Friday, October 26, 2018

The attacks on "Roundup" go on

The Greenies will only be happy when we have no pesticides left.  Two of the most effective -- DDT and Dieldrin  -- went long ago and everything else has been targeted.  Methyl Bromide went recently, though it is still used in Australia

Dozens of cereals, oatmeals and snack bars contain trace amounts of a weed killer that has been linked to cancer, a new report says.

Released by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), the report found 26 of 28 oat-based cereal products that were tested had 'harmful' levels of glyphosate, the main ingredient of Roundup.

Products included variations of Cheerios and Quaker Oats, including Honey Nut Cheerios, Quaker Oatmeal Squares Honey Nut, and Quaker Overnight Oats.

The weed killer was recently at the center of a trial in which a California jury found Roundup was responsible for giving groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson, 46, terminal cancer.

None of the products in the new report had levels above what is allowed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), but the EWG argues that customers should be concerned that any levels are being detected in products consumed by children everyday.

In August, the EWG conducted its first study, which found the presence of glyphosate in 45 samples of breakfast cereals from producers Quakers, Kellogg's, and General Mills.

On the heels of this study, the group wanted to dive further and test specifically Quaker Oats and Cheerios products, because high levels of glyphoste were found in the first study and they are two of the most popular cereal brands.

For the new study, the EWG purchased the products at grocery stores in San Francisco and Washington, DC, and had them tested at Anresco Laboratories in San Francisco.

Results of the samples showed glyphosate was detectable in all 28 products, and levels considered unsafe were found in 26.

The EPA caps glyphosate tolerance at 5.0 parts per million (ppm).

But the EWG's health benchmark is much more conservative and says any level greater than 160 parts per billion (ppb) is not safe.

In the report, the highest level was found Quaker Oatmeal Squares Cereal Honey Nut, registering at 2,837 ppb.

That number is nearly 18 times greater than EWG's benchmark.

However, government agencies, manufacturers and advocacy groups seem to be conflicted about what is - and is not - considered safe.

Following the results of the EWG's report, both General Mills and Quaker released statements insisting their products are safe.

'[The] EWG report artificially creates a "safe level" for glyphosate that is detached from those that have been established by responsible regulatory bodies in an effort to grab headlines,' a statement from Quaker, sent to Daily Mail Online, read in part.

'We believe EWG's approach is invalid, and we stand behind our statement that the Quaker products tested by EWG are safe.'

General Mills, the makers of Cheerios, also cited the group's benchmark, telling CNN: 'The extremely low levels of pesticide residue cited in recent news reports is a tiny fraction of the amount the government allows.'

The EPA itself released a statement saying the report should not leave consumers concerned.

But Dr Alexis Temkin, a toxicologist at the EWG who worked on the report, says the results are disconcerting.

'Just because something is legal doesn't mean it's safe or that it provides that extra level of protection for children,' she told Daily Mail Online.

She mentioned that the EPA increased the amounts of glyphosate residue allowed on oats from 20 ppm in 1997 to 30 ppm in 2008.

'The EPA likely saw it was increasingly being used as a pre-harvest dessicant (the application of a herbicide crops shortly before harvest) and increased the limit to allow it to be legal,' Dr Temkin said.

Glyphosate-based products are sold in more than 160 countries, and farmers use it on 250 types of crops in California alone, which is the leading farming state in the US.

In March 2015, the World Health Organization found that that the herbicide is 'probably carcinogenic to humans'.

Then, in 2017, California named glyphosate an ingredient that causes cancer under the state's Proposition 65, which requires Roundup to carry a warning label if sold in California.

Roundup's maker, Monsanto, says glyphosate is safe and that its product has undergone stringent testing.

However, in August, a California jury ordered the company to pay $289 million to a groundsman who claimed the weed killer is responsible for giving him cancer.

A judge upheld the verdict on Monday but reduced Monsanto's payout to Dewayne Johnson to $78million.

'The report shows that breakfast cereals are not a place for pesticides linked to cancer,' said Dr Temkin.

'What we show here is that there are detectable levels in common foods that children exposed to every day. Over a long period of time, that can be dangerous.'


India Rumbles Wind Power as Fake Electricity: Output Collapses During Dead-Calm Monsoon

It never takes them long to work out that wind power is the greatest economic and environmental fraud of all time. Eco-zealots have attempted to ram wind and solar power down the throats of Third World governments under the auspices of saving the planet and purportedly with the purpose of dragging millions out of poverty. As the initiated well-know, wind power rates zero on both scores. Pointless and expensive, wind power is a kind of first world disease being spread by UN endorsed lunatics, across the developing world.

Now, Indians have branded wind power an outright fraud, too. The calm, and very wet weather that comes with the monsoon has left wind ‘powered’ Tamil Nadu scrambling for the reliable stuff; and that means coal-fired power. The state had unscheduled power cuts for the first time since 2015.”

India is coal country with a 76 percent market share for the indigenous fuel. But authorities are pushing uneconomic renewables as part of a green central planning plan.

