Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Humans Allegedly Set To Wipe An India-Sized Chunk Of Forest Off The Earth By 2050  -- or not

More prophecy based on a straight-line extrapolation. Loss of forest cover can be regrettable but we all live on land that was once forest so we can't just assume that any given loss is bad.

The article itself notes that anti-logging laws have largely mitigated any problem in the Amazon so it is mainly S.E. Asia that is losing its native forests.  The forests there are being replaced by oil-palm plantations. So we are seeing a change in forest cover, not a loss of it.

If Greenies think that the change is deplorable they need to recognize that they and the food alarmists are responsible for it.  Palm-oil is a profitable crop because of the various bans on dietary fats that have been put in place by food alarmists. First saturated fats were banned in food manufacturing and now trans-fats have just about been phased out.  Palm oil is all that is reasonably left for manufacturers to use.

That the human race has been using saturated fats (such as dripping or tallow) in its cookery as far back as we can go does not faze the food alarmists.  The flimsiest evidence that something is bad for you sends them into hysteria, eventually pushing weary legislators into giving them the bans that they want.

No doubt palm oil will also be found to be bad for you in due course so at that point the palm oil plantations will probably be replaced by pine planations.  But Greenies don't like pines, either.  There's no such thing as a happy Greenie

By 2050, an area of forests the size of India is set to be wiped off the planet if humans continue on their current path of deforestation, according to a new report. That’s bad news for the creatures that depend on these forest ecosystems for survival, but it’s also bad news for the climate, as the loss of these forests will release more than 100 gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

The report, published Monday by the Center for Global Development (CGD), found that, without new policies aimed at cutting back on deforestation, 289 million hectares (about 1,115,840 square miles) of tropical forests will be cleared away. That’s a chunk, the report states, that’s equal to one-seventh of what the Earth’s total tropical forest area was in 2000.

And, according to the report, the 169 gigatons of carbon dioxide that this deforestation will unleash is equal to one-sixth of the carbon budget that humans can emit if they want to keep warming below 2°C — the level that’s generally viewed as the maximum warming Earth can endure while still avoiding the most dangerous climate impacts (and even 2°C is seen by many experts as too high).

The study, unlike other recent studies on deforestation, projects that in a business-as-usual scenario, in which the world doesn’t make any effort to reduce deforestation, tropical deforestation will increase, rather than decrease. According to the study, tropical deforestation rates in such a scenario will likely climb steadily in the 2020s and 2030s and then speed up around 2040, “as areas of high forest cover in Latin America that are currently experiencing little deforestation come under greater threat.”

The study does point to one change in policy that would cut deforestation rates and help alleviate climate change: a price on carbon. According to the report, a price of $20 per ton of carbon would keep 41 gigatons of carbon dioxide from being emitted between 2016 and 2050, and a price of $50 per ton would keep 77 gigatons from being emitted.

“Our analysis corroborates the conclusions of previous studies that reducing tropical deforestation is a sizable and low-cost option for mitigating climate change,” the study’s authors write. “In contrast to previous studies, we project that the amount of emissions that can be avoided at low-cost by reducing tropical deforestation will increase rather than decrease in future decades.”

The study also noted that, if all tropical countries put in place anti-deforestation laws that were “as effective as those in the Brazilian Amazon post-2004,” then 60 gigatons of carbon dioxide would be kept out of the atmosphere. Brazil took action against deforestation in 2004 and 2008, and deforestation rates in the country have fallen from 27,000 square kilometers (about 10,424 square miles) in 2004 to 7,000 square kilometers (about 2,700 square miles) in 2010

More twaddle HERE

July's 'Record Warmth' Is Much Ado About Nothing

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration published its July temperature recordings this week. According to the report, “The July average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.46°F (0.81°C) above the 20th century average. As July is climatologically the warmest month for the year, this was also the all-time highest monthly temperature in the 1880–2015 record, at 61.86°F (16.61°C), surpassing the previous record set in 1998 by 0.14°F (0.08°C).”

While last month allegedly now stands as the globe’s warmest in the modern era, digging a little deeper, NOAA says land surface temperatures ranked sixth warmest for any July dating back to 1880, while sea surface temperatures beat all records for any month.

Let’s assume this is true. The report rightly notes, “The global value was driven by record warmth across large expanses of the Pacific and Indian Oceans.” Indeed, an impressive El Niño is underway in the Pacific, which has the potential to become the strongest on record — beating out the Super El Niño of 1997-1998. As noted above, July 2015 beat the previous record set … in 1998. In other words, natural temperature oscillations in the ocean, like El Niño, have profound effects on the global thermometer.

