Sunday, March 31, 2019

Air pollution can send you mad! Linked to psychotic episodes in teens

Groan!   Why does JAMA keep publishing these crap studies?  Weak effects, dodgy statistics and failure to control for the most likely confounder. That summary of their work will probably grieve the authors but the fact remains that their study proves nothing. I suppose both the authors and the editors feel that their study is within convention but I am not interested in convention.  I am interested in reliable evidence

So: they analysed their data using quartiles. That might sound very technical so let me spell it out:  They threw away much of the information they had before they even started to analyse it!  How does that sound?  Unfortunately use of quartiles is quite a common procedure in medical research.  Authors resort to it because using all the data would show no effect.

In this case they found the effect they expected only in the top quartile.  It did not exist in the data as a whole. Expressing the relationship between illness and pollution as a Pearsonian correlation coefficient would almost certainly make that brutally clear.  In their conclusions the authors did describe their findings accurately but the casual reader would almost certainly conclude that there was a overall correlation between psychiatric illness and air pollution. There was not.

And if there were, we would not know how to interpret it.  Why?  Because there was no control for income.  Probably the most consistent finding in the whole of the epidemiological literature is that the poor have worse health. So you must control for income or your findings could be due to the target group on balance having worse health.  Otherwise the lesser health you have found in that group could be simply a poverty effect.  And there are reasons to think that was so in this case.  The "teenagers living in areas of high pollution" could be living there because they were poorer.  Well off people can usually avoid "living in areas of high pollution"

And given the weak effects reported, it's not only possible but probable that income was the sole influence at work in the data.  Control for income would have knocked the effects down to negligibility

I know why they did not control for income: It is a more difficult datum to collect. But I usually controlled for it in my survey research career so it can be done if you want your findings to be taken seriously.

Sigh! Why do I so often have to spend an hour pointing all that stuff out?  It's just Greenie cussedness.  If they think a thing is so, they will twist the statistics to fit

Journal abstract appended

The first research ever to investigate the link between psychotic experiences and poor air quality found teenagers living in areas of high pollution suffered more than those in cleaner environments.

The researchers, from King's College London, used data from 2,232 children born in England and Wales.

They found that, overall, approximately a third of adolescents reported hearing or seeing something that wasn’t there, or feeling paranoid on at least one occasion between the ages of 12 and 18.

Such episodes, while not necessarily serious in themselves, can be a gateway to graver mental conditions such as schizophrenia.

The mental health data was compared against with hourly estimates of air pollution at their home addresses and two other locations where they spent a lot of time at the age of 17 such as a school.

"This study found that psychotic experiences were significantly more common among teens exposed to higher levels of air pollution," lead author Dr Joanne Newbury said.

"For example, teenagers exposed to the highest levels of nitrogen oxides had a 72 per cent greater odds for psychotic experiences compared to those with lower exposure.”

Adolescents exposed to the highest level of nitrogen dioxide had 71 per cent greater odds of having a psychotic experience, the study also found.

Meanwhile, those exposed to the highest levels of particulate matter, which can include carbon, liquids, metals and dust, had 45 per cent greater odds.

Previous research has shown a link between urban living and adolescent psychotic experiences, but the researchers said this is the first evidence of an association with air pollution levels.

Other studies have recently shown an association between dementia and air pollution levels, as well as strokes.

Some theories suggest that small particles from air pollution can enter the brain and cause inflammation or cause chemicals to enter the body, the researchers said.

The King's researchers said noise pollution may also play a role.

The paper is published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.


Association of Air Pollution Exposure With Psychotic Experiences During Adolescence

Joanne B. Newbury et al.


Importance:  Urbanicity is a well-established risk factor for clinical (eg, schizophrenia) and subclinical (eg, hearing voices and paranoia) expressions of psychosis. To our knowledge, no studies have examined the association of air pollution with adolescent psychotic experiences, despite air pollution being a major environmental problem in cities.

Objectives:  To examine the association between exposure to air pollution and adolescent psychotic experiences and test whether exposure mediates the association between urban residency and adolescent psychotic experiences.

Design, Setting, and Participants:  The Environmental-Risk Longitudinal Twin Study is a population-based cohort study of 2232 children born during the period from January 1, 1994, through December 4, 1995, in England and Wales and followed up from birth through 18 years of age. The cohort represents the geographic and socioeconomic composition of UK households. Of the original cohort, 2066 (92.6%) participated in assessments at 18 years of age, of whom 2063 (99.9%) provided data on psychotic experiences. Generation of the pollution data was completed on October 4, 2017, and data were analyzed from May 4 to November 21, 2018.

Exposures:  High-resolution annualized estimates of exposure to 4 air pollutants—nitrogen dioxide (NO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and particulate matter with aerodynamic diameters of less than 2.5 (PM2.5) and less than 10 μm (PM10)—were modeled for 2012 and linked to the home addresses of the sample plus 2 commonly visited locations when the participants were 18 years old.

Main Outcomes and Measures:  At 18 years of age, participants were privately interviewed regarding adolescent psychotic experiences. Urbanicity was estimated using 2011 census data.

Results:  Among the 2063 participants who provided data on psychotic experiences, sex was evenly distributed (52.5% female). Six hundred twenty-three participants (30.2%) had at least 1 psychotic experience from 12 to 18 years of age. Psychotic experiences were significantly more common among adolescents with the highest (top quartile) level of annual exposure to NO2 (odds ratio [OR], 1.71; 95% CI, 1.28-2.28), NOx (OR, 1.72; 95% CI, 1.30-2.29), and PM2.5 (OR, 1.45; 95% CI, 1.11-1.90). Together NO2 and NOx statistically explained 60% of the association between urbanicity and adolescent psychotic experiences. No evidence of confounding by family socioeconomic status, family psychiatric history, maternal psychosis, childhood psychotic symptoms, adolescent smoking and substance dependence, or neighborhood socioeconomic status, crime, and social conditions occurred.

Conclusions and Relevance:  In this study, air pollution exposure—particularly NO2 and NOx—was associated with increased odds of adolescent psychotic experiences, which partly explained the association between urban residency and adolescent psychotic experiences. Biological (eg, neuroinflammation) and psychosocial (eg, stress) mechanisms are plausible.

JAMA Psychiatry. Published online March 27, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2019.0056

The "New Energy Economy": An Exercise in Magical Thinking


A movement has been growing for decades to replace hydrocarbons, which collectively supply 84% of the world’s energy. It began with the fear that we were running out of oil. That fear has since migrated to the belief that, because of climate change and other environmental concerns, society can no longer tolerate burning oil, natural gas, and coal—all of which have turned out to be abundant.

So far, wind, solar, and batteries—the favored alternatives to hydrocarbons—provide about 2% of the world’s energy and 3% of America’s. Nonetheless, a bold new claim has gained popularity: that we’re on the cusp of a tech-driven energy revolution that not only can, but inevitably will, rapidly replace all hydrocarbons.

This “new energy economy” rests on the belief—a centerpiece of the Green New Deal and other similar proposals both here and in Europe—that the technologies of wind and solar power and battery storage are undergoing the kind of disruption experienced in computing and communications, dramatically lowering costs and increasing efficiency. But this core analogy glosses over profound differences, grounded in physics, between systems that produce energy and those that produce information.

In the world of people, cars, planes, and factories, increases in consumption, speed, or carrying capacity cause hardware to expand, not shrink. The energy needed to move a ton of people, heat a ton of steel or silicon, or grow a ton of food is determined by properties of nature whose boundaries are set by laws of gravity, inertia, friction, mass, and thermodynamics—not clever software.

This paper highlights the physics of energy to illustrate why there is no possibility that the world is undergoing—or can undergo—a near-term transition to a “new energy economy.”

Among the reasons:

Scientists have yet to discover, and entrepreneurs have yet to invent, anything as remarkable as hydrocarbons in terms of the combination of low-cost, high-energy density, stability, safety, and portability. In practical terms, this means that spending $1 million on utility-scale wind turbines, or solar panels will each, over 30 years of operation, produce about 50 million kilowatt-hours (kWh)—while an equivalent $1 million spent on a shale rig produces enough natural gas over 30 years to generate over 300 million kWh.

Solar technologies have improved greatly and will continue to become cheaper and more efficient. But the era of 10-fold gains is over. The physics boundary for silicon photovoltaic (PV) cells, the Shockley-Queisser Limit, is a maximum conversion of 34% of photons into electrons; the best commercial PV technology today exceeds 26%.

Wind power technology has also improved greatly, but here, too, no 10-fold gains are left. The physics boundary for a wind turbine, the Betz Limit, is a maximum capture of 60% of kinetic energy in moving air; commercial turbines today exceed 40%.
The annual output of Tesla’s Gigafactory, the world’s largest battery factory, could store three minutes’ worth of annual U.S. electricity demand. It would require 1,000 years of production to make enough batteries for two days’ worth of U.S. electricity demand. Meanwhile, 50–100 pounds of materials are mined, moved, and processed for every pound of battery produced.


House Dems Unveil Bill Blocking Trump’s Pullout from Paris Climate Deal

How pointless can you get?  Do they seriously think Trump will sign this?

House Democrats proposed a bill Wednesday that would prevent President Trump from pulling the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement, as he announced he would in July 2017.

The Climate Action Now Act would require the president to propose a plan for keeping the U.S. in accord with the Paris deal’s emission-reduction goals, which were agreed to by President Obama in 2015. It would also prohibit the administration from using federal funds to pull out of the deal, as Trump has promised to do in November 2020, the moment it becomes legally possible.

The Paris deal requires the U.S. to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 17 percent by 2020 and 26 to 28 percent by 2025, as defined by 2005 pollution levels.

Introducing the Climate Action Now Act, Speaker Nancy Pelosi called climate change the “existential threat of our generation, of our time, a crisis manifested in natural disasters of epic proportions.”

“This is about jobs,” Pelosi said. “It’s about good-paying green jobs. It’s about public health, clean air, and clean water for our children. It’s about defending our national security.”

Representative Kathy Castor of Florida, chairwoman of the House Select Committee on Climate Crisis, sponsored the five-page proposal.


Latest ecological fake news scare: Like the ‘honeybee armageddon’ narrative, pesticide-driven ‘insect-pocalypse’ claim is collapsing

Jon Entine

It was only a few years ago that headlines in Europe and North America were screaming about the coming “bee armageddon”. Honeybees were going extinct, we were told, and because these vital pollinators are vital to our food supply, we were on the verge of global starvation. And pesticides were mostly to blame for the crisis.

The problem with that thesis was that honeybee populations aren’t declining, let alone headed for extinction. As I’ll explain below, the media have finally updated their doomsday reporting (years behind the Genetic Literacy Project, which has been documenting the faux crisis for years).

 However, no sooner does one apocalypse slip from the headlines than another springs up to take its place. Recently, news and advocacy groups sites have been afire with dire warnings that man’s days on earth are (once again) numbered, this time due to the accelerating extinction of all of the world’s insects.

The Guardian in the UK escalated the concern to worldwide panic with a February article warning, Plummeting insect numbers ‘threaten collapse of nature’. Within days, numerous media and environmental advocacy outlets jumped on the story, all of them. What was the source?  One study, which more accurately was a selective “review” of other studies, conducted by two scientists, one from Australia and one from China. It was remarkable for a number of reasons, not the because of the decidedly un-academic, almost hysteria-like tone, of its authors.

If insect species losses cannot be halted, this will have catastrophic consequences for both the planet’s ecosystems and for the survival of mankind,” explained the study’s lead author, Francisco Sánchez-Bayo, of the University of Sydney, Australia. The rate of loss – 2.5 percent a year according to his calculations – is very rapid, he said. “In 10 years you will have a quarter less, in 50 years only half left and in 100 years you will have none.

Not everyone saw catastrophe ahead. While most journalists and websites were content with promoting sensationalist quotes and running with superficial rewrites of the media kits promoting the study, many scientists took a more skeptical and academically responsible view. As several pointed out on Twitter, even a cursory glance at the study’s methodology raised serious questions. The authors’ describe their search process of the scientific literature:

We aimed at compiling all long-term insect surveys conducted over the past 40 years that are available through global peer-reviewed literature databases. To that effect we performed a search on the online Web of Science database using the keywords [insect*] AND [declin*] AND [survey], which resulted in a total of 653 publications.

Reflect on this for a moment. The researchers ostensible purpose was to survey the scientific literature on the state of insect populations around the world. But the words they used as search terms suggest a distinct bias in how they framed the question. The authors limited their review from the get-go to only those papers that reported a decline. Any paper that found stability or even increases in insect populations was likely to be eliminated by this Boolean search.

Where are the insects?

But that is only the beginning of the concerns raised about this paper. As others have pointed out, although the authors claimed to do a “worldwide” assessment, the data they used was almost exclusively gathered from North America (primarily the US) and Europe.

The only data from Asia, apart from Japan, were studies of managed honeybees and not the general insect population. The same holds for Australia. And there is no data at all from equatorial Africa and almost none from the vast continent of (insect-filled!) South America. Assessing trends in worldwide insect species while largely ignoring the Amazon and other equatorial regions simply doesn’t make sense. It’s estimated that some 30 million insect species inhabit the tropical forests of the world, compared to 91,000 in, say, the US, where a disproportionate number of these studies originate.

But it’s not just what’s missing. Focusing on northern latitudes is likely to skew results in other ways as well. Insect populations at northern and southern latitudes are subject to dramatic changes due to fluctuations in weather from year to year (even short of gradual overall warming due to climate change). Species on the edge of their range may spread northward during warmer years and snap back again due to a particularly cold winter. This hardly represents meaningful species loss, however.

Which brings us to the many unknowns concerning this paper. A review such as this is critically dependent on the judgement by the authors, not only on which studies to include (in this case, as we’ve seen, only studies headlining a “decline”) but also on how to interpret and analyze those studies. And here again, there is reason to question.

Study doesn’t focus on pesticides but authors do in their public comments

While the paper examines many reasons for insect declines, Sanchez-Bayo tellingly has largely emphasized the role of pesticides in his media interviews. The stepping far outside his area of expertise, and discoursing on issues not covered in the study, he repeatedly has  called for a switch from conventional to organic farming. He is apparently ignorant of the fact that organic farmers use large amounts of “natural” pesticides, some of which are highly toxic to insects.

Much more HERE  (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

Although hyped, Climate change turned out to be a non-issue in an Australian State election

It was utter bunkum; but typical self-delusion by those ideological crusaders determined to do whatever it takes ‘to save the planet’ – at whatever the cost. ‘Climate change is now a more pressing matter for NSW voters than hospitals, schools and public transport’ asserted the green-left Sydney Morning Herald in the run-up to NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s outstanding victory. And to reinforce the message against carbon emissions, it added that among the top environment concerns was coal. Other media within this inner-city bubble of group-think unreality included SBS which warned pre-election that ‘Climate change will be a vote changer’, while the ABC inevitably listed environment on top, claiming that ‘Voters in dozens of seats appear to be signalling to parties that without a clear plan to address climate change they will be punished at the polling booth’.

But climate change played no role in determining the outcome. The Greens, the Coalition and Labor all of which had climate policies that, to differing degrees, imposed heavy cost burdens on the economy and energy consumers involving job losses in industry, all lost some ground. The Coalition, especially the Nationals, should heed the lesson that the only big election winners were the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party that won three lower house seats despite the New Zealand gun massacre news. And, contrary to the warnings from the left media, the SFF election policy took strong objection to the major parties’ anti-emissions rhetoric. ‘Environment laws should not be aimed at appeasing minority city-based extreme green viewpoints… Affordable and reliable energy is the key to success… Government should not divert large sums of public money into intermittent energy sources; with the increasing saturation of renewable energy comes greater risks to energy reliability that is best provided by large coal-fired generators. We believe that it is logical to construct two new baseload High Efficiency Low Emission (HELE) coal-fired power stations in the Hunter Valley’.

If the Nationals were unhappy before the election with the Liberals’ ‘Labor-lite’ emissions limitation policies (the NSW Liberal target is zero net emissions by 2050 as against Labor’s 100 per cent by then and 50 per cent by 2030) it is unlikely they will wear them after losing seats to the SFF. And the federal Nationals have every reason to be worried about the threat to their regional seats of the SFF energy policy. The outcome of the coming federal election may depend on whether the Nats’ concerns and pressure for reliable affordable energy (including coal) will have a greater impact on Morrison than the fears of Josh Frydenberg that Kooyong could turn into another climate-dominated Wentworth unless due obeisance is made to the emissions gods. And, unlike the USA, that the government will stick with the Paris Agreement targets, despite their having inconsequential effects on the world’s greenhouse gasses.

But despite the clear evidence that the only impact of emissions policy in last weekend’s NSW election was a positive one for the SFF, Morrison is reluctant to embrace HELE coal-fired generation that, contrary to anti-coal propaganda, is booming overseas. According to the authoritative S&P Platts report, China is adding 1,171 coal-fired power stations to its existing 2,363, Japan is adding 45 to its 90, South Korea another 26 to its 58, the Philippines 60 to its 19, India 446 more to its 589, South Africa 24 to its 79, Turkey 93 to its 56 and even the EU (with some prominent anti-emissions members), is adding 27 to its 468. Most will be potential customers for Australian coal, which is already our major export.

But the sovereign risk of potentially antagonistic political decisions means that despite their economic viability overseas, there has been no investment in even one HELE generator here. So Australian energy gets increasingly expensive and unreliable to the benefit of our overseas competitors.

Berejiklian promised after last weekend’s impressive victory to help Morrison in May’s federal election. Her greatest contribution would be for her government to shut-up about climate change – and ensure that cabinet members like her factional friend Energy Minister Don Harwin, cease publicly undermining federal Liberal colleagues on emissions policy. Energy in NSW might be a more appropriate portfolio for a Nat.



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

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


Friday, March 29, 2019

Fastest-Thinning Greenland Glacier Threw NASA Scientists for a Loop. It's Actually Growing

Due to "temporary" factors, of course.  How do we know that its previous thinning was not also due to "temporary" factors? The fact that they didn't predict the cooling means that they don't understand or know all the temperature factors at work.  They are just guessing and being wise after the event.  The previous thinning could have been due to subsurface vulcanism.  if not, why not?

Greenland's fastest-flowing and fastest-thinning glacier recently threw a real brain bender at scientists, who realized that instead of shrinking, the glacier is actually growing thicker, they reported in a new study.

The glacier — known as Jakobshavn, which sits on Greenland's west coast — is still contributing to sea level rise, but it's losing less ice than expected. Instead of thinning and retreating inland, its ice is thickening and advancing toward the ocean, the researchers found.

After much sleuthing, a team of scientists from the United States and the Netherlands found that the glacier is likely growing due to colder ocean currents. In 2016, a current that passes by Jakobshavn Glacier was cooler than usual, making waters near the glacier the coldest they'd been since the mid-1980s.

This cooler current came from the North Atlantic Ocean, more than 600 miles (966 kilometers) south of the glacier, according to data from NASA's Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG) mission and other observations.

The finding took the scientists completely by surprise. "At first, we didn't believe it," study lead researcher Ala Khazendar, a scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said in a statement. "We had pretty much assumed that Jakobshavn would just keep going on as it had over the last 20 years." But the cold water isn't a one-off. Data from OMG shows that the water has been cold now for three years in a row.

It appears that the cold water is the result of a climate pattern known as the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), which makes the northern Atlantic Ocean slowly switch between warm and cold water about once every 20 years, the researchers said. The cold phase just recently started, and has cooled the Atlantic Ocean in general, they said. In addition, some extra cooling of the waters around Greenland's southwest coast helped keep the glacier chilly.

But this crisp change won't last forever. Once the NAO climate pattern flips back, the Jakobshavn will likely start melting faster and thinning again, the researchers said.

"Jakobshavn is getting a temporary break from this climate pattern," Josh Willis, of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the principal investigator of OMG, said in the statement. "But in the long run, the oceans are warming. And seeing the oceans have such a huge impact on the glaciers is bad news for Greenland's ice sheet."

Scientists have watched Jakobshavn with concern for decades. After losing its ice shelf in the early 2000s (an ice shelf forces a glacier to flow more slowly into the ocean, like dirt clogging a drain), Jakobshavn began losing ice at an alarming rate. Between 2003 and 2016, its thickness (from top to bottom) dwindled by 500 feet (152 meters).

But in 2016, the waters flowing from Greenland's southern tip to its western side cooled by more than 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius). Meanwhile, the NAO climate pattern caused the Atlantic Ocean near Greenland to cool by about 0.5 F (1 C) between 2013 and 2016. By the summer of 2016, these cooler waters reached the glacier, and they are likely the reason that Jakobshavn slowed its rate of ice loss to the ocean, the researchers said. [Image: Greenland's Dramatic Landscape]

In all, Jakobshavn grew about 100 feet (30 m) taller between 2016 and 2017, the researchers found. But, as mentioned, the glacier is still contributing to ocean level rise worldwide, as it's still losing more ice to the ocean than it is gaining from snow accumulation, the researchers said.

The findings shed light on how much ocean temperatures can affect glacier growth, said Tom Wagner, a NASA Headquarters program scientist for the cryosphere, the frozen part of Earth.

"The OMG mission deployed new technologies that allowed us to observe a natural experiment, much as we would do in a laboratory, where variations in ocean temperatures were used to control the flow of a glacier," Wagner, who was not involved in the study, said in the statement. "Their findings — especially about how quickly the ice responds — will be important to projecting sea level rise in both the near and distant future."


Snow Lizards, Seahorses, and Reagan on a Dinosaur: Sen. Lee Mocks Green New Deal

Armed with images of a gun-toting, dinosaur-mounted Ronald Reagan, a snow lizard and giant seahorse, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) had some fun at the expense of Democratic colleagues on Tuesday, but made clear that it was their “Green New Deal,” not climate change, that was the butt of his jokes.

Lee’s speech and accompanying visuals came before the Senate voted against advancing a resolution “recognizing the duty of the federal government to create a Green New Deal.”

In what Democrats condemned as a “stunt,” every Republican voted against the resolution, put forward by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in a bid to force Democrats to take a public stand on an initiative which he called “a radical, top-down, socialist makeover of the entire U.S. economy.”

The Republicans were joined by three Democrats – Sens. Doug Jones (Ala.), Joe Manchin (W.V.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) – and independent Angus King (Me.), while the remainder of the Democrats, including the declared 2020 presidential candidates, voted “present.”

The vote count was 0 yeas, 57 nays, and 43 voting present.

“The GOP’s climate delaying is costing us lives + destroying communities,” Green New Deal champion Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) tweeted afterwards. She also said she and others had encouraged Senate Democrats to vote “present,” adding that McConnell had tried to rush the initiative “straight to the floor without a hearing.”

Lee opened his speech – social media opinions on which ranged from “bizarre” to “masterful” – by saying he was going to “consider the Green New Deal with the seriousness it deserves.”

The image of Reagan on a “velociraptor holding up a tattered American flag,” he said, was meant to depict a “climactic battle of the Cold War,” although in real life, “the Cold War, as we all know, was won without firing a shot.”

“This image has as much to do with overcoming communism in the 20th century as the Green New Deal has to do with overcoming climate change in the 21st.”

Lee later presented images of a Tauntaun snow lizard of Star Wars fame – a suggested carbon-neutral mode of winter transport for citizens of Alaska “in a future without air travel” – and an animated Aquaman riding a giant seahorse as the corresponding option for citizens of Hawaii.

He went on to talk about the elimination of America’s cows – considered a problem because they emit methane, a greenhouse gas.

A Green New Deal “frequently asked questions” document from Ocasio-Cortez’ office earlier this year called for the building of “high-speed rail at a scale where air travel stops becoming necessary.”

It also referred to bovine flatulence: “We set a goal to get to net-zero, rather than zero emissions, in 10 years because we aren’t sure that we’ll be able to fully get rid of farting cows and airplanes that fast.”

Eliminating air travel and cows were not included in the actual Green New Deal resolution subsequently introduced by Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) – which in replicated form was what was voted on in the Senate on Tuesday.

Instead, the resolution calls for investment in “high-speed rail” as part of that envisaged transportation overhaul – with no reference to air travel – and refers to efforts “to eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector as much as is technologically feasible.”

Lee said the initiative’s authors hearing his speech will protest that the goals of eliminating air travel and cows are not actually part of the GND but “merely were included in supporting documents accidentally sent out by the office of the lead sponsor in the House of Representatives.”

“This only makes my point: The supporters of the Green New Deal want Americans to trust them to reorganize our entire society, our entire economy, to restructure our very way of life – when they couldn’t even figure out how to send out the right press release.”

The GND was not an agenda of solutions, he charged, but “a token of elite tribal identity, and endorsing it a public act of piety for the chic and ‘woke.’”

The solution to climate change, he said, was not the Green New Deal – but “babies.”

“Climate change is an engineering problem—not social engineering, but the real kind. It’s a challenge of creativity, ingenuity and, most of all, technological innovation.”

Lee quoted Tyler Cowen, economics professor at George Mason University, as having written recently: “By having more children, you’re making your nation more populous, thus boosting its capacity to solve climate change.”

“The solution to climate change,” Lee concluded, “is not this unserious resolution we’re considering this week in the Senate, but rather the serious business of human flourishing. The solution to so many of our problems, at all times and in all places, is to fall in love, get married, and have some kids.”

Reacting to Lee’s speech, Markey tweeted later, “When the Midwest is flooded and people have died because of climate-related extreme weather, it is shameful to joke about climate change. This is exactly Democrats’ point – Republicans only want to make a mockery of the climate crisis. We will not let them.”


‘White People’ blamed for causing Cyclone Idai in Africa

One can't blame Mr Mngxitama for his views.  He is just repeating what Warmists say

“White people” are being blamed for causing “climate change” which is claimed to have led to a deadly hurricane in Africa, according to the activist group Black First Land First (BLF).

BLF blamed Tropical Cyclone Idai on “white people” and is demanding that the African Union seek reparations the West for the hurricane.

BLF president Andile Mngxitama declared that the cyclone that hit Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi, was “not a natural disaster but a direct consequence of the white, Western system of ecological assault for profits.”

This (cyclone) is mass murder which could be prevented if the West abandoned its ways,” Mngxitama stated. “It’s no longer speculation – even the white man’s own science corroborates what we blacks know: Africa is paying a heavy price for the actions of the white world,” he added with a reference to “climate change” science allegedly causing increase in extreme weather


Interesting Stats on Electric Cars

The electrical energy to keep the batteries charged has to come from the grid and that means more power generation and a huge increase in the distribution infrastructure.  Whether generated from coal, gas, oil, wind or sun, installed generation capacity is limited.

If electric cars do not use gasoline, they will not participate in paying a gasoline tax on every gallon that is sold for automobiles, which was enacted some years ago to help to maintain our roads and bridges.  They will use the roads, but will not pay for their maintenance!

In case you were thinking of buying a hybrid or an electric car:

Ever since the advent of electric cars, the REAL cost per mile of those things has never been discussed.  All you ever heard was the mpg in terms of gasoline, with nary a mention of the cost of electricity to run it.

If you really intend to adopt electric vehicles, you had to face certain realities.  For example, a home charging system for a Tesla requires 75 amp services.  The average house is equipped with 100 amp service.  On our small street (approximately 25 homes), the electrical infrastructure would be unable to carry more than three houses with a single Tesla, each.  For even half the homes to have electric vehicles, the system would be wildly over-loaded.

This is the elephant in the room with electric vehicles.  Our residential infrastructure cannot bear the load.  So as our genius elected officials promote this nonsense, not only are we being urged to buy these things and replace our reliable, cheap generating systems with expensive, new windmills and solar cells, but we will also have to renovate our entire delivery system.

Eric test drove the Chevy Volt at the invitation of General Motors and he writes, "For four days in a row, the fully charged battery lasted only 25 miles before the Volt switched to the reserve gasoline engine ."  Eric calculated the car got 30 mpg including the 25 miles it ran on the battery.  So, the range including the 9-gallon gas tank and the 16 kwh batteries is approximately 270 miles.

It will take you 4.5 hours to drive 270 miles at 60 mph.  Then add 10 hours to charge the battery and you have a total trip time of 14.5 hours.  In a typical road trip, your average speed (including charging time) would be 20 mph.

According to General Motors, the Volt battery holds 16 kWh of electricity.  It takes a full 10 hours to charge a drained battery.  The cost for the electricity to charge the Volt is never mentioned, so I looked up what I pay for electricity.   I pay approximately (it varies with amount used and the seasons) $1.16 per kWh.  16 kWh x $1.16 per kWh = $18.56 to charge the battery.  $18.56 per charge divided by 25 miles = $0.74 per mile to operate the Volt using the battery.  Compare this to a similar size car with a gasoline engine that gets only 32 mpg.   $3.19 per gallon divided by 32 mpg = $0.10 per mile.

Update: the $1.16 above may be wrong. 11.6c is more likely

The gasoline-powered car costs about $20,000 while the Volt costs $46,000-plus.  So the American Government wants loyal Americans not to do the math, but simply pay three times as much for a car, that costs more than seven times as much to run, and takes three times longer to drive across the country.

Various sources

The Greens' extraordinary plan to BAN coal in Australia - calling it 'the new asbestos - despite exports earning $66BILLION every year

They know there is no hope of this being enacted.  It is just an attempt to make themselves look good and wise

The Greens have unveiled their radical plan to ban coal despite it bringing Australia more than $66billion every year.

The party on Thursday released a new climate plan, which sets 2030 as the target year for the nation to be running on 100 per cent renewable energy.

The policy - which comes with a call to arms from Swedish school student Greta Thunberg - shows how the Greens would push a Labor government if elected in May.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale described coal as 'the new asbestos', saying the party wants to shut down every coal power plant in New South Wales, The Daily Telegraph reported.

'We once used asbestos in our buildings because we thought it was safe. But we now know better, so we have banned it. Now it is coal's turn,' the Greens' policy stated.

The party wants to put an end to thermal coal burning by setting a yearly limit on coal exports from 2020 and reducing it every year until it hits zero in 2030.

At the same time, the party is pushing for the nation to be running on 100 per cent renewable energy by the time the coal industry ceases trading.

The plan would include a $65billion carbon tax, and an immediate ban on new coal mines, fracking and conventional onshore and offshore gas and oilfields.

Industry experts said the economy will suffer under the plan.

Coal was the highest earning export commodity in Australia last year, accounting for $66million in revenue, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics figures.   

Last financial year, coals exports brought the NSW economy about $17billion, with thermal coal exports reaching 164.6million tonnes.

NSW Mining CEO Stephen Galilee told Daily Mail Australia the overall economic cost of banning coal would send the state into a deep economic recession.

'The Greens policy would cost NSW its most valuable export industry and over $17billion in export income, as well as over $2billion a year in mining royalties, which help pay for schools and hospitals.

'Over 20,000 NSW coal miners would lose their jobs, devastating mining families and communities, and over 130,000 more jobs across NSW would also be potentially affected,' Mr Galilee said.

The CEO said more than 7,000 businesses currently part of the mining supply chain would also be hit, threatening even more jobs.

'Electricity supply to families and businesses across NSW would also be at risk of price rises and blackouts which would affect a range of energy-intensive industries including manufacturing, transport and construction,' he said.

Mr Di Natale has denied his party's plan to shut down all coal-fired power stations and phase out thermal coal exports will cost Australians jobs.

The Greens want a $1billion transition plan for workers affected by banning coal, which Mr Di Natale believes will create more than 170,000 new jobs.

'We will lose no jobs because under our plan we will have a national authority, a publicly-owned authority, with express intent to manage this transition,' he told ABC Radio National on Thursday.

'The reality is this is happening already, people are going to lose their jobs because the economics are making it so.'

Mr Di Natale said unlike the major parties, the Greens planned to create a jobs boom in the renewable energy export industry.

As part of the plan, the Greens want the nation to stop using gas - despite experts saying the energy source is an essential part of future energy sources.

Phasing out petrol cars and moving to electric vehicles was another key objective mentioned in the Greens idealistic plan. 

Luxury fossil fuel cars would be hit with a 17 per cent tax to help pay for scrapping registration fees, import tariffs, GST and stamp duty on electric vehicles.

The Greens have also proposed establishing a new public energy retailer and re-regulating electricity prices to address price gouging following the coal ban.

Mr Di Natale said the mining and burning of coal remained the single biggest cause of climate change in Australia and around the world.

'You need the Greens in the Senate to push Labor to make sure we do what needs to be done,' he said.



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


Thursday, March 28, 2019

Obama’s First ‘Green New Deal’ Flopped Too

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal has been widely ridiculed for its massive disruption to the economy and a price tag of tens of trillions of dollars.

Now some Democrats are countering that this isn't the first Green New Deal in America. They point to President Barack Obama's fiscal stimulus plan of 2009-2010 as an example of how spreading around tax dollars for green energy programs can be good for the environment and the economy.

Think again. That isn't at all what happened during the Obama "Green New Deal." By every objective criteria confirmed by every independent investigation, the avalanche of green dollars in Obama's first term was a colossal waste of money. The House Oversight Committee' exhaustive investigation of the $14 billion renewable energy loan guarantee program exposed widespread "dysfunction, negligence and mismanagement by DOE officials." The report concluded the Obama administration routinely "turned a blind eye" to the mismanagement.

In all, Obama (and George W. Bush before him) spent some $100 billion on giveaways to wind and solar power producers, electric cars and for weatherizing homes and buildings. It was arguably one of the largest corporate welfare experiments in American history, enriching an industry and its investors. Most of this money went for research to speed up commercial applications of green energy or was pipelined directly into bank accounts of individual companies.

The most infamous of these was, of course, Solyndra, the solar energy company that received $530 million of taxpayer handouts and was touted many times by Obama, and Vice President Joe Biden, as the next big thing in green energy. It never produced any energy to speak of before it went bankrupt.

That was the similar fate for dozens of other companies including the Department of Energy's half-billion dollar bet on the showcase electric car company Fisker — which also went belly up.

The New Green Deal calls for the government to retrofit all of the homes and businesses in America so they are energy efficient. The Obama administration launched a $5 billion program for this purpose and DOE Secretary Steven Chu referred to this program as "one of our signature programs."

The House investigators found a "stunning lack of oversight of this program" with "no one checking the quality of the work performed, allowing poor workmanship to go undetected and undeterred. Many DOE contractors did not do the work promised by DOE and many of them actually damaged homes." The inspector general for the DOE fumed that the weaknesses of the program "pose health and safety risks to residents."

Anyone want these people coming into your home?

What about the grandiose promise of retraining Americans who lose their jobs due to the Green New Deal? Under the Obama administration, the feds allocated $500 million for "green" worker training. This was supposed to train 124,893 people, but in 2012 the Labor Department Inspector General found the program only trained 52,762 (42 percent of the target), and only 8,035 actually got jobs (10 percent of the target). No wonder coal miners, truck drivers and oil and gas employees aren't thrilled about losing their jobs.

There was much more green fraud and waste uncovered, but the bottom line was this: After more than $100 billion spent on the first Green New Deal, by 2016 only about 1 percent American energy was coming from solar energy. Less than 2 percent of cars on the road were electric vehicles — even with the government offering thousands of dollars of cash rebates to buy the vehicles.

Meanwhile, the clean energy source that the government ignored, natural gas, exploded from 25 percent of electricity production to almost 40 percent. No one in Washington saw the shale revolution coming. The Obama administration was openly hostile to fracking. There was no "natural gas new deal" and, in fact, this industry received hardly a penny of federal subsidy. There were no mandates at the state level requiring people to use natural gas. Fracking and horizontal drilling were developed out in the hinterlands of Oklahoma, North Dakota and Texas, not in a Department of Energy lab inside the Washington Beltway.

Yes, Obama gave us a test run on the Green New Deal. The return on investment was miserable. Many people got rich on the government largesse and the taxpayers got fleeced. Incredibly, Democrats never called for a Mueller-type investigation into the grifters who pulled off this heist of tens of billions of dollars from the government.

The sane conclusion would be: Never again. But failed lessons of government as venture capitalists have been ignored and covered up.

Instead, AOC, the environmental groups and at least four major Democratic presidential candidates want to try it all again. But this time with trillions of dollars.


Students Love The “Green New Deal” Until They Hear What’s In It

We’ve told CHQ readers about the deleterious effects of the “Green New Deal," a Socialist plan aimed at taking hold of American economic life under the guise of drastically reducing carbon emissions in the next ten years.

One of the principle reasons Democrats have launched the “Green New Deal” is because they think climate change hysteria among young people has reached critical mass politically and it is time to capture those votes.

“Climate change is the biggest threat to my future. And just because I can’t vote right now, that doesn’t mean I don’t have a voice. I’m speaking from the perspective of someone who is scared and afraid for their future," Lily Gardner, a 15-year-old student from Eastern Kentucky, told Refinery29 of why she joined a protest outside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office. "It’s not a question of who knows more or who has been in the business for longer, it’s the question of who is going to be disproportionately impacted by climate change. When people don’t take me seriously, they are not taking my future seriously.”

The “Green New Deal” has already received the endorsements of Democrat presidential candidates, like Senators Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, so our friends at Campus Reform, the group that exposes the liberal bias and abuse against conservatives on America’s colleges and universities decided to go to a college campus and ask students what they think of the “Green New Deal.”

Wanting to know if the same people who support the New Green Deal would still support it after hearing what was actually in it, Campus Reform's Cabot Phillips headed to the University of Miami to find out.

Some of the college students made clear, like the high school student quoted above, that they perceive global warming as an apocalyptic concern. "I think if we didn't do that, then we're going to be killing ourselves, basically," said one student. "So, we need to take care of ourselves."

"Anything that would reduce our dependence on fossil fuels is really important," agreed another. "I definitely support this movement," said one student generally.

“I like that it’s progressive, that it’s gonna push the world forward,” another student said, while another added, “just from knowing who’s endorsed it and some other little things, it sounds great.”

"I view it favorably. I think that we need to cut our reliance on fossil fuels," said another.

However, when asked by Phillips about the Green New Deal's ultimate goals of eliminating all use of fossil fuels, including natural gas, in the next decade and other radical elements, the students' enthusiasm about the plan quickly dwindled.

“That’s a reach” was the consensus opinion.

Some of the strongest negative responses came to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's since-deleted FAQ that included the plan to give every American "economic security" even if they are "unable or unwilling to work."

Upon hearing that the students quickly changed to saying, “if you’re not willing to contribute to society other people should not pay for you” and “people definitely need to get a job and need to work.”

As the Daily Wire’s Emily Zanotti explained, the "Green New Deal" veers away from the "green," and into, well, the red. Included in the "supplemental" part of the proposed legislation are a handful of fully-socialist programs including:

Job training and education for all

"Direct investments in frontline and deindustrialized communities" that would inevitably feel the pain of eliminating industries such as coal and natural gas

A full complement of union jobs (the "Green New Deal" proposes no jobs that are not unionized, provide a "fair wage," or involve hiring foreign workers)

A guaranteed job with "family-sustaining wages" for all Americans, particularly for those "unable" and, more importantly, "unwilling" to work

"Safe, affordable, and adequate housing" for every American

And to top it off, "high-quality health care, housing, economic security, and clean air, clean water, healthy food, and nature to all"

Talk radio Superstar Rush Limbaugh has regularly visited the subject of children being scared to death over bogus claims of climate change Armageddon and it is worth reviewing some of his comments in light of the Campus Reform video.

In the segment “Global Warming Hoaxers to Traumatized Kids: Cure Climate Anxiety with Activism” from May 6, 2014 Rush explained how children have been scared into “climate change” activism:

RUSH: Let us review how the left has attempted to corral people to agree with them and sweep them up into this political movement that’s called climate change. It used to be called global warming, and then when the warming stopped they had to change the term. The main technique that they’ve used is fear combined with guilt, and it has worked well. They have approached people, not directly, but in the form of just everyday news stories, blog posts, movies, cartoon shows, television shows. (Emphasis ours)

The idea is that humanity’s destroying the planet, and not just any humanity, but highly advanced, economically highly advanced humanity is destroying the planet, primarily the United States. Capitalism, where people’s progress, economic progress, is destructive to the planet. This has been the message. We’re destroying it, greenhouse gases, with the giant cars and trucks that we drive and all the airplanes that we’re flying and all the miles we’re flying and all the fossil fuels that we’re burning. We’ve got 10 years or 20 years or 30 years or 50 years or a hundred years, depending on the report, to fix it or we’re all gonna die. (Emphasis ours)

And then the polar bears are dying, and they put up fraudulent pictures of polar bears on little ice floes, three square feet, claiming that’s all that’s left for Little Timmy the polar bear. And of course giant, total, fraudulent lies, all designed to impose guilt and fear, even among kids. I mean, Ted Turner was one of the early entrances into this with his cartoon series on Saturday morning called Captain Planet. It was about a guy saving the world from evil corporate CEOs who were destroying it simply by running their businesses. Capitalists, Republicans, conservatives didn’t care what they destroyed, didn’t care who they destroyed. All they wanted was to get rich and make everybody else poorer.

The problem for Democrats is now obvious: Having created their army of brainwashed little climate change monsters, the have to keep moving Left to satisfy their appetite for bigger government, more regulations and more laws and more limits on what we can do, more restrictions on what we can think and say and become, and the “Green New Deal” is just the start.


California’s Anti-Green Land-Use Policies Increase Global Warming

Much of California enjoys year-round pleasant weather, without the harsh winters of the midwest and northeast, and without the heat and humidity of the deep south. One result is that California homes use less heat and air conditioning than homes in other parts of the country.

Harvard economist Edward Glaeser says that a household in San Francisco has a carbon footprint 60 percent smaller than a similar household in Memphis.

Meanwhile, California has the nation’s most restrictive land-use policies, which prevent new housing from being built, keep housing prices high, and prevent people from moving to California.

In 2016, California had the second highest out-migration among the states (second to New Jersey). The most common destinations of California out-migrants were Texas, Nevada, and Washington. The state with the highest net in-migration was Florida.

While at first glance California’s stringent land-use policies that keep people from moving to the state might appear environmentally friendly, the opposite is true. People have to live somewhere, and when California’s land-use policies keep them from moving to California, they end up living in states that give them a much higher carbon footprint.

Every retiree who ends up in Florida instead of California raises the nation’s carbon footprint. Every worker who ends up in Texas, Nevada, or Washington, rather than in California, raises the nation’s carbon footprint.

If Californians were really serious about mitigating global warming, their policies would be designed to encourage people to move to their state, where people’s carbon footprints are naturally lower because of the favorable climate. Instead, California has an anti-green environmental agenda that pushes people to live in places with higher carbon footprints.

Californians often act as if their state is environmentally friendly, but its land-use policies that push people into states where people have higher carbon footprints add more to global carbon emissions than the policies of any other state.


Do water bottles cause cancer? Chemistry expert fact-checks the thriving myth

Tom Brokaw said he does not drink out of plastic water bottles anymore after a 'leading cancer researcher' suggested they are linked to cancer.

The 79-year-old news anchor, who was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2013, stoked the years-old bottle-cancer debate on Tuesday in a video for cancer site SurvivorNet, in which he also revealed he uses medical marijuana.

'I said, "how come, John, we've not been able to get a grip on this and we're out hunting?"' Brokaw recalls.

