Friday, November 30, 2018

Climate change’s highest cost: Overheated employees too miserable to work

There is something in this but not much.  So let me speak as if global warming might happen.

People tend to move to the climate they like.  My forebears did.  Their ancestry was British but they liked warm weather.  So all four of my grandparents were born in the tropics.  And mostly people do tend to move to warmer places -- American sunbelt  migration is an obvious case. So any adverse effects of warmth would be greatly ameliorated by mobility.

So warming is most likely to improve people's satisfaction with where they live.  So it is possible that their productivity might improve because of that.

And much of the world's population lives in areas that are frozen-in for part of the year.  That sort of weather is not good for productivity.  So having less severe winters must surely improve productivity.

And outdoor work is relatively rare in today's economy.  Even farmers sit in the airconditioned cabs of their harvesting machinery for most of the time. And harvesting is increasingly mechanized anyway. Australia has no illegals to harvest their crops so there is a high level of mechanization instead

And I know I am treading on dangerous ground here but I cannot help noting that Africans were brought to America precisely because of their ability to do manual work in hot conditions.  So a warmer climate could open up employment opportunities for them.  In the early days they were found to work better in the fields than the ancestors of the "Hispanics"

If any Leftist ever reads this, they will automatically accuse me of condoning slavery so let me point out that as a libertarian  slavery is the antithesis of all I stand for

The US economy could lose $221 billion annually by 2090 as people stop working as much or as hard.

The costs of lower labor productivity under soaring temperatures could reach as much as $221 billion a year in the United States by 2090, making it the largest category of potential economic damages from climate change.

As temperatures rise, worker output slows and cognitive performance declines, with a dramatic drop-off around 28 ˚C (82 ˚F), says Reed Walker, an economist focused on climate issues at the University of California, Berkeley.

Scientists have long recognized that extreme temperatures can reduce productivity, as well as lowering lifetime earnings, widening wealth disparities, inciting violence, and increasing suicides and deaths (see “Death will be one of the highest economic costs of climate change”). But the report estimates the total US cost in lost productivity based on projected temperature increases in the decades ahead, says Brian O’Neill, director of research at the University of Denver’s Pardee Center for International Futures and a coauthor of the report.

Faced with sizzling temperatures, workers compensate by changing the timing, location, level, or type of work they do, all of which can affect their output and pay.

The effect is particularly pronounced with manual outdoor labor like farming and construction, but it shows up even in air-conditioned factories or offices, Walker says. In the United States, auto plant production drops by 8% during weeks with six or more days above 90 ˚F, according to a 2012 study.

There are various ways that companies can try to minimize the effects, including installing air conditioning, shifting work hours, and moving a greater portion of pre-assembly work indoors. None of these were included in the estimate of economic effects, O’Neill says. But most of these steps add costs that many businesses can’t afford or wish to avoid.

Significant decreases in greenhouse-gas emissions could lower the economic impact on labor productivity by as much as 60%, the national assessment found.


Supreme Court sided with landowners Tuesday in a dispute over the reach of the Endangered Species Act

A unanimous Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the Fish and Wildlife Service was wrong to designate a 1,500 acre tract of land in Louisiana as a “critical habitat” for the endangered dusky gopher frog, even though the species has not lived there for decades.

“I am really overjoyed that an eight to nothing court agreed with me that the service’s decision was absurd and nightmarish for property rights in the United States,” landowner Edward Poitevent told The Daily Caller News Foundation in a Tuesday interview.

“We all actually thought something like this would happen, but what’s really stunning is this is an eight to nothing decision,” Poitevent said.

The Fish and Wildlife Service told Poitevent in 2011 his land, which has been in his family for generations, would be listed as backup critical habitat for the dusky gopher frog, which hasn’t been seen there since 1965. The only known domain of the frogs was a single pond in southern Mississippi as of 2001, but the government said the Louisiana zone was the only other possible habitat it could identify.

The government conceded drastic alteration to the land would be needed in order for the gopher frog to survive, including replacing thousands of trees and conducting controlled burns to kill off underbrush.

The government also said designating Poitevent’s land as critical habitat could cost his family as much as $34 million, which doesn’t include the cost to alter the landscape.

Poitevent and others sued, arguing the government could not designate land the frogs do not inhabit as “critical habitat.” They also said the service wrongly ignored the significant economic costs its decision imposed on them.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the federal agency, finding the government was entitled to deference on both points. An appeal to the Supreme Court followed.

Federal officials listed the dusky gopher frog as endangered in 2001 in response to a lawsuit brought by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), an environmental group. The group also worked with the government to oppose Poitevent’s lawsuit.

The Trump administration supported the agency before the high court.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote Tuesday’s unanimous decision, which largely sides with the landowners.

“Only the ‘habitat’ of the endangered species is eligible for designation as ‘critical habitat,'” Roberts wrote. However, he noted the 5th Circuit did not define the term “habitat” in its decision, and sent the case back to the appeals court with instructions to do so.

As such, the crux of Tuesday’s ruling provides that only land that qualifies as “habitat” may be designated “critical habitat,” but the exact definition of “habitat” remains unresolved.

The high court also agreed that the 5th Circuit should consider whether the Fish and Wildlife Service properly evaluated the burdens imposed on the landowners before marking the area “critical habitat.”

“The message here is that the unanimous Supreme Court considered the lower court decisions to be incorrect, though they don’t ever say that,” Poitevent told TheDCNF. “The whole tone and tenor of the decision is there’s something very wrong with [the 5th Circuit] decisions.”

Poitevent is confident he and his attorneys at the Pacific Legal Foundation will prevail on remand in the 5th Circuit.

“While we’re disappointed, the ruling doesn’t weaken the mandate to protect habitat for endangered wildlife,” Collette Adkins, a CBD attorney who defended the frog’s protections before the Supreme Court, said in a statement. “The dusky gopher frog’s habitat protections remain in place for now, and we’re hopeful the 5th Circuit will recognize the importance of protecting and restoring habitats for endangered wildlife to live.”

Justice Brett Kavanaugh did not participate in the case because it was argued prior to his Oct. 6 confirmation.


Chevy Volt Is A Dream Car: But a nightmare for GM

General Motors just killed the best car you’ve never owned.

I am talking about the Chevy Volt, a plug-in hybrid GM has been producing since 2010. GM is idling the Detroit-Hamtramck plant that builds Volts and ending the car’s production altogether, the company announced on Monday. The last Volt will roll off the line in March.

The announcement was not a surprise. Sales never met expectations. Rumors about the end of the Volt had been circulating for months. Although workers said they got no warning about the plant closure, GM was following the lead of Ford, which announced cutbacks of its own a few months ago.

As always, the decision reflects a variety of factors, including a slowing economy likely to reduce sales next year. All of the factories slated to go dormant are operating well below capacity. And, at least in theory, the decision does not mean GM has lost interest in electric vehicles.

On the contrary, the Hamtramck plant idling is part of a larger downsizing that will include four other North American plants and reduce the company’s total workforce by more than 14,000. One of those plants is Ohio’s Lordstown facility, where workers produce the Cruze, a gas-only sedan that uses the same platform as the Volt and that GM will also stop producing next year.

GM officials say a major reason to trim its factories and workforce now is to prepare for a future with more electric vehicles, along with automated vehicles and car-sharing. The production of electric vehicles requires factories with different facilities and, ultimately, workers with different skills. Even now, the company points out, it is hiring programmers to develop new-generation vehicles.

It’s impossible to know how seriously to take this explanation ― to tell whether GM is really making a long-term bet on hybrids and plug-ins, or simply shedding production lines that are less profitable, for the moment, in order to make money for today’s executives and shareholders. But it would certainly be in society’s interest for GM to be thinking about the future in the way that it claims.


Watchdog clears Zinke in Utah monument probe

An internal watchdog has cleared Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke of wrongdoing following a complaint that he redrew the boundaries of a national monument in Utah to benefit a state lawmaker and political ally.

The Interior Department's office of inspector general says it found no evidence that Zinke gave veteran state Rep. Mike Noel preferential treatment in shrinking the boundaries of Utah's Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

Noel, who publicly pushed for the monument to be redrawn, owns land near the monument site, including a 40-acre parcel that was surrounded by the monument but now is outside its boundaries.

The report says investigators found no evidence that Zinke or other department officials knew of Noel's financial interest in the revised boundaries or gave him preferential treatment. Noel, an outspoken critic of federal land management, is retiring next month after 16 years in the legislature.

The Associated Press obtained a summary of the report, which has not been released publicly.

Noel, a Republican, was on stage in Salt Lake City with President Donald Trump last December when Trump announced he was shrinking Grand Staircase and another Utah monument, Bears Ears National Monument.

The monuments were among four that Trump targeted for cutbacks to reverse what Trump calls overreach by Democratic presidents to protect federally controlled land. The other two monuments, in Oregon and Nevada, remain intact despite Trump's promise to shrink them.