But it’s important to note that all of this data is derived from NOAA’s flawed methodology, and the reality is that, taking satellite measurements into account — which the alarmists simply won’t do — July 2015 was the hottest since, well, July 2014.

Climate blogger Jo Nova writes, “We only have 30 years of good climate data: the satellites tell us the pause is real, and last month’s summer temperatures is not a record anything. According to the UAH and RSS global satellites, lower troposphere averages for July 2014 were 0.30C and 0.34C, compared to July 2015 of 0.28C. Even June 2015 was hotter (UAH, 0.35C; RSS, 0.39C).”

Mull on that: NOAA says July 2015 was the hottest ever; satellites show it didn’t even match June’s numbers. What are you going to believe — comprehensive satellite recordings or fake data?


NOAA: Hurricane Drought Hits Record 118 Months

 As of today, it has been a record 118 months since the last major hurricane struck the continental United States, according to records kept by the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Hurricane Research Division, which list all hurricanes to strike the U.S. mainland going back to 1851

A major hurricane is Category 3 or higher hurrucine. The last one to strike the continental U.S. was Hurricane Wilma, which made landfall in Florida on Oct. 24, 2005.

President Obama is the first president in 122 years, since Benjamin Harrison was in office, who has not seen a major hurricane strike the U.S. during his time in office. In a statement on its website, NOAA expressed concern that Americans might suffer from “hurricane amnesia.”

The second longest stretch between major hurricanes hitting the continenatla U.S. was the eight years between 1860 and 1869, NOAA records show.

“It has been 10 years since Hurricanes Katrina (Aug. 29), Rita (Sept. 23/24) and Wilma (Oct. 24) made landfall along the Gulf Coast during one of the most active hurricane seasons in recorded history,” NOAA said in a statement marking the 10-year anniversary of the 2005 hurricane season.

“Wilma is also the last major hurricane to strike the U.S.--an unprecedented stretch that could unfortunately lead to ‘hurricane amnesia’ for the destruction such a hurricane can cause.”

Such a “drought” in major hurricane activity is “a rare event,” occurring every 177 years, according to a study published in May by researchers at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies entitled The Frequency and duration of U.S. hurricane droughts, who concluded that “the admittedly unusual 9-year U.S. Cat3+ landfall drought is a matter of luck.”

Dr. Gerry Bell, NOAA's lead seasonal hurricane forecaster, told that the agency's seasonal outlooks are "not a hurricane landfall predictor. Where hurricanes strike and how strong they are depends on weather patterns, and there's no way to predict those patterns months in advance," he told

"What we do know is that we have a cycle in which there are more hurricanes and fewer hurricanes. In 2003, '04 and '05, we had one storm after another," he continued. "Beginning with 2006, we started getting a break, as weather patterns in the Eastern United States steered a lot more storms out to sea. Right now, that is expected to be the overall pattern this year" during hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30.

But Bell warned that storms that are not classified as major hurricanes can still do a tremendous amount of damage.

"We tell coastal residents to prepare every hurricane season, because it only takes one storm to make it a bad year," he said. Hurricane strength is "only one factor," he added. The size of the storm surge, whether it spins off tornadoes, and the amount of rainfall created by a slow-moving storm can create as much damage as a major hurricane, he said.

NOAA classifies hurricanes from 1 to 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale according to the speed of their sustained winds and the type of damage they inflict.

 A Category 3 storm is defined as one with winds between 111 and 129 miles per hour, which can cause “devastating damage” to trees, buildings and infrastructure.

Category 4 hurricanes, with sustained wind speeds between 130 to 156 mph, and Category 5 hurricanes, with winds 157 miles per hour or more, are capable of “catastrophic damage,” according to NOAA.

Only three known Category 5 storms made landfall in the U.S. in modern history: the unnamed Labor Day hurricane that hit the Florida Keys in September,1935; Hurricane Camille, which made landfall in Mississippi in August, 1969; and Hurricane Andrew, which ravaged Florida in August, 1992.

The five deadliest hurricanes in U.S. history were all Category 3 or 4 when they struck the U.S., including the Category 4 storm that hit Galveston, Texas in 1900 that killed as many as 12,000 people.


EPA Knew of 'Blowout' Danger Ahead of River Accident

Earlier this month, the EPA accidentally dumped three million gallons of toxic sludge into the Animas River in Colorado. EPA Chief Gina McCarthy apologized, saying, “[W]e’ve committed to a full review of exactly what happened to ensure it can never happen again.”

