Thursday, December 12, 2019

Madrid and Lessons From Three Decades Of Failed Climate Policy

by Judith Curry

The UN Climate Conference (COP25) is beginning today in Madrid.  I’ve been invited to write an op-ed for a newspaper in Madrid, which I assume will be published sometime this week (in Spanish).  Below is the text of my op-ed.

JC op-ed

The UN Climate Change Conference this week in Madrid provides an important opportunity to reflect on state of the public debate surrounding climate change.

Most of the world’s governments are prioritizing energy security, affordability and industrial competitiveness over commitments made for the Paris climate agreement. Even if these countries were on track to meet their commitments, a majority of the national pledges are totally insufficient to meet the Paris targets. At the same time, we are hearing increasingly shrill rhetoric from Extinction Rebellion and other activists about the ‘existential threat’ of the ‘climate crisis’, ‘runaway climate chaos’, etc.

There is a growing realization that Paris climate agreement is inadequate for making a meaningful dent in slowing down the anticipated warming. And the real societal consequences of climate change and extreme weather events remain largely unaddressed.

How have we arrived at this point? For the past three decades, the climate policy ‘cart’ has been way out in front of the scientific ‘horse’. The 1992 Climate Change treaty was signed by 190 countries before the balance of scientific evidence suggested even a discernible observed human influence on global climate. The 1997 Kyoto Protocol was implemented before we had any confidence that most of the recent warming was caused by humans. There has been tremendous political pressure on the scientists to present findings that would support these treaties, which has resulted in a drive to manufacture a scientific consensus on the dangers of manmade climate change.

Fossil fuel emissions as the climate ‘control knob’ is a simple and seductive idea. However this is a misleading oversimplification, since climate can shift naturally in unexpected ways. Apart from uncertainties in future emissions, we are still facing a factor of 3 or more uncertainty in the sensitivity of the Earth’s temperature to increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. We have no idea how natural climate variability (solar, volcanoes, ocean circulations) will play out in the 21st century, and whether or not natural variability will dominate over manmade warming.

We still don’t have a realistic assessment of how a warmer climate will impact us and whether it is ‘dangerous.’ We don’t have a good understanding of how warming will influence extreme weather events.  Land use and exploitation by humans is a far bigger issue than climate change for species extinction and ecosystem health. Local sea level rise has many causes, and is dominated by sinking from land use in many of the most vulnerable locations.

We have been told that the science of climate change is ‘settled’. However, in climate science there has been a tension between the drive towards a scientific ‘consensus’ to support policy making, versus exploratory research that pushes forward the knowledge frontier. Climate science is characterized by a rapidly evolving knowledge base and disagreement among experts. Predictions of 21st century climate change are characterized by deep uncertainty.

Nevertheless, activist scientists and the media seize upon each extreme weather event as having the fingerprints of manmade climate change — ignoring the analyses of more sober scientists showing periods of even more extreme weather in the first half of the 20th century, when fossil fuel emissions were much smaller.

Alarming press releases are issued about each new climate model prediction of future catastrophes from famine, mass migrations, catastrophic fires, etc. Yet, these press releases don’t mention that these predicted catastrophes are associated with highly implausible assumptions about how much we might actually emit over the course of the 21st century. Further, issues such as famine, mass migrations and wildfires are caused primarily by government policies and ineptitude, lack of wealth and land use policies. Climate change matters, but it’s outweighed by other factors in terms of influencing human well being.

We have been told that climate change is an ‘existential crisis.’ However, based upon our current assessment of the science, the climate threat is not an existential one, even in its most alarming hypothetical incarnations. However, the perception of manmade climate change as a near-term apocalypse and has narrowed the policy options that we’re willing to consider.

We have not only oversimplified the problem of climate change, but we have also oversimplified its ‘solution’. Even if you accept the climate model projections and that warming is dangerous, there is disagreement among experts regarding whether a rapid acceleration away from fossil fuels is the appropriate policy response. In any event, rapidly reducing emissions from fossil fuels and ameliorating the adverse impacts of extreme weather events in the near term increasingly looks like magical thinking.

Climate change – both manmade and natural – is a chronic problem that will require centuries of management.

The extreme rhetoric of the Extinction Rebellion and other activists is making political agreement on climate change policies more difficult.  Exaggerating the dangers beyond credibility makes it difficult to take climate change seriously. The monomaniacal focus on elimination of fossil fuel emissions distracts our attention from the primary causes of many of our problems and effective solutions.

Common sense strategies to reduce vulnerability to extreme weather events, improve environmental quality, develop better energy technologies, improve agricultural and land use practices, and better manage water resources can pave the way for a more prosperous and secure future. Each of these solutions is ‘no regrets’ – supporting climate change mitigation while improving human well being. These strategies avoid the political gridlock surrounding the current policies and avoid costly policies that will have minimal near-term impacts on the climate. And finally, these strategies don’t require agreement about the risks of uncontrolled greenhouse gas emissions.

We don’t know how the climate of the 21st century will evolve, and we will undoubtedly be surprised. Given this uncertainty, precise emissions targets and deadlines are scientifically meaningless. We can avoid much of the political gridlock by implementing common sense, no-regrets strategies that improve energy technologies, lift people out of poverty and make them more resilient to extreme weather events.


Skeptical Climate ‘Talking Points’ 36-Page Report Released at UN Climate Summit in Madrid

Selected Excerpts:

INTRODUCTION: Global warming hype and hysteria continue to dominate the news media, academia, schools, the United Nations, and the U.S. government. The Green New Deal being pushed on Capitol Hill and in the 2020 presidential race is based upon “solving” an alleged “climate crisis.”

Teen school-skipping climate activists are testifying to the U.S. Congress and the United Nations and young children are being recruited for lawsuits against the U.S. government for its alleged climate “inaction.” The phrase ‘climate emergency’ has emerged as the favorite for climate campaigners.

But the arguments put forth by global warming advocates grossly distort the true facts on a host of issues, ranging from rising sea levels and record temperatures to melting polar caps and polar bears, among others. In short, there is no “climate crisis” or a “climate emergency.”

The UN, climate activists, the media, and academia are using the climate scare as an opportunity to lobby for their alleged “solutions” which require massive government expansion and central planning.

This talking points memo is designed to arm people with the voices of the rising number of scientists, the latest data, peer-reviewed studies on key facts so they can better engage in climate change debate with those advocating the UN/Al Gore/Green New Deal positions.

The global warming movement has morphed into a coalition of “climate cause deniers.” They deny the hundreds of causes and variables that influence climate change and instead try to pretend that carbon dioxide is the climate “control knob” overriding all the others factors and they pretend that every bad weather even it somehow “proof” of their “global warming.”

Footnotes and weblinks are provided to source material in this document.

Claims of an alleged “97% consensus” of scientists are “pulled from thin air”

Despite former Vice President Al Gore’s claim in 2019 that “It’s beyond consensus of 99 percent of the scientists,” the facts say otherwise. There is absolutely no scientific “consensus” about catastrophic man-made climate change. Claims that 97 or 99 percent of scientists agree are not backed up by any “credible” study or poll.

UN IPCC lead author Dr. Richard Tol: “The 97% is essentially pulled from thin air, it is not based on any credible research whatsoever.”

Princeton Professor Emeritus of Physics William Happer in 2017 drew parallels to the “consensus” on witches. “I don’t see a whole lot of difference between the consensus on climate change and the consensus on witches. At the witch trials in Salem the judges were educated at Harvard. This was supposedly 100 percent science. The one or two people who said there were no witches were immediately hung. Not much has changed,” Happer quipped.

CO2 is not the “control knob” of the climate

There is a lack of connection between higher levels of CO2 and warming.  During the Ice Age, CO2 levels were 10 times higher than they are today.

There are many, many factors which impact climate – including volcanoes, wind oscillations, solar activity, ocean cycles, volcanoes, tilt of the Earth’s axis, and land use. CO2 is just one factor, and not the control knob of the climate.

University of Pennsylvania geologist Dr. Robert Giegengack has declared, “CO2 is not the villain that it has been portrayed.”

Today’s levels of roughly 400 parts per million (PPM) of CO2 are not alarming.  In geologic terms, today’s CO2 levels are among the lowest in earth’s history.

“Climate change is governed by hundreds of factors, or variables, and the very idea that we can manage climate change predictably by understanding and manipulating at the margins one politically selected factor (CO2), is as misguided as it gets. Its scientific nonsense,” University of London professor emeritus Philip Stott has noted.

There is no “climate emergency”

Princeton Physicist Dr. Will Happer, a former Trump Science Advisor ripped the claims of a “climate emergency” in 2019.  “We are here [at the UN climate summit in Madrid] under false pretenses, wasting our time talking about a non-existent ‘climate emergency.’”  Happer explained from Madrid. “It’s hard to understand how much further the shrillness can go as this started out as ‘global warming’ then it was ‘climate change’ or ‘global weirding’,  ‘climate crisis’, ‘climate emergency’. What next? But stick around it will happen. I hope sooner or later enough people recognize the holiness of this bizarre environmental cult and bring it to an end.”

Go Socialist or Die!? The Age of the ‘Climate Emergency’ – UN, Universities, Cities, & Now Congress?!  to declare ‘Climate Emergency’ – Gore & Streisand helped pioneer phrase

University of Colorado’s Dr. Roger Pielke Jr. explained how the UN helped shape the hysterical nonsense of a ‘climate emergency.”  The UN IPCC switched to “extreme scenarios” in the most recent report and thus “helped to create the climate apocalypse, a scary but imaginary future,” Pielke explained in 2019.


Exxon Found 'Not Guilty' in Politically Motivated Climate Change Suit

The state of New York sued American oil giant Exxon Mobile for withholding the "true costs" of climate change from investors. In fact, the charges used to be much broader when the suit was filed by the New York attorney general 4 years ago. At that time, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman claimed that Exxon knew about the impact of climate change but failed to inform shareholders.

