Monday, August 26, 2019

Journal “Nature Communications” climate blacklist

People with the temerity to correct the record on climate change must be silenced. That’s the outrageous point of a new study published in the journal Nature Communication.

“The time has arrived for professional journalists and editors to ameliorate the disproportionate attention given to (climate change contrarians) by focusing instead on career experts and relevant calls to action,” the authors said.

While the study’s goal is severely off base, it nonetheless produced two mathematical rankings CFACT is more than a little tickled by.

According to a ranking of how often “contrarians,” as the study labels us, are cited in the media, CFACT’s Marc Morano is far and away the world’s most effective climate communicator.

Marc is number one, with 4,171 media references, nearly double Senator James Inhofe’s 2,628 and Secretary Rick Perry’s 1,903.  Marc appeared in many multiples of media references compared to anyone else as you proceed down the rankings.

Steven Hayward of the Powerline Blog wrote, “Morano is truly the Pete Rose and Hank Aaron of climate contrarians.”

The study also ranks our website,, on its list of the  top 100 “most prolific media sources” for articles skeptical of the global warming narrative and ranks Climate Depot number 1!   See, figure 2b.

The list of 386 people on the climate blacklist reads like an honor roll.  Here’s a sample:

Apollo Astronaut Harrison Schmitt – the only scientist to walk on the moon;

Apollo Astronaut Walt Cunningham –  from the first crew to ride the Saturn V rocket;

Freeman Dyson – The eminent Princeton physicist who postulated the Dyson sphere;

Ross McKitrick and Steven McIntyre – the Canadian researchers whose meticulous mathematical audit debunked Michael Mann’s infamous hockey stick graph;

Anthony Watts – The prominent meteorologist and creator of Watts Up With That;

Rick Perry – The U.S. Secretary of Energy;

Judith Curry – A climate scientist with over 130 peer-reviewed papers;

Roy Spencer and John Christy – Scientists who manage temperature satellites and developed the first successful satellite temperature record;

Fred Singer – The genius scientist who established the weather satellite network;

Roger Pielke, Jr. – The professor who showed that extreme weather hasn’t worsened and disaster costs declined;

Richard Lindzen – The MIT scientist known for his brilliant work on atmospheric physics and author of over 200 papers;

Will Happer – The Princeton atomic physicist and pioneer in optics;

Rudy Giuliani – America’s Mayor;

Mike Pence – Merely the Vice President of the United States (V.P. Gore’s OK?)

While the rankings appear to be genuine in terms of the amount of media individuals garnered, the study’s black and white, unnuanced choice of whom to include on its contrarian list is bush league.  It actually used DeSmog Blog as a major source!  Its mathematical comparison showing that people who debate climate policy in the public policy arena have greater media exposure than researchers who are cited in academic journals is an apples and oranges comparison, lacking scientific validity, that yields a no-brainer.  Their decision to not rank the amount of media garnered by warming campaigners,  which would have yielded a useful comparison, reveals this for a bogus and offensive propaganda hit piece.

We are each exposed to a mountain of media every day.  Peruse the headlines and media coverage of climate for yourself.  Do you need a mathematical analysis to determine which way the coverage is skewed?  Wouldn’t you love to see those hard numbers?

Shame on study authors, Alexander Michael Petersen, Emmanuel M. Vincent, and Anthony LeRoy Westerling.

But, thank you to all our friends and supporters who helped CFACT become the most effective climate communicators in the world.  Facts matter!


Al Gore Moves To Profit Big From Anti-Meat Drive

Well, wouldn’t you know it!  There he is again – behind another multi-million-dollar money-making scheme.

Al Gore is standing to rake in millions from a World Resources Institute meat consumption reduction report, one that will certainly help boost profits for the meat substitute manufacturers – in which Gore just happens to be a big stakeholder!

Al Gore has ties to meat consumption reduction report while holding huge stake in substitute meat company. Image: cropped here M4GW.

CNN recently reported here on the just published report from the global research nonprofit World Resources Institute. The 568-page report dubbed “Creating a Sustainable Food Future” recommends, among other actions, eating far less beef in order to rescue the planet.

But according to S___  at a thread at Twitter (see below), the WRI’s Co-Chair is David Blood. “David Blood is former Goldman Sachs’ Asset Management head who founded Generation Investment Management with Al Gore, yes that Al Gore,” S___writes under point no. 3.

Americans will need to cut their beef consumption by about 40% and Europeans by 22% for the world to continue to feed everyone in the next 30 years, according to a new report

So the report is now looking more and more like a junk-science-based instrument designed to boost the plant-based substitute meat industry, which include major companies such as Beyond Meat.

Generation Investment Management is connected to Kleiner Perkins, where former Vice President Al Gore is one of its partners and advisors.

Who’s Kleiner Perkins? It turns out they are Beyond Meat’s biggest investor, according to here. Beyond Meat is a Los Angeles-based producer of plant-based meat substitutes founded in 2009 by Ethan Brown. The company went public in May and just weeks later the more than quadrupled in their value.

Yes, Al Gore, partner and advisor to Kleiner Perkins, Beyond Meat’s big investor, stands to haul in millions, should governments move to restrict real meat consumption and force citizens to swallow the dubious substitutes and fakes.

If taken seriously, the World Research Institute Report, backed by Gore hacks, will help move the transition over to substitute meats far more quickly.

All these “We need to cut beef consumption to save the planet” stories originate from the World Resources Institute whose co-chair is a partner in the firm that collaborates w/ the main investor in @BeyondMeat and his co-founder is a partner in the main investor.”

Another dubious money making scheme that reeks of ethics violations and that needs to be investigated.


British mother arrested and taken to police cell after putting out wrong colour bin bags

A mother was arrested and taken to a police cell after being accused of putting her rubbish out in the wrong colour bin bags. Lyndsey Webb was detained by two officers at her home after “falling foul” of new recycling rules in Ipswich, Suffolk.

A court heard that the 34-year-old was caught dumping household waste in black bags near her home after Ipswich Borough Council allegedly failed to send her new orange-coloured ones. After giving evidence via video link from her cell, she was eventually given a conditional discharge and ordered to pay £50 compensation.

Last night Ms Webb said householders were "totally in the dark" about how to recycle properly and accused the council of putting her family through "a total nightmare".

It comes after The Telegraph launched a Zero Waste campaign calling on the government, local councils and private companies to do more to boost the country’s recycling rates and make the process simpler.

Earlier this year The Telegraph revealed that just a fifth of councils provides a complete recycling service, leaving householders left in a postcode lottery of waste disposal, and confused as to what they should be putting in their bins.

The bewildering system means Britain will not meet targets to recycle 50 per cent of household waste by 2020.

Suffolk magistrates court in Ipswich heard that Ms Webb was among a small number of residents in the town who were allowed to put black bin bags containing waste outside their homes if they did not have space for wheelie bins.

But magistrates were told that the system changed when residents were issued with two types of bags - orange and clear – to encourage recycling.

Ms Webb claimed that Ipswich Borough Council gave her permission to put out black bags after she was not issued with orange and clear ones in time.

But prosecutors alleged that Ms Webb of St Helen’s Street, Ipswich, was caught dumping the black bags late at night by CCTV cameras on three occasions. She was summonsed to Suffolk magistrates court by the council to face four offences of fly tipping household waste. A warrant was issued after she failed to attend court and she was arrested and taken into police custody.

After the hearing Ms Webb told the Telegraph that the system was “totally broken”. “All I did was get the colour of my rubbish bags wrong and I’ve suddenly got two police officers at my door arresting me in front of my kids,” she said.

“It’s ridiculous. They didn’t even send me the orange ones on time. They take so long to collect the rubbish anyway nowadays - I’ve had rats crawling around.

"We're all totally in the dark. These people have put me and my family through a total nightmare."

Webb was given a conditional discharge for six months and ordered to pay £50 compensation for the cost of the removal of the bags.

An Ipswich Borough Council spokesman said: “She was dumping a large quantity of bags outside a shop in an alleyway around the corner. “She was originally sent a warning letter, but her offending continued. She was sent a summons and missed two court appearances.

“She was arrested under warrant because of her failure to attend court.”


For Most Things, Recycling Harms the Environment

In 2008 I was invited to a conference called Australia Recycles! in Fremantle. I flew coach for 30 hours (we had to divert, at one point, to Auckland instead of Sydney because huge headwinds used up more fuel than expected) and landed in Perth and then was driven to Freo by one of the conference organizers. (If you are keeping score at home, that’s 2.78 metric tons of carbon for the flight from Raleigh-Durham to Perth and back.)

It became clear that I was the “tethered goat,” brought in for entertainment and to spice things up a bit. Apparently, someone had listened to my April 2007 conversation with Russ Roberts; that’s pretty impressive, because this was just over a year after EconTalk started, before EconTalk was a “thing” and before Russ started ignoring my emails and not returning my phone calls.

I had a day before my plenary address, and walked around the conference hall. Everyone there, everyone, represented either a municipal or provincial government, or a nonprofit recycling advocacy group, or a company that manufactured and sold complicated and expensive recycling equipment.

And what a wealth of machinery and equipment it was. Recycling requires substantial infrastructure for pickup, transportation, sorting, cleaning, and processing. I have sometimes suggested a test for whether something is garbage or a valuable commodity. Hold it in your hand, or hold a cup of it, or tank, or however you can handle it. Consider: Will someone pay me for this? If the answer is yes, it’s a commodity, a valuable resource. If the answer is no, meaning you have to pay them to take it, then it’s garbage.

It’s useful to pause for a moment and consider some definitions.

Is Recycling Useful, or Is It Garbage?

The problem with recycling is that people can’t decide which of two things is really going on.

One possibility is that recycling transforms garbage into a commodity. If that’s true, then the price of pickup, transport, sorting, cleaning, and processing can be paid out of the proceeds, with something left over. That’s how it is with real commodities, such as wheat or pork bellies, after all. It’s expensive and complicated to produce wheat or pork bellies, and then deliver them to the market in a form that they can be used. But people will pay you for the wheat or pork bellies. In fact, the “profit test” shows that people will pay you enough to cover all those costs and still have something left over.

The other possibility, and it’s a completely different possibility, is that recycling isn’t a commodity at all. But it is a cheaper or more environmentally friendly way to dispose of garbage. After all, if you bury something in a landfill, it’s gone. And you still had to collect it, transport it, and process it into the landfill. Recycling might cost money, but if you can sell the stuff for any price you are getting some of those costs back. Further, recycling keeps things out of landfills, and we systematically underprice landfill space. The reason is that we don’t want people dumping garbage in vacant lots or by the side of the road. But that means that recycling may be cheaper, all things considered, than using the space in the landfill. The problem is that “all things considered.” You really do have to add up all the costs — resources, money, convenience, environmental damage — of landfilling, and recycling, and then compare them.