Wind Power in Tamil Nadu

One such place is my home state of Tamil Nadu. Its wind turbines have a capacity of about 7.9 gigawatts. Tamil Nadu is often glorified as a global leader in wind energy and regularly compared with Scandinavian countries.

Yet the reality is totally different!

Wind turbines’ poor capacity to provide electricity was exposed last month, when Tamil Nadu faced an unforeseen energy shortage due to a dwindling coal supply. The state had unscheduled power cuts for the first time since 2015.

Most of the state’s electricity (45 percent) comes from stable and reliable coal plants. They require 72,000 tons of coal per day. The coal demand rose, and the subsequent shortage of coal created a power-shortage panic. The federal government had to dispatch coal to the state.

In such situations, wind turbines cannot provide the required backup. Moreover, the rise in energy demand from coal plants can be attributed to the fall in wind energy this year.

Energy from wind turbines dropped 37 percent this year because of heavy monsoon rains. But heavy monsoon rains are not abnormal! They are blamed simply because they interrupt the turbines. Before the era of wind turbines, the rains were just as severe, but they didn’t interrupt power generation.

Wind turbines are infamous for their operational inefficiency. Wind factories usually are built with capacities far above their normal actual production in order to meet the required production targets.

But at times of steady optimum-velocity winds, they produce more than grid operators can use, leaving electricity to be sold at a loss to other locales.  This means that the wind turbines operate far below capacity most of the time, requiring grid operators to meet much of the demand from thermal plants.


Bad news for Ireland: Peat is most damaging fuel in terms of global warming, even worse than coal

Peat is the most damaging fuel in terms of global warming; even worse than coal.

It has a lower calorific value than coal (generating less energy per tonne when it is burned) and yet it produces higher CO2 emissions per unit, so it is the least climate-efficient way to produce electricity or heat in Ireland bar none.

As a consequence, the writing has been on the wall for peat production – including the once, much-loved peat briquette – and peat-burning power plants for some years; all because of climate change.

In a scenario where overall Irish greenhouse gas emissions are locked into a rising curve, especially those associated with heat, transport and agriculture, it became impossible to justify use of peat on environmental and sustainability grounds.

As a consequence, Bord na Móna committed to getting out of peat by 2030. Its announcement this week “is acknowledging that climate change is our biggest challenge globally” and commits to closing bogs by 2025.

Peat was responsible for 3.4 million tonnes of emissions in Ireland during 2016, of which 75 per cent was for electricity and 25 per cent in residential heating (which is about 9 per cent of carbon emissions from total fossil fuel use (including coal, oil, gas and peat). Phasing out that heat component will make a big difference to Ireland’s emissions.

The peat issue was so glaring, the Government’s independent Climate Change Advisory Council repeatedly said Bord na Móna should get out of peat a lot sooner than envisaged, though it underlined the need for “a just transition” for workers and communities affected. Its chairman Prof John FitzGerald has gone further, hitting out at the perverse decision to continue subsidising peat-fired electricity generation stations until 2030 – consumers pay for this through the public service obligation (PSO), a levy added to their electricity bill.

Peat is partially decomposed plant material; essentially coal in the making. It forms when plant material is deposited in an oxygen-poor environment, generally one that is saturated with water such as a bog. Its destruction releases vast amounts of carbon, particularly methane, into the atmosphere.

Burning, draining, and degrading peat bogs emits significant amounts of CO2 .

In contrast, bogs – and restored wetlands – have the potential to fulfil a major role in capturing and storing carbon.

The fate of peat burning power stations in the Midlands, however, will largely depend on the extent to which the EPA will permit “co-firing of peat with biomass” in coming years.


Trudeau’s Carbon-Tax Rebates A Pittance, Opponents Argue

The Official Opposition Conservatives criticized Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s promise of carbon tax rebates for consumers Tuesday.

At the House of Commons, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer held a news conference to call the rebates “an election gimmick,” saying what the Trudeau government proposes to give back to Canadians is a pittance.

“Canadians have known all along that Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax was just a tax plan dressed up as an emissions plan,” he said. “Now we know it’s all an election gimmick. And now Canadians are supposed to take his word that a measly $12.50 a month will cover the true cost of the carbon tax.”

Trudeau was in Toronto on Tuesday where he officially outlined his carbon tax and rebate plan in Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s constituency.

Trudeau now routinely refers to CO2 emissions as “pollution” and refers to his carbon tax as “the price of pollution.”

“Starting next year, it will no longer be free to pollute anywhere in Canada. And we’re also going to help Canadians adjust to this new reality,” Trudeau said. “Every nickel will be invested in Canadians in the province or territory where it was raised.”

The Liberals plan to impose the carbon tax on all gasoline, propane and natural gas products.

But they won’t directly tax all Canadian voters; instead, the government will go after the distributors of these products, who will then pass it along to consumers.

The tax is expected to increase the price of each of these energy sources by about four cents a liter.