But even the reduced charges didn't fly with the judge. New York Supreme Court Justice Barry Ostrager not only ruled that Exxon did not mislead investors, but that the AG office lied about producing investors as witnesses who had actually been harmed by the company's "lies."


“The Office of the Attorney General failed to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that ExxonMobil made any material misstatements or omissions about its practices and procedures that misled any reasonable investor,” Ostrager wrote in his ruling.

“The office of the Attorney General produced no testimony from any investor who claimed to have been misled by any disclosure, even though the Office of the Attorney General had previously represented it would call such individuals as trial witnesses,” he added.

Not proving that any investor had been materially harmed by Exxon's actions was critical. It basically meant that the state had absolutely no grounds to bring the suit in the first place.

The $1.6 billion suit brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James alleged that Exxon deceived investors about the true cost of climate change. The trial, which began in October and was the first climate fraud suit to go to trial, was the result of a four-year investigation.

“Today’s ruling affirms the position ExxonMobil has held throughout the New York Attorney General’s baseless investigation,” Exxon spokesperson Casey Norton said in a statement. “We provided our investors with accurate information on the risks of climate change. The court agreed that the Attorney General failed to make a case, even with the extremely low threshold of the Martin Act in its favor,” he added.

The AG was aided by anti-fossil fuel groups and contingency-fee lawyers who helped trump up the charges against Exxon.

When he took the stand on Oct. 30, former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson said that the company tried to understand the impact of climate change, and tried to accurately communicate this impact to shareholders. Exxon said the case was misleading and politically motivated, and the result of a coordinated effort by anti-fossil fuel groups.

“Lawsuits that waste millions of dollars of taxpayer money do nothing to advance meaningful actions that reduce the risks of climate change. ExxonMobil will continue to invest in researching breakthrough technologies to reduce emissions while meeting society’s growing demand for energy,” Norton added.

The legal fight to force fossil fuel companies out of business is just starting. There are dozens of similar lawsuits brought by other states and cities as well as liability suits brought by class action lawyers. This is lawfare writ large and it remains to be seen how successful any of them will be.


Global warning: Facts are facing extinction

Andrew Bolt, writing from Australia

CHILD messiah Greta Thunberg was excited: "500,000 people marched in Madrid last night ... The world is slowly waking up to the climate and environmental crisis."

No, what the world should be waking up to this: Facts are now dead. Rarely have I seen newspapers report exaggerations on the scale I saw after the weekend rally by global warming hysterics, many of them young: "Organisers claimed 500,000 people turned out for the march, but authorities in Madrid put the number at 15,000."

The Washington Post, puzzled, added that there was "no immediate explanation for the disparity in the count". But there is. It's that facts no longer count. What counts is the myth. That's why Thunberg is today's great goddess, treated as an oracle by the United Nations.

She's just 16, refuses to go to school, claims her Asperger's is a "superpower", and is ascribed such mystical powers that her mother even claims "she can see carbon dioxide with the naked eye ... how it flows out of chimneys".

Here is a symbol of a new invincible ignorance — a refusal to even engage with facts and arguments. No wonder Thunberg particularly inspires children, the least educated and most dogmatic.

But this giddy disregard for facts now infects even the smartest adults. Take Therese Rein, who is not just the wife of former prime minister Kevin Rudd, but a very rich businesswoman. Even she joined in blaming Prime Minister Scott Morrison for the NSW bushfires, tweeting. "Parts of NSW on fire at least in part because your party has blocked, and also not initiated, effective climate change policies ... Time to repent"

Time to repent? That's the hot language of faith, not the cool of reason. The science is clear. Morrison can do nothing to change the world's climate and stop fires. Australia is just too small to make a difference.

Rein and other critics such as Malcolm Turnbull are plainly irrational to suggest Morrison could dial down some giant thermostat. Is there any point in also showing that the fires aren't caused by global warming, and that a recent NASA study shows fires are now burning less land, not more?

No, facts have lost their power ever since postmodernism conquered our universities and reassured the stupid they were mere social constructs. Even conspiracies.

To mention facts now is no longer to bring light into darkness, but to set fire to your reputation.

From the Brisbane "Courier Mail" of 9 December, 2019

'We've had bushfires in Australia for 60,000 years': Mark Latham slams State environment minister for breaking rank and blaming fires on climate change

One Nation state leader Mark Latham has slammed the NSW Environment Minister for blaming extreme weather conditions, bushfires and smoke clouds on climate change.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian has refused to be drawn into a climate debate for the length of the fire season, but her Environment Minister Matt Kean on Tuesday said 'no-one can deny' climate change is to blame. Mr Kean was a speaker at the Smart Energy Summit in Sydney on Tuesday, as the Sydney basin was choked by thick, grey smoke.

But Mr Latham told 2GB's Steve Price the comments were 'opportunistic' and didn't take into account Australia's long history with extreme weather. 'In Australia, we've had bushfires for 60,000 years,' he said.

'We've had fires in Sydney before... to be making a political argument relevant to the minister's portfolio defies the proper respect for firefighters themselves,' he said.

Mr Price agreed with the argument, telling listeners he 'couldn't believe' the comments when he heard them. 'What does climate change have to do with arsonists lighting fires?,' he asked.

'What does science say about governments who haven't built a dam in decades and have screwed up water policy to the point where there is no water policy?' 

The air quality in the harbour city was 11 times more than what is considered as a hazardous level. The state's health authorities warned the 'grotty' smoke pollution was a recipe for severe illness.

Particulate readings of 778 for PM2.5 in Mona Vale on the city's north-east coast meant the suburb had the highest reported pollution levels in the world on Tuesday morning. By comparison, Shanghai had a PM2.5 level of 188 while Hong Kong had a reading of just 135 at midday.

Mr Kean said the weather patterns were 'exactly what scientists warned would happen,' Sydney Morning Herald reported. 'We need to reduce our carbon emissions immediately, and we need to adapt our practices to deal with this kind of weather becoming the new normal,' Mr Kean said.

He commented on the low visibility in the harbour city on Tuesday, where it was so low that Sydney ferries were forced to stop running, while smoke infiltrated train stations and set off fire alarms, causing havoc for the public transport system.

Despite Mr Kean's comments, Premier Berejiklian again wouldn't draw any links between the weather and climate change.

'The smoke blanketing Sydney is simply shocking,' Ms Berejiklian said. 'I urge everyone to please follow the advice given by our health experts. Even if you are not directly affected, chances are someone close to you is.'



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, December 11, 2019

Explaining Extreme Events from a Climate Perspective

Just one little word sinks the boat. Rubric below.  As Luther said long ago in a famous hymn: ein Wörtlein kann ihn fällen. And note that Luther was talking about the Devil.

These galoots know that what they are attempting to do is impossible.  They have not nearly got the data they need to arrive at firm conclusions

This BAMS special report presents assessments of how human-caused climate change MAY have affected the strength and likelihood of individual extreme events.

The desiccating Four Corners drought, intense heat waves on the Iberian peninsula and in northeast Asia, exceptional precipitation in the Mid-Atlantic states, and record-low sea ice in the Bering Sea were 2018 extreme weather events made more likely by human-caused climate change, according to new research published today in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS).

The eighth edition of the report, Explaining Extreme Events in 2018 from a Climate Perspective, presents 21 new peer-reviewed analyses of extreme weather across five continents and one sea during 2018. It features the research of 121 scientists from 13 countries looking at both historical observations and model simulations to determine whether and by how much climate change may have influenced particular extreme events.


COP 25: Climate Alarmists wage a war of words, but where’s the beef?

Looking back, the climate alarmist’s movement started with Al Gore’s 2007 movie when he proclaimed the eminent extinction of the polar bears due to global warming. Since the population of polar bears has blossomed over the last decade, we’ve yet to hear another word from Al Gore on that subject.

The doomsday forecasters are now grasping at new names to rebrand the movement. What was once global warming, is now climate change, climate disaster, global meltdown, climate collapse, scorched earth, climate emergency, and the latest movement, “we don’t have time”. Like Gore’s initial predictions, all the tweets lack the basis for their dismal projections.

The parents of millennials may remember from the late 1950’s this best-known quote “Just the facts, ma’am.” from Sgt. Joe Friday with the TV series Dragnet. A few decades later there was Clara Peller who was a manicurist and American character actress who, at the age of 81, starred in the 1984 “Where’s the beef?”  advertising campaign for the Wendy’s fast food restaurant chain.

The short emotional tweets from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) with 5.9 million followers, Greta Thunberg with 3 million followers, Al Gore’s 3.1 million followers, Tom Steyer’s 250 thousand followers, and Jane Fonda’s 500 thousand followers, all bumble about the doomsday that’s coming.

The tweets are void of any “beef or facts” as to what’s going to cause this forthcoming demise. They tweet rhetorical questions and emotional statements, and the millions of followers being brainwashed with scaremongering dogma slurp it up, as environmentalism has become the new religion.

The alarmism over global warming, climate change, etc., is at the forefront of these tweeted fear tactics, but when such alarmist conclusions are openly rebutted, the rebutters are being besieged with oratory that 97 percent of “all” scientists, and even the non-scientific community of 175+ organizations active on climate change believe mankind has played a role in changing the earth’s climate.

I have two problems with that 97 percent claim, 1) common sense tells us that no large group of people on our planet could ever reach 97 percent agreement on anything, even the world being round, and 2) shockingly, none of the scientists of the 97 seem to have a name, it’s just a holistic group of no-names!

It seems that none of these “97” are able to “talk” specifically about selective microscopic sound bites from vast data that are the supposedly the basis of these dire warnings about time running out and the idea of a 12-year deadline for the annihilation of life as we currently know it.