These arguments are often muddled and mixed together, by both proponents and critics. And “recycling” is, after all, not just one homogeneous activity, but a whole collection of possible streams of waste or resources, each of which has to be evaluated separately. Should we recycle aluminum cans? Probably, because the price of recycling aluminum compares very favorably to using virgin materials, the mining and smelting of which are expensive in terms of energy and harmful to the environment.......

Remember, this was a conference for recycling advocates and manufacturers of recycling equipment, from around the Pacific Rim. There were hundreds of recycling “Baptists,” or true believers and zealots, and dozens of large corporate “bootleggers,” or profit-seeking firms that green folks would normally never have consorted with. (If you don’t recognize the “Baptists and bootleggers” formulation, you may be interested in Bruce Yandle’s original statement of it.)

I was going to argue that there were economic reasons, technical but clear, why glass recycling was not only prohibitively expensive but also harmful to the environment. It made me wonder why I had been invited, but I surmised that they wanted to have at least one tethered goat for target practice, to keep sharp in being able to advocate their position.

My slot was after the main conference luncheon, a plenary speech, meaning that no other events were scheduled. That is a place of honor, at a conference, and I had been treated with extreme courtesy at every point. Still, I expected the worst in reaction to the actual content of my talk (the essence of which I have already summarized, above).

I gave the talk, and… Nothing. Some polite applause, a few desultory questions. And then people just drifted off. I tried to strike up a conversation with some people who were still in the hall, and I asked them why there was no controversy.

One fellow was perfectly forthcoming: “Oh, we all know it makes no sense to recycle glass. The economic case is easy. But people should still recycle, because it’s simply the right thing to do. It’s not about the actual environment. It’s about enlisting people to care about the symbol of the environment. Overall, recycling is still worth doing, regardless of its effects.”

A young woman piped up: “It’s okay to say that sort of thing here, because we are insiders. But it’s better not to talk about the economics of things to the general public. We need to help train them to care about the environment, and recycling is one of the best ways to do that.”

I had heard something like this before, as I discussed in the 2007 article that likely got me the conference invite in the first place. An earnest young woman, the public spokesperson for the waste and recycling agency of a medium-sized town in the northeastern U.S. had told me breezily, “Oh, you have to understand: recycling is always cheaper, no matter how much it costs.” Oh, my.

The message I had worried about, and expected to be controversial, was old hat to the industry folks. But it was beside the point, because recycling was for them a moral imperative. Once you begin to think of recycling as a symbol of religious devotion rather than a pragmatic solution to environmental problems, the whole thing makes more sense.

As in any religious ceremony, the whole point is sacrifice: Abraham was ready to slay Isaac; Catholics give up meat during Lent; Muslims fast all day during Ramadan. And a young woman in Chile with two two-liter bottles sits in her car in line, knowing she is publicly visible and that her green moral virtue is apparent to everyone.

More HERE 


Three recent articles below

Climate failures cost us: ALP election review

Bill Shorten’s Labor Party failed a basic test of politics by not articulating to voters who would pay for its climate change policies, how much they would cost and the ­impact on the economy.

A confidential submission to the party’s post-election review from the Labor Environment ­Action Network, obtained by The Australian, expresses “anger and disappointment”, and also “grief”, over the party’s failure to win what was expected to be an unlosable election. The submission is brutal about policy, political and leadership failures.

“Labor was unable to put a price on its climate change action plan,” a LEAN member says in the submission. “It couldn’t say how much it would cost, where the money was coming from or what economic dividend it would deliver or save. It is basic Australian politics — how much, who pays, what does it save. We had no answers.”

The submission reflects poorly on Mark Butler, Labor’s spokesman on climate change and ­energy. While LEAN members thought Mr Shorten was an ­“excellent leader” they concede voters “did not like or trust” him. This damaged Labor’s ability to sell a sweeping policy agenda.

LEAN has called for Labor to reconsider its “specific climate change policies” and how they are communicated, but warns “the party cannot ignore and must ­address the issue of expanding fossil fuel export industries”.

Labor’s franking credits policy, its wishy-washy stance over the Adani coalmine and its failure to “listen to the workers” are ­identified as additional reasons for its loss.

While LEAN members said they were “proud” of Labor’s bold policy agenda, the party failed to connect with voters and persuade them with a compelling message.

“LEAN members … felt we had many, many good and great ­policies but our narrative around them was problematic,” says the submission drafted by co-conveners David Tierney and Felicity Wade.

“Creating a narrative that connects with voters was ­identified as most important to win an election.”

A failure to balance mitigating climate change with the need for “economic opportunities” for workers, industries and rural communities is also recognised. LEAN argues Labor must rebuild its credibility with workers in areas such as the Hunter Valley, which swung against Labor.

“Addressing climate change has to be about the economic possibilities and prosperity, not the moral argument,” LEAN ­argues. “The new jobs need to be led and initiated by clever government policy and investment.”

LEAN urges Labor to stand by a bold emissions reduction target — currently 45 per cent by 2030 on 2000 levels — recommended by the Climate Change Authority and to also support a new federal environment act and the creation of an independent Environment Protection Agency.

However, it argues that Labor must recognise many voters do not trust market mechanisms and there is a worldwide backlash against globalisation, neoliberalism and deregulation. Many ­voters saw specific policy measures as a cost rather than an opportunity to deal with climate change.

“Labor’s policies were generally well received by the climate change, environment and ­renewables ‘industries’,” the submission notes.

“This support, however, didn’t translate to the voting public. While we have walked away from the policy purity of a carbon price across the economy, our policies are still in the technocratic and market mechanism sphere.

“They are supported by ­Treasury officials, corporations and the political class. It is hardly surprising many … people are suspect.”

LEAN urges Labor to build better links internally with members and externally with other environmental groups to help ­develop practical and pragmatic policies so they can help ­communicate and campaign for them.

The blistering submission to Labor’s post-election review comes as Labor, now led by ­Anthony Albanese, is yet to ­officially dump many policies some in the party regard as electorally toxic.


Sydney Lord Mayor backs climate change strike, in virtue-signalling madness

When your employer encourages you to go on strike, is it still a strike? And what about the people who pay your wages, should they get a say?

These and other imponderables are the latest questions thrown up by the ongoing spectacle of climate activist madness. While the stunts become increasingly silly, indulged by complicit politicians and media, it is taxpayers who are being taken for a ride.

Just two months after becoming one of the first virtue-signalling local governments to declare a “climate emergency”, Sydney City Council has voted to support the Global Strike for Climate Change.

The strikes in the past have been led by schoolchildren bludging a day out of the classroom, but now they are urging “workers across the world” to join them.

And, incredibly, so is Sydney’s Town Hall. A council motion backs the strike, calls on councillors to attend and even orders its administration to support council staff who want time off to get involved.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore and six councillors supported the motion last night, while three others voted against it. So, on Friday September 20th, when dewy-eyed school students and socialist activists rally in the streets of Sydney to ban this nation’s largest export industry, among other things, Town Hall will be cheering them on.

The council wants its own staff to be part of the strike and the protests; which could get kind of messy if the council needs to block off streets, provide security, issue permits or clean up the rubbish.

The campaign wants to ban all new coal or gas projects, demand all energy be renewable and insist that money, sucked from somewhere, is used to retrain workers from the axed industries so they can take up other unspecified jobs in other unspecified places at another unspecified time.

It sounds like a foolproof economic plan — next, they should demand the installation of a fountain of youth.

Sydney ratepayers, of course, are not left out. They are free to attend the strike and its rally — so long as they don’t mind the risk to their own jobs or the costs to their own businesses. September 20 should be a great day in Sydney; perhaps the rubbish bins will go uncollected, planning applications will sit unassessed, parks and gardens will be left untended and the libraries will be a free for all.

Presumably no parking tickets will be issued on that day. And all ratepayers, no doubt, can look forward to having an amount of their annual rate notice rebated to compensate for the day the council decided its service obligations didn’t really matter.

Strike me pink. If they shut down Sydney City Council, wouldn’t it have a non-existent carbon footprint? And what would be the downside?


Adani refuses to bow to climate activists

A climate activist has locked himself to machinery at Adani's Queensland mine site in defiance of the state government's move to outlaw lock-on protest devices.

The man locked himself to a drill rig at the Carmichael mine site on Wednesday morning, a day after the government announced it would push for an increase in penalties for protesters using the devices. Protesters will face up to two years' jail under the new laws.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk denied the crackdown was to silence protesters of the controversial central Queensland mine, which was finally given the green light earlier this year. "Absolutely this is not the case ... It's just this small element that are going to extreme lengths " the premier told the Today Show on Wednesday.

The government's move to outlaw the devices follows the arrest of dozens of Extinction Rebellion climate protesters who have brought major Brisbane thoroughfares to a halt in recent weeks.

They say stopping traffic gets people's attention, and want communities to collectively find solutions that would lead to zero carbon emissions by 2025.

The government claims protesters are filling the devices with broken glass and explosive gas to injure anyone who tries to cut them free.

Protesters say these claims are baseless. "The climate crisis impacts us all. Increasing penalties will not stop good people standing up for the environment and one another," Frontline Action on Coal spokesperson Kim Croxford said.

Adani is this week facing another hurdle in getting the mine off the ground, with engineering firm Aurecon's announcement it has severed its 20-year relationship with the company. Aurecon has been the target of recent protests by climate activists over its link to the project.

An Adani spokesperson said in a statement that company was surprised by the decision and was already in talks to replace Aurecon to ensure the mine went ahead.

"There has been a concerted campaign by extremists against our Carmichael Project and businesses that partner with us," the statement read. "It has not succeeded and construction of the Carmichael Project is well and truly underway."



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

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


Wednesday, August 21, 2019


I go into hospital later today for an operation that will require me  to spend around two days in hospital to have my recovery monitored. So I will be hors de combat until some time on the weekend.  I expect to be back to normal after that.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

America's Big Issue With the Environment

Is a Red-Meat Tax on the Menu?

A European consulting firm is floating the idea of a sin tax targeting red meat.

This can’t be good news to Americans in the midst of grilling season, with a plethora of family picnics, tailgates, and other gatherings still to come: A European consulting firm is floating the idea of a sin tax targeting red meat.

It was an offhand remark, to be sure, and one not getting a lot of media play. But as a report from Fitch Solutions Macro Research tells us, “The global rise of sugar taxes makes it easy to envisage a similar wave of regulatory measures targeting the meat industry.”

