Tuesday, December 31, 2019

For evangelicals, climate change causes a split between young and old that could hurt Republicans

This is a story about just one person so it may have little generalizability

SIOUX CENTER, Iowa — Cornfields flank the highway that forms the main road here and grain elevators tower overhead, constant reminders of how farming permeates this rural community in the state’s northwest corner.

What also permeates Sioux Center is evangelical Christianity. It is, for most, an unquestioned way of life here in the most Republican county in a state that plays an outsized role in presidential elections. There is an evangelical college, a Christian secondary school, and churches up and down the main road. Bibles are as commonplace as smartphones in the local coffee shop. Business meetings sometimes begin with a prayer.

Lindsay Mouw, 25, grew up here, her family well-known for the Ford dealership they have owned since the days of the Model T, and she shares their deep Christian roots. But her ideas about religion are different now, because of a topic few people in her community talk about — climate change. Concern for the environment has challenged her political views and those of many other young evangelicals, a trend that could one day spell trouble for the Republican hold on this religious group.

Mouw’s evolution began in 2015 on a study-abroad trip to New Zealand, where she learned about the devastating effects of noise and plastic pollution on the ocean. “From that point on, I remember being pretty committed to saying, ‘I’m not going to contribute to these problems anymore. This isn’t going to be on me,’ ” she said.

It was for her, as for many of her peers, the beginnings of a wedge between them and their older evangelical counterparts. Other issues, including LGBT rights and immigration, have likewise caused an internal reckoning that breaks along generational lines. Many — though not Mouw — now call themselves ex-vangelicals.

“The church has become unrelatable to the world today,” she said.

This split also reminds that while a generational divide seems already sure to affect the Democratic Party in 2020 — with both the oldest- and youngest-ever candidates in pursuit of the White House — so too could it shift the picture in the GOP. White evangelicals are one of the largest, most loyal voting blocs of support for President Trump, and a crack in that support could foreshadow trouble for the Republican Party — if perhaps not in this election season, then in time.

“They’re reading the Bible and they’re saying, ‘Wait a minute, something is not jibing and we need to rethink this,’ ” said Randall Balmer, a religion professor at Dartmouth College who studies evangelicals.

About a quarter of all American adults identify as evangelical protestants, according to a 2014 poll by the Pew Research Center. One in six of those is between the ages of 18 and 29,

Mouw lives a life well outside the norm in Sioux Center, a community of 7,000 with a strong Dutch heritage. Having left the GOP, she is working to elect a Democrat from Iowa to the US Senate, someone who believes in working to address climate change.

Also, for the moment, she no longer attends church.

Mouw and other young evangelicals find themselves caught where two political statistics collide. White evangelical Protestants are the most skeptical of any religious group about climate change, a recent poll found. But the overwhelming majority of young people believe climate change is happening and is caused by humans, according to the same poll.

And so, these young evangelicals have found that they share more in common with their generation broadly than with their faith community. Young people believe that climate change will harm them directly in their lifetime, giving the issue a personal sense of urgency that does not exist for some older Americans. And young people are poised to play an especially influential role in this election, projected to vote in numbers greater than ever before.

“You’re right to say that younger evangelicals are probably particularly more attuned to the issue and probably give it a higher priority than maybe some of our older members,” said Galen Carey, vice president of the National Association of Evangelicals, a group that considers climate change a problem but does not lobby lawmakers on the issue. “But we’re not giving up on our older members either. We want everyone to recognize what a concern it is.”

Young people who care about climate change should push their elected officials to embrace both environmental issues and also antiabortion policies, he said.

But some of those young people, it’s unclear how many, have chosen to leave the evangelical church altogether. Others are turning to more progressive denominations. Then there are those, like Mouw, who have chosen to retain their evangelical identity even as they hope to redefine it.

“I think we can reclaim it and say that this is what we stand for, and we can do good in the world, and we can be that light whereas most of society has written us off,” she said.

For her, things began to change while she was attending Dordt University, a local college affiliated with the Christian Reformed Church. When she studied abroad in New Zealand, she encountered an approach to life utterly foreign to her. There, students composted, ate vegan and vegetarian food, rode bikes whenever possible, and grew their own food. “This is some weird hippie stuff that I’m not OK with,” she thought at first. It seemed excessive.

Then her world turned. In her marine ecology class in New Zealand, she heard from a marine biologist about the real effects of climate change on the environment. “Eventually I stopped pushing back. I was like, OK, this is pretty important,” she said.

An introvert by nature, Mouw returned to Sioux Center energized and started an environmental club and initiatives on campus. This was in 2015 with the presidential election quickly approaching and Republican candidates starting to cycle through Sioux Center.

Mouw connected with the national group Young Evangelicals for Climate Action and soon they gave her a job — asking every Republican who came to town for their views on climate change. She pushed through her fear of public speaking and started to seek out the microphone at rallies and town halls. Quickly she became frustrated and discouraged with their answers — or lack thereof.

“I really still believed at that point that Republicans could do this,” she said.

Mouw tried speaking to her church pastor about climate change, but he told her the topic wasn’t important enough to address in the 30 minutes he had each Sunday to preach to his congregation.

So she found other ways to apply herself. She journeyed to rural Minnesota, where she did environmental conservation work, and is now back in Iowa assisting the campaign of Democrat Michael Franken, who supports efforts to combat climate change.

“I don’t think it was really until two years ago that I abandoned the Republican Party,” Mouw said, referring to the aftermath of Trump’s election. “I kind of gave up hope because you get to the point where you’re just like, ‘This is a losing battle.’ ”

This splitting away of younger evangelicals started in 2008 when Barack Obama ran for president, according to Balmer, the Dartmouth professor. Young conservative Christians had been raised to believe that abortion and same-sex marriage were the only salient moral issues to vote on, he said. But on college campuses, Balmer said, he began to hear from young people who cared about a broader spectrum of issues including climate change, hunger, poverty, and the Iraq War.

The 2016 election only exacerbated the generational divide, he said.

“It’s kind of a sad thing, in some ways, because this is something that they grew up with and they just can’t, some of them, bring themselves to abandon it,” he said. “But they also kind of know instinctively that something is wrong, something is very, very wrong with this movement.”

Young Evangelicals for Climate Action has sought to capture the energies and attention of these people hungry for change within their faith community.

“More and more, we have younger evangelicals who are pretty disillusioned and disenfranchised with that traditional political alliance,” said Ben Lowe, 35, who founded the group in 2012. Interest in climate change has only grown since then and the organization works to educate young people on Christian college campuses and in churches, as well as political leaders through legislative meetings and advocacy.

Mouw’s personal story and political work have attuned her to the views of older conservative Christians so now when she talks to them about climate change, she is prepared. One morning this fall, Mouw met some of her grandfather’s friends, men in their 70s and 80s who gather every morning for coffee at the Dutch bakery downtown. The men agree that climate change is happening and they are concerned, but they do not think the government can be trusted to fix it.

Mouw listened quietly for the better part of an hour. When the conversation turned to her, she spoke without a hint of judgment. “I think we have the climate crisis because we are sinful, and we have failed to [care for the Earth] properly,” she said, the men murmuring in agreement. She mentioned ways to curb global warming like energy-efficient home heating and alternative agricultural practices.

But then she continued, in her gentle but firm tone, with a second notion that is more controversial: “I think it’s important for us as evangelicals who care about climate to really be involved in the political scene and make sure we are electing people who promote the sustainability of the earth.”

The men weren’t sure what to say about that. One of them, Willis Alberda, a retired professor from Dordt University, asked Mouw if she makes that same provocative point when she meets with members of Congress. Mouw said she did.

“Oh really?” the 83-year-old asked with genuine curiosity. “Some would agree with what you say?”

Yes, she said.


Are cats and dogs climate traitors?

One day I will write a book, 111,111 ways our saviors have proposed to save the planet from the coming climate extinction. But here’s one you may not have considered.

At my cat-loving daughter’s house the other day I ran across one of her books. The title:

How to Tell If Your Cat Is Plotting to Kill You (by Matthew Inman). Then I saw this headline:

“Hollywood Celeb Emma Thompson: Eat Your Pets To Survive ‘Climate Crisis’.”

My first thought? “Emma must have read this book!”

But I read on. Dame Emma, we are told, who has won an OSCAR!, warned the world that the climate extinction crisis we are facing means we must expect “crop failures, water contamination, damaged houses, and ruined lives” and the prospect of eating our own pets in order to survive the coming climate apocalypse.

But don’t get your dander up about Emma. Turns out she is late to the game.

Back in 2017, the online journal journal PLoS ONE published a report on research by UCLA scientist Gregory S. Okin, entitled “Environmental impacts of food consumption by dogs and cats.” In the U.S. alone, Okin reported, 163 million dogs and cats have a detrimental impact on the environment from the food they consume to the waste they produce.

Okin found that U.S. dogs and cats “consume as much dietary energy as 62 million [human] Americans” and are responsible for 25 to 30 percent of Is there a coming climate CAT – astrophe? 1the environmental impact of meat consumption in the U.S. If these four-footed friends were a separate country, Catdoggia would rank fifth globally in meat consumption. Getting rid of dogs and cats, Okin gushes, would be “the environmental equivalent of removing 13.6 million cars from the road.”

Some cat lovers might note that these numbers are dog-heavy and conclude that the world is going to the dogs. Sorry, Garfield.

Back in 2013, based on a 3-year U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service funded study, researchers found that previous estimates that cats kill hundreds of millions of birds a year were very low. Cats, they reported, actually kill between 1.4 billion and 3.7 billion birds annually, PLUS 6.9 billion and 20.7 billion mammals – mainly mice, shews, rabbits, and voles.

And then there is top New Zealand economist and self-styled environmentalist Gareth Morgan who created a foundation to promote his cat-killing ideas. Morgan demanded that New Zealand register and neuter ALL cats , raise the bar for cat ownership; encourage citizens to cage-trap loose cats and turn them over to the cat gestapo (er, local authorities); euthanize all unregistered cats and fine all registered owners; and require all local authorities to “dispose” of cats for free.

We understand that Morgan is the local hero of the New Zealand Mouse Union. But even Morgan is a piker.

Writing in the German leftist Neues Deutschland (New Germany), Katharina Schwirkus argued that, “In addition to their disgusting excretions, pets are also bad for the climate — because they eat meat and thus contribute to the emission of carbon dioxide. Schwirkus says the ecological footprint of a German cat on average is as large as that of a human Egyptian.

