” he said.

“I don’t have to tell Cedar Rapids that the time has come to treat climate disruption as the security issue that it is, which is why we should not only rejoin the Paris Accords, we ought to have a Pittsburgh summit to bring together American cities and communities to do something about the issue with federal support,” Buttigieg added.

He said freedom and patriotism are not conservative-only values.

“Freedom is not a conservative value. It is an American value, and while our Republican friends like to talk about freedom like it’s theirs alone, we know that freedom includes economic freedom, and you’re not free if you don’t have a living wage in this country. The GOP has sacrificed its ability to claim to be the party of freedom, especially when we see an attack on women’s reproductive freedom that all of us, especially men, ought to be standing up to defend,” Buttigieg said.

“And yes, here in Iowa, where you turned heads around the nation 10 years ago, we know that you’re not free if some county clerk gets to tell you who you ought to marry based on their idea of their religion,” he said.

“Freedom’s not a conservative value. Patriotism’s not a conservative only value, and God does not belong to any political party, least of all the one that produced this current president,” Buttigieg said.



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