Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Ignorance, intolerance, violence

Using junk science marches, ignorant professors, resistance and violence to drive public policy

Paul Driessen

Recent science and climate marches demonstrated how misinformed, indoctrinated, politicized and anti-Trump these activists are – and how indifferent about condemning millions in industrialized nations and billions in developing countries to green energy poverty. Amid it all, University of Michigan history professor Juan Cole helped illustrate how the marchers became so ignorant, insensitive and intolerant.

It’s always amazed me how frequently academics, journalists, politicians and students confuse poisonous carbon monoxide (CO) with plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide (CO2). But Professor Cole’s April 17 article in The Nation presents unfathomable ignorance from the intellectual class that is “educating” our young people, while displaying and teaching intolerance toward countervailing facts and viewpoints.

Bashar al Assad’s sarin gas attack “consumed the world’s attention,” Prof. Cole intones, but President Trump is committed to releasing hundreds of thousands of tons a day “of a far more deadly gas – carbon dioxide.” Even CO2 that is washed out of the atmosphere “typically goes straight into the oceans,” he continues, “where it turns them acidic,” threatening a “mass die-off of marine life.”

Cole’s polemical nonsense is too extensive to address in full. But these two claims require rebuttal.

A deadly gas? Carbon dioxide is the Miracle Molecule that enables plants to grow and makes all life on Earth possible. Plants absorb CO2 exhaled by humans and animals, and emitted by burning wood, dung, fossil fuels and biofuels – and then release oxygen that people and wildlife need to survive.

Hundreds of studies demonstrate how slightly higher atmospheric CO2 levels (rising from 0.03% a century ago to 0.04% today) are making crop, forest and grassland plants more drought resistant, helping them grow faster and better, and “greening” vast areas that had been brown and barren. Claims that CO2 has replaced the solar and other powerful natural forces that have always controlled Earth’s climate, and is now causing “dangerous manmade climate change,” are not supported by actual planetary evidence.

Marine life thrived when CO2 levels were many times higher during past geologic eras. Far from being or becoming acidic, the oceans are mildly alkaline, and their vast volumes of water will not become acidic from human fossil fuel use: that is, to drop from their current pH of 8.1 into the acidic realm below 7.0 on this logarithmic scale. Oceans may become slightly less alkaline with another century or two of human carbon dioxide emissions, but most marine organisms will be unaffected; others will adapt or evolve.

The science marchers forget that President Trump’s actions are in response to eight Obama years of “highly politicized so-called research on climate,” under grants that “anticipated particular scientific outcomes before funding was provided,” Princeton University physicist Dr. Will Happer told me. Real science “is not based on political agendas, belief systems or computer models. It’s based on evidence – and actual observations have found normal icecap fluctuations, seas rising a foot or less per century, drought cycles little different from the twentieth century, and a decline in major landfalling hurricanes.”

These inconvenient truths contradict the dominant narratives in college classrooms and political circles. Climate alarmists thus demand that they be vilified, banned and silenced, through vile, even violent confrontations if need be – along with other conservative speech on and beyond too many campuses.

It’s as if reality, truth, discussion and debate have become irrelevant where feelings, leftist dogma, climate science or public policies are involved. Even more troubling, it’s as if our culture, education and public forums have been taken over by jack-booted fascists, Mao’s Red Guards, Maduro thugs, and “heroes” like Pavlik Morozov, memorialized by Stalin for betraying his father to the secret police.

Some intolerant protesters may be delicate snowflakes, too easily intimidated, offended or made to feel “unsafe” by conservative or other contrarian thought. However, the near-constant intimidation and threats of expulsion or violence have become a deliberate tactic, used repeatedly to impose speech codes and political agendas – and too often ignored, acquiesced in or supported by professors, administrators and politicians who welcome the silencing of opposition voices or lack the courage to confront  it. During Science March weekend in Huntsville, Alabama, shots were fired into the offices where reality-based climatologist John Christy works. “Mainstream media” and academia coverage was minimal.