A spokeswoman for Zinke told the AP that the report "shows exactly what the secretary's office has known all along - that the monument boundaries were adjusted in accordance with all rules, regulations and laws."

The report "is also the latest example of political opponents and special interest groups ginning up fake and misleading stories, only to be proven false after expensive and time consuming inquiries by the IG's office," spokeswoman Heather Swift said in a statement.

Zinke faces other investigations, including one centered on a Montana land deal involving a foundation he created and the chairman of energy giant Halliburton, which does significant business with the Interior Department.

Investigators also are reviewing Zinke's decision to block two tribes from opening a casino in Connecticut and a complaint that he reassigned a former Interior official in retaliation for criticizing Zinke.

At least one complaint has been referred to the Justice Department.

Zinke has denied wrongdoing and told the AP this month that he's "100 percent confident" he will be cleared of all ethics allegations.

Trump has said he does not plan to fire Zinke but would "look into any complaints."

Noel said in an email Monday that he never talked to Zinke or anyone at Interior about the monument boundaries "associated with my private property, nor did I receive any favorable treatment regarding my property." He called the allegations against him and Zinke "reckless, unsubstantiated and totally without any facts."

Chris Saeger, executive director of the Western Values Project, a Montana-based environmental group that filed a complaint against Zinke, said the inspector general's office should immediately release the full report "and let the public judge the merits of the findings." The groups said photos taken of Zinke and Noel together during a visit to Grand Staircase last year "seem to contradict" the report's conclusion.

Democratic Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona, who is set to become chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee in January, said he accepts the report's findings, but added, "Secretary Zinke should have known the people he was listening to while destroying our national monuments had disqualifying conflicts of interest."

Grijalva vowed scrutiny of the decisions to shrink Grand Staircase and Bears Ears when Democrats take control of the House.


Australia: Adani to begin construction on scaled-back Carmichael coal mine

Greenie hostility to the project meant that all the banks refused to fund it

The controversial mine in Queensland will move ahead but it will be scaled back after the project failed to find financing.

Adani says it will self-fund the construction of its controversial Carmichael mine and that work will begin soon.

The mining giant said a scaled-down mine and rail project would be 100 per cent financed through the Adani’s Group’s resources.

Adani Mining chief executive officer Lucas Dow made the announcement at the Bowen Basin Mining Club luncheon in Mackay, Queensland today.

It follows recent changes to simplify construction and reduce the initial capital requirements for the project.

The mine was originally expected to be a $16.5 billion project but will now only cost $2 billion, according to the Townsville Bulletin.

“Our work in recent months has culminated in Adani Group’s approval of the revised project plan that de-risks the initial stage of the Carmichael mine and rail project by adopting a narrow gauge rail solution combined with a reduced ramp up volume for the mine,” Mr Dow said.

“This means we’ve minimised our execution risk and initial capital outlay. The sharpening of the mine plan has kept operating costs to a minimum and ensures the project remains within the first quartile of the global cost curve.”

According to the Bulletin, Mr Dow said work on the mine would start first, after management plans were approved by state and federal governments. Work on the rail line was expected to begin early in the New Year. The first coal experts would be produced in 2021.

Once spruiked as Australia’s biggest coal mine, which would produce 60 million tonnes of coal per year. The scaled-back version will now produce 27.5 million tonnes at its peak.

Initially production will only be 10 to 15 million tonnes but it will ramp up to 27.5 within 10 years.

A rail line to service the mine will also be scaled back. Earlier this year Adani scrapped plans for a 388km standard gauge rail line and will instead build a 200km line that will connect to Aurizon’s existing Goonyella and Newlands rail network. This will more than halve the cost from $2.5 billion to $1 billion.

Mr Dow said the project would deliver 1500 direct jobs during the initial ramp-up and construction phase of the mine and rail projects.

Townsville and Rockhampton were still expected to be the primary source markets for jobs but workers would also be hired from other areas.

The company had to find its own funding for the project after banks overseas and in Australia distanced themselves from coal export projects in the area, or introduced policies that prohibited financing Adani’s mine.

Early this year rail operator Aurizon walked away from plans to build a rail line linked to the mine, withdrawing its application for a $5 billion government-funded loan from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF).

The decision comes after Adani was previously denied a $1 billion NAIF loan to build its own rail line, after the Queensland Government vetoed it ahead of the state election.

The Carmichael mine was previously delayed by court challenges brought by environmental groups as well as the need to change the Native Title Act to legitimise an Indigenous Land Use Agreement it had signed.

Today’s announcement is not the first time Adani has announced it was going to start construction. Adani Australia chief executive Jeyakumar Janakaraj previously said physical construction of the mine was scheduled to start in weeks in October 2017.

This year it was announced that pre-construction work on the project was expected to begin in the September quarter.




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


Thursday, November 29, 2018

How climate change could be causing miscarriages in Bangladesh

This is total speculation. In some parts of Bangladesh land levels are rising.  Who knows what is at work?

Poor people live in worse areas and poor people have worse health.  That is probably all we are seeing in the statistics

In small villages along the eastern coast of Bangladesh, researchers have noticed an unexpectedly high rate of miscarriage. As they investigated further, scientists reached the conclusion that climate change might be to blame. Journalist Susannah Savage went into these communities to find out more.

"Girls are better than boys," says 30-year-old Al-Munnahar. "Boys do not listen. They are arrogant. Girls are polite."

Al-Munnahar, who lives in a small village on the east coast of Bangladesh, has three sons but wished for a girl. Once she thought she would have a daughter, but she miscarried the baby.

She is among several women who have lost a baby in her village.

Almost all the food they eat in Al-Munnahar's village now has to be bought at markets some distance away
While miscarriages are not out of the ordinary, scientists who follow the community have noticed an increase, particularly compared to other areas. The reason for this, they believe, is climate change.

The walk to Failla Para, Al-Munnahar's village, is arduous: in the dry season, the narrow track leads into a swamp, and in rainy season, into the sea. The village itself is not much more than a mound of mud with a few shacks and a chicken pen perched precariously on the slippery surface.

"Nothing grows here anymore," says Al-Munnahar. Not many years ago - up until the 1990s - these swamp lands were paddy fields.

The village, in the district of Chakaria, is built on salty mud, and families often live in wet, damp conditions when the water gets into their home
If rice production back then was not profitable, it was at least viable. Not anymore. Rising waters and increasing salinity have forced the wealthiest among the villagers to change to shrimp farming or salt harvesting. Today, few paddy fields remain.

"This is climate change in action," says Dr Manzoor Hanifi, a scientist from the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research Bangladesh (ICDDRB), a research institute. "The effect on the land is visible, but the effect on the body: that we don't see."

Brine and bribery

ICDDRB have been running a health and demographic surveillance site in and around the district of Chakaria, near Cox's Bazaar, for the last thirty years, enabling them to detect even small changes in the health of the communities they monitor.

Over the last few years, many families have left the plains and moved inland, into the forest hill area—mostly those with enough money to bribe forest wardens.

"We paid a 230,000 Taka ($2,752, £2,106) bribe to build the house," says Kajol Rekha, who moved to the hills from the plains with her husband and two children three years ago. "Because of the water, my kids would always have a fever, especially when our house remained wet after the flood. Everything is easier here."

These environmental migrants are faring relatively well, able to grow crops and nearer transport routes to access jobs and schools. They are also in better health than those they left behind.

In particular, women inland are less likely to miscarry. Between 2012 and 2017, the ICDDRB scientists registered 12,867 pregnancies in the area they monitor, which encompasses both the hill area and the plains.

They followed the pregnant women through until the end of the pregnancy and found that women in the coastal plains, living within 20km (12mi) of the coastline and 7m above sea level were 1.3 times more likely to miscarry than women who live inland.


Global Warming Alarmism Meets a Blizzard of Reality

In a bit of irony lost on big media, the government, on the eve of winter and during a slew of recent snowstorms, released a doomsday report on global warming. As reported in the New York Times,

"A major scientific report issued by 13 federal agencies on Friday presents the starkest warnings to date of the consequences of climate change for the United States, predicting that if significant steps are not taken to rein in global warming, the damage will knock as much as 10 percent off the size of the American economy by century’s end"

Electing Democrats could do far more damage to the US economy in a much shorter time span, but don’t expect the NY Times to discuss that.

One only has to go back in time eight years, when Democrats controlled Congress and the White House, passing Obamacare, and flatlining the US economy.

The NY Times then blames everything on climate change.

"But in direct language, the 1,656-page assessment lays out the devastating effects of a changing climate on the economy, health, and environment, including record wildfires in California, crop failures in the Midwest and crumbling infrastructure in the South. Going forward, American exports and supply chains could be disrupted, agricultural yields could fall to 1980s levels by midcentury and fire season could spread to the Southeast, the report finds."

Are the California wildfires due to climate change? Or government mismanagement and ineptitude? Certainly, hot and dry weather may have contributed to the fires, but such weather is nothing new for California.

Even the California Governor acknowledges his government’s role in fire prevention.

Months ago, California Gov. Jerry Brown urged state lawmakers to loosen restrictive logging regulations put in place to appease environmentalists — a move that appears to have confirmed that President Trump’s recent critiques of state logging practices were correct.

The climate assessment is based on computer models, attempting to predict events 50 to 100 years in the future.

Recall the spaghetti line plots predicting hurricane tracks, each line based on a computer model, dozens of such lines sending the hurricane north, south, straight ahead, or harmlessly out to sea.

If computer modeling were easy and accurate, only one line would be needed, reflecting the model that correctly predicts the hurricane track. And these predictions are for a week into the future, not a century.

This climate assessment originated in Congress. “The Global Change Research Act of 1990 mandates that the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) deliver a report to Congress and the President no less than every four years.”

Why not a similar economic assessment for other initiatives such as a carbon tax, Medicare-for-all, raising taxes on “the rich”, or continued open borders and amnesty for illegals?

Or as the Heartland Institute describes the report,

“This latest climate report is just more of the same – except for even greater exaggeration, worse science, and added interference in the political process by unelected, self-serving bureaucrats,” Tim Huelskamp, president of the Heartland Institute said in statements released by the free-market think tank following the report’s release.

The irony of such a climate report on the eve of winter is the observable weather around us, not projections for the end of the century.

None of the authors of the climate assessment will be around at the end of the century to gloat over the accuracy of their economic forecast, or to explain how wrong they were. In fact, these predictions may quickly be forgotten.

Does anyone remember Walter Cronkite’s 1972 predictions of a “new ice age”? Without the internet, few would remember either Walter or his prognostications. And he is not around to explain how his prediction turned out.

In fact, here is a list of failed climate predictions that no one in the media today cares to review and analyze why they were so off the mark.

That won’t stop Hollywood celebrities from tweeting about the upcoming frying of Planet Earth from their air-conditioned mansions or private jets. Rather than predictions, what’s the word on the street? Let’s see some of that global warming.

Kansas City experienced its earliest snowfall ever this past October. Thanksgiving weekend, Kansas City received 4 inches of snow. “Kansas City has not experienced a 3-inch snowfall since February 2014.”

Further east in New York City, “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is the coldest parade on record.”

Has a panel been convened on CNN or MSNBC to explain how this could occur in the face of catastrophic global warming? Don’t hold your breath.

If anything, they will find some “climate scientist” to twist himself into a pretzel explaining how such cold and snow is evidence of global warming.

My own observations are similar, having spent Thanksgiving weekend in Vail. The famous back bowls, over 3000 acres of rugged and exposed terrain, typically do not open early in the season due to lack of snow and abundant sun exposure. Their opening date is a good measure of seasonal snowfall and cold temperatures.

This year, they opened on Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend. The last such early opening was in 2014. In 2012, the back bowls didn’t open until mid-January. In 2015, the opening day was in early December. Last year opening was also mid-January.

“Locals’ consensus is that it’s a good season if the back bowls are open by Christmas.” So, opening this year at Thanksgiving is an exceptional season, with cold and snow. Enough to close some the Colorado mountain passes.

Those flying home after Thanksgiving could have used a bit of global warming. Instead, as USAToday reported, “Airline passengers faced delays and cancellations across the Midwest on Sunday, one of the busiest travel days of the year.” Over a thousand flights canceled and close to 5,000 flights delayed.

Why? Too much heat? Not quite. “Most of those came in the Midwest, where a winter storm was bringing snow, ice, and rain to a swath of the Great Plains and Midwest. Blizzard conditions were possible Sunday across parts of Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, and Wisconsin.”

Some winters are warmer, some are colder. Some snowier and others drier. The only real climate change is cyclical changes based on ocean currents and sunspot activity.

If the planet were warming as much as the doomsayers are predicting, why are we seeing so much cold and snow?

Predictions are nothing more than educated guesses. Unfortunately, there are policy and economic implications to such predictions including carbon taxes, curtailed energy exploration, environmental regulations, and increased costs of virtually any type of business.

Those making such bold predictions and proclamations, which cannot be verified in a practical time frame, with no track record of previous predictions coming true, should temper their certitude.

As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change admits, “The climate system is a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”

Reality, including winter storms, serves as a reminder of the folly of turning science into political propaganda.


Building the Atlantic Coast Pipeline will make it cheaper to deliver natural gas in Va. and N.C.—and Congress should approve it

By Robert Romano

Virginia and North Carolina are in need of low-cost natural gas to heat homes, produce electricity and build industrial capacity, and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline will be the most efficient way to deliver it. That is why Congress should act in the lame duck session to make sure it gets done as quickly and safely as possible.

Demand for natural gas has been rapidly on the rise the past decade, with consumption growing nationwide 19 percent since 2007 from 23,104 billion cubic feet a year to 27,487 billion cubic feet in 2016, according to data compiled by Energy Information Agency.

In Virginia and North Carolina, the increase has been even more dramatic, with natural gas consumption rising 70 percent and 120 percent, respectively, as the shale boom has made natural gas more plentiful and many power plants have shifted to natural gas to produce electricity.

Unlike coal, which can be stored in large quantities on site at power generators, natural gas requires transportation in order to be used, which is where the pipeline comes in. The fact is that is cheaper and far faster to use a pipeline than it is to put the gas onto trucks and trains.

That is why Congress should make sure that the pipeline gets done as soon as possible in the current lame duck session. This is a worthy project that has been in the planning since 2013 and ought to be expedited so that local communities can see the benefits as soon as possible.

According to, “The 600-mile underground Atlantic Coast Pipeline will originate in West Virginia, travel through Virginia with a lateral extending to Chesapeake, VA, and then continue south into eastern North Carolina, ending in Robeson County. Two additional, shorter laterals will connect to two Dominion Energy electric generating facilities in Brunswick and Greensville Counties.”

That’s a lot of land to cover, and Congress can help ensure that it gets done quickly with its imprimatur.

Utilities which provide home heating, electricity and industrial power to homes and businesses will be the major customers of the new flow of natural gas into the region with rate payers being the ultimate beneficiaries.

Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning supported Congressional action to allow the Atlantic pipeline to move forward saying, “It is a no-brainer for Congress to clear the way for the safe, reliable transportation of natural gas. America is the natural gas Saudi Arabia of the world, and transporting it using pipelines simply makes the most sense.”

An abundant, clean power source like natural gas can and should be used, but for it to become available, the U.S. needs more pipelines like the Atlantic Coast Pipeline — giving consumers and industrial interests the access they need to it. With time running out on the Republican majority in the House, now is the perfect time for Congress to make building the Atlantic Coast Pipeline national policy.


Smokey the Bear has a new message for far left environmentalists and they ignore his warning at their own peril.

It’s harsh but it’s accurate:

The wildfires devastating California are terrible, but they are not a new phenomenon. Indeed, wildfires in California and throughout the Western United States have been common, seasonally, throughout history. However, in recent decades, the damage caused by and costs from wildfires has increased greatly.

For three years running, like a broken record playing the same notes over and over again, California Gov. Jerry Brown has blamed human caused climate change for the wildfires that have engulfed much of the Golden State.  By contrast, President Donald Trump’s thoughts about the cause of the wildfires currently blazing in California came, in typical Trump fashion, via tweet:

“There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor. Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests,” tweeted Trump on November 10, following up in a second tweet on November 11, “With proper Forest Management, we can stop the devastation constantly going on in California. Get smart!”

Concerning wildfires, Brown is wrong, Trump is right.

The average temperature in California has barely moved over the past 30 years, and numerous analyses, including Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science, a peer-reviewed survey of the literature, demonstrate conclusively neither the Earth in general, nor California in particular have experienced worsened drought conditions or wildfires in greater number or size during the past 150 years—the period when carbon-dioxide-producing humans have purportedly been causing dangerous climate change.

By contrast, forest management has changed radically since George Herbert Walker Bush was elected president in 1988. Historically—prior to burdensome federal regulations—forests on federal lands were logged to provide lumber for commercial activities, to promote forest recreation, species protection and management, and to prevent wildfires.

However, in recent decades forest management policies have substantially changed—and not for the better. Pressure and lawsuits from environmental lobbyists have prevented or delayed commercial and salvage logging, turning many of our national forests into tinderboxes. Moreover, environmentalists successfully lobbied to remove thousands of miles of forest roads, making it more difficult to fight wildfires before they endanger population centers.


Why climate litigation is out of place

Between the Acting New York Attorney General’s lawsuit against ExxonMobil and the Supreme Court’s decision to not intervene to prevent a lawsuit brought by 21 young Americans from moving forward, climate litigation is once again a hot news topic. But, we should be sensible when deciding what branches of government should navigate the heated debate.

The issues surrounding climate change are scientific and largely political. To the extent the law is involved, we need deliberative legislatures and expert agencies to craft responses after considering evidence and examining competing policy recommendations.

