Friday, October 05, 2018

Trump’s EPA moving to loosen radiation limits

At last Greenie knee-jerk reactions will be replaced by real science.  There is plenty of evidence of radiation hormesis -- the fact that low levels of ionizing radiation are not bad for you and can be good for you.  The claim that ALL radiation is bad is just the simplistic thinking you expect from the Greens

Official bodies have resisted acknowledging hormesis but there are some striking incidents of  it.  Even the Wikipedia article on it treats the topic with respect.  It is far from a "way out" idea.

Everything is disastrous to Greenies and under their influence the reality of hormesis has been resisted.  If ANY radiation is bad, whole heaps of things become bad for us and that suits the scare-mongering proclivities of the Greens.

In fact, quite high doses of radiation can be harmless.  I like this report (via Wikipedia) on the very high natural background gamma radiation cancer rates in Kerala, Southern India:

"Kerala's monazite sand (containing a third of the world's economically recoverable reserves of radioactive thorium) emits about 8 micro Sieverts per hour of gamma radiation, 80 times the dose rate equivalent in London, but a decade long study of 69,985 residents published in Health Physics in 2009: "showed no excess cancer risk from exposure to terrestrial gamma radiation. The excess relative risk of cancer excluding leukemia was estimated to be -0.13 Gy_1 (95% CI: -0.58, 0.46)", indicating no statistically significant positive or negative relationship between background radiation levels and cancer risk in this sample."

Let the panic-mongers put that in their pipes and smoke it!

And Southern Indians are an unusually smart population, particularly in mathematics.  Does radiation improve your mathematical ability?  From what we know of the broadly beneficial effects of low to moderate radiation, it's not impossible!

And I must mention the striking case of Tsutomu Yamaguchi, a Japanese salesman who had the epic misfortune to be exposed to both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic blasts.  So was he fried to a crisp or at least died shortly thereafter?  No.  He was badly burned but recovered well and lived to 93!  Hormesis explains that but nothing else does


There is a review article here in an academic journal which finds that hormesis fits the facts much better than the conventional theory

The EPA is pursuing rule changes that specialists say would weaken the way radiation exposure is regulated, turning to scientific outliers who argue that a bit of radiation damage is actually good for you — like a little bit of sunlight.

The government’s current, decades-old guidance says that any exposure to harmful radiation is a cancer risk.

The Trump administration already has targeted a range of other rules on toxins and pollutants, including coal power plant emissions and car exhaust, that it sees as costly for businesses. Supporters of the EPA’s proposal argue the government’s current model that there is no safe level of radiation — the so-called linear no-threshold model — forces unnecessary spending for handling exposure in accidents, at nuclear plants, in medical centers, and at other sites.

At issue is the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule on transparency in science. EPA spokesman John Konkus said Tuesday, "The proposed regulation doesn’t talk about radiation or any particular chemicals. And as we indicated in our response, EPA’s policy is to continue to use the linear-no-threshold model for population-level radiation protection purposes which would not, under the proposed regulation that has not been finalized, trigger any change in that policy."

But in an April news release announcing the proposed rule the agency quoted Edward Calabrese, a toxicologist at the University of Massachusetts who has said weakening limits on radiation exposure would save billions of dollars and have a positive impact on human health.

The proposed rule would require regulators to consider "various threshold models across the exposure range" when it comes to dangerous substances. While it doesn’t specify radiation, the release quotes Calabrese calling the proposal "a major scientific step forward" in assessing the risk of "chemicals and radiation." Konkus said the release was written during the tenure of former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. He could not explain why Calabrese was quoted citing the impact on radiation levels if the agency does not believe there would be any.

Calabrese was to be the lead witness at a congressional hearing Wednesday on the EPA proposal.

Radiation is everywhere, from potassium in bananas to the microwaves popping popcorn. Most of it is benign. But what’s of concern is the higher-energy, shorter-wave radiation, like X-rays, that can penetrate and disrupt living cells, sometimes causing cancer.

As recently as this March, the EPA’s online guidelines for radiation effects advised: "Current science suggests there is some cancer risk from any exposure to radiation."

But that online guidance — separate from the rule-change proposal — was edited in July to add a section emphasizing the low individual odds of cancer: "According to radiation safety experts, radiation exposures of . . . 100 millisieverts usually result in no harmful health effects, because radiation below these levels is a minor contributor to our overall cancer risk," the revised policy says.

Calabrese and his supporters argue that smaller exposures of cell-damaging radiation and other carcinogens can serve as stressors that activate the body’s repair mechanisms and can make people healthier. They compare it to physical exercise or sunlight.

Mainstream scientific consensus on radiation is based on deceptive science, says Calabrese, who argued in a 2014 essay for "righting the past deceptions and correcting the ongoing errors in environmental regulation."

