Monday, June 09, 2014

Alarmism Rife At The BMA

Given the low quality of the many medical journal articles that I covered for 8 years in my  FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC  blog, the low quality of the thinking below is no surprise to me at all, at all

It appears that climate change hysteria has even infiltrated the British Medical Association, the BMA. A recent article in the Student BMJ by Julian Sheather, the BMA’s Deputy Head of Ethics, shows such a stunning lack of knowledge and groupthink, that it is frightening to think these people are supposed to be in charge of our health.

The article is titled “MEDICINE AND CLIMATE CHANGE – Do doctors have special moral responsibilities?”, but unfortunately it is under copyright.It can though be read here. (The full article can be accessed by free registration).

But when I tell you the opening paragraph mentions “perfect moral storm”, “outright deniers”, “John Kerry” and “catastrophic”, you will probably get the idea!

Use of the phrase, “outright deniers”, clearly shows he has utterly failed to understand what the debate on climate change is all about. He then compounds this by quoting John Kerry, as if any politician is automatically trustworthy!

Society expects doctors, as much as other scientists, to be objective, be concerned only with the facts and continually question. It would appear that Sheather has done none of these things, and instead simply parrots the official line.

This might be alright if it was just his own personal point of view, but he is trying to mobilise the BMA and its members in a political campaign, as he states at the end.

Critically though doctors and medical students must press for collective action….And by highlighting the health impacts of an impending global catastrophe they might just help bring home the seriousness of what we are confronting.

Interestingly, he recognises the immense benefits that industrialised economies and prosperity have brought to people’s health.

“Industrialised economies have delivered enormous health benefits. Some are ambiguous, and they have not been equitably distributed, but they are real. Up to a certain threshold, prosperity improves overall health. Technology has transformed medicine. Industrial agriculture can lift the threat of starvation. Much of this has been driven by fossil fuel. “

But seems happy to lose these.

“If tackling climate change strikes at the heart of our industrial economies then real benefits may have to be forgone.”

Any doctor’s prime responsibility is to the health of his patients. Therefore, to even be prepared to see that health compromised in order to address an unknown and unquantified problem which might occur in the far future, is a dereliction of that duty.

Climate, along with many other things, changes all the time, and there is always a need for medical organisations to keep up with these changes. But this needs to be done in a balanced, objective and verifiable way. Where, for instance, is there the recognition that milder winters in the UK will help to save many lives?

There are so many health issues that, even with all the advantages that today’s medical science brings us, need to be seriously addressed. Whatever the ultimate effects of “climate change”, these will surely be way down the list of most ordinary people’s concerns.

People, and patients, expect doctors to be tackling these issues, and not engage in some phoney war on climate change. I suspect most doctors and nurses will feel the same.


The hockeystick man says coal slowed temp rise US hottest spots of warming: Northeast, Southwest‏

Coal causes warming, coal slows warming. Make up your minds!

The Southeast and Northwest were among the places that warmed the least. In the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic, industrial sulfur particle pollutants from coal burning may be reflecting sunlight, thus countering heating caused by coal's carbon dioxide emissions, said Pennsylvania State University professor Michael Mann.


Hollywood’s hydrocarbon hypocrisy

Anti-fracking fervor underscores dismissive attitudes toward working classes and poor families

Paul Driessen

Several Hollywood elites were recently caught red-handed on videotape, agreeing to take money from a Middle Eastern oil sheikh for another anti-fracking movie. Their actions were shameful, but they felt no shame – only anger at the folks who caught them in the act. Indeed, the ironies are matched only by their hypocrisy and disdainful disregard for the consequences of their anti-fracking fervor.

The video records a conversation involving a producer, two actors – and someone they thought represented an oil oligarch. The Hollywood glitterati made it clear that they were willing to take Middle East oil cash for a film intended to help block drilling, hydraulic fracturing, energy production, job creation, revenue generation and our nation’s economic rejuvenation.