Schwirkus insists that, “If you want to do something good for the climate, you shouldn’t buy a dog or cat. The breeding of four-legged friends should be stopped in the long term…. [T]he romantic picture of pets must finally be deconstructed. Children should be made aware from a young age that it is absolutely selfish to keep a dog or a cat in a city.”

Meanwhile, according to ethicist William Lynn [writing in The Conversation], the Australian government in 2015 declared a war on feral cats, with a goal of killing over 2 million felines by 2020 via shooting, trapping, and a reputedly “humane” poison. Lynn argued that there was no scientific basis for the government’s estimate of 20 million feral cats in Australia, thus for killing a tenth of that alleged number.

Lynn instead argues that individual animals have a moral value, and second that cats are themselves victims of human ecological errors. Lynn also questions the moral legitimacy of climate extinctionists who advocate for lethal management, which he says rests “on the assumption that individuals don’t matter – but ecosystems do. Lynn concludes by stating that, “it is human beings [not cats] who bear direct moral responsibility for the ongoing loss of biodiversity in our world.”

It is also human beings – not cats – who are spreading irrational fear about a coming climate extinction crisis and producing massive volumes telling everyone else what THEY must do to save the planet while flitting about in private jets to five-star resorts to bemoan just about everything that has brought joy to the world.


Cash cows: Meat, milk and renewables

One of the more ludicrous positions of some in the green movement is to go “meatless” in the interests of having fewer cows resulting in less methane, a greenhouse gas, in the atmosphere. The problem with such extremism is that cows not only produce essential milk and protein-rich meat, but also are increasingly producing energy to heat homes and businesses.

Natural gas, or “biogas,” is increasingly being produced from cow manure and other animal waste. Organic waste-producing facilities called anaerobic digesters are under construction in several states that will breakdown animal waste into usable fuel and fertilizer. Several new digester facilities are being built around dairy farms where the operators will purchase cow manure from nearby farmers, extract the methane in the digesters, and connect to natural gas pipelines to distribute the energy for residential, governmental and commercial use.

Biogas technology was part of the Obama administration’s Climate Action Plan, which included a tri-agency report in 2014 that outlined the potential of converting cattle waste to energy.

As reported recently in the Wall Street Journal, natural gas from animal waste is more expensive to produce than from hydro fracturing shale formations. Manure from up to 30,000 cattle is required for each anaerobic digester facility to be economical. Nonetheless, the biogas from cows and other animals is in demand from consumers, companies and local governments in the interests of lowering greenhouse gas emissions and generating tradable carbon credits.

The utility company, Dominion Energy is expanding its investment in the production of biogas. The company recently made a financing deal with Dairy Farmers of America and Vanguard Renewables to construct and operate digesters around clusters of dairy farms in five different states.

Some environmental extremists obsess about the volume of methane produced by cows that add to carbon emissions. A single cow, in fact, produces in one year the equivalent carbon emissions of a mid-size SUV driving 12,000 miles. Still, cows are invaluable for a healthy diet of protein from meat and milk products, which developed countries take for granted. For the developing world, higher protein diets are in much greater need.

Global warming alarmists are increasingly attacking meat as a way to fight climate change, as CFACT recently discussed. The United Nations’ Environment Program recently claimed, “huge reductions in meat eating are essential to avoid dangerous climate change.” The global citizenry fortunately knows better than U.N. bureaucrats and others producing anti-meat “studies,” as meat consumption has increased substantially, particularly in the developing world.

Still, the war on meat, because of cow emissions, continues to the point of extremists hoping to drive up food prices to discourage consumption. Joining this anti-meat fray are some politicians who imposed “meatless Mondays” in school districts around the country, including the nation’s largest district, New York City, with one million students.

The anti-meat agenda was in full throttle at the recent U.N. Climate Change Conference in Madrid, Spain. The delegates were pushing for nothing less than an all-plant based diet as another means to fight climate change. However, as CFACT reported, that did not keep many of the delegates themselves from consuming meat at a nearby Burger King.

A Whopper for me, not for thee.

The increasing use of cows to now produce renewable energy should temper such hypocritical anti-cow, anti-meat extremism.

Using anaerobic digester technology, methane from cows will increasingly be diverted to biogas to add to the renewable energy supply, rather than add to greenhouse gas emissions. Dairy and other farmers also can earn extra revenue from the sale of manure and, in some cases, lease the acreage to energy companies to house the anaerobic digester facilities to produce the energy. There is an added bonus: after the methane is extracted from animal waste to produce energy, the liquid and solid remains can be retaken for fertilizer and compost.

Green extremists at the United Nations and elsewhere who are waging war on meat need to rethink their approach, which always was senseless and counterproductive. Cows can produce much more than milk and meat. Using anaerobic digestion technology, cows, pigs and chickens are increasingly producing energy while reducing emissions in the process. A “win-win” proposition.


Australian Prime Minister Defies ‘Reckless’ Climate Protesters, Backs Coal Exports as Demand Soars

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has slammed calls from radical climate activists to end the export of coal – an industry worth $67billion a year to the nation’s economy – as a new report shows global demand is set to keep increasing over the next decade and beyond.

Strong demand from China and India for this electricity-generating commodity is driving the growth. Morrison wants Australia to maintain its edge by staying a key exporter and protecting the jobs of Australians who rely on the coal mining industry for their future and their financial security.

Nationally, the coal mining industry employs 50,400 people, when thermal and coking operations were combined, Australian Bureau of Statistics labour force data for November showed, with exports going mainly to China, India, Korea, Japan and Chile.

The conservative coalition leader spoke on the back of protests last week that called for Australia to end coal exports to ease pressure on the climate.

Morrison, who once once famously brandished a lump of coal in parliament, crying, “This is coal – don’t be afraid!” vowed those climate protesters – including Greta Thunberg  – would not be dictating energy or trade policy.

“I never panic,” he told the local Sunrise program last week. “I don’t think panicking is to way to manage anything and the urge for panic that has come from some, often politically motivated, to pursue a particular agenda is not something I’m ever intimidated by or distracted by.”

“We won’t embrace reckless targets and abandon our traditional industries that would risk Australian jobs while having no meaningful impact on the global climate,” he said in an opinion piece for the Daily Telegraph.

“In short, we will continue to act responsibly on climate change, avoiding extreme responses and get the balance right.”

He spoke just days after a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) revealed Australia’s coal exports are expected to rise over the next five years on the back of growing demand from Asia.

The report, published by the IEA on 17 December, found demand for coal in India could rise by 4.6 percent by 2024 and by 5 percent in Indonesia and Vietnam. As a result, Australia’s total coal production is expected to rise 1.4 percent annually from 409 million t in 2018 to 444 million t in 2024.

Coal exports were worth an estimated AUS$67 billion (US$45.9 billion) to the nation’s economy in the 2018 – 2019 financial year, overtaking iron ore as Australia’s most valuable export.

Matt Canavan, Australia’s Minister for Resources, said the report supported the need for new coal mines in the states of New South Wales and Queensland. He commented: “We will need more than Adani,” referring to the Carmichael coal mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin.

The Adani mine, which received final environmental approval in June, is expected to produce at least 10 million t of thermal coal every year.



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Monday, December 30, 2019

Another Year Of Useless Climate Madness Looms

The year 2019 saw the rapid rise of climate hysteria, but as the saying goes: “You ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.”

Now that the hysteria is firmly established and well organized, it is sure to get bigger and louder. But I see very little coming from it except the noise, as long as skeptics keep up the good fight.

This is especially true in the U.S. Presidential race, which is climate policy-wise by far the biggest thing going on in the world. Many of the Democrat candidates are going to try to ride the hysterical wave to victory. Their winning is not likely.

My take is the further left you go the fewer votes you get, and these folks are going far left on climate.

In my view the only viable candidate in the pack is Biden and he may not be crazy enough to get the nod. Nor can he beat Trump, so things are looking good on that front.

Another big unknown is what the hysterical demonstrators are going to do. Bigger marches? More disruption? (The police now have glue remover.) Or maybe something we have not seen before, hopefully not more violent.

I am sure the advocacy insider email traffic is buzzing over this. (Maybe some new wacky signs. “I don’t want to die!” seems to be catching on.)

For that matter, will the hysterics endorse specific candidates for the Democrat nomination? Or perhaps get active in specific Congressional races? They might even form their own party (but Greta Thunberg cannot run, more’s the pity).

Political action seems like the logical next step for the extremists, which could further destabilize the green movement, given that most of the political action groups are moderates.

There are lots of other climate crunch points in progress as well. In a recent meeting, the EU failed to come up with a more ambitious emission reduction goal for 2030, despite its hysterical leadership calling for one.

The next meeting on this proposal will be in June. No doubt we will see lots of “Action Now!” marches and demonstrations then, but ambition may well be lacking at the EU national member level, which is all that counts.

Several countries are already missing their 2020 target and there are anti-action demonstrations too boot, from yellow vests to farmers and coal miners. The political leaders are running a bit scared of this stuff.

The UN will have several semi-summits, leading up to the grand COP 26 in Glasgow, beginning in November. Given what happened in Madrid’s COP 25 we are likely to witness the progressive collapse of the entire UN climate action process.

The UN’s Paris Accord process is entirely too slow and compromising for the Action Now! hysterics to tolerate. This will be especially certain if the Action Now! hysteria builds in 2020, which is very likely.

That the mythical $100 billion a year promised to the developing countries does not show up in Glasgow will compound the collapse.

Then too there is a lot going on at national levels around the world. Especially promising is the rapid rise of new populist parties that oppose the drastic actions demanded by the Action Now! radicals.

Left-wing hysteria typically generates a conservative reaction. How could it not? Angry mobs are dangerous.

Mind you I expect to see a lot of meaninglessly symbolic green action in response to the hysterical noise-making. This includes toothless declarations of “climate emergency” and pointless promises of zero emissions by far off 2050. Politicians promising the impossible, to be delivered in the far distant future, do no harm. Hence their popularity.

My definition of winning the great climate change debate is that no serious harm is done by the alarmists.

While I expect an escalating crescendo of hysterical shrieking during the course of 2020, the reason will be that my side is winning and the loud side is losing.

As things stand now, skeptics have a chance to win big in 2020, but we must keep the pressure on. Hold your nose, plug your ears, and hit them hard. You ain’t seen nothin yet.


Trump trashes the Green New Deal at TPUSA Summit
On Sunday, President Donald Trump spoke at the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit in West Palm Beach, Florida, where he trashed the Green New Deal and all who support the disastrous plan.