They demand diversity of race, language, handicaps, sex, sexual orientation, transgender status and sexual self-identification. They cannot tolerate diversity of thought, speech or faculty and student ideology.

George Mason University economics professor Walter Williams calls it “a spreading cancer,” a re-emerging mentality that gave us loyalty oaths, which today come in the form of demands that faculty members sign “diversity statements, especially as part of hiring and promotion procedures…. The last thing diversity hustlers want is diversity of ideas.” The goal is “political conformity among the faculty indoctrinating our impressionable, intellectually immature young people,” Williams says.

As far-left protest marches, window smashing, limousine burning and physical assaults in Berkeley, Portland, Washington, DC and other cities attest, the cancer is metastasizing – particularly when movements and political groups believe their money, power, influence and control are threatened.

 On the climate front, at stake are $100 billion a year in reparation funds for poor countries, $7 trillion a year for companies that want to build “sustainable low-carbon” energy systems, and boundless power for politicians and bureaucrats who want to control economic growth, livelihoods and living standards. They cannot tolerate “climate deniers,” even those who merely question the extent of human influences, the degree and impact of temperature and climate changes, whether changes will all be bad, or the supposed inability of wildlife and wealthy, technologically advanced societies to adapt to future changes.

Members of this activist, governing and corporate elite also excel at inflating trivial risks and dismissing easy solutions, to advance their agendas and self-interests. For example, as President Trump revises many Obama era environmental rules, activist groups are using other tactics to continue their war on coal.

Dry ash from coal-fired power plants can be used in wallboard and to partially replace sand in high-strength concrete for bridges, roads and buildings. However, regulations, engineering considerations and other factors limited that option and resulted in most wet and dry ash being sent to impoundments that can leak barely detectable pollutants into surface and ground water. Studies have shown that these levels of chromium and other metals pose little risk to humans, but scare campaigns are creating pressure to force utility companies to spend billions of dollars relocating the ash and closing more power plants.

The best solution is likely to leave the ash in place, shore up the coffer dams, put solid clay seals over the deposits, and let them dry out, locking the metals in place. Radical groups demand relocation and seek to bankrupt the utilities – after which they intend to intensify their attacks on natural gas-fired power plants, drilling, fracking, and the factories, petrochemical plants and other industries that use fossil fuels.

In essence, they have brilliantly established a mantra that can ensure victory in every campaign. Whatever they support is safe, sustainable, climate-friendly environmental justice; whatever they oppose is dangerous, unsustainable, ecologically destructive and unjust. End of discussion.

In the process, they are unwilling or unable to recognize two facts. One, cheap, reliable energy improves living standards, saves lives, and supports new technologies and opportunities, with poor families benefitting most. Policies that make energy less accessible and affordable harm the poorest most of all.

Two, fossil fuels have undeniable environmental impacts, but allow us to produce vast amounts of cheap energy from relatively few acres. Replacing those fuels with wind, solar and biofuel energy would require hundreds of millions of acres worldwide that are now cropland or wildlife habitats. Those “eco-friendly” alternatives are actually our least sustainable, most ecologically destructive energy options.

The stakes are too high to let intolerant ideologues continue to control energy policy decisions.

Via email

Soros a major backer of weekend’s Climate March

Liberal billionaire donated to labor groups who came to march

The People’s Climate March on Saturday in the nation’s capital had a powerful billionaire behind it: Democratic Party donor George Soros.

Mr. Soros, who heads the Open Society Foundations, contributed over $36 million between 2000 and 2014 to 18 of the 55 organizations on the march’s steering committee, according to an analysis released Friday by the conservative Media Research Center.

Six of the groups received during that time more than $1 million each: the Center for Community Change, the NAACP, the Natural Resources Defense Council, People’s Action, Public Citizen and the Union of Concerned Scientists.

