Thursday, March 14, 2019

Air pollution is BAD for you

One imagines that it is.  But how bad?  The article below purports to tell us.  And their conclusions  are a reasonable commentary on their results.  An equally reasonable conclusion would be that the effects of air pollution on health are totally trivial no non-existent.  

The numbers tell it best. After using all sorts of clever statistics to get the numbers up, they found that 8.79 MILLION deaths worldwide could be attributed to air pollution.   That sounds a lot, does it not?  That figure is however a mindless extrapolation.  You just have to note that the world's current estimated population is 7.7 BILLION to see what is going on.  What they actually found -- if you reverse their multiplication -- is that just over ONE PERCENT of all deaths are attributable to air pollution

Is that significant or trivial?  I will leave it for readers to judge.  Suffice it to say that if we wanted to work on preventing things that lead to premature death, air pollution would be a bottom priority.

But it gets worse than that.  The study below is a type of meta-analysis.  The authors appear to have taken every existing study they could find that estimates deaths from pollution and used those existing findings as their source of data.  But that is extraordinarily naive.  It is the antithesis of good scientific practice.  A meta-analysis should be highly selective, using only the best controlled of prior studies.  And that is the besetting weakness of air pollution studies: poor control.

In all the studies of the subject  that have passed across my screen over the years, I doubt that there was a single one that controlled for income. And that is a critical weakness. Perhaps the most regular finding in the whole of the epidemiological literature is that the poor have worse health.  So, without control for income, what you think is a real effect may be entirely an artifact of income.

A typical such study will find that people who live in more polluted areas of a city have worse health than people who live in leafier areas.  But who lives in the leafier areas?  The rich!  Their better health is an income effect, not a pollution effect!

So WHY have we not seen well-controlled studies of urban air-pollution?  I think I know why.  If any such study HAS controlled for income, they most likely found that applying the controls for income knocked an initially weak effect down to non-significance.  And we all know about the bias against reporting "negative" results!

So if we look for well-controlled studies of the effects of air pollution on health or mortality we have to say that there is NO evidence that ordinary urban levels of air pollution have adverse health effects.

You can see the idiocy of worrying about the sort of air pollution we normally experience when we reflect that smokers voluntarily inhale hugely more particulate pollution than others do  -- and yet they have a close to normal life expectancy. Among the famous centenarian Jews of NYC, about a third of them smoke.

So why the attention to air pollution?  The study below is only one of many.  I comment on about two per year and in all cases the effects they describe are weak and turn out on close inspection to be  inconclusive.  So why do such studies? The authors below tell us why they do such studies in the last sentence of their abstract.  It is all an effort to encourage "replacing fossil fuels by clean, renewable energy".  It's just another sermon in support of the Warmist religion, in other words.  Tiresome

Cardiovascular disease burden from ambient air pollution in Europe reassessed using novel hazard ratio functions

Jos Lelieveld et al.

Published: 12 March 2019


Ambient air pollution is a major health risk, leading to respiratory and cardiovascular mortality. A recent Global Exposure Mortality Model, based on an unmatched number of cohort studies in many countries, provides new hazard ratio functions, calling for re-evaluation of the disease burden. Accordingly, we estimated excess cardiovascular mortality attributed to air pollution in Europe.

Methods and results
The new hazard ratio functions have been combined with ambient air pollution exposure data to estimate the impacts in Europe and the 28 countries of the European Union (EU-28). The annual excess mortality rate from ambient air pollution in Europe is 790 000 [95% confidence interval (95% CI) 645 000–934 000], and 659 000 (95% CI 537 000–775 000) in the EU-28. Between 40% and 80% are due to cardiovascular events, which dominate health outcomes. The upper limit includes events attributed to other non-communicable diseases, which are currently not specified. These estimates exceed recent analyses, such as the Global Burden of Disease for 2015, by more than a factor of two. We estimate that air pollution reduces the mean life expectancy in Europe by about 2.2 years with an annual, attributable per capita mortality rate in Europe of 133/100 000 per year.

We provide new data based on novel hazard ratio functions suggesting that the health impacts attributable to ambient air pollution in Europe are substantially higher than previously assumed, though subject to considerable uncertainty. Our results imply that replacing fossil fuels by clean, renewable energy sources could substantially reduce the loss of life expectancy from air pollution.

European Heart Journal

NYC Mayor De Blasio: 'Meatless Mondays' in NYC Public Schools to 'Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions'

The left are always finding somerthing to harass us with

On Monday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that starting in the 2019-20 school year, all New York public schools will offer "Meatless Mondays" in their breakfast and lunch meals to "improve New Yorkers' health and reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

The hope is "to keep our lunch and planet green for generations to come," said the mayor, who has described himself as a democratic socialist. