Sunday, January 19, 2020



A fracking ban would trigger a global recession

The extraction of oil and gas through the techniques of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (colloquially, “fracking”) has catapulted the United States into leadership of the world’s energy markets. Since 2007, fracking has doubled U.S. oil production and increased gas production by 60%. Instead of a major importer, America is rapidly becoming the largest exporter of oil and is expected to supply the majority of net new energy traded on global markets over the next two decades.

If the U.S. imposed a fracking ban, the supply disruption would trigger the biggest oil and natural gas price spikes in history—almost certainly by more than 200%—which would, in turn, tip the world into recession. Even the expectation that a ban could be enacted would destabilize markets. U.S. imports and the trade imbalance would soar, as would consumers’ spending on energy. To keep the lights on, America would have to nearly double the quantity of coal burned, as well as import up to 1 million barrels of oil per day for dual-fueled power plants that would lose access to natural gas.

Key Findings

1. Fracking technology has nearly doubled U.S. oil production, an increase of some 7 million barrels per day (mmbd) since 2007, as well as another 10 mmbd (in energy-equivalent terms) rise in natural gas production.[4]

The massive increase in supply from U.S. shale fields triggered a roughly 50% drop in global oil and natural gas prices.[5]
U.S. net oil imports have collapsed from 12 mmbd a decade ago to nearly zero now. Exports of crude oil have soared from zero to 3 mmbd following the 2015 legislation that revoked the ban on U.S. petroleum exports.[6]
The U.S. is expected to account for 70% of the global growth in oil supply over the next five years[7] and to supply at least half the world’s new demands for natural gas.[8]

2. A ban on fracking would eliminate 7% of world oil and 17% of world gas supply in a global commodity market where changes of even 1%–2% in the supply/demand balance trigger huge price swings.

When, in 1973, Saudi Arabia implemented an oil embargo and took some 4 mmbd off world markets (approximately 7% of the total at that time), world oil prices jumped 400% and triggered a global recession. Similarly, in 1979, the Iranian revolution took a comparable 5% of oil off world markets and prices spiked over 200%, sparking another global recession.[9]
A 200% price hike would increase U.S. consumer spending at the gas pump alone by over $100 billion a year, an average of $1,000 per household. A collateral spike in natural gas prices would also add billions of dollars in heating costs for 50% of all U.S. homes and offices.[10]
To keep the lights on, electric utilities would need to quickly replace natural gas (currently 35% of all electricity) with coal. This would mean burning an additional 400 million tons of coal a year. That would increase carbon-dioxide emissions by 300% more than the emissions eliminated by all wind and solar capacity in the United States.

3. Alternative energy sources—in particular, wind and solar—could not replace what would be lost from a ban on fracking in time to prevent massive economic and social disruptions.

Oil and gas together supply 54% of global energy, little different from a 55% share a decade ago or the 53% share forecast by the International Energy Agency for 2040. Oil alone powers 98% of all global transportation.
Wind and solar together supply 1.8% of the world’s energy, and electric vehicles have displaced 0.1% of global oil use over the past decade.
The entire world would have to increase global wind and solar installations by 500% to replace the energy that would be lost from an American fracking ban—never mind the additional energy needed to fuel global economic growth.
On the Record

"A fracking ban, regardless of motivation, is anchored in magical thinking that non-hydrocarbon energy sources could fill a massive global energy shortfall if the U.S. exited the world stage as a major supplier of oil and natural gas. Both fuels will be critical for the global economy for decades to come. The key issue is not whether wind and solar can supply more energy—they can and will—but whether a future American administration would reverse the progress of the last decade in lowering energy prices and enhancing geopolitical stability."

—Mark Mills, senior fellow, Manhattan Institute

Some skeptics caution against overreacting to electioneering rhetoric, citing the practical limits of presidential authority to implement a ban on fracking.[11] But “elections have consequences,” executive orders have an impact, and few industries have been subjected to such consistent attack and misinformation. It might be hard to imagine serious proposals to ban, say, farming or at least all grain farms, but it would be theoretically possible to do so by radically increasing imports. Administrative agencies can pursue creative interpretations of the labyrinth of rules and issue aggressive “guidances.” A broad and coordinated set of such actions can slow or outright stop all manner of industrial activities up and down supply chains, including, especially, the construction of vital pipelines and ports.[12] And lest one forget, Congress enacted legislation in 1972 and 1982 to ban oil production on about 90% of America’s offshore domains.[13]

The fracking ban campaign is neither new nor connected only to the politics of this presidential election cycle. The movement emerged from the intersection of two global trends: the expansion of hydrocarbon production; and a time when many pundits and policymakers believe that an “energy transition” to something different is urgently needed. For example, some 400 domestic and international environmental leaders and organizations petitioned the United Nations in September to demand “a global ban on fracking.”[14] Essentially all fracking production is done in the United States.

Fracking Has Changed the Global Energy Balance

The biggest transformation in energy markets in the past half-century was brought about by American fracking technology. This technology unlocked the astoundingly productive “unconventional” shale fields and has led to America’s reemergence as a global exporter.[15] The transformation has saved U.S. consumers $200 billion a year[16] and restructured the global energy balance: the recent growth in U.S. oil and gas production is history’s biggest increase in global energy supply of any kind in such a short time. The second biggest, with roughly half as much growth in total energy production, occurred in Saudi Arabia during the decade after 1965.[17] America’s emergence as a third major source of oil and gas (alongside OPEC and Russia) on world markets has far-reaching geopolitical implications: 75% of the global economy is found in five regions: North America, Europe, China, Japan, and India. All, except North America, are major net energy importers.[18]

Well before the U.S. began to export natural gas or crude oil, global prices dropped in anticipation. In order to preserve market share, even as U.S. oil output soared, Saudi Arabia incrementally increased production, the opposite direction that was needed to “preserve” price, leading to the epic 2014–15 global price collapse.[19] Similarly, once it was clear that the U.S. was completing construction of liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facilities, global LNG prices dropped more than 50% as markets started to realign with the new competition.[20] Prices also dropped for land-based gas pipeline exports from Russia to Europe in order to compete against prospects of cheap LNG arriving on those shores.[21] The net effect of the global price wars has transferred trillions of dollars from producers, such as Russia and OPEC, into consumers’ pockets.

IEA forecasts—which incorporate bullish expectations for wind and solar production—see 53% of all global needs still met by oil and natural gas in 2040, a minuscule decline from today’s 54%. Of geopolitical relevance, the U.S. is expected to account for 70% of global growth in oil supply over the next five years,[22] and to supply at least half the world’s new demands for natural gas.[23] Growth in U.S. natural gas alone is expected to account for twice as much new energy supply as is forecast for all global growth of wind and solar combined.[24]

The Consequences of a Self-Embargo

A ban on fracking would end U.S. exports, cause imports to soar, and increase the trade deficit by hundreds of billions of dollars. The more serious impact would come from the shock to global markets. Global oil prices swing widely when markets are surprised by even a 1%–2% change in the supply/demand balance.

A fracking ban would entail a loss of 7% of global oil production, comparable to the 7% lost with the infamous 1973 Arab oil embargo—an embargo that drove world oil prices up 400% and triggered a global recession.[25] Similarly, the 1979 Iranian revolution took 5% of oil off global markets. Prices rose more than 200%, sparking another global recession.[26]

Today, taking shale production off the market would also constitute an additional 17% loss to global markets in the form of natural gas.[27] Higher energy prices would hit global consumers; Americans would pay more than $100 billion a year at the gas pump alone, an average of $1,000 per household.[28]

Even a slow 10-year production phase-out would trigger an estimated two-year recession in America and eliminate $270 billion of private investment.[29] There would be some winners: Russia and OPEC would derive huge revenue and geopolitical benefits.

Losing the share of new electricity generation that is now fueled from natural gas (produced by fracking) would push utilities to increase the use of existing underutilized power plants where they’re available, which are mainly coal-fired.[30] That would increase carbon dioxide emissions by some 600%—more than all emissions avoided from wind and solar on U.S. grids.[31]

Regions heavily dependent on natural gas but with minimal coal capacity would be faced with rolling blackouts—such as New England (where gas currently provides 49% of electricity), the Mid-Atlantic region (38%), and the Pacific coast (30%).[32] Some of that shortfall could come from burning oil in the 130 GW of gas-fired turbines designed to be dual-fueled.[33] If fully utilized, those turbines would burn about 1 mmbd of oil (necessarily imported), a 10-fold increase in U.S. oil-fired power generation.

The Impossibility of Filling the Gap

The central motivation for the movement to ban fracking is the global abundance of hydrocarbons at a time when many pundits and policymakers believe that an “energy transition” is urgently needed. But America’s shale production could not be replaced quickly by alternatives, at any price, regardless of climate-change motivations. To the extent that there is an “energy transition” to new technologies, it is happening in slow motion.

Politically popular wind and solar power have become far less expensive and have enjoyed massive global subsidies; but together, they still provide only 1.8% of global energy. The 5 million electric vehicles on all the world’s roads now displace 0.1% of global oil use.[34]

Replacing the quantity of energy produced by fracking in the U.S. shale fields would entail (in energy-equivalent terms) expanding all of America’s solar and wind production by 2,000% more than what has been added in the past decade.[35] Somehow accomplishing that miracle wouldn’t help the 99% of Americans driving oil-fueled cars. In fact, because the hydrocarbon market is global, the entire world would have to increase global wind and energy supply by 500% to replace the energy that would be lost from an American fracking ban—never mind the additional energy needed to fuel global economic growth.[36]

SOURCE 





Energy Paradoxes Put Europe in a Precarious Position

Despite its cool Green parties and ambitious wind and solar agendas, Europe remains by far the world's largest importer of oil and natural gas.

Oil output in the North Sea and off the coast of Norway is declining, and the European Union is quietly looking for fossil fuel energy anywhere it can find it.

Europe itself is naturally rich in fossil fuels. It likely has more reserves of shale gas than the United States, currently the world's largest producer of both oil and natural gas. Yet in most European countries, horizontal drilling and fracking to extract gas and oil are either illegal or face so many court challenges and popular protests that they are neither culturally nor economically feasible.

The result is that Europe is almost entirely dependent on Russian, Middle Eastern, and African sources of energy.

The American-Iranian standoff in the Middle East, coupled with radical drop-offs in Iranian and Venezuelan oil production, has terrified Europe -- and for understandable reasons.

The European Union has almost no ability to guarantee the delivery of critical oil and gas supplies from the Middle East should Iran close the Strait of Hormuz or harass ships in the Persian Gulf.

Europe's only maritime security is the NATO fleet -- a synonym for the U.S. Navy.

Vladimir Putin's Russia supplies an estimated 30 percent of Europe's oil needs. In times of crisis, Putin could exercise de facto control over the European economy.

In other words, Europe refuses to develop its own gas and oil reserves, and won't fund the necessary military power to ensure that it can safely import energy from problematic or even hostile sources.

It's no wonder that Europe's traditional foreign policy reflects these crazy paradoxes.

Energy neediness explains why the EU was so eager to maintain the so-called "Iran deal" with the theocracy in Tehran, and also why it was nervous about the anti-Russia hysteria that arose in the United States after the 2016 election.

Past European distancing from Israel reflected Europe's fear of alienating Arab oil producers in the Middle East and North Africa.

Europeans are also uneasy about the Trump administration. They see the current U.S. government as nationalist and unpredictable. Americans appear not so ready as in the past to enter the world's hotspots to ensure unimpeded commercial use of sea and air lanes for the benefit of others.

The result is a sort of European schizophrenia when it comes to America and foreign policy in general. On one hand, the European Union resents its military dependence on Washington, while on the other it prays for its continuance. The EU loudly promotes freedom and democracy abroad, but it is careful to keep ties with oil-exporting Middle Eastern autocracies that are antithetical to every value Europeans promote.

Germany agrees with its allies that Russian imperial agendas could threaten European autonomy. But privately, Berlin reassures Putin's Russia that it wants to buy all the gas and oil that Moscow has to sell. Germany increasingly seems far friendlier with a suspicious Russia than it is with an America that protects it.

In sum, what ensures that Europeans have enough daily gasoline and home heating fuel are not batteries, wind farms, and solar panels -- much less loud green proselytizing. They count instead on a mercurial Russia, an array of unstable Middle Eastern governments, and an underappreciated U.S. military.

In a logical world, Europeans would retake control of their own destiny. That recalibration would entail beefing up their military power, and their navies in particular.

They also would begin to frack and horizontally drill. Europeans would push ahead with more nuclear power, hydroelectric projects and clean-coal technologies -- at least until new sources of clean energies become viable.

Europe should applaud U.S. gas and oil development, which has upped world supplies, diversified suppliers, and lowered global prices. Europeans should especially remember that the U.S. military keeps global commerce safe for all vulnerable importers such as themselves.

But these remedies are apparently seen in Europe as worse than the disease of oil and gas dependency.

The result is again chaos. Europe lectures about greenhouse gases while it desperately seeks supplies of fossil fuels. Germany usually sets the tone in Europe, and it is the most hypocritical in both denouncing and buying fossil fuels from unsavory sources.

The danger for Europe now is that the charade may soon be over.

Americans are self-sufficient in gas and oil. They have lost interest in Middle East quagmires and petro-regimes. And they don't like patrolling the world for countries that both count on and ankle-bite the U.S. military. Meanwhile, the more Europeans pander to oil-rich Russia, Iran, and various Gulf states, the less respect they earn in return.

It is hard to be both the world's largest importer of gas and oil and the loudest critic of fossil fuels, but Europe has managed to do it.

SOURCE 





Media Sparks Misleading Climate Alarmism Over Global Temperatures

Arlington, VA - The press is reporting that last year was the second hottest on record globally, according to the latest climate data collected by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA. However, in a rush to judgement alarming the public, they fail to highlight that the data collected only goes back about 140 years, making the issue seem new and sparking a call for more regulations on carbon dioxide.

The CO2 Coalition recently issued a memo to the media correcting the record on how they cover stories related to climate science in an increasingly polarized news cycle.

The memo is written by Dr. Caleb Rossiter, a climate statistician and the Executive Director of the CO2 Coalition, a group of climate scientists and energy economists that includes two former Trump administration officials, White House science adviser Will Happer and former EPA deputy Mandy Gunasekara.

"The press routinely misleads the public by reporting that (X out of the Y) warmest months, years, decades on record have occurred recently," said Dr. Caleb Rossiter, climate statistician and Executive Director of the CO2 Coalition of climate scientists and energy economists. "This has been true throughout the past 250 years, for natural reasons. Temperature has been rising slowly and steadily since the Little Ice Age, well before CO2 levels increased. Slightly higher records are to be expected."

"For too long, the American public has been misled on the science behind about our climate," said Dr. Caleb Rossiter. "We hope this memo to the press can better inform the way these stories are covered to provide a more accurate description of the global climate."

More HERE 





Mass.: DeLeo doesn’t see ‘a whole lot of support’ for a regional climate pact

House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo cast fresh doubts on the prospects of a regional pact designed to curb carbon emissions while likely raising gas prices, saying Wednesday he doesn’t see “a whole lot of support” for it.

Instead, DeLeo suggested the Legislature will plow ahead with its own transportation financing bill, which could include a gas tax hike, regardless of Governor Charlie Baker’s decision to join the multistate effort.

Amid a crisis of confidence in the state’s public transit systems, it remains unclear when the House will pursue the long-promised legislation, with DeLeo saying Wednesday he’s “uncertain as to exactly when” a bill would emerge. But he said lawmakers probably can’t wait for a potential cash infusion from the Transportation and Climate Initiative, whose apparent softening of support throughout New England could complicate an effort that Baker has roundly supported.

“There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of support for the concept, at least that I see right now,” DeLeo said Wednesday, citing media reports. The Winthrop Democrat suggested he’s “especially concerned” about the uneven backing among Massachusetts’s immediate New England neighbors.

The initiative, known as TCI, would impose a new fuel cost at the wholesale level by establishing a system of carbon pollution allowances for up to a dozen states. The goal, proponents say, is to slice carbon emissions from transportation by up to 25 percent over a decade, but in doing so, it is likely to drive up the costs at the pump anywhere from 5 cents to 17 cents a gallon. The Baker administration expects up to $500 million in new annual revenue once it goes into effect, which could happen as soon as 2022.

New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu, however, has already opted out, and his counterparts in Vermont, Connecticut, and Maine have all thrown up caution flags, directly or indirectly, in recent weeks. Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo has said she’s “fully committed” to TCI’s goals, but Nicholas Mattiello, Rhode Island’s House speaker, has signaled he’s against it.

Officials released a draft agreement in December, and each state could make a final decision later this year whether to participate.

“What I was looking for as we went through this process was to make sure especially that the New England states would be on board,” DeLeo said.

“Now, I’m not saying they’re all off,” he added. “Right now, first of all, for us to wait for that to go into effect, we could be waiting two or three years. I don’t think we can wait that long.”

DeLeo had first said he intended to take up a transportation financing bill last fall before pushing it into 2020. He told the State House News in November that he was “shooting for January” and his transportation chairman, Representative William M. Straus, has said that was still a target.

But DeLeo offered no firm timeline Wednesday other than a possible vote in winter. The bill’s actual contents have, too, remained a mystery, with options ranging from a gas tax hike to increased fees on ride-hail trips through Uber, Lyft, and other companies.

DeLeo insisted that the lack of a clear timetable shouldn’t be interpreted as him “backing off.”

“You can rest assured, first of all, there will be a debate relative to transportation funding,” he said. “It seems to me that every day that goes by, there’s a further example, I think, of the need for transportation revenue and for some work to begin relative to our transportation system.”

The support, or lack thereof, for TCI within the Legislature, meanwhile, probably means more in the public discourse than it does on a legal level. Analysts and state officials say it’s likely Baker can commit Massachusetts to the agreement without legislative approval. In other states, it’s not so clear.

Straus said the public support in other states is important for the momentum of the agreement, not to mention a state’s ability to deter drivers from simply crossing the border to avoid higher gas prices created by the pact.

“That basic argument for TCI seems to have become a more cloudy one,” Straus said Wednesday.

SOURCE 





Australia: The Queensland desalination project

The article below was written before 12.12.19.  How do I know that?  Because it refers to the drought.  And for most of 2019 Queensland was indeed unusually dry.  On the night of 12.12.19 however, Brisbane had the mother and father of a storm that delivered 6 months of rain in one hour.  And there was a similar storm down the coast a couple of days later. So both the Wivenhoe and the Hinze dam (which are linked) would have received a big boost

It is particularly good for the dams to get all that rain at once. If the fall had been spread out over a long period, much of the fall would have been lost to evaporation and soaking into the ground.

The desalination project was an absolute boondoggle from the beginning. It was started by a Leftist government as an alternative to building a dam. It took years to get it working properly so it is lucky that the rains came and rendered it unnecessary.  It is however some consolation to hear that it is finally working and being marginally useful


DESALINATE or die. That was the dire warning from then-premier Peter Beattie as he was confronted by a lone protester at the under-construction Gold Coast desalination plant during the so-called "Millennium Drought" in 2000.

The protester, local green activist Inge Light, had slipped through a security detail to shirtfront Beattie about the controversial $1.2 billion project's environmental and financial costs.

"I've got to be honest with you, we're going to build it(the plant), we've got no choice -- unless you go up there and play God and make it rain for me," the premier declared. "If you don't allow us to get desalinated water, frankly no one's going to be alive. "If we don't have desal, we're not going to have any water. "If you don't have water, you're dead.'

It may not be quite life or death. Beattie, wasn't averse to a bit of hyperbole — but as Queensland grapples with arguably its worst drought on record, the Tugun desalination plant is playing a key role in keeping water flowing to residents in the state's south-east.

Largely on "hot standby" since it opened in 2009 due to consistent rain events, the facility has been cranked up to full capacity after a tinder-dry spring and early summer which has seen dam levels plummet.

Since hitting 100 per cent production on November 18, the plant has pumped more than two billion litres of water into the southeast Queensland water grid. It represents about 15 per cent of the region's water use, currently averaging at 212 litres per person per day, up from 183 litres this time last year.

The first large-scale desalination plant on Australia's east coast (Perth's plant opened in 2006), the Tugun facility occupies a sprawling site next to Gold Coast Airport, a few hundred metres from the beach. It was originally planned as a much smaller Gold Coast City Council facility. But as the Millennium Drought bit deeper, the Beattie government invested almost $870 million in the project to more than double its capacity to 133 megalitres per day.

Gold Coast mother and environmentalist Inge Light wept at Gold Coast City Hall in October 2006 after councillors voted 12-2 to approve the project, saying it would worsen global warming and damage the marine environment "I'm emotional because I see my children's future being affected by global warming," she told The Courier-Mail at the time. "It's incredibly sad and incredibly frustrating that we've got yesterday's politicians making tomorrow's decisions."

But the council, led by green-leaning mayor Ron Clarke, decided  overwhelmingly that the desal plant was needed, and urgently. "The region will run out of water if we don't deal with this and make the hard decisions," then finance committee chair and now Southport MP Rob Molhoek said.

Construction began irmnediately by an "alliance", incvolving  French water giant Veolia, construction firm John Holland, infrastructure company Cardno and engineers Sinclair Knight Metz.

In 2007, The Courier-Mail revealed that Veolia expected to take in at least $351 million from running the desal plant over the following decade. Anna Bligh, who had succeeded Beattie as premier, took the first sip of desalinated water at a Tugun open day in December 2008.

The plant officially opened in January 2009, but the State Government refused to accept ownership after a raft of serious defects were revealed, including rusting pipes, cracking concrete and faulty valves, as well as concerns over potential contaminants leaching from the former Tugun rubbish dump on which the facility was built.

In April 2009, the plant, supposedly the showpiece of the $9 billion south-east Queensland water grid, was shut down for almost six weeks as technical experts crawled through pipes to pinpoint faults. A year later, the plant was again shut down, this time for three months, as a giant barge was brought in to make repairs. Only months later, south-east Queensland was hit by the devastating 2010-11 floods.

Critics have labelled the desal plant a costly white elephant, but it has been used to help supply water during floods as well as drought, and when water treatment plants have been shut down for upgrades.

The Courier-Mail recently took a tour of the plant with its manager, Tina Feenstra. Right on cue for our visit, the heavens have opened. "It's a running joke for us here: whenever we're at full capacity, it starts raining," Feenstra says, handing us umbrellas.

Feenstra explains the desalination process, which begins with sea water being fed through a 4m mushroom-like inlet on the seabed, about 1km offshore, and into a pipeline to the plant. Larger particles are screened out before the water passes through a finer filter which removes smaller particles. The water is then pre-treated in large tanks which blend small suspended particles into clumps which are then removed by sand filters.

Next, the main process begins — removing the salt. The water passes through thousands of reverse osmosis membranes to purify the water. It ends up being so pure, Feenstra explains, that chemicals and minerals then have to be re-added to make the water suitable to drink before it is pumped into the water grid.

Desalinated water does not come cheap, costing up to $800 a megalitre to produce. It's also energy-intensive, consuming the equivalent electricity of about 12,000 houses a day when running at full capacity.

"But when it's hotter and drier than average as it is now, having use of a facility like this is a real asset, particularly when we don't know how long this drought will last," Feenstra says.

From the Brisbane "Courier Mail" of January 4, 2020

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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

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Friday, January 17, 2020


Climate change could see UK seas filled with hake, anchovies and herring

And the tragedy of the viviparous eelpout.  Warming waters should on the whole be more productive.  The main problem below seems to be quotas.  But it just needs the stroke of a pen to fix them.  The "invasive" species all seem to be good eating fish

Climate change could see UK seas filled with hake, anchovies and herring as classic British species such as cod are wiped out, a new study by Defra has predicted.

Our increasingly warm and acidic oceans are not hospitable for the cold-water fish and shellfish on which our fishing industry relies. By 2050, the scientists said, these changes will cause major changes in commercial species' distributions in the North Sea.

Already, we are seeing fish from warmer climes populate our oceans, the Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership found.

Increasing numbers of Atlantic bluefin tuna have been reported in UK waters by commercial and recreational fishers. At present, there is no quota for this species for UK vessels.

Mackerel has become dominant off the west of Scotland over the past three decades, and northern hake, a warm-water species, has recolonised the northern North Sea after being largely been absent for over 50 years.

Scientists also noted the appearance of warm-water species, such as the European anchovy and local declines of some cold-water species, including the viviparous eelpout.

Welsh fisheries will be particularly at risk from climate change, the report predicted, as cockles and whelks do not cope well with ocean acidification, which is caused primarily by uptake of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Cod is at risk; experiments suggest that Atlantic cod larvae may experience higher mortality rates due to ocean acidification compared with European seabass and herring larvae.

Fish are likely to become smaller as they have to travel further for their prey in warming waters, expending more energy, the report predicted. Sandeels, known as the "superfood of the sea", which many species such as cod rely on, are appearing later in the year as warming delays reproductive development.

Warming and associated oxygen solubility, the scientists from the institute said, also appears to be affecting the age at maturation, growth rates, and the maximum size fish can attain.

This all spells trouble for the British fishing industry, which does not have the correct quotas for the newly arriving fish in our waters and will have to cope with catching smaller fish.

The authors of the study said: "Projected declines in shellfish production resulting from  ocean acidification may result in significant economic  losses within UK fisheries."

By 2050, under a high-emissions scenario, the net value of the UK fishing industry is expected to decrease by 10 per cent.

In some cases, whole fisheries may have to cease operation, as populations of incoming warm-water species with limited quota allocation could act to ‘choke’ existing mixed fisheries.

Tony Juniper, Chair of Natural England, said: "This report underlines the profound and wide-ranging impacts already being caused to our marine environment by climate change. The UK is taking strong steps to safeguard the health of the ocean environment that is so vital for our wellbeing, both around our own shores and further away. More is needed, however, including the vigorous pursuit of the UK’s net zero emissions goal, which hopefully more countries will soon adopt as well.

"In 2020, countries from around the world will come together at global summits where greater collective action to tackle climate change and increase marine protections could be agreed. These historic opportunities must be tightly embraced, including at the climate change conference that will be hosted by the UK in Glasgow in November".

However, the arrival of warm-water species presents an "opportunity" for tourism by anglers, the report said, adding: "warm-water fish have been detected in the Channel  Islands, including species such as the Atlantic bonito, which is popular for sea angling."

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: “Tackling climate change and the impact on our environment is both a national and international priority, and the UK is already leading the fight against it by delivering on our world-leading target of Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

“We will be increasing that momentum at this year’s COP26 talks in Glasgow and we are calling on more countries to join us in pledging to protect at least 30% of the ocean under marine protected areas by 2030.

“We are also investing £2.6 billion over six years to better protect our communities from flooding and erosion.