The People’s Climate March, which came a week after another climate-themed anti-Trump event, the March for Science, ran along Pennsylvania Ave. and ended by surrounding the White House in order to “drown out all of the climate-denying nonsense that has been coming out of this administration.”

While some of its partners are climate change organizations like NextGen Climate, founded by top Democratic donor Tom Steyer, the march also was heavily backed by labor unions and social justice groups such as Color of Change, which also is backed by Mr. Soros.

Only three of the six organizations on the steering committee — NRDC, Public Citizen and UCS — “actually have anything climate-related in their individual missions,” the Media Research Center reported.

“The presence of many nonclimate-related organizations leading the march indicated that this climate march (just like the March for Science and the Women’s March) is not about a single issue, but about attacking the new administration,” MRC’s Aly Nielsen said.

She pointed to the march’s “usual checklist of liberal policy priorities,” such as labor union rights, a minimum wage increase and a halt to “attacks on immigrants.”

People’s Climate March organizers made no secret of their antipathy for President Trump, calling for “climate, jobs and justice” as an alternative to “Trump’s disastrous agenda.”
“Trump’s game plan has been to relentlessly attack our communities and shock us into despair,” march organizers said in a post. “It hasn’t worked because our people-powered movement is stronger than he is — together, the resistance stopped his attempts to overturn the Affordable Care Act and stymied his despicable Muslim ban.”

Mr. Soros, a longtime top donor to Democrats and left-wing causes, contributed nearly $10 million to Priorities USA Action, the primary super PAC supporting Mr. Trump’s opponent, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, in the 2016 election cycle, according to Open Secrets.

The march was held on the 100th day of the Trump administration.


Trump Counters Federal Land Grab by Invoking Federalism

On Wednesday, Donald Trump announced that he was “signing an executive order to end another egregious abuse of federal power and to give that power back to the states and to the people, where it belongs.” The egregious abuse of power he’s referring to revolves around the 1906 Antiquities Act, under which presidents are authorized — with virtually unbridled leeway and zero oversight — to designate huge chunks of land as national monuments.

Not only does this strip power from the states, but it’s also a recipe for abuse because there is nothing to prevent land grabs whose purposes are purely political. Barack Obama was especially guilty of this.

Therefore, Trump has commissioned his “Secretary of the Interior … [to] conduct a review of all Presidential designations or expansions of designations under the Antiquities Act made since January 1, 1996, where the designation covers more than 100,000 acres, where the designation after expansion covers more than 100,000 acres, or where the Secretary determines that the designation or expansion was made without adequate public outreach and coordination with relevant stakeholders.”

As The Daily Signal’s Nicolas Loris notes, what started out as a “law … to prevent the looting of archaeological and Native American structures and objects” has instead “evolved into a federal power tool for making land grabs that cater to special interests.” In fact, The Hill adds, “Under the Antiquities Act, presidents have nearly unlimited power to create national monuments on land the federal government already owns.”

So no wonder, The New York Times reported in December, that “Mr. Obama … designated about 553 million acres as national monuments, more than any of his predecessors.”

Much of the land Obama designated was done so with highly questionable motives. Protecting land is not a bad thing. But that doesn’t make it the federal government’s responsibility to override a state issue. As the executive order states, “Monument designations that result from a lack of public outreach and proper coordination with State, tribal, and local officials and other relevant stakeholders may … create barriers to achieving energy independence, restrict public access to and use of Federal lands, burden State, tribal, and local governments, and otherwise curtail economic growth.” Trump is simply correcting the abuse that took place under Obama’s watch.


Poison for the Mind: The Nation on CO2 and Global Warming

Another debunking of the uninformed Prof. Juan Cole

What’s “a far more deadly gas” than the Sarin that Syrian President Bashar al Assad used to kill his own citizens—prompting President Trump to respond with a missile attack?

Carbon dioxide.

