Thursday, February 28, 2019

Does a "green" environment prevent mental illness?

Articles claiming all sorts of health benefits from living in a leafy environment pop up from time to time. The latest one is below. And I don't doubt that a green environment can have a quite strong soothing effect on some people -- perhaps to the point of alleviating neurotic symptoms. But what is the general effect and how strong is it?

For a start, the effects in the study below were very weak, with odds ratios all just above 1.00.  Ratios that low are conventionally held to be incapable of supporting causative inferences.  Such ratios in the epidemiological literature are often greeted with war whoops and general jubilation but the fact of the matter is that they are verging on non-existence and are unlikely to replicate. Non-replication is in fact the bane of medical research so the chance of a marginal effect replicating is vanishingly small. So I could terminate my critique right there and  say that there was nothing of interest going on in the study concerned.

But what are we to make of claims such as the risk of illness being "55% higher" for people with little greenery around them.  It sounds impressive, does it not?  An obviously strong effect?  However you just have to ask "higher than what?" to see that we are being hornswoggled. If the effect is super weak to start with, a 55% advance on it is not much is it?  55% more than tiny is still tiny. Those percentage claims are the strongest and most impressive claims in the article but are totally deceptive.  We are being scammed.  It would not be too  strong to call the claims "slimy".

I don't know if I should go on but there are other lessons in the article about what not to do.  And another fault in the research is something very commmon among epidemiologists:  A total lack of curiosity.  They take a bit of data and use it without asking how that bit of data arose.  In this case they look at the amount of green space kids had around them without asking WHY some kids had more or less green space than others.  And that can lead to a total misunderstanding of what was going on in the data.

So why would some kids be growing up in leafier areas?  The obvious explanation is $$$$ -- money.  Leafier areas tend to be more prestious and hence more expensive to live in.  Poorer people live beside the tracks.  And we know that richer people are healthier.  They tend to live years longer than poor people, for instance.  The authors below did control for socio-economic status but income is not normally included in status indices and the two are not substitutable for one-another.  See Table 4  here

But income is only one explanation.  A factor with strong health correlates that is almost never examined is IQ. Smarter people might be better at or more interested in moving to a leafier area.  So it is the better health of high IQ people that was being observed in the study.  The effects in the study were so weak that we could have been observing nothing but the better health of high IQ people.

So good try but no cigar

Residential green space in childhood is associated with lower risk of psychiatric disorders from adolescence into adulthood

Kristine Engemann et al.


Urban residence is associated with a higher risk of some psychiatric disorders, but the underlying drivers remain unknown. There is increasing evidence that the level of exposure to natural environments impacts mental health, but few large-scale epidemiological studies have assessed the general existence and importance of such associations. Here, we investigate the prospective association between green space and mental health in the Danish population. Green space presence was assessed at the individual level using high-resolution satellite data to calculate the normalized difference vegetation index within a 210 x 210 m square around each person's place of residence (?1 million people) from birth to the age of 10. We show that high levels of green space presence during childhood are associated with lower risk of a wide spectrum of psychiatric disorders later in life. Risk for subsequent mental illness for those who lived with the lowest level of green space during childhood was up to 55% higher across various disorders compared with those who lived with the highest level of green space. The association remained even after adjusting for urbanization, socioeconomic factors, parental history of mental illness, and parental age. Stronger association of cumulative green space presence during childhood compared with single-year green space presence suggests that presence throughout childhood is important. Our results show that green space during childhood is associated with better mental health, supporting efforts to better integrate natural environments into urban planning and childhood life.


Evidence of humans causing global warming hits 'gold standard'

The coal standard more like it.  It does not even pass the basic test of falsifiability.  Even the most negative finding is never allowed to count against it and no warmist has ever said what would

Evidence that humans cause global warming has hit the "gold standard" level of confidence, a U.S.-led team of scientists reportedly wrote in a journal article published Monday.

"Humanity cannot afford to ignore such clear signals," the scientists wrote in Nature Climate Change, according to Reuters, citing satellite measurements and rising temperatures over the past 40 years.

The scientists said that confidence in their prediction that humanity is raising the temperature on earth has reached "five-sigma" level, meaning there is only a one-in-a-million chance that similar data would appear if there was no warming, the news service added.

This "gold standard" has previously been applied for major scientific discoveries, like that of the Higgs boson subatomic particle in 2012, Reuters noted.

Benjamin Santer, lead author of the study at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, told the news service he hoped the findings would convince the last remaining skeptics.

"The narrative out there that scientists don't know the cause of climate change is wrong," he said. "We do."

There is a vast scientific consensus that humans have causes global warming.

In 2013, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change put the probability of humans being the main cause of warming since the 1950s at 95 percent


Trump should use trade deal with China to take Green New Deal off the table

As President Donald Trump looks to finalize a trade agreement with China - he tweeted on Feb. 25 that a deal was in its "advanced stages" - one thing he should be sure to gain concessions on is the cost advantage Beijing possesses because of the excessive regulatory environment in Washington, D.C.

U.S. standards for power generation, manufacturing, fuel economy and emissions are above and beyond anything China puts upon itself.

For example, in the Paris climate accords, one of the reasons the U.S. withdrew was because it required next to nothing out of China, which emits 9 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide every year and growing, compared with 5 billion by the U.S. And China has only promised to reach peak emissions by 2030, and in the meantime the U.S. was supposed to keep its new and existing power plan regulations in place, increasing the cost of doing business here and hampering growth.

The difference in regulatory structures is already a tremendous reason for the outsourcing of manufacturing to China, as the 2018 trade in goods deficit is set to reach its highest level on record.

And the Green New Deal now under consideration - with its impossible goal of zero net carbon emissions by the U.S. by 2030 - would almost certainly exacerbate that reality, sending more production to China.

One source of pollution by China comes from its shipping, which utilizes heavy bunker oil to send goods to the U.S. While International Maritime Organization regulations currently under consideration would address sulfur content in that fuel, the fact remains that if the U.S. continues to push for manufacturing to China to export its emissions via the Green New Deal, it will become more reliant on shipping from overseas, not less.

That is why President Trump should use the imminent trade deal with China to, as much as possible, take the Green New Deal off the table by pushing Beijing to meet up with U.S. environmental regulations, eliminating China's regulatory cost advantage and defining it as a non-tariff barrier to trade under the new agreement.

This, taken in conjunction with other measures, would set in motion a process of insourcing, to bring more manufacturing back to the U.S., which would mean more jobs here.

It's better than the alternative, which is to make production practically impossible here in the U.S. via the Green New Deal, incentivizing factories and growth elsewhere including China and making Americans even more dependent on imports.

President Trump is doing what was once thought impossible by closing in on a deal with China on trade and for now, he has postponed increasing tariffs while the final terms of the agreement are hammered out. To be successful, however, the agreement must address all of China's cost advantages, including currency, labor costs, China's import controls, intellectual property theft and yes, regulations.


Fighting for energy and human rights equality in Africa

The Congress of Racial Equality Uganda has lost another leader, but the fight continues

Paul Driessen

"She has gone to the Lord," her sister Diana told me a few days ago. And with Fiona Kobusingye's passing, after a courageous battle with cancer, the Congress of Racial Equality Uganda lost another leader.

However, their legacy remains, the battles they began rage on - and Uganda and Africa are clearly and consistently demonstrating their determination to achieve energy, health, human rights and living standards equality with Europe, America and other industrialized economies. They are determined do so using the same fossil fuel and other technologies that those already wealthy nations used in their ascent out of the nasty, brutish, short lives that were all of humanity's lot just a few short centuries ago.

I met Fiona 15 years ago at a Congress of Racial Equality Martin Luther King dinner organized by her late husband and my close friend, CORE international affairs director Cyril Boynes, Jr. They got married, Cyril moved to Uganda, and together they launched the human rights and economic development group CORE Uganda. She served as co-chair and with Cyril mentored young people, co-hosted conferences, and fought tirelessly for disease control, energy development, modern agriculture and clean water.

Like Cyril, she was passionate about these issues, including using DDT and other insecticides - what she called "the African equivalent of chemotherapy drugs" - to prevent malaria and other devastating insect-borne diseases. She wrote in a 2006 Washington Times article:

"I have had malaria more than a dozen times. I lost my son, two sisters and three nephews to it. My nephew Noel got malaria at age two and is still four years behind high school boys his age in reading and writing skills, because it affected his mental powers so horribly. My brother Joseph used to help in an office and with complex farming tasks, but his mind no longer works well because of cerebral malaria.

"We need to calculate the value of those lives affected by being sick with malaria for weeks every year . of mental capacity lost due to malaria . of 1.5 million African lives lost every year. Even at $1,000 to $10,000 per life, the impact of malaria - and the value of DDT - is monumental.

"This month, another malaria outbreak hit the Kabale district in southern Uganda. More than 6,000 people were admitted to clinics in just one week. A spraying program with Icon (a pyrethroid also used in agriculture, and which thus can quickly breed mosquito resistance) resulted in the deaths of two students. That is terrible, but last year 70,000 Ugandans died from malaria. In 65 years, DDT never killed anyone.

"Should we stop spraying, to prevent more deaths from Icon or possible learning delays from using DDT - and sacrifice another 70,000 Ugandans again this year?

"Yes, there are risks in using DDT - or other anti-malaria weapons. But the risk of not using them is infinitely greater. One-sided studies and news stories frighten people into not using the most effective weapons in our arsenal - and millions pay the ultimate price. That is unconscionable."

After Cyril died in 2015, Fiona moved to New York City to help care for Diana's autistic son and earn money to provide for her adopted children in Uganda. Even after being diagnosed with incurable cancer, Fiona retained her humor, indomitable spirit and deep belief in God throughout her difficult illness and treatment, right up until she passed away.

She is survived by a daughter, five sisters, eleven brothers, two grandchildren, five adopted children, and many nieces, nephews and other relatives. She remains beloved by all who knew her. Readers wishing to honor her legacy, bury her in Uganda and help support her family can go to her GoFundMe page.