SOURCE





Three Mile Island and the Exaggerated Risk of Nuclear Power

The Three Mile Island accident caused no physical harm, but the event changed public perception of the risks of nuclear energy.

You’ve likely heard of the 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear accident. It’s often cited as an example of the dangers of nuclear power. It’s usually mentioned in the same breath as Chernobyl and Fukushima.

But what exactly happened there? Was it truly an exemplar of the grave dangers posed by nuclear power?

The answer is no. No one died. No one was injured. The other reactor on the site was still in operation until September 20 (yes, September 20 of last year). The Three Mile Island incident is an example of both the recallability trap and the sometimes negative results of being too yielding to the demands of the precautionary principle.

The Psychological Impacts

The main impact of the Three Mile Island accident has been psychological rather than physical. Big events like this one shape public attitudes for decades. People don’t remember the real impact of the event; they remember the feelings of uncertainty and fear that came with it. Those feelings now taint the public image of nuclear power in the United States.

The accident at Three Mile Island Unit 2 occurred at 4 a.m. on March 28, 1979. There was a malfunction in the reactor’s secondary cooling circuit, and the temperature of the reactor’s primary coolant rose, causing an automatic shutdown of the reactor. Control room instruments didn’t alert operators that a relief valve failed to close. Because of this, the reactor did not cool as it should have, and the core was damaged. Later that day, a small amount of gas was released accidentally, but the released gas traveled through air filters, which removed all of the radionuclides save the relatively harmless and short half-lived noble gases.

The event caused no physical harm, but the public perception of the risks of nuclear energy was heightened dramatically.

The accident created public fear but posed no real threat to the public. According to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the two million people in the area around TMI-2 at the time of the accident received an estimated dose of only 1 millirem above the usual background dose of radiation, less exposure than they would receive from a chest x-ray and a tiny fraction of the 100-125 millirem normal yearly background dose in the area. This is a minuscule amount of radiation compared to what all of us encounter in the normal course of everyday life.

Because of cancer concerns following the accident, the Pennsylvania Department of Health maintained a registry of people living within five miles of Three Mile Island when the accident occurred. The 30,000 person list was kept up until mid-1997 when it was determined that there had been no unusual health trends or increased cancer cases in the area immediately surrounding the accident.

People were frightened by the event, but there was no physical harm. Only the public perception of the risks of nuclear energy was heightened dramatically. The greatest effects were on the future permitting and construction of reactors and on NRC rules and procedures.

Changes in Nuclear Regulation and Construction

Following this accident, it became far more difficult to construct a reactor in the United States, in part because the politics and economics both shifted. Heightened fear makes approval more difficult and causes people to be less supportive of new construction, and changes on the regulatory side of things increase costs, shifting the economics of bringing new plants online. A 1984 New York Times article on the abandonment of construction of the Marble Hill plant in Indiana cites more than 100 plant cancellations following the Three Mile Island Accident.

Significant changes came to the NRC following Three Mile Island. It expanded its resident inspector program in which two NRC inspectors live near each of the plants and provide oversight of adherence to the agencies’ regulations.Safety became a more essential element of the system, but regulatory costs also rose.

 It also expanded both safety and performance-oriented inspections and established an operations center staffed 24 hours a day to provide assistance in plant emergencies. The Institute of Nuclear Power Operations, which is now the Nuclear Energy Institute, was also established to be an internal policing mechanism for the industry, providing a single point of interaction with NRC and other agencies on many issues and allowing them to share a framework for approaching generic issues they all experience.

Plants were also required to install additional equipment to monitor certain conditions in order to mitigate future accidents. These and other changes created a far more safety-oriented regulatory environment than previously existed. Safety became a more essential element of the system, but regulatory costs also rose.

The Role of Precautionary Thinking and the Recallability Trap

This is certainly a case where the downside of the precautionary principle has negative effects. Decisions that account more for the damage caused by rare accidents than by the constant benefits produced operate under an inaccurate cost-benefit analysis. This is even more true in this case, where there was widespread fear but no real off-site damage.

The Mercatus Center’s Adam Thierer made a similar point about the aftermath of Japan’s Fukushima disaster in an October 31 piece titled “How Many Lives are Lost Due to the Precautionary Principle?” wherein he pointed out the hidden costs of overly precautionary thinking. Following Fukushima, Japan stopped using nuclear power, which had previously been 30 percent of its energy. Energy prices rose, and in the subsequent four years, there were 1,280 cold-related deaths. Precautionary thinking can lead to costly unforeseen outcomes.

Reliable and affordable energy is essential—a fact no more apparent than when it becomes less affordable and less reliable. Although the Three Mile Island aftermath isn’t quite so dramatic, it’s a similar concept. Fears of worst-case scenarios prevent the development of important resources.

Overprecaution fueled by outlier events means that less nuclear power is constructed, plants are shut down before they need to be, and the public is misinformed about the safety of this technology.

The public is strongly influenced by accidents in this space, and public perception is quickly changed when they occur.

When major events occur, we often fall into the recallability trap, wherein more dramatic events are remembered more sharply and seen as more likely to occur than less dramatic ones. We might be more afraid of a nuclear disaster or a lightning strike than we are of a car crash or heart attack even though we’re far more likely to be done in by the latter than the former.

Rare but dramatic events tend to feel far more likely than statistics indicate. We misestimate the chances of these things happening. The recallability trap is especially relevant to nuclear power. Although there have only been three major commercial nuclear accidents—Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima—and only one of those was in the United States, the general public views these events as far more likely.

According to a CBS News survey, in 1977, 69 percent of Americans favored building new nuclear power plants, but by 1979, after Three Mile Island, support fell to 46 percent. Following Chernobyl in 1986, support had fallen to just 34 percent. By 2008, it had risen to 57 percent, but in 2011, after Fukushima, it fell back down to 43 percent. The public is strongly influenced by accidents in this space, and public perception is quickly changed when they occur.

Shifting Public Support

Following the Three Mile Island incident, attitudes toward nuclear power in the United States shifted.

The impetus to license new plants was all but gone. Public fear was overwhelming enough to discourage new development. From 1978 to 2012, the NRC didn’t approve the construction of any new commercial reactors. As the chart below shows, new reactors were still constructed following the incident, but new permitting did not occur, although various projects were attempted throughout the period. Much of this gap can be attributed to the Three Mile Island accident. Indeed, in 2019, Exelon, the owner of the Three Mile Island plant, announced it would be closing down its final remaining reactor after years of losing money. Following an incident like this one, people become overcautious.

Nonetheless, in the early 2000s, this finally started to change as the “nuclear renaissance” began. Following a few decades of no development, nuclear power was planning a big comeback. But because of a combination of the fears created by Fukushima and economic realities at home thanks to the financial crisis, the renaissance never materialized.

So, even though no one died or was even harmed in the Three Mile Accident, its impact is still clearly seen today. The accident seemed major and ominous, and because it was seen that way, public pressure made new construction far more difficult than it otherwise would have been.

SOURCE






Climate risks put at top of Davos agenda... as the global elite fly in on their private jets!

The World Economic Forum has urged business leaders to step into the void left by governments in tackling climate change.

For the first time, the world’s business elite has placed issues related to the environment in all top five spots on its list of concerns about the next decade, according to WEF’s annual Global Risks Report.

However, WEF risked accusations of hypocrisy ahead of its annual meeting in Davos next week, where some of the rich and famous will arrive at the Swiss ski resort by private jet.

Rachel Kennerley, climate campaigner at Friends Of The Earth, urged delegates to avoid private jets. ‘As the leaders of the world’s most polluting countries and companies they should look at cutting those emissions as a priority,’ she said.

As bushfires rage in Australia, and California repairs damage caused by wildfires, the WEF is now encouraging company bosses to come together in creating measures to minimise further damage to the environment.

If leaders wait until geopolitical turbulence has calmed, the report added, ‘time will run out to address some of the most pressing economic environmental and technological challenges’.

WEF president Borge Brende said: ‘The political landscape is polarised, sea levels are rising and climate fires are burning.

‘This is when world leaders must work with all sectors of society to repair and reinvigorate our systems of co-operation, not just for short-term benefit but for tackling our deep-rooted risks.’

The top five concerns on business leaders’ agenda are:

Extreme weather events with major damage to property and loss of lives;

Failure by businesses and governments to mitigate or adapt to climate change;

Human-made environmental damage, such as oil spills and radioactive contamination;

Major biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse;

Major natural disasters, such as earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions.

The WEF’s annual meeting will host some of the world’s most powerful figures, from Donald Trump and Prince Charles to climate campaigner Greta Thunberg, central bankers and bosses of businesses such as Unilever and BP.

Though many will fly in by private jet, the WEF claims the event will be carbon neutral due to a range of carbon-offsetting measures it has taken.

The focus on climate risks comes after Blackrock, the world’s largest asset manager, announced measures this week to encourage investors to plough more of their money into environmentally friendly companies.

Paul Morozzo, climate finance campaigner at Greenpeace, said last night: ‘It’s not enough to identify how grave the climate emergency is.

‘The banks and financial institutions jetting into Davos next week have made trillions pumping money into climate-crashing fuels such as oil, gas and coal.