'He picked up a water bottle and he said, "I'm not sure these are not involved in some way. We're working on it." That was a revelation to me quite honestly. I don't drink out of them anymore. It was this leading cancer researcher saying, "I don't have it nailed down but it worries me."'

Joe Schwarcz, PhD, a leading chemist and director of the Office for Science and Society at McGill University, told this thriving myth is problematic.

'It's a true statement: yes, we don't know that it [water bottles] isn't involved. We also don't know that cosmic radiation isn't involved,' Dr Schwarcz said. 

'You can never prove that something can't happen. But... there's a lot of confusion about the material those water bottles are made of.'

Regardless of the material, he says: 'Only the dose makes the poison. Just because something is deemed to be a carcinogen doesn't mean it causes cancer in humans.'

The main concern, he says, is over Bisphenol A (BPA), a recognized carcinogen that was once used in baby bottles before they were pulled from the market. Now, BPA, though occasionally used in water cooler carboys, is not used to make the water bottles we drink out of.

Today, the water bottles we buy in stores are made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is regarded as safe for one-time use.

Another plasticizer recognized as a carcinogen is diethylhexylphthalate (DEHP), which is used in bottle caps, but it cannot 'leach' chemicals into water to any significant degree.

According to Dr Schwarcz, any phthalates (plasticizers) used in the production of bottled water are trace amounts in larger molecules that cannot leach into the water.

'Hazard does not equal risk,' Dr Schwarcz said.

'The International Agency for Research on Cancer, the IARC, lists known cancer-causing agents, including BPA, but also bacon, that have been shown to be a hazard.

'That means some dose causes cancer. But that's a completely different thing to saying that exposure causes cancer. 'In science, we are interested in exposure. Numbers matter.

'Does he [Tom Brokaw] eat bacon? One could make a far, far stronger case for not eating bacon than not drinking out of water bottles.'

Dr Schwarcz does not, in fact, drink out of plastic water bottles - not for health reasons but environmental ones. 'It's an environmental disaster to produce these,' he said. 'Every week there's enough discarded to encircle the globe twice. That's a tremendous amount of plastic that ends up in the great Pacific garbage patch, which breaks down and is ingested by wildlife. And the plastic is made from oil, which is a non-renewable resource. There's just no reason for the existence of these water bottles.'

But if cancer is your concern, he says, don't waste your energy worrying - as many have done over the past decade.

The debate was given a boost in 2007, when breast cancer survivor Sheryl Crow made the same suggestion in an interview with Ellen DeGeneres, saying she was concerned that dangerous chemicals leach from water bottles into the water, particularly after they are left in the heat.

It's not only celebrities.

Last year, researchers at the State University of New York at Fredonia found significant levels of microplastics in bottled water from various brands.

But another study last year, by researchers at North-West University in South Africa, found high levels of microplastics in tap water, too.

The issue is, Dr Schwarcz says, you would be hard-pressed to cut all carcinogens out of your life, including microplastics which have seeped into all areas of consumption.

'Cancer is a devastating illness which is multi-faceted,' Dr Schwarcz said.

'There are numerous things in the environment that can cause cancer, like chemicals from cooking meat, or arsenic powder, which naturally occurs naturally. We live in a slog of cancer-causing compounds. Some are natural some not.'


The Greatest Generation VS the Greenest Generation

Viv Forbes writes from Australia

My grandfather was part of the Great Generation. Toughened by wars and depression they were patriotic nation builders.

Their monuments are long-term productive assets like the Mount Isa and Broken Hill mines, smelters and refineries, the Wollongong Steelworks, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the transcontinental railway, the overland telegraph line, the Yallourn coal mines and Power stations, the Renison and Mt Lyell mines and railways, the Kalgoorlie Goldfields, the Weipa and Gladstone bauxite industries, Pilbara Iron, the Perth-Kalgoorlie pipeline, the Kidman Cattle Empire, the world’s biggest merino flock, QANTAS, the Holden car, Southern Cross windmills, the Sunshine Harvester and a network of roads, railways, towns, power lines, ports and airports.

The pioneers survived floods, droughts, bushfires and plagues of mice, rabbits, locusts and prickly pear to develop an agricultural industry that provides food and fibre for millions of consumers. They were frugal and inventive. They built everything themselves with corrugated iron, shingles, guttering, poles, posts, nails, rivets, solder and wire – houses, humpies, haysheds, milking barns, sheep yards, shearing sheds, water tanks, grain stores, dairies, meat houses, dog kennels, chook sheds and the dunny up the back. They created parks and planted orchards and forests for timber and paper.

They welcomed boat-loads of hard working migrants from many countries to farms and factories and celebrated the arrival of “clean coal energy by wire” to every home.

The Great Generation made sure their kids behaved at school and did their home-work. Mostly kids were “seen but not heard”. The kids walked, rode bikes or horses to school, and parents reinforced school discipline. That generation loved and trusted the ABC which provided unbiased news and weather forecasts and wholesome entertainment.

Our lives are now controlled by the Green Generation, who follow a Globalist agenda. This generation has devalued science, engineering and trade skills and pollute education curricula with the mantras of the green religion. They encourage the climate alarm, anti-enterprise, anti-family bias evident on the staff-controlled, taxpayer-funded ABC. And now they mobilise noisy truant kids for political rallies.

Too many of the Green Generation specialise in obstruction, destruction and delay, while themselves consuming the assets of the past. They cheer the demolition of coal-fired power plants and use green law-fare to stop or delay almost everything else. Among their battle trophies are South Australian and Victorian coal mines and power stations, most new industry proposals in Tasmania, much offshore oil exploration, new dam proposals in every state, and every new proposal for coal development, gas exploration or fracking. They hope to hang the scalps of Adani Coal, Rocky Point Coal, Wandoan Coal and all Galilee Basin developments on their trophy wall. Australia has a huge uranium resources but nuclear power is banned.

Nowhere is the contrast between the generations more stark than in the Snowy Mountains.

The Great Generation planned, financed and built the Snowy Hydro-electric Scheme (without UN direction or advice). This nation-building project captures Snowy water, uses it to generate reliable electricity, and diverts the water to irrigate towns, orchards and crops on the dry western plains.

The Green Generation supports Snowy Hydro 2, a hollow-shelled project that steals electricity from the grid and water from Snowy 1 to pump water uphill and then recovers part of that electricity by letting the water run back down again (when their intermittent green energy fails). It will be a big, power-consuming, expensive battery.

The sad history of Whyalla is instructive. The Great Generation built an iron mine, a steel works and a great shipbuilding enterprise there. Most of it is idle now. This generation of techno-phobes looks like trying to build foreign nuclear-powered submarines there but with diesel-electric engines (presumably running on bio-fuel.) The British navy that ruled the world ran on coal for the war-ships and bread, salt beef, lard, limes and rum for the sailors. Today’s green dreamers hope to feed the multi-sexual crew on nuts and raisins and use the alcohol to power the motors.

The Great Generation created our present world and left many useful assets as their monuments.

The Green Generation is destroying our future. The way things are heading, the lasting monuments to the Green Generation will be the skeletons of abandoned solar “farms” overgrown by lantana scrub, the concrete foundations of bankrupt wind “farms”, and spider-webs of useless sagging transmission lines and towers.

These memorials will serve to remind the next generation of the long, costly and futile war on hydro-carbon energy and the many failed climate forecasts.



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, March 27, 2019

The Green Pope is wilting

By Elizabeth Yore, an international child protection attorney. She tries to pick up after pedophile priests

From the outset, the Heartland Institute spotted the potted papal plant in the climate change hoax of the Francis papacy. As the world was mesmerized with the merciful and humble green Pope, Heartland recognized a flawed and unreliable model, devoid of science, reason, and flush with politics.

In April of 2015, the Heartland Delegation went to Rome to attempt a dialogue with the Pope about his dangerous and incomprehensible partnership with the UN sustainable development climate change globalists. Yet, the dialoguer in chief was not interested in dialoguing with the scientific experts from Heartland. Rather, he chose his poison by dialoguing with the radical environmental socialists, assorted globalists, and Soros acolytes, like Ban Ki Moon, Joseph Stiglitz, Jeffrey Sachs,  Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, to name just a few.

Call it climate gentrification. It was bound to happen. Bergoglio’s ceremonial term as Vicar of the Sustainable Development Goals appears to be ending, but not for lack of trying; Francis desperately sought to be the modern, hip, relevant, and the moral climate change protagonist. He even launched a new sin- an ecological sin!

Francis certainly gave it the old papal try. He surrounded himself with the foremost Soros greenie globalist, UN Sustainable Development chief, Jeffrey Sachs. At latest count, Sachs has spoken at least 25 times at the Vatican as a honored expert and guest during the Francis papacy. This population control globalist even drafted papal documents, causing Vaticanistas to speculate that Sachs might receive a green zucchetto from the Pope.