Well, documents released Friday indicate the EPA not only knows exactly what happened but it knew in advance what could happen. Prior to the accident, according to an EPA report from June 2014, “This condition has likely caused impounding of water behind the collapse. In addition, other collapses within the workings may have occurred creating additional water impounding conditions. Conditions may exist that could result in a blowout of the blockages and cause a release of large volumes of contaminated mine waters and sediment from inside the mine, which contain concentrated heavy metals.”

Some of the reports, however, were redacted by EPA officials, which itself leads to other questions. First among them is why it took the EPA 24 hours to notify anyone of the accident, especially given they knew the danger ahead of time.

Finally, McCarthy gave the good news Friday that the “river is restoring itself.” But when was the last time the EPA said that about an accident caused by a private company?


The Greens Demolition Of Tasmania

If the Greens had their way, Tasmania would not have any industry or any economy. The Greens would prefer Tasmanians to revert back to the stone age and hunt for their food

The state election in March last year saved Tasmania from becoming an Aussie version of the Amish. They came within a whisker of existing without any meaningful business and were just about forced to re-invent the horse and cart. A 12.2 per cent swing to the Liberals meant they had the first pro-business state government in years.

With the Greens sharing power, it’s Earth Hour all year round if you want to run a business. Tasmania suffered years of neglect under a Labor/Green state goverment, and the result was loss of jobs, loss of industry, loss of standards and loss of wealth.

The Greens would like to see them scavenging for seeds and berries to eat, and trading possum pelts for a living, as long as the possums had died of natural causes first. The Federal Government should have come down hard and ruled that if the state doesn’t produce anything or earn any money, there will be no welfare available. As it stands, Tasmania has the highest number of illiterates in the country and the highest per capita of people living off a government hand out.

Tasmania is rich in minerals, it has great natural resources including fisheries and farming and tourism. It is nearly the size of England with a population of 500,000. There are 23 local councils who all fight with each other and are dominated by the Greens. It’s almost impossible to run a business. The Greens simply bring in overseas “experts” or apply to some international body to stifle any development.

The trashing of the Triabunna pulp mill and its associated port on Tassie’s east coast offers an insight into the looney Green’s tactics. The mill was purchased from Gunns in 2011 by the Wilderness Society. A Tasmanian parliamentary inquiry found the mill to be a viable business and said the purchasers had a contractual obligation to keep it running. Wilderness Society boss Alec Marr and his cronies went in and wrecked the joint.

A group of businessmen wanted to develop a tourism venture by running a cable car from the top of Mt Wellington down to Hobart and then join up with an overhead tramway that would travel around the Hobart waterfront. The tramway was to be purchased secondhand from Sydney. It would have created building jobs and permanent employment. NO! said the Greens.

It’s not only in Tasmania. The Greens are out to stop all 21st century development. Christine Milne’s solution for second airport in NSW, take a train. In Victoria, scrap the East/West Link and take a train. The same people who have prospered due to human progress now want to prohibit that from the next generation. The loopy Greens are the ‘Taliban’ of the Australian economy.

The Green voter doesn’t have the intellectual capability to understand the gravity of their policies, but is more worried about gaining favour among their urban social peers because it’s cool to vote Green. The Universities are the problem, not the solution. Almost all Leftist policies emanate from radical university lecturers. Christopher Pyne should be spending his time trying to eradicate this cancer from the teaching/lecturing mob.

The demographics are that a lot of them will have a university degree, where the ability to think and reason should be highly developed. However, there are very few of them who understand the basics of maths and economics.

Tasmanians have learnt a very painful lesson and it is doubtful they will ever hold the Greens party in the esteem they once did. Unfortunately, the inner city elite on the mainland have yet to learn that painful lesson, but eventually they will be forced to acknowledge that the socialist nirvana promised by the Greens is nothing more than a mad dreamscape.

Tasmania would like to develop a new and unique export industry – shipping off the loopy Greens to their spiritual home in North Korea.


Dishonest environmental campaigns will harm lions

IVO VEGTER  -- writing from South Africa

In the emotion-laden debate about hunting, environmental campaigners do their cause no favours by accusing others of errors and word play, while doing exactly that themselves.
In the wake of my column about lion hunting, prompted by the global outrage over the illegal killing of Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe, a major anti-hunting campaign tackled me. I was “just plain wrong” and “just didn’t get it”, they told their social media audience.

Unsurprisingly, the Global March for Lions (GML), a protest group launched last year by Christine Jordaan in support of the Campaign Against Canned Hunting (CACH), wanted to discredit the column I’d written. After all, they oppose trophy hunting, while I do not.

Their general view, that a ban on trophy hunting and private or public restrictions on trade will “save lions”, is a subject I dealt with in that column, and won’t repeat myself in detail here.

My case is made much more eloquently in a short film on the Bubye Valley Conservancy in Zimbabwe. This was once a huge cattle ranching farm, but has been converted into a thriving game conservation area where big game thrives as part of a sustainable ecosystem, supported by hunting alone. Anyone who is inclined to jump to emotional conclusions about hunting should watch this first.

In expressing its disagreement, the GML made public claims about my article that were, quite simply, false. Speaking to thousands of followers around the world, it asked where I got my statistics from, as if I had cited no support for them. It accused me of failing to distinguish between captive-bred and wild lions. It said I gave Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa cover for “abusing definitions” by not bothering to mention the applicable laws. It challenged my observation that lions are classified as vulnerable – a status less than endangered – by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, claiming that lions are endangered. It said I was “going as far as trying to highlight what hunting brings to (an) economy”.

All these claims are untrue. I responded to them, because my opinion on hunting is controversial enough without having an activist organisation trying to falsely discredit it.

Implying that I’d just made it up on the spot, the GML questioned the basis of my claim that on a typical hunting farm, between 2% and 5% of male lions are actually shot by trophy hunters, and that academics consider this rate to be “sustainable and low-risk if well-managed”. They did so despite the fact that I supplied a link to my source, a study by Lindsey et al, published in the journal Conservation Biology. I consider that dishonest on the part of a global campaign that publicly attacked my command of the subject. My columns do not contain links to sources for nothing.

The GML activist wrote: “Saying that SA's wild lions are captive bred is plainly wrong,” pointing out that there are 3,000 wild lions and 8,000 captive-bred lions in South Africa. But I never said that, I did made the distinction, and I also quoted similar numbers.

The Biodiversity Management Plan for Lions, published in April 2015, and to which I linked, estimates the total number of captive-bred lions in 200 facilities across South Africa to be 6,000, while the wild and “managed wild” population amounts to 3,155. Captive lions are those that exist on commercial game farms, where they generate revenue. Lions are considered to be wild if they exist in formal national parks, where their populations “are largely unmanaged, stable and viable”. Lions are classified as “managed wild” in smaller reserves, where population growth is actively limited and genetic diversity is maintained. Threats to these populations in South Africa “are generally low”, and they have “increased by 30% in the last three decades.”

Saying that I confused these groups is plainly wrong. By contrast, anti-hunting campaigns do conflate poaching with hunting, trophy hunting with “canned hunting”, and South Africa’s lion conservation issues with those of other countries.

I was accused of not quoting the Threatened or Protected Species (Tops) regulations in my column, thereby helping Molewa “abuse definitions”. Of course, a campaign that seeks to ban trophy hunting altogether is likely to disagree with Molewa about what exactly constitutes prohibited “canned hunting”. However, I do not have to parrot their opinions. More importantly, I did quote the relevant legislation. I cited the regulations specific to lions, which were published in April 2015, and therefore supercede the more general Tops regulations of 2013. I provided the requisite link so I did not have to quote legislation verbatim. Suffice to say that these rules prohibit a range of practices that constitute “canned hunting” in section 72. The GML believes these rules to be “incorrect” and that they constitute “a play on words”, but it is not a failure on my part not to say so, and not to rail against a minister whose department actually supports both the GML and the CACH.

The GML’s assertion that lions are “endangered” because their numbers are akin to those of rhino is patently false and reveals a grave lack of understanding of conservation issues. Absolute numbers are not the sole indicator of the health or conservation status of a population. The IUCN classification is clear. Lions are not endangered, no matter what the GML says. As I wrote, South Africa may not even have the carrying capacity for more wild lions. In fact, the management plan co-developed by the Department of Environmental Affairs, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, and Panthera, a respected conservation group, argues that a stable population of mature lions greater than 1,500 – as South Africa has – should not even qualify as vulnerable, and the IUCN should downgrade the status of this sub-population. The only reason the GML wants to convince people that lions are endangered is to get its IUCN status upgraded, and to get it listed under the US Endangered Wildlife Act. This is patently dishonest.

Certainly, I did “go as far as trying to highlight what hunting brings to an economy”. In my previous column about hunting, I also noted that the industry was worth a not inconsiderable R6.2-billion. It is a part of the debate, and one that I believe is important.

They may choose to ignore what hunting brings to an economy, because they believe that a lion’s life cannot be worth that much, but merely raising the issue in debate does not make me biased, as the GML claims. It recognises that the needs and wants of communities living closest to wildlife should be taken into account by policy makers.

I’ll admit, I do not have a very high opinion of well-off white people who simply dismiss what hunting brings to an economy. I think such people are elitists who implicitly value animal life more highly than human life, which is only underscored by the scale of the internet outrage over animals compared to the outrage over humans who are killed, abused, or mired in poverty.

When I said that dishonesty in fundraising should be illegal – on the grounds that selling anything under false pretences constitutes fraud – the person behind the GML’s Twitter account replied “luckily we’re a campaign and don’t fundraiser (sic) then”. It added that it was not part of the Campaign Against Canned Hunting, as it appears. But it supports the CACH, which does call for donations to pursue its cause, it clearly aims to support the CACH in raising funds. Instead of its own web address, the CACH’s address appears on the logo banners of the Global March, and the CACH in turn promotes the GML. They explicitly admit to being closely associated – in fact, the CACH is first on the GML’s list of participating organisations, as its founder’s inspiration. To suggest that the group’s claims are not made in support of fundraising is disingenuous in the extreme.

The danger is that the uninformed public will gladly believe anything such a group says. The pressure on governments to act is fuelled by exaggerated claims, false accusations and rash presumptions. Worse, private organisations may find the public pressure to restrict the sale and transport of legal trophies too much to resist, whether the cause is justified or not.

Respectable media pick up these claims, and repeat them with a dash of sensationalism. Who is going to dispute National Geographic, when it says: “Up to 7,000 lions are living behind bars in South Africa“? That is simply not true.

Who will explain that only a small percentage of captive-bred lions are in fact hunted for sport, and that of those, only a fraction can be described as “canned hunts”? Who will tell them it is not at all clear that banning hunting, whether for sport or game management, will “save our lions”? Who will tell them of places like the Bubye Valley Conservancy, where lion conservation is exclusively dependent on the success of the hunting industry, and will end if trophy hunting is banned?

Who will tell people that restricting imports of trophies, or pressurising American Airlines, eBay or FedEx to refuse to facilitate trophy sales will backfire, because it will lead to a decline, not an increase, in the lion populations of many African countries, as it did in Kenya?

Who will explain that the biggest threat to lion populations is habitat destruction in countries where the animals have little economic value, so anti-poaching efforts are not worth it, and to convert game farms to cash-generating crops or livestock has more value to both farm owners and the local population?

Who will correct Time magazine when it conflates hunting with poaching, as if they are the same thing? They are not. Much revenue generated by lion hunting is used to fight the threat of poaching. Even if you believe that hunting farm owners do not care about conservation, they do care about protecting their assets from thieves.

Who will warn those readers that Time magazine, like the GML, conflates rhinos and lions, as if the two animals face the same conservation issues? Does anyone notice when activists and journalists write about Africa as if it is all just one big country, and lion populations everywhere face the same pressures?

By all means, campaign against canned hunting. There is a good case to be made that inexperienced hunters do sometimes hunt animals from the back of vehicles, while the animals are in enclosures or under sedation, and that this is unnecessarily cruel. There is a good reason to campaign against this practice. Even the Professional Hunters Association of South Africa has called upon its members to step up their game in this respect, if you’ll excuse the pun.

But if you’re making that case by exaggeration and falsehoods, in support of a larger goal like banning all sport hunting, then you do not deserve the support – or the money – of the public. That, simply speaking, is fraud, and it discredits the conservation cause which you claim to support.

Besides, nobody has the right to whip up internet lynch mobs to destroy the careers of individuals, as GML explicitly does. If what those hunters did was wrong, they are entitled to a fair hearing. Mob justice has no place in a civilised society. For someone who is willing to sit in judgment upon others to call me “arrogant”, as GML did (in a message that appears to have been deleted), is rich.

Besides ruining lives and livelihoods far beyond just the hunter in question, such campaigns bring about over-compensation in public policy. This throws out the baby with the bathwater. While activists celebrate moves to prohibit trophy hunting, they do not actually help lions.

These groups only satisfy the knee-jerk emotions of internet mobs and their own campaign funds, while ironically, they accuse others of barbaric greed. Whether well-intended or not, they are no better than the caricature they draw of trophy hunters. Except that hunters are more honest and cause less harm to lions



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


No comments: