Sunday, December 09, 2018

Sir David Attenborough: Climate change 'our greatest threat'

What drives this nonagenarian  propagandist?  For a start, he has always been a Greenie.  His lifelong work of documenting the natural world predisposes him to that.  The natural world is obviously his love. So any apparent threat to the natural world has him come out fighting.

But it is worse than that.  Being in favour of the natural world has also made him  a misanthrope.  His love of nature seems to have made him an enemy of people.  He has repeatedly said that there are too many of us and he supports just about every measure that would put a lid on the human population.

But to do that you need control and global warming is the main hope of controlling people in democratic societies.  So he pushes that gospel relentlessly.

He obviously hopes that his acclaim as a naturalist might cause him to be seen as an authority. But taking pictures of interesting animals does not make you a scientist.  And he obviously knows nothing of the science of the matter. He could not be so sweeping if he did.  Note for example the much discussed paper by Fyfe et al in which a large group  of Warmist scientists discuss the fact that temperatures did not rise as they should in the early 21st century.  It was about as UNsweeping as you can get.  In its conclusiion it speaks of "the EMBRYONIC field of decadal climate prediction".  The way Attenborough talks has nothing in common with the rightfully cautious way scientists talk.

And there is an element of hypocrisy in where Attenborough lives.  He wants us all to live in  some sort of Green Eden But he does not practice what he preaches. He lives in polluted old London despite his proclaimed love of natural environments. He could go much nearer to practicing what he preaches by living in the Southland of New Zealand -- infinitely more pristine and naturally beautiful than London. And they even have good internet access there and speak English. And you can definitely drink the water. He might also discover what fresh food tastes like in New Zealand

The naturalist Sir David Attenborough has said climate change is humanity's greatest threat in thousands of years.

The broadcaster said it could lead to the collapse of civilisations and the extinction of "much of the natural world".

He was speaking at the opening ceremony of United Nations-sponsored climate talks in Katowice, Poland.

The meeting is the most critical on climate change since the 2015 Paris agreement.

Sir David said: "Right now, we are facing a man-made disaster of global scale. Our greatest threat in thousands of years. Climate change.

"If we don't take action, the collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon."

The naturalist is taking up the "People's Seat" at the conference, called COP24. He is supposed to act as a link between the public and policy-makers at the meeting.

"The world's people have spoken. Their message is clear. Time is running out. They want you, the decision-makers, to act now," he said.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General, said climate change was already "a matter of life and death" for many countries.

He explained that the world is "nowhere near where it needs to be" on the transition to a low-carbon economy.

But the UN Secretary-General said the conference was an effort to "right the ship" and he would convene a climate summit next year to discuss next steps.

Meanwhile, the World Bank has announced $200bn in funding over five years to support countries taking action against climate change.


The Green Agenda Burns to Ashes in Paris

Macron has completely backed off his fuel tax increasses

A riot is an ugly thing.

The anarchical mayhem in the streets of Paris in recent days paint a picture of a fractured society with deep-seated problems—a breakdown of the fragile yet essential rule of law.

While we’ve come to expect such things in France, there are specific reasons why these protests have erupted in the last month.

The “climate” agenda, peddled as a means to save the planet and reduce inequality, is being exposed in France as an agenda inherently at odds with the interests of middle- and working-class people.

Last year, a wide range of American and international media, celebrities, and activists excoriated President Donald Trump for pulling the United States out of the international Paris climate agreement. Trump said in 2017 that he would put “no other consideration before the well-being of American citizens” and that he would reject an agreement that would force taxpayers to “absorb the cost in terms of lost jobs, lower wages, shuttered factories, and vastly diminished economic production.”

Former Vice President and climate change activist Al Gore said at the time that leaving the deal was a “reckless and indefensible action.”

But Americans may in fact have a better grasp of their interests than a tiny elite across the pond and in America’s powerful media institutions. For proof, look to the streets of Paris.

Paris is now burning, and French President Emmanuel Macron, who was once widely praised as a kind of “centrist” savior of the global community, is in hot political waters.

Macron’s approval ratings sit at 23 percent in a recent poll, according to Reuters, a new low for his presidency. The “yellow vest” protesters, as they’ve been called, have forced his administration to back off its proposed new gas and utility taxes.

The protesters appear to come from a vast swath of French society and don’t fit neatly on the ideological spectrum. They’ve rebelled against high taxes while also calling for increases in the minimum wage.

Alas, the consequences of living in a society where the government is involved in every aspect of a person’s life.

“France’s violent Yellow Vest protests are now about many domestic concerns, but it’s no accident that the trigger was a fuel-tax hike,” read an editorial for The Wall Street Journal. “Nothing reveals the disconnect between ordinary voters and an aloof political class more than carbon taxation.”

France’s widespread use of nuclear power has allowed it to move a bit further away from the carbon economy in terms of energy costs, but its transportation sector is still highly reliant on oil, The Wall Street Journal noted.