The Australian government gets realistic on the drivers of electricity costs and is told about "The ‘hoax’ Australians have been sold on electricity

A comprehensive investigation of the drivers of electricity costs reveals that Greenie costs are not the only driver pushing costs upward.  Electricity firms are also making a motza. So PM Morrison takes modest measures to rein in those profits.  So the Left praise him for that?  Leftists don't like big business.

But, no, Morrison is "hypocritical" for doing that.  He said that enironmental costs were a big driver of costs so he should stick to that only apparently. He is not allowed to look at more than one cost driver at a time, apparently.  He'll get no logic or reason from Leftists, just hate. I suppose in the simplistic Leftist mind, things CAN have only one cause

WHEN the Abbott Government first romped to victory in 2013 on its promise to axe the carbon tax, it was to address one key issue — the rising cost of electricity.

Addressing climate change was costing too much, Australia’s future prime minister Tony Abbott argued, and was impacting people’s power bills.

Five years later and despite dumping the so-called tax, people’s power bills have still skyrocketed but it’s not for the reason they think.

As ABC finance analyst Alan Kohler highlighted in a series of graphs, electricity prices have jumped by 55 per cent since 2007.

The reason? While climate change policies have played a part, they were not the biggest factor and an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) report released in July gave an interesting insight into why prices had risen.

Mainly it’s because of network costs (which added 4 cents per kilowatt hour), the cost of wholesale electricity (2.8 cents), environmental costs (1.6 cents), retail margin (1.4 cents) and retail costs (0.8 cents).

Most of these terms mean nothing to average consumers. To simplify it, the climate change impact can be attributed partly to the lack of a good policy, which means there has not been an “orderly” transition to cleaner energy sources.

Big coal-fired power stations like Northern and Hazelwood have closed without much notice, making it difficult for the market to find alternatives. The closures have also driven up wholesale prices partly because there is less supply and competition. Gas prices also jumped up after the resource started being exported and this has also contributed to higher prices in Australia.

Meanwhile, there’s little incentive for companies to invest in new sources of electricity when the closures mean they can instead charge more for the energy they are already generating.

The ACCC also found “network costs” had driven up prices the most. In particular, in NSW, Queensland and Tasmania, there has been over-investment in networks, the so-called “poles and wires”.

But one of these figures have escaped much of the scrutiny applied to the others: retail margins.

For those not familiar with the jargon — this is the profit that electricity companies make. And this has grown by 1.4 per cent.

As Mr Kohler noted, selling electricity has become so profitable in Australia, retail margins are now the highest in the world.

The government focus has now turned to cracking down on retailers for confusing customers, price gouging and unfair late payment fees.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced measures to bring down prices, including that it ask the Australian Energy Regulator to put in place a “price safety net”, which is essentially an electricity price cap, something Australia used to have and then got rid of in 2007.

While the crackdown on retailers is in line with ACCC findings, some have noticed the government’s approach now appears to fly in the face of its previous scaremongering.

The new Morrison Government is trying to break the link between carbon emissions reduction and rising power prices, saying it will “comfortably” meet Australia’s Paris agreement targets while at the same time lowering prices.

It’s something that 7.30 host Leigh Sales questioned Energy Minister Angus Taylor about last night and the lack of response was telling.

“This government suggests that emissions reduction, carbon emissions reduction, and power prices are not linked,” Sales said. “If that is true, then you are admitting that your entire anti-carbon tax platform was a hoax because your opposition to it was based on it driving up power prices?”

One of the first things Mr Morrison did when he took over the prime ministership was get rid of the proposed National Energy Guarantee (NEG), which was aimed at reducing electricity prices, providing more stability in the system but also legislating an emissions reduction of 26 per cent over the next 10 years.

Now it looks like Australia won’t have a climate policy and may have to rely on the government topping up the Emissions Reduction Fund, which Mr Abbott introduced to pay businesses, community organisations, local councils or others to reduce their carbon emissions.

The Morrison Government has also left the door open to support new coal-fired power stations and may even protect these investments against the future climate change action.

Mr Taylor told The Guardian the government would look at absorbing the risks for companies, which had found it hard to get finance because they were unable to predict future carbon action, particularly because Australia has not been able to agree to a bipartisan policy.

Asked whether he acknowledged that would expose taxpayers to risk, Taylor said: “We’ll look at the risks and we’ll seek to minimise the risks to the commonwealth”.




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



Anonymous said...

RE - Roundup

IARC research results showing Roundup did not cause cancer was removed by WHO from the final report.

Not unlike what the IPCC does when summarizing scientific studies of climate related phenomena showing warming isn't catastrophic, harmful or caused by humans.

Ian Reid said...

Glyphophate (Roundup) is a *herbicide* not a *pesticide*. The article itself mentions this. It doesn't detract from the central thesis of your post, but it's important to get these things right.

Your preamble might be better talking about Greenies attacking all modern farming aids, or pesticides and herbicides. But as it stands it gives the impression Roundup is a pesticide.

JR said...

Yes. I was using 'PEST' rather generally, perhaps too generally