Of the almost 8 billion people living on this planet, we know that 80% of them, or more than 6 billion, are living on less than $10 a day. Obviously, those poor in underdeveloped countries cannot afford to subsidize themselves out of a paper bag and continue to use what’s readily available – coal.

It must be the other 20 percent of the population, or about 1.6 billion, in developed countries that are the targets of these climate alarmists rebranding efforts. The tweeters are promoting a global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty.

Yet, it’s that same 20% that have come out of poverty in the last one hundred years as a result of what those deep earth mineral and fuels have provided society, enhancing their lives and improving their standard of living. Basically, the same fossil fuels that are being deprived from the other 80 percent that now live in abject poverty with no hope of reaping the benefits of what prosperous societies are enjoying.

The folks in prosperous societies that have embraced and increased their production of fossil energy have been amply rewarded with greater economic development and growth, and a healthier society. Virtually all diseases are now under control with medications and medical equipment that was not available in the 1800’s, before fossil fuels starting to run everyone’s lives. Today, we can live in any weather condition and we’ve got military equipment, airlines, merchant ships, cruise ships, truck and cars all over the world that dominate the lifestyles of prosperous societies.

The fossil fuel industry would not be needed except to meet the demands of the current users in those prosperous societies. My belief is that those users are less inclined to go back to living in medieval times without all the amenities that the thousands of products and the various fuels that the fossil fuel industry have been able to fulfill in their daily lives.

I presume the alarmists that constantly refuse to surface from behind their tweet machines to debate is because they have no case to debate the facts that they are using to justify their growing alarmist vocabulary. Unless there’s a face to face debate with the supposedly deniers, that have more data than words, we’ll never hear both sides of the climate discussions.

It’s definitely time for the alarmists to show us “where’s the beef” behind their tweets and marches, so the public can decide for themselves to consider the data from each side or just continue to accept the barrage of tweeted words of impending climate disasters that will end life as we know it.

From the extensive data available on temperatures, weather, sea levels, emissions, etc. that several scientists have shared, I don’t see the cause for such a dismal outlook for the earth and its civilization. I suspect that classifies me as a “denier”. I’m willing to join the doomsday parade, but only if the tweeters would come out from behind their tweet machines and “show their cards”. Looking forward to face-to-face discussions.


Britain’s Political Class Has Surrendered to the Green Blob

The entirety of Britain’s political class, left and right, has surrendered to the Green Blob. Here is how the various parties responded to a question from the Guardian: ‘Is the climate crisis the biggest issue the UK faces as a nation?’

Conservatives: Yes, it is one of the biggest issues facing the world. Thanks to the efforts of successive governments, the UK has cut carbon emissions by more than any similar developed country. We have also already doubled our support for developing nations to tackle climate change.

Greens: Absolutely. The science is clear: it is the biggest threat facing the UK and the world.

Labour: Yes and this election is our last chance to tackle it. We’re already off course to meet our targets and radical and urgent action over the next five years is essential.

Liberal Democrats: Yes, a Liberal Democrat government would solve Brexit on day one, so climate change would be the biggest issue.

SNP: Scotland – like the rest of the world – faces a climate emergency. We have a moral responsibility to tackle climate change and will lead the way in showing how our society can transition to net zero.

As you see, there is not a single mainstream party left in Britain that is prepared to stand up to eco-fascism.

There is no credible evidence whatsoever that the world is facing a ‘climate crisis’, still less that it is ‘the biggest issue the UK faces as a nation?’ (What? Not Brexit? Immigration? Healthcare? Knife Crime? The Economy?)

Yet all the main parties, even the Conservatives, have bought into the false narrative written by the kind of people who hate them and always will.

I analysed the green phenomenon in my book Watermelons and concluded that the primary purpose of environmentalism is to advance leftist causes – wealth redistribution, bigger government, identity politics, the destruction of Western industrial civilisation, the promotion of commissar-style ‘experts’ and technocrats, state-mandated restrictions on freedom – behind a cloak of green righteousness. Watermelons: green on the outside, red on the inside.

The only choice British voters are being offered is one of degrees: do you support unaffordable, uncosted, economically debilitating green lunacy or do you support head-banging, window-licking, away-with-the-fairies green lunacy or some shade of green lunacy in between?

Not even the Brexit Party has been prepared to talk sense on this issue. Yes, Nigel Farage has been robust. But not his party, as I reported with some disappointment, here.

This cowardice in the face of perhaps the world’s most dangerous ideological movement is something we shall all come to rue.

Already, we inhabit such a bonkers climate of environmental righteousness, that the Guardian feels able to ask questions like this of Britain’s political parties:

Will your government implement a policy to reduce red meat consumption in the UK?

And instead of getting a two-word response from the Conservatives, the second which is ‘off!’, the actual response from the Conservatives is, as follows:

"Conservatives: The meat that British farmers produce is already significantly less carbon-intensive than meat produced elsewhere in the world. We will back our farmers to match their own net zero by 2040 ambition with funding to develop new agri-tech to reduce emissions and farm in an even more environmentally friendly way."

Why do the Conservatives pander to the enemy in this way? It ought to be a straightforward Conservative position that it is not the business of government to interfere with people’s diets. Since when did the Conservatives so lose touch with their ideological first principles that they are now prepared to treat insinuating, loaded questions like this from the Guardian with anything other than total contempt?

I hear nasty rumours that once the Conservatives have won this election, as I believe they will with a decent working majority, they plan to put Michael Gove in charge of implementing their Zero Carbon by 2050 policy.

Britain’s contribution to global carbon dioxide emissions is about one percent. What is the point of putting one of the ablest ministers in government in charge of an economically destructive, environmentally pointless crusade to decarbonise the UK economy when, within a year, any notional benefits will have been more than offset by China’s new coal-fired power stations?

Even if we decarbonised completely, (at our enormous expense) nobody would ever notice.

Especially as big countries like China and India are totally unfazed about CO2 and burning coal and gas as fast as they can get it.

Is it any wonder so many natural Conservative voters are so unenthused about their party’s direction of travel?


Tighter Climate Policies Could Erase $2.3 Trillion in Companies Value

 Tighter government climate regulations by 2025 could wipe up to $2.3 trillion off the value of companies in industries ranging from fossil fuel producers to agriculture and car makers, an investor group warned in a report.

Rules aimed at lowering carbon emissions are expected to accelerate in the coming years as countries scramble to meet obligations under the 2015 Paris climate agreement limiting global warming.

Any abrupt policy shifts risk severely disrupting current investment strategies, U.N.-backed Principles of Responsible Investing (PRI), a group representing investors with $86 trillion of assets under management, said in a report.

"As the realities of climate change catch up, social pressure mounts, and low carbon solutions get cheaper, it's highly improbable that governments will be allowed to let the world sleep-walk into greater rises in temperature without being compelled into forceful action sooner," PRI Chief Executive Fiona Reynolds said.

"This poses huge threats for assets and for the wider system."

Most exposed is the fossil fuel sector which could lose one third of its current value, the report said. Fossil fuels account for around two thirds of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Coal firms could lose as much as 44% in value, while the world's top oil and gas companies risk losing up to 31% of their current market share, according the report which forecasts oil demand peaking around 2027.

The analysis showed that broad index-based funds such as the iShares MSCI ACWI ETF could lose up to 4.5% or $2.3 trillion in its value under the most extreme scenario.

The shift would nevertheless also lead to winners. Auto makers heavily invested in electric vehicles and electric utility firms using low-carbon power could more than double their values, the report said.

The report came out as world leaders meet in Madrid for the 2019 United Nations climate change conference, known as COP25.


The miserable ghost is a pot calling the kettle black

If Warmism is not a religion, nothing is

Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has launched a scathing attack on Scott Morrison's government for making religion a central issue of the climate change debate.

After being largely absent from the political scene since being ousted from the nation's top job, Mr Turnbull appeared on Monday night's Q&A program.

When asked about the bushfire crises, Mr Turnbull said a better plan was necessary as we will see 'more fires and hotter fires' due to global warming.

He then steered the topic to the collapse of his prime ministership over the controversial National Energy Guarantee plan.

'There is a group within the Liberal Party and the National Party who deny the reality of climate change,' Mr Turnbull said. 'And will oppose to the point of essentially blowing up a government, my government in this case, if there is action taken to reduce emissions - and we saw that.'

Mr Turnbull said that while Mr Morrison and current treasurer Josh Frydenberg were supportive of the energy policy, the government was being 'held to ransom by a group of deniers within the party'. 

'The problem is that people… on the right, they are treating what should be a question of physics and science and economics and engineering as though it were an issue of religion and belief... and it's nuts,' Mr Turnbull said.


Note: Turnbull once said that defeated politicians who fail to shut up are "miserable ghosts"


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

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


Tuesday, December 10, 2019

No time for science at COP25

The official signage throughout the UN facility reads “COP25: #TimeForAction”. Not “COP25: #TheLatestScience”. Not “COP25: #PursuingTruth”. No, it is “#TimeForAction”. And the “Time for Action” theme permeates the exhibits of climate activist groups, protesters, and even the exhibit booths of the various nations. Action is our theme, gosh darn it, and everybody better be on board.COP 25: Climate propaganda crowds at objective science

With the UN so fully committed to urgent and immediate action, what does that tell us about the objectivity of its incessant ‘science’ reports? The answer is clearly that all reports must diminish or completely ignore scientific evidence countering the alarmist narrative. The funding, forward momentum, and very existence of the international climate bureaucracy depends on the perpetuation of the asserted climate crisis. Not only does scientific evidence contradicting the alarmist narrative create substantial embarrassment for a world body committed to “TimeForAction,” but it jeopardizes the jobs, salaries, and very existence of the enormous international climate bureaucracy.

So here at COP25, the United Nations pushes political propaganda rather than objective science. To the limited extent science is presented, it is one-sided and resting on flimsy evidence.

The people of the world deserve more for all the tax dollars we send to the United Nations climate establishment.