From the perspective of comparative institutional competency, those branches of government are best suited to those tasks. Judges, on the other hand, do none of that well. For those who want judges to get involved: Would you want a judge to have the power to deny climate change and give that conclusion legal effect? If not, then why would we trust judges who recognize climate change as a danger to know how to balance concerns and effectively regulate to control climate change?

The bottom line is that we can believe climate change is real and needs to be addressed, yet disbelieve that courts are well-suited to the task of setting policy on it.

Nevertheless, a recent nationwide strategy has looked to unelected judges and juries to craft climate policy. What might be called “the judicial strategy” started in 2015, with states like New York and Massachusetts beginning “civil investigative demand” inquiries into energy companies. And these efforts reached new heights recently when Acting New York AG Barbara Underwood filed a civil suit against ExxonMobil claiming it defrauded shareholders by supposedly hiding knowledge of climate change impacts through accounting practices that are not all that unusual across myriad industries.

In concurrent and coordinated action starting in 2017, a series of lawsuits have also been filed across the country — by municipalities in California, Colorado, New York, Maryland and Washington, as well as by the state of Rhode Island — against energy companies claiming they are liable for billions in damages for climate change, asking the courts to endorse novel modern expansions to ill-fitting common law tort doctrines like “public nuisance.”

Some of these efforts have been rebuffed in the courts. Two federal district courts have already wisely dismissed major lawsuits that were brought under this regulation-by-litigation template.

In June, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed a public nuisance climate change-based lawsuit brought by the cities of Oakland and San Francisco. The court held that it was not the proper role of the courts in a system of separated powers to resolve these types of claims. It refused to entertain a theory of liability that the court called “breathtaking” in scope, especially when court intervention may actually “interfere with reaching a worldwide consensus” on how to address climate change. The judge explained that “questions of how to appropriately balance these worldwide negatives [of climate change] against the worldwide positives of the energy itself, and of how to allocate the pluses and minuses among the nations of the world, demand the expertise of our environmental agencies, our diplomats, our Executive, and at least the Senate.”

A month later, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed a similar public nuisance case against energy companies brought by New York City. Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s precedent in American Electric Power Co. v. Connecticut, the court explained that Congress has displaced the courts from any role that they might have had in identifying fault or prescribing remedies for claimed climate change contributors by “expressly delegat[ing] to the EPA the determination as to what constitutes a reasonable amount of greenhouse gas emission under the Clean Air Act.”

Put simply, the court concluded that “the serious problems caused” by climate change “are not for the judiciary to ameliorate. Global warming and solutions thereto must be addressed by the two other branches of government.”

These two federal judges got it right. Furthermore, the same separation of powers rationale causing those courts to dismiss those lawsuits applies whether the novel theory is one of public nuisance, consumer fraud like in the new New York lawsuit, or some other creative tactic to get policy issues into court.

Yet, many states and municipalities persist in trying hard to pursue one or another type of climate case through this judicial strategy.

The message from these recent federal court opinions should be clear: If we are to resolve the complex issues regarding climate change, we should turn our attention away from the courts and back to the policymaking branches.




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


Wednesday, November 28, 2018

An aging America: Old people will outnumber children for the first time in the country's HISTORY

This is an old scare. It treats as permanent trends that may not be permanent. The major cause of the birth dearth among white women would seem to be mainly a delay of birth, not a cessation of birth.  Where women once tended to have children in their teens and 20s, it is now often in their 30s. So once all those delayed births start happening, the statistics should look  very different.

And an older population is not a total disaster.  In some places already the retirement age has risen to 70 and there are laws in place that prevent forced retirement due to age.  Many oldsters want to continue working and they are increasingly being allowed to do so.

And, finally, the economy could be rearranged to make do with a proportionately smaller workforce.   As any libertarian will tell you, most government work could be dispensed with and the workers thus released could go into more productive occupations

The article below also hints at another interesting process that can be summed up as "Asian mothers often have Caucasian children."  That sounds rather mad but the underlying fact is that East Asians and Caucasians tend to get along fine and the result is many Eurasian births.  And Eurasians often look indistinguishable from Caucasians.  More detail on that here

Adults 65 and older will soon outnumber children for the first time in America's history, it has been revealed.

The US Census Bureau released new projections this year that showed the country's changing - and aging - demographics.

By 2030 all baby boomers will be older than age 65 and one in every five Americans will be retirement age.

The Census Bureau said that deaths will 'rise substantially' between 2020 and 2050, meaning the country's population will naturally grow very slowly.

Projections also revealed that America will become more racially and ethnically diverse, with the country's share of mixed-race children set to double.

The non-Hispanic White-alone population is projected to shrink from 199 million in 2020 to 179 million in 2060.

Meanwhile, the 'Two or More Races' population will be the fastest growing over the next several decades. 


Coral Reef Island Initiation and Development Under Higher Than Present Sea Levels

Higher sea levels will cause some coral islands to GROW

H. K. East et al.


Coral reef islands are considered to be among the most vulnerable environments to future sea level rise. However, emerging data suggest that different island types, in contrasting locations, have formed under different conditions in relation to past sea level. Uniform assumptions about reef island futures under sea level rise may thus be inappropriate. Using chronostratigraphic analysis from atoll rim islands(sand- and gravel-based) in the southern Maldives, we show that while island building initiated at different times around the atoll (~2,800 and~4,200 calibrated years before present at windward and leeward rimsites, respectively), higher than present sea levels and associated high-energy wave events were actually critical to island initiation. Findings thus suggest that projected sea level rise and increases in the magnitude of distal high-energy wave events could reactivate this process regime, which, if there is an appropriate sediment supply, may facilitate further vertical reef island building.

Plain Language Summary

The habitability of reef island nations under climate change is a debatedand controversial subject. Improving understanding of reef island responses to past environmental changeprovides important insights into how islands may respond to future environmental change. It is typically assumed that all reef islands will respond to environmental change in the same manner, but suchassumptions fail to acknowledge that reef islands are diverse landforms that have formed under different sealevel histories and across a range of settings. Here we reconstruct reef island evolution in two contrastingsettings (in terms of exposure to open ocean swell) in the southern Maldives. Important differences in islanddevelopment are evident between these settings in the timings, sedimentology, and modes of islandbuilding, even at local scales. This implies that island responses to climate change may be equally diverse and site-specific. We present evidence that island initiation was associated with higher than present sea levelsand high-energy wave events. Projected increases in sea level and the magnitude of such high-energy waveevents could therefore recreate the environmental conditions under which island formation occurred. If thereis a suitable sediment supply, this could result in vertical island-building, which may enhance reef island future resilience.


Ocasio-Cortez Doubles Down: We’re All Going To Die From Climate Change

The fact that madam emptyhead says it, is pretty good proof that it is wrong

Newly elected Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is doubling down on her first week’s agenda in Congress, calling on her colleagues in the House of Representatives to pass a “Green New Deal” because “people are going to die” from climate change.

Ocasio-Cortez cited a report released Friday by the U.S. Global Change Research Program, a voluntary committee of scientists from 13 federal agencies and a number of outside pressure groups, that warned that thousands could die, and the United States could suffer a striking 10% reduction in its gross national product by the end of this century if humans do not curb their fossil fuel consumption.

CNN reports that the US Global Change Research Program estimates tens of thousands of “premature deaths” from the effects of climate change, including deaths from starvation, mosquito-borne illnesses, extreme heat, flooding and other natural disasters.

The report seems extreme on its face, and critics were quick to point out that the computer models used to predict the “thousands” of deaths may be outdated, but leftists, including Ocasio-Cortez, soaked up the report without question, inciting mass panic.

“People are going to die if we don’t start addressing climate change ASAP,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote. “It’s not enough to think it’s ‘important.’ We must make it urgent. That’s why we need a Select Committee on a Green New Deal, & why fossil fuel-funded officials shouldn’t be writing climate change policy.”

The U.S. Global Change Research Program makes no recommendations on how to curb “climate change,” but it’s quite clear that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez believes the only way to make real in-roads on the subject is to enact a massive, socialistic environmentally focused legislative package, using taxation and other “incentives” to help Americans cut down on fossil fuel usage, while pouring millions into “green jobs” and “alternative energy.”

The issue is obviously important to Ocasio-Cortez; her first act upon finding herself in Washington, D.C., as a freshman Congresswoman was to join a sit-in protest at Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) Capitol Hill offices, designed to pressure the presumptive House Majority Leader into tackling the “climate change” issue with a select committee. Ocasio-Cortez called the protest “important work,” but seemed to heavily temper her follow-up criticism of Pelosi, announcing late last week that she intends to support Pelosi’s bid to reclaim the Speakership.

But Ocasio-Cortez seems to miss that the United States is well ahead of its global peers when it comes to curbing fossil fuel emissions, with or without a complex “climate change” legislative scheme. According to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy, the United States ranks at the top of most major countries in regularly reducing its own carbon footprint.