Or so says The Nation. According to “The Other Poison Gas Killing Syrians: Carbon Dioxide Emissions,” by University of Michigan Professor of History Juan Cole, “If Trump and his cronies really cared about children killed by noxious gases, they wouldn’t be trying to spew ever more CO2 into the atmosphere.”

We could laugh at the ignorance of the author, the fact checkers (if any), and the editors. Or we could rage at their dishonesty. Or we could cry at the ignorance of trusting but deceived readers. Maybe we should do all three.

Time for an elementary lesson in toxicology.

A lethal dose of Sarin is about one-half milligram. The average person exhales over one million times as much CO2 per day — about 1.04 kilograms.

If CO2 is “far more deadly” than Sarin, the human race should have perished when the first human took the first breath.

Just a little more about CO2’s toxicity — or, rather, lack thereof.

Occupational exposure standards for CO2 are 0.5% (5,000 ppm) average through a 40-hour work week and 3% (30,000 ppm) for short-term exposure.

But those standards are overcautious. The National Research Council reports, “Data collected on nine nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines indicate an average CO2 concentration of 3,500 ppm [0.35%] with a range of 0–10,600 ppm [0–0.16%], and data collected on 10 nuclear-powered attack submarines indicate an average CO2 concentration of 4,100 ppm [0.41%] with a range of 300–11,300 ppm [0.03–1.1%].” And we trust those submariners with control of nuclear ICBMs.

The breath we exhale contains about 40,000–53,000 ppm (4–5.3%) CO2.

Exposure to CO2 only becomes dangerous to life if prolonged more than a few minutes at (40,000 ppm).

Global average open-air CO2 concentration is about 407 parts per million (ppm) (0.04%).

So open-air CO2 concentration would have to be twelve-and-a-half times what it is today to reach the 40-hour work week standard; 74 times to reach the short-term exposure standard; and 98 times to reach the life-threatening level.

Rising at about 3 ppm per year, it will take 1,531 years to reach the work-week standard; 9,864 to reach the short-term standard; and 13,198 to reach the life-threatening level.

That’s sufficient to expose Professor Cole and The Nation’s gross errors. It should warn us not to trust Cole’s central claims: Human-induced climate change caused the “severest drought in recorded modern Syrian history in 2007–10,” which “made its contribution” to the Syrian civil war, which killed 400,000 people, left 23 million homeless, and made 4 million refugees.

The problem is that the Syrian drought was caused primarily by non-climatic factors.

The Fertile Crescent, which includes Syria, experienced about a 7% decline in winter rainfall since 1930, most before 1980. That leaves only about 3% of the decline during allegedly man-made warming, post-1980. Average annual surface temperature rose by about 0.5 C˚ since 1930, again about half before 1980. Those are not enough to explain the drought or the conflict over water.

So what did cause them?

From 1930 to 2010, Syria’s population multiplied 11 times, and its industrial and agricultural water use multiplied even more. That meant greatly multiplied water consumption, and hence shortages, regardless of temperature or rainfall.

“Drought” designates not low rainfall but water shortage — which can be caused by decreased rainfall, increased consumption, or accelerated runoff.

Did higher temperature and lower rainfall contribute? Perhaps. But the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded in its 2012 report on extreme weather that it was impossible to demonstrate a connection between global warming and increasing frequency or severity of extreme weather events, including droughts.

Even if global warming contributed somewhat to the rise in temperature and decline in rainfall, that doesn’t mean human activity drove it. IPCC’s computer models simulate warming from rising atmospheric CO2 at double the observed rate, and recent research has found that most, maybe all, of the warming was driven by the El NiƱo-Southern Oscillation coupled with changes in solar output and the 1977 “Pacific Shift,” not by CO2.

So, at most, human activity contributed only a small fraction of the global warming, therefore only a fraction of the rise in temperature and decline in rainfall in the Fertile Crescent, therefore only a fraction of a fraction of the drought, and therefore only a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of the conflict over water.