Fiona got emotional when she wrote about environmentalist groups and US, EU, World Bank, WHO and other rich country bureaucrats who she believed were using Africans as test subjects in "energy, malaria and agricultural experiments that perpetuate poverty, disease, malnutrition and death in the name of protecting the environment."

"China and India put up with this immoral eco-colonialism for decades," she wrote. "Finally, they had enough. They refused to be the environmentalists' experimental pawns any longer. They took charge of their own destinies, charted their own future, financed their own projects, and refused to be stopped again by anti-development green policies, politicians and pressure groups.

"Uganda, the Great Lakes Region [around Lake Victoria] and all of Africa need to do the same thing. We have the land and natural resources, the bright and hard-working people.

"Let us be brave and bold!" Fiona exhorted. "Let us become prosperous and healthy together."

Her beloved Cyril shared and stoked her passions. He too wrote articles and spoke to Ugandan officials, journalists and students on these topics. A biotechnology conference he organized at the United Nations featured experts like Norman Borlaug, father of the first Green Revolution. The audience included scores of high school students, many UN staffers and people from all over New York City.

Cyril also served as executive producer for a documentary film about the ways modern genetically modified crops dramatically reduce the need for poor African farmers to hand-spray crops with pesticides, while preventing pest damage, increasing crop yields many times over, and bringing hope and much improved living standards to African farm families.

He too dreamed of a prosperous modern Africa and described how he, a devout Christian, was deeply inspired by a Jew (business professor, economist and author Julian Simon) and a Muslim (banker-economist Muhammad Yunus). He pilloried the Rainforest Action Network for its incessant human rights violations: its campaigns to prevent Africa from using DDT or other insecticides, fossil fuels or even expanded hydroelectric power.

Cyril brought me to Uganda, to see firsthand what they were accomplishing. The three of us spent tow frenzied weeks speaking to government, radio, television, high school and university audiences on these subjects. Thanks to George Mason University, we were able to give soccer balls, shoes, shin guards and uniforms to grade school boys who previously had to play barefoot with rags rolled and tied into a ball.

Fiona and Cyril aided her extended family and mentored scores of promising young people. One of them, Steven Lyazi, steadily improved his writing skills and published many articles online, before he was tragically killed in a horrific bus accident in 2017.

"Calls for us to live `sustainably,' use wind and solar and biofuel power, and never use fossil fuels, are a demand that we accept prolonged starvation and death in our poor countries," Steven wrote in one article. "They mean desperate people will do horrible things to survive, even just another day."

In another column, he pointed out that wind and solar power are far better than wood and animal dung fires. But in reality they are nothing more than "short-term solutions to serious, immediate problems. They do not equal real economic development or really improved living standards. Our cities need abundant, reliable electricity, and for faraway villages wind and solar must be only temporary, to meet basic needs until they can be connected to transmission lines and a grid."

When will the day come, Steven wondered - echoing what Fiona and Cyril had been saying for over a decade - when politicians and activists, who say their care about the world's poor, "stop worrying about global warming, pesticides and GMO crops - and start helping us get the energy, food, medical facilities, technologies, jobs and economic growth we need to improve our lives?"

Fiona, Cyril and Steven live on in their eloquent, passionate articles. Their long battle for equality and human rights, through access to modern technologies, will continue - bringing their dream of a free, prosperous, healthy, vibrant Uganda and Africa ever closer to reality.

Via email

Australia: How a Channel Seven weather presenter is subtly pushing a climate change message - and you didn't even notice

It's not so much what she says that is the problem -- so much as what she leaves out -- like the really extreme weather events of the 1930's -- dustbowls etc

A Channel Seven weather presenter is subtly pushing a climate change message in her nightly bulletins. Melbourne meteorologist Jane Bunn has managed to sell the idea to her viewers without explicitly referring to the concept.

Instead, the weather woman has been pointing out significant changes in weathers trends and highlighting the increase of warmer temperatures to her viewers, The Age reported. 

In a May weather report, which saw temperatures reach just over 14C, Bunn called attention to how the overall trend that month 'since the late 70s is warmer than the long-term average.' 'Overall, our temperatures are moving upwards,' she said.

She described a July day as 'cold, wet and windy' despite the fact that the month's rainfall was less than half the July average. 

She then reported there was a 'trend toward less July days with significant rain' over the past 75 years.

But the meteorologist, who was has been working with Climate Communicators in a program run by Monash University's Climate Change Communication Research Hub, has insisted that she is just telling viewers 'exactly what is happening.'

'Personally, I don't like to yell at people,' she told the outlet. 'Anything that is forcefully put across, I don't like to put any political spin on anything either. I just want the facts, quietly put through in a straightforward way that people can understand.'

The research hub supplies the presenters with graphics on the trends, which she says viewers have always been fascinated with.

The program, which is the counterpart of an American movement, has signed up more than 500 weather presenters across the US.

Stephanie Hall, the research hub's communication manager told The Age that weather presenters 'trusted',  'apolitical' and skilled communicators. She said the idea of climate change has become 'hyper-political.'

Bunn says there has been no backlash to her subtle advocacy for climate change. 'It's a couple of graphs which go up on the screen which are telling what is happening. And there shouldn't be any backlash about that, if you think about it. We're just telling exactly what is happening.'

Bunn's reporting appears to have been well-received, according to social media users.  'This is excellent!! Jane Bunn is planting the seeds of change in viewers' minds. We all feel it and noticie it, on some level, but she's tying the past to present in an easy to follow fashion. Nice work!! Thank you,' one Twitter user said.

'Jane Bunn isn't just a weather girl. She's a meteorologist and she's not "subtly selling" anything - she is simply stating facts,' another said.

A Channel Seven spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia that Bunn is a meteorologist, not a political campaigner, and that there is no climate change spin to her reports. 

The network said Bunn's reporting is based on her expertise and the best available weather data, reflecting exactly what happened over a period of time - regardless of whether it was hot, cold or wet.



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


Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Jordan Peterson in Sydney on global warming

Go here to see the relevant section of a panel show in which he was challenged on whether his values and methods would cure climate change

He basically says that to arrive at a useful opinion about such issues, you first have to grow up and solve your personal problems.  He is basically saying that concern about climate change is immature and puerile attention-seeking

His best answer of the evening was simply "No"

Stop scaring kids stiff about climate change

Adults should dispel children’s worst fears, not encourage them

Last week, thousands of children in the UK went on ‘strike’, bunking off school to call on the government to declare a ‘climate emergency’. The inspiration for the strike was 16-year-old Swede Greta Thunberg, who refused to attend school and protested for weeks outside the Swedish parliament over climate change.

Thunberg has since been feted by the great and the good. At a recent United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meeting in Katowice, Poland, she admonished the politicians in attendance: ‘You are not mature enough to tell it like it is… You say you love your children above all else. And yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes.’

This view was echoed last week by the British strikers’ self-appointed spokesperson, Lottie Tellyn. ‘If we don’t strike now, then we are getting educated for a future that we don’t know is going to exist’, she told the BBC. ‘Our core message is that we want politicians to start listening to what we need as a generation… we’re going to be left with the problems they’ve created.’

In 1992, when I was still at school, 13-year-old Severn Cullis-Suzuki read almost the same script to the UN’s Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit. She claimed to be fighting for future generations. Twenty-seven years on, Cullis-Suzuki and I are now part of the generation of grown-ups who are said to have failed the young.

But have we really failed them? Nine per cent of children born in 1992 did not reach their fifth birthday. By 2015, that number had halved: approximately 10,000 fewer infants die per day than in the 1990s. The average child born in the world in 1992 had a life expectancy of 64.5. Children born in 2015 have a life expectancy of 71.43. The world is improving for future generations on almost every conceivable measure. And this is largely thanks to the very economic development that is held responsible for climate change and therefore for endangering these children’s futures.

Then there is the charge that politicians are ‘doing nothing’ in the face of crisis. One striker, 12-year-old Theo, told Sky News that, ‘There are people in that building [parliament] going week in, week out, ignoring the fact that our world is dying out’.

But politicians are doing a lot in response to climate change. Thunberg, for instance, delivered her famous address to the UNFCCC’s 24th annual Committee of Parties (COP) meeting, where the UK and EU have long sought ‘ambitious’ global reductions in CO2 emissions. For all of the school strikers’ lives, the UK parliament has been dominated by a cross-party consensus on climate change, which has led to the creation of the Climate Change Act. The Act is likely the most expensive piece of legislation in British history – it is estimated to cost us a total of £319 billion.

And what about the strikers’ fears of a climate apocalypse? The truth is that science has yet to detect any statistical increase in the kinds of floods, wildfires, droughts and storms that these kids believe will rip civilisation from its foundations. Extreme weather today kills barely two per cent of the number of people it claimed in the early 1900s, despite the global population increasing from 1.65 billion to 7.7 billion. And thanks to economic development, even if natural disasters were to multiply in the way that certain doomsayers predict, far fewer people would be exposed to them. It is therefore highly unlikely that any of the strikers, their children or even their great-great-great-grandchildren will ever experience climate-change-related devastation.

It would be moving to see children organising themselves spontaneously for a political goal. But children do not rise to global prominence under the steam of movements of their own creation. Last week’s day of protest was trailed all over the news media before the event. And it was NGOs, not children, who organised the spectacle and its PR, booking children of green activists for media appearances and interviews. Even government ministers tweeted their support and ‘solidarity’.

Children’s perception of the world should, of course, be taken seriously by the adults in their lives (if not necessarily by the wider public). But it is not science that has put this apocalyptic understanding of climate change into these children’s heads. Adults should challenge children’s fears about the future in the same way they would their fears of ghosts and monsters. Instead, teachers, journalists, broadcasters, academics, politicians and even scientists have told them that they are going to die horribly and that they have no future. At the same time, they have abolished any semblance of perspective or debate on climate change from the airwaves, textbooks and the public sphere.

These children aren’t ‘engaged’ – they are scared stiff.


Scientists: CO2 the 'miracle molecule' key to feeding, saving the world

By Paul Bedard

If you like to eat, then you should be cheering global warming.

That's the claim in a new scientific report that counters global warming fanatics like former Vice President Al Gore and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and offers proof that CO2 added to the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels is nature's Miracle-Gro.