“The major reason for the reduced pollution levels is the shale oil and gas revolution that is transitioning the world to cheap and clean natural gas for electric power generation,” the Daily Signal reports. “Meanwhile, as our emissions fell, the pollution levels rose internationally and by a larger amount than in previous years. So much for the rest of the world going green.”

The worst climate offender? China. But Ocasio-Cortez’s plan doesn’t include any foreign policy recommendations.


Why a Carbon Tax Is the Wrong Solution

The release of the National Climate Assessment this year and the recent formation of the new bi-partisan, pro-business advocacy group Americans for Carbon Dividends have given new life to promoting a carbon tax as the best approach to reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Climate change activists will endorse any policy that they believe will reduce fossil fuel use. But others should be cautious in embracing a complicated and unnecessary tax scheme.

The goal of Americans for Carbon Dividends is to advocate for the “Baker-Shultz carbon dividends plan,” a proposal put together by the Climate Leadership Council and, specifically, two of its founding members, former Secretary of Treasury James Baker and former Secretary of State George Shultz. The plan would impose a tax on carbon-based fuel wherever it first enters the economy, whether it’s the oil refinery, the mouth of mine, or the port of entry. The starting fee would be $40 per ton of carbon dioxide, which would gradually increase as the tonnage increased. The revenue generated would be returned to all Americans monthly on an equal basis. In exchange for passing the carbon tax, Congress would phase out regulations on carbon dioxide emissions.

Anyone who knows how Congress operates knows that it is extremely unlikely for Congress to enact a simple carbon tax that gives the proceeds back to taxpayers and simultaneously eliminates regulations on carbon emissions. Congress simply does not operate that way. Being able to get broad based support for legislation involves making deals across the aisle to get votes. This means that obtaining votes for a bill enacting the Baker-Shultz plan would probably involve provisions that would benefit low income earners, farmers (because they use a lot of carbon-based fuels), coal miners (whose industry will be negatively affected), and other special interests where a plausible case for exemptions can be made. It will also be difficult to roll back existing regulations because of opposition from environmental advocacy organizations, members of Congress who have strong environmental interests, and organizations that have already made significant investments to comply with those regulations..

But this is simply how Congress works. Consider the history of ethanol subsidies. Members of Congress sold ethanol subsidies by initially claiming ethanol production would reduce the imports of oil, and then by saying it would reduce carbon dioxide emissions as a cleaner form of energy than fossil fuels. It does neither, but subsidies and mandates on use continued to be expanded to benefit corn farmers and ethanol manufacturers while costing motorists billions of dollars annually.

Even if there was a way to get Congress to enact the kind of carbon tax favored by the ACD, there are other reasons to oppose the plan. The size of the tax is supposed to be based on an assessment of damages that are reflected in the social cost of carbon. EPA defines the social cost of carbon as “an estimate of the economic damages associated with a small increase in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, conventionally one metric ton, in a given year. This dollar figure also represents the value of damages avoided for a small emission reduction.” But the estimates for the social cost of carbon calculated by the Obama administration for the period from 2010 through 2050 ranged from $11/ton of carbon to $90.  But how do you decide which is the more realistic damage estimate?

The social cost of carbon is based on model calculations that involve numerous assumptions. The damages that advocates cite, such as those in the National Climate Assessment, are based on higher temperatures than have been observed since 1998. For example, although the sea level is estimated to have risen by about 7 inches since 1900, the National Assessment states that it could rise by 4 to 8 feet by 2100. Based on the work of oceanographers such as Carl Wunsch, a reasonable person would have to conclude that such an increase is unrealistic.

Fossil fuels produce both positive and negative externalities. An honest calculation of the social cost of carbon would incorporate the benefits they produce and the net damages after the costs of regulations are taken into account. That is a very challenging analytical task.

If most economists were honest on the subject, they would admit that with the exception of a very low probability outcome—e.g. the collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet—the benefits of fossil fuels outweigh the costs: that is, realistic economic growth is going to be far greater than the projected damages from climate change. The magnitude of damages to the United States from climate change are 1.2% for every 1 degree of temperature increase according to an article in Science. If we double GDP by 2050 to about $40 trillion, which is an achievable goal, but lose as much as 6% GDP to climate damages, that means GDP would come to $37.6 trillion—not that big of a difference.

Finally, a carbon tax that is based on assumed damages over the next century can never be right because the future reveals uncertainties and unknowns that are impossible to incorporate in model calculations. Given that, the carbon tax exercise violates a basic principle of planning—as uncertainties increase, the planning horizon should be reduced. A Lewis and Clark approach is best. In their explorations, Lewis and Clark made decisions based on the best information available, collect new information as they moved west, and then adjust their decisions based on that new information. In the case of climate change, we should use the knowledge at hand for short-term decisions and invest in research that can be used to make better informed decisions down the road.

That is not a do-nothing strategy. If sea levels are rising, we have solutions: dikes and man-made dunes. If we fear climate change causing drought, we can genetically engineer crops that are drought resistant. If we are worried about climate disasters, we can focus research and development on mitigation strategies. There are many other ways to address climate change without passing a new, costly piece of legislation.


Zinke Blames ‘Radical’ Environmentalists for California Fires
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke blamed “radical” environmentalists for blocking efforts to clear forests of dead and dying trees that have fueled destructive and deadly wildfires in California.

Work to manage forests and prevent wildfires has been stymied by “lawsuit after lawsuit by — yes — the radical environmental groups that would rather burn down the entire forest than cut a single tree or thin the forest,” Zinke said Tuesday. During a conference call with reporters, Zinke and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue asked Congress to give the federal government more authority to clear trees and conduct controlled burns that can pare forests of fire-fueling underbrush.

President Trump later issued a statement calling on Congress to pass legislation “to improve forest management and help prevent wildfires.”

Zinke stressed he didn’t “want to finger point,” and cited a number of factors that have contributed to the blazes, including hotter temperatures, drought conditions, excessive underbrush, and a bark beetle infestation. But he maintained that special interest groups have pushed an agenda favoring pristine forests that has resulted in a “buildup of fuels.”

Experts say forest management can mitigate some wildfire risk but isn’t a panacea.

Perdue and Zinke said they want Congress to expand the availability of an existing “Good Neighbor” program so that Indian tribes and county governments can collaborate in forest restoration activities. They also asked lawmakers for more power to waive required environmental analysis.

The White House said in a fact sheet that Congress also needs to expedite salvage operations after catastrophes and management activity on Forest Service lands surrounding at-risk communities.

Both the House- and Senate-passed farm bills would broaden the Good Neighbor program. But lawmakers are still negotiating environmental waivers. The House-passed farm bill would create 10 so-called “categorical exclusions” allowing forest management activities to be waived from environmental analysis, but the Senate version of the legislation is more limited.

The scale of these wildfires “requires more authority,” Zinke said, adding that the waivers could expedite projects to thin forests and improve the accessibility of forestland. “We’re not talking about clear-cutting” forests, he said.

The appeals come as firefighters are struggling to control blazes that have swept across California.

Environmentalists argued Zinke’s criticism is misplaced and ill-timed.

“The blame game at this juncture — when we are still digging dead people out of the rubble — is pretty callous,” said Susan Jane Brown, an attorney with the Oregon-based Western Environmental Law Center. “We are a nation of laws, and when conservation organizations feel like the federal government has violated those laws we sometimes do resort to the federal court system in order to redress those grievances.”




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


Tuesday, November 27, 2018

What’s New in the Latest U.S. Climate Assessment

Below is the first part of an NYT article. It is totally uncritical.  The days of journalists examining evidence critically are now gone -- except for anything favouring Mr Trump, of course.

Yet the report has glaring holes.  Attributing South coast flooding to global warming without mentioning all the reports showing land subsidence there is just not serious reporting. It is a perfunctory restatement of an item of faith.  It is a sort of chant of the global warming religion, not anything scientific

Global warming is now affecting the United States more than ever, and the risks of future disasters — from flooding along the coasts to crop failures in the Midwest — could pose a profound threat to Americans’ well-being.

That’s the gist of Volume Two of the latest National Climate Assessment, a 1,656-page report issued on Friday that explores both the current and future impacts of climate change. The scientific report, which comes out every four years as mandated by Congress, was produced by 13 federal agencies and released by the Trump administration.

This year’s report contains many of the same findings cited in the previous National Climate Assessment, published in 2014. Temperatures are still going up, and the odds of dangers such as wildfires in the West continue to increase. But reflecting some of the impacts that have been felt across the country in the past four years, some of the report’s emphasis has changed.

Predicted impacts have materialized

More and more of the predicted impacts of global warming are now becoming a reality.

For instance, the 2014 assessment forecast that coastal cities would see more flooding in the coming years as sea levels rose. That’s no longer theoretical: Scientists have now documented a record number of “nuisance flooding” events during high tides in cities like Miami and Charleston, S.C.