French wine climate scare debunked

Wine must be getting more popular, as climate alarmists are increasingly claiming global warming is harming wine production. That is the consistent playbook for climate alarmists – figure out what people like and then claim climate change is destroying it.

During recent months, climate alarmists and their media sock puppets have frequently been claiming global warming is devastating French wine production. Titles of some recent media articles include:

“Heat-stricken French wine harvests sound climate alarm” – Reuters

“Can French wine survive the climate change fiasco? – RFI France

“Winemaking In France Is Being Disrupted By Climate Change” – NPR

However, just as we have shown for previous false wine scares regarding California, Italy, and Greece, the objective data show French wine production consistently benefits from ongoing warming temperatures.

As we reported as part of a recent article addressing the fake Greek wine crisis:

Global wine production set a new record last year. Even more remarkably, wine production set a new record despite a steady decline during the past five years in the amount of planted vineyards. Fewer acres of vineyards yielding record total production is astonishingly good news for wine production. Italy was the largest producer.

So could it be that somehow France is defying the global trend – as well as the trends in nearby Italy and Greece – and somehow French wine production is suffering? Hardly.

Not only is global wine production improving throughout the world, it is also improving in France. French wine production approached record highs in 2018, recovering from the negative impacts of late spring frosts in 2017 (a negative event that will become rarer if temperatures continue their modest recent rise) that hampered production. See here.

Perhaps global warming is actually harming French wine production … in some alternate universe. However, in the world we live in, French wine production continues to improve as the Earth modestly warms. Despite the lies the climate alarmists and their media mouthpieces tell us.


Carbon Policies Are ‘Futile Gesture Politics’

A prominent economist says that Britain’s climate and energy policies are ‘futile gesture politics’, and will fail to bring about any change to the climate.

Dr Ruth Lea, who has wide-ranging experience of working in the civil service, the financial sector and policy institutions, says that while politicians celebrate their increasingly ambitious decarbonisation targets, most of the world is ignoring them:

“The UK now represents just 1% of global emissions, so any reduction we make will not even be noticed. And it will be offset many times over by increases in the developing world, which continues to burn cheap coal and gas as fast as it can.”

And Lea warns that politicians’ determination to be seen to ‘do something’ about climate change carries major political risks:

“The decarbonisation programme that we are embarking on will be extraordinarily expensive and will hit businesses and consumers harder every year. That can’t carry on for ever, and eventually a major political price will be paid.”

Dr Lea’s comments mark the publication of a series of her essays on climate policy by the Global Warming Policy Foundation.


Solar Variability And Climate

Talk by Prof. Joanna D. Haigh

Below we present one of the most informative and dispassionate summaries, from a top UK physics professor, on the role of solar variability on climate.

Commenting on Professor Haigh’s presentation, Colin Mill wrote:

“A wonderfully clear discussion of this aspect of the science. Thank you. I was interested to hear Joanna say at 15:39 that the radiometer instrumentation isn’t quite there yet – a very important point to make in the face of those talking about the science being settled. Unfortunately there are many other areas where the instrumentation is, or has been, lacking. I did my Ph.D in cloud microphysics in the 1970s and spent some 20 years in cloud physics research. Clouds remain rather poorly understood while having the potential to massively modify the radiative balance of the Earth interacting, as they do, with both incoming and outgoing radiation over most of the solar spectrum (cf. CO2).

Small changes to, for example, the Cloud Condensation Nucleus spectrum (CCN) could change the albedo and the lifetime of clouds that in turn could affect the radiative balance. Unfortunately, there are many problems on the question of CCN – a lack of any significant and reliable historical measurements combined with an incomplete understanding of the sources (especially those of organic origin that may have been modified by, for example, land usage, changes in vegetation type etc.). Certainly in my day you could depress yourself about your chances of doing meaningful work in cloud physics simply by running two notionally identical CCN counters side by side sampling the same air only to observe that they didn’t agree by factors of 50% or more.”

Joanna Dorothy Haigh, CBE, FRS, FRMetS (born 7 May 1954) is a British physicist and academic. Before her retirement in 2019[5] she was Professor of Atmospheric Physics at Imperial College London, and co-director of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment. She is a former head of the Department of Physics at Imperial College London. She is also a Fellow of the Royal Society, and a former president of the Royal Meteorological Society.


Matt Canavan challenges Anthony Albanese to voice Adani coal support

The dreaded coal has got the Australian Left all in a twist

Resources Minister Matt Canavan has challenged Labor leader Anthony Albanese to say he supports the Adani coal mining project during his tour of central Queensland this week.

Speaking to Sky News on Monday Senator Canavan said the trip presented a test for Mr Albanese and the Labor Party. “They say now they support the export of coal,” he told Sky News. “I haven’t heard Anthony Albanese say three simple words: ‘I support Adani.’”

Mr Albanese’s visit to regional Queensland comes as the Labor Party lays the foundations for policies it will be taking to the next federal election.

Party members are debating how to approach climate change and how ambitious the party should be in relation to its emissions reduction target.

Labor’s ambivalence of coal and the Adani project have been blamed for former leader Bill Shorten’s poor results in regional Queensland and the Hunter Valley, which saw massive swings against the party.

This was backed by Labor’s scathing internal review, which found ambiguous language around the Adani coal mine cost the party votes in coal mining regions.

Mr Albanese told Nine Newspapers on Monday Australia’s priority should be to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under strong global agreements, but that this would not be achieved by stopping coal exports.

He echoed this sentiment when speaking to 2GB Radio on Monday, where he said the scrapping of coal exports would just lead to more coal being used from other places in the world.

“[It would] likely lead to an actual increase in global emissions because much of our coal is much better quality than is available from the alternatives,” Mr Albanese said. “So, we need to be sensible about the way we examine this. We do need to reduce our use of fossil fuels around the world.”

Greens MP Adam Bandt savaged the Labor leader. “As Australia burns and Sydney chokes, Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese are abandoning climate action. Liberal and Labor value coal more than human life,” he told reporters in Melbourne.

“Coal is fuelling the fires, coal is fuelling the drought, and coal is fuelling the smoke over Sydney, Canberra and Brisbane. If you don’t have a plan to get out of coal you don’t have a plan to deal with the climate crisis. We stopped selling asbestos and we need to phase out coal exports too.”

But Mr Albanese said Australia needs a “sensible” approach to dealing with emissions, arguing coal will be phased out by the market anyway. “I think, very clearly, it’s obvious to all there won’t be a new coal-fired power built in Australia. The market is indicating that just won’t happen. There’s nothing stopping it at all except for the economics.”

The Australian revealed on Monday revealed Jenny Hill, the Labor Mayor of Townsville, had lashed the ALP’s “anti-worker” and “disruptive” environmental wing, arguing federal Labor did not have an answer to problems in north and central Queensland and was too focused on “elitists” in capital cities.

Ms Hill’s intervention came as Labor MPs Meryl Swanson and Terri Butler warned at a conference held by a Labor think tank on the weekend against ­talking down coal jobs in favour of lower-paid jobs in the renewables sector.

Mr Albanese told Nine Newspapers the environmental “climate change convoy” of activists led by former Greens leader Bob Brown to Queensland during the election campaign hurt the climate change cause by offending voters.



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

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Monday, December 09, 2019

Next decade is crucial in combating declining ocean oxygen levels which are threatening sealife and could 'jeopardise humankind', experts warn

Knowing who did the study, it is unlikely to be anything but crass propaganda but some desultory comments spring to mind:

It is possible that oxygen levels have shown some decline but only in certain areas. Such declines are known in areas where there is a very heavy presence of marine life.  So select your area and get the result you want.

According to Greenies, the oceans have been gobbling up lots of CO2 since about the beginning of this century.  But CO2 is plant food so marine plants should be more abundant.  But what do plants do?  Convert CO2 to oxygen. So the oceans should now hold MORE oxygen, not less.  Or have the oceans now stopped gobbling CO2?  If so, when and why?

And if there is a decline it could hardly be due to global warming -- since there has been no recent warming according to the satellites.  If the study were a serious one, they would have correlated global temperatures with oceanic oxgen levels.  But there is no hint of that.  I wonder why?  The omission means that their case is totally unproven

The next decade will be crucial in combating declining ocean oxygen levels which are threatening sealife and could eventually put humankind at risk, according to experts.

The new study, which is the biggest report of its kind, was carried out by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Its findings were presented in Madrid, Spain, at the global UN Climate Change conference earlier today.

The researchers found that climate change and pollution were the main causes of oxygen loss, also known as deoxygenation.

There are thought to be more than 1,000 dead zones in the ocean, where deoxygenation has taken hold, with currently around 700 already confirmed.

But prior to 1960 there were just 45, showing that the areas completely depleted of oxygen have quadrupled over the past five decades.

Peter Thomson, the UN's special envoy for oceans, said in the study: 'I believe the report demonstrates that the next 10 years will be more important for humanity than the last hundred, indeed thousands of years have been for our survival.'

The report went on to say that deoxygenation is now altering the balance of marine life as it favours the species which do not require as much oxygen to thrive.

These include jellyfish, microbes and some squid.

Those particularly at risk include tuna, marlin and sharks because their size means that they have higher energy demands to their marine companions.

It seems as though these species are in turn moving to shallower areas where they become much more vulnerable to over-fishing.

There were 67 experts from 17 countries who were involved in the study.

IUCN acting director general, Dr Grethel Aguilar, said: 'With this report, the scale of damage climate change is wreaking upon the ocean comes into stark focus.

'As the warming ocean loses oxygen, the delicate balance of marine life is thrown into disarray.

'The potentially dire effects on fisheries and vulnerable coastal communities mean that the decisions made at the ongoing UN Climate Change Conference are even more crucial.'

Oceans are expected to lose up to four per cent of their oxygen by the end of the century and the report warns that the ripple effect could prove costly for millions of people.