In what some are calling the counter to the liberals' "Green New Deal," the new report provided to Secrets said that instead of fighting over the stalemated global warming debate, the world should take advantage of increased CO2 levels by growing plants and food that thrive on it.

"Fortunately, carbon dioxide, a non-polluting gas that is created when fossil fuels are converted into energy, has proved to be a powerful plant food," said the report from the CO2 Coalition of scientists who reject claims it will end the world in 12 years.

That group has produced President Trump's new leader of an advisory committee looking into climate change, William Happer, an NSC senior director and a physicist who headed the CO2 Coalition.

The benefits are easy to explain, said the white paper's principal researcher, Craig D. Idso, chairman of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change and a member of the CO2 Coalition.
He said plants thrive when there is more CO2, which is why growers pump it into greenhouses.

"The modern rise in atmospheric CO2 is proving to be a powerful ally in staving off regional food shortages that are projected to occur just a few decades from now. The unique characteristics of this miracle molecule are helping to raise crop yields per unit of land area, per unit of nutrients applied, and per unit of water used," said the report titled, What Rising CO2 Means for Global Food Security.

Its release this week comes as the White House is trying to shift the climate change debate to one that looks at how to take advantage of the slightly warming temperatures.

Idso's report tackled the apocalyptic warnings of global warming computer models, noting, for example, that despite a slight rise in temperatures over the past century, cities have not flooded.
His report has a de facto bottom line which his that CO2 is here to stay so deal with it and use it to the advantage of mankind.

And he challenged other reports that suggested CO2 will hurt the nutrition in plants.

"The researchers themselves acknowledge that plant breeding, fertilizers, and new growing methods can reverse any nutritional decline. However, they unrealistically decided to freeze wealth, diets, and agricultural methods at today's levels in their computer model's predictions of the future. That is what generated these dramatic but unfounded claims about 'millions being harmed,'" said Idso.

His is certainly a contrarian view to the climate change alarmism in the Democrats' "Green New Deal," but Idso warned that their calls to rid fossil fuels will end up starving the world.

"A continuation of the current upward trend in the atmosphere's CO2 concentration is essential for securing future food security. Any efforts to slow it because of the risks of predicted climate changes must also consider the risks of limiting its benefits to agricultural, nature and humanity," said the report.


The Uninhabited Mind of David Wallace-Wells

David Wallace-Wells shook up a lot of people with a “horrifying 2017 essay in New York magazine about climate change. It was an attempt to paint a very real picture of our not-too-distant future, a future filled with famines, political chaos, economic collapse, fierce resource competition, and a sun that ‘cooks us.’”

Now he’s got a book out that builds on that article, The Uninhabitable Earth: Life after Warming, which Vox describes as “a brutal read,” “more terrifying” than the “terrifying essay.”

What makes it terrifying is that Wallace-Wells insists that the most likely scenario is that human-driven global warming will raise global average temperature by about 4.3C by the end of the century, and all his predictions about knock-on effects assume that.

But 4.3C is toward the upper end of the range the United Nations Intergovernmental on Panel Change (IPCC) offers based on its computer models: 1.5–4.5C. Furthermore, this is predicted to happen not by the end of this century but after all climate feedbacks have responded to a doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentration from pre-industrial times, i.e., rising from 280 to 560 parts per million. That process, termed “equilibrium climate sensitivity” (ECS), is expected to take about 200 years, not just to the end of this century.

More important yet, the IPCC’s computer models consistently predict 2 to 3 times the warming actually observed over the relevant period, and since the global temperature has risen and fallen cyclically throughout geologic history, there’s no way to know how much of that to blame on anthropogenic CO2 versus how much to blame on natural causes.

That’s why empirical studies — as opposed to modeling studies, which are just hypotheses that must be tested against observations — point toward ECS of around 1.7C, which is near the bottom end of the IPCC’s 1.5–4.5C range. Cornwall Alliance Senior Fellow Dr. Roy W. Spencer discussed the paper behind that figure in a blog post last year.

Wallace-Wells’s article and book are filled with claims drawn from the upper extremes even of the scenarios of the IPCC, let alone the estimates of more empirically driven studies. It’s also filled with factual claims that just don’t stand up to the data. Take this paragraph quoting him in Vox’s article:

"Last year in the summer of 2018 in the Northern Hemisphere you had this unprecedented heat wave that killed people all around the world. You had the crazy hurricane season. In California, wildfires burned more than a million acres. And we’re really only just beginning to see these sorts of effects. We’ll take those claims one at a time".

First, a heat wave is weather, not climate, and the 2018 heat wave didn’t even match the 2003 heat wave that killed 35,000 people in Europe alone. But it’s also significant that, on average, cold snaps kill 10 times as many people per day as heat waves. So if global warming does raise the frequency and intensity of heat waves, since it will also reduce the frequency and intensity of cold snaps, we should see a net reduction in temperature-related deaths.

Second, the “crazy hurricane season” was actually pretty normal by historical standards.

Let me start with some hard numbers for the Atlantic basin, the most familiar to Americans. In 2018, there were 15 tropical storms and 7 hurricanes — 2 of them Category 3 or above — resulting in 144 deaths. In 2005, there were 28 tropical storms (almost twice as many) and 15 hurricanes (more than twice as many) — 7 of them Category 3 or above (more than 3 times as many) — resulting in 2,280 or more deaths (almost 16 times as many). So 2018 doesn’t even beat 2005, and there have been lots of other years worse than 2018 as well. One doesn’t have to be a hurricane expert to get this information — Wikipedia has the numbers.

As Cornwall Alliance Senior Fellow and University of Alabama climate scientist Roy W. Spencer, whose Ph.D. focused on hurricanes, explains in his recent books Global Warming Skepticism for Busy People and An Inconvenient Deception: How Al Gore Distorts Climate Science and Energy Policy, both available from our online store, there has been no significant upward trend, when accounting for the magnitude of annual variation, in the frequency or intensity of tropical cyclones in any part of the world through the modern warm period. Spencer says,

"In the U.S., there is evidence from Gulf of Mexico coastal lake bottom sediments of super-hurricane storm surges 1,000 to 3,800 years ago that have not been rivaled in the modern historical record. The strongest hurricane to strike New England occurred on August 25, 1635, only fifteen years after the Mayflower arrived and the Massachusetts Bay Colony was established, with 14 to 22 feet of storm surge".

Paul Homewood summarizes the data in a paper released by the Global Warming Policy Foundation. Raw data without much discussion are at hurricane specialist Ryan N. Maue’s “Global Tropical Cyclone Activity” page.

As for wildfires, the annual number of wildfires in the U.S. fell drastically in the early 1980s in response to widespread campaigns against carelessness with campfires, cigarettes, etc. It hasn’t changed much since then. Total area burned by wildfires fall drastically from the 1920s through the 1980s and began rising in the late 1990s, not because of warmer or drier weather but because of changed forest management of two kinds. First, by diminishing the number of fires, we allowed forests and their underbrush to grow more dense. Second, we stopped a lot of the logging that previously thinned forests and removed underbrush. Both of these meant leaving lots more fuel to burn. The result are fires that are hotter and grow faster than before. The increased average size of fires doesn’t correlate positively with global average temperature.

If you’re looking for standard sci-fi thriller like those in the 1950s that conjured giant tarantulas as a result of radioactive fallout from nuclear testing, The Uninhabitable Earth might be just the ticket. If you’re looking for credible science — well, go elsewhere, say, to climatologist Dr. Tim Ball's Human Caused Global Warming: The Biggest Deception in History — The Why, What, Where, When, and How It Was Achieved.


Ocasio-Cortez: People Maybe Shouldn’t Reproduce Due To Climate Change

For once I heartily agree with AOC.  May she convince all Warmists not to have children.  The benefit to the gene pool would be enormous

Democratic socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) suggested on Sunday night that people should consider not having children due to climate change because there is a "scientific consensus" that life will be hard for kids.

"Our planet is going to hit disaster if we don't turn this ship around and so it's basically like, there's a scientific consensus that the lives of children are going to be very difficult," Ocasio-Cortez said while chopping up food in her kitchen during an Instagram live video. "And it does lead, I think, young people to have a legitimate question, you know, 'Is it okay to still have children?'"

Ocasio-Cortez then took a shot at Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) over an incident that happened in Feinstein's office on Friday when a far-left fringe group tried to pressure Feinstein into supporting the Green New Deal.

"You know what’s interesting about this group?" Feinstein told the group on Friday, in response to the group storming into her office. "I’ve been doing this for 30 years. I know what I’m doing."

"You come in here, and you say it has to be my way or the highway. I don’t respond to that," Feinstein continued. "I’ve gotten elected, I just ran. I was elected by almost a million-vote plurality. And I know what I’m doing. So you know, maybe people should listen a little bit."

Ocasio-Cortez said Feinstein's response was "like not good enough" because the legislation that the Democrats support is "frankly going to kill us."

"This idea that 'I've been working on this for x-amount of years,' um, it's like not good enough," Ocasio-Cortez said. "Like, we need a universal sense of urgency, and people are like trying to introduce watered-down proposals that are frankly going to kill us. A lack of urgency is going to kill us."

"The issue has gotten worse," Ocasio-Cortez continued. "So I don't think that working on an issue for 30 years alone is what qualifies as, as what someone qualified to solve an issue."

"That said, there are a lot of people that have been doing this work for decades that have proposed ambitious solutions for years and have not been listened to," Ocasio-Cortez added. "So it's not just, 'I've been doing this for 30 years,' so we need to listen to them because frankly people have been failing at the same things for 30 or 40 years. What we need to do is say, 'What solutions have not been tried yet? And what ambitious scale have we not shot at yet.' And let's do it."

Ocasio-Cortez has often used alarmist language when discussing climate change, repeatedly comparing fighting climate change to fighting Nazi Germany. Ocasio-Cortez has gone as far as to claim that the world is going to end in 12 years if her far-left policies are not implemented.

"I think the part of it that is generational is that millennials and people, in Gen Z, and all these folks that come after us are looking up and we’re like, the world is gonna end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change," Ocasio-Cortez said during a Martin Luther King forum in New York City in January. "And your biggest issue, your biggest issue is how are we going to pay for it? — and like this is the war, this is our World War II."



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


Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Greening of the Earth Enhanced by ... India and China?

As they modernize

Over the last two decades, the earth has seen a big increase in area covered by green leaves.

China and India take a lot of flak for their heavy carbon footprints. However, NASA Ames reports, “A new study shows that the two emerging countries with the world’s biggest populations are leading the increase in greening on land.” What explains this dichotomy? The journal Nature Sustainability relays some specifics:

Recent satellite data (2000–2017) reveal a greening pattern that is strikingly prominent in China and India and overlaps with croplands world-wide. China alone accounts for 25% of the global net increase in leaf area with only 6.6% of global vegetated area. The greening in China is from forests (42%) and croplands (32%), but in India is mostly from croplands (82%) with minor contribution from forests (4.4%). China is engineering ambitious programmes to conserve and expand forests with the goal of mitigating land degradation, air pollution and climate change.

Food production in China and India has increased by over 35% since 2000 mostly owing to an increase in harvested area through multiple cropping facilitated by fertilizer use and surface- and/or groundwater irrigation. Our results indicate that the direct factor is a key driver of the ‘Greening Earth’, accounting for over a third, and probably more, of the observed net increase in green leaf area.

NASA Ames adds, “Taken all together, the greening of the planet over the last two decades represents an increase in leaf area on plants and trees equivalent to the area covered by all the Amazon rainforests. There are now more than two million square miles of extra green leaf area per year, compared to the early 2000s — a 5% increase.”

Researcher Chi Chen noted, “China and India account for one-third of the greening, but contain only 9% of the planet’s land area covered in vegetation — a surprising finding, considering the general notion of land degradation in populous countries from overexploitation.”

And according to Ames Research Center’s Rama Nemani, “Once people realize there’s a problem, they tend to fix it. In the 70s and 80s in India and China, the situation around vegetation loss wasn’t good; in the 90s, people realized it; and today things have improved. Humans are incredibly resilient. That’s what we see in the satellite data.” This is a salient point that reinforces the pertinence of adaptation. What’s causing climate change remains obscure, despite the mainstream narrative. Moreover, CO2 isn’t a pollutant. And crops, as demonstrated above, thrive on it — which is a good thing.

Finally, it’s worth noting that this greening would likely be less so without fossil fuels. As Joseph L. Bast and Peter Ferrara wrote in The Wall Street Journal last June, “Fossil-fuel emissions create additional benefits, contributing to the greening of the Earth. A 2017 study published in Nature magazine found that the global mass of land plants grew 31% during the 20th century. African deserts are blooming thanks to fossil fuels.”


Trump should end political junk science regulations by restoring scientific transparency to regulatory process

By Rick Manning

Earlier this week I joined about twenty of my conservative colleagues in Washington, D.C. and around the country in signing a letter to President Donald Trump urging him to sign an Executive Order mandating “full transparency of all scientific data and studies used to justify all pending or new regulations in the federal rulemaking process.”

During the election campaign of 2016, then-President Barack Obama rhetorically questioned the ability of candidate Trump to restore America’s manufacturing sector claiming it would take a “magic wand” to bring those jobs back.

Well, two years and a half million more manufacturing jobs later, President Trump’s “magic wand” turned out to be scissors. Scissors which cut the highest corporate tax rates in the world to incentivize bringing factories back to America. Scissors applied to bad trade deals and unfair low tariffs for countries like China who have engaged in economic warfare against America’s manufacturing sector. And maybe even more importantly, scissors to the mountains of bureaucratic red tape that had been choking out plans for new factories and production facilities while encouraging the gutting of existing ones and shipping them overseas.

President Trump’s first two years have been an economic tour d’ force bringing about 1.4 million Americans who had been left behind back into the workforce, increasing real wages minus inflation by 1.3 percent and creating an environment where record low unemployment rates have been reached for African-Americans, Hispanics, Asian-Americans and people with disabilities.

But on the regulatory front, there is an important step that remains to be taken. Previous administrations have used junk science to justify radical agendas designed to shut down America’s economy. Individual agencies cannot be depended upon to implement rules that prevent a recurrence of pre-determined scientific conclusions being created in order to justify politically unfeasible regulatory activity.

Quite simply, Americans deserve and need to know that the science used to justify regulatory actions is sound, and the only way to ensure this is for the scientists to be forced to show their work.  In fact, the essential element of the scientific method is reproducibility of results. The reason we know that the boiling point of water at sea level is 212 degrees Fahrenheit is because anyone can test whether that is true or not.  Similarly, making the methodology of scientific reports available for scrutiny will make certain policy makers do not pursue damaging regulatory fixes based upon false or erroneous conclusions.

David Randall, the director of research at the National Association of Scholars recently wrote in The Hill that, “America is suffering from a crisis of irreproducible science. In 2012 the biotechnology firm Amgen tried to reproduce 53 ‘landmark’ studies in hematology and oncology, but could only replicate six. That same year Janet Woodcock, director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research at the FDA, ‘estimated that as much as 75 percent of published biomarker associations are not replicable.’”

Randall continued, “The federal government bears some blame. According to a 2015 study, government funds two-thirds of preclinical research in America and half of that research is irreproducible. Of the $28 billion our country wastes each year in irreproducible preclinical research, the government share is $19 billion.

“The federal government makes policy based on research that can’t [be] reproduce[d]. The EPA used the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for fine particulate matter (PM2.5) to justify many costly regulations, such as the Clean Power Plan. When Dr. James Enstrom acquired the original data and conducted an independent re-analysis, he ‘found that there was no significant relationship between PM2.5 and death from all causes.’”

The bottom line is that President Trump can bring sanity back into the scientific method by restoring it when agencies are determining regulatory actions. The only people who could possibly object would be those who have made it an industry to push agenda motivated science to create public policy. Getting regulations right through transparent, reproducible science rather than continuing to rely upon politically correct pseudo-science is just plain common sense.

It is time for President Trump to act by signing an Executive Order which re-establishes scientific integrity throughout our government.


Mueller’s ‘Foreign Agent’ Prosecutions May Lead to Probes of Green Groups

Some of them really do get support from Russia

By invoking a law regulating foreign agents to pursue prosecution of former Trump campaign officials, special counsel Robert Mueller opened the door to more intense scrutiny of some U.S. environmental groups, according to legal analysts who say China and Russia use such groups to influence America’s energy policy.

But these legal analysts said they also see a danger that Mueller’s Russia investigation could set a precedent for the Justice Department to “selectively enforce” the Foreign Agents Registration Act in a manner that undermines the rule of law and potentially jeopardizes national security. 

The Trump administration, they say, should closely examine the relationship between environmental advocacy groups and foreign governments that are considered strategic competitors of the U.S.

“If the Mueller probe has any real benefit, it is that it opened the door for the Justice Department to employ FARA as a basis to investigate green groups that are undermining our country and aiding socialist/communist regimes,” lawyer Mark Fitzgibbons told The Daily Signal.

Because these same environmental groups persistently lobby for policy changes to restrict U.S. energy use and the projection of U.S. military power, the groups may operate at the direction and encouragement of hostile foreign actors, Fitzgibbons and other reform proponents argue.

The Foreign Agents Registration Act, which predates World War II, requires anyone who acts as an agent of foreign principals “in a political or quasi-political capacity” to disclose that relationship periodically, as well as “activities, receipts, and disbursements in support of those activities,” according to the Justice Department.

But because FARA has not been strictly enforced, little case history and precedent exist for investigations into the actions of possible foreign agents who decline to disclose their activities, Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, a Washington-based nonprofit government watchdog, told The Daily Signal in a phone interview.

Americans and their elected representatives have been deprived of the openness and transparency they need to evaluate the political activism and legal tactics of environmental advocacy groups, Fitton said.

‘Selectively Enforced’

The disclosure requirements of the Foreign Agents Registration Act explicitly state that information made available through registration would help ensure that citizens and officials can get the specifics they need to evaluate the activities of anyone who registers “in light of their function as foreign agents.”

But Fitton expressed concern that the law could be misused and misapplied to advance a political agenda detached from its stated purpose.

“We already know the law has been selectively enforced,” Fitton said of the Foreign Agents Registration Act. “Violations of FARA have typically been handled administratively. If you didn’t file paperwork, you were told to file it. But the Mueller special counsel operation, desperate for prosecutions, started criminally prosecuting FARA regulations where they had never been criminally prosecuted before.”

Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein appointed Mueller to serve as special counsel on May 17, 2017, to investigate allegations that the Russian government interfered with the 2016 presidential election.

Mueller, a former FBI director, also is probing allegations that the Trump presidential campaign coordinated with Russian operatives in its efforts to win the election.

So far, the Mueller investigation has resulted in dozens of indictments and eight guilty pleas, none of which involves coordination or collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign. An updated list of charges, pleas, and resulting convictions is available here.

Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign chairman for two months, pleaded guilty in September to charges that he violated FARA because he failed to disclose to the Justice Department that he worked as an agent of Ukraine’s government and as a lobbyist for pro-Russian political forces in that country.

Richard Gates, a former Trump campaign aide and business associate of Manafort’s, also pleaded guilty to FARA violations in connection with his lobbying efforts in Ukraine.

No Comment From Special Counsel

Mueller has pointed to potential violations of foreign agent registration rules in his prosecution of 13 Russian individuals and three Russian companies accused of trying to manipulate the 2016 election through internet and social media campaigns.

Fitton favors counterintelligence investigations into the actions of groups and individuals who appear to skirt registration requirements, but has expressed concern with how the law has been applied against Trump campaign officials.

“In my view, the Mueller team has been manufacturing dubious FARA charges against Trump campaign people,” Fitton told The Daily Signal. “In the case of Manafort, he was really working for political parties, not a foreign government. So this is a pretty dramatic expansion of FARA.”

The Daily Signal sought comment from the Special Counsel’s Office on concerns that the law might be “selectively” or “unevenly” applied in a manner that enables some environmental activists to escape scrutiny.