The three are known for their environmental fervor – and their apparent belief that it’s okay to drill for oil in Arab countries, but against all reason to drill in the United States. It’s also okay for them to enjoy lavish lifestyles, as long as California imports its oil and electricity, to avoid drilling in the Golden State.

Had this been a sincere movie offer, it would have brought a sweet deal for an Arab oilman protecting his oil sales from US competition, by helping Hollywood stars make a film aligned with their disconnected-from-reality views on environmental balance. But it was a hoax perpetrated by James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas, which catches glamorous stars and other people just being themselves.

The meeting occurred in March at the Beverly Hills Hotel recently made notorious for being owned by the Sultan of Brunei, who favors sharia laws that can often be brutal. The tape reveals how far some Hollywood environmentalists will go to push their narrow agenda and work against the nation’s interests. It also recalls Matt Damon’s anti-fracking film, Promised Land, funded by the United Arab Emirates, and Josh Fox’s fabrication-filled film that was eviscerated by McAleer and McElhinney’s FrackNation.

In discussing the movie proposal, Sundance-award-winning environmental film producer Josh Tickell tells “Muhammad” the fake sheik not to divulge that Middle Eastern oil loot is supporting the project, because that would make the movie “a nonstarter.” Academy Award-nominated actress Mariel Hemingway chimes in, saying the funding information should be shared “only at this table.”

Ed Begley Jr., who sits on the Oscar Board of Governors and is well-known for his staunch support for all things environmental, adds a big dose of cynicism. “Washington and Hollywood are a lot alike: all illusions, special effects, smoke and mirrors,” he says. This is no different, seems to be his message.

After the tape was made public, Tickell, Hemingway and Begley tried to explain away their behavior and foist the blame on O’Keefe and Veritas. They had agreed to meet with Muhammad only to help a friend get a movie deal. They had been set up. She should have conducted better “due diligence” on “Muhammad,” Hemingway told Fox News. “I was made to look foolish and to seem in favor of additional dependence on foreign oil,” Begley lamented. Falsely claiming that O’Keefe had referred to environmentalists as “Nazis,” Tickell attempted to tar the messenger: Veritas had tried to “equate the extermination of European Jews with efforts to oppose fracking,” he dissembled.

In other words, “I didn’t do nuthin’ wrong. Duh cops entrapped me into doin’ it.”

Begley’s website extols his stardom, lifestyle and environmental dogma. The actor is known for riding his bicycle to events, lives in a “sustainable” wind and solar-powered house, drives a subsidized electric car, and has won awards for supporting environmental causes. Meanwhile, he depends heavily on fossil fuels for his employment in energy-guzzling Hollywood and nearly every benefit he enjoys outside his home: restaurants, hospitals, air travel, the internet, his website. That’s nice for him.

But what about the rest of America, where ordinary people must support their families on average wages, drive affordable gasoline-fueled cars, and use hydrocarbons to heat their homes and cook their food? “As environmental issues become more pressing,” Begley challenges them to “take action.” By that, he apparently means kill the jobs, economy and fossil fuels that enhance and safeguard our lives.

Never mind that petroleum has been the one bright spot in the US economic recovery, putting millions of Americans back to work and generating hundreds of billions of dollars for investment portfolios and local, state and federal treasuries. In fact, according to IHS Global Insights, unconventional oil and gas production – in conjunction with chemicals manufacturing and other hydrocarbon feed stock and energy-dependent industries – have contributed more than 2.5% per year to America’s GDP. They’ve created 2.5 million new direct and indirect jobs, with the prospect of an additional 3.9 million jobs by 2025!

With economic growth averaging a pitiful 2.2% annually over the past four years, that means the nation’s growth would have been in negative territory all those years, were it not for fracking – instead of only during the first quarter of 2014 (when it contracted by 1%). At the state level, the University of Colorado’s Leeds School of Business says a statewide fracking ban would kill 68,000 jobs and cost the state’s economy $8 billion over the ensuing five years.

On a related topic, recall that only computer models and politicized pseudo-science have been able to find the dangerous manmade global warming and climate disruption that Begley, Hemingway, Tickell and other Big Green activists use to justify anti-fracking and anti-coal policies.