"The Green New Deal, I think it's a wonderful thing I do want to think about it. I want to study it closely. I want to see whether or not we should use airplanes again," Trump said sarcastically.

"How about the senator from Hawaii, nasty, nasty horrible...what she says is so mean and so angry. She's not the smartest person on the planet. She wants the Green New Deal, and they informed her that that doesn't include airplanes. And they said, what are you going to do? And they talked about building a trail to Hawaii," Trump said.


Climate alarmist banks go carbon-colonialist

Africa must move forward without them, using fossil and nuclear energy to build prosperity

Paul Driessen and David Wojick

Africa has the world’s lowest electrification rate. Its power consumption per capita is just 613 kilowatt-hours per year, compared to 6,500 kWh in Europe and 13,000 in the United States, African Development Bank (AfDB) President Akinwumi Adesina observed in July 2017. That’s 9.4% of EU and 4.7% of US electricity consumption. It’s equivalent to Americans having electricity only 1 hour a day, 8 hours a week, 411 hours per year – at totally unpredictable times, for a few minutes, hours or days at a stretch.

It’s actually even worse than that. Excluding significantly electrified South Africa, sub-Saharan Africans consume an almost irrelevant 181 kWh of electricity per capita – 1.4% of the average American’s!

In Sub-Saharan Afria, over 600 million people have no electricity, and over 700 million rely on wood, grass and dung for cooking and heating. The region is home to 16% of the world’s population, and 53% of those without electricity. By 2050, its urban populations could increase by 600 million.

Determined to transform the “dark continent,” the AfDB launched a $12-billion New Deal on Energy in 2017 and a Light Up and Power Africa initiative in July 2018. It frequently emphasized that access to sufficient supplies of reliable, affordable modern energy – including fossil fuels – is critical for the continent’s social and economic development. Without energy, it is impossible to create jobs, increase productivity, reduce inequality, improve people’s health and wellbeing, or end poverty.

The bank’s lofty goal for its energy New Deal is 100% access to electricity in urban areas, and 95% in rural areas, by 2025. In July 2017, Mr. Adesina told the African Union Summit he was excited that “Japan has answered our call” to “adopt a balanced energy mix” that includes “its ultra-super critical clean coal technologies” that remove sulfur, nitrogen oxides and particulates, while greatly reducing CO2 emissions.

In 2018, the bank approved seed money for a Nigerian coal project and geared up to finance a 350MW coal plant in Senegal. It also initiated plans for a $2-billion coal-fired power station in the Kenya’s port city of Lamu, after the IMF, World Bank and other western lenders rebuffed Kenya.

But then Mr. Adesina and the AfDB caved in to carbon colonialist pressure. The bank now says almost nothing about coal or even natural gas. Its new themes include: responding to global concerns about climate change, gradually adopting a “low-carbon and sustainable growth path,” significantly reducing reliance on fossil fuels, and transitioning to “green growth” and “clean renewable energy,”

In September 2019, the bank announced that it planned to begin scrapping coal-fired power plants all across Africa, build “the largest solar zone” in the world, and pull funding for the Lamu power plant. “We’re getting out of coal,” Mr. Adesina said. “Coal is the past, and renewable energy is the future.”

So the AfDB has joined the World Bank, Goldman Sachs and other Multilateral anti-Development Banks in caring more about climate alarmism and avoiding criticism from the likes of Greta, the perpetually aggrieved and angry Grinch of Christmas 2019 – than they do about safeguarding the lives, livelihoods, health and living standards of hundreds of millions of electricity-deprived Africans.

This 180-degree flip-flop is delusional, dysfunctional and disingenuous. For many, it will be lethal.

First, there is nothing “green,” “clean” or “renewable” about wind and solar energy. The vast amounts of land and raw materials, mines and factories required to build wind turbines, solar panels, batteries and transmission lines – to harness widely dispersed, insufficient, intermittent, weather-dependent wind and solar energy to benefit Sub-Saharan Africans – are anything but clean, green, renewable or sustainable. In fact, trying to meet those needs would require millions of turbines and billions of solar panels.

Second, The AfDB cannot possibly achieve its Energy New Deal or Light Up and Power Africa goals with wind and solar. It will never reach 100% or even 25% access to meaningful electricity that way. No country has ever built or sustained a modern economy this way – and countries that have tried to by mandating wind, solar and fossil-fuel-free economies are paying a terrible price. Headlines tell the story.

Germany’s green suicide: Industrial job losses top 80,000. German wind industry faces extinction. 340,000 German families have pricey electricity cut off. British steel faces insolvency; British families are already deeply in debt to their energy suppliers, before winter even sets in. Meanwhile, the fossil and nuclear-based US economy added another 266,000 jobs in November and wages also grew.

Third, there is no evidence to support claims that temperatures, droughts and weather anywhere in Africa are unprecedented or due to carbon dioxide from fossil fuels – or from wood, grass and dung fires. They and other climate changes have been common throughout history, and an energy-rich, prosperous Africa will be far better able to deal with future changes than a poor, energy-deprived continent could.

Fourth, China, India, Indonesia and other countries are not going stop building coal- and gas-fired power plants – and emitting enormously more CO2. Why should Africa and the AfDb go down a different path?

Finally, banishing fossil fuels (and nuclear), and focusing on pseudo-renewable energy will mean millions of children and parents will continue to suffer and die needlessly every year from diseases of poverty and energy deprivation. This eco-manslaughter at the hands of climate activists and banks must not continue.

Africans have a fundamental human right to more than the few light bulbs, cell phone charging stations and one-cubic-foot refrigerators that can be supported by a wind turbine and solar panel economy.

Thankfully, Botswana, Tanzania and other countries recognize that their continent is rich in coal, oil, natural gas, hydro and uranium. They intend to utilize those resources, take charge of their destinies, develop their economies and improve their people’s lives – by building coal- and gas-fired power plants, hydroelectric facilities, and pebble bed modular or other nuclear power plants. They will also install wind turbines and solar panels in distant villages until electrical grids bring 24/7/365 power to the villages.

No single solution will work everywhere. But “under no circumstances are we going to apologize” for developing Africa’s oil, gas and coal fields, Equatorial Guinea energy minister Gabriel Obiang Lima has said, adding it is “criminal” for any non-African to suggest that Africa should ignore any resources it has. 

“Energy is the catalyst for growth,” says Gwede Mantashe, South Africa’s new Mineral Resources and Energy Minister and national chair of its African National Congress. Africa has long exported its oil and gas to the rest of the world, while remaining energy-deficient itself, he noted during a recent Africa Oil Week conference in Cape Town. That is no longer tenable. His new Integrated Resources Plan includes coal and nuclear, and all forms of energy, as appropriate to a given time and situation.

South Africa’s trade unions now see that solar and wind will not create jobs or prosperity; they promote coal power for inland areas where coal is plentiful, and nuclear for coastal regions where water can cool reactors. Zambia, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana and Rwanda all appear prepared to join SA in going nuclear – and Zambia has a new Zambian Atomic Energy Agency (ZAMATOM), headed by Dr. Roland Msiska; it has begun building a nuclear center and preparing for a new generation of small modular nuclear reactors.

“I am tired of being lectured by people in rich countries who have never lived a day without electricity,” says Nigerian Sam Bada. “Maybe they should just go home and turn off their fridge, hot water, laptops and lights. Then live like that for a month and tell us, who have suffered for years, not to burn coal.”

Energy deprivation perpetuates economic deprivation – and creates breeding grounds for terrorist groups in weakened African nations. Recent Islamic State attacks underscore this growing danger. Meanwhile, too many banks lack the moral decency to stand up for fossil fuels or nuclear, or question climate alarm doctrine. If they continue to balk, China could well step in – and gain greater influence and expanded control of Africa’s raw materials in the process. It would be much better if Africa stood up for itself.

Every new power plant generates electricity, jobs, better living standards, and more tax revenues to build more power plants, transmission lines and prosperity. Every country can do this, just as China, India and other nations have already. There’d be no better holiday gift than to banish Greta the Grinch from Africa.

Via email

Climate Related Deaths Down 99.9% Since 1932

The Left’s newest Saint, Greta Thunberg, “informed” us during a now famous speech she gave at the U.N. Climate Action Summit in NYC “You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you.”
She then accused world leaders of doing nothing while “solutions are in sight.”

Speaking of solutions, while the climate is changing, humans are adapting to it. As it turns out, building infrastructure to protect against climate related catastrophes is a heck of a lot easier than altering the world’s temperature through political policies that would require the entire world to sign on. That has been attempted with the Paris Climate Agreement, but even that doesn’t actually bind nations to their pledges to cut carbon emissions.

Meanwhile, adapting to the climate has saved literally millions of lives per year. According to the Cato Institute:

In the decade from 2004 to 2013, worldwide climate-related deaths (including droughts, floods, extreme temperatures, wildfires, and storms) plummeted to a level 88.6 percent below that of the peak decade, 1930 to 1939. The year 2013, with 29,404 reported deaths, had 99.4 percent fewer climate-related deaths than the historic record year of 1932, which had 5,073,283 reported deaths for the same category.

The climate catastrophists don’t want you to know this because it reveals how fundamentally flawed their viewpoint is. They treat the global climate system as a stable and safe place we make volatile and dangerous. In fact, the global climate system is naturally volatile and dangerous—we make it livable through development and technology—development and technology powered by the only form of cheap, reliable, scalable reliable energy that can make climate livable for 7 billion people.

Note that the above information is from an article published in 2014. By 2018, climate related deaths had fallen further to 5,000 that year, or a 99.9% decrease.

Thank God – we didn’t steal Greta’s childhood after all!


Australia: Green ideology, not climate change, makes bushfires worse

The article by Miranda Devine below is from March 5, 2019 but it has lost none of its relevance

Melissa Price, the new federal Environment Minister, has done untold political damage to a government already divided over climate action by spouting idiotic green propaganda about Victoria’s bushfires.

On Tuesday, she linked the fires to climate change, claiming there is “no doubt” of its impact on Australia.

“There’s no doubt that there’s many people who have suffered over this summer. We talk about the Victorian bushfires … There’s no doubt that climate change is having an impact on us. There’s no denying that.”

Sorry, minister, it wasn’t climate change that caused the latest bushfires which have so far destroyed nine homes in Victoria, and it wasn’t climate change that killed almost 200 people in the Black Saturday fires ten years ago.