During the last 6 years, the incessant papal eco conferences, resembled  a Socialist Who’s Who featuring the hideous likes of Bernie Sanders, Joseph Stiglitz, Bolivian President Evo Morales, Gov. Jerry Brown, Naomi Klein, Population Bomb’s Paul Ehrlich. Francis threw his papal weight behind the Paris Climate Change Treaty, lobbied for support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, penned an Apostolic Eco Exhortation on the climate, and even demanded ecological conversion from the faithful. Whatever that is.

Francis rolled out his Pontifical Academy of  Social Sciences as the green platform to wage his climate change one world religion. Even the President of the Pontifical Academy, Bishop Sanchez Sorondo, elevated “climate change to Church magisterium,” deserving of a papal imprimatur and Vatican endorsement of the globalists’ precious Paris Climate Treaty. Francis joined the globalist tyrannical chorus of the “science is settled.” His global warming architect, Argentine Bishop Sanchez Sorondo mocked the global warming doubters saying that “we need to rely on coal and oil is like saying that the earth is not round. It is an absurdity dictated by the need to make money.” Sorondo also repeated the lame globalist slam that the deniers are funded by the oil industry. 

Despite plummeting popularity, Francis continues his eco jig with his global partners. This past month, Jeffrey Sachs (the green gift that keeps giving) was featured prominently at yet another Vatican conference on March 4-5, 2019! This latest Vatican/Sachs’ eco conference was immediately followed by the March 8, 2019 Eco Wingding with all the global heads of religions, entitled, (you guessed it) “Religions and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Listening to the Cry of the Earth and of the Poor.”

Shockingly, the Pope does not mention Jesus Christ in his latest rambling and incoherent talk to the religious leaders. True to form,  Francis engaged in his personal rewriting of Catholicism, with green tropes like, “The key principle of all religions is the love of neighbor and the care of creation.” Francis makes it up as he goes along. Never mind that care of creation isn’t found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, nor in the 10 Commandments.  Francis, the Vicar of SDGs is tasked with forming a new one world religion based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, driven by the evil of climate change. Gaia has now replaced Jesus Christ. Sins are now calculated by carbon footprints.

‘Bless me Father, I forgot to recycle and I turned on the air conditioner.

For your penance, your carbon tax will be doubled. Now, go green and go in peace.’

Francis deftly rode the climate wave for 6 years. Reveling in the media fawning, magazine covers, and globalist adulation, the climate change movement found its long lost moral voice in, none other than, the Vicar of Christ. How masterful and cunning of them to secure such a powerful advocate. As if on cue, Francis obediently moved the needle to ensure the Paris Climate Treaty was signed and SDGs overwhelmingly passed at the UN within just two years of his elevation to the papacy.

Yet, as they say, the climate suddenly changed.

Along came Donald Trump, who put the brakes on the global dealmaking of Obama and Francis, followed quickly by a tsunami (extreme weather event-noted) of clergy sex scandals raining down on Francis.

Francis is clearly annoyed that the world’s Catholics are more concerned about zero tolerance of clergy abuse, than a zero carbon foot print. The shocking scandal of the papal rehabilitation of the notorious serial predator Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who Francis sent on multiple diplomatic junkets, shocked the world. The Vatican’s  continual stonewalling on the McCarrick fiasco further enrages Catholics. Additionally, Francis faced cascading personal scandals of his own with papal cover ups of sexual predator priests and bishops in Chile, Argentina, Italy, and in America.

His popularity is cooling faster than the polar ice cap while the Catholic faithful are steaming over his cavalier attitude and laissez faire environment toward sexual predators priests and bishops.

Suddenly, the green Pope has blood red on his hands.

An important moral lesson is unfolding in this papacy.

Mega stardom and popularity are unsustainable. Ask Michael Jackson, Bill Cosby, Jimmy Savile, and Harvey Weinstein. Popularity, like pollution, obscures reality,  smothers humanity, and poisons the environment.

Francis desperately wants to change the subject from the scandal of clergy sex abuse to sustainable development. It won’t happen.

Instead of “Listening to the Cry of the Earth and of the Poor,” he should have listened to the cry of those children abused by clergy.


USA launches test reactor project

The US Department of Energy has launched its Versatile Fast Neutron Source project to provide fast neutron testing capability to aid US development of advanced nuclear reactor technology. The Versatile Test Reactor (VTR), as it is also known, could be completed by 2026.

The DOE said fast neutron testing capability would help the country meet its goal for advanced nuclear reactor technology development. These facilities are currently available in only a few locations worldwide and the USA has not operated one in over 20 years. This means US developers have not had the ability to carry out accelerated irradiation testing needed for the development of non-light water advanced reactor concepts. The VTR would provide a reactor-based source of the fast neutrons needed to test advanced reactor technology, fuels and related materials.

The Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act, which became law last September, directed the DOE to develop a reactor-based fast neutron source for the testing of advanced reactor fuels and materials, and to execute a programme for enhancing the capability to develop new reactor technologies through high-performance computer modelling and simulation techniques. The launch of the VTR was announced on 28 February by US Energy Secretary Rick Perry, during a joint press conference with International Atomic Energy Agency Executive Director Fatih Birol.

Perry said the VTR was a key step to implementing President Donald Trump's direction to "revitalise and expand" the US nuclear industry.

"This cutting edge Advanced Reactor will give American companies the ability they currently lack to conduct advanced technology and fuels tests without having to go to our competitors in Russia and China," he said.

The VTR will eliminate a "research gap" and "drastically" speed up the time taken to test, develop and qualify advanced reactor technologies, as well as being pivotal in creating new fuels, materials, instrumentation and sensors, the DOE said.

"Having this domestic capability is critical to our national security and our ability to re-establish ourselves as a global leader in advanced reactor technologies," Ed McGinnis, principal deputy assistant secretary of the DOE Office of Nuclear Energy, said.

DOE's Idaho National Laboratory has previously selected GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy's (GEH) PRISM technology to support the VTR programme, and has subcontracted GEH to work with Bechtel to advance the design and cost estimates for a VTR based on the integral sodium-cooled fast reactor. DOE said on 1 March that it will now move forward with its conceptual design of the reactor, which could be completed "as early as 2026".


It’s Not about the Climate—It Never Was

By David Legates

Generally, I conclude most of my climate change presentations with the phrase, “It’s not about the climate; it never was.” Here, I would like to start with that statement. In this brief article, I will discuss why carbon dioxide isn’t the dangerous gas it is made out to be, why climate change is not an ‘existential’ threat to the planet, and why the Green New Deal is not a solution to climate change.

Let me begin with a series of questions.

Is our climate changing? The answer is clearly “YES” because climate has always changed. We often define ‘climate’ as ‘average weather’ and averages are not supposed to change. If they do, the cause must be unnatural. Treating the climate as a statistical average further implies that it should be static; in fact, the Earth’s climate is dynamic, variable, and ever-changing.

Is global warming real; or, more specifically, has the surface air temperature risen about 0.6°C (1.08˚F) since the late 1800s? The answer also is “YES,” and on that there is little debate.

Do humans affect the Earth’s climate? Again, the answer is “YES” with little debate. We can point to the urban heat island—for example, the Washington metropolitan area is warmer than the surrounding countryside due to the urban city and this has been widely studied. Because of impervious surfaces and the increased water demand of urbanized areas, floods and drought frequencies and intensities also are affected.

Does carbon dioxide absorb energy? Yes, certainly. The Earth’s surface is warmer than it would be in the absence of an atmosphere—by about 30°C (54˚F). But remember, the most important greenhouse gas is not carbon dioxide; it is water vapor. Water cycles fast through the atmosphere, absorbing energy as it evaporates and releasing that energy as it condenses. The current amount of water in the global atmosphere will fall as precipitation in just the next ten days. Its mobility and efficiency in absorbing heat energy makes water fundamental in explaining the climate of the Earth.

If the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere doubles, what will the effect be on global air temperature? This is where the debate begins.

We seek to determine something called the equilibrium climate sensitivity—that is, the eventual rise in air temperature due to a doubling of carbon dioxide. Over the last twenty years, our estimates of the equilibrium climate sensitivity have decreased substantially, based on measurements of the climate system.

In the early 2000s, estimates were that a doubling of carbon dioxide would result in between a 3 and 6°C (5.4 and 10.8˚F) warming. Since 2010, however, most estimates have placed the equilibrium climate sensitivity at less than 3°C (5.4˚F), and over the last five years, several independent assessments have placed the sensitivity at about 1˚C (1.8˚F).

This implies that the effect of a doubling of carbon dioxide has much less impact than the models suggest—their sensitivity has remained above 3°C (5.4˚F) over the last two decades—which helps to explain why their estimates of warming are much higher.

How do we know that carbon dioxide is a minor player in climate change? Both theory and models tell us that the biggest effect of carbon dioxide on air temperatures should lie in the upper tropical troposphere. The troposphere is the layer of the atmosphere where all weather resides. Over the last forty years, the warming of this layer has been small, whereas the models indicate the warming should have been much greater. This further underscores that climate models grossly overstate the climate warming.