“High tide flooding is now posing daily risks to businesses, neighborhoods, infrastructure, transportation, and ecosystems in the Southeast,” the report says.

As the oceans have warmed, disruptions in United States fisheries, long predicted, are now underway. In 2012, record ocean temperatures caused lobster catches in Maine to peak a month earlier than usual, and the distribution chain was unprepared.


Scientists trash new federal climate report as ‘tripe’ – ’embarrassing’ – ‘400-page pile of crap’

The new federal climate report, the National Climate Assessment, released on Black Friday, is being hyped by climate activists and the media. But scientists are rebuking the study and its claims.

Greenpeace co-founder Dr. Patrick Moore ripped the new federal climate report: “The science must be addressed head-on. If POTUS has his reasons for letting this Obama-era committee continue to peddle tripe I wish he would tell us what they are,” Moore told Climate Depot.

“This new federal climate report even flies in the face of the  UNIPCC admission that there is no evidence of a connection between AGW (anthropogenic global warming) and extreme weather. Ms. Hayhoe reigns supreme. Very worrying,” Moore added.

The National Climate Assessment report by the National Academy of Sciences, is basing one of its headline scare scenario on a study funded by climate activist billionaire Tom Steyer. Climate expert Dr. Roger Pielke Jr. noted on November 24 that the claim of economic damage from climate change is based on a 15 degree F temperature increase that is double the “most extreme value reported elsewhere in the report.” The “sole editor” of this claim in the report was an alumni of the Center for American Progress, which is also funded by Tom Styer.” “Shouldn’t such an outlandish, outlier conclusion been caught in the review process?” Pielke Jr. added.

“Not a good look that sole review editor for this chapter is an alum of the Center for American Progress … which is funded by Tom Steyer. Even rudimentary attention to COI (conflict of interest) would avoided this,” he added.

“By presenting cherrypicked science, at odds w/ NCA Vol,1 & IPCC AR5, the authors of NCA Vol.2 have given a big fat gift to anyone who wants to dismiss climate science and policy,” Pielke Jr. wrote

Dr. John Dunn lamented that he was disappointed that President Trump has not halted these federal reports written to promote climate fears. “Two years into the Trump administration it is sad to see this 400-page pile of crap,” Dunn told Climate Depot.

As Climate Depot has previously reported:

“This is pre-determined science. If you are reading this report and you say: ‘This sounds like a press release by environmental groups’ — that’s because it is! The lead authors are activists with environmental group Union of Concerned Scientists.”

“The government is paying our National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to come up with alarming report with a bunch of scary climate computer models. (NAS is almost entirely dependent on federal funding).

The lead authors of this report Donald Wuebbles and Katharine Hayhoe, have come out and said every storm is now impacted by global warming. It is a political report masquerading as science. We knew what it was going to say before it was issued. The media is hyping a rehash of frightening climate change claims by Obama administration holdover activist government scientists. The new report is once again pre-determined science.

The 2017 National Climate Assessment report reads like a press release from environmental pressure groups — because it is! Two key authors are longtime Union of Concerned Scientist activists, Donald Wuebbles and Katharine Hayhoe.

Wuebbles is on record as believing global warming has powers and abilities far beyond those of any other phenomenon. “There’s really no such thing as natural weather anymore,” Wuebbles said in 2011.  “Anything that takes place today in the weather system has been affected by the changes we’ve made to the climate system,” he added.


Give thanks that we no longer live on the precipice

Fossil fuels helped humanity improve our health, living standards and longevity in just 200 years

Paul Driessen

Thanksgiving is a good time to express our sincere gratitude that we no longer “enjoy” the “simpler life of yesteryear.” As my grandmother said, “The only good thing about the good old days is that they’re gone.”

For countless millennia, mankind lived on a precipice, in hunter-gatherer, subsistence farmer and primitive urban industrial societies powered by human and animal muscle, wood, charcoal, animal dung, water wheels and windmills. Despite backbreaking dawn-to-dusk labor, wretched poverty was the norm; starvation was a drought, war or long winter away; rampant diseases and infections were addressed by herbs, primitive medicine and superstition. Life was “eco-friendly,” but life spans averaged 35 to 40 years.

Then, suddenly, a great miracle happened! Beginning around 1800, health, prosperity and life expectancy began to climb … slowly but inexorably at first, then more rapidly and dramatically. Today, the average American lives longer, healthier and better than even royalty did a mere century ago.

How did this happen? What was suddenly present that had been absent before, to cause this incredible transformation?

Humanity already possessed the basic scientific method (1250), printing press (1450), corporation (1600) and early steam engine (1770). So what inventions, discoveries and practices arrived after 1800, to propel us forward over this short time span?

Ideals of liberty and equality took root, says economics historian Deidre McCloskey. Liberated people are more ingenious, free to pursue happiness, and ideas; free to try, fail and try again; free to pursue their self-interests and thereby, intentionally or not, to better mankind – just as Adam Smith described.

Equality (of social dignity and before the law) emboldened otherwise ordinary people to invest, invent and take risks. Once accidents of parentage, titles, inherited wealth or formal education no longer controlled destinies, humanity increasingly benefitted from the innate inspiration, perspiration and perseverance of inventors like American Charles Newbold, who patented the first iron plow in 1807.

Ideas suddenly start having sex, say McCloskey and United Kingdom parliamentarian and science writer Matt Ridley. Free enterprise capitalism and entrepreneurship took off, as did commercial and international banking, risk management and stock markets.

Legal and regulatory systems expanded to express societal expectations, coordinate growth and activities, and punish bad actors. Instead of growing, making and buying locally, we did so internationally – enabling families, communities and countries to specialize, and buy affordable products from afar.

The scientific method began to flourish, unleashing wondrous advances at an increasingly frenzied pace. Not just inventions like steam-powered refrigeration (1834) but, often amid heated debate, discoveries like the germ theory of disease that finally bested the miasma theory around 1870.

All this and more were literally fueled by another absolutely vital, fundamental advance that is too often overlooked or only grudging recognized: abundant, reliable, affordable energy – the vast majority of it fossil fuels. Coal and coal gas, then also oil, then natural gas as well, replaced primitive fuels with densely packed energy that could power engines, trains, farms, factories, laboratories, schools, hospitals, offices, homes, road building and more, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

The fuels also ended our unsustainable reliance on whale oil, saving those magnificent creatures from extinction. Eventually, they powered equipment that removes harmful pollutants from our air and water.

Today, coal, oil and natural gas still provide 80% of America’s and the world’s energy for heat, lights, manufacturing, transportation, communication, refrigeration, entertainment and every other aspect of modern life. Equally important, they supported and still support the infrastructure and vibrant societies, economies and institutions that enable the human mind (what economist Julian Simon called our Ultimate Resource) to create seemingly endless new ideas and technologies.

Electricity plays an increasingly prominent and indispensable role in modern life. Indeed, it is impossible to imagine life without this infinitely adaptable energy form. By 1925, half of all U.S. homes had electricity; a half century later, all did – from coal, hydroelectric, natural gas or nuclear plants.

Medical discoveries and practices followed a similar trajectory, as millions of “invisible hands” worked together across buildings, cities, countries and continents – without most of them ever even knowing the others existed. They shared and combined ideas and technologies, generating new products and practices that improved and saved billions of lives.

Medical research discovered why people died from minor wounds, and what really caused malaria (1898), smallpox and cholera. Antibiotics (the most vital advance in centuries), vaccinations and new drugs began to combat disease and infection. X-rays, anesthesia, improved surgical techniques, sanitation and pain killers (beginning with Bayer Aspirin in 1899) permitted life-saving operations. Indoor plumbing, electric stoves (1896) and refrigerators (1913), trash removal, and countless other advances also helped raise average American life expectancy from 46 in 1900 to 76 (men) and 81 (women) in 2017.

Washing visible hands with soap (1850) further reduced infections and disease. Wearing shoes in southern U.S. states (1910) all but eliminated waterborne hookworm, while the growing use of window screens (1887) kept hosts of disease-carrying insects out of homes. Petrochemicals increasingly provided countless pharmaceuticals, plastics and other products that enhance and safeguard lives.

Safe water and wastewater treatment – also made possible by fossil fuels, electricity and the infrastructure they support – supported still healthier societies that created still more prosperity, by eliminating the bacteria, parasites and other waterborne pathogens that made people too sick to work and killed millions, especially children. They all but eradicated cholera, one of history’s greatest killers.

Insecticides and other chemicals control disease-carrying and crop-destroying insects and pathogens. Ammonia-based fertilizers arrived in 1910; tractors and combines became common in the 1920s. Today, modern mechanized agriculture, fertilizers, hybrid and biotech seeds, drip irrigation and other advances combine to produce bumper crops that feed billions, using less land, water and insecticides.