Those who’ve taken the ball and run with it naturally point to the generally ineffective and underperforming taxes on sugary drinks, a pairing Fitch Solutions called “a policy sibling” because “over-consumption is a public health issue.” However, freelance journalist James Murphy connected some additional dots to reveal a more rancid motive: “The climate hysterics and animal-rights activists … want the price to be so high for meat that consumers will seek out other protein options.” As Murphy adds, “They want to social-engineer eating meat out of existence.”

In his piece, Murphy refers to a recent report by the dubious and discredited United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, contending that it “calls for humanity to vastly decrease the amount of meat we eat in order to help forestall the ginned-up menace of anthropogenic climate change.”

Murphy, who is definitely a skeptic on the subject, may be overstating the case, but he has a point. When we consider other consumer products — like alcohol and tobacco — whose consumption governments at all levels have tried to regulate, it’s not a big stretch to imagine significant taxes on red meat. And since we can’t pin the more obvious effects of drunk driving or secondhand smoke on the guy who likes his T-bone steak medium rare, a handy straw man for that argument is “climate change,” which has become a catch-all excuse for government to reach deeper into our pockets and regulate our lives further.

While the Fitch Solutions report also noted the unlikelihood of such a tax being implemented anytime soon in the U.S., it’s worth stating that less than five years have elapsed since the first sugary-drink tax was introduced in Berkeley, California, and these taxes have already spread to several of our largest jurisdictions, including Chicago, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. Given all this, can a tax on meat really be far behind?


UK is one step away from a banana republic

I once said that only two things kept us from qualifying as a banana republic – the fact that we don’t have regular power cuts, and the fact that we don’t grow bananas.

It now emerges that the recent collapse of our electricity grid was not, as claimed, a fluke. There had been three ‘near misses’ in three months. These may well be connected with unwise reliance on wind.

I am not in the last bit surprised, and I have been predicting it for ages, warning that our dogma-driven closures of perfectly good coal-fired power stations were worthless even on their own terms.

I suspect that it is highly significant that the recent cuts came minutes after power companies were boasting that they were on the verge of achieving 50 per cent wind power for the first time. Did a dash to achieve this futile propaganda target blow the nation’s fuses? If so, don’t expect an official confirmation from our warmist establishment, where green dogma affects everyone right up to the First Girlfriend, Carrie Symonds. But I think a lot of people will be buying ungreen petrol-driven generators in the next few years, as power becomes less reliable.

And what is it all for? Green campaigners Coalswarm reported last year that China then had a giant 993 gigawatts of coal power capacity, but approved new coal plants would increase this by 25 per cent. These vast, innumerable, soot factories overwhelmingly cancel out any effect from our own daft closures of coal stations, microscopic compared to China’s huge CO2 output.


Huge organic food scam

Amusing that nobody could tell the difference

A judge on Friday sentenced the mastermind of the largest known organic food fraud scheme in U.S. history to 10 years in prison, saying he cheated thousands of customers into buying products they didn’t want.

U.S. District Judge C.J. Williams said Randy Constant orchestrated a massive fraud that did “extreme and incalculable damage” to consumers and shook public confidence in the nation’s organic food industry.

Williams said that, between 2010 and 2017, consumers nationwide were fooled into paying extra to buy products ranging from eggs to steak that they believed were better for the environment and their own health.

Instead, they unwittingly purchased food that relied on farming practices, including the use of chemical pesticides to grow crops, that they opposed.

“Thousands upon thousands of consumers paid for products they did not get and paid for products they did not want,” Williams said. “This has caused incalculable damage to the confidence the American public has in organic products.”

Williams said the scam harmed other organic farmers who were playing by the rules but could not compete with the low prices offered by Constant’s Iowa-based grain brokerage, and middlemen who unknowingly purchased and marketed tainted organic grain.

Williams ordered Constant, a 60-year-old farmer and former school board president from Chillicothe, Missouri, to serve 122 months in federal prison, as his wife and other relatives sobbed.

Earlier in the day, Williams gave shorter prison terms to three Overton, Nebraska, farmers whom Constant recruited to join the scheme.

Williams described the three as largely law-abiding citizens, including one “legitimate war hero,” who succumbed to greed when Constant gave them the opportunity.

Michael Potter, 41, was ordered to serve 24 months behind bars; James Brennan, 41, was sentenced to 20 months; and his father, 71-year-old Tom Brennan, was given a three-month sentence. Williams said the shorter sentence for the elder Brennan reflected his heroism as a decorated platoon leader in the Vietnam War.

All four farmers sentenced Friday had pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges and cooperated with a two-year investigation that isn’t over.

A fifth farmer has also pleaded guilty in the case and is awaiting sentencing.

The farmers grew traditional corn and soybeans, mixed them with a small amount of certified organic grains, and falsely marketed them all as certified organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Most of the grains were sold as animal feed to companies that marketed organic meat and meat products.

The farmers reaped more than $120 million in proceeds from sales of the tainted grain.

The scheme may have involved up to 7 percent of organic corn grown in the U.S. in 2016 and 8 percent of the organic soybeans, prosecutors said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacob Schunk said that end consumers conservatively paid at least $250 million for fraudulent organic products — and perhaps $1 billion or more.

He said that Constant for years exploited an organic certification system that relies on the honesty of farmers and private certifiers.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              “He saw the weakness in the system and he exploited it over and over again,” Schunk said.

He noted that Constant had admitted in a court filing to spending some of the money on vacations and repeated trips to Las Vegas.

Constant, whose wife of 39 years was in the courtroom Friday, acknowledged in the filing that he spent $2 million supporting three women there with whom he developed relationships.

Constant said that he took full responsibility for his crime and he apologized to his family and the grain merchants, farmers, ranchers and consumers whom he ripped off. “The organic industry in this country is built in trust and I violated that trust,” he said.

Constant’s lawyer, Mark Weinhardt, described his client as a pillar of the community in Chillicothe, where Constant was known as generous with his money and time.

But Williams said that Constant was similar to the grain that he marketed. “He is not what is advertised,” the judge said. “Below the surface, he was lying and cheating.”


How recycling is a massive con job and an environmental disaster in the making - and why everyday Australians are wasting their time sorting rubbish

Australians think they are doing the right thing when they throw their empty milk bottles, beer cans, and junk mail into their yellow bin.

They roll the bin out to the kerb every week and assume they have helped the environment by having their waste recycled with 90 per cent saying it's very important.

But millions of tonnes is instead shipped to Southeast Asian countries where much of it is burned, buried, or just dumped in landfill.

Millions more is piling up in huge storage facilities of Australian councils and their contractors - or sent to the tip - because they can't sell it.

Only 12 per cent of the 103kg of plastic waste generated per person in Australia each year is recycled, mostly overseas, according to research cited by Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

He pointed out last week that there was an 'implied promise' that when people put their recycling out it would actually be turned into something else. 'People think [plastic] is going to be recycled but only about 12 per cent of it is,' he said.

Australia used to ship enormous amounts of waste to China, sell it for up to $150 a tonne, and then wash its hands of it. Much of it was recycled to fuel the country's boom, but the industry was largely unregulated and dozens of dodgy operators burned or dumped it. Then in January 2018 the Chinese Government decided enough was enough and banned the importing of 99 per cent of recycling.

Australia's worst waste was usually palmed off to China, much of it too contaminated or low quality to be worth anything.

Now only a 0.5 per cent contamination rate is tolerated and the vast majority of Australian sorting facilities just can't meet that.

India, Malaysia, and the Philippines followed suit over the past year so Australia turned to Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Vietnam.

They each receive tens of thousands of tonnes of supposed recycling - Bangladesh alone took 51,400 in May, up 270 per cent from last year's average. Indonesia is about the same.

However, these countries don't have anything like the capacity China did, and aren't any more scrupulous about what they do with it.

Around Indonesia, the streets and rice fields of villages are now used to harvest piles of rubbish as they are laid out to dry in the sun by locals.

The waste is then sorted and sold to tofu factories where it is burned in their furnaces as a cheap alternative to wood.

Australian companies are slowly waking up to the reality that this state of affairs is not sustainable.

An Environment and Energy Department report painted a dire picture of Australia's predicament should more Asian countries close their doors.

'Australia would need to find substitute domestic or export markets for approximately 1.29 million tonnes (or $530 million) of waste a year, based on 2017-18 export amounts,' the report said.

So easy was it to palm off Australia's waste on the developing world that the domestic industry is now in full-blown crisis.

The situation was made even more dire when one of the biggest companies, SKM, collapsed last month and is now in liquidation.

Then on Monday, Phoenix Environmental Group was banned by the Environmental Protection Agency from accepting more waste as its stockpiles were already dangerously high.

Councils, particularly in Victoria where those two companies are based, are at a total loss as to what to do with tens of thousands of tonnes of recycling.

The City of Melbourne is dumping about 45 tonnes of recyclables into landfill every day, along with about 30 other councils.

Other councils are stockpiling recycling in storage units in desperate hope of finding a buyer - as the stock degrades in value and is attacked by scavenging vermin.

This can have disastrous consequences, such as when stockpiled recycling bales at an SKM facility caught fire.

Australian companies are also accused of rorting the system themselves - trucking building site waste to recycling facilities where it is picked up and dumped in landfill.

Numerous companies allegedly do this to tick the boxes required to avoid waste levies - as high as $138 a tonne in NSW and $66 in Victoria.

Such practices, and the overstocking crisis, is only going to get worse as China's new policy has obliterated the price of many recyclables.

Almost overnight, mixed paper scrap crashed from $124 a tonne to next to nothing, and low-grade plastic is also effectively worthless.

The costs of recycling the scrap plastic in particular are now so high that it is basically not worth it and in many places no longer considered recyclable.

The airport in Memphis, Tennessee, has abandoned recycling altogether and only keeps its recycling bins to keep the 'culture' of recycling going - everything in them goes straight to landfill.

Manufacturers are also giving up on buying recycled materials because it is now much cheaper to make its from virgin components.

The recycling industry, which claims to employ more than 50,000 Australians and generate up to $15 billion in value, has tried to downplay the crisis. It pointed to the government's National Waste Report 2018 claim that 37 million tonnes of Australia's 67 million tonnes of waste was recycled in 2018. The report found just 4 million tonnes was exported, half of it metal.

Ten to 15 per cent of kerbside recycling cannot be recycled because it is contaminated with nappies, soft plastics, garden hoses, bricks and batteries.

'We encourage householders to continue to separate and sort their recycling correctly to reduce contamination and realise the environmental and economic benefits of recycling,' National Waste and Recycling Industry Council chief executive Rose Read said.