Moreover, theory also indicates that daily maximum air temperatures should rise if carbon dioxide is the main driver of climate change. In fact, daily maxima have not changed substantially over the last eighty years, and before that, maximum air temperatures were much higher during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.

Minimum daily air temperatures have increased, but that is associated with the warming of urban areas. Averaging these two extremes to get a daily average and then reporting that “this year is the warmest in recorded history” is highly misleading since most stations have a short record length and the warming is not due to carbon dioxide.

Will this warming necessarily lead to more climate extremes—floods, droughts, hurricanes, tornadoes, sea level rise, etc.? I can write in great detail showing the data and explaining why these events are not increasing in frequency or intensity and why, under a warmer world, the physics indicate that they should not. Changing land use and increased demand for water are more significant than carbon dioxide in changing the impact of climate on our lives. Coverage of extreme weather gives the false impression that violent weather is becoming more frequent and intense when the data say otherwise.

Is a warmer climate and more carbon dioxide a net benefit to life on the planet? The answer to this question is a resounding “YES.” More people die from exposure to cold than heat. A longer growing season is more beneficial to feeding a growing population. Further, since carbon dioxide is plant food, under higher carbon dioxide concentrations, virtually all plants grow faster and are more efficient in using water.

So, what is the climatic benefit of spending trillions of dollars and fundamentally changing our economy and way of life? The Green New Deal is not about ‘stabilizing’ the Earth’s climate.  Carbon dioxide is a small player in climate change.

The United Nations has become the modern-day Robin Hood—creating wealth redistribution on a global scale. Industrialization has made developed nations ‘rich’, and by using fossil fuels, they are supposedly destroying our climate, for which the developed world must pay. Rich nations, therefore, must give much of their wealth to the poorer nations.  Climate change has become the cause célèbre to move nations to action.

The Green New Deal is not about stopping climate change. Climate always changes and always will. The United States has cut back on greenhouse gas emissions by about 13% since 2005 to virtually no effect on the Earth’s climate. The net effect of reducing the United States’ carbon dioxide emissions by 80% by 2050 would be negligible.

Even reduction by 100% would have little effect on the climate, but the policies proposed by the Green New Deal would make Karl Marx proud. But realize this; any draconian changes such as these would necessarily change our fundamental way of life. And that, not addressing the ills of climate change, is what the Green New Deal is all about.


Dr. Happer will set them free

It was easy enough to predict that Trump would appoint Dr. William Happer to set up a Presidential Committee on Climate Science.

Two years have passed and have been lost.  The first years of the Trump administration were hobbled by poor Cabinet picks, a proportion of whom conspired against him and others who were just hopeless.  Scott Pruitt at the EPA should have got on with Dr Happer's appointment straight away but instead spent $3.5 million on his own security detail.  In the meantime, the climate juggernaut rolled on, producing 1,500 pages of alarmist nonsense in an official government report.

You can tell how important Dr Happer is by the forces that have been marshaled against him.  The three major lefty media organizations — CNN, the Washington Post, and the New York Times — all came out to say Dr. Happer's efforts would be wasted.  The Democrats are alarmed, calling Dr Happer's proposed panel "dangerous."

The deep resources of the Deep State were mobilized to send a letter to the president signed by some people who once had a connection with the military, such as John Kerry.  The 58 signatories to that letter have self-identified as foot soldiers for one-world government and impoverishing the U.S.  They are also so delusional that they can believe in global warming even as record cold temperatures are freezing a large part of the lower 48 states.

Calling those 58 signatories delusional is giving them the benefit of the doubt.  In one of his speeches in Washington, Obama was going on how dreadful global warming is when the audience started tittering.  That reaction indicates what Washington insiders really think of the issue.  But leaders of Obama's ilk can't afford to have people laughing out loud at their gravest causes.  So the next time he mentioned global warming was at a Coast Guard graduation ceremony.  Cadets couldn't laugh at Obama's inanities without their careers ending.

Brazil had an election last year, and the corrupt and incompetent socialists were thrown out and replaced by people who seem to understand how the world works.  The first words out of the mouth of Brazil's new foreign minister were that climate change is a Marxist plot.  Why would he say that?  Actually, he is only repeating what the Marxists doing the plotting have been saying:

Senator Tim Worth, 1992: "We have got to ride the global warming issue.  Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic policy and environmental policy."

Mikhail Gorbachev, former chief communist on the planet, 1996: "The threat of environmental crisis will be the international disaster key to unlock the New World Order."

Richard Benedick, U.S. State Department, 1992: "A global warming treaty must be implemented even if there is no scientific evidence to back the greenhouse effect."

That's just a sample.  There are plenty  more such statements.  Why did the Marxists latch onto global warming as an issue in the early 1990s?  The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990 meant that suddenly, the left side of politics had no basis for existence.  Socialism was discredited by its failure, and so there was no need to rule the world, interfere in people's lives, and take income from workers and give it to bludgers.  So the threat of global warming was conjured up on no evidence — thus that last statement that a global warming treaty didn't need to be based in scientific fact.  Science fiction will do the trick.

Some of the Washington insiders, such as those who tittered at Obama, are indifferent to the hoax that is draining the country.  They know that it is a hoax, but it is not their problem.  There are people who believe in global warming even as record cold temperatures are set in the U.S., year after year.  These people are too stupid to be helped.  They are Lenin's useful idiots for the Marxist plotters.  And then there are the likes of the 58 former military men and women who signed that letter.  They know that their status as retired military means that their letter to the president was delivered wrapped in the flag.  In their hearts of hearts, they might as individuals believe in global warming — which would mean they are incredibly stupid.  But, if they have any doubt of the veracity of global warming, then that means they are conspiring against the nation.  That is a very bad thing, indeed.  It is a binary choice with the gang of 58: evil or stupid.

How will Dr. Happer and his panel set the world free?  At the moment, the Marxist plotters bang on about the 97% scientific consensus on global warming.  They have created a sealed edifice of lies and have maintained it assiduously.  After Dr. Happer's report is released, the mantra of "Are you denying the science?" will be turned on its head.

Global warming has been a state-sponsored religion, with its priesthood funded from the public purse to the tune of $2.5 billion a year in the U.S. alone.  The priests of that cult will be plucked off the public teat, and the memory of what they preached will fade.  That frabjous day can't come soon enough.


Jury-Rigging The Round Up Carcinogen Case?

Written by Dr Klaus L E Kaiser

That chemical has now been around for approximately 50 years and is likely the world’s most widely used herbicide. As such, it has been instrumental in increasing the agricultural yields of grains and perhaps is responsible for many plentiful harvests of corn, wheat, soybeans, canola and other grains around the entire world.

Glyphosate – Science

I do remember participating in an international scientific committee on Great Lakes Water Quality issues, some 40 years ago, reviewing glyphosate together with colleagues. At that time, the available relevant scientific literature was still scant compared to today and we did not find any cause for great concern.

These days, in 2019, the literature is vastly more extensive. A search on Google Scholar (accessible to anyone but meant to be a search facility for scientific papers on a subject) will return on a search for “glyphosate” some280,000 articles, a search for “Roundup” (the trade name for glyphosate containing herbicidal formulations) approximately 150,000 articles.

The knowledge base on glyphosate also includes detailed reviews by high-level scientific expert panels in several countries and on a variety of potential concerns. To my knowledge, none ever found reasons to ban this herbicide’s use.

One of such concerns was the question of glyphosate possibly causing some relatively rare but recognized forms of cancer, such as “non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma” (NHL). In that context, a review paper by J Acquavella et al. for the International Agency for Research on Cancer (published in 2016) found, quote “Only the Agricultural Health (cohort) Study met our a priori quality standards and this study found no evidence of an association between glyphosate and NHL; [emphasis added].”

Fast Forward To 2019

As widely reported in the news, for example on CTV News, a jury in California has found “Roundup weed killer is major factor in man’s cancer.” Specifically, the news report by S Thanawala says, inter alia, “Roundup weed killer was a substantial factor in a California man’s cancer, a jury determined Tuesday [March 19, 2019] in the first phase of a trial that attorneys said could help determine the fate of hundreds of similar lawsuits” and “A San Francisco jury in August awarded another man $289 million after determining Roundup caused his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma; [emphasis added].” In fact, there are hundreds of similar court cases pending on the same or other effects that may or may not have any evidence on the potential or suspected danger of this or many other “chemicals.”

My Concern

What concerns me as a scientist is that a few (six to be exact) jurors with little or no scientific expertise can decide on the guilt or innocence of a compound that has brought untold benefits to mankind and that their decision could cause dramatic reverberations around the globe.

Regardless, Civil Courts ought not to be the venue for deciding questions of science, anywhere.



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.  

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