‘It’s time to stop funding the crisis and start backing the solutions. That means immediately ending support for fossil fuels we cannot afford to burn.’

Bank of England governor Mark Carney has also been pushing for governments, investors, lenders and businesses to pay attention to the financial impact which climate change might have.

SOURCE

 



Australia: Qld. Conservative parties back grazing to reduce fire risk

MORE national parks would be opened up to cattle under the LNP's newly unveiled bushfire management plan to help reduce the fuel load across the state.

The party has announced a 10-point plan that would make it easier for landholders to burn on their land to manage fuel loads and set KPIs for fire-fighters to do 98 per cent of all planned hazard reduction reduction burns.

LNP leader Deb Frecklington said "one of the main reasons" for such catastrophic bushfires here and in southern states was because state-owned land hadn't been managed properly.  "There are many old-timers, there are many people, including our indigenous elders, who are saying that they have evidence that grazing in national parks, if managed properly, is a very good way of controlling the amount of hazard," she said.

Opposition Fire and Emergency Services spokesman Lachlan Miller said the move would reduce fuel loads and benefit local economies.

We're not looking at opening it up to every national park across Queensland, what we're looking to do is looking at state forest areas and certain national parks that used to have grazing", he said.

The plan would also allow landholders and councils to burn on their land 15 business days after an application was made to stop bureaucratic hold-ups under a "right to burn" model.

Environment Minister and Acting Fire and Emergency a Services Minister Leeanne Enoch said 10-point plans were for pamphlets. "We're well past the time when politics are welcome in the discussion about bushfires," she said.

Ms Enoch said that many of the policies, such as grazing to  reduce fuel loads and using indigenous methods, were already  done.

From the Brisbane "Courier Mail" of 14 Jan., 2020





Australia: Greenie versus Greenie

MOUNTAIN bike riders and environmentalists are at loggerheads over potential trails through protected bushland on Brisbane's southside.

But both parties will have to wait up to five more months to see what Brisbane City Council's citywide off-road cycling plan looks like. Council says the plan will create more to see and do in a "clean and green Brisbane", and aims to provide safe and sustainable recreation opportunities that offer better protection for natural areas.

Between March and May last year, council engaged with key stakeholder groups and the broader community about their ideas for future off-road cycling opportunit-ies across the city. Now the council is in the process of analysing the "significant amount of community feedback" and developing the draft concept plans.

Author and off-road cycling enthusiast Gillian Duncan has been fighting for the rights of mountain bike riders and has been campaigning for the past 15 years for legal trails in south-east Queensland. She wants riders to have access to fire trails, and hopes the council will go one step further and open up a "satisfying trail experience" through Karawatha Forest.

But bushcare groups are "strongly opposed" to these ideas and do not want bikes destroying the habitats of native wildlife.

Currently, Mt Coot-tha is the only designated location for off-road mountain bike riding, and those tracks and trails are used more than 700,000 times each year. Karawatha Forest Protection Society treasurer Cornelis Van Eldik said mountain bikes in the reserve would cause havoc with the flora and fauna.

"Council should not allow this to happen," he said. "They (riders) won't be content just staying to the fire trails — they will want the extra thrill of a scrub dashing, which is what our major concern is."

Ms Duncan insisted a mountain bike-riding management plan would curb that sort of behaviour.

From the Brisbane "Courier Mail" of January 11, 2020

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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

*****************************************



Thursday, January 16, 2020



World's biggest investment firm BlackRock to shun fossil fuels as it steps up efforts to tackle climate change and calls for 'a fundamental reshaping of finance'

Good news for keen investors.  Selling off fossil fuel shares will drive their price down -- making them a good buy for realistic investors

The world's biggest investment manager BlackRock has said it will sell-off shares in coal firms and other major polluters as it called for a 'fundamental reshaping of finance' to tackle climate change.

Chief executive Larry Fink warned company boards they must step up efforts to counter climate change in his annual letter to business bosses.

Fink said they need to act or will face increased wrath from investors concerned about how unsustainable business practices might cut their future wealth.

He said BlackRock itself, which looks after $7trillion (£5.4trillion) of clients' money, will exit investments that present 'high sustainability-related risk', including thermal coal producers.

Fink's intervention comes at a time when City firms are increasingly facing pressure to do more to combat climate change.

Large asset managers such as BlackRock own vast quantities of shares and therefore have a great deal of leverage over companies, including fossil fuel producers.

However BlackRock and investment heavyweight peers such as Vanguard and State Street have been criticised for not doing enough to guide the firms they invest in up until now.

'We don't yet know which predictions about climate change will be most accurate nor what effects we have failed to consider,' Fink stated in the letter. 'But there is no denying the direction we are heading.

'Every government, company and shareholder must confront climate change.'

He went on the say that questions around climate change are driving 'a profound reassessment of risk and asset values'. 

'In the near future – and sooner than most anticipate – there will be a significant reallocation of capital.' Fink added.

The letter also specifically aligned BlackRock with the goals set out in the 2016 Paris climate agreement despite this not being the official policy of its home nation the United States, which under President Donald Trump has backed away from the accord.

SOURCE 




Could Janet Mills of Maine be the next governor to hop off the TCI bandwagon?

New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu left the multistate Transportation & Climate Initiative in a blaze of glory last month. The Republican governor’s brash exit — he declared TCI a “financial boondoggle” – prompted the natural question: Who could be next?

Of New England’s other governors, Mills seemed to sound the most cautious tone last week about TCI, which would impose a new fuel cost at the wholesale level by establishing a system of carbon pollution allowances for up to a dozen states. The new revenue would help subsidize alternative forms of transportation, such as electric buses and car-charging stations.

Mills, a Democrat starting her second year as Maine’s governor, has made curbing climate change a major priority.

That’s similar to the primary goal of TCI: to reduce carbon emissions from the region’s cars and trucks by up to 25 percent over a decade. But in a brief statement on Friday afternoon, press secretary Lindsay Crete said “the challenges of climate and transportation issues for rural states like Maine are unique, and the state will be appropriately cautious when considering these issues.”

She declined to elaborate. One potential translation: Our residents are heavily reliant on cars, so there might be better ways of doing this.

Tony Buxton, an energy lawyer at Preti Flaherty in Portland, Maine, said “it’s asking a lot of her to support TCI” during the governor’s first two years in office, especially given her other environmental efforts. (Mills worked with Buxton at his law firm before she became governor.) He noted that Maine is the least dense state, in terms of population, east of the Mississippi. Driving is essential.

But Elizabeth Turnbull Henry, president of the Environmental League of Massachusetts and a TCI champion, cautioned against reading too much into Mills’ words. Mills wants to see Maine be carbon-neutral by 2045. To pull that off, Henry said, she’ll have to turn to the transportation sector.

So what do the other New England governors think?

Of course, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker is fully on board: TCI is a cornerstone of his $18 billion transportation funding plan, and his energy secretary, Katie Theoharides, is leading the effort. (The Baker administration expects up to $500 million in new annual revenue from TCI, starting as soon as 2022.)

Baker opposes a straight gas tax increase — something the House of Representatives is expected to advance on Beacon Hill in the coming weeks. TCI, however, acts like a gas tax because those pollution credits will likely drive up costs at the pump, possibly by anywhere from 5 cents to 17 cents a gallon.

A spokesman for Governor Gina Raimondo in Rhode Island said she is “fully committed” to the TCI goals, including an aggressive approach to lowering carbon emissions in the transportation sector.

In Vermont, Governor Phil Scott has expressed concerns about TCI in the past. He didn’t mention TCI by name in his state-of-the-state speech last week, but raised a few eyebrows when he said he prefers “incentives, not penalties” to transition Vermont to a greener future. TCI might be the last thing Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont wants to talk about right now. Lamont is trying to shore up support for a transportation bill that would revive tolls in Connecticut, a bill that could be taken up by lawmakers later this month. The tolls would only be for larger trucks, at 12 bridges in the state, but they still face resistance. (Lamont earlier wanted broader tolling.)

A spokesman said Lamont is still weighing TCI, but has ruled out supporting a gas tax increase as the primary way to fund infrastructure improvements.

Sununu, meanwhile, seems to be enjoying the controversy: He said he’s happy other governors are “rightfully sounding the alarm on this new gas tax.”

Most of these states need legislative approval to join TCI, although the precise number remains unclear. There could be a 50/50 split in New England. Conservation Law Foundation attorney Staci Rubin says her group’s legal analysis shows Massachusetts, Maine, and Connecticut likely do not need legislative approval, while the other three states potentially will.

Publicly, at least, Baker’s people seem unconcerned about defections, even though they want a critical mass of state participation.

A spokeswoman said the administration is pleased by broad support seen among environmental and business communities, and the “robust participation” by the various Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. The group is accepting public comments on TCI rules through the end of February, and expects to figure out who is out and who is in this spring. The caution expressed in Maine indicates TCI’s boosters might still have some persuading to do.

SOURCE 




Warren Says She's Willing To Ban Construction of New Homes in America

She's a vicious would-be tyrant with no respect for ordinary people

If your home isn’t carbon neutral, Elizabeth Warren might not let you build it. And if that means no new homes get built, she’s OK with that.