And what about impoverished Third World countries? Begley is dismissive of their needs. In 2002, he told me and other environmental journalists that he opposes building power plants in Africa, saying “It’s much cheaper for everybody in Africa to have electricity where they need it – solar panels on their huts.”

This is truly the super-rich 0.01% versus the 99.99% of merely well-off, middle class, poor and minority Americans, and the truly destitute people struggling daily just to survive in developing countries, amid malnutrition, diseases and energy deprivation unheard of in the USA, Canada or Europe.

Meantime, don’t forget the ironies in all of this. Were it not for fracking, US carbon dioxide emissions would not have declined 11% since 2005. Largely because of climate change, renewable energy and anti-fracking hysteria, European countries are rapidly expanding their coal-based electricity generation (and greenhouse gas emissions), while asking the USA to sell them natural gas. Contrary to recent stories in “mainstream” media outlets like Reuters, the UK Guardian and USA Today, China has no intention of putting a “hard cap” on its CO2 emissions. Nor do India and other emerging markets. They need that energy to modernize their economies, lift billions out of poverty, and avoid riots and revolutions.

Meanwhile, back in the States, it is the Obama, Hollywood and Big Green attitudes about fracking, coal and average working-class families that have put a number of Senate Democrats on the endangered list. As to their voting base, the same eco-centric, high-tax, boundless regulation policies have helped ensure that over 40% of heavily indebted new college graduates are unemployed or working in food services, retail and other jobs that don’t even require college degrees. Minorities are also disproportionately hurt.

Begley and his comrades’ attacks on O’Keefe do not change these facts.  But for them, poor people’s health, lives and access to affordable energy must be guided and limited by “sustainability” and anti-hydrocarbon ideologies. As Green Planet production company chief Josh Tickell said in the video, “It’s money, so in that sense we have no moral issue.”

These Hollywood elites are not innocents caught in a web. They are zealots who got their just desserts. In their warped way of thinking, the end – saving the environment from imagined dangers, while padding Hollywood pockets – justifies the means.

Sure, they got snookered. But anyone who watches the video can see they were complicit in the deception and sting. May their unintended honesty be a lesson for all voters who might be tempted to continue supporting Big Green ideologies.

Via email

A cautious Warmist

A while back at Nottingham University's - Making Science Public project, Prof Mike Hulme contributed his thoughts on Cook and Nuccitellis' 97% paper..

    The “97% consensus” article is poorly conceived, poorly designed and poorly executed. It obscures the complexities of the climate issue and it is a sign of the desperately poor level of public and policy debate in this country that the energy minister should cite it. It offers a similar depiction of the world into categories of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ to that adopted in Anderegg et al.’s 2010 equally poor study in PNAS: dividing publishing climate scientists into ‘believers’ and ‘non-believers’. It seems to me that these people are still living (or wishing to live) in the pre-2009 world of climate change discourse. Haven’t they noticed that public understanding of the climate issue has moved on? ...

My point is that the Cook et al. study is hopelessly confused as well as being largely irrelevant to the complex questions that are raised by the idea of (human-caused) climate change. As to being confused, in one place the paper claims to be exploring “the level of scientific consensus that human activity is very likely causing most of the current GW” and yet the headline conclusion is based on rating abstracts according to whether “humans are causing global warming”.

    These are two entirely different judgements.

    The irrelevance is because none of the most contentious policy responses to climate change are resolved *even if* we accept that 97.1% of climate scientists believe that “human activity is very likely causing most of the current GW” (which of course is not what the study has shown).

    And more broadly, the sprawling scientific knowledge about climate and its changes cannot helpfully be reduced to a single consensus statement, however carefully worded. The various studies – such as Cook et al – that try to enumerate the climate change consensus pretend it can and that is why I find them unhelpful – and, in the sprit of this blog, I would suggest too that they are not helpful for our fellow citizens.