“We will decline to comment,” Mueller spokesman Peter Carr replied in an email Tuesday morning.

During a December hearing by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Fitton commented on how some actions of nonprofit advocacy groups and their relationships with foreign governments could activate requirements of the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

In response to questions from Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., Fitton said that if advocacy groups are found to be “taking orders from a foreign government” or “beholden to them financially,” they probably should be required to register under the law.

During his exchange with Fitton, Gosar said environmental advocacy groups that oppose natural gas development and the process of hydraulic fracturing (also known as fracking) have received millions of dollars in grant money that congressional investigators traced back to the Russian government.

Environmental groups such as the Natural Resources Defense Council “have undermined the energy sector in the United States and even got fracking banned in the cash-strapped state of New York,” Gosar said.

‘Cozy’ With the Chinese

If there is genuine concern on the part of Mueller, the media, and other members of Congress about Russian meddling in American affairs, the Arizona Republican said, then environmental advocacy groups working to disrupt American energy while receiving financial support from the Russian government should be subjected to investigations.

Gosar, who also sits on the House Natural Resources Committee, took the opportunity to focus attention on the relationship between environmental activists and China’s communist government. In 2018, the Natural Resources Committee sent letters to several environmental groups, inquiring about their relationship with government entities in China and Japan.

The Natural Resources Defense Council, for example, has “gotten cozy with the environmentally unfriendly Chinese government while suing the U.S. government whenever it can,” Gosar said during his exchange with Fitton.

He suggested that the environmental group’s lawsuits against the Navy and its “weapons development programs” could work to the strategic advantage of China’s communist government.


Open Buckets of Uranium Ore Found at Grand Canyon not a problem, Experts Say

For nearly 20 years, a trio of 5-gallon (19 liters) paint buckets sat near the taxidermy exhibit at Grand Canyon National Park's museum collections building. Those buckets, it turns out, weren't holding paint — they were actually loaded up with uranium ore, a naturally occurring rock rich in uranium that gives off potentially dangerous radiation.

Elston "Swede" Stephenson, a health and wellness manager at the park's South Rim, recently described the uranium find and subsequent "cover-up" in a series of email blasts to Congress, his fellow National Park Service employees and the staff of The Arizona Republic newspaper. [Soviets Hid Nuclear Bunkers in Poland's Forests (Photos)]

Stephenson warned that thousands of employees, tourists and school groups who visited the exhibit between 2000 and 2018 were likely "exposed" to dangerous amounts of radiation, especially groups of kids who sat for 30-minute presentations in the uranium's vicinity. These children may have been exposed to roughly 1,400 times the safe radiation dosage allowed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Stephenson wrote. Scary stuff, if true.

However, several experts told Live Science that Stephenson's assessment may be unfounded.

"If the time spent near the ore was short, there is likely little cause for concern," Bill Field, a professor of Occupational and Environmental Health at the University of Iowa, told Live Science in an email.

Safe ore not safe?

Over time, uranium can break down into radioactive materials like radium and release harmful gas like radon. Studies of uranium miners have shown that prolonged exposure to uranium's decay products can increase the chances of getting cancer — However, Field said, "The risk from a few buckets of the uranium ore is quite different than a career in uranium mining."

According to F. Ward Whicker, a radioecology expert and professor emeritus at Colorado State University, uranium ore chiefly emits gamma particles — the least dangerous type of radiation.

"The amounts of radiation exposure from natural terrestrial sources and galactic cosmic rays to people living anywhere is far higher than most realize," Whicker told Live Science in an email. "Life flourishes in this constant radiation environment because DNA repair mechanisms operate efficiently and rapidly in cells — provided that intensity of radiation exposure is within certain levels."

The danger, if any, from the Grand Canyon ore buckets depends on a long list of factors, Whicker said, including an individual's distance from the ore, the length of their exposure, the quantity of ore in the buckets, the amount of uranium in that ore, and the amount of shielding provided by the rocky parts of the ore itself and the container.

In this case, the plastic paint buckets may have provided a powerful enough shield against the ore's radiation. Modi Wetzler, a chemistry professor at Clemson University who studies nuclear waste told The Arizona Republic that, while gamma rays can be dangerous if inhaled, they are easily absorbed and rendered harmless by just a few inches of air, or even a person's outer layer of dead skin.

The ore's relative harmlessness is reflected in a report from the Parks Service, which Stephenson referenced in his emails.

After a teenager with a Geiger counter accidentally discovered the ore buckets in the museum in March 2018, the Parks Service launched a brief investigation to test radiation levels in and around the building. According to their report (which Stephenson quoted to The Arizona Republic), direct contact with the ore resulted in radiation levels at roughly twice the safe annual dosage allowed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission — however, readings taken just 5 feet (1.5 meters) away from the bucket showed zero radiation.

The next steps

The uranium ore has since been disposed of in a nearby uranium mine. Meanwhile, the Parks Service, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Arizona Bureau of Radiation Control are now investigating the museum and its premises. According to Emily Davis, Grand Canyon National Park Public Affairs Officer, radiation levels at the site are normal and safe.

"A recent survey of the Grand Canyon National Park's museum collection facility found radiation levels at background levels — the amount always present in the environment — and below levels of concern for public health and safety," Davis told NPR. "There is no current risk to the public or park employees. The museum collection facility is open and work routines have continued as normal."

Any long-term effects caused by the ore's 18-year stint in the museum remain to be identified. While it might be negligible, the ore likely did increase the radon levels in the building somewhat, Field told Live Science.

"The facility should have radon testing performed," Field said. "Over the long term, however, the potential exposure from radon from natural sources in the soil and rock under the facility would likely be the greatest source of radiation to the public and workers."


Out-of-touch Leftist politician says it 'could be a GOOD thing' if Australia's $25billion coal industry collapsed leaving thousands of people unemployed

The Scott Morrison government has pounced on a Labor MP who suggested a decline in the $25billion coal market is a 'good thing'.

Labor frontbencher Richard Marles told Sky News on Wednesday the world market for thermal coal - Australia's top export industry - had collapsed.

'At one level that's a good thing because what that implies is the world is acting in relation to climate change,' Mr Marles said.

Mr Morrison and his Liberal colleagues slammed Mr Marles and accused him of suggesting a supposed decline was 'wonderful'.

'He might think it's wonderful... we don't think it's wonderful. In all of those places [people] who depend on those jobs don't think it's wonderful,' the prime minister told Parliament.

Queensland-based federal minister Steve Ciobo reiterated the 'wonderful' line, telling parliament thermal coal produced $25 billion in export income for Australia and thousands of jobs each year.

'The Australian Labor Party thinks it is a wonderful thing that they get to junk-pile 55,000 jobs in the resources sector,' he told parliament.

Mr Marles later clarified his position and said he didn't properly articulate his point.

Coal clearly has an important and enduring role to play, even as we transition to more renewables, and I should have made that clear,' he said.

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures released this month showed coal export sales rose nearly 16 per cent in 2018.

Mr Marles earlier reiterated Labor's position that no money should be spent on the proposed Adani Carmichael coal mine in Queensland.

'There are lots of ways in which you can generate employment, but the important statement here is that no public money is going to be spent on it,' he told Sky.



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


Monday, February 25, 2019

Greenies getting ever more Fascistic

They even have a Hitler Youth these days

Greenpeace and Amnesty International unite in push for greater civil disobedience.

Two of the world’s largest nonprofits are joining forces to spark a new wave of civil disobedience to intensify pressure on governments and business leaders to avert a climate catastrophe.

Greenpeace International, which has traditionally focused on environmental issues, and Amnesty International, which has concentrated on human rights, are co-launching a Summit for Human Survival later this year to encourage nonviolent protests and other interventions that force greater action on climate change. The event is expected to include NGOs, grassroots activist groups, as well as arts and cultural organizations from across the world.

Kumi Naidoo, secretary-general of Amnesty, said it is essential for organizations across different sectors to join forces rather than seeing issues such as the environment, human rights and international development as separate. An important aim of the upcoming summit, Naidoo said, is to mobilize non-environmental communities to recognize the seriousness of climate change.

“One of our errors has been to see climate change only as an environmental issue,” he told HuffPost at the World Economic Forum in Davos, which hosts business, political and economic leaders. “We should never have framed it that way, and I hope we have not left it too late to create that intersectionality.”

In its report published last October, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that the world has only 12 years left to avoid catastrophic climate change. Both Greenpeace and Amnesty believe that direct action is essential to wake people up to the immediacy of the problem.

Jennifer Morgan, head of Greenpeace International, told HuffPost that it is important for people to rise up and engage in nonviolent direct action to bring the urgency of this message to corporate leaders in a different way. She highlighted that this week more than 30,000 school students went on strike in Belgium seeking greater action on climate change and children in Berlin took to the streets calling for an early coal phase-out.

“The youth are demanding to be heard. The question is, why isn’t the Davos elite responding with the scale and pace required?” she said. “We have no time to waste.”

Naidoo, who was Morgan’s predecessor at Greenpeace International, believes one focus for direct action should be to push for an end to financial investments in the most polluting industries. That should include going after the big banks, he said, as they continue to fund the fossil fuel industry and are more sensitive to consumer pressure.

The idea of the Summit, said Naidoo, is not for it to dictate or try to coordinate centralized actions but rather to unite individuals and organizations so that they can collaborate in pushing for change. He pointed to new forms of protest such as the Extinction Rebellion movement, one of the many youth-driven civil disobedience movements focused on climate change. It began in the U.K. and is now launching chapters across the globe, including in the United States. Naidoo added that big international NGOs aren’t organizing this mobilization and that this sort of decentralization should be encouraged.

Both Naidoo and Morgan used the end of the WEF to lambast the politicians and business leaders present for not recognizing the planetary emergency we face. Naidoo criticized the leaders present and accused them of only caring about maintaining the status quo, pointing to their failure to act in the wake of the 2008 global financial collapse and the Asian financial crisis a decade earlier. Discussions about the need to scrap fossil fuel subsidies and address tax havens after the last global financial crisis had taken place, he said, but nothing significant had materialized.