The real culprit is green ideology which opposes the necessary hazard reduction of fuel loads in national parks and which prevents landholders from clearing vegetation around their homes.

The ongoing poor management of national parks and state forests in Victoria and green obstruction of fire mitigation strategies has led to dangerously high fuel loads over the past decade.

That means that when fires do inevitably break out they are so intense that they are devilishly difficult for firefighters to contain. As a federal parliamentary inquiry heard in 2003, if you quadruple the ground fuel, you get a 13-fold increase in the heat generated by a fire.

Locals know the truth. Andrew Clarke, owner of Jinks Creek Winery, which has been destroyed by a fire which raged out of the Bunyip State Forest, “begged” for fuel reduction burns to protect his property.

“I’ve been begging them [Forest Fire Management Victoria] for 20 years to burn off the state forest at the back of our place and still to this day it hasn’t happened,” he told the ABC’s Country Hour.

Clarke said a planned burn-off was called off because of concerns about nesting birds.

So how did that work out for the birds?

Hundreds of emergency workers have worked across Victoria throughout the week to bring fires under control. Picture: AAP / David Crosling
Just three weeks ago, Victoria’s former chief fire officer Ewan Waller warned that state forest fuel loads were reaching deadly, Black Saturday levels. No one paid any attention.

But you can bet Premier Daniel Andrews will hide behind the climate change furphy.

Parroting green lies suits politicians because then they can avoid blame for their own culpability.

The Black Saturday Bushfire Royal Commission criticised the Victorian government for its failure to reduce fuel loads in state forests. It recommended more than doubling the amount of hazard reduction burns.

Instead, in the last three years, alone, the Andrews government has slashed the amount of public land being hazard reduced by almost two thirds.

It’s a crime.

The wonder is that the Morrison government is helping him with his alibi.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

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


Sunday, December 29, 2019

Record hit for most ice to melt in Antarctica in one day

The "data" comes from a model (which starts in 1979 only) so is not data at all, just guesswork.  And generalizing from one instance is in any case close to brain-dead

What seems to be happening is that the  Antarctic ice sheet is the big frustration for Warmists -- as it is if anything gaining mass -- so this one little glimmer of melting is seized on eagerly, making a mountain out of a pimple

The record in recent decades for the highest level of ice to melt in Antarctica in one day was reached on Christmas Eve, data suggests.

Around 15 percent of the continent's surface melted on Monday, according to the Global Forecast System (GFS) by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP). The data comes from the Modèle Atmosphérique Régional (MAR), a model used for meteorological and climatic research.

Xavier Fettweis, a climatologist at the University of Liège in Belgium, who tweeted the data on Friday, said this is the highest melt extent in Antarctica in the modern era, since 1979. He added the production of melt water is a record 230 percent higher than average since November this year. That's despite the melting season not yet being over.

For the first time, Fettweis said, the melting seemed to explain a negative anomaly in data on Antarctica's surface mass balance (SMB). This is the net balance between what causes a glacier's surface to grow or deplete, for instance because it evaporates or melts away.

"It should be noted that this process is currently missing in most of SMB estimations over Antarctica as melt has been negligible until now. But the climate is changing..." Fettweis said.

Fettweis told Newsweek Antarctica has been "significantly warmer than average" this melting season. But he stressed the data is from a model, and not an in situ observation. The melting could be driven by a number of factors, and experts will need to wait two to three melting seasons to confirm what is going on.

"We have observed a crash of the Antarctica polar vortex just before this melting season," explained Fettweis, referring to low pressure near the pole. "A weaker polar vortex allows warm air masses to reach easier the ice sheet (which is usually protected by its polar vortex as it was the case the previous summer). The fact that the sea ice extent is very low also enhances the possibility of warm air masses to reach the ice sheet."

Asked whether climate change is to blame, he said: "As for most of the anomalies observed on these last months over the Earth (e.g. in Australia), the signal coming from global warming can not be ignored here."


Japanese banks to the rescue of coal power

Financial institutions have chaneled $745 billion over the past three years to new coal power projects worldwide despite effort to reduce fossil fuel use to fight climate change, a report released Thursday said.

The amount was calculated using data covering both lending and underwriting between January 2017 and September 2019 for all 258 coal plant developers identified in the Global Coal Exit List, drawn up by the Urgewald and BankTrack groups.

Altogether, the report cites more than 1,000 new coal power stations or units in the pipeline.

“Most of the top banks providing loans or investment banking services to these companies acknowledge the risks of climate change, but their actions are a slap in the face to the Paris Climate Agreement,” said Greig Aitken, climate campaigner at BankTrack.

The top three lenders listed are the Japanese banks Mizuho, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and the Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation.

These are followed by Citigroup and BNP Paribas.


America, Not Paris, is the Environment’s Best Champion

President Trump recently shed light on a little-acknowledged but critical fact: Free-market American ingenuity, not the Paris Agreement, is improving our environment.

“The Paris Accord would’ve been a giant transfer of American wealth to foreign nations that are responsible for most of the world’s pollution,” President Trump said at the Shale Insight conference in Pittsburgh. “My job is to represent the people of Pittsburgh, not the people of Paris.”

Three years in, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the Paris Agreement is a sham. Its anti-energy, globalist ideas are not only detrimental to the global economy, prioritizing liberal elite ideology over human well-being, but also utter failures at their ultimate goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Only seven countries are on track to meet their emission targets, and many of the Paris Agreement’s signatories have actually increased their carbon dioxide emissions.

Germany, a supposed world leader in renewable energy, has reduced its emissions by about 10% — but renewables have only been a minor factor. The decrease has been largely attributed to a decline in manufacturing, driven out by high energy prices. While Germany has spent $200 billion in its shift to renewable energy, its electricity prices have risen by more than 50%—some of the highest prices in the world, a significant burden for families and business owners to bear.

Ironically, Germany is now forced to turn to high-emission energy sources to sustain its renewable energy agenda. Unable to rely on wind and solar power alone, the nation is now acquiring much of its energy from biomass (wood pellets imported from the United States) and building natural gas pipelines from Russia. In Europe, importing Russian natural gas produces 41% more lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions than importing American natural gas.

Meanwhile, the United States has cut more total carbon dioxide emissions than any other nation. From 2008 to 2018, our energy-related emissions fell by 9% when the rest of the world increased their emissions by 17%. China’s emissions growth alone wiped out America’s reductions in 2017 by more than threefold, and now its emissions are growing even faster.

The widespread failure to comply with the Paris Agreement proves its just empty political posturing—virtue-signaling fanfare with no promise of action. But even if the signatories managed to rise to the occasion and meet their emission reduction targets for the rest of the century, global temperatures would be just 0.17 degrees lower in 2100.

Does two-tenths of a degree really justify strangling our energy industry and, therefore, our economy and way of life?

In reality, there’s no evidence to suggest climate change will be anything other than mild and manageable. The environment will be better off if we prioritize cutting pollution and encouraging economic growth and innovation. Contrary to the popular narrative, economic growth and environmental quality historically go hand-in-hand.

More important than greenhouse gases are reducing toxic pollution known to cause human harm. Here the United States is a leader as well. Despite the common belief that our environment is deteriorating, America’s air is the cleanest on record. We’ve cut the EPA’s six key air pollutants, toxic substances that cause humans harm, by 74% since 1970.

We’ve achieved these unprecedented improvements while growing our economy by 275%, our energy consumption by 49%, our vehicle miles traveled by 191%, and our population by 60%.

And our air might be even cleaner were it not for Asia’s air pollution problem. Several studies show a significant portion of the West Coast’s air pollution is blown over from Asia. Ironically, states like California that continually pass stricter environmental regulations often force manufacturing jobs overseas, further contributing to this problem. Our competitors in Asia can produce goods cheaply in part because they don’t utilize our advanced pollution control technology—something President Trump was right to call attention to.

America’s environmental leadership is something to celebrate, but it shouldn’t stop there. We should challenge world leaders to take a bold step: to meet America’s air quality standards. We should expect our allies and trading partners to share our commitment to environmental stewardship.

While other nations feign moral superiority by fighting a so-called crisis, the United States is leading the world through its actions. It’s only fair we ask the rest of the world to step up to the plate and do the same.


750 Billion Reasons Why Goldman Is Rooting For Greta Thunberg's Success

Having lost much of its central banker incubation skills over the past decade, and handing over the crown of Wall Street's most profitable trading desk to Morgan Stanley, in recent years Goldman Sachs has been best known for enabling and profiting wildly from Malaysia 1MDB criminal fraud, which culminated with the arrest of former Malaysia PM Razak, but not before Goldman made billions in illicit profits from selling bonds offered by the country's sovereign wealth fund.

And while Goldman is still waiting to learn its criminal and civil fate, and more importantly, how many billions it will have to pay Malaysia/the DOJ to put its 1MDB fraud in the rearview mirror, the company - which a decade ago was hoping to make billions from aggressively entering the carbon credit/offset market as profiled delightfully in Matt Taibbi's "The Great American Bubble Machine" - is already scheming how to profit from the latest round of anti-climate change euphoria, conveniently spawned by a 16-year-old child with Asperger's Syndrome.

On Monday, Goldman Sachs said it will provide $750 billion in financing, advisory services and investments for initiatives that fight climate change, as well as those that foster economic opportunities for under-served people over the next decade. What Goldman did not say is that it will pocket a generous commission, somewhere in the 3-5% ballpark, by peddling "green" products to naive investors (including central banks) who have fallen for the whole ESG virtue signalling charade.

The bank also updated its internal environmental policy framework to rule out providing financing to any new projects that will drill for oil in the Arctic or that create new thermal coal plants or new thermal coal mines. Of course, the destructive consequences of the bank's involvement in the 1MDB scandal would be quietly excluded from this virtuous charade.

Ironically, Goldman's policy changes come just as the United Nations concludes a conference that failed to ramp up efforts to combat global warming, according to Reuters.

Goldman CEO David Solomon announced the plans in an editorial in the Financial Times, where he wrote that there is "a powerful business and investing case" for the bank to take steps to address climate change and the growing worldwide opportunity gap.

Very powerful: having failed to make almost any money from the bank's last foray into carbon tax and cap-and-trade, Goldman is now seeking to directly appeal to fellow fake virtue signalers, who in turn will hope to extract capital from naive investors pursuing the oh so noble goal of only investing in green, renewable, and "clean" (whatever that means) projects. Goldman's bottom line, assuming a blended 3% commission on the $750BN in financial services it sells to gullible clients, works out to about $22.5 billion - a "powerful business case" indeed.