Nicolas Loris, an economist and regulatory expert at The Heritage Foundation, highlighted the widespread economic harm that’s caused by “green” policies:

Global warming regulations for new and existing power plants will drive electricity bills higher for families and businesses. Fuel efficiency mandates for cars, trucks, and heavy-duty vehicles increase the up-front cost of vehicles by thousands of dollars. Methane regulations on oil and gas would introduce burdensome, complex processes that would likely slow the industry’s current efforts to reduce emissions, which have been falling for decades.

For the average person, the cost of the war on climate change can be severe.

In a country like France, which is already dealing with economic hardship, low growth, and high joblessness rates, you have a recipe for disaster.

Maybe there is something to be said about leaders asserting national self-interest after all.

The shocking images of riots are nevertheless emblematic of the collapse of the green agenda and the animosity it engenders from the people it harms: the forgotten men—squeezed by regulations and taxes—who don’t count themselves among the privileged few who receive generous green energy subsidies.

In France, many see this dysfunctional system as inevitable and unchangeable without extreme recourse.

Certainly, we should deplore the mobs and destruction of property. In America, we’d hope that our differences can be solved through elections, deliberation, and peaceful protest, if necessary.

This is certainly possible as long as we maintain our constitutional system and a cultural respect for the rule of law that the Founding Fathers and generations of Americans blessed us with.

While France’s economy is stagnant, the U.S. economy has been booming—in part due to the flourishing oil industry and the curtailment of regulations that were a hallmark of the Obama era.

Are the conditions in Europe really what we want to replicate in the U.S.?

California is going down this path, and perhaps the new Congress will as well. But the chaos in France should serve as a stern warning of what lies down the road.


Resources Are Almost 5 Times as Abundant as They Were in 1980

Humanity is enjoying a world of increasingly cheap and ever more abundant mineral, argicultural, forestry and energy resources reports a brilliant new study, the Simon Abundance Index. This analysis by Marian Tupy,* editor of Human Progress at the Cato Institute, and Professor Gale Pooley from Brigham Young University – Hawaii uses data on 50 different commodities to track their price trajectories over the past 37 years from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. They find in real price terms their basket of commodities decreased by an average of 36.3 percent between 1980 and 2017.

That's great, but their breakthrough insight is that, since 1980, global real hourly income rate per capita has grown by more than 80 percent, which means that the commodities that took 60 minutes of work to buy in 1980 now take only 21 minutes of labor to buy in 2017. As a result, the "time-price" of their basket of commodities has fallen by 64.7 percent.

Tupy and Pooley also devise a price elasticity of population (PEP) measure that finds that resource abundance increases faster than population does. In economics, they explain, elasticity is a measure of a variable's sensitivity to a change in another variable. They report:

Between 1980 and 2017, the time-price of our basket of commodities declined by 64.7 percent. Over the same time period, the world's population increased from 4.46 billion to 7.55 billion. That's a 69.3 percent increase. The PEP indicates that the time-price of our basket of commodities declined by 0.934 percent for every 1 percent increase in population.

[P]eople often assume that population growth leads to resource depletion. We found the opposite. Over the past 37 years, every additional human being born on our planet appears to have made resources proportionately more plentiful for the rest of us.

Tupy and Pooley combine their findings with regard to time-price and PEP trends to derive the Simon Abundance Index (SAI). The index is named in honor of University of Maryland economist Julian Simon. Simon famously bet Stanford University population bomber Paul Ehrlich and his colleagues that the real prices of a basket of commodities chosen by Ehrlich priced $1,000 would decline between 1980 and 1990. In October 1990, Ehrlich mailed Simon a check for $576.07, meaning that the price of the commodities had fallen by more than 50 percent.

The new SAI, explain Tupy and Pooley, represents the ratio of the change in population over the change in the time-price, times 100, with the base year at 1980 and a base value of 100. They report that "between 1980 and 2017, resource availability increased at a compounded annual growth rate of 4.32 percent. That means that the Earth was 379.6 percent more abundant in 2017 than it was in 1980."

They also report that the SAI rose to 479.6 in 2018, meaning the Earth was nearly five times more plentiful with respect to the 50 commodities they track than it it was when Ehrlich and Simon laid their famous wager. What about the future? Tupy and Pooley calculate if current trends continue that "our planet will be 83 percent more abundant in 2054 than it was in 2017."

"The world is a closed system in the way that a piano is a closed system. The instrument has only 88 notes, but those notes can be played in a nearly infinite variety of ways. The same applies to our planet," write the authors. "The Earth's atoms may be fixed, but the possible combinations of those atoms are infinite. What matters, then, is not the physical limits of our planet, but human freedom to experiment and reimagine the use of resources that we have."

The SAI devised by Tupy and Pooley elegantly refutes the primitive zero-sum intuitions peddled by the likes of Ehrlich and his acolytes that afflict so much of popular and policy discourse with respect to population and resource availability trends.


Electric Vehicle Subsidies Benefit Wealthiest Americans, Produce Next to No Climate Benefit

Frustrated with General Motors Co.’s recent announcement of plant closures and layoffs, President Donald Trump said the administration is now looking at cutting at subsidies to the automaker, including for electric vehicles.

Good. Families should be empowered to purchase the car they want without nudging from Washington and the financial help of their fellow taxpayers.