“We need to fundamentally rethink what structural and systemic changes are needed in the economy to make sure we address climate and dangerous inequality, which is leading to massive social tensions. Instead, all we have seen is system recovery, system maintenance and system protection.”

As the world tinkers on the brink of a climate catastrophe, Morgan said, “it is deeply disturbing that … avoiding further temperature rise is not at the very center of all of the meetings of CEOs and world leaders.”


A New Study About Roundup and Cancer Doesn't Say What You Probably Think It Does

Is this just another example of epidemiologists torturing the data until they confess to a spurious but headline-grabbing statistical significance?

California school groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson was awarded $286 million in damages last August in his lawsuit alleging that his use of the popular weedkiller glyphosate (sold as Roundup by Monsanto, now a division of A.G. Bayer) had caused him to fall ill with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). A judge later cut the award to only $78 million. The company reportedly faces 9,300 other plaintiffs alleging that the herbicide caused their illnesses.

"Glyphosate has a more than 40-year history of safe use. Over those four decades, researchers have conducted more than 800 scientific studies and reviews that support the safe use of glyphosate," asserted a statement from the company after the trial. "The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR) both recently reaffirmed glyphosate does not cause cancer. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other regulatory authorities in Europe, Canada, Japan, Australia, Korea, and elsewhere routinely review all approved pesticide products and have consistently reaffirmed that glyphosate does not cause cancer."

Who should you believe?

On its face, a new study published last week finding that exposure to glyphosate does increase the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) in humans by 41 percent seems like a gift to the plaintiffs and their attorneys and a confirmation of their claims. The researchers obtained their result by conducting a meta-analysis of previous studies. This finding stands in contrast with the results of the 2017 Agricultural Health Study (AHS) in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, which found "no association was apparent between glyphosate and any solid tumors or lymphoid malignancies overall, including NHL and its subtypes." (The AHS has been monitoring the health of thousands of pesticide applicators for a couple of decades now.)

Forty-one percent sounds pretty bad, but let's put in context. About 20 new cases of NHL are diagnosed per 100,000 men and women each year. Assuming that 41 percent figure is right, that would suggest that 8 additional new NHL cases would be expected each year for every 100,000 exposed to glyphosate. Interestingly, the incidence rate of NHL has remained essentially flat even after the advent of herbicide resistant biotech crops encouraged the rising use of glyphosate. Keep in mind that your lifetime risk of developing or dying from cancer if you are male is 40 and 22 percent respectively. If female, the odds are 38 and 19 percent.

Albert Einstein College of Medicine cancer epidemiologist Geoffrey Kabat takes the new study apart and suggests that its findings are badly flawed. The main problem, he argues, is that the researchers combine the results from five case-control studies and one large cohort study which happens to be the one reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute cited above. Case-control studies are notoriously susceptible to the effects of bias, which may be introduced as a result of a poor study design or during the collection of exposure and outcome data.

Kabat points out that the authors of the new meta-analysis combined findings from low quality case-control studies with those of the much higher quality AHS cohort study. Kabat then persuasively argues that in order to drag their meta-analytic results over the finish line to statistical significance, the authors of the new study picked only the highest relative risk ratio figure for NHL from the AHS study. If they had chosen any of the other three AHS risk ratios reported for NHL Kabat suggests that their "overall result would likely not have been statistically significant."

"One can't escape the impression that the motivation behind what presents itself as a disinterested academic study was to include a selected and unrepresentative result from the highly-respected AHS in their meta-analysis and use the far inferior case-control studies to jack up the summary relative risk to obtain a statistically-significant finding," concludes Kabat.

Time will tell if this new study is just another example of broken science in which epidemiologists keep torturing the data until they confess to a spurious but headline-grabbing statistical significance.


Business Leaders Care Even Less About Climate Change Than They Did Last Year

With all the evidence of a coming climate catastrophe, which threatens the very future of civilization, one would expect humanity to put every effort into solving the crisis. But time and again, we see how difficult it is for the majority of people to rise to the challenge.

This is particularly true of the business community, which in the West is built largely on ensuring that the next quarter’s profits roll in to keep shareholders happy and result in executive bonuses.

A telling piece of evidence presented at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting this week in Davos is hidden away in a flagship survey of 1,378 chief executives from more than 90 countries. It shows that concerns about climate change and environmental damage have sharply fallen over the past year.

In 2018, the annual poll by professional services provider PwC showed a rather paltry 31 percent of chief executives were “extremely concerned” by climate change. The problem then barely squeezed into the top 10 perceived threats, below issues such as increasing tax burdens and the availability of key skills.

But this year, with rising alarm over trade threats and populism, only 19 percent of business leaders highlighted the risks of climate change, which fell to 13th place on their list of priorities.

“I am rather shocked by this,” said Jennifer Morgan, the executive director of Greenpeace International, visibly shaken when I showed her the PwC results. “By focusing on short term profits, they are missing this moment in history. For me, we are at a moment where we need to step back and look deeply into ourselves and how we stand as a species and internalize the state of emergency and then decide if we want to be on the right side of history or not.

“The fact that CEOs’ biggest concern in the PwC report is overregulation tells me they do not understand and have not read the IPPC report on climate change.” The report, published in October by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, found that the world is rapidly running out of time for avoiding catastrophic climate change.

Many CEOs believe in their minds that if they are talking about climate change and creating some initiatives around it, then they are taking care of it, Morgan said. But because they have not faced up to the issue for so long, she added, “we need a whole different approach with all hands on deck. There is a point of no return where we cannot turn back the impacts and the world can be overrun by runaway climate change.”

Morgan called for young people to rise up and engage in nonviolent direct action “to bring this message to corporate leaders in a different way.”

Christiana Figueres, the architect of the Paris climate agreement and now the convener of Mission 2020, a global initiative to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, said she was hugely disappointed CEOs failed to see the gravity of the situation. Especially, she added, when there are enormous opportunities from tackling climate change.

“Businesses are in the position they are as a result of a focus on quarterly profit statements. If you plan corporate strategy around this, then this is the result you get,” Figueres said.

Business leaders are not alone in failing to focus on longer-term dangers at the expense of what is currently in their face, Figueres added. “We all do this. We tend to focus on the exceedingly urgent short term rather than the much larger consequences over the longer term.”

Figueres used the metaphor of a doctor telling someone they may suffer a heart attack in the future unless they start now to exercise more and eat healthier food. Despite this, the patient often ignores the advice and focuses on more immediate obligations.

This interpretation is supported by the research of Daniel Gilbert, a psychology professor at Harvard University, who found that humans are not wired to deal effectively with long-term problems.

In an interview with NPR, Gilbert said we are much more likely to take alarm at terrorism. Global warming, he said, is “not something that threatens us this afternoon, but rather something that threatens us in the ensuing decades.”


A dumb idea

Aiken Pitchmen below thinks he breathes out pollution

The sudden usage of the term climate change over global warming is no coincidence. While a distinction between the terms does exist, most politicians use them interchangeably. Yet since 1995, the term climate change has surpassed in usage. This change in language was influenced by the facetious response ‘global warming’ received. After being proved false by the existence of snowballs, climate scientists and reasonable politicians realized that their language matters.

The importance of political terminology has been noted by both Democratic and Republican politicians repeatedly. In the early 2000’s, Republicans realized they couldn’t be anit-homosexual. The phrase pro traditional marriage was adopted instead. When the Affordable Care Act was released, the same party took advantage of the nickname Obamacare. Among Mr. Obama’s critics the act was easy to confuse and demonize. The strategy worked as was demonstrated in the ironic 2017 town hall meetings. A no different approach has been taken by the Democratic party and climate change supporters.

The term climate change has failed and become a partisan issue. The G.O.P has adopted it as another point of ridicule. Senator McConnel recently teased the Green New Deal, a resolution popularize by Representative Ocasio-Cortez, by stating it will demonstrate how many Democrats support ending “cow farts”. Of course, if you do not have the academic background, it can be difficult to understand how methane from cows is contributing climate change.

The term climate change and solutions for it are simply too vague. Furthermore, the elements that cause climate change are too complex to grasp for the average American. Vague plans with complex problems do not appeal to voters. A new approach needs to be taken.

The Democratic party needs to start advertising climate change as problem that Americans can understand. The simple and fundamental contributor to climate change is pollution. Pollution, unlike climate change, has recognizable private costs.

Pollution comes in many forms. Starting with air pollution. It is well known and documented that running cars and burning coal contributes to dirty air and water acidity. These are numbers that can be clearly measured and observed. The direct impact of these actions can be seen from the accumulation of smog in cities such as Los Angeles and Beijing. Studies by the World Health Organization showed that polluted air can contribute to decrease in life expectancy and other studies showed an increase in birth defects.

Damage to oceans and rivers has additional harmful effects. The impact of dirty energy practices were exemplified by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. In addition to demolishing the local ecosystem, the incident stifled the local fishing industry. Shrimp and fish catchers began uncovering mutated sea life. The pollution of water bodies brings troubles on land as well. Farmers and communities that depend on irrigation can bring in contaminated water that damages crops and poisons wells. Communities, such as Woeburn, Massachusetts, are already familiar what can happen when industry is not properly curtailed in their waste practices. In the 1980’s the town suffered multiple child deaths to Leukemia due to heavy metals disposed in local wells by companies.

The argument can continue with plastic pollution. Plastic is poorly managed, often clumping up in clusters of litter across the United States. Plastics do not easily or quickly decompose. Recent studies have demonstrated that the ubiquity of plastic has resulted in the presence of micro-plastics in the ocean. These plastics are consumed inadvertently by sea life. Plastics can climb to the top of the food chain and even make their way onto one’s dinner plate.

The patent platform that can be built off of an emphasis on curbing pollution is hard to fight against. Arguing that such pollution does not exist is silly. Most forms of pollution and their results can be seen and observed, respectively. If the facts are argued to be false today, than a unwise politician is committing political suicide.