In an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Wednesday, the Massachusetts senator and fading presidential candidate talked about her Thunberg-lite plan to help end climate change. (Climate crisis? Catastrophe? What are we going with these days?)

During her appearance, Warren was asked what she’d do to “change the tide of U.S. policy on the issue of climate change” and acted as if she’d been thrown the softball of all softballs.

She promised “to do everything a president can do all by herself, that is, the things you don’t have to do by going to Congress.” This includes putting an end to energy mining and drilling on federal lands or offshore and “not having a coal lobbyist as head of the Environmental Protection Agency.”

You might not be surprised to learn that’s a dig at Andrew Wheeler, President Donald Trump’s EPA administrator, who was previously an attorney representing a coal producer.

Warren then moved on to her plan for housing, which she said was borne out of the dire predictions scientists have been making.

“What scares me is every time you go back to the scientists, they tell you two things,” the senator said. “It’s worse than we thought, and we have less time.

“That means we’ve got to be willing to do things, for example, like regulation. By 2028, no new buildings, no new houses, without a zero carbon footprint.”

And she’s coming for your car and electricity bill, too.

“By 2030, trucks — light-duty trucks and cars, zero carbon footprint. By 2035, all production of electricity, zero carbon footprint,” Warren said.

“We do three regulations, we can cut our carbon footprint by 70 percent,” she said.

Oh, and there was also talk of some vague idea of social justice — because schemes like this always need to be undergirded with some such vague idea.

“We also need to make environmental justice really at the heart of our climate plan,” Warren said.

“A central part of the plan for me is I want to put a trillion dollars into cleaning up the places that collectively we have destroyed as a nation and bringing them back,” she said.

Just out of morbid curiosity, I looked at the section of Warren’s campaign website dealing with environmental justice and then rather wished I hadn’t.

“We didn’t get here by accident. Our crisis of environmental injustice is the result of decades of discrimination and environmental racism compounding in communities that have been overlooked for too long,” Warren says on the site.

“It is the result of multiple choices that put corporate profits before people, while our government looked the other way. It is unacceptable, and it must change.”

Warren advocates a “just transition” for all Americans via her flavor of the Green New Deal, which should be interesting when the economically vulnerable and marginalized individuals she claims to care so much about see the price of an electric car or a carbon-neutral home.

That’s going to be especially true when you consider that the only reasonably cheap option for green energy is nuclear, and Elizabeth Warren will be having none of that.

“We’re not going to build any nuclear power plants and we’re going to start weaning ourselves off nuclear energy and replacing it with renewable fuels,” she said during CNN’s mammoth climate town hall back in September.

I wonder how much of Warren’s bluster on the environment is naïveté and how much of it is cynicism.

On the naïve side, this isn’t affordable or practical. It would lead to a mass voter revolt once the bills started coming due.

On the other hand, there’s also the element of cynicism. This has no chance of happening on the timetable Warren is proposing — certainly not with congressional approval, given that there are even some Democrats who would blanch at such an obviously self-defeating suite of environmental laws.

However, when you consider how serious of a candidate Elizabeth Warren is, consider that this is a woman who wants to ban regular old buildings in favor of carbon-neutral ones, all while solving serious social issues — one of which presumably is homelessness. Good luck.

SOURCE 




Flushing '10 times!' What's really behind Trump's tirades about toilets

Impeachment wasn't all that was on President Donald Trump's mind in the hours after the House voted to approve the charges against him. He was also thinking about toilets.

Speaking at a campaign rally that night in Battle Creek, Michigan, Trump delivered a lengthy rant about a bevy of regulations governing bathroom and kitchen appliances.

"Sinks, right? Showers, and what goes with a sink and a shower?"

"Toilets!" the crowd chanted back.

"Ten times, right, 10 times," Trump continued, referring to the number of flushes he claimed were sometimes required because of water-saving federal regulations. "Not me, of course not me. But you," he added while pointing to a random audience member.

While Trump's remarks may seem a tad unusual, they echo a long-standing concern in some conservative circles.

For the better part of two decades, libertarian-minded conservatives have taken aim at the regulations and energy standards Trump now decries — and they're overjoyed to see him use the power of the presidency to shine a light into America's bathrooms and kitchens.

"I've never flushed a toilet 10 times," said Daniel Savickas, the regulatory policy director for the libertarian advocacy group FreedomWorks. "But I think what he's getting at is the heart of the issue. People do have to run their appliances multiple times because of water efficiency standards. I don't think people are flushing their toilets 10 times, but they're definitely reusing dishwashers, flushing multiple times, at least. And that has drawbacks across the economy."

Leading environmentalists don't see it quite the same way. They point to the positive impact of the regulatory policy, primarily improved water conservation and lower bills for consumers. And the products are just as good as their less efficient predecessors, they said.

"I don't know what product they're using but I don't have to run it two or three times," former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, the Environmental Protection Agency administrator under President George W. Bush, told NBC News. "My dishwashers do just fine, thank you. I do it once. My dishes are clean and everybody's healthy. I don't know what they're talking about."

The more than 20-year battle Trump has given oxygen to centers on a series of regulations and energy standards starting with the 1992 Energy Policy Act signed by President George H.W. Bush. That law set new limits on how much water a toilet can utilize and, in 1994, kicked into effect a standard that said new toilets, showerheads and faucets had to have water-saving designs. Since then, the federal government has regulated water flow of faucets and showerheads.

Today's toilets can use as little as 1/5th the water as earlier models, which the EPA's website says "happen to be a major source of wasted water in many homes." Recent advancements allow for toilets to use even less water than what is the current federal standard, according to the EPA, which also promotes the water-saving abilities of newer showerheads and faucets online.

Since the 1990s, when then-Rep. Joe Knollenberg, R-Mich. — backed by influential conservatives like then-Reps. John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Ron Paul, R-Texas — sought to repeal the restrictions, conservatives have taken aim at those standards.

"Frankly, the toilets don't work in my house," Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., told Kathleen Hogan, deputy assistant secretary for energy efficiency in the Obama administration, during a 2011 congressional hearing. "I blame you, and people like you who want to tell me what I can install in my house, what I can do."

Trump pushed that issue to the forefront when he told reporters in the White House last month that the EPA would be "looking very strongly at sinks and showers and other elements of bathrooms," insisting that "people are flushing toilets 10 times, 15 times as opposed to once" and that "they end up using more water."

Gina McCarthy, EPA administrator under President Barack Obama, said in an interview, "Pardon the pun. This administration is throwing regulations and really great innovative programs that the federal government has used to push innovation forward, down the toilet."

EPA spokesman Michael Abboud said the agency is working across other federal agencies to "ensure American consumers have more choice when purchasing water products."

It's not just bathrooms that have sparked the president's ire.

Conservative groups such as FreedomWorks, through its "Make Dishwashers Great Again" campaign, and the Competitive Enterprise Institute have been influential in getting the Department of Energy to consider creating a new class of dishwashers with shorter wash cycles to get around existing standards.

Sam Kazman, the general counsel at CEI, said Trump's "sentiment" is right on, even if some of his specific claims were "overblown." He pointed to more than 3,200 comments submitted to the Energy Department as part of the effort to create a new dishwasher class as evidence the standards are causing public anger.

"This is based in reality, and it's based in the problems that the real people are having, and the folks who think there is no problem or who actually maybe designed and advocate these regulations, probably eat out a lot," Kazman said. "I think, basically, if the efficiency regs are producing better devices, devices that do save money and operate just as well, you do not need laws that mandate them."

Current dishwasher standards require that standard-size products use no more than 5 gallons of water per cycle, according to the Appliance Standards Awareness Project. Consumer Reports found that modern dishwashers use about half of the water and energy as those made 20 years ago.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration has previously sought to eliminate funding for Energy Star, an EPA program allowing companies to put the program's label on appliances that meet energy efficiency standards. It's a label that many dishwasher manufacturers seek to obtain for their appliances. The Energy Star-labeled dishwashers save an average of more than 3,800 gallons of water over the appliance's lifetime, according to Energy Star.

"Why you would want to draw back on something like (Energy Star) is beyond me," Whitman said, adding the program "gives the consumers a choice to be part of an effort to reduce our use of water and energy. It gives them a way to save money on both energy and on water. It's a consumer choice option to help improve the environment."

SOURCE 




Australian Federal government minister: Greta Thunberg and Climate Activists Just Want to ‘Upend Society’

The real concern of environmental activists like Greta Thunberg is not climate change, but to “upend society” and “move away from capitalism,” Australia’s Resources Minister Matt Canavan said Tuesday.

He spoke after the Swedish teenage climate worrier unsuccessfully tried to force German telecommunications group, Siemens, to drop its role as a contractor for the giant Adani coal mine now being planned for Australia’s north.

Canavan intervened and secured the company to stay and complete railway signalling at the site, but not before he took a passing swipe at the intervention of Thunberg.