Isabella Lovin, Sweden's minister for environment and climate, wrote in the report: 'Whilst we have known about dead zones in the ocean for many decades, ocean warming is now expected to further amplify deoxygenation across great swathes of the ocean.

'Ocean deoxygenation is putting life at risk. Failing to protect our ocean will jeopardize humankind, as our security, economy and our very own survival depends on it.'

Three of this year's Nobel Prize laureates recently spoke out about the need to address climate change during a news conference in Sweden.


Activist junk science breeds bad policy

Banning neonic pesticides in wildlife refuges would hurt birds, bees, other wildlife and people

Paul Driessen

The House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources recently approved HR 2854, the 2019 Protect Our Refuges Act, prohibiting the use of neonicotinoid insecticides in any of the nation’s 560 National Wildlife Refuges, some of which are the size of Delaware and even Indiana. The legislation will now be considered by the full House, while a companion bill (S 1856) makes its way through the Senate.

The legislation is unnecessary, misguided and based on embarrassingly bad science. Rather than protecting our refuges, it would force farmers to use other insecticides that truly are harmful to bees, birds and other wildlife (and even humans), or end programs to grow crops that nourish refuge inhabitants and visitors. Sadly, the forces driving it forward are par for the course on far too many ecological issues.

The twin bills are designed to reinstate a 2014 Obama-era US Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) ruling that banned neonic use in refuges, in response to sue-and-settle lawsuits and intense pressure from anti-pesticide groups. The FWS reversed the ban in 2018, after analyzing multiple scientific studies that found the insecticides are safe for bees, birds and other wildlife. The reversal once again allows the use of neonic-coated seeds or neonic sprays in parts of certain refuges where cooperative agreements between the FWS and farmers permit growing corn, alfalfa, sorghum, soybeans, wheat, clover and other crops.

Such agreements are employed when the Service determines that it cannot meet its wildlife enhancement and refuge management goals without assisting natural ecosystem processes. Refuges benefit from farmers providing more food for wildlife, including bees and migrating birds, under conditions set forth by the FWS. The farmers benefit from harvesting and selling the remaining crops.

The arrangements have worked well for decades. However, some environmentalist groups oppose any pesticide use (and even biotech crops) in refuges, while others oppose all farming (and grazing) in refuges. In recent years, they focused on neonics, alleging that this new insecticide technology threatens honeybees. After the 2018 decision, they sought legislation like HR 2854 to impose their views.

For years they had claimed neonics were causing “colony collapse disorder” around the world. When “bee-pocalypse” claims were disproven by studies in multiple countries, and by the rapid recovery of honeybee colonies from Varroa destrutor mites and other lethal pests and diseases, the groups shifted their attention to wild bees, about which far less is known. More recently, they have claimed birds are affected.

HR 2854 sponsor Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) insists that neonics are “toxic chemicals” that “infect” our soil and waterways, threaten biodiversity, bees and other wildlife in our refuges, and just pad “the bank accounts of chemical manufacturers.” She rarely lets reality get in the way of her rhetoric.

In a fascinating new article that should be required reading for every Member of Congress prior to voting on these bills, science journalist Jon Entine presents the facts about neonics, and depressing details about the junk science behind the ongoing activist and media frenzy about alleged threats to birds and bees.

For example, claims that bees are harmed by neonicotinoids are based on lab tests that exposed honeybees to dozens of times more neonics than they would ever encounter foraging for pollen or nectar. Assertions that birds are endangered by the same Imidacloprid are based on studies that force-fed sparrows the equivalent of at least 120 corn seeds at one time. Moreover, that earliest of all neonics is tens of times more toxic to birds than neonics that are actually used to coat corn, canola and other seeds today.

Moreover, neonics are used on only a few of the crops commonly planted in refuges (corn, alfalfa and wheat, for instance, but not clover), and not all those crops attract bees or birds. It’s a complex reality, which should not be (but too often is) simplified by cheap slogans and sound bites to drive agendas.

Neonicotinoids have become the world’s most widely used insecticide class because they work and are safe. At times they sprayed on fruits or vegetables, but about 90% of them are used as seed coatings. Either way, but particularly with coated seeds, their pest-killing properties are absorbed into plant tissues and so affect only insects that actually feed on the crops, especially early in the growing season. Neonics also reduce the need for multiple sprays, often with more harmful insecticides.

By the time the plants flower and attract bees, the amount of “neonics” in flowers, nectar and pollen can be measured in a few parts per billion, equal to a few seconds in 32 years.

This helps explain why dozens of extensive field studies in multiple countries found no harmful effects from neonics on bees under real-world conditions. That fact and increased success in controlling Varroa mites and bee diseases helps explain why hive numbers and honeybee populations have rebounded nicely. Most wild bees are also healthy, despite little-reported problems, such as diseases carried to wild bee colonies by their domesticated cousins.

Moreover, a 2015 study found that most wild bees never even come into contact with crops, or the neonics that supposedly threaten them. Only 2% of wild bees do much crop pollination in any event, and thus get exposed to various neonic pesticides; yet they are among the healthiest of wild bee species.

Bird counts are up, down or stable, depending on the species, while the sparrows used in the forced-feeding study have increased in numbers since neonics were introduced in the 1990s.

In recent decades, a lot of habitat and forage land has been lost to housing, business and shopping mall developments, solar installations, biofuel farms and other changes. The extra nourishment that crops planted in refuges can provide often offsets those losses. Farmers and ranchers should be given incentives to plant crops, not subjected to bans, disincentives, and increased costs that reduce flowers and forage.

More land dedicated to corn, sorghum, canola and other monoculture crops for biofuels has also reduced overall wildlife habitat land and flowers that bloom later in the season, nourishing bees during the critical weeks before winter sets in. Refuges planted with clover and other flowering crops can help here too.

Farmers who do plant these crops – and the bees that benefit – are much better served by neonic-coated crop seeds, than they are by a return to outdated insecticides that neonics have largely replaced: such as pyrethrin and organophosphate pesticides, which definitely do kill bees and other beneficial insects, threaten birds and other wildlife, and pose poisoning, cancer and other health risks to humans.

This higher-risk category includes crop-protection chemicals used by organic farmers. They may be “natural,” but many are highly toxic to bees – and people. Pyrethrum and pyrethrins can kill bees on contact; these powerful neurotoxins have also been linked to leukemia in humans. Rotenone is also highly toxic to bees and fish and can enhance the onset of Parkinson’s disease. Copper sulfate fungicide is highly toxic to soil organisms, fish and aquatic invertebrates – and to human brains, livers and hearts.

Rep. Velázquez needs to acknowledge these realities. She should also recognize potentially serious threats to bees, wildlife, soils, waters and plants in refuges from sources that she, her colleagues and their environmentalist and media allies routinely ignore: solar panels, for instance. Not only do they blanket many thousands of acres, allowing little to grow beneath or between them. They can also leach cadmium and other metals into soils and waters. They should no longer be built near wildlife refuges.

Finally, it’s not just bees. It’s also birds, and bats – which are already being killed and even eradicated in many areas by America’s 56,000 wind turbines. Imagine what Green New Deal turbine numbers would do.

If Ms. Velázquez and her colleagues truly care about bees, birds, bats, other wildlife and refuges, they would hold hearings on all these problems – and enact legislation to address them. At the very least, Members of Congress should pay attention to the facts and studies noted here before they vote on HR 2854 or S 1856.

Via email

California Farmer Fights Government Claim That Dirt Is a Pollutant

No one told Jack LaPant that he could be in violation of the Clean Water Act for farming his own land.

That’s mostly because the federal law includes a clear exemption for “normal” farming activities. But it’s also because the government officials LaPant consulted didn’t view overturned dirt that has been tilled and plowed as pollution.

In 2016, the Army Corps of Engineers, which administers the Clean Water Act with the Environmental Protection Agency, began legal action against LaPant for plowing he did in 2011 to plant wheat on a ranch property he owned in Northern California.

But in March 2012, LaPant had sold the property, located in Tehama County about 4 miles south of the city of Red Bluff.

Before plowing his field to plant wheat, LaPant conferred in person with the Farm Service Agency in California, which is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“All of these government officials I spoke with, and they have all been deposed, they never once suggested that I should go meet with the Army Corps of Engineers,” LaPant said in a phone interview with The Daily Signal.

“I asked them if it was OK to take this piece of land and grow wheat and they all said it was OK,” he recalled. “Even today, you can go into these offices and they will not tell a farmer that he needs to go and see the Army Corps to farm on his own land. It makes no sense and the Department of Agriculture doesn’t understand any of it, and we are talking about the same federal government.”

LaPant recalls visiting “four different government folks” with expertise in soil conservation when he was researching the history of the farm.

“They all gave me the same answer,” LaPant said. “They told me, ‘Jack, if you’d like to go ahead and plant it the same way it’s been planted in the past, go ahead. But if you want to go in and plant a permanent crop, then maybe we’ll go back and study it.’ So, I went ahead and planted 900 acres of wheat.”

The legal complications for LaPant began after he sold the property to Duarte Nursery, a family-owned nursery operation based in Tehama County, California, which then encountered similar problems with the Army Corps of Engineers.

Duarte Nursery entered into a settlement agreement with the federal government after suing the Army Corps of Engineers for denying due process. Pacific Legal Foundation, a nonprofit, public interest law firm based in Sacramento, California, and Washington, D.C., represented the nursery in the case and now represents LaPant.

Tony Francois, a lawyer with Pacific Legal Foundation who specializes in property rights, told The Daily Signal that the orchard-planting operations of another company, Goose Pond Ag, may be what led to the prosecution of LaPant.

Goose Pond Ag, a Florida-based farmland management company, purchased a portion of the California property from Duarte Nursery in 2012. Six years later, in 2018, the company reached a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department in which it agreed to pay $5.3 million in civil penalties for Clean Water Act violations, according to media reports.