EPA spokesman Konkus said in an e-mail that the proposed rule change is about "increasing transparency on assumptions" about how the body responds to different doses of dangerous substances and that the agency "acknowledges uncertainty regarding health effects at low doses" and supports more research on that.

The radiation regulation is supported by Steven Milloy, a Trump transition team member for the EPA who is known for challenging widely accepted ideas about manmade climate change and the health risks of tobacco. He has been promoting Calabrese’s theory of healthy radiation on his blog.

Jan Beyea, a physicist whose work includes research with the National Academies of Science on the 2011 Fukushima nuclear power plant accident, said the EPA science proposal represents voices "generally dismissed by the great bulk of scientists."

The EPA proposal would lead to "increases in chemical and radiation exposures in the workplace, home, and outdoor environment, including the vicinity of Superfund sites," Beyea wrote. "The individual risk will likely be low, but not the cumulative social risk," Beyea said.

At the level the EPA website talks about, any one person’s risk of cancer from radiation exposure is perhaps 1 percent, Beyea said.

"If they even look at that — no, no, no," said Terrie Barrie, a resident of Craig, Colo., and an advocate for her husband and other workers at the now-closed Rocky Flats nuclear-weapons plant, where the US government is compensating certain cancer victims regardless of their history of exposure. "There’s no reason not to protect people as much as possible," said Barrie.

Federal agencies for decades have followed a policy that there is no threshold of radiation exposure that is risk-free.


El Nino finally dead! Global Temperatures Keep Falling; Arctic Sea Ice Rebounds

Global temperatures are now below where they were three years ago, i.e. before a very strong El Nino temporarily drove up global temperatures by 0.6 deg C at their peak in February 2016. Since then, they have dropped by even more (0.7 deg C) and nobody knows whether they may decline any further.

The ongoing downturn illustrates that repeated claims by the UK Met Office and other meteorological organizations that most of the rapid warming in 2015 and early 2016 was primarily due to CO2 emissions rather than a super-strong El Nino were spurious and ill-considered.

Even worse is the recent statement by Elena Manaenkova, the World Meteorological Organisation’s deputy secretary-general. Commenting on the current IPCC meeting in South Korea, she claimed that “the sustained warming trend shows no sign of relenting.”

In reality, the opposite is happening: global temperatures have been falling sharply since 2016 while the 21st-century warming trend is half of what most climate models predicted, slowing rapidly.  –Benny Peiser, GWPF Observatory, 3 October 2018

The Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) confirm that the average Arctic sea ice extent during September was the fourth highest since 2006, and the greatest since 2014. —Paul Homewood, Not A Lot Of People Know That, 2 October 2018


CO2 Connection Wrecked…No Increase In US Flooding And Rainfall From Hurricanes!

With the blaring headlines we saw in the wake of tropical storm Harvey over Houston last year and Florence over the Carolinas last month, the CO2 hysteria saw another severe flare up.

However, a scientific study recently published in the Journal of Hydrology analyzed North Atlantic tropical cyclones (TCs) and their contribution to flooding and rainfall across the US. Hat-tip: a reader.

The result?  No statistically significant trends in magnitude or frequency. What follows is the paper’s abstract and main takeaway points:

Adventurous scientific speculation

Also, leading Univ. of Alabama climate scientist Dr. Roy Spencer dismissed any claimed connection between climate change and Hurricane Florence.

One of the alarmist claims is that hurricanes are slowing down due to jet stream changes, the result of a warming climate, which allegedly resulted from a greenhouse effect by added CO2.

Spencer dumps cold water on it and seems to characterize the attempt as adventurous speculation:

But like most claims regarding global warming, the real effect is small, probably temporary, and most likely due to natural weather patterns.

Any changes in hurricanes over 70 years, even if real, can easily be part of natural cycles — or incomplete data.

Coastal lake sediments along the Gulf of Mexico shoreline from 1,000 to 2,000 years ago suggest more frequent and intense hurricanes than occur today. Why? No one knows.”


Democrats Shelve Climate Change Alarmism As Election Nears

Democratic messaging on climate change has been stunted throughout the midterm election cycle, and most candidates are turning to other issues to connect with voters, the New York Times reports.

Health care and the economy consistently top polls of key issues and social security, immigration and guns usually perform well too.

Climate change, energy, and the environment are almost always counted among the least important issues to voters deciding who to support.

Of 161 potentially competitive congressional races, just a “handful” of Democrats have released campaign ads, either on television or the internet, that talk prominently of climate change and energy issues, Climate Nexus’s in-house database shows, according to the NYT.

“Until voters in the U.S. perceive this as a quite imminent threat, it’s liable to remain mired in the middle of all the other issues,” Climate Nexus executive director Jeff Nesbit, whose group is dedicated to communicating climate change threat, told the NYT.