The Federal Government has belatedly decided to try propping up the Australian recycling industry with $20 million worth of grants to domestic operators.

'We are committed to protecting our nation's environment while also building our capacity to turn recycling into products that people want and need,' Mr Morrison said on Tuesday.

'By engaging industry and researchers we can make sure we're seeing these changes introduced in a way that cuts costs for businesses and ultimately even creates jobs.'

Mr Morrison said the funding was an effort to get the local industry into a position where shipping recycling overseas could be banned.

'This stuff won't change until we set a date where you can't put this stuff on a boat any longer,' he said.

The industry wants a labelling scheme, similar to the country of origin stamps, that shows how much of a product and its packaging came from recycled materials.

Analysts and recycling industry figures also said there needed to be incentives or quotas for businesses to use recycled material, and councils and government needed to lead the way.

'Recycling only works when people, corporates and government buy products made with recycled content,' Plastic Forests boss David Hodge said.

'As we know, the options to send our waste or a misallocated resource overseas will come to an end.'

The Australian Council of Recycling recycling advocacy group Boomerang Alliance proposed five priority actions for the federal government.

They included a Plastic Pollution Reduction Strategy and a $150 million investment in a national industry development fund.

'With Asian markets for recyclable materials from Australia closing down and local governments confronted with potentially sending their kerbside recycling to landfill, it's time to recognise that the system Australians value is greatly under threat,' the ACOR said.

'The National Waste Policy, recently agreed upon with all states, tries to set out an agenda for the future, but its aims cannot be achieved without investment and policy support.'

Boomerang Alliance director Jeff Angel added: 'Without concerted and effective action, Australia is set to go back 50 years to the days when waste was dumped or burned and the only things recycled were the bottles collected for a refund.



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

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


Monday, August 19, 2019

UK: Surge in electric car sales could crash the National Grid by 2040, energy expert warns

This is only the latest problem for mass use of electric cars. People all seem to be closing their eyes to the limited practicality of electric cars in general.  Something nobody is mentioning is what happens if you arrive at a charging station and all the charging points already have other electric vehicles plugged into them? You might have to wait hours until one of them is charged enough to be unplugged.

So you will not only have to wait for your own car to charge up but also wait until someone else's car is charged up.  That could be a very long wait during which you would just be twiddling your thumbs

And you thought that having to line up for 5 minutes at a petrol/gasoline station during busy periods was a drag!   Clearly, electric cars will never be practical for anything but commuter round trips.  They will only be practical if you can do all your charging at home.

And what about winter?  Heating is a huge drain on batteries so if you heat your car in severe weather you can kiss most of your range goodbye!  So electric cars will only be practical for short trips in summer -- and almost never in Canada!  Conventional vehicles will always be in big demand. How Greenies manage to blind so many people to these huge problems is a mystery

A spike in demand for electricity to power the growing network of plug-in cars could cripple the National Grid by 2040, an energy expert has warned today.

Mark Sait, chief executive of SaveMoneyCutCarbon believes that if UK electric car sales rise at the same rate as they have across the rest of Europe, it could result in blackouts and the grid crashing due to insufficient power supplies, similar to those experienced last week.

He warned: 'A rapid upsurge in hybrid and full electric vehicles could create real concerns.'

The uptake of electric cars in Britain is currently way behind other markets across the EU, the energy expert pointed out.

This is down to a number of factors, though the most significant centre around more enticing financial subsidies for the purchase of electric cars and a better charging infrastructure than what's on offer in the UK.

A report from the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association shows the sale of hybrid and full electric vehicles in Britain in the first quarter of 2019 increased by a modest 2.9 per cent in the last year. This compared to the EU average of 40 per cent.

Sait describes Britain as being at 'the starting blocks' of battery vehicle uptake, while in countries like Norway - which is one of the leading nations for electric car adoption - almost half of new models registered in 2018 were plug-in models.

But he warned that if Britain caught up with the rest of Europe in terms of electric car adoption, the National Grid would not be able to cope by 2040.

'The spike in demand from EVs could very well cause blackouts in certain areas of the UK, with there not being enough power generated, or particularly if the technology generating that power had not been upgraded,' he explained.

The National Grid has come under scrutiny in the last week following power cuts that caused travel chaos and left more than a million homes without electricity on Friday evening.

Operators blamed issues with two generators for the blackouts, with Ofgem demanding a full investigation for the cause of the power cuts.

Previous reports from the National Grid have said it would require an additional 20 per cent energy capacity by 2050 in preparation for an increased number of vehicles plugging into the mains.

However, Sait said these estimations were made without factoring in a significant rise in potential EV uptake in the UK similar to the rest of the EU.

The chances of more drivers being convinced to make the switch to electric vehicles is a real possibility in the coming years.

Models like the Volkswagen I.D. range are due to hit the market soon, offering genuine alternatives to combustion-engine models thanks to longer ranges, more performance, shorter charging times and - hopefully - more affordable prices.

Higher taxes on diesel cars in particular, restrictions from Ultra Low Emission Zones and Clean Air Zones and the impending ban on the sale of new vehicles with traditional engines will also see appetite for plug-in motors increase.

But Sait warned that the cost to improve the nation's electrical grid to cope with such increases in demand would be 'significant'.


Greta Thunberg's two-week trip across Atlantic in 'zero-carbon yacht' may generate more emissions than it saves as two of the crew have to FLY to New York to bring the boat back to Europe

On Wednesday, the Swedish eco-campaigner left Plymouth on the Malizia II

Greta Thunberg's trans-Atlantic voyage in a 'zero-carbon yacht' has been rocked by revelations that crew will fly to New York in a gas-guzzling plane to bring the boat back to Europe.

It is claimed that this would generate more emissions than the yacht saves and threatens to leave the 16-year-old's plans to chart an environmentally friendly route to the United States in tatters.

On Wednesday, the Swedish eco-campaigner left Plymouth on the Malizia II for a two-week journey to the United Nations headquarters where she will address a climate change meeting.

But last night, it was confirmed that two crew will have to fly to the US east coast city to man the 60ft yacht on its return.

'We added the trip to New York City at very short notice, and as a result two people will need to fly over to the US in order to bring the boat back,' a Team Malizia spokeswoman told the Times.

She added: 'The world has not yet found a way to make it possible to cross an ocean without a carbon footprint.'

And a further two sailors who are currently on board the Malizia II with Greta may use air travel to get back to Europe.

Greta, who is taking a sabbatical year from school, will be joining large-scale climate demonstrations and speaking at the UN Climate Action Summit hosted by secretary-general Antonio Guterres in New York in September.

She is also planning to visit Canada and Mexico before travelling to this year's UN climate conference, which is taking place in Santiago, Chile, in December, making her journeys by train and bus.

The two-week sailing trip means she can attend the summits without using planes or cruise ships which cause greenhouse gas emissions.

She said her adventure would have challenges including seasickness but said many people in the world were suffering a lot more than that.

To keep herself occupied during the journey she has books, board games and a rabbit teddy bear, which was a gift from a friend.

The journey takes about two weeks - the yacht can travel at speeds of around 43mph but will be heading into the wind for much of the time so will be slower, and the captain wants a smooth ride.

Before setting sail, Herrmann said: 'The objective is to arrive safe and sound in New York.'

The yacht is made for racing, with foils, or wings, that lift it out of the water for a faster and smoother ride.

Inside it is sparse, fitted with high-tech navigation equipment, an on-board ocean laboratory to monitor CO2 levels in the water, and four bunks - Herrmann and Casiraghi will share one, sleeping in turns.

The toilet is a blue plastic bucket, complete with a biodegradable bag that can be thrown overboard, and meals will be freeze-dried packets of vegan food mixed with water heated on a tiny gas stove.

But state-of-the-art solar panels adorn the yacht's deck and sides while there are two hydro-generators, which together provide all the electricity they need on board.


How far can Tesla's Model 3 really go? On-road measurements reveal the 'affordable' electric car falls short of its claimed range by 90 MILES

Tesla's Model 3 is arguably the most hotly anticipated electric car yet.

Not just because some customers have had to wait (and in many cases are still waiting) more than two years after originally placing their deposits, but also due to the promises that it most usable than any modestly-priced battery-powered rival on sale.

However, new real-world measurements have revealed that the £36,500-plus car doesn't match the driving distances being claimed.

In fact, the most expensive variant it sells in the UK was found to fall 90 miles short of its 'official' range.

Consumer car title What Car? has ran two versions of the most affordable model in the American firm's fleet through its own controlled Real Range test.

These measurements are used to determine what the actual ranges of electric cars are in normal driving scenarios, rather than customers having to rely on the claimed figures from laboratory tests that tend not to be achievable in the real world. 

The first of the two models tested was the Standard Range Plus. This is the entry-spec version that can go from zero to 60mph in 5.3 seconds, has a top speed of 140mph and costs £36,490. And its 'official' range is quoted as 254 miles.

Official ranges are the figures achieved during Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) cycles, which is the measure used for all official miles per gallon stats in conventional vehicles and ranges of electric-powered cars.

However, the What Car? test found that the real-world range of a much lower 196 miles.

That's 58 miles shy of the claimed distance between charges - almost a quarter (23 per cent) less than the Tesla sales brochure will lead you to believe.

And the difference between claimed and real-world driving distance is even greater in the most expensive variant.

The Model 3 Performance, which is the priciest sold to UK customers costing £49,140, is the quickest of Tesla's small saloon. It can hit 60mph from a standstill in just 3.2 seconds and 162mph flat out.

The range is longer than any other example in the line-up, too, according to WLTP figures.

It's advertised to be able to go for 329 miles on a full charge - which is the equivalent of travelling from London to Carlisle without having to stop to replenish the batteries.

However, What Car?'s measurement found the real range was just 239 miles. That's 90 miles short of the claimed figure and 27 per cent less than what official stats suggests.

If you are planning a trip from London to Carlisle in one, it means you will have to stop shortly after passing Wigan to plug the vehicle in, or else be stranded somewhere on the side of the M6.

While these figures are fairly disappointing - especially for the handful of Britons who have already taken delivery of their Model 3 - it isn't an anomaly when you compare it to the rest of the electric-car market.

When What Car? has tested battery-electric vehicles from other manufacturers in the past, the range tends to fall well short of claims.

For instance, the VW e-Golf in the real world is 69 miles short of the official figure. However, with a claimed range of just 186 miles, it means it is 37 per cent away from the advertised distance quoted for a full battery charge.


The junk science behind the anti-birth movement

Harry and Meghan’s two-child pledge is based on some seriously dodgy assumptions.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have committed to having a maximum of two children because of the damage that having too many children apparently causes the planet. The couple is not alone. Climate activists in the BirthStrike movement have vowed to have no children at all until governments get a handle on climate change. In fact, for a long time now, neo-Malthusians and eco-puritans have opposed childbirth on environmental grounds.