“It’s the orchard planting and the preparations for the orchard planting, which involves fairly substantial earthwork, that really got the Army’s attention and got this whole enforcement action going,” Francois said. “What’s odd about it is that they roped LaPant into it, and we think the Army may have initially thought LaPant was part of this plan to plant the orchard.”

This month, Pacific Legal Foundation plans to submit a motion for summary judgment to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California that could resolve some or all of LaPant’s case based on “application of the law to the undisputed facts in the case,” Francois said.

If the case is not resolved,  it could move to a jury trial sometime in 2020.

The Daily Signal sought comment from the Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency. Neither agency had responded by publication time.

What’s particularly alarming to LaPant and other farmers familiar with his case is that in their view the Corps saw fit to modify the Clean Water Act without congressional approval, Francois said.

“There’s a pretty broad, clear statement in the Clean Water Act that you don’t need a permit for normal farming activities,” Francois said, adding:

This would include normal ranching, farming, forestry activities. But the Army has added multiple conditions that you have to meet for these protections [for such operations] to continue.

One of these conditions is that the property has to be tilled pretty regularly for this protection to continue. But there are many reasons why a farmer may suspend tilling. For example, cattle may have a higher price than wheat or corn, and so the land might be used for grazing for a period of time.

The Army has definitely added hurdles and obstacles to a pretty clear and simple statement of the Clean Water Act that you don’t need a permit for normal farming activities. In our view, what they’ve done is to change the policy decision Congress made.


Catholics urged to divulge ‘eco-sins’ during Confession as Bishops launch a new environmental campaign

What you get with a Pope steeped in South American liberation theology

Catholics are being urged to divulge their ‘eco-sins’ during Confession as Bishops launch a new environmental campaign.

As part of an initiative to ensure that the Catholic Church plays a role in tackling the climate crisis, it is encouraging congregants to go to Confession, or “reconciliation services”.

The lay-run campaign, called Journey to 2030, was launched last weekend in partnership with the Bishops’ Conference and the Ecological Conversion Group, a volunteer group for young Catholics.

The initiative aims to “create a sense of urgency towards our ecological crisis and those suffering from its ill effects” as well as promote confession of environmental sins.

As a result, it has created a toolkit for church leaders to help Catholics confess their environment-related sins and is sending out its resources to parishes across the country.

Before entering the confessional, sinners will be offered an environmental ‘examination of conscience’. This works like a checklist that people can go through before confession with prompts, such as ‘have you taken flights unnecessarily?’

Journey to 2030, which was launched in the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton, encourages parishes to be hubs for community projects, and offers ideas for activities under the headings: “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.”

Its website also offers resources for an ‘Advent Reconciliation service’, which invite Catholics to reflect on their own impact on the environment in the areas of diet, transport, clothes and electronics before Confession.

Catholics will be asked to consider whether their clothes are fairly traded, how many animal products they consume, and whether they overuse their mobile phones.

The campaign’s lead organiser, John Paul de Quay, told The Tablet: “Care for God’s creation and the dignity of our brothers and sisters is key to our faith, yet as a Church, action was lacking.”

He said he saw there was a need for a long-term Church-wide project that could bring everyone’s existing works together to “ignite the spark that had been steadily smouldering”.

Pope Francis has recently been quoted as considering the addition of ‘ecological sins’ against our common home to the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

The Environmental Advisor to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales said that “these advent reconciliation services are a way of recognising that in our increasingly interconnected world the smallest of our actions has effects beyond our local community, and that we cannot truly show love for our neighbours without caring for nature and our common home”.

2030 is the year that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has pinpointed which greenhouse gas emissions must be curbed in order to prevent irreversible damage to the planet.


UK: The plot against fracking

How cheap energy was killed by Green lies and Russian propaganda

The first coffee house in Marseilles opened in 1671, prompting the city’s vintners to recruit a couple of professors at the University of Aix to blacken their new competitor’s reputation. They duly got one of their students to write a pamphlet claiming coffee was a vile foreign novelty made from a tree favoured by goats and camels. It burned the blood, dried the kidneys and attracted the lymph, inducing palsies and impotence. “From all of which we must necessarily conclude that coffee is hurtful to the greater part of the inhabitants of Marseilles.”

Thus does novelty run up against vested interests. Today similar pseudoscience is used to blacken the reputation of almost any new development. Usually, as was the case with coffee, the campaign fails. But these days the anti-innovation forces have deep pockets and few scruples and have won some big battles. We now know that the opposition to genetically modified crops in Europe has resulted in more pesticide use than would otherwise have been the case, yet that opposition was very profitable for the big green pressure groups.

They fanned the flames of opposition, coining terms such as “Frankenfood”, and nimbly hopped from one fear to the next as each myth was busted: biotechnology was going to poison people, damage ecosystems, cause allergies, impoverish small farmers, boost corporate profits, and so on. They turned Monsanto into a pantomime villain and forced it to contemplate a strategy (making plants that could not breed true so the plants could not spread in the wild) that activists then criticised as a “terminator technology” designed to prevent small farmers saving seed, thus forcing them to rely on Monsanto.

Eventually, the issue lost its ability to yield donations and media interest, so the green business blob moved on. As Mark Lynas, a prominent anti-GM campaigner, now ruefully admits: “We permanently stirred public hostility to GMO foods throughout pretty much the entire world, and — incredibly — held up the previously unstoppable march of a whole technology. There was only one problem with our stunningly successful worldwide campaign. It wasn’t true.”

Cameron’s government projected gas prices would either rise fast, medium or slow – In fact they fell

More than a decade later, environmentalists hit upon another money spinner: opposition to fracking. When the shale gas revolution first came along, some environmentalists welcomed it, and rightly so. It “creates an unprecedented opportunity to use gas as a bridge fuel to a twenty-first-century energy economy that relies on efficiency, renewable sources, and low-carbon fossil fuels such as natural gas,” wrote Senator Tim Wirth, a prominent environmentalist. And so it has proved: the country that adopted shale gas first and most — the United States — is the country that lowered its carbon dioxide emissions first and most, because gas displaced coal, a much higher-carbon fuel.

But then the vested interests got to work. Renewable energy promoters panicked at the thought of cheap and abundant gas. Their business model was predicated on the alleged certainty that prices would rise as fossil fuels ran out, making subsidised wind and solar power look comparatively cheap. David Cameron’s coalition government produced three projections about what might happen to gas prices: that they would rise fast, medium or slow. In fact they fell, a possibility the government had entirely ignored.

It is hard to recall now just how sure almost everybody was in 2008 that natural gas was running out. Its price had risen as gas fields in North America and the North Sea began to run dry. Peak gas was coming even sooner than peak oil or peak coal. Yet in the suburbs of Fort Worth, Texas, something was stirring. Engineer Nick Steinsberger, working for a company called Mitchell Energy, tried different ways to fracture shale rocks deep underground so that the gas would flow. Hydraulic fracturing had been invented the 1940s, generally using petroleum gels, but it did not work in shale, which contained an enormous amount of gas and oil. Nobody much minded you pumping gels down into rocks in those days. After all, the rocks themselves are — by definition — already soaked in toxic mixtures of oil and gas.

Steinsberger noticed water worked a bit better than gel. In 1998, he tried sending water down first, then some sand to prop open the cracks and — whoosh! — out came a lot of gas. And it kept on coming. “Slick-water fracking” had been invented, using far fewer chemicals than previous methods, allowing vast shale reserves around the world to be exploited.

Most experts said shale gas was a flash in the pan and would not much affect global supplies. They were wrong. By 2011 America’s declining gas output shot up and oil soon followed suit. The US has now overtaken Russia as the biggest gas producer in the world, and Saudi Arabia as the biggest oil producer. Cheap gas brought a stream of chemical companies rushing back from Europe and the Persian Gulf to manufacture in America. Gas import terminals were rebuilt as gas export terminals. The Permian basin in Texas alone now produces as much oil as the whole of the US did in 2008, and more than any Opec country except Iran and Saudi Arabia. This — not wind and solar which still provide only 2 per cent of world primary energy — is the big energy story of the past decade.

One country that should have taken sharp notice is Britain. As late as 2004 Britain was a gas exporter, but as North Sea production declined it rapidly became a big net importer, dependent on Norway, Qatar or Russia. As Britain was paying far more for its gas than America, that meant that our huge chemical industry was gradually moving out.

Russia Today television ran endless anti-fracking stories, including one that “frackers are the moral equivalent of paedophiles”

Fortunately, it then emerged that Britain has one of the richest and thickest seams of shale: the Bowland shale across Lancashire and Yorkshire contains many decades of supply. Fracking it would mean drilling small holes down about one mile, then cracking the rocks with millimetre-wide fractures and catching the gas as it flowed out over the next few decades. Experience in America showed this could be done without any risk of contaminating ground water, which is near the surface, or threatening buildings. The seismic tremors that have caused all the trouble are so slight they could not possibly do damage and were generally far smaller than those from mining, construction or transport. The well pads would be hundreds of times smaller than the concrete bases of wind farms producing comparable amounts of energy.

Still, friends of the earth, which is effectively a multinational environmental business, spotted a chance to make hay. Despite being told by the Advertising Standards Authority to withdraw misleading claims about shale gas, it kept up a relentless campaign of misinformation, demanding more delay and red tape from all-too-willing civil servants. The industry, with Cuadrilla fated to play the part of Monsanto, agreed to ridiculously unrealistic limits on what kinds of tremors they were allowed after being promised by the government that the limits would be changed later — a promise since broken. Such limits would stop most other industries, even road haulage, in their tracks.

The Russians also lobbied behind the scenes against shale gas, worried about losing their grip on the world’s gas supplies. Unlike most conspiracy theories about Russian meddling in Western politics, this one is out there in plain sight. The head of Nato, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said the Russians, as part of a sophisticated disinformation operation, “engaged actively with so-called non-governmental organisations — environmental organisations working against shale gas — to maintain Europe’s dependence on imported Russian gas”.

The Centre for European Studies found that the Russian government has invested $95 million in NGOs campaigning against shale gas. Russia Today television ran endless anti-fracking stories, including one that “frackers are the moral equivalent of paedophiles”. The US Director of National Intelligence stated that “RT runs anti-fracking programming … reflective of the Russian Government’s concern about the impact of fracking and US natural gas production on the global energy market and the potential challenges to Gazprom’s profitability.” Pro-Russian politicians such as Lord Truscott (married to a Russian army colonel’s daughter) made speeches in parliament against fracking.

As night follows day, Tory politicians lost courage and slipped into neutrality then opposition

No scare story was too far-fetched to be taken up and amplified. Tap water would catch fire (no: though it’s a natural phenomenon in some places in America where gas naturally contaminates ground water). There would be significant gas leaks (no: there are more gas leaks from natural sources and pipelines). The water that comes out of the well is dangerously radioactive (no: it is not). Fracking uses a lot of water (a lot less than farming). And so on. The unelected quangocracy that runs these things on behalf of taxpayers, mainly in the form of the Environment Agency, appeared at times to be taking its instructions directly from Friends of the Earth. So, of course, did the BBC.

The endless delays imposed by regulators played into the hands of shale gas’s opponents, giving them time to organise more and more protests, which were themselves ways of getting on the news and hence getting more donations. Never mind that few locals in Lancashire wanted to join the protests: plenty of upper-middle class types could be bussed in from the south.

As night follows day, Tory politicians lost courage and slipped into neutrality then opposition, worrying about what posh greens might think, rather than working-class bill-payers and job-seekers. A golden opportunity was squandered for Britain to get hold of home-grown, secure, cheap and relatively clean energy. We don’t need fossil fuels, the politicians thought, we’re going for net zero in 2050! But read the small print, chaps: the only way to have zero-emission transport and heating, so says the Committee on Climate Change, is to use lots of hydrogen. And how do they say most of the hydrogen is to be made? From gas.

After genetically modified crops and fracking, what innovation will be next to get stopped in its tracks by vested interests? Vaping, I reckon. It’s an open secret that the pharmaceutical industry pours money into anti-vaping campaigns because the technology is a threat to their lucrative nicotine patches and gums, which they have been getting doctors to prescribe to smokers trying to quit for years. Unlike e-cigarettes, which are the most effective aids to quitting yet found, Big Pharma’s products don’t work very well. So they are worried. Next time you hear somebody arguing that e-cigarettes (like coffee) burn the blood, dry the kidneys and attract the lymph, ask who benefits.



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, December 08, 2019

Research corner: Climate models got it right (?)

This appears to be a new version of a 2017 article in "Carbon Brief" by Zeke Hausfather. This version has been widely reported so deserves a rebuttal by people familiar with the detailed statistics. There is an interesting first approach to that in an email from Pat Michaels below.  It would seem that we once again have the typical Green/Left strategy of playing fast and loose with the facts:

I was interviewed by Science on this article. I told the reporter that it contains a simple and obvious fatal flaw.

The authors do state that indeed Hansen Scenario B is too warm.  But they assert that it assumed an increase in forcing from CFCs and methane that was too high, given the evolution of concentrations in the thirty years after it was published.  So I looked up the original forcing and it was +0.46 w/m-sq, which they said was 27% too high, or .12 w. You can see the original forcings in an Appendix to the 1988 original Hansen paper.

But Hansen also WAY overestimated the negative forcing from sulfates, at around -1.35w.. Using observations Stevens recalculated the negative forcing from sulfates, which Lewis and Curry note is -0.5w.  So Hansen had -0.85w too much negative forcing.  This means the overall forcing in the 1988 model was 0.73w/m-sq too LOW.    Note that Stevens' result has never been refuted and that he is of very high repute. So if Hausfather et al. would have corrected for BOTH forcings, which they should have (and they must have known that Hansen's -1.35 was WAY too large), then they would have found that Scenario B was even warmer than the unadjusted Scenario A.

As I told the interviewer from Science, the paper should have noted the "what's good for the methane goose should also apply to the sulfate gander".

Models that climate scientists used in recent decades to project temperature changes have generally been very accurate, a new peer-reviewed study concludes.

Why it matters: It serves to rebut conservative opponents of proposals aimed at cutting emissions, who have long argued that models haven't gotten it right as part of broader attacks on climate science.

What they found: The study in Geophysical Research Letters reviewed the performance of 17 models published between 1970 and 2007.

"We find no evidence that the climate models evaluated in this paper have systematically overestimated or underestimated warming over their projection period," the paper states.

"In general, past climate model projections evaluated in this analysis were skillful in predicting subsequent [global mean surface temperature] warming in the years after publication."

Some, however, showed too much and others too little.

The big picture: Climate models look at the physical relationship between greenhouse gas emissions and temperature, as well as other factors including human-influenced emissions variables like economic growth and technology change.

As Vox puts it, it's about "predicting physics vs. predicting humans."

If you simply look at how well the models predicted temperature changes that later occurred, 10 of 17 were essentially spot-on — "virtually indistinguishable from observations," as this Washington Post story notes.

But if you look at how well models did at assessing the relationship between changing greenhouse concentrations and temperature, they did even better.

14 of the 17 were "consistent with observations," the paper notes, and "statistically indistinguishable from what actually occurred," co-author Gavin Schmidt writes in a blog post.


The GRL abstract

Evaluating the performance of past climate model projections

Zeke Hausfather et al


Retrospectively comparing future model projections to observations provides a robust and independent test of model skill. Here we analyse the performance of climate models published between 1970 and 2007 in projecting future global mean surface temperature (GMST) changes. Models are compared to observations based on both the change in GMST over time and the change in GMST over the change in external forcing. The latter approach accounts for mismatches in model forcings, a potential source of error in model projections independent of the accuracy of model physics. We find that climate models published over the past five decades were skillful in predicting subsequent GMST changes, with most models examined showing warming consistent with observations, particularly when mismatches between model‐projected and observationally‐estimated forcings were taken into account.


Cockamamie Climate Schemes Like Air Travel Bans and Meat Rationing Are Dead on Arrival

While Democrats constantly insist that the science on climate change is settled and humans are to blame, voters are not so sure. Even those who buy into the narrative do not want government restrictions on air travel and meat consumption.

Most voters disagreed with the claim that it is "very likely" that "climate change will be catastrophic for humans, plants and animals," which many alarmists claim to be the scientific consensus. Even so, 43 percent of voters held this view, according to a poll from the Heartland Institute and Rasmussen Reports.

Many voters said catastrophic climate change is "somewhat likely" (20 percent), while others said it is "not very likely" (18 percent), or "not at all likely" (16 percent).

Some might counter that 63 percent of voters said catastrophic climate change is "likely," but the difference between "very likely" and "somewhat likely" seems important given the Democratic alarmism on the issue. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Grow Yucca in NYC) and Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Hell Yes We Take Your Guns) have insisted that the world only has 12 years (AOC) or 10 years (Beto) left to fight climate change. To alarmists like them, anything less than "extremely likely" counts as "science denial."

Voters also proved skeptical on the causes of climate change. When asked, "Is climate change caused primarily by human activity or by long-term planetary trends?" a plurality (48 percent) pointed to "human activity," while nearly as many voters (38 percent) pointed to "long-term planetary trends." Fourteen percent said they are "not sure." Alarmists insist that the science is settled (when it is not), but Americans are not convinced.

The poll went on to ask more questions of voters who blamed human activity for climate change. Pollsters presented four different forms of government regulation to fight climate change.

The vast majority of these voters (76 percent) agreed that "federal or state governments" should "require people to engage in activities that will lower carbon-dioxide emissions." Only 14 percent disagreed, while 10 percent said they were not sure.

Half of the voters who blame human activity (50 percent) said governments should "punish with fines or jail time fossil-fuel business owners and/or executives." A quarter of these voters (25 percent) said no to this proposal, while another 25 percent said they were not sure.

Even those who blame human activity for climate change did not support restrictions on air travel or meat consumption, however. Only 34 percent said they would back government limits on air travel and 24 percent said the same for meat consumption. Most human-blamers said no to both proposals (50 percent against air travel restrictions, 61 percent against meat rationing).

Democrats proved more likely to agree that climate change is caused by human activity (67 percent), but even these Democrats proved unwilling to back government restrictions on air travel and meat consumption. Only 37 percent supported air travel bans and 27 percent backed meat rationing.

The poll also asked voters whether they had a favorable view of Sens. Bernie Sanders (S-USSR) and Elizabeth Warren (D-1/1024th of a Plan).

Voters with a "very favorable" view of Sanders were more likely to blame humans for climate change (78 percent). They were also more likely to support jailing fossil fuel executives (63 percent), government regulations to cap emissions (85 percent), restrictions on air travel (47 percent), and meat rationing (36 percent).

Similarly, those with a "very favorable" view of Warren proved more likely to blame humans (79 percent). These pro-Warren human-blamers also proved more likely to support jailing fossil fuel executives (69 percent), government regulations to cap emissions (83 percent), air travel bans (39 percent), and meat rationing (37 percent).

Authoritarians of a feather flock together. Another recent poll found that fans of Sanders and Warren proved more likely to support government restrictions on speech, complete with jail time for speech offenders.

When it comes to climate alarmism, Americans are right to be skeptical. Alarmist climate models have proven wrong time and time again. Last year, the Maldives refused to sink beneath the waves on schedule. Even the vaunted 97 percent "consensus" is an outright lie.

Climate catastrophe is possible, of course, but it is not likely. Americans should not abandon the immense wealth and opportunity of free-market capitalism based on false predictions and alarmist rhetoric.