To suggest that people’s lives are not at risk, is to ignore clearly recorded data. Much climate change data has been ignored, because the consequences of the phenomenon are unclear. Many predictions are built around models. Models always have error and generate a degree of skepticism, giving critics a platform. Arguments against increase deaths and birth defects are harder to defend.

Once pollution is accepted as a social crisis, the legislation can be pushed to cease it. Alternative technology can be built to reduce pollution. Not surprisingly, much of this progress will be the same as has been proposed for climate change.


Outrage as it's announced one million tonnes of sludge will be dumped in the water surrounding the Great Barrier Reef

The stuff below is very misleading.  All that is happening is that mud from one part of the sea bottom will be moved to another part of the sea bottom.  It will NOT be dumped onto the reef and there will be no increase in the total amount of mud in the area

One million tonnes of sludge will be dumped in the water surrounding the iconic Great Barrier Reef. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority approved the jettison of the waste through a loophole in the federal laws that are meant to protect the landmark.

The announcement of the dumping comes only a week after floodwaters from Queensland flowed into the reef, with experts saying the dirty water will 'smother' the coral.

The federal laws heavily restrict what can and can't be released into the water surrounding the natural wonder.

But an exploit in the laws means materials generated from port maintenance work can legally be dumped in the reef.

The residue is dredged from the bottom of the sea floor near Hay Point Port - one of the world's largest coal exports.

Larissa Waters, co-deputy leader of the Greens Party, called for change, saying it would be the same as treating the reef like a garbage dump.

'The last thing the reef needs is more sludge dumped on it, after being slammed by the floods recently,' she told the Guardian.

'One million tonnes of dumping dredged sludge into world heritage waters treats our reef like a rubbish tip.' 

However, Dr Simon Boxall from the National Oceanography Centre Southampton says the dumping is only the beginning of the problems. 'If they are dumping it over the coral reef itself, it will have quite a devastating effect. The sludge is basically blanketing over the coral,' he told the BBC.

He says the sludge-dumping is a short-term issue, with the Australian summer bringing about 'rapid algae growth'.

He says more funding should be allocated to finding a less environmentally detrimental area to dump waste, but admits the money isn't easy to come by. 'It'll cost more money but that's not the environment's problem - that's the port authorities' problem.'

Last year, Australia pledged half a billion dollars to protect the Great Barrier Reef - which has lost 30 per cent of its coral due to rising sea temperatures. [The coral loss was temporary and it was due to falling sea levels, not temperature variations]



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, February 24, 2019

Green New Deal Seeks Virtually Totalitarian Transformation of US

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says America should lead the world – in committing national economic suicide and sending living standards back to 19th century.

29-year old ex-bartender and freshman U.S. Representative (D-NY) Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez received thunderous environmentalist and media acclaim when she introduced her Green New Deal resolution in the House and Ed Markey (D-MA) submitted it in the Senate. It was quickly endorsed or cosponsored by scores of House and Senate Democrats, including many who want to run against President Donald Trump in 2020.

But within days, the Green New Deal was subjected to rigorous analysis (and ridicule) by energy experts, President Trump, Republicans, conservative pundits and even some Democrats. Their disdain is well-founded.

Asserting yet again that manmade climate change poses an existential threat to people and planet – with only a dozen years before total disaster strikes – the Green New Deal demands that the United States convert to 100 percent “renewable” energy within ten years. It also proclaims an equally urgent need to abandon free enterprise capitalism in favor of socialist economic and “social justice” policies.

In the energy arena, AOC’s Green New Deal requires that fossil fuels, nuclear power and even waste-to-energy and large-scale hydroelectric facilities be eliminated from the U.S. energy mix. Coal, oil and natural gas leasing and development on federally controlled Western lands would be banned, as would exports of those fuels.

Internal combustion cars, trucks, buses, trains and boats would be replaced with electric versions, or eradicated. Airplanes would be replaced by high-speed rail. And every house and building in America would be gutted, rebuilt or retrofitted with “state of the art efficiency” technologies. That’s for starters.

The original “draft” resolution (since replaced on AOC’s website) even called for getting rid of “farting cows” – to prevent methane from increasing above its current minuscule 0.0017 percent of the atmosphere. So “bugs not beef” in our diets – and no more cheese, milk, yogurt or Baskin Robbins.

In the “social justice and fairness” arena, the Cortez-Markey Green New Deal provides that every American would get government-guaranteed jobs, with “family-sustaining” wages and pensions; free college or trade school; “healthy organic” food; “safe, affordable, adequate” and energy-efficient homes; and support for ethnic and economic “communities” that “historically” were harmed “first and most” by “dirty energy.”

Saturday Night Live could not have crafted a better parody of energy, economic and scientific reality.

But Ms. Cortez is determined to have her Green New Deal brought up for a vote in the House, where Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) worries about the spectacle that would ensue. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is equally determined to have a vote. Mr. Markey is outraged; he claims Republicans just want to sow discord within the Democratic Party, portray Democrats as favoring extremist policies and sabotage the plan.

Meanwhile, Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) threatened to call police on a reporter who was “harassing” him merely by asking for his views about the Green New Deal.

Ms. Cortez has no such qualms. When asked whether implementing her Green New Deal would require “massive government intervention,” she replied: “It does. Yeah. I have no problem saying that.” Moreover, she added, we shouldn’t point fingers and say China or India or Russia isn’t doing anything like this. We shouldn’t “hold ourselves to a lower bar.” We should “choose to lead” the world in this transition.

Lead the world in economic suicide, environmental degradation, plummeting living standards, shorter life spans and societal upheaval would be a more accurate description of her Green New Deal.

But at least Democrats and environmentalists have now made clear what they will do to America’s energy, economy, jobs, transportation, infrastructure and society if they regain control of the House, Senate, White House, Deep State and courts.

What they are not doing, discussing or even thinking about is how they intend to achieve their energy-climate-socialist nirvana … how many trillions of dollars it would cost … how many millions of good jobs would be eliminated before their promised job-creation programs theoretically kick in … and exactly how they plan to deal with the enormous human and environmental impacts.

AOC says don’t worry about the price tag. Just tax the rich more and borrow trillions more. Whether the cost is $1 trillion per year or $40 to $100 trillion in total, that is an ignorant, cavalier response. Either way, she must provide the numbers, calculations and wherewithal – transparently and with full debate.

But on environmental matters, Ms. Cortez and her cosponsors have no clue what they are talking about.

America has over a century of coal, oil and natural gas that we should use. We have vast quantities of limestone, copper, iron, and rare earth and other strategic metals that would be essential for the wind turbines, solar panels, biofuel operations, massive backup battery arrays, and thousands of miles of new electricity transmission lines that their Green New Deal envisions. Is there a snowball’s chance in Hell that they would open highly mineralized Western and Alaskan lands for exploration and mining?

Their intransigence on those resources means giving up bonuses, rents, royalties, taxes and millions of high-paying jobs. Billions of dollars in revenues to government will be replaced by billions of dollars in subsidies from government. America won’t even be able to manufacture Green New Deal energy systems because we will not have either the reliable, affordable fuels to operate factories nor the necessary raw materials.

Meanwhile, the rest of the world will continue to use fossil fuels, emit greenhouse gases, surge ahead of us economically – and sell us trillions of dollars of Green New Deal energy systems. Those that come from China might even have grid-hacker-friendly portals built right into their motherboards.

Shuttering nuclear and hydro power plants – and converting our transportation and shipping systems from gasoline and diesel – would mean the USA will need twice as much electricity as it generates today. Closing waste-to-energy facilities would add to those demands – and to landfill requirements.

Energy journalist Ron Bailey estimates that the Green New Deal would require installing some 154,000 offshore wind turbines, 335,000 onshore wind turbines, 75 million residential photovoltaic systems, 2.75 million commercial solar systems, and 46,000 utility-scale solar facilities sprawling across millions of acres. My guess is that it would require a lot more than that – plus millions of Tesla-style battery arrays.

Manufacturing and installing all those units … and the transmission lines to connect them … would require removing hundreds of billions of tons of rock, to reach and extract tens of billions of tons of ores, to create billions of tons of metals, concrete and other materials. That would be expensive, fossil fuel-intensive and habitat destructive. If it is done overseas, as most of it is today, it would involve virtually no health, safety, environmental, human rights, child labor or fair-pay protections. That is not acceptable.

One would hope their commitment to environmental protection and “social justice” would make Green New Deal supporters stalwart advocates for reform. Amendments to the Green New Deal or stand-alone bills should require that all future wind turbine, solar panel and battery components and raw materials be “responsibly sourced” under tough U.S. standards addressing all these issues – or we don’t import them.

There’s more. Contrary to claims by Green New Deal advocates, electricity rates would likely skyrocket – to at least the 38¢ per kWh families and businesses are already paying in Germany and Denmark. That’s four times as much as Americans now pay in states where coal, gas, nuclear and hydro generate most of the electricity. Those rates are job killers for factories, hospitals, schools and businesses.

They also literally kill people, by making it hard for poor families and pensioners to afford adequate heat in wintertime. And just imagine countless stranded electric cars, trucks and buses clogging highways, especially during snow storms, as their batteries go dead … and hundreds of people die of exposure.

Green New Deal advocates seek a total, virtually totalitarian transformation of the U.S. energy and transportation system, economy, buildings, industries, employment base, living standards and individual freedoms. They are using American citizens as guinea pigs in this grand experiment.

They need to tell us what resources will be required … how and where they will get them … how this scheme will work. That’s not likely to happen – because they don’t have a clue, and don’t care. They also can’t prove climate fluctuations and weather events are unprecedented and caused by fossil fuels.

So let’s have those House and Senate votes on the Green New Deal. Let’s see who stands where on this.

Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) and author of articles and books on energy, environmental and human r

Dem Senator Unfiltered on Green New Deal: ‘What in the Heck Is This?’

Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin shared his views on the “Green New Deal” on Wednesday, saying he doesn’t know what it is or whether he would vote for it after reading the legislation.

Durbin was asked Wednesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” about the plan introduced by Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and if he would be supporting it after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced he would be bringing the legislation to the floor for a vote to put lawmakers on the record.

The Illinois Democrat said although he has read the legislation, he does not know “what in the heck” it is and would not say if he would vote for it.