Canavan told Sky News in Australia “common sense has once again prevailed,” and said the “likes of Greta Thunberg” claim to be concerned with emissions reduction remains a fallacy

“Their policy prescriptions aren’t actually about reducing carbon emissions, it’s about the radical massive changes to our economy and society”, he said:

The Adani mine, which received final environmental approval in June, is expected to produce at least 10 million t of thermal coal every year.

Nationally, the Australian coal mining industry employs 50, 400 people, when thermal and coking operations were combined, Australian Bureau of Statistics labour force data for November showed, with exports going mainly to China, India, Korea, Japan and Chile.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who once once famously brandished a lump of coal in parliament, crying, “This is coal – don’t be afraid!” has also vowed climate protesters like Greta Thunberg would not be dictating the country’s energy or trade policy.

As Breitbart news reported, last month he backed Adani and coal production.

“We won’t embrace reckless targets and abandon our traditional industries that would risk Australian jobs while having no meaningful impact on the global climate,” he said in an opinion piece for the Daily Telegraph.

“In short, we will continue to act responsibly on climate change, avoiding extreme responses and get the balance right.”

Coal exports were worth an estimated AUS$67 billion (US$45.9 billion) to the nation’s economy in the 2018 – 2019 financial year, overtaking iron ore as Australia’s most valuable export.

SOURCE 

***************************************

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, January 15, 2020


Sanders Gets Endorsement Of Young Climate Group, Bolstering Left-Wing Ties

The Sunrise Movement, the collection of young climate activists who have roiled Capitol Hill and the Democratic presidential primary, announced on Thursday that it was endorsing Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, in another sign that left-wing advocacy groups have increasingly coalesced around his candidacy.

In a landslide vote — more than 75 percent of respondents — Mr. Sanders earned the backing of members of the group, which has quickly become politically influential since its founding in 2017.

Once a fledgling collection of college students frustrated that Democrats and Republicans were not acting more quickly to curb climate change, Sunrise has grown to 318 chapters nationwide, with more than 10,000 members. Sunrise will host an event on Jan. 12 with Mr. Sanders in Iowa City to formally announce the endorsement.

“We believe a Bernie Sanders presidency would provide the best political terrain in which to engage in and ultimately win that struggle for the world we deserve,” Varshini Prakash, a founder and the executive director of the movement, said in a statement. “Senator Sanders has made it clear throughout his political career and in this campaign that he grasps the scale of the climate crisis, the urgency with which we must act to address it, and the opportunity we have in coming together to do so.”

The move represents another step into electoral politics for the group of young activists. After the 2018 midterm elections, the group made national headlines by staging a protest in the office of the incoming House speaker, Nancy Pelosi.

Sunrise’s signature policy, the ambitious proposal known as the Green New Deal, became a crucial litmus test splitting moderates and liberals on climate change, and was embraced by top-tier candidates like Mr. Sanders, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind. Even moderate candidates like former Vice President Joseph R.

Biden Jr., the race’s current frontrunner, have cited the policy as an inspiration and said its goal of drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions while also addressing economic inequality was an important framework.

But on the scorecard Sunrise released ranking the top three candidates’ plans and support for the Green New Deal, Mr. Biden, with a score of 75, trailed far behind Mr. Sanders (183) and Ms. Warren (171). Mr. Biden received low marks for how frequently he talks about the proposal and a 35 out of 100 for his “Green New Deal vision.”

Mr. Biden also had a tense exchange with a Sunrise organizer in September, who pressed him on his commitment to environmental issues.

“Look at my record, child,” Mr. Biden told the 18-year-old organizer. The group’s announcement is one of the last presidential endorsements to arrive from major progressive groups, almost all of which have backed Mr. Sanders. His candidacy in 2016 helped develop much of the left-wing political infrastructure in the Democratic Party — and had huge support among young Democrats in particular — but when the 2020 campaign cycle began, it was not assured that he would retain that support.

Young Democratic voters had a bevy of options, including fresh faces like Mr. Buttigieg, former Representative Beto O’Rourke of Texas and Senator Kamala Harris of California. In Ms. Warren, there was another candidate with progressive bona fides — who would also be the first woman in the Oval Office if elected.

In September, the Working Families Party endorsed Ms. Warren over Mr. Sanders, saying that she was better positioned to create a cross-ideological coalition around liberal values and that grass-roots groups needed to choose a side in the primary.

Over the next several months, however, and after Ms. Warren drew significant criticism for a health care proposal that stepped away from an immediate push for “Medicare for all,” the energy on the Democrats’ left flank began to move away from her.

In October, Mr. Sanders announced endorsements from popular House Democrats including Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, who is a sponsor of the Green New Deal legislation. He has also gained the backing of labor organizations such as National Nurses United, and leftwing advocacy groups including the Center for Popular Democracy Action and People’s Action. This week, Mr. Sanders was endorsed by Dream Defenders, a Florida-based collection of activists that focuses on criminal justice reform.

Sunrise gave its members two choices — whether to back any presidential candidate at all, and if so, which one. More than 80 percent wanted to support a candidate. About 20 percent chose Ms. Warren.

Ms. Warren sent Sunrise a positive message on Twitter in the wake of the announcement, restating her commitment to a Green New Deal. In recent weeks, with Sunrise likely to back Mr. Sanders, Ms. Warren announced she would hold a climate-focused town-hall-style event in New Hampshire and rolled out an endorsement from Rhiana Gunn- Wright, a lead author of the Green New Deal proposal.

Ms. Warren has called for a $10.7 trillion investment in the economy to implement a Green New Deal and create what she calls green new jobs, and she has also released proposals specific to fighting climate change, including one that calls for $3 trillion in spending over a decade. Mr. Sanders released a $16.3 trillion plan for a Green New Deal that called for the United States to eliminate fossil fuel use by 2050 while similarly transforming the economy.

Evan Weber, the political director for the Sunrise Movement, said the group’s advocacy would continue no matter who is the nominee.

“Should Senator Sanders become the next president of the United States, we will push to ensure that he make delivering upon the promise of his Green New Deal platform the top priority of his administration,” he said. “If Senator Sanders does not win the nomination, the stakes of the climate crisis also demand that we can’t sit this election out.”

SOURCE 



US emissions are falling under Trump, thanks to fracking’s war on coal

Because of fracking, the United States reduced its greenhouse gas emissions in 2019, according to a new estimate. This comes after an increase in emissions in 2018 that happened because it was so cold.

This winding course of events has led to some confused emotions among environmentalists who like to hate fracking and President Trump.

Yet in 2019, the third year of the Trump presidency, the U.S. reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 2.1% according to an early estimate by the Rhodium Group.

The reason? Mostly, it’s that we’re getting our electricity in less greenhouse gas-intensive ways.

Emissions from electric power generation dropped by a massive 10% last year, according to this estimate. That’s because of “the switch from coal to natural gas and renewables in the electric power sector,” according to the Rhodium Group.

Mostly, though, it’s about fracking, which allows cleaner and less carbon-intensive natural gas to replace dirtier and more CO2-heavy coal. Despite the promises of Democrats and the scare stories of Republicans, it didn’t take the EPA to cut coal usage in half over 12 years. It took a cheaper form of reliable energy — and that’s natural gas obtained through fracking.

Renewable energy is a much smaller factor in this record drop in coal usage. It’s really a story of fracking.

Liberal environmentalists have very mixed feelings about this. “Despite everything, U.S. emissions dipped in 2019,” reads the headline at the environmentalist website Grist. “Perhaps surprisingly, total emissions fell 2 percent compared with the year before,” the article begins.

Why should we be surprised? And what’s the “everything” that should have caused emissions to go up?

I assume they just mean Trump.

Trump is how environmentalist liberals framed this same report a year ago when emissions went up. “U.S. emissions are rising under Trump,” the Pacific Standard wrote. Vox’s article a year ago began with the words “The Trump administration.”

But Trump wasn’t what caused the emissions spike a year ago. Weather did: 2018 was colder than 2017.

Yup. Dropping temperatures from 2017 to 2018 caused the climate catastrophe journalists tried to pin on Trump.

“2018 was colder (and closer to the ten-year average),” the Rhodium Group explains. “This boosted year-on-year demand for heating in homes, offices, stores and factories. 2019 had about as many heating degree days (HDDs) as 2018, so there wasn’t the same year-on-year spike.”

This year didn’t see a year-over-year temperature drop, but it did see an abundant harvest of fruits of fracking, and that was good for the climate, even while being bad for coal and environmentalist bloggers.

SOURCE 




Climate change: No one left to defend the camels

First they came for the coal producers. But many — not moi — were silent. And then they came for the oil and gas producers. No one defended them, except a few lonely voices like mine. And then they came for the beef and dairy cattle. Same story.

And when it comes to climate perfidy, nothing is sacred. The latest climate villain du jour — there will always be a climate villain — is the vast herd of 1.2 million feral camels in Australia. Like cattle, they chew their cud, and like cattle they release large amounts of methane into the atmosphere.

The news reports on this latest dimension of the looming climate catastrophe assert that each camel emits 100 pounds of methane per year. Using the most extreme assumptions available in the literature, and ignoring such complexities as an atmospheric half-life for methane much shorter than that for carbon dioxide, and overlapping heat absorption bands — such subtleties are of little interest to the journalists — that is equivalent to 2.5 tons of carbon dioxide per year per camel.

The climate alarmists are not known for their support of gun rights, but they are proposing that the camels be shot from helicopters, all in the name of reduced methane emissions. Naturally, rent-seeking has shaped the public discussion:

Northwest Carbon, a commercial company, suggested awarding carbon credits to individuals and companies in return for killing feral camels as a part of a larger carbon-curbing legislation called the “Carbon Farming Initiative,” released [on June 9] and submitted to the Australian parliament’s Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency.

The officials figure removing the feral camels, which toot and burp out carbon, would lead to a significant reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

How significant? The officials and supporters of this idea have failed to tell us. So let us do that arithmetic for them, using the numbers reported. There are 1.2 million camels, each of which emits 2.5 tons of CO2e per year. The total: 3 million tons of CO2e per year. Global CO2e emissions per year are about 51 billion tons. If we kill all the camels, the CO2e reduction — gross, not net — would be 6 one-thousandths of a percent. The climate impact in terms of future temperatures, sea levels, and all the rest: zero.

But, you say: Every little bit helps, and the cumulative effect of many such efforts would be significant by the year 2100. Well, no. The entire Obama climate action plan: 0.015 degrees C. The entire Paris agreement, if it is to be taken seriously (it is not): 0.17 degrees C. Zero net U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050: 0.17 degrees C. A reduction to zero in GHG emissions by the entire Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development: 0.35 degrees C. These are the calculations using the EPA climate model under assumptions that exaggerate the effects of reduced GHG emissions. There is no dispute about them, which is why the proponents of “carbon” policies never offer actual estimates of the climate effects of their proposals.

Back to the camels: Will no one else defend them? That such ideas as killing 1.2 million camels — minding their own business and doing only that which God and evolution have led them to do — are taken seriously is an illustration of a far more fundamental truth. There is just something about climate change that leads a lot of people to lose their minds.

SOURCE 





Australia: I Cheered When the Bushfire Came

By Geoff Walker, the former deputy captain of Lemon Tree Passage volunteer fire brigade

With the eastern seaboard currently ravaged by bushfires, what sort of an idiot would actually cheer when one worked its way down the peninsular where he lived? I did, and there were a lot of others who did the same.

To understand why, we must go back over more than a year when a winter bushfire got going to the west of the town. It did for us what the volunteer firies couldn’t: it got rid of the ground fuel with minimal canopy scorch. No lives or property were lost. Had this ‘good’ bushfire not happened, the peninsular would have been obliterated this summer when a firestorm with winds gusting to 100kph came our way.

No fire fuel meant that it burned and went out. Simple as that. Today, as thousands of Australians confront the bushfire threat, we on the Tilligerry peninsula are safe. With only one year of fuel build-up we have little to worry about.

When bushfire management passed from local control to government bureaucracies, the political influence of the green movement virtually stopped the off-season burnoffs. This traditional practice dated back to the black man and his firestick management of the landscape. The European settlers adopted it, as did farmers and local grassroots volunteer firefighters.

In researching my bushfire book White Overall Days, I found that our local brigade averaged some 15 burnoffs per year in the decade of the 1970s; nine in the ’80s, a mere two or three in the ’90s and similar numbers ever since.

The reason for this dramatic fall-off in burnoffs was the complex web of rules and procedures dumped on the local captains to comply with before they could do anything. They simply gave up. It was all too hard.

It was NSW Premier Bob Carr who proclaimed vast areas of the state of NSW as national parks. The problem was that they were not fire-managed and have now been devastated by uncontrollable firestorms. Lives and property have been lost as they roared out of the forests into adjoining farmland and rural communities.

Several things have emerged from the current crisis. Green zealots are blaming coal mining and climate change for the fires. They refuse to concede that the green-leaning management policies caused the fires in the first place by ensuring catastrophic fuel build-up. On the other hand, the vast number of ordinary, sensible people now realize that cool burning delivers a far better environmental outcome than raging wildfires. From what I hear, even some of the self-serving bureaucrats are starting to talk mitigation rather than reactive suppression.

To continue down the current pathway of reactive firefighting means more of the same. There will always be bushfires. They are  an integral part of the Australian environment. We either manage them by controlled burning or suffer the consequences.

It was early December when I wrote this piece and the height of the bushfire season had not yet engulfed so much of Australia, from Perth to Penrith. With dire weather predictions, what it would be like a month or two down the track did not bear thinking about.

Now we know.

SOURCE 




Australia: Greenies surfing over bushfire facts

Wildfire is natural, cyclical and regenerative. Australian flora has adapted to survive bushfire and some indigenous species thrive on it. However, the ferocity of recent fires that scorched the country is shocking. The recovery will be painfully slow for those directly affected. Communities will be rebuilt or left behind as people seek safer ground. As city folk return to work, they will forget. But for people in disaster zones, the fires will stalk them by day and haunt them by night until they burn out or the rain comes.

Amid the terror of the season’s fire disaster, people are grieving for what is lost, angry about what they cannot control and afraid of what might come. Green-left politicians are using the fear for political gain. The green-left media is drumming up conspiracy theories that blame conservatives for the weather, the fires, dry earth, scorching wind, death, destruction and doomsday scenarios of some hypothetical future dystopia.

My present favourite is a Guardian article on the fire tragedy that leads with: “Australia is built on lies, so why would we be surprised about lies about climate change?”

As a first-generation immigrant, I have seen a fair share of Australian bushfires. I was a kid growing up in Adelaide when the Ash Wednesday bushfires took 75 lives. On Black Saturday in 2009, I was closer to the tragedy.

Victorians woke up to winds so hellish they broke the backs of saplings, stripped the air of moisture and seared our skin. When the first fire sirens went off in the morning and fire trucks roared down the street, I was doing the weekly shopping. People stopped, looked at each other and said it wasn’t going to be good. But we had no idea what was coming. By late afternoon, we were bunkered down. By early evening, I was glued to ABC radio.

Neighbours were preparing to leave. I was urged by friends to evacuate after my suburb was included in warnings issued by the Country Fire Authority. For some it was too late and many left only after hearing reports that people were dead in Kinglake, about 55km northeast of Melbourne, and that the fires had reached nearby St Andrews. I fled for the city as the fire developed into a storm that threw embers kilometres ahead of the front.

The shock of Black Saturday was a strange thing. I thought I was perfectly fine until feeling a sudden urge to stop on the Eastern Freeway into the city. I pulled over, walked to the side of the road and was violently ill. When I arrived at my friends’ house in North Fitzroy, they poured a whisky and sat me down. They said I was in shock, but I reassured them it was not the case. After settling my pet and opening my suitcase, I realised they were probably right. The contents of the case were absurd and I had no memory of packing them only a few hours earlier. I had taken nothing of financial value or practical utility. Instead, what lay before me was a half-empty suitcase with a pair of socks, books and a clock radio laid out on the base. All I could do was laugh. It was simply bizarre.

When I returned home the following week, the hills were like a wasteland. My suburb had been saved by a wind change. But in the surrounding areas, people were stricken with grief. The usually friendly towns were laid low and an uneasy quiet hung in the air. People walked the streets saying little and staring into the middle distance. Some were looking for missing loved ones or pets. Everyone knew someone who died. The atmosphere had an ashen quality, as though a grey veil had settled to protect the present from the past.

Amid the panic and tragedy of devastating wildfires, what we needed most was immediate relief in the form of care, reassurance and simple kindness from friends, family and employers. The communities directly affected needed swift aid and financial support. Everyone needed something a little different. But what we didn’t need was cheap politicking.

The Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader have taken the higher ground in recent days by agreeing that a royal commission into the fires is a sound idea. The bipartisan approach is constructive and should produce useful recommendations if the terms of reference are set well. The green-left is looting low-hanging fruit by making political capital out of the national disaster. The major parties should leave the scavengers to their ghoulish feast and concentrate on the question of what caused the major fires and how to mitigate risks in the future.

The 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission unearthed the causes of the fire and the institutional failures that enabled it to spread without adequate warning to communities at risk. Yet despite recommendations on regular backburning to reduce fuel load, some areas between St Andrews and Kinglake appeared to be overgrown when I last drove through the area in 2018.

A central challenge of any future royal commission will be to create an enforceability mechanism to ensure fuel load is kept at a minimum while conserving the natural environment in fire risk areas. As Rachel Baxendale reported on Friday, the Victorian government has not undertaken fire reduction measures consistent with the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission. The state Labor Party that encourages activism and blames natural disasters on climate change is neglecting its basic duty to keep Victorians safe.

The government does not control the weather. It cannot stand guard at every home while fires rage. It will never be responsible for every inch of land in the country because Australians believe in private property and the responsibility home ownership entails.

Politicians who use climate change to divert attention from their failure to enact bushfire prevention plans should talk less and do more to help communities in need. Reducing fuel load is something state and local governments can do as a matter of routine. It may not make for lively conversation with cosmopolites but it will save lives.

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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

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