Even the conflict over water pales into insignificance compared with religious and political conflicts as causes of Syria’s civil war, the rise of ISIS, and the consequent refugee crisis.

This isn’t even to mention the benefits of increased CO2, but they are many.

Plants must have it for photosynthesis. Every doubling of it causes an average 35% increase in plant growth efficiency. With more CO2, plants grow better in warmer and cooler weather and in wetter and drier soil, make better use of soil nutrients, and resist diseases and pests better. Consequently, they expand their range and the range of all insects and animals, which depend on them, greening the earth and reducing risks of species extinction.

They also yield more fruit. The result is more food for everything that, directly or indirectly, eats plants. And the poor benefit the most because rising CO2 makes food more affordable.

Professor Cole’s claim that CO2, because it contributes to global warming, is “far more deadly” than Sarin gas is precisely opposite the truth. It is both ludicrous and vicious.


Leading Australian conservative says Australia has 'moral obligation' to supply coal to poorer nations

Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce has defended the proposed Adani coal mine in Queensland, saying Australia has a "moral obligation" to help poorer nations keep their lights on.

The controversial Carmichael mine would be Australia's largest, with Indian company Adani expecting to export 60 million tonnes of coal per year, much of it to India.

Sparring between Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and Q&A host Tony Jones were relieved by the presence of British satirist Armando Iannucci.

Environmental fears, including concerns from graziers that the mine has been granted an unlimited licence to use water, have swirled around the proposal, leading major banks including Westpac and the Commonwealth to distance themselves from it.

Speaking on the ABC's panel program Q&A on Monday night, Mr Joyce would not rule out the government stepping in to provide direct finance to Adani to ensure the mine goes ahead.

"I'm not going to start answering that question, but I suspect not," Mr Joyce said. "The issue is the infrastructure that surrounds it. We're happy to look at that, and we are doing that.

"We've said we're prepared to support the rail link, and we look forward to [it]."

The government has proposed loaning the mining conglomerate $1 billion from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund to build a rail line that would transport the coal to ports.

However, the company may have ruled itself ineligible for the criteria of the loan, after declaring such an investment would not be "make or break" for the project.

Mr Joyce said he did not want to create two classes of people - those who can afford power, and those who can't - by refusing the mine.

"I'm going to be a complete economic pragmatist. We have to make sure this economy works. We have to export dollars. One of our largest exports is coal," he said.

"We have to realise we have a moral responsibility to other people in other nations to keep their lights on. They have their right to exist in the 21st century like we do. We can't sort of lord it over people and say 'we prescribe a way of life for you that you can't afford'."

Mr Joyce said the mine would ultimately lead to lower emissions than if people in India used local coal.

"If we decide that we don't want to use Adani - the coal from the Galilee coalfields - to help poor people in India be able to turn on their lights like we do, they're still going to get coal. They're just going to get coal that's 60 percent less efficient, from India," he said.

"So you're actually going to increase your carbon emissions."

Mr Joyce was also quizzed on climate change. He acknowledged human activity had an impact on the phenomenon, but said it was not responsible for "every climatic catastrophe".

"Of course, if human activity is putting greenhouse gases - and it does - into the atmosphere, then of course that has an effect on the climate," he said.

"They [activists] always take the next step and say 'that cyclone was climate change, that bushfire was climate change', everything. And it's not. It's part of the natural path of what happens in the climate all the time, for which part of the effect are greenhouse gases."

Fellow panellist Brian Schmidt, the vice chancellor of Australian National University, said we must take steps over the next 30 years to lessen the impact of climate change.

"You are correct that often any little thing is ascribed to climate change," said Mr Schmidt, who won the Nobel Prize for physics in 2011. "But as climate change becomes bigger and bigger, more and more things really are going to relate to that.

"People have, I think, this false belief that it's only going to be two degrees [of warming]. It's only going to be two degrees if we actually really start changing quickly. It could be five, six, seven - we don't know, it's hard to calculate when it becomes really big."



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