“At this point, I can’t tell you. I have read it and I have reread it. And I asked Ed Markey, what in the heck is this?” he said, referring to his Democratic colleague from Massachusetts.

“He says, ‘It is an aspiration.’ It’s a resolution aspiration,” Durbin said.

“What we’re going to do is ask the Republican leader, ‘What’s your position on global warming,’ while we’re at it. Shouldn’t you come out on the record and say if human activity is having an impact on the environment? Let’s get on the record on both sides,” Durbin said.

When asked if he would vote for the Green New Deal in its current form, Durbin responded by saying he was still looking at the legislation. “It’s long,” he said.

The Green New Deal has sown division among Democratic senators, many of whom question the practicality of the resolution.

The proposed legislation aims to tackle climate change and other environmental concerns, but it comes at an expense.

Enacting the bill would require significant financial resources, which has caused concern for a number of Democratic senators, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California.

“At this stage, I am not a supporter of it because it’s been looked at very cursorily and if you read the language, it’s a very big program with a huge governmental cost,” Feinstein said to TheDCNF on Feb. 13. “None of that’s been looked at.”

When asked if the legislation was likely to pass the Senate, McConnell told TheDCNF, “I hope not!”


100 Percent Renewable Cities – Is Your Mayor Smarter Than a 5th Grader?

Mayors in more than 100 U.S. cities have announced plans to transition their electrical power systems to 100 percent renewable by 2050. They propose replacement of traditional coal, natural gas, and nuclear-generating stations with wind, solar and wood-fired stations. But none of these mayors have a plausible idea of how to meet their commitment.

In December, Cincinnati became the 100th U.S. city to commit to 100 percent electricity from renewable sources, with a target to achieve this goal by 2035. Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley said, “It has become clear that cities will lead the global effort to fight climate change, and Cincinnati is on the front lines.” Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson also pledged to reach 100 percent renewable electricity by 2050 as part of the city’s 2018 Climate Action Plan.

But these announcements appear to be a folk tale worthy of the Brothers Grimm. In 2018, renewables provided less than 3 percent of Ohio’s electricity, which came 47 percent from coal, 35 percent from natural gas and 15 percent from nuclear generators. Mayors Cranley and Jackson appear to have failed to consider the cost or scale of their energy change commitments.

As part of the effort, the Ohio Power Siting Board approved the Icebreaker Wind Facility last July. The Icebreaker project would initially construct six 3.5-gigawatt wind turbines in Lake Erie, ten miles off the coast of Cleveland, at an estimated cost of $126 million. The project would annually produce only about 75 gigawatt-hours of electricity, but plans call for an expansion to over 1,000 offshore wind towers.

Renewable energy is fashionable, but also expensive. The Icebreaker wind turbines cost $21 million each, or about six times the U.S. market price for wind turbines, which is about $1 million per megawatt. The cost of expansion to 1,000 turbines would approach $20 billion. These renewable system costs will be in addition to existing power generation plants, 90 percent of which must be maintained to provide security of electricity supply when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine.

In 2017, Ohio residents consumed 119,000 gigawatt-hours of electrical power. If completed, the 1,000 wind turbines of the expanded $20 billion Icebreaker project would deliver about 12,000 gigawatt-hours, or only about 10 percent of Ohio’s electricity need.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter pledged their cities to 100 percent renewables by 2030. Major wind system build-outs during the last five years boosted Minnesota to the 8th-leading wind energy state in the United States. Renewables now provide about 27 percent of the state’s electricity. But Minnesota residents are paying for it. Over the last nine years, Minnesota power prices increased 34 percent, compared to the US average price rise of 7 percent.

In Wisconsin, Madison Mayor Paul Soglin announced last July the city’s commitment to 100 percent renewable electricity by 2050. But Wisconsin is not exactly the sun belt. Traditional generating stations provide 92 percent of the state’s electrical power and Wisconsin is a poor location for both wind and solar.

Not to be deterred, the City of Madison announced in 2017, a contract for five “utility-scale” solar arrays that would deliver 20 megawatt-hours of electricity per year. But Wisconsin consumes 65,000 gigawatt-hours of electricity each year. More than three million such “utility-scale” solar projects would be needed to supply just one percent of Wisconsin’s electricity.

City officials in Atlanta pledged to reach 100 percent renewables by 2035, but have been honest about the fact that they don’t know how to do it. Only about 6 percent of Atlanta’s electricity comes from renewable sources, about the same amount as the state of Georgia. So, Atlanta proposes purchasing large amounts of renewable energy credits from wind and solar generators in other states, so that they can claim their green energy status.

Energy does not have color. No one can tell whether the electricity from their wall outlet is green or provided by a coal-fired plant. Purchasing renewable credits from other locations is the sleight-of-hand method that allows city mayors to claim 100 percent renewable status.

Maybe these mayors have learned a way to spin climate change straw into gold. Cincinnati, Cleveland, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Atlanta and several other cities will receive $2.5 million grants from the Bloomberg Philanthropies group of billionaire Michael Bloomberg for their efforts to “fight climate change.” Unfortunately, these grants will only be a drop in the bucket compared to the billions in additional electricity costs that citizens will pay for renewable electricity programs.

California is the center of the 100-percent-renewables fable. More than 30 California cities have committed to 100 percent renewable electricity, including San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose, as well as the state of California itself. The state is doing a great job of boosting electricity prices. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, California 2017 residential electricity prices were 18.2 cents per kilowatt-hour, about 50 percent higher than any other state in the West. Look for California rates to double in the next two decades, driven by efforts to achieve high penetration of renewables.

So is your mayor smarter than a fifth grader? When it comes to energy policy, maybe not.


‘Green’ Ambitions Already Being Cut Back Amid Taxpayer Concerns

Democrats’ Green New Deal legislation envisions a U.S that eliminates all greenhouse gas emissions through a massive expansion of government control, which includes a green grid, electrified mass transit and high-speed rail

However, cities and states actually trying to implement these policies are often finding it difficult to overcome political and economic realities.

In the past year, for example, Washington state voters rejected — for a second time — a proposal to tax carbon dioxide emissions. Carbon tax opponents successfully framed the proposal as an energy tax that would raises prices and do nothing for future global warming. The tax was backed by Democrats, Governor Jay Inslee, who is also mulling a 2020 presidential run.

Inslee, who styles himself as the Democratic “climate candidate,” has also failed to push major climate policies through the legislature and using his own executive authority.

“It shows you how ineffective he’s been even in a state like Washington, Todd Myers, environmental policy director at the Washington Policy Center, told The Daily Caller News Foundation in a recent interview.

“We’re doing it whether people want it or not,” Myers said of Inslee’s attempts to clamp down on greenhouse gas emissions.

The Inslee-backed carbon tax would have cost households an extra $230 per year in 2020, according to the Washington Policy Center. Energy bills, including gasoline prices, will increase because of the tax.

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey recently introduced highly-anticipated resolutions for a Green New Deal. Those bills called for the entire U.S. to be powered by “clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources” within 10 years.

The bill also calls for “dramatically expanding and upgrading existing renewable power sources” as part of Green New Deal supporters’ climate crusade.

Even at the local level, however, efforts to decarbonize the grid are easier said than done — and not just for political reasons.

Georgetown, Texas is one of the biggest U.S. cities to claim to meet 100 percent of its electricity needs with solar and wind power. In 2012, the city began to switch to solar and wind, and Republican Mayor Dale Ross quickly became a poster-child for environmentalism.

The city was even featured in former Vice President Al Gore’s film “An Inconvenient Sequel,” which was released in 2017. Gore called the city a “trailblazer” in the fight against global warming.

Georgetown’s green energy ambitions, however, have cost the city roughly $30 million over the past five years. The loss is driven by the long-term wind and solar energy contracts the city entered into, betting that fossil fueled-electricity prices would rise.

The opposite happened, and Georgetown’s municipal utility announced in late January it would increase customers’ bills about $13 a month to recover its bad bets. City officials are currently trying to renegotiate their long-term green energy contracts.

What about high-speed rail? The Green New Deal calls for investments in high-speed rail and other forms of mass transit to make airplanes, indeed the internal combustion engine itself, obsolete.

However, California put the brakes on its controversial high-speed rail project that voters approved in 2008 to shuttle passengers between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The project, dubbed the “train to nowhere” by critics, was estimated to cost $77 billion to complete.

“Let’s level about the high-speed rail,” Newsom said in his State of the State address in February, announcing most of the project would be halted.

“Let’s be real, the current project as planned would cost too much and, respectfully, take too long. Right now, there simply isn’t a path to get from Sacramento to San Diego, let alone from San Francisco to L.A. I wish there were,” Newsom said.

Newsom said the state would complete the small, 119-mile section of high-speed rail between Merced and Bakersfield in the Central Valley. Though, that line is not expected to be finished until 2022 at a cost of $89 million per mile.

Even electrified mass transit is proving difficult, at least in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Los Angeles Times reported Sunday the city canceled its $133 million plan for an all-electric bus line through downtown.

Massive construction in downtown Albuquerque hurt local businesses, modernized bus stops were vandalized and the electric buses themselves were found to have flaws that made them unusable.

The city has sued the Chinese-owned electric vehicle manufacturer and contracted with another company for diesel buses, according to The Times.


Sea levels in and around Sydney Harbour 1886 to 2018

Below is just the Abstract of a very extensive study

by Dr G M Derrick, Brisbane, Australia, February 2019

Executive Summary

1. There has been NO significant sea level rise in the harbour for the past 120 years, and what little there has been is about the height of a matchbox over a century.

2. Along the northern beaches of Sydney, at Collaroy there has been no suggestion of any sea level rise there for the past 140 years. Casual observations from Bondi Beach 1875 to the present also suggest the same benign situation.

3. A rush to judgement by local councils and State Governments by legislating harsh laws and building covenants along our coastlines now seems misplaced.

4.The falsehoods and mendacity of the IPCC and climate alarmists should be rejected out of hand, and efforts be made to ensure that science, not propaganda, defines our school curricula in matters of climate and sea levels

More HERE 


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