Additionally, Goldman emphasized that it will not pass up any significant amount of revenue as a result of the $750 billion commitment and the ban on financing certain drilling and coal activities. A Goldman Sachs executive said on a call with reporters that the bank has not financed any projects like those in recent memory. However, since US shale producers, most of whom are funded by the ultra-generous US junk bond market, are hardly losing sleep, it only means that other, less "virtuous" banks will be delighted to pocket a far higher commission by stepping into the "dirty" market where ESG virtue signalers now refuse to tread.

And speaking of drilling and coal activities, the bank said it has a rigorous due-diligence process that takes into consideration, among other things, impacts on endangered species and indigenous populations, the executive said.

The $750 billion commitment will be deployed in several ways, including by investing in and advising companies to take steps to reduce their carbon emissions and become more sustainable, the bank said. For example, earlier this year Goldman worked with Italian electricity company Enel to raise $1.5 billion through a bond offering that linked the investments to Enel’s commitment to increase its renewable energy base by 25% before 2022.

Translation: Goldman made about $15 million selling a bunch of bonds to a bunch of "green" liberals managing other liberals' money. Because when central banks have taken over the market and Goldman's own trading desk is shrinking quarter after quarter, and when the coming negative rates will make Goldman's recent investment into retail banking a disaster, one can always make money betting on liberal guilt, and nobody knows this better than Goldman Sachs... and Greta Thunberg.

And just in case Thunberg falls short of sparking the next major revenue driver on Wall Street, there is always the Fed. On Monday, the San Fran Fed published a paper titled "The Economics of Climate Change: A First Fed Conference" in which the authors concluded that "the economic consequences of climate change are likely to be substantial and will require responses from a wide range of policy institutions". More importantly, they will make tens of billions in revenue for such idealistic, progressive, "green" organizations as Goldman Sachs.


Australia: GetUp stirs the climate claims of fire activists

The GetUp activist group is driving the campaign of some bushfire survivors who blame climate change for fires burning in southeast Australia and are calling for “100 per cent renewable energy for all”.

Key among demands of the Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action group is that the Morrison government curb the nation’s ­reliance on fossil fuels by vetoing development of the Adani coalmine in north Queensland — a campaign priority similar to GetUp’s own.

The bushfire survivors’ group gained national attention when it was launched in February with a personal endorsement from decorated former NSW Fire and Rescue commissioner Greg Mullins.

GetUp promoted the launch on its Twitter feed in advance, telling supporters Mr Mullins would join Bushfire Survivors for ­Climate Action at a press conference in Canberra.

Mr Mullins leads a group of ex-fire chiefs — Emergency Leaders for Climate Action — funded by Tim Flannery’s Climate Council. They have accused Scott Morrison of a “policy-free zone” on climate change and urged the government to respond to the bushfire crisis with curbs on carbon emissions. A spokesman for the former NSW fire chief stressed that, while not demurring from his support of the bushfire victims’ group, he had “no affiliation” with GetUp.

The GetUp website promoting Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action provides harrowing ­accounts of fire victims’ experiences. It seeks support for their cause and is authorised by GetUp’s ­national director, Paul Oosting.

The site says GetUp provides “in-kind support” while “ad hoc media support” comes from the Climate Media Centre.

Asking supporters to “join us” in urging the government to take action, Bushfire Survivors says the Morrison government can no longer ignore the way climate change is hurting communities. “They must take Australia ­beyond coal projects like Adani and move to 100 per cent renewable energy for all,” it states.

Prominent among the group’s survival stories is Lyn Trindall’s account of how she escaped her lower Blue Mountains home at Winmalee in October 2013. Ms Trindall, the local GetUp group co-ordinator and a former Blue Mountains councillor, tells of a frightening evacuation as the wheelchair she uses spilt into a garden bed and a fire team came to her aid.

Another survivor, ­retired teacher Janet Reynolds from Bega and a supporter of ­recent “school strike” protests over climate change, tells of confronting a wall of flames and fallen trees during her escape.

The fire chiefs group led by Mr Mullins has no direct link to GetUp but some of the Climate Council’s supporters and contractors do have GetUp connections. The Mullins group, with Climate Council support, is pledging to hold a national summit after the fire season has ended early next year to devise a strategy on combating future fires that would take account of climate change.

The Prime Minister has been criticised by both Mr Mullins and the Bushfire Survivors group for refusing to meet them.

Government insiders say Mr Morrison has been reluctant to kowtow to lobby groups linking climate change to bushfires.

His office is believed to be wary of the politics involved, arguing the groups’ associations with the Climate Council and GetUp as support organisations suggests they are anti-Coalition, leaning more to Labor or the Greens.

A Climate Council spokesman rejected claims of an “anti-­Coalition association”, saying his organisation was strictly non-­partisan.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

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


Saturday, December 28, 2019

Climate Crisis? Four Major Metrics That Say Otherwise

By meteorologist Joe Bastardi

I have long advocated that climatologists take a course on long-range forecasting so they can better understand the inherent errors in trying to predict the weather or climate. In the debate over the fate of the planet, where one side is always pushing hysteria, the weather is plainly not cooperating with the missive.

Forecasters take climatology classes and are now being taught the one-sided climate narrative, but in general, climatologists do not have to learn how to forecast. If they did, they would have to confront errors. I have had to confront mine, the latest example being this past winter’s botched forecast for the Southeast. Because climatologists are not exposed to forecast verification, it has led to a bold initiative that simply pushes an issue because no one will question it.

From the evidence I have seen, not only is the cause of warming questionable (there’s no question it’s warming; the question is why it’s warming), but the implied negative impacts are also questionable, because there are factual examples of the opposite happening.

I am not trying to be mean and nasty. That is not my mission. My mission in writing a piece like this is to show what I am looking at and why I question what I am being told. It does me no good to engage in the kind of activity I see out there today with derogatory labeling. In fact, I am trying to go the other way.

The assumption, of course, is that everyone is truly searching for the right answer. But if that is the case, is the missive being pushed not unlike using the fruit of a poisoned tree, wherein the means justify the ends? What if the ends are not at all what they are purported to be? If a catastrophe that is driving children to sue the government is actually occurring, why are there major metrics opposite of what is being claimed?

As a young child, I had no interest in suing the government. I was given a book in which an entire chapter was devoted to climate. It stated that if the earth warmed, it would snow more because the warming would not be enough to prevent snow in very cold places, and the warming would be from more water vapor. And due to water runoff into the ocean from extra snowmelt, a cooling cycle would begin. I read that 55 years ago.

When I got to college, that is precisely what we were taught in climatology. Of course, the sun is involved, and there are people opining that the low solar activity means a little ice age is on the way. I believe too much heat has accumulated in the oceans over the years due to natural processes (perhaps including 200 years of high sunspots) for that to come true. In short, I see a balancing act natural to the system occurring, and humans are observing it — each person with a different way of viewing things. I wrote previously about perspective, and I think that is very important.

There is no denying the planet is warmer now than it was at the start of the satellite era, and a linkage to the oceans is clearly seen. That being said, where it’s warming gives us a clue as to why it’s warming. More warming in the coldest, driest areas is a function of increased water vapor, not CO2. Because the oceans have warmed, there is more water vapor in the air. I understand the CO2 feedback argument, but as stated before, in the face of the planet’s entire history, why shouldn’t we question that argument?

In any case, a look at snow cover across the Northern Hemisphere shows the increase that is occurring, which is in line with natural climate cycle theory.

So here’s the question: If you learned something when you were young and then you later saw it happening in front of you, would you not at least question the ideas that say it is the result of something different? Is it unreasonable to do so? Why are the “no more snow” cries we heard back in 2000 not robustly questioned?

The back end of the cold PDO period from 2007-2013 produced a lot of drought across the U.S. This was turned into a perma-drought missive, first in Texas then in California. And of course, if we look at the Palmer Drought Index, we see it was dry in 2012.

At the time, my company took the lead in pointing out the similarities to the 1950s in the Southern Plains. And like clockwork, it turned. We said this because we had interests not in climate change but in supplying clients with accurate ideas on where patterns were going. If you pour concrete or raise crops or even have to schedule Little League baseball games, it pays to know if it’s going to be drier or wetter than average. That is what we do. That is always my main focus.

But you can see how that can conflict with a missive that says something very different. If almost everyone is saying you are in a perma-drought, and a lone voice is saying it will reverse, then someone has to be right and someone has to be wrong. My question is why no one bothered to call out the hysteria after the big drought years. It has since turned wet in California as the Pacific Decadol Oscillation (PDO) has warmed.

The result is the opposite of the hysteria. So much so that the missive now is too much rain, which of course will reverse as it always does in the coming years.

Sea surface temperatures went from this (notice the cold ring in the Pacific)…

…to this over the past 5 years:

The PDO is a known major driver of the weather, and yet the people pushing the perma-drought narrative won’t even acknowledge the direct link.

Tornadoes are a big deal, of course. But across the board, the metrics are showing the opposite of the hysteria being pushed. Tornado frequency is decreasing:

The frequency of strong to violent tornadoes is also decreasing:

You are always going to have a warm-air source for tornadoes. But if it’s warming more where the environment is naturally cooler, it decreases the overall clash potential. Past colder periods clearly featured more strong tornadoes than have recent warm times. This year we think the tornado count will be a bit below average, but you can bet whether above or below average, any destructive tornado will be portrayed as evidence of the climate catastrophe we supposedly are in.

The decrease in fatalities is a flat-out compliment to the men and women who are leading the way in issuing warnings. This shows exactly how to adapt to the weather with better technology, not try to change what we cannot. You have a much better shot at getting far enough away to save your life with a 10-minute warning than you do with a two-minute warning — which, again, is a great tribute to the advancement made in forecasting and to the great job done by NOAA in providing for the common defense. I cannot overstate enough my admiration.

Given more people are living in harm’s way, this chart is a finger in the eye of those claiming the situation is getting worse.

The trend is clearly down across the board. Yet why are no mainstream journalists curious about this?

Finally, with regard to hurricanes, how many times have we heard it is worse than ever? Or that an aberration of an active season is a harbinger of things to come?

Dr. Phillip Klotzbach provides these charts showing a clear decline in the frequency of landfalling U.S. hurricanes and intensity.

Will any mainstream journalist stand up to people asserting the opposite?

With the summer season coming, we turn away from the snow season to focus on droughts, tornadoes, and hurricanes. We believe it’s going to be another wet summer as a whole for the U.S., with drought held down — which, of course, will raise hysteria about too much rain.