- Mike Hulme. (Mike Hulme is Professor of Climate and Culture in the Department of Geography at King's College London. He was formerly professor of Climate Change in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia)

SOURCE (Comments)

Greens Lose Battle As Germany Prepares To Lift Ban On Fracking

Jeevan Vasagar

Germany is set to lift its ban on fracking as early as next year, after caving in to business demands that it should reduce its dependency on Russian energy and boost competitiveness with US manufacturers.

Applications to carry out the controversial process for extracting the country’s estimated 2.3tn cubic metres shale gas reserves will be subject to an environmental impact assessment under new legislation to be discussed by the cabinet before the summer recess.

Fracking has been the subject of a fierce debate in Germany’s ruling coalition, with some politicians keen to reduce reliance on Russian energy imports, while others fear the impact of fracking chemicals on a densely populated country.

German manufacturers have been strong advocates of the new technology, which they believe has provided cheap shale gas energy to their US competitors while Germany grapples with a costly switch to subsidised renewables.

Details of the new regulations emerged in a letter from Sigmar Gabriel, German economy minister, to the head of the Bundestag’s budget committee. In the letter, Mr Gabriel wrote that permission to carry out fracking would be subject to approval from regional water authorities and that “further requirements for the fracking permit process are still being considered”. [...]

The EU’s energy commissioner Günther Oettinger has urged European governments to allow fracking “demonstration projects” to diversify the continent’s sources of energy.


How Fracking Helps America Beat German Industry

Nestled in the green hills of southern Germany, chemical giant Wacker Chemie churns out a wide range of product, from an ingredient for chewing gum to the polysilicon crystals in solar cells.

The electricity to produce all that - enough power for more than 700,000 households annually - has become more costly at Wacker's main factory in Burghausen. It has played a big part in pushing up the firm's total energy bill by 70 percent over the last five years, to nearly half a billion euros.

It's a different story across the Atlantic in the U.S. state of Louisiana. There, chemicals maker Huntsman Corp pays 22 percent less for its power than it did just seven years ago.

The tale of those numbers underlines a profound shift underway in two of the world's biggest industrial powers. Thanks in large part to Germany's decision to phase out nuclear power and push into green energy, companies there now pay some of the highest prices in the world for power. On average, German industrial companies with large power appetites paid about 0.15 euros ($0.21) per kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity last year, according to Eurostat, the European Union's statistics agency.

In the United States, electricity prices are falling thanks to natural gas derived from fracking - the hydraulic fracturing of rock. Louisiana now boasts industrial electricity prices of just $0.055 per kWh, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration data.

Peter Huntsman, chief executive of the family firm, calls the United States the new global standard for low-cost manufacturing. Huntsman is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to expand in the United States, and rapidly closing plants in Europe. The company estimates that a large, modern petrochemical plant in the United States is $125 million cheaper to run per year than in Europe. That sum includes cheaper power, waste disposal and myriad other factors, and Huntsman said the contrast is similar for Asian plants.

That's a dramatic change from just a few years ago, when Germany was held up as a model of manufacturing prowess. As recently as 2011, politicians in Washington were openly discussing how to copy Germany's success.

"We need to be more like Germany," General Electric Chief Executive Jeffrey Immelt said in an interview that year with Reuters.

Now things are heading the other way. German Chancellor Angela Merkel's energy policies - designed to sharply boost the share of renewables in Germany's energy mix, tackle climate change and cut Germany's dependency on foreign gas and oil - are a rising source of concern for the country's industry, particularly energy-intensive companies like Wacker. According to Germany's Chamber of Commerce and Industry, half of the country's industrial companies believe their global competitiveness is threatened by Germany's energy policy, and a quarter of them are either shifting production abroad or considering doing so. The United States is among the top destinations.

In March, BMW, the world's largest luxury carmaker, said it would invest $1 billion to expand its plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina, making it the German group's biggest production facility by 2016. In all, German companies invested more than 800 billion euros in U.S. expansions between 2008 and 2012, according to the most recent Bundesbank statistics. Germany's Chamber of Commerce and Industry reckons that investments could reach 200 billion euros in 2014, an all-time high.



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