Their argument against childbirth goes like this: climate change is caused by man-made CO2. People consume things over their lifetimes, and, in the process, create more CO2. More people means more CO2, therefore more people can only be a bad thing. The broadminded among us might think that society contains more than just individual consumers. But once environmentalists accepted this kind of kindergarten logic, it was only a matter of time before they began to calculate just how much CO2 each new child is to blame for.

At Oregon State University, statistician Paul Murtaugh and oceanographer Michael Schlax produced one of the most widely cited and influential papers on the link between childbirth and climate change. It estimates the extra emissions created by the average individual when they have children. Importantly, it factors in not just the CO2 associated with each new child’s birth, but also the CO2 associated with that child’s descendants. The basic premise is that ‘a person is responsible for the carbon emissions of his descendants’. The authors qualify this by weighting each descendant by their relatedness to that person. According to the researchers’ methodology, ‘a mother and father are each responsible for half of the emissions of their offspring, and a quarter of the emissions of their grandchildren’. The inevitable conclusion is that, ‘The summed emissions of a person’s descendants… may far exceed the lifetime emissions produced by the original parent’.

The study looks as far forward as the year 2400. It factors in current and future fertility rates, rates of mortality, and CO2 per head – as estimated by the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Personal Emissions Calculator. It concludes that while right-on, environmental changes to lifestyle ‘must propagate through future generations in order to be fully effective’, an American woman could, by adopting such changes, only save 486 US tons of CO2 emissions in her lifetime. By contrast, were she to have two children, she would add more than 18,000 tons of CO2 to the atmosphere after her death.

The problems with this approach are clear. First, the potential development of carbon-capture technologies or carbon-neutral energy is completely overlooked – even by 2400, four centuries from now, the study expects us to be using the same production methods. Secondly, the methodology is a form of double-counting: parents are not only held ‘responsible’ for their own emissions, but also for the emissions of each of their children and their children’s descendants. And finally, how useful is it to calculate average emissions when we live in a society where some take the Clapham Omnibus while the likes of Prince Harry and his offspring will fly by private jet?

In 2017, an anti-natalist paper from the Centre for Sustainability Studies in Lund, Sweden also made headlines. Researchers Seth Wynes and Kimberly Nicholas repeat the flawed Oregon methodology. Their main concern is with educating adolescents, who ‘can act as a catalyst to change their household’s behaviour’. They complain that current textbooks ‘overwhelmingly focus on moderate or low-impact actions’.

Again, the researchers’ framework is entirely personal. Technological solutions or inequality don’t feature. They conclude that when it comes to lowering our personal emissions of CO2, having one fewer child beats, by a country mile, even drastic actions like giving up all car travel (including in electric vehicles) and meat. According to their calculations, as an average per year, in developed countries, having one fewer child saves 58.6 metric tons of greenhouse gases; eschewing cars, just 2.4 tons; avoiding a return transatlantic flight,1.6 tons; and eating a plant-based diet, 0.8 tons. The researchers call for the Western world to ‘improve existing educational and communication structures’ to match this reality – in other words, to indoctrinate teenagers at school to have as few children as possible in later life.

These two widely cited papers make up much of the pseudoscience behind today’s neo-Malthusian movements. They discount the possibility of technological solutions, ignore economic inequalities and the fact that there is more to the economy than just consumption. Indeed, they echo Margaret Thatcher’s famous statement that there is ‘no such thing’ as society: that there is only ‘the acts of individuals and families’. And like Thatcher, they are anti-human and reactionary. Instead of arguing for technological progress, the researchers would prefer to indoctrinate the young – who, ideally, can also be co-opted to tell their parents how to behave.

In fact, there is even something of the Old Testament about this movement. In terms of CO2 emissions, they indict the ‘iniquity of fathers’ (and mothers). If these neo-Malthusians have their way, every child, ‘to the third and fourth generation’ and beyond, will grow up regretting their parents’ decision to have them.


Reports of the Great Barrier Reef’s doom are exaggerated

Master reef guide Natalie Lobartolo has a first-hand window into what the world thinks about the Great Barrier Reef. She says the most common comment from tourists after they experience the reef and waters around Lady ­Musgrave Island where she works is: “I thought the reef was dead but it’s amazing.”

Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley had a similar experience last week when she snorkelled over two reefs off Cairns.

On her first official visit to the Great Barrier Reef, Ley said she found it difficult to reconcile what she saw in the water with what had been said around the world.  “The reef is not dead,” was her appraisal. “It is not dying. I would not even say it is on life support.

“Tourism operators want a very clear message that the reef is definitely not dead, that it is amazing and one of the true wonders of the world and it is worth visiting.

“Having seen it for myself I can certainly endorse that. That is a ­really clear message that I want people to hear.”

The results of first-hand observations from two snorkels may not meet the test of scientific rigour. But along the Queensland coast there is a pushback that challenges the now familiar message of the reef’s doom.

A lecture tour by controversial marine scientist Peter Ridd has ­attracted hundreds of people and is only half way through a program that stretches throughout the ­sugar cane centres from Bundaberg to Cairns.

The tour has been promoted by the sugar cane and other agriculture ­industries that face the prospect of strict new regulations under a reef water quality bill before state parliament. Liberal National Party MPs at state and federal level have embraced Ridd’s call for greater quality assurance of the science. But conservation groups are alarmed Ridd is getting a platform to express his views.

Ridd was sacked by James Cook University after being disciplined for not being collegiate. That sacking was ruled unlawful by the Federal Court but its finding is being appealed by JCU.

Like it or not, science groups have been forced to engage with Ridd’s message that the findings of key reef research should be checked.

Ridd’s message on his lecture tour is that coral cover has not changed and that there is still excellent coral cover on all 3000 reefs across the Great Barrier Reef system. He also says there is almost no land sediment on the reef from run-off from agricultural processes.

Ridd’s findings have struck a chord with canegrowers, who are being asked to change their practices to satisfy UNESCO requirements that Australia is respecting its obligations to retain World Heritage status for the reef.

A suite of measures by the ­Abbott government, including a ban on dredge spoils from new port developments being dumped in reef waters, was enough to ­remove the threat of an “in-danger” listing for the reef.

Since then there have been two bleaching events and damaging cyclones that have had a big impact on coral cover, which is now recovering.

The Great Barrier Reef is again due to be considered by the World Heritage Committee next year and the proposed Queensland water quality regulations are seen as part of a broader campaign to keep the reef off the in-danger watch list.

Environment groups are ­pushing for more regulation and most likely would welcome intervention by UNESCO. But the bruising campaign last time damaged the global reputation of the reef among potential tourists and left the tourism industry crying foul.

Ridd says this is a prime reason to get the science right. He says reef science is affecting every major industry in north Queensland: mining, agriculture and ­tourism.

The legislation before state parliament will hurt agriculture badly, he says. It sets nutrient and sediment pollution load limits for each of the six reef catchments and ­limits fertiliser use for crops and grain production, covering agricultural activities in all Great Barrier Reef catchments.

The message Ridd wants people to take home from his talks is that there has been a massive exaggeration of threats to the Great Barrier Reef. He accuses the reef institutions of producing untrustworthy results because of inadequate quality assurance systems and says that must be corrected before any new legislation is introduced.

And he says there is an urgent need for an independent body to run through the Auditor-General’s office and examine the science used for public policy.

Bundaberg Canegrowers manager Dale Holliss says Ridd has ­allowed many to articulate concerns they may have already had. “Peter Ridd basically when he talks says … it is the only science we have, so we do need a process where we actually check it,” Holliss says. However, environment groups say Ridd’s tour has been “simply spreading misinformation”.

The Australian Coral Reef ­Society says several of Ridd’s claims are not true, while others could be characterised as straw-man arguments that ignore much greater challenges faced by the Great Barrier Reef.

“As the reef is facing fundamental challenges from rapidly warming oceans, it is important that governments take action to support a rapid reduction in greenhouse gas emissions while taking all available steps to reduce the amount of sediments, nutrients and pesticides that reach the reef lagoon,” the society argues.

Ley says she is “not downplaying the seriousness of climate change” but acknowledges that some people are understandably confused. “Tourism operators are saying they want somewhere to go to say that is the truth,” she says. “My answer is they can go to the Australian Institute of Marine Science.”

So what does AIMS say about water quality and the issues raised by Ridd? In a statement to ­Inquirer, AIMS chief executive Paul Hardisty says there is a natural improvement in water quality from inshore to offshore reefs ­because inshore reefs are exposed to increased sediment from wind and rough seas.

Mid-shelf and offshore reefs typically have better water quality as these regions are flushed more frequently with waters from the Coral Sea. As such, material ­delivered into the inshore region via rivers remains close to the coast for extended periods.

When it comes to water quality on the Great Barrier Reef, researchers agree it is uncommon for sediment plumes to regularly reach outer-shelf reefs. During flood events, most sediments are deposited relatively close to river mouths.

Hardisty says enhanced sediment loads from farmed catchments increase the amount (and duration) of sediment that is resuspended locally around river mouths, on inshore reefs close to rivers and along the inner shelf.

He says analysis of 11 years of satellite imagery for the whole Great Barrier Reef shows water clarity is significantly reduced for up to six months after every big flood from the central and southern rivers, but not so much from the far northern rivers.

Several studies have shown fine particles of nutrient-enriched and organic-rich sediments can settle on inshore and mid-shelf reefs during calm periods and have the potential to kill young corals within 48 hours and adult corals in three to seven days, depending on the species.

Hardisty agrees there are many conditions that increase nutrient concentrations, including oceanographic processes and upwelling, liberation of nutrients contained in sediments, and inputs from ­riverine systems that may be ­enhanced above natural levels by residual nutrients from agricultural or industrial activities.

The AIMS says long-term monitoring of cycles of ecosystem decline and recovery tells us that the Great Barrier Reef is under stress. Its latest condition report, published last month, found average hard coral cover had continued to decline in the central and southern Great Barrier Reef while stabilising in the northern region this year.

This decline is because of ­numerous and successive disturbances including outbreaks of the crown-of-thorns starfish, tropical cyclones and coral bleaching. The central region’s highest recorded average coral cover was 22 per cent in 2016 compared with 12 per cent this year, and the southern ­region had 43 per cent coral cover in 1988 compared with 24 per cent this year. Hard coral cover in the northern region increased slightly from 11 per cent in 2017 to 14 per cent this year but was down from 30 per cent in 1988.