Electric vehicle handouts subsidize the wealthiest Americans and, despite their being advertised as a more “climate-friendly” option, they produce next to no climate benefit for the planet.

Trump does not quite have the power to cut GM’s current electric vehicles subsidies full stop. But he could play an important role in the future of the targeted tax subsidy.

Both federal and state governments have generous handouts for electric vehicles. The federal tax credit extends up to $7,500 and applies to the first 200,000 electric vehicles per manufacturer, and then a phaseout of the credit begins.

Tesla is in the phaseout period now, and General Motors Co. is close to hitting the 200,000 mark.

Congress is considering a larger package to revive and extend special tax breaks that use the tax code to pick winners and losers.

Some members want to include a permanent extension of the $7,500 tax credit and to lift the 200,000 cap. An unlimited subsidy would be a massively expensive bill for taxpayers and a win for cronyism that awards money based on preferential treatment, rather than the competitive process.

Furthermore, extending the subsidy would continue to take decision rights away from car buyers and leave them in the hands of the federal government.

The federal government uses a number of policy levers to nudge (or force) consumers to use the technology or fuel source of its choice. Whether it’s a mandate to blend corn into our fuel supply or a government-backed loan for an electric vehicle company, each time the government presses its thumbs on the scales to direct investment, it disempowers consumers and impedes innovation.

Rather than extend the tax credit for electric vehicles, Congress should eliminate preferential treatment for all energy sources and technologies. That way, innovative companies will be chasing after the preferences of consumers rather than the next handout from Washington.

Car buyers have a number of different reasons for purchasing a specific car or truck and may have different reason for purchasing alternative-fuel vehicles.

Families will be better served when Washington isn’t telling consumers what type of vehicle to buy and why, especially when politicians, bureaucrats, and other so-called “experts” get those justifications for switching to alternative vehicles flat-out wrong.

For instance, one alleged justification for switching from gasoline-powered vehicles to electric ones is the climate benefit. Earlier this year, The Guardian wrote, “Switching to electric cars is key to fixing America’s ‘critically insufficient’ climate policies.” The Obama administration included the adoption of electric vehicles as a way it was responsibly combating climate change.

But the numbers tell a different story. Jonathan Lesser, an economist and the president of Continental Resources, calculated the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from increased adoption of electric vehicles in a May 2018 study for the Manhattan Institute.

Lesser found that “electric vehicles will reduce them, compared to new internal-combustion vehicles. But based on the [Energy Information Administration’s] projection of the number of new electric vehicles, the net reduction in carbon dioxide emissions between 2018 and 2050 would be only about one-half of 1 percent of total forecast U.S. energy-related carbon emissions. Such a small change will have no impact whatsoever on climate … .”

Similarly, according to recent data compiled by analysts at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, “an electric vehicle in Germany would take more than 10 years to break even with an efficient combustion engine’s emissions.” Mining of materials for, and the manufacturing of, lithium-ion batteries is quite carbon dioxide intensive. Plugging into an electric grid powered by coal doesn’t help, either.

The fact that the emissions output is close to a toss-up goes to show how meaningless the climate abatement of switching to electric vehicles is.

January 2019 will bring a divided Congress and plenty of time for disagreement. But one issue that unites the far left and the far right is opposition to corporate cronyism. Electric vehicle subsidies are just that.

The subsidies accrue to carmakers and America’s wealthiest households, which can also afford an electric vehicle without any help from other taxpayers.

A good New Year’s resolution for the outgoing Congress and the new members should be a commitment to end corporate welfare. Not extending bad policies that pick winners and losers is a good place to start.

Nicolas Loris, an economist, focuses on energy, environmental and regulatory issues as the Herbert and Joyce Morgan fellow at The Heritage Foundation.


Another hitchiker on the climate change bandwagon

Advocating for “reproductive rights” is the key to stopping climate change, a hip-hop artist/environmental activist declared at Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) climate town hall Monday.

Hip-hop artist and Earth Guardians Youth Director Xiuhtezcatl Martinez told Sanders’ town hall audience that gender equality, in the form of reproductive rights like abortion and contraception, is “one of the best ways to address our climate crisis”:

“This is the most important issue of our time because it connects every other issue.

“You know, if you care about gender equality, you know, some of the most recent studies, including [author] Paul Hawken in the “Drawdown,” was talking about how one of the best ways to address our climate crisis is to educate women and advocate for their reproductive rights.”

Xiuhtezcatl (pronounced “Shoe-Tez-Caht”) said that reproductive rights and climate change are directly connected because climate change is an “umbrella crisis”:

“That’s a direct line of intersection between these two movements, because climate change is that thing, is that umbrella crisis, that is more than we have ever successfully communicated it to be."



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C. S. P. Schofield said...

My mother, a history teacher, once told me that the history of France was the history of what Paris blundered into and how the rest of France coped. Paris has always been prey to swell sounding elitist manias, and the rest of France has frequently had to remind the Parisians that they do not, in fact, excrete free of odor.

Spurwing Plover the fighting shorebird said...

I read that Attenbough himself was once knocked down by a angry wood grouse looks like the fall has screwed up his mind