The internal combustion engine (Carl Benz, 1886) gradually replaced horses for farming and transportation, rid cities of equine pollution (feces, urine and corpses), and enabled forage cropland to become forests. Today we can travel states, nations and the world in mere hours, instead of weeks – and ship food, clothing and other products to the globe’s farthest corners. Catalytic converters and other technologies mean today’s cars emit less than 2% of the pollutants that came out of tailpipes in 1970.

Power equipment erects better and stronger houses and other buildings that keep out winter cold and summer heat, better survive hurricanes and earthquakes, and connect occupants with entertainment and information centers from all over the planet. Radios, telephones, televisions and text messages warn of impending dangers, while fire trucks and ambulances rush accident and disaster victims to hospitals.

Today, modern drilling and mining techniques and technologies find, extract and process the incredible variety of fuels, metals and other raw materials required to manufacture and operate factories and equipment, to produce the energy and materials we need to grow or make everything we eat, wear or use.

Modern communication technologies combine cable and wireless connections, computers, cell phones, televisions, radio, internet and other devices to connect people and businesses, operate cars and equipment, and make once time-consuming operations happen in nanoseconds. In the invention and discovery arena, Cosmopolitan magazine might call it best idea-sex ever.

So, this holiday season, give thanks for all these blessings – while praying and doing everything you can to help bring the same blessings to billions of people worldwide who still do not enjoy them.

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and author of books and articles on energy, climate change, economic development and human rights.

Oil plunges to lowest price in a year

Fracking is doing its job

Oil prices slumped more than 6 percent to the lowest in more than a year on Friday amid fears of a supply glut even as major producers consider cutting output.

Oil supply, led by U.S. producers, is growing faster than demand and to prevent a build-up of unused fuel such as the one that emerged in 2015, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is expected to start trimming output after a meeting on Dec. 6.

But this has done little so far to prop up prices, which have dropped more than 20 percent so far in November, in a seven-week streak of losses. Prices were on course for their biggest one-month decline since late 2014.

A trade war between the world's two biggest economies and oil consumers, the United States and China, have weighed upon the market.

"The market is pricing in an economic slowdown - they are anticipating that the Chinese trade talks are not going to go well," said Phil Flynn, an analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago, referring to expected talks next week between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires.

"The market doesn't believe that OPEC is going to be able to act swiftly enough to offset the coming slowdown in demand," Flynn said.

Brent crude fell $3.13, or 5 percent, to $59.47 a barrel by 1:01 p.m. EST (1801 GMT), after earlier touching $58.41, its lowest since October 2017.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude (WTI) lost $3.35, or 6.1 percent, to trade at $51.28, and earlier touched a low of $50.53, also the weakest since October 2017.

For the week, Brent was on track for a 11 percent loss and WTI a 9.4 percent decline.

Market fears over weak demand intensified after China reported its lowest gasoline exports in more than a year amid a glut of the fuel in Asia and globally.

Stockpiles of gasoline have surged across Asia, with inventories in Singapore, the regional refining hub, rising to a three-month high while Japanese stockpiles also climbed last week. Inventories in the United States are about 7 percent higher than a year ago.

Crude production has soared as well this year. The International Energy Agency expects non-OPEC output alone to rise by 2.3 million barrels per day (bpd) this year while demand next year was expected to grow 1.3 million bpd.

Adjusting to lower demand, top crude exporter Saudi Arabia said on Thursday that it may reduce supply as it pushes OPEC to agree to a joint output cut of 1.4 million bpd.

However, Trump has made it clear that he does not want oil prices to rise and many analysts think Saudi Arabia is coming under U.S. pressure to resist calls from other OPEC members for lower crude output.

If OPEC decides to cut production at its meeting next month, oil prices could recover, analysts say.

"We expect that OPEC will manage the market in 2019 and assess the probability of an agreement to reduce production at around 2-in-3. In that scenario, Brent prices likely recover back into the $70s," Morgan Stanley commodities strategists Martijn Rats and Amy Sergeant wrote in a note to clients.

If OPEC does not trim production, prices could head much lower, potentially depreciating toward $50 a barrel, argues Lukman Otunuga, Research Analyst at FXTM.


Giving Thanks for Climate Authenticity

The philosopher Aristotle once observed, “The least initial deviation from the truth is multiplied later a thousandfold.” This is true of many political movements. It’s also applicable to the issue of climate change. Simply by revisiting 20th-century climate predictions, we can see that the extreme fear generated by global cooling-turned-warming was unfounded. Yet the climate alarmists’ outlook today continues to worsen despite a dearth of verification.

This week we were handed yet another overheated forecast. Camilo Mora of the University of Hawaii at Manoa is the lead author of a comprehensive new study on forthcoming climate conditions. According to NBC News, “Mora’s team combed through more than 3,200 studies to try to paint a broad picture of what climate change is going to do to people over the coming century. They cross-referenced their findings against known disasters.” Here’s how The New York Times summarized the team’s findings:

Global warming is posing such wide-ranging risks to humanity, involving so many types of phenomena, that by the end of this century some parts of the world could face as many as six climate-related crises at the same time, researchers say. … The paper projects future trends and suggests that, by 2100, unless humanity takes forceful action to curb the greenhouse gas emissions that drive climate change, some tropical coastal areas of the planet, like the Atlantic coast of South and Central America, could be hit by as many as six crises at a time.

Dr. Mora even likened this outlook to “a terror movie that is real,” while NBC warned that “climate change is going to make life on Earth a whole lot worse.” Yet it’s worth asking how such conjectural precision is even possible given past failures. The short answer is that it’s not. As meteorologist Joe Bastardi muses in an email to The Patriot Post, “It’s their strategy — blame every event on climate change. Never mind that most of the planet is peaceful and the area affected is trivial. There just happen to be people living in the affected areas who are recording every event with their cameras. There are also people who refuse to look at both sides of the issue.”

To the Times’s credit, it also notes, “The authors include a list of caveats about the research: Since it is a review of papers, it will reflect some of the potential biases of science in this area, which include the possibility that scientists might focus on negative effects more than positive ones; there is also a margin of uncertainty involved in discerning the imprint of climate change from natural variability.” This is a pertinent point that is frequently overlooked.

As reported by this week, another study purports: “As Earth’s tectonic plates dive beneath one another, they drag three times as much water into the planet’s interior as previously thought.” This would appear to mitigate sea-level rise, which is among climate scientists’ top concerns. In fact, most dire outlooks are predicated on sea levels rising.

Which brings us full circle to Aristotle’s point. Social and political movements that are borne out of fear eventually reach a point at which “deviation from the truth is multiplied … a thousandfold.” Global warming is surely real, but it’s obvious that the assertions behind it are increasingly cock and bull. Despite the clamorous predictions of doomsday, humanity continues to survive and adapt. All the while, scientific analysis is fluid and in constant flux as research evolves.




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


Thursday, November 22, 2018

Melting Antarctic ice could slow global temperature rise, study says

Another evidence-free speculation.  In fact it's not only free of evidence, it is against the evidence.  As Zwally showed, the Antarctic is in fact GAINING mass overall

Cold meltwater running off Antarctica’s ice sheets and into the ocean could dampen the pace of global temperature rise, a new study suggests.

The research, published in Nature, finds that the rate of ice-sheet melt in a high-emissions scenario could see the oceans cooled by the influx of frigid water. This could knock as much as 0.4C off global temperature rise, the researchers say, potentially delaying exceeding the 1.5C and 2C Paris temperature limits by around a decade.

However, the study adds that the meltwater could have wider impacts on the Earth’s climate, increasing the formation of Antarctic sea ice, reducing rainfall in the southern hemisphere and increasing rainfall in the northern hemisphere. It could also cause warming of the ocean beneath the surface layer around the Antarctic coast, the researchers add, leading to further ice-sheet melt and additional sea level rise.

Scientists not involved in the research tell Carbon Brief that while the results are intriguing, some caution is warranted given that the study relies on a single climate model. It also uses a speculative ice-melt scenario and focuses on a region – the Southern Ocean and Antarctica – which climate models can struggle to simulate accurately.

Additional work, including running similar simulations using other climate models and including the impact of meltwater from Greenland, may provide a more complete picture of the climate impacts of melting ice sheets, the scientists note.


Symptoms Of Global Warming And Global Cooling Are Identical

Tony Heller:  In this video I show how climate scientists have continuously changed their story over the past 40 years.  The same things they used to blame on global cooling and excess sea ice, now they blame on global warming and shrinking sea ice.

Atlantic Coast Pipeline construction provides good jobs

VIRGINIANS ARE experiencing the best economy they have seen in decades.

At just below 3 percent, Virginia has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country. Jobs are growing in virtually every sector, with manufacturing, construction and mining especially strong.

A good job for a family provider is not about what political party controls what chamber. It’s not red or blue. It’s green.

It’s prosperity, and it’s non-partisan. It’s food on the table, new baseball shoes for your child, and a movie on the weekend. At the end of the day, it’s a better life.

The future looks bright, and it’s about to get even better. More jobs are on the way.