Hardisty says disturbances such as bleaching, cyclones and crown-of-thorns outbreaks are ­occurring more often, are longer-lasting and more severe.

This means coral reefs have less time to recover. Right now, however, there is still plenty to see.



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

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


Sunday, August 18, 2019

Trump Says He Wants to Buy Greenland. Here's Why

President Donald Trump has expressed an interest in buying Greenland, an autonomous Danish territory, according to a report published yesterday (Aug. 15) by The Wall Street Journal.

Why does Trump want the United States to buy the world's biggest island? The reason, in large part, is likely that Greenland is rich in natural resources, including iron ore, lead, zinc, diamonds, gold, rare-earth elements, uranium and oil, according to the Brookings Institution, a nonprofit public-policy organization in Washington, D.C.

Extracting Greenland's natural resources, however, isn't a straightforward enterprise. Much of the mining and drilling depends on global supply and demand, not to mention navigating Greenland's severe climate and terrain. For instance, oil production probably won't take place for at least another decade, according to the Brookings Institution's 2014 report, because "the conditions in Greenland are very harsh and technically demanding and the costs of extraction high."

Mining projects show more promise. The Greenland government has endeavored to create environmental and regulatory safeguards while, at the same time, attracting investors, according to the report. The Canadian company AEX Gold is already mining the precious metal in the Nanortalik Gold Belt in southern Greenland, according to Mining Global, a mining news outlet. And New York-based Greenland Ruby A/S opened its ruby and pink-sapphire mining operation in Aappaluttoq, in southwest Greenland, in 2017.

But buying Greenland itself would also come with a hefty cost. The territory, home to more than 57,000 people as of 2018, relies on Denmark for two-thirds of its budget revenue, and it also has high rates of suicide, alcoholism and unemployment, according to the BBC. Such problems would benefit from investments from social and government service programs.

What's more, politicians in Greenland and Denmark don't seem eager to sell. In a tweet posted this morning (Aug. 16), Greenland's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, "#Greenland is rich in valuable resources such as minerals, the purest water and ice, fish stocks, seafood, renewable energy and is a new frontier for adventure tourism. We're open for business, not for sale."

This isn't the first time the United States has expressed an interest in purchasing Greenland. The territory is located in a strategic spot, just below the Arctic Ocean, between Canada and Europe. President Andrew Jackson's administration (1829-1837) floated the idea of buying the island, as did an 1867 report by the U.S. State Department, the BBC said. President Harry Truman even offered Denmark $100 million for Greenland in 1946, though nothing came of the proposal.


‘Global Temperature’ — Why Should We Trust A Statistic That Might Not Even Exist?

The United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is quite certain Earth will be in trouble if the global temperature exceeds pre-industrial levels by 1.5 degrees Celsius or more. But how can anyone know? According to university research, “global temperature” is a meaningless concept.

“Discussions on global warming often refer to ‘global temperature.’ Yet the concept is thermodynamically as well as mathematically an impossibility,” says Science Daily, paraphrasing Bjarne Andresen, a professor at the University of Copenhagen’s Niels Bohr Institute, one of three authors of a paper questioning the “validity of a ‘global temperature.'”

Science Daily explains how the “global temperature” is determined.

“The temperature obtained by collecting measurements of air temperatures at a large number of measuring stations around the globe, weighing them according to the area they represent, and then calculating the yearly average according to the usual method of adding all values and dividing by the number of points.”

But a “temperature can be defined only for a homogeneous system,” says Andresen. The climate is not regulated by a single temperature. Instead, “differences of temperatures drive the processes and create the storms, sea currents, thunder, etc. which make up the climate”.

While it’s “possible to treat temperature statistically locally,” says Science Daily, “it is meaningless to talk about a global temperature for Earth. The globe consists of a huge number of components which one cannot just add up and average. That would correspond to calculating the average phone number in the phone book. That is meaningless.”

There are two ways to measure temperature: geometrically and mathematically. They can produce a large enough difference to show a four-degree gap, which is sufficient to drive “all the thermodynamic processes which create storms, thunder, sea currents, etc.,” according to Science Daily.

So if global temperature is unknowable, how can the IPCC and the entire industry of alarmists and activists be so sure there exists a threshold we cannot pass? Of course the IPCC says it knows the unknowable. In its latest report, released this month, it yet again maintained that the global temperature must “kept to well below 2ºC, if not 1.5oC” above pre-industrial levels to avoid disaster.

A few years after the University of Copenhagen report was published, University of Guelph economist Ross McKitrick, one of the report’s authors, noted in another paper that “number of weather stations providing data . . . plunged in 1990 and again in 2005. The sample size has fallen by over 75% from its peak in the early 1970s, and is now smaller than at any time since 1919.”

“There are serious quality problems in the surface temperature data sets that call into question whether the global temperature history, especially over land, can be considered both continuous and precise. Users should be aware of these limitations, especially in policy-sensitive applications.”

The global warming alarmists, who have seized and now control the narrative — because, like a child who won’t stop crying for a toy he can’t have, they refuse give up — have a credibility problem. Actually, they have several. The public will eventually forget about them all, though, just as it has overlooked the mistakes by those who predicted other catastrophes that never arrived, such as Y2K, the new Ice Age, acid rain, mass human starvation, overpopulation, peak oil, and the Silent Spring.

After all, humans have been watching Doomsday prophets fail throughout history. They’ve been so common we hardly notice them.


My beef with Goldsmiths’ burger ban

Universities are turning from centres of free thought into factories of conformism.


There has been a lot of climate news this silly season. Amid the stories of Greta in a boat, Greta in a suit and, soon, Greta walking on water, this week we learned that Goldsmiths, University of London is banning the sale of beef from its campus. Goldsmiths’ other eco-initiatives include a 10p charge on single-use plastics, such as bottles and cups, a greater emphasis on climate change in the college’s teaching, and the campus will be entirely powered by green energy.

Professor Frances Corner, the college’s new warden, said ‘it is immediately obvious that our staff and students care passionately about the future of our environment and that they are determined to help deliver the step change we need to cut our carbon footprint drastically and as quickly as possible’. But if it really were true that Goldsmiths staff and students ‘care passionately’ about the causes being espoused, there would be no need to ban beef or introduce a levy on plastics. Customers at the college’s cafes would not be buying them, and before long they would have been withdrawn from sale due to lack of demand. Defenders of Goldsmiths’ petty green authoritarianism argue that it will create no hardship. Perhaps not. Beef-eating students can simply buy food from somewhere else in the area.

What the beef ban and these other edicts really signify is the tendency of institutions of all kinds to use ‘the environment’ as the pivot around which their roles and their relationships to the rest of us are transformed. Universities were once premised on the idea of a free exchange of ideas and independent research. But Goldsmiths’ new policies signal an expectation of both ideological and lifestyle conformity. This will run through the college’s administrative policies, the syllabus and the habits of its staff and students.

It is a weak-minded student that needs a ban to enforce what he or she already ‘cares passionately’ about. And it is a weak-minded student or professor that fails to interrogate the claim that the zealous observance of green fatwas will make any difference to the world. Weak-minded academics will diligently search for a casus belli for the war on meat, starting with the battle against beef. But they will be steered away from ever interrogating green ideology at work at Goldsmiths and across almost all of Britain’s public institutions. Universities have effectively become vegan sausage factories.

Those that can’t teach, preach. Worse, those that fear independence of mind, police. Environmentalism of the kind epitomised by Goldsmiths is only superficially about the environment. At issue is not the future of the planet, but the obedience of both students and the broader population to ecological diktats.

Academia has a new function. Its role in society has regressed – degenerated – to that once occupied by the clergy, when places of learning were centres of religious orthodoxy. Eschewing the Enlightenment, the environment (and other woke causes) now preoccupy researchers’ passions, allowing them to pontificate on the petty regulation of lifestyle rather than understanding the world and finding solutions to its problems.

In the green worldview and in green institutions, there is no problem that cannot be solved by obedience. Freedom is off the menu.


The Nazi Roots Of The Global Warming Scare

Generally speaking, the first person in a debate who compares their opponent to Hitler or the Nazis at that moment loses the argument. When the Third Reich is invoked, it's usually clear evidence that that person's position is so weak that they have had to resort to a gross misrepresentation of the other's position.

There are exceptions, of course, because sometimes the Nazi label fittingly applies. Sometimes the lineage of a movement, institution or political figure can traced right back to the German fascist regime.

This is the case with today's environmentalism, according to a one-time British investment banker.

"If you look at what the Nazis were doing in the 1930s, in their environmental policies, virtually every theme you see in the modern environmental movement, the Nazis were doing," said Rupert Darwall, author of "Green Tyranny," in a recent interview with Encounter Books.

"I think actually the most extraordinary thing that I came across was this quote from Adolf Hitler where he told an aide once, 'I'm not interested in politics. I'm interested in changing people's lifestyles.' Well, that could be ... that's extraordinarily contemporary. That is what the modern environmental movement is all about. It's about changing people's lifestyles," said Darwall, who is no crackpot on the fringe and whose background includes duties as a special advisor to the United Kingdom's Chancellor of the Exchequer.

The Fuhrer's interest in "changing people's lifestyles" is, not at all shockingly, similar to the goals of today's climate fanatics who want to destroy capitalism and replace it with an economic system — run by them, naturally — that would certainly change lifestyles in the West.

Darwall further notes in the interview that "the Nazis were the first political party in the world to have a wind power program," and were also opposed to eating meat, a delightful and nutritious activity that the warming alarmists consider a sin.

When interviewer Ben Weingarten asks Darwall about the "link between Nazism and Communism, and the trajectory from that (initial) union to today's climate movement," the author provides a brief history lesson that is inconvenient for the alarmist community.

The union fits perfectly, of course, with the watermelon analogy that explains today's environmentalist excesses — green on the outside, red on the inside.

It also reminds us of the validated-many-times-over aphorism that when a socialist or communist is thrown out of the window of polite society, he returns through the front door as an environmentalist.

Darwall, who seems uninterested in sugarcoating his observations, also discusses "the 'shock troops' of the climate industrial complex," which he identifies as nongovernmental organizations such as "Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth," and other "large foundations," as well as "the Bill McKibbens of this world."

Other Nazi parallels with climate alarmists and radical environmentalists include their efforts "to delegitimize dissent" and bully "people into silence," and suppressing arguments "not by having an argument but just making sure you don't have an argument," Darwall says.

In other words, brand skeptics as "deniers" and "anti-science" rubes so they'll shut up.

Accusing its political opponents of being Nazis is an exhausted trick of the left. Think of how many times that President Trump has been called Hitler of late. It doesn't tax the imagination greatly, though, to presume that this could be done to cover the left's own kinship with fascism.