It has rained a lot in California, so guess what? Another big wildfire season is on the way there as we have demonstrated for you over the past two years.

I think the tornado count is bit below normal, but I am not as bullishly low as other sources. Still, if it happens to be above normal, it will be an aberration against the trend.

We also predict a below-average hurricane season, but you should know full well that if a big one hits, hysteria will ensue.

You can see how muddy the waters have become. The purity of what I love is being destroyed. How can this be? You are being told the numbers are out of control, yet I have provided four major metrics in which that is clearly not the case. I am not “cherry picking.” It is people pushing the issue that keep insisting that the opposite is happening, and they are using their claims to try to drive home a point that I believe is based on an agenda. Their claims are are clearly not in line with the examples shown above. Which is why I tell people that today’s dialogue on climate and weather in reality have little to do with climate and weather. That’s the biggest shame of all.


How Binge-Watching On Streaming Services Is Hurting The Environment (?)

EVERYTHING is bad for the planet

Movie nights once required driving to the local video store to rent, rewind and return the latest blockbuster. Now on-demand video content providers offer countless binge-worthy options at the touch of a finger.

But experts say the ease of streaming services comes with a hefty environmental price tag.

Watching a half-hour show would lead to emissions of 1.6 kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent, said Maxime Efoui-Hess of French think tank the Shift Project. That's equivalent to driving 3.9 miles (6.28 kilometres).

Last year, online video streaming produced emissions equivalent to Spain and that amount may double in the next six years, according to the Shift Project.

While most of the online traffic -- 34 percent -- is related to streaming videos, on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu, for example, the next biggest sector is online porn.

"Digital videos come in very large file sizes and (are) getting bigger with each new generation of higher definition video," said Gary Cook of Greenpeace, which monitors the IT sector's energy footprint.

"More data equals more energy needed to maintain a system that is ready to stream this video to your device at a moment's notice," Cook told AFP.

Much of the energy needed for streaming services is consumed by the data centre, which delivers data to your computer or device, explained Cook.

The centres contribute about 0.3 percent of all carbon emissions, according to an article by Nature.

Experts remain divided on how much that number will grow. 

'Waste of resources on all levels'"

"For energy consumption to stay flat for the next five to 10 years, significant improvement in IT equipment and data centre energy performance must be made or our appetite for computations must diminish," said Dale Sartor of the Center of Expertise for Data Centers, linked to the US Department of Energy.

Anders Andrae of Huawei Technologies told AFP he estimated they would consume as much as 4.1 percent of global electricity by 2030.

Web-based video traffic is expected to increase four times from 2017 to 2022 and account for 80 percent of all internet traffic by 2022, according to the CISCO Network.

Netflix is continuing to expand globally -- the company reported a 53-percent increase in international revenue for streaming subscriptions between 2017 and 2018. And Disney and Apple are launching their own streaming services this year.

Meanwhile, the equipment used to view videos is getting larger -- the average screen size shot up from 22 inches (55 centimetres) in 1997 to an expected 50 inches by 2021, according to the Consumer Technology Association.

"The changing screen size and related shift to digital video technology has set the stage for higher definition and thus larger file sizes that we are streaming," said Cook.

Screens with 4K resolution use about 30 percent more energy than high-definition screens, according to a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council. Last year, 8K screens made their debut.

The consequence is "a waste of resources at all levels", added Laurent Lefevre of the French Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation.

Experts suggest that viewers disable autoplay and stream over Wi-Fi in lower-definition formats. The worst-case scenario is watching over a 3G connection on a mobile device, said Lefevre.

The Shift Project offers a browser extension that monitors internet use, displaying the amount of electricty used, the CO2 that electricity produces, and how far the user would have to drive to match those emissions.

Cook emphasizes the most impactful change consumers can make is through their wallets.

"Exercising collective responsibility, with individuals demanding internet giants rapidly transition their data centres to renewable energy, has been the biggest driver thus far," he said.


GND Effects: 'Barely Distinguishable From Zero'

In a column for The Patriot Post in August of 2015, meteorologist and climate analyst Joe Bastardi asked, “All This for .01 Degrees Celsius?” in reference to Barack Obama’s scheme “to reduce greenhouse gases to save us from an apocalyptic atmosphere.”

Bastardi’s point was to show that Obama’s carbon-emissions-reduction methods would accomplish virtually nothing. But don’t take his word for it. He cited former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, who at the time “admitted that the steps being taken would only prevent .01 degrees Celsius of warming, but it was the example that counted for the rest of the world.”

The Green New Deal is no different — both in terms of its bloviators and its influence.

According to the American Enterprise Institute’s Benjamin Zycher, the Left’s newest climate and socioeconomic monstrosity would similarly accomplish nothing — except to promote socialism. “Notwithstanding the assertions from GND proponents that it is an essential policy to confront purportedly adverse climate phenomena,” he writes, “the future temperature impacts of the zero-emissions objective would be barely distinguishable from zero: 0.173°C by 2100, under the maximum Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change parameter (equilibrium climate sensitivity) about the effects of reduced GHG emissions.” He adds, “Under an assumption consistent with the findings reported in the recent peer-reviewed literature, the effect would be 0.083°C by 2100.”

Coming back full circle to Gina McCarthy’s ultimate objective, The Daily Wire’s Emily Zanotti says, “Green New Deal proponents, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), have long claimed that the GND … would be worth it if it such extreme measures would in the long run lessen our impact on climate.” Yet Zycher reports that “the annual economic cost of the GND would be about $9 trillion.” That’s a whole lot of nothing for a “deal” that will cost the economy $9 trillion annually and not really lessen our impact on climate.

Whether it’s the Clean Power Plan, Paris Climate Accord, or Green New Deal, the Left believes that spending oodles of money will solve the “problem” (whatever that is), even though some of them have conceded that temperatures won’t really change all that much. As Zycher summarily puts it, “The GND’s real goal is wealth redistribution to favored political interests under the GND social-policy agenda and a dramatic increase in government control of resource allocation more generally.”


Greenies want global speed limits on roads

The Greenies are getting their meddling fingers into even more pies.  It's only a "declaration" that they are asking for  at this stage but once the declaration has been signed, governments will come under pressure to implement it

Hopefully, most governments  will foresee its unpopularity and kick the can down the road, in a way that governments are good at doing.  The 55mph limit that Nixon and Jimmy Carter imposed on Americans was hugely unpopular so was eventually rescinded -- by Bill Clinton

Australia is preparing to sign an international road safety declaration in Sweden that endorses a 30km/h limit on suburban roads in response to "traffic injuries, air quality and climate change".

Nationals leader Michael Mc-Cormack is scheduled to attend a global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety on February 19, where he will join other transport and infrastructure ministers in ratifying the Stockholm Declaration, which will be referred to the UN.

A draft obtained by The Weekend Australian includes a preamble recommending integration of road safety with UN Sustainable Development Goals, including climate action, gender equality and reduced inequalities targets. The summit is expected to endorse speeding up the "shift toward cleaner, safer and more affordable modes of transport, incorporating higher levels of physical activity such as walking, cycling and using public transit".

Clause seven of the draft declaration suggests mandating lower speeds on urban roads, which would have a significant impact on Australian residential limits, currently 50km/h. It resolves to strengthen "law enforcement to ensure zero speeding and mandate a maximum road travel speed limit of 30km/h ... in residential areas and urban neighbourhoods within cities as efforts to reduce speed will have an impact on both road traffic injuries, air quality and climate change".

The two-day road safety summit, which includes sessions with Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf and Prince Michael of Kent, will also focus on "sustainable transport. The Stockholm Declaration calls on public and private organisations to purchase "safe and sustainable vehicle fleets".

It flags addressing "the connections between road safety, mental and physical health, development, education; equity, gender equality, environment and climate change". A spokesman for Mr McCormack said the Deputy Prime Minister "has had no approval or input into the wording of the current draft text". "The draft Stockholm Declaration will be considered at the Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety in February," he said.

Despite The Weekend Australian understanding Mr McCormack and his chief of staff were confirmed to represent the government in Sweden, his spokesman said they were not sure whether his "schedule will permit him to attend". "If the Deputy Prime Minister does attend, the draft text will be carefully reviewed and the government would provide input where necessary," he said.

If he pulls out, Assistant Road Safety Minister Scott Buchholz would likely attend. Mr McCormack did not answer questions on whether he supported 30km/h limits, integrating road safety with climate action or if the government would purchase a "sustainable vehicle fleet".

In October, Scott Morrison delivered a speech urging Australia to "avoid any reflex towards a negative globalism that coercively seeks to impose a mandate from an often ill-defined borderless global community ... And worse still, an unaccountable internationalist bureaucracy".

Mr McCormack's visit comes after the Australian Automobile Association in August warned about government inaction on the national road safety strategy. The AAA released analysis showing only nine of 33 individual safety performance indicators were "on track" to be met. Pressure is also building on the Coalition to accelerate policy settings in response to the influx of electric vehicles.

From The Weekend Australian of 21 December, 2019


For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

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


Friday, December 27, 2019

100 scientific papers: CO2 has minuscule effect on climate

Increasing evidence destroys primary claim of alarmists

Within the past few years, more than 50 papers have been added to a compilation of scientific studies that refute the primary claim of climate-change activists that CO2 causes global warming.

The papers compiled by the NoTricksZone website, now numbering 106, find that CO2 has a minuscule effect on climate.

Words such as "negligible" are used to describe CO2's effect on the climate.

A 2019 paper, for example, noted that the "enhancement of the atmospheric greenhouse effect due to the increase in the atmospheric greenhouse gases is often considered as responsible for global warming."

But the analysis by Costas Varotsos and M.N. Efstathiou of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens "did not show a consistent warming with gradual increase (in CO2) in low to high latitudes in both hemispheres, as it should be from the global warming theory."

"Based on these results and bearing in mind that the climate system is complicated and complex with the existing uncertainties in the climate predictions, it is not possible to reliably support the view of the presence of global warming in the sense of an enhanced greenhouse effect due to human activities," the researchers write.

WND reported in September an MIT-trained scientist who has specialized for nearly 25 years in abnormal weather and climate change published a book explaining why he believes the data underpinning global-warming science are unreliable.

Mototaka Nakamura, who earned a doctorate of science from MIT, has conducted his work at prestigious institutions such as MIT, Georgia Institute of Technology, NASA, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology and Duke University, reported the website Electroverse.