Virginia has given the final go-ahead to begin building the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The pipeline will carry clean-burning natural gas from wellheads in West Virginia to customers in Virginia and North Carolina.

This is the abundant energy our families depend on to heat and light our homes. This is the affordable energy that gives our industries an advantage over the rest of the world and powers the American growth engine, which has been hitting on all cylinders.

In addition, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline — and other pipelines carrying natural gas throughout the country — fits perfectly into President Donald Trump’s "America First" energy dominance national security policy. In Massachusetts, for example, state and local government officials have blocked pipeline construction from reserves in Pennsylvania. As a result, natural gas had to be purchased from Russia and shipped across the ocean in foreign tankers to Boston to meet the eastern region’s energy needs last winter. How does that make any sense?

Trump has a four-pronged strategy to get our economy moving again: tax reform, trade reform, regulatory reform and energy reform. The ACP embodies how these four parts work together. Tax reform encouraged the pipeline builders to make the investment, regulatory reform cleared the pathway for obtaining well-scrutinized federal permits, and trade reform will boost exports of our energy resources.

As our energy exports expand, our record trade deficits across the globe will be reduced, keeping cash and jobs in America — instead of going to other countries. Permanent energy self-sufficiency — once a pipe dream for Americans who remember waiting for hours in gas lines in the 1970s — is now very close to reality.

Besides carrying natural gas, the pipeline will also provide life-changing jobs that will help propel families into the middle class. It will add incentives for manufacturing companies to move to Virginia in order to tap directly into the pipeline’s efficient and affordable energy. More manufacturing brings more good-paying jobs to Virginians.

Construction has been underway in West Virginia and North Carolina for months. In Virginia, the construction means thousands of middle-class jobs in rural communities across the commonwealth.

The skilled tradesmen of the Laborers International Union of North America are stepping forward to train Virginians for the better-paying jobs that are out there right now for the taking.

This labor organization represents some 40,000 skilled tradesmen and women, primarily in the construction industry. They are teaching Virginia residents the skills they need to build the pipeline. The training takes place in classrooms and on the job, combining theoretical book knowledge with practical, hands-on experience.

At the end of the on-the-job training, students will have acquired skills employers want and a good-paying job. They will be able to use these skills well after the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is built and running.

Thanks to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Laborers International Union of North America, this generation of Virginians and the next will have in-demand skills, good jobs and a secure place in the middle class for themselves and their families in order to keep the American dream alive.

My father, a high school graduate, was a union worker and craftsman his whole life. He was proud of his job as a union craftsman.

Good jobs change lives. Let’s build this pipeline.


California failed to sufficiently manage its forests

At what should have been the close of an already devastating wildfire season, California residents brace themselves as three more large fires rage on. The 2017 season made history. Sadly, however, 2018 is on track to be California’s worst, with at least 23 fatalities at this writing and over 190,000 acres burned. This season has brought fires that burn hotter, move faster, and claim more lives and property than in past decades. Californians have been left to wonder, “Is this the new normal?”

As we choke on smoke and watch our beautiful state burn, we look for an answer. How can this level of destruction be prevented in the future? The governor and news media are quick to answer, citing a combination of climate change and weather as the culprit.

To be sure, California’s multiyear drought left the state dry and vulnerable, and Santa Ana winds coupled with low humidity created the perfect firestorm. Climate change, though, remains the go-to villain, with outgoing Gov. Jerry Brown (D) claiming that the Golden State will have to spend “probably hundreds of billions [of dollars]” to combat the “new abnormal” driven by global warming. Echoing Brown, Scott McClean, deputy chief of the California Department of Forest and Fire Protection (CAL Fire), claims that “the problem is changing climate leading to more severe and destructive fires.”

Apparently, then, the solution is to pour “hundreds of billions” of dollars into our state government. What specifically this money would fund is not clear, nor are the measures that should be taken to “fight” a changing climate. As a life-long California resident, I find little hope in this vague solution.

But one critically important, yet overlooked factor could inspire hope — forest management. As an avid hiker who’s trekked across my home state, I’ve experienced firsthand the irresponsible way in which our wooded areas are managed.

From the Ventana Wilderness in Big Sur to Warner Valley on Mt. Lassen, trails are overgrown and bordered by rotting trunks and dry limbs. When trees fall, instead of the dead wood being cleared, it’s left to decompose along paths and roadways. Underbrush is left untouched as well, with forest floors blanketed in dry kindling. This hands-off approach creates a literal tinderbox, leaving our forests incredibly vulnerable.

One practical solution, which would likely cost less than $100 billion, would be to clear the deadwood and dry brush. Additionally, greater firebreaks should be made along roads and highways, limiting a fire’s ability to spread. If these solutions sound simple, that’s because they are. Despite a stated policy of "chang[ing] the environment by removing or reducing the heat source," CAL Fire continues to allow our forests to develop dangerous amounts of dry material, that is, fuel.

If CAL Fire is ill prepared to follow its stated policy and adequately manage our forests, despite its $443 million budget, perhaps a more cost-effective solution should be implemented. One such solution would be to incentivize private loggers to clear densely packed forests and remote highway shoulders.

As far as incentives go, a good place to start would be streamlining the Timber Harvesting Plan Review Process, which currently can take up to 60 days just to approve a permit.

The Golden State is clearly overwhelmed and now has a proven track record of failing to sufficiently manage her forests. Rather than accept this as the “new abnormal” or throw more money at a system that we know has failed, a commonsense, market approach is in order.


Australian exports to India will be driven by coal and competition

I think we may have reached peak "stop Adani". In The Australian Financial Review on Monday last week, Richard Denniss prosecuted the fantastic argument that we should not allow Adani to open because that would hurt coal production and jobs in NSW!

So the message to North Queensland is, 'sorry you can't have jobs because we have to protect another part of the country'. Townsville's unemployment rate for the past 12 months has averaged 9.1 per cent, so you can imagine how such a message would be received north of the Tropic of Capricorn. The unemployment rate around Newcastle has averaged 5.7 per cent over the same period.

But let's take Richard's argument to its logical conclusions. Why allow pesky competition at all when the entry of new businesses sometimes puts other businesses out of action? Why do we allow Bunnings to open when they have caused Mitre 10s to close? Why do we allow Netflix to stream when so many video stores have shut down? Think of all the heartache we could stop if we just stopped all this wasteful competition and let some kind of modern, technocratic Politburo sort it all out.

Richard's argument reveals the warped misunderstanding green activists have of the market. Their largely socialist outlook of the world blinds them to the well-demonstrated benefits of competition. We should not seek to protect some businesses in Australia by limiting the prospects of others. If the coal from North Queensland ends up out-competing NSW coal, we will have a stronger and more competitive industry as a whole. (This is extremely unlikely given NSW thermal coal is the best in the world.)

What Richard is really suggesting is we reintroduce a single desk for the export of coal. If the export of coal from Queensland can influence the global price, then the export of coal from NSW can do the same. On this reasoning we should have every coal miner seek permission from Canberra before a ship leaves the Newcastle port, so we can ensure the maximum price. That is something the coal industry is unlikely to welcome.

In fact, we have tried this before in many commodities and they have all ended in failure. We may think we can outsmart global markets, but practical experience has taught us that trying to micro-manage such outcomes from a room in Canberra is a recipe for disaster. Thankfully such proposals have largely been consigned to the dustbin, notwithstanding their bizarre reappearance as an argument prosecuted by the unholy alliance of incumbent coal miners and greenies.

Room for both

Most happily for us, we are unlikely to have to make this choice between Queensland and NSW because world coal markets are booming and there is ample room for both. Last year the production of coal-fired power globally reached a new record at 9723 terawatt hours.

It is this increased demand that has pushed coal prices to near record highs, and increased the margin for high-quality Australian coal over Indonesian coal by six times. Coal has once again become Australia's biggest export and this wealth is helping pay for important public services by bringing state and federal budgets to balance sooner.

Last week the International Energy Agency forecast that coal demand is set to grow by 492 million tonnes in the Asia Pacific region by 2040. Australia exports just under 400 million tonnes so this is a massive opportunity for us to create more wealth and more jobs right nationwide. The IEA conclude that new mines in Australia, such as Adani's, would be required to meet this increased demand.

The biggest opportunity lies in India. With coal demand there set to grow by over 600 million tonnes by 2040. Last year, India imported 160 million tonnes of thermal coal but Australia accounted for just 3 million tonnes of that. As the world's largest coal exporter that performance is not good enough.

This week The Australian Financial Review will host an important summit on Australian-Indian relations. The Adani project, as the largest potential Indian investment in Australia by far, offers the most direct way to cement a strong and ongoing relationship between our two countries.

We are sometimes too complacent about Australian-Indian relations. Sometimes we rest back on the "three C's" of "cricket, Commonwealth and curry". These won't be enough, to take our relationship to the next level we must add a fourth C of "commerce" and the quickest way to do that is to grow our trade in a fifth C of "coal".




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