Influential Democrats such as mega-donor Tom Steyer and former Vice President Al Gore have raised and donated millions of dollars to environmental initiatives.

Environmental issues have gained support from an active minority in the Democratic Party base. The Sierra Club, Earthjustice, and other green organizations have filed dozens of lawsuits against the Trump administration over environmental regulations.

Activists travel across the country to protest prominent oil and gas projects such as the Keystone XL and Bayou Bridge pipelines.

The average Democrat running for a congressional seat in 2018 hardly mentions climate change and the environment because most voters would rather hear about other issues.

In close races, speaking on climate change might motivate conservative voters to turn out against Democratic candidates rather than encouraging Democratic voters to cast their ballots, according to The New York Times.

Highly publicized environmental activism and data have not translated into a widespread concern for broader issues of climate change, energy or the environment as far as elections go.

The top issues of registered voters are immigration and health care, according to a June poll by The Pew Research Center. Immigration most interested 19 percent of registered voters and health care is the key issue for 13 percent.

In a survey in which one of seven broad topics voters were most interested in for the 2018 midterms, energy issues never performed better than 5 percent by any metric and was often the least supported key issue, other than issues that fall into the obscure eighth category of “other,” according to an April survey by Morning Consult.


Australia: A shower of cold facts may counter coal phobia

Better to understand just what climate alarmists and anti-coal activists are demanding, a closer look at Australia’s economic reliance on coal is useful.

Apart from the contention that renewable energy is necessary to lower carbon-dioxide emissions, climate alarmists often speak of the boost to the economy that renewable energy will bring. According to the Clean Energy Council, the number of jobs from 39 renewable energy projects under construction or being completed this year is 4,400.

These projects have begun as a result of the billions of dollars of taxpayer money being appropriated by government to subsidise renewable energy. Conversely, the Minerals Council of Australia claims that 51,500 direct jobs and 120,000 indirect jobs are created through the coal industry. In 2017, this led to $57 billion of export revenue (a new record), $6 billion in wages and $5 billion in royalties.

Coal still provides 75 per cent of the energy generated in the national electricity market. No other large-scale source of base-load energy is as low cost. After iron ore, coal generated the largest export revenue, eclipsing agriculture, manufacturing, other services, base metals and gold. The total value of coal exports has nearly tripled in the last decade.

Despite renewable-energy spruikers claiming that Japan is getting out of coal, Japan remains our biggest export market for thermal coal (coal burnt in coal-fired power stations), earning Australia nearly $8.5 billion in 2016–17. South Korea, China and Taiwan are the next largest buyers of Australian thermal coal.

When it comes to metallurgical coal (used to make steel), India, China and Japan are our biggest export markets.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) forecast shows coal consumption in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries declining in the period till 2040, while in non-OECD countries coal consumption will increase, with projected coal-fired electricity generation being four times greater than in OECD countries in 2040.

Affluent nations’ governments would close down a low-cost, reliable form of electricity generation because of climate alarmism while at the same time exporting coal to developing nations so they can literally power ahead in building their economies.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement won’t “make any difference” to electricity prices and that Australia’s national security would be compromised by doing so because climate change is a concern of Pacific nations. This is false.

The federal renewable energy target (RET) of 23.5 per cent renewable-energy generation by 2020 aims to comply with the Paris Agreement of a 26–28 per cent reduction in carbon-dioxide emissions by 2030. That has resulted in the $3.6 billion of taxpayer subsidies this year that have been funnelled into creating otherwise unviable renewable energy projects. And electricity consumers are still paying higher power bills.

Abandon the Paris Agreement and the RET trying to achieve it and you remove the legislative compulsion for electricity retailers to purchase costly renewable-energy certificates, which will bring down power prices and allow low-cost base-load power to flourish once again.

A Bill Shorten ALP government would legislate a 50 per cent RET by 2030, which would see power prices skyrocket and reliability in the electricity grid plummet. Industry and business would shut down or go offshore in search of lower costs of doing business.

The ALP is pursuing an energy policy that prioritises emissions targets without any regard to affordability and reliability. In the process, it has abandoned any semblance of protecting workers’ livelihoods and economic security.

The only political parties in Australia that seem to be advocating for the most low-cost form of energy (coal) are minor parties such as Labour DLP, One Nation and Australian Conservatives. This is one of the reasons that the major parties are haemorrhaging votes to these minor parties.

Coal is the lifeblood of Australia’s economy. It saved us from disaster during the global financial crisis and is largely responsible for saving us from ongoing levels of calamitous government debt. If governments capitulate to anti-coal campaigners and climate alarmists, Australia’s economy will be irrevocably destroyed.




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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