In his book "The Global Warming Hypothesis is an Unproven Hypothesis," Nakamura explained why global mean temperatures before 1980 are based on "untrustworthy data."

"Before full planet surface observation by satellite began in 1980, only a small part of the Earth had been observed for temperatures with only a certain amount of accuracy and frequency," he says. "Across the globe, only North America and Western Europe have trustworthy temperature data dating back to the 19th century."

Earlier in September, a group of 500 scientists and professionals in climate science wrote a letter to the United Nations contending there is no climate crisis and that spending trillions on the issue is "cruel and imprudent."

They urged the U.N. to "follow a climate policy based on sound science, realistic economics and genuine concern for those harmed by costly but unnecessary attempts at mitigation."

Electroverse noted that today's "global warming science" is built on the work of a few climate modelers who claim to have demonstrated that human-derived CO2 emissions are the cause of recently rising temperatures "and have then simply projected that warming forward."

"Every climate researcher thereafter has taken the results of these original models as a given, and we're even at the stage now where merely testing their validity is regarded as heresy."

Richard Lindzen, an emeritus professor of atmospheric sciences at MIT who has published more than 200 scientific papers, says in a video produced by PragerU "it seems that the less the climate changes, the louder the voices of the climate alarmists get."

He pointed out that the United Nations International Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC, admitted in its 2007 paper that the "long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible."

The truth is, the professor said, that climate-change scientists and "skeptics" in the scientific community agree that the climate is always changing and that over the past two centuries, the global mean temperature has increased slightly and erratically by about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit.

So, why are so many people panic-stricken, including some who are warning the world has only 12 years left to save itself?

He points to politicians, activists and media. "Global warming provides them, more than any other issue, with the things they most want," he said.

For politicians, it's power and money. For activists, it's money for their organizations and "confirmation of their near-religious devotion to the idea that man is a destructive force acting upon nature."

For the media, Lindzen says, it's ideology, money and headlines.  "Doomsday scenarios sell."


We’ve just had the best decade in human history. Seriously

Little of this made the news, because good news is no news

Matt Ridley

Let nobody tell you that the second decade of the 21st century has been a bad time. We are living through the greatest improvement in human living standards in history. Extreme poverty has fallen below 10 per cent of the world’s population for the first time. It was 60 per cent when I was born. Global inequality has been plunging as Africa and Asia experience faster economic growth than Europe and North America; child mortality has fallen to record low levels; famine virtually went extinct; malaria, polio and heart disease are all in decline.

Little of this made the news, because good news is no news. But I’ve been watching it all closely. Ever since I wrote The Rational Optimist in 2010, I’ve been faced with ‘what about…’ questions: what about the great recession, the euro crisis, Syria, Ukraine, Donald Trump? How can I possibly say that things are getting better, given all that? The answer is: because bad things happen while the world still gets better. Yet get better it does, and it has done so over the course of this decade at a rate that has astonished even starry-eyed me.

Perhaps one of the least fashionable predictions I made nine years ago was that ‘the ecological footprint of human activity is probably shrinking’ and ‘we are getting more sustainable, not less, in the way we use the planet’. That is to say: our population and economy would grow, but we’d learn how to reduce what we take from the planet. And so it has proved. An MIT scientist, Andrew McAfee, recently documented this in a book called More from Less, showing how some nations are beginning to use less stuff: less metal, less water, less land. Not just in proportion to productivity: less stuff overall.

This does not quite fit with what the Extinction Rebellion lot are telling us. But the next time you hear Sir David Attenborough say: ‘Anyone who thinks that you can have infinite growth on a planet with finite resources is either a madman or an economist’, ask him this: ‘But what if economic growth means using less stuff, not more?’ For example, a normal drink can today contains 13 grams of aluminium, much of it recycled. In 1959, it contained 85 grams. Substituting the former for the latter is a contribution to economic growth, but it reduces the resources consumed per drink.

As for Britain, our consumption of ‘stuff’ probably peaked around the turn of the century — an achievement that has gone almost entirely unnoticed. But the evidence is there. In 2011 Chris Goodall, an investor in electric vehicles, published research showing that the UK was now using not just relatively less ‘stuff’ every year, but absolutely less. Events have since vindicated his thesis. The quantity of all resources consumed per person in Britain (domestic extraction of biomass, metals, minerals and fossil fuels, plus imports minus exports) fell by a third between 2000 and 2017, from 12.5 tonnes to 8.5 tonnes. That’s a faster decline than the increase in the number of people, so it means fewer resources consumed overall.

If this doesn’t seem to make sense, then think about your own home. Mobile phones have the computing power of room-sized computers of the 1970s. I use mine instead of a camera, radio, torch, compass, map, calendar, watch, CD player, newspaper and pack of cards. LED light bulbs consume about a quarter as much electricity as incandescent bulbs for the same light. Modern buildings generally contain less steel and more of it is recycled. Offices are not yet paperless, but they use much less paper.

Even in cases when the use of stuff is not falling, it is rising more slowly than expected. For instance, experts in the 1970s forecast how much water the world would consume in the year 2000. In fact, the total usage that year was half as much as predicted. Not because there were fewer humans, but because human inventiveness allowed more efficient irrigation for agriculture, the biggest user of water.

Until recently, most economists assumed that these improvements were almost always in vain, because of rebound effects: if you cut the cost of something, people would just use more of it. Make lights less energy-hungry and people leave them on for longer. This is known as the Jevons paradox, after the 19th-century economist William Stanley Jevons, who first described it. But Andrew McAfee argues that the Jevons paradox doesn’t hold up. Suppose you switch from incandescent to LED bulbs in your house and save about three-quarters of your electricity bill for lighting. You might leave more lights on for longer, but surely not four times as long.

Efficiencies in agriculture mean the world is now approaching ‘peak farmland’ — despite the growing number of people and their demand for more and better food, the productivity of agriculture is rising so fast that human needs can be supplied by a shrinking amount of land. In 2012, Jesse Ausubel of Rockefeller University and his colleagues argued that, thanks to modern technology, we use 65 per cent less land to produce a given quantity of food compared with 50 years ago. By 2050, it’s estimated that an area the size of India will have been released from the plough and the cow.

Land-sparing is the reason that forests are expanding, especially in rich countries. In 2006 Ausubel worked out that no reasonably wealthy country had a falling stock of forest, in terms of both tree density and acreage. Large animals are returning in abundance in rich countries; populations of wolves, deer, beavers, lynx, seals, sea eagles and bald eagles are all increasing; and now even tiger numbers are slowly climbing.

Perhaps the most surprising statistic is that Britain is using steadily less energy. John Constable of the Global Warming Policy Forum points out that although the UK’s economy has almost trebled in size since 1970, and our population is up by 20 per cent, total primary inland energy consumption has actually fallen by almost 10 per cent. Much of that decline has happened in recent years. This is not necessarily good news, Constable argues: although the improving energy efficiency of light bulbs, aeroplanes and cars is part of the story, it also means we are importing more embedded energy in products, having driven much of our steel, aluminium and chemical industries abroad with some of the highest energy prices for industry in the world.

In fact, all this energy-saving might cause problems. Innovation requires experiments (most of which fail). Experiments require energy. So cheap energy is crucial — as shown by the industrial revolution. Thus, energy may be the one resource that a prospering population should be using more of. Fortunately, it is now possible that nuclear fusion will one day deliver energy in minimalist form, using very little fuel and land.

Since its inception, the environmental movement has been obsessed by finite resources. The two books that kicked off the green industry in the early 1970s, The Limits to Growth in America and Blueprint for Survival in Britain, both lamented the imminent exhaustion of metals, minerals and fuels. The Limits to Growth predicted that if growth continued, the world would run out of gold, mercury, silver, tin, zinc, copper and lead well before 2000. School textbooks soon echoed these claims.

This caused the economist Julian Simon to challenge the ecologist Paul Ehrlich to a bet that a basket of five metals (chosen by Ehrlich) would cost less in 1990 than in 1980. The Stone Age did not end for lack of stone, Simon said, arguing that we would find substitutes if metals grew scarce. Simon won the bet easily, although Ehrlich wrote the cheque with reluctance, sniping that ‘the one thing we’ll never run out of is imbeciles’. To this day none of those metals has significantly risen in price or fallen in volume of reserves, let alone run out. (One of my treasured possessions is the Julian Simon award I won in 2012, made from the five metals.)

A modern irony is that many green policies advocated now would actually reverse the trend towards using less stuff. A wind farm requires far more concrete and steel than an equivalent system based on gas. Environmental opposition to nuclear power has hindered the generating system that needs the least land, least fuel and least steel or concrete per megawatt. Burning wood instead of coal in power stations means the exploitation of more land, the eviction of more woodpeckers — and even higher emissions. Organic farming uses more land than conventional. Technology has put us on a path to a cleaner, greener planet. We don’t need to veer off in a new direction. If we do, we risk retarding progress.

As we enter the third decade of this century, I’ll make a prediction: by the end of it, we will see less poverty, less child mortality, less land devoted to agriculture in the world. There will be more tigers, whales, forests and nature reserves. Britons will be richer, and each of us will use fewer resources. The global political future may be uncertain, but the environmental and technological trends are pretty clear — and pointing in the right direction.


Contrast Of Climate And Energy Policies, And Economic Results, In The U.S. And Germany

If you are reading your normal diet of “mainstream” press, you are getting hit with a constant barrage of climate alarm, together with a near total boycott on any good economic news for as long as Trump remains President. As a result, it is very easy to lose track of the widening chasm in the climate and energy policies, and also in the economic results, between the U.S. and its major European competitors. When you put some easily-available numbers together in one place, the contrast becomes very striking. For today, I will collect a smattering of relevant statistics, focusing on the U.S. and Germany.

And then there are the positions on these subjects of the candidates for the Democratic nomination for President. I find those positions beyond belief.

You probably know that the so-called “fracking” revolution in oil and gas production has led to a large increase in U.S. production of those fuels over the last ten or so years. The actual numbers are quite remarkable. On the oil side, according to data from the government’s Energy Information Agency here, in 2008 U.S. production of crude oil from all sources averaged 5 million barrels per day. By 2018, that figure had well more than doubled to 10.99 million bbl/dy. By contrast, crude oil production in Saudi Arabia in 2018 was 10.445 million bbl/dy (up from 9.261 bbl/dy in 2008), and in Russia was 10.759 bbl/dy (up from 9.357 bbl/dy in 2008). Of today’s U.S. production, some 59% — representing essentially all of the increase since 2008 — comes from so-called “tight” resources, meaning those that are produced by fracking.