New Scientific Study Shows Climate Change is Less Sensitive to Rising Carbon Dioxide Than the UN Projects

As governments gathered in Spain for a UN meeting on energy policy, a group of climate scientists today released a study showing that global temperature warms far less from carbon dioxide emissions than UN computer models project. Dr. Richard Lindzen, the emeritus Alfred P. Sloan professor of meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, released On Climate Sensitivity as part of the Coalition's "Climate Issues in Depth" series. The topic lies at the center of the public policy debate over climate and energy, and the author is one of America's most distinguished atmospheric physicists.

The paper cites data showing that human-induced global warming above the lower end of the UN model range of 1.5 to 4.5 degrees Celsius for a doubling of carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere requires "highly implausible adjustments." Another CO2 Coalition member Dr. Roy Spencer, the University of Alabama Huntsville climatologist who invented and manages satellite "remote sensing" of climate data, provided review assistance.

Dr. Lindzen found no evidence for "feedbacks" boosting human-caused warming, which have been publicized recently by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The paper by the former UN IPCC lead author, which summarizes his 50 years of climate research and peer-reviewed publication, finds "no reason to expect" significant warming or related crises from CO2 emissions.

An excerpt from the paper states:

It is commonly accepted that increasing CO2 in the atmosphere should lead to some warming (e.g. Arrhenius, 1896; Callendar, 1938). This, per se, is not particularly worrisome. As has been recognized since antiquity, the dose makes the poison. The notion that any warming, however small, is evidence of coming disaster defies reason. With respect to CO2, the dose is determined by what we call climate sensitivity. By convention, this is the eventual total increase in global mean temperature associated with a doubling of CO2. The reason we refer to a doubling is that the impact of each doubling is the same: i.e. a well-established equation based on empirical data shows that we get the same warming from an increase from 400 parts per million (ppm) to 800 ppm as we would from 200 ppm to 400 ppm (Pierrehumbert, 2011).

That is to say, the impact of each added unit of CO2 is less than the impact of its predecessor. In addition, reasonably straightforward calculations suggest that, all other indirect factors (e.g. clouds) being held constant, a doubling of CO2 should produce about one degree Celsius (1°C) of direct warming-a value that is not generally held to be alarming (Wilson and Gea-Banacloche, 2012). The radiative forcing effect of CO2 is measured in units of Watts per square meter. Each doubling of CO2 is expected to provide about 3.7 Watts per square meter (Pierrehumbert, 2011). This can be compared to the natural flows of radiant energy in and out of the climate system, estimated to be 235 to 245 Watts per square meter (Trenberth et al., 2009).

CO2 Coalition executive director Caleb Rossiter, a climate statistician, welcomed the report:

"Professor Lindzen is a great teacher. He presents the complex and chaotic world of dynamic meteorology in a way that will allow many readers in the public, the media and Congress to understand for the first time just what it is that physicists are arguing about: hypothesized warming feedbacks in computer models that simply aren't showing up in the real-world data."

Email from The CO2 Coalition:

The super-nutty French Left

French police battled with protesters in Paris on Thursday as France came to a standstill due to the largest public-sector strike in decades. Workers are striking over Macron's proposals to reform the public pension system.

The strike paralyzed the nation as mass transit shut down, teachers stayed home, and hospitals operated with skeleton staffs.

And, it wouldn't be a strike in France without left-wing loons making their presence felt.

As commuters in Paris turned to using bikes and scooters, the environmental activist group Extinction Rebellion claimed responsibility for the sabotage of 3,600 electric scooters in Paris and other French cities, saying the green image of the fashionable gadgets hid an “ecologically catastrophic” reality.
Extinction Rebellion said it had sabotaged 3,600 scooters, including more than 2,000 in Paris as well as in Bordeaux and Lyon, by obscuring the QR codes that riders use to unlock them with their smartphones.

“Contrary to their reputation as a ‘soft’ or ‘green’ way of getting around, the electric scooters are ecologically catastrophic,” the group said in a statement on its French Facebook page.

The radicals won't be satisfied until we have to walk to work.


Australia: When Green/Left dam-hatred killed dozens of people and caused billions of dollars of flood damage

Brisbane has a history of occasional big floods so a few decades ago, the conservative-led Queensland State government built a big flood-control dam at Wivenhoe that should have ended the floods.  It was completed in 1985 and even before it was finished, in 1983, it did stop a potentially disastrous flood.

But in 2011 a flood as big as any hit Brisbane.  Why?  A court has just adjudicated that.  They found that the Wivenhoe dam was mismanaged -- as it undoubtedly was.  They blamed only the dam managers, however, without looking into the deeper background of what happened.

The court decision is something of a vindication for me personally.  I said from the beginning that Brisbane's big Wivenhoe flood control dam would have protected us perfectly well if it had been properly used.  The court has found that it was not properly used. The dam engineers were indeed at fault.  They were very arrogant in fact.  They ignored warnings from experienced people who could see what was coming.  They thought they knew it all. So they did not start discharging until it was too late.

What the report below does not tell you is that the lameduck Bligh Labor government of the day was also grossly at fault for two reasons:

1).Had there been a competent minister in charge of the dam he could have put a rocket up the engineers and told them to start discharging.  In fact he was a Leftist featherbrain who knew nothing and did nothing.  He was a waste of breath

2).  The Bligh government had also compromised the dam for Greenie reasons.  Because of recent water shortages and drought fears at the time, there was a need to build more dams. But a Green/Left government cannot do that.  So they decided instead to use the flood compartment of Wivenhoe for water storage, thus risking exactly what happened.

So the conservative Bjelke-Peterson government had built us a massive protective asset in the form of the Wivenhoe dam but even that could not save us from human negligence.  The dam would have protected us had either the engineers or the government behaved responsibly.  Sadly, neither did

It is perhaps fitting that a Labor government now has to pick up the pieces for a folly by a previous Labor government

As flood victims celebrated after years pursuing a complicated class-action suit against the government and its water management agencies, the financial implications of the NSW Supreme Court decision to uphold their claim were still being assessed.

Supreme Court judge Robert Beech-Jones found the operation of Wivenhoe Dam was negligent in the lead-up to the deluge, with dam operators failing to take into account rainfall forecasts in the days leading up the flood. This failure contributed to the downstream flooding of parts of Ipswich and Brisbane.

Deputy Opposition Leader Tim Mander demanded Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk apologise for the “incompetence” of the Bligh government — in which she was a minister — and explain how her cash-strapped administration would pay for the compensation.

“The Labor government was responsible for the management of Wivenhoe Dam during the 2011 floods and they blew it,” Mr ­Mander said. “Labor’s incompetence has put lives at risk and ruined thousands of homes and businesses.”

The only official response from the government yesterday was a short statement by Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath saying it acknowledged the court’s decision. “The government will closely examine the judgment before making any comment on a possible appeal,” Ms D’Ath said.

Pine Mountain Nursery manager John Craigie, whose investigations were crucial to the spotlight being shone on the role the operators of the dam played in contributing to the magnitude of the flood, described the decision as bittersweet. Mr Craigie — denied an appearance at the year-long royal commission-style inquiry into the floods run by now Queensland Chief Justice Catherine Holmes — forced a reopening of public hearings and rewriting of its findings that initiated the class action.

Mr Craigie said it was the discovery of the documents and collaboration with The Australian’s Hedley Thomas and retired chemical engineer Mick O’Brien that laid the groundwork for the class-action win. “Had I not done the research that opened the way for a reopening of the flood inquiry there probably would not have been sufficient evidence to initiate a class action,’’ he said.

The decision is a victory for the more than 6800 claimants who sued the Queensland government, and dam managers SEQwater and SunWater over the scale of the ­disaster. Justice Beech-Jones accepted engineers tasked with managing Wivenhoe and Somerset dams in the lead-up to and during a “biblical” deluge in January 2011 failed in their duty of care. He said they did not follow the dam operating manual that they themselves had helped write.

No cost decision has been made, with the case to return to court in February for a costs hearing.

The decision follows the findings by the Floods Commission of Inquiry that Wivenhoe Dam had been operated in breach of its operational manual.

The inquiry found that the dam operators had failed to use rainfall forecasts in making decisions about dam operating strategies.

The status of an estimated $1.5bn in insurance payments distributed to victims since the flood is also unclear, with Insurance Council of Australia spokesman Campbell Fuller saying insurers “will review today’s decision for its commercial implications”.

Queensland Law Society president Bill Potts said while SunWater and SEQwater did have legal liability insurance that could cover the compensation, it could be capped to a certain monetary value.

But Mr Potts said the state government was effectively self-insured and did not take out external insurance because it was such a large entity. He said it was likely the government would have to fund any compensation through its cash reserves, borrowing more money, creating a new levy, or increasing various taxes.

Mr Potts said defeated ­parties would consider whether there were grounds to appeal. “No doubt all of the parties will consider whether there’s been any error in the judgment or evidence which has been excluded that should have been included; they effectively have 28 days to appeal to the NSW Court of Appeal,” he said.

There were tears from some victims as the ruling was delivered, almost nine years after a disaster that devastated so many families.

Goodna retiree Frank Beaumont, 77, mulled over the years of distress he suffered after his home went under. “The mental stress has been horrendous,” Mr Beaumont said in Ipswich. “We’ve had so many trodden-down moments where the insurance didn’t pay, being kicked out of a rental home and then having to rebuild an absolutely devastated house.”

After Maurice Blackburn lawyers get paid, and their litigation funders, IMF Bentham and Innsworth, take their share of the damages payout, the rest will be shared between the class-action claimants. It is unlikely to be equal, with compensation to be based on the level of damage and financial loss.

The class action was filed by Maurice Blackburn in July 2014, with the trial starting in the Supreme Court of NSW in December 2017 and running for nearly 18 months. The litigation had to be filed interstate because, at the time, class actions could not be filed in Queensland.



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