Australian PM firm on climate change, in shades of Donald Trump

Scott Morrison has mirrored Donald Trump’s tough stand with G20 leaders in his negotiations with the Pacific Island Forum over climate change and coal — and emerged stronger as a result.

Australia refused to accept a communique that might satisfy the emotional needs of some regional leaders but would jeopardise Australia’s economic and regional security interests.

The red lines set by Australia were met and the final communique did not overstep progress made by the UN conference regarding the IPCC’s report on 1.5C warming.

The communique pulled back from mentioning coal or what actions member countries should take. Instead, leaders reaffirmed climate change as the single greatest threat to the livelihoods, security and wellbeing of the peoples of the Pacific and their commitment to the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

Leaders acknowledged the challenge for the forum would be maintaining regional solidarity in the face of more intense political engagement, which may serve to divide the forum collective.

Along with other nations, Australia is being called upon to lift its ambition on climate change action before an already agreed timetable set for next year.

Mr Morrison’s challenge is not to allow Australia’s position to be misrepresented by vested interests. Australia has a story to tell on climate change action that is at stark odds with how it is often portrayed. Last year, Australia was among the world’s top investors in renewable energy in absolute terms and the biggest on a per capita basis.

Billions of dollars have been set aside for land-based programs, which are a big new focus for the IPCC.

A telling point before the backdown of demands at the Pacific Island Forum was that leaders asked for Australia to provide details on what it actually was doing.

The understanding of some leaders had to that point been informed by media reports.

The lack of support shown by New Zealand leader Jacinda Ardern for Australia will no doubt be remembered, but is of little real consequence.

In terms of regional politics, the bigger concern is the disconnect between demands being made of Australia on fossil fuels and those of its strategic competitor, China. Australia is reducing coal use and providing cleaner alternatives for regional neighbours. But there is no meaningful demand that China cut its fossil fuel use or begin to reduce emissions until 2030.

Between January and June, China’s energy regulator has given the go-ahead to build 141 million tonnes of new annual coal production.

Chinese coal output rose 2.6 per cent in the first half of this year to 1.76 billion tonnes, and the China State Grid Corporation last month forecast that total coal-fired capacity was to grow by 25 per cent.

Given the rising stakes in the “Blue Pacific”, Mr Morrison would have been foolish to accept any invitation to accelerate Australia’s self-harm.



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

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


Friday, August 16, 2019

How Climate Change is Damaging our Roadways

Bad weather certainly can damage roads but whether such weather is now more frequent has been widely disputed

The growing number of flooding and wildfire events, coupled with increasing temperatures, is causing concern for the lifecycle of our highways and bridges

Since 1950, the number of record high temperature events in the United States has been increasing, while the number of record low temperature events has been decreasing. The U.S. has also witnessed increasing numbers of intense rainfall events along with disastrous wildfires, both of which are causing scientists concern for our nation's roads and bridges.

Infrastructure networks are the backbone of cities. Ensuring their resilience has become a vital aspect of governing and managing an economically viable and liveable city, but climate change is having a large impact on them. Today's roads and bridges have largely been designed and operated for historical climate conditions that are regularly exceeded and these extreme weather events are only making matters worse.


Flooding is the most common and costly natural disaster in the United States, causing more than $830 billion in estimated losses since 2000. In addition to private property damage, deluges from hurricanes and other storms have washed out roads and bridges and flooded schools, hospitals and utilities. Events like the flooding of Interstate 10 in Phoenix in 2014, the Riverside County I-10 bridge washout in 2015 and Hurricanes Harvey and Maria in 2017 have revealed how vulnerable our transportation system can be to extreme flooding events.

Damages to roads and bridges caused by recent storms and flooding over the first half of 2019 are among the costliest in recent memory. Since January, FHWA officials directed $54.9 million in quick release funds to help states repair roads and bridges nationwide -- roughly three times higher than the $19.8 million awarded during the same period last year.

Climatic and extreme weather conditions affect the roadway infrastructure in a variety of ways and may increase exposure of roads, bridges and rails to environmental factors beyond original design considerations.

Storm Damage to Infrastructure Already Exceeds $1B in First Half of 2019


Recently, the California Department of Transportation (CALTRANS) has released new reports on the negative effects of climate change on the state’s highway system and infrastructure.

The reports, known as Climate Change Vulnerability Assessments, highlighted areas in Northern California and the Central Valley heavily impacted by extreme temperatures and frequent wildfires in recent years. The reports say extreme weather events association with climate change are already disrupting and damaging the state’s roadway infrastructure and has potential for more severe impacts in the future.

A previous vulnerability report conducted for the San Francisco Bay Area highlighted areas vulnerable to wildfire – combined with the resulting land erosion and flooding from storms – along with higher precipitation, sea level rise and storm surges.

That report showed that the 2016-2017 storm season caused severe flooding, landslides and coastal erosion totaling over $1.2 billion in highway damages statewide. Nearly $390 million of those damages occurred in the Bay Area.

Freeze/Thaw Cycles

A freeze thaw cycle occurs many times a year in northern climates and roadways are typically designed to withstand those changes.  These cycles happen when moisture falls through the cracks in the road during the winter and moisture is frozen in place. When water is frozen, it expands and that causes the cracks in the pavement to grow larger. This cycle continues to repeat throughout winter, with the water being re-thawed sinking further under the road, then re-freezing and causing the cracks to expand even further.

However, as temperatures fluctuate to extremes due to climate change, the impact on our roadways becomes more severe. This calls for a paradigm shift in the approach generally followed for designing pavements.

How Changing Climate is Impacting the Construction Industry
In the highway environment, the factors of climate, soil, water, pavement structure and traffic are known to interact in freezing and thawing situations to the detriment of pavements. The exact nature of the physical processes that take place and the pavement response to freezing action are not well understood and more research is needed to combat these impacts to our infrastructure.

Solution: Resilient Infrastructure Planning
The recently introduced America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act authorizes $287 billion over five years from the Highway Trust Fund to maintain and repair road and bridge infrastructure across the country. It also includes language and the funding means to address the impacts of climate change and extreme weather events on our roads.

What really our future really needs is resilience. According to World Bank, there is a significant economic opportunity from investing in resilient infrastructure: the overall net benefit of doing so in developing countries would be $4.2 trillion over the lifetime of new infrastructure.

The U.S. continues to spend slightly more than one trillion dollars of buildings and infrastructure a year (according 2017 statistics) designed based on codes and standards that do not explicitly account for a changing climate. The impact of which could be felt for decades.

US Infrastructure Unprepared to Face the Storms
Congress must require that infrastructure investments consider future risks for all aspects of climate change.

By implementing stronger flood safeguards across the federal government, states can limit damage, reduce the need to rebuild after floods and potentially save billions of dollars in the face of these increasing costly storms. That coupled with designing roadways that can better withstand extreme heat and cold will deliver opportunities to extend the life cycle of these expensive assets.


Expensive climate change programs hurt the poor most

A new study confirms what conservatives have long suspected: Expensive climate change programs, such as the Green New Deal, would hurt the poor the most.

Researchers from the Euro-Mediterranean Center for Climate Change estimate that if every country participating in the Paris climate accord actually fulfilled its greenhouse gas emission reduction pledges, more than 3 million people will be pushed into poverty. That’s on top of the 1 billion people around the world who still don’t have electricity or any of the benefits that come with it — like clean running water, refrigeration, modern medical care, and home heating.

Reliable, affordable energy has the power to lift people from poverty. Making that energy less accessible is a disservice to both the less fortunate and to the environment.

History has shown that economic prosperity and environmental quality go hand in hand. Though the environmentalist Left loves to hate fossil fuels, our air and water are cleaner than ever because of them. The EPA’s six key airborne pollutants, including lead and ozone, are down 74% since 1970 — the cleanest on record. Scientific advancements, fueled by affordable energy and a thriving free market, have made our businesses more efficient and improved environmental technology.

Meanwhile, the green groups’ claims that fighting climate change equals fighting economic inequality doesn’t hold weight.

Though it’s impossible to truly quantify the cost of a proposal as expansive and vague as the Green New Deal, one new report estimates that implementing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s pièce de résistance will cost up to $100,000 per household in the first year alone. That $100,000 isn’t the government’s money; it comes from the taxpayers who will also feel the strain on their wallets from higher electricity and fuel costs.

No country, state, or city has ever achieved 100% renewable energy, or even close, and costs have invariably gone up under programs attempting to force a switch to wind and solar. Paying more for energy doesn’t just mean a higher utility bill — those costs also balloon the price of essentially every transaction we could ever make. Living a safe, healthy, and comfortable life requires electricity, as does running a business.

When polled about climate change, Americans consistently say they aren’t willing to pay more to stave off the supposed watery doomsday on the horizon. An AP poll found that well over two-thirds of Americans wouldn’t consider paying just $10 more a month on their electricity bills. An even more damning poll in San Antonio, one of over 400 cities pledging to implement their own versions of the Paris accords, revealed more than half aren’t willing to pay a single penny.

It’s not that Americans don’t care about the environment; despite this poll data, climate change consistently ranks as a major policy concern. They recognize the costs simply aren’t worth strangling our economy and our quality of life.

The global reductions in greenhouse gas emissions proposed by the Paris Climate Accord, however unrealistic, are projected to reduce the temperature in 2100 by at most 0.17°. If we stop the temperature from rising two tenths of a degree but subject millions more people to poverty, will it have been worth it?

Protecting and preserving our natural environment should be a priority. But raging against climate change at the expense of human lives is no more than a pyrrhic victory.

The widespread adoption of fossil fuels coincides with the most rapid improvements in quality of life in recorded history, including life expectancy, hunger, education, infant mortality, child labor, economic freedom, gross domestic product, and more. The best path forward is to allow America to continue embracing our abundant, reliable, affordable energy to lift people here and abroad from poverty.

Politicians who claim their expensive environmental programs will solve economic injustice should take another look at the numbers.


3 Ways Trump’s New Regulations Will Better Protect Endangered Species

The Trump administration has just taken an important step in the effort to protect threatened and endangered species.

On Monday, the administration published final regulations that will improve implementation of the Endangered Species Act.

This law simply hasn’t worked. Over the law’s more than 45 years, only about 3% of the species listed as threatened or endangered have been removed from the list due to recovery.

To their credit, the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service decided to take action. They recognized that a significant part of the problem is connected to how they have implemented the law.

Here are three of their important changes.

1. No longer treating threatened species as if they were endangered.

The Endangered Species Act applies its most significant protections to species classified as “endangered,” including very stringent prohibitions against activities that would harm species or their habitats. This includes severe restrictions on how private property owners can use their land.