The large increase in U.S. production has been accompanied by a correspondingly large decline in the price of oil and natural gas. Oil of the WTI (West Texas Intermediate) grade that traded at $110 per barrel in 2013 closed today at $59.12. U.S. prices for a gallon of regular grade gasoline, which reached a high of $3.90 in 2012, fell as low as $2.25 earlier this year, and are currently around $2.60. Natural gas prices are quite volatile, but were in the range of $4 to $6 per thousand cubic feet in 2014, and most recently $2.29.

In September, the U.S. became a net exporter of oil for the first time since the 1940s. The EIA expects that status to continue for the foreseeable future.

Over in the economic news category, the U.S. continues to thrive. Today, the Labor Department reported an increase in jobs of 266,000 during November, the unemployment rate down to 3.5% (lowest since 1969), and wages up 3.1% over a year ago. All of those must be considered excellent results.

And then there’s Germany. According to CleanEnergyWire here, Germany in 2018 imported 98% of its oil needs, and 95% of its gas. But doesn’t Germany have at least one good shale formation that could be developed? The answer is that Germany pretty much banned all fracking in 2017. They are still caught up in the Energiewende, or, in other words, the delusional idea that wind and solar power can replace fossil fuels within a few years. Nearly ten years into this, their carbon emissions have barely decreased at all, while emissions increases in places like China and India make any marginal decreases that Germany can achieve completely irrelevant. Meanwhile, they depend for their oil and natural gas on places like Russia and the Middle East.

GlobalPetrolPrices gives the most recent price of consumer gasoline in Germany as 1.385 euros per liter, equivalent to $5.807 per gallon. Admittedly, this cannot be blamed solely on supply restrictions; embedded taxes are also substantially at fault. But those embedded taxes are also part of the ongoing war against fossil fuels. German consumer electricity prices are also about triple the U.S. average.

And the economic news from Germany? It seems that the industrial sector is in the midst of a slump, in substantial part caused by the mad drive to force energy conversion without consideration of the costs. From the Daily Express, December 3:

The German car industry is facing disaster with up to 50,000 jobs under threat or expected to be lost before the end of the year in what has been described as the “biggest crisis since the invention of the automobile”. last week the owner of Mercedes-benz announced plans to axe at least 10,000 employees globally, taking the number of jobs losses by German carmakers to almost 40,000 this year as the industry sinks under a massive sales slump. Daimler wants to save £1.2billion in staff costs as it prepares to invest billions in the electric cars boom. Audi, which is owned by volkswagen, has also said it would be shedding almost 10,000 people – around around 10 percent of its global workforce.

Trading Economics here states that German GDP “rebounded” to a growth of 0.1% in the third quarter, after a decline of 0.2% in the second quarter of 2019. Congratulations!

Meanwhile, among the Democratic candidates for President, the contest is between those who would ban fracking immediately and those who advocate some period of “transition” to some fanciful alternative. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have vowed to ban fracking immediately. It’s not clear how they would do that, other than that they view the presidency in their hands as a dictatorship of unlimited powers. Then there’s the “moderate” Joe Biden, who said (yesterday) “I’d love to make sure we can’t use any oil or gas, period,” but then hedged that we would need some period to “transition away” from those fuels.

“Transitioning” away from fossil fuels — that’s what Germany is doing.


Is screen time bad for kids? It depends on many factors, including what you even mean by “screen time.”

The first iPhone was introduced in 2007; just over a decade later, in 2018, a Pew survey found that 95 percent of teenagers had access to a smartphone, and 45 percent said they were online “almost constantly.” When researchers began trying to gauge the impact of all this “screen time” on adolescent mental health, some reported alarming results. One widely publicized 2017 study in the journal Clinical Psychological Science found that the longer adolescents were engaged with screens, the greater their likelihood of having symptoms of depression or of attempting suicide. Conversely, the more time they spent on nonscreen activities, like playing sports or hanging out with friends, the less likely they were to experience those problems. These and other similar findings have helped stoke fears of a generation lost to smartphones.

But other researchers began to worry that such dire conclusions were misrepresenting what the existing data really said. Earlier this year, Amy Orben and Andrew K Przybylski, at Oxford University, applied an especially comprehensive statistical method to some of the same raw data that the 2017 study and others used. Their results, published this year in Nature Human Behavior, found only a tenuous relationship between adolescent well-being and the use of digital technology. How can the same sets of numbers spawn such divergent conclusions? It may be because the answer to the question of whether screen time is bad for kids is “It depends.” And that means figuring out “On what?”

The first Step in evaluating any behavior is to collect lots of health-related information from large numbers of people who engage in it. Such epidemiological surveys, which often involve conducting phone interviews with thousands of randomly selected people, are useful because they can ask a wider range of questions and enroll far more subjects than clinical trials typically can. Getting answers to dozens of questions about people’s daily lives — how often they exercise, how many close friends they have — allows researchers to explore potential relationships between a wide range of habits and health outcomes and how they change over time. Since 1975, for instance, the National Institute on Drug Abuse has been funding a survey called Monitoring the Future (M.T.F.), which asks adolescents about drug and alcohol use as well as other things, including more recently, vaping and digital technology; in 2019, more than 40,000 students from nearly400 schools responded.

This method of collecting data has drawbacks, though. For starters, people are notoriously bad at self-reporting how often they do something or how they feel. Even if their responses are entirely accurate, that data can’t speak to cause and effect. If the most depressed teenagers also use the most digital technology, for example, there’s no way to say if the technology use caused their low mood or vice versa, or if other factors were involved.

Gathering data on so many behaviors also means that respondents aren’t always asked about topics in detail. This is particularly problematic when studying tech use. In past decades, if researchers asked how much time a person spent with a device — TV, say — they knew basically what happened during that window. But “screen time” today can range from texting friends to using social media to passively watching videos to memorizing notes for dass — all very different experiences with potentially very different effects.

Still, those limitations are the same for everyone who accesses the raw data. What makes one study that draws on that data distinct from another is a series of choices researchers make about how to analyze those numbers. For instance, to examine the relationship between digital-technology use and well-being, a researcher has to define ‘‘well-being.” The M.T.F. survey, as the Nature paper notes, has 13 questions conceming depression, happiness and self-esteem. Any one of those could serve as a measure of well-being, or any combination of two, or all 13.

A researcher must decide on one before running the numbers; testing them all, and then choosing the one that generates the strongest association between depression and screen use, would be bad Science. But suppose five ways produce results that are strong enough to be considered meaningful, while five don’t. Unconscious bias (or pure luck) could lead a researcher to pick one of the meaningful ways and find a link between screen time and depression without acknowledging the five equally probable outcomes that show no such link. “Even just a couple of years ago, we as researchers still considered statistics kind of like a magnifying glass, something you would hold to the data and you would then see what’s inside, and it just helped you extract

the truth,” Orben, now at the University of Cambridge, says. “We now know that statistics actually can change what you see.”

‘The part that people don’t appreciate is that digital technology also has significant benefits.

To show how many legitimate outcomes a large data set can generate, Orben and Przybylski used a method called “specification curve analysis” to look for a relationship between digital-technology use and adolescent well-being in three ongoing surveys of adolescents in the United States and the United Kingdom, including the M.T.F. A “specification” is any decision about how to analyze the data — how well-being is defined, for example. Researchers doing specification curve analysis don’t test a single choice; they test every possible combination of choices that a careful scientist could reasonably make, generating a range of outcomes. For the M.T.F., Orben and Przybylski identified 40,966 combinations that could be used to calculate the relationship between psychological well-being and the use of digital technology.

When they averaged them, they found that “digital-technology use has a small negative association with adolescent well-being.” But to put that association in context, they used the same method to test the relationship between adolescent well-being and other variables. And in all the data sets, smoking marijuana and being bullied were more closely linked with decreased well-being than tech use was; at the same time, getting enough sleep and regularly eating breakfast were more closely tied to positive feelings than screen time was to negative ones. In fact, the strength of the association screen time had with well-being was similar to neutral factors like wearing glasses or regularly eating potatoes.

Not finding a strong association doesn’t mean that screen time is healthy or safe for teenagers. It could come with huge risks that are simply balanced by huge rewards. “The part that people don’t appreciate is that digital technology also has significant benefits,” says Nick Allen, director of the Center for Digital Mental Health at the University of Oregon. These include helping teenagers connect with others. The real conclusion of the Nature paper is that large surveys may be too blunt an instrument to reveal what those risks and benefits truly are. What’s needed are experiments that break “screen time” into its component parts and change one of them in order to see what impact that has and why, says Ronald Dahl, director of the Institute of Human Development at the University of California, Berkeley. A screen-related activity may be beneficial or harmful depending on who is doing it, how much they’re doing it, when they’re doing it and what they’re not doing instead. “If we just respond to emotions or fears about screen time, then we actually could be interfering with our ability to understand some of these deeper questions,” he says.

Allen notes a vexation: The behavioral data “is already being quantified” on the granular level researchers need. But tech Companies don’t routinely share that information with scientists. To deliver the advice the public wants, Orben says, will require “a very difficult ethical conversation on data sharing. I don’t think we can shy away from it much longer.” Till then, parents struggling with how much screen time is O.K. for their children might benefit from trying, as researchers are, to get a more detailed picture of that behavior. “Ask your kids: “What are you doing on there? What makes you feel good? What makes you feel bad?’ ” says Michaeline Jensen, of the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. She was an author of a study in August showing that on days when teenagers use more technology, they were no more likely to report problems like depressive symptoms or inattention than on days when they used less. “Even an hour a day, that could be particularly problematic — or enriching.”


Australia: Dangerous electric scooters

Saddening scooter crash rate revealed.  These have had quite an uptake among young people and clearly kept cars off the road.  Another Greenie idea that creates problems

THE rate of horror injuries caused by Lime Scooter accidents could be almost 30 times higher than originally believed, according to shocking new research. The data reveals almost 450 people presented at Brisbane emergency departinents in the 12 months to October this year, equating to 27 serious accidents per 100,000 trips.

A leading Queensland lawyer has called on the State Government to force companies like Lime to register their scooters and obtain Compulsory Third Party insurance. "Perhaps the State Government would be thinking twice about allowing e-scooter companies to skip registration and therefore Compulsory Third Party insurance," lawyer Travis Schultz said.

From the Brisbane "Courier Mail' of 23 December, 2019


For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

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