But for threatened species, the Endangered Species Act’s general rule is that these stringent prohibitions don’t apply.

Unfortunately, the Fish and Wildlife Service has implemented the law in the exact opposite fashion: The general rule is that these prohibitions do apply to threatened species.

This misguided approach hurts conservation efforts by diverting time and resources away from where they are most needed. It also removes important incentives for private property owners. For example, if the stringent prohibitions didn’t apply to threatened species, private property owners would have the incentive to protect these species from becoming endangered in order to avoid these stringent prohibitions.

Fortunately, the final regulations would require the Fish and Wildlife Service to properly follow the law and treat endangered and threatened species differently from each other. This would be consistent with what Congress intended and follows what the National Marine Fisheries Service has been doing successfully for years.

This change would have no impact on threatened species that have already been listed. This only applies to future listed species.

2. Promoting much-needed transparency.

The Endangered Species Act requires that science alone should determine whether to list a species. The costs of protecting a species has nothing to do with whether it is endangered or threatened.

However, the federal government has used this science-only requirement as an excuse to prohibit the identification of the benefits and costs of listing a species.

Based on the final regulations, the federal government would still make listing decisions without considering costs, but would start to identify and communicate the impacts of these listing decisions.

There is nothing novel about informing the public about cost data that isn’t used in agency decision-making. This is exactly what the Environmental Protection Agency does when designating the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

When legislators and the public know what the actual costs and benefits are for conserving species, they can better understand the Endangered Species Act and how existing law might be changed to achieve desired policy outcomes.

3. Stopping critical habitat designations that don’t help to conserve species.

Under the Endangered Species Act, the federal government designates critical habitat for listed species, which may include areas that are not occupied by the species. These unoccupied areas, however, must be essential to the conservation of the species.

The new final regulations would help to ensure any unoccupied areas are truly essential, and therefore help to prevent extreme situations, such as what happened in Louisiana.

In that case, the Fish and Wildlife Service determined that 1,544 acres of land in Louisiana was “critical habitat” for an endangered species known as the dusky gopher frog. This was despite the fact the dusky gopher frog has not been seen in Louisiana in over 50 years and couldn’t even survive on the property.

As the Pacific Legal Foundation’s Mark Miller, who represented the property owners in the case, recently stated, “The feds may as well have labeled this Louisiana property critical habitat for a polar bear. It would have done just as much good.”


The administration’s new final regulations are designed to better protect species. They may pose a problem for those who are more interested in blocking development than the welfare of threatened and endangered species. For those though who want to improve recovery efforts, these regulations are an important step forward.


EPA right to grant waivers to refiners under Renewable Fuel Standard

Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement praising the EPA for granting waivers to distressed oil refiners under the Renewable Fuel Standard:

“The Environmental Protection Agency is right to grant waivers to a limited number of distressed small U.S. oil refiners from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS.)  The RFS requires all refiners to blend biofuels like ethanol into gasoline or purchase credits from others that do in order to remain in business.  While these waivers might disappoint the corn lobby which would rather bankrupt small refiners through the cost of credits than give an inch in their demand for fealty to ethanol, the EPA’s waiver decision balances the mistaken federal government policy to promote burning corn in our automobile engines with the financial needs of refiners who foot the cost of adding corn to superior performing oil in making gasoline.”



Three current articles below

Australian radio jock blasts 'clown' New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern for lecturing Australia's PM on climate change

During the Pacific Islands Forum in Tuvalu - an independent island nation in the South Pacific - Ardern warned that the Morrison Government 'will have to answer to the Pacific' on global warming.

Morrison is under pressure from the 18 members of the forum to sign a statement which calls for the world to quickly stop using coal to fight global warming.

But the 2GB radio host urged Mr Morrison to fire back at New Zealand's leader, branding her a 'complete clown' after she pledged her nation would have a carbon neutral economy by 2015.

'She is a joke this woman, an absolute and utter light-weight. These people are an absolute joke and Jacinda Ardern is the biggest joke.'

This morning, Jones said of Ardern: 'Here she is preaching on global warming and saying that we've got to do something about climate change.

'If you want to talk about the figures… the fact is New Zealand's carbon dioxide has grown by 10.8 per cent per capita since 1990. Ours has grown by 1.8 per cent.' 

Many of Jones's listeners on Facebook were on board with his comments called Ms Ardern a 'lightweight'.

One fan said: 'Couldn’t agree more with Alan Jones. Tell it like it is. NZ must DUMP Ardern ASAP before the country loses all credibility.'

Jones doubled down on his position on climate change on Facebook, going on to accuse Ms Ardern of excluding agriculture and methane from her calculations, because they 'contribute half of New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions.'

'When it comes to fossil fuel power generation, coal, oil, gas, biomass - which is dirtier than Australian black coal - New Zealand gets 67.2 per cent; we get 84.8,' Jones said.

'But when it comes to wind and solar which she's in love with, we get 12.1 per cent, New Zealand 0.93 per cent.'

Jones claimed neither Australia or New Zealand slashing emissions would stop climate change. 

'The point is, no matter what either of us does, there will be no impact,' he said.

Ardern said New Zealand was committed to helping ensure the global temperature increase was kept to 1.5 degrees.

In Tuvalu on Wednesday, Morrison vouched that Australia would be a 'champion' for the environment in the Pacific.

However, reports have claimed the country's negotiators are working to water down an official communique about climate change. 


NZ Foreign Minister walks back Jacinda Ardern’s carbon challenge

Ardern depends on the support of Peters to stay in office so she will have to listen to his realistic comments and tone down her virtue signalling

NZ Foreign Minister Winston Peters has walked back his prime minister’s challenge to Scott Morrison to explain Australia’s position on climate change, saying Pacific nations need to look at the “big picture”, including China’s massive coal-fired economy.

The NZ deputy PM told ABC radio this morning that calls for Australia to “step-up” on climate change were a “bit of a paradox” as many Pacific countries were seeking cheap loans from China “on the back of coal-fired everything”.

Mr Peters’ comments came after PM Jacinda Ardern said every nation needed to “do its bit” to fight climate change, and “Australia has to answer to the Pacific” for its own emissions policies.

“There’s a big picture we have to contemplate where we have to ensure that when we act in this big picture, we act with consistency and integrity,” Mr Peters said.

The Foreign Minister acknowledged that the island nations were desperately concerned about their long-term longevity, but said China’s emissions also needed to be factored into the discussion.

“You need to look at everybody, not just Australia, but also who is getting that coal and what things they are doing with it.”

He encouraged Pacific Islands Forum leaders meeting in Tuvalu to “look at all the details”, and downplayed concerns Mr Morrison was out of step with his counterparts.

In conciliatory comments after Ms Ardern said Australia would be held accountable by the Pacific for its emissions policies, Mr Peters said he was “slightly worried” there was an outward perception Mr Morrison was “somehow acting incorrectly” when that wasn’t the “real picture at all.”

PIF leaders this morning went into a retreat to negotiate the final wording of the Fanufuti Declaration, which small island states want to include a strong statement about transitioning away from coal, limiting temperatures to 1.5 degrees, and replenishing the UN’s Green Climate Fund.

Mr Morrison, who is pushing back against all three demands while simultaneously defending his “Pacific step-up”, told counterparts the nation’s “coal dependency has been falling”, and “record renewables investments” was underway across Australia.

It’s understood he will contrast China’s environmental performance, including its massive reliance on coal-fired power, to that of Australia.

China has 981,000MW of installed coal generation capacity, compared to Australia’s 25,150MW.

Mr Morrison has committed an extra $500 million this week to Pacific climate change resilience projects, on top of $300 million announced by the Turnbull government.

Ms Ardern today announced she would set aside $150m of New Zealand’s $300m global climate change development assistance to the Pacific, but did not provide additional funding.

When asked whether Australia was at risk of alienating Pacific nations because of its climate change stance, Mr Peters said the island countries should remember Australia has been a “great neighbour” to the Pacific. “They should remember who has been their long term and short term friends,” he said.


Easy for NZ PM to point the finger at Australian climate policy

Demanding Australia abandon its coal production and exports for the good of the climate in the ­Pacific is akin to asking New Zealan­d to give up its love affair with sheep.

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is naive if she believe­s such moves would be economically feasible or in the best interests of regional stability.

New Zealand under Ardern may be a poster child at this week’s Pacific Islands Forum for setting a 2050 ambition for her country’s carbon neutrality.

But it has only been possible because less than 20 per cent of New Zealand’s electricity comes from fossil fuels and its biggest source of emissions, agriculture, has been given a free pass.

Most New Zealand power comes from hydro, geothermal and, increasingly, wind.

In terms of historic performance, New Zealand just scraped through the first Kyoto round of emissions cuts and failed to sign up to a legally binding target for the second. New Zealand parted company with Europe and Aust­ralia and instead joined Japan, Canada and Russia in a non-binding commitment for 2020.

In 2015, after barely securing a surplus in credits for Kyoto’s first ­period, New Zealand said it would apply the 123.7 million unit excess to its non-binding 2020 emissions reduction target — something it now criticises Australia for wanting to do with the Paris Agreement. Greenhouse gas emissions figures are notoriously difficult to compare because of different treatments of land-use contributions. But without taking these into account it is clear that ­Australia’s challenge is 10 times bigger than that of New Zealand.

Figures compiled by the European Commission show Australia’s emissions without land use rose to 402 million tonnes in 2017, up from 275 million in 1990. New Zealand’s comparative emissions were 36.8 million tonnes in 2017, up from 24 million tonnes in 1990.

For perspective, China’s emissions were 10.9 billion tonnes.

The UN Green Climate Fund is another case in point. Australia gave the body $200 million between 2015 and last year but has pulled out after a meltdown in governance and confidence.

Climate groups are asking Australia to up its contribution to $400m a year. But Scott Morrison has made clear he would prefer to ­direct spending through the ­Pacific region.

New Zealand’s contribution to the Green Climate Fund was a tiny $3m by comparison, but Aust­ralia’s $500m contribution to regional projects, through a partia­l rebadging of foreign aid, did not win it any points.

The hard fact for Australia is that Pacific neighbours represent a potent force in the geopolitics of global climate change negotiations and enjoy a close alliance with non-government groups.

WWF said Australia’s $500m in Pacific funding must be accompanied by a plan to reach net zero emissions by 2050. This means ­reducing domestic emissions by 45 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030 and phasing out thermal coal export­s by the same year.

Including a ban on coal ­exports, the nation’s biggest export­ earner, would make the challenge all the more difficult for Australia. As a result, Australia’s strategic ambitions in the Pacific region more broadly have been caught up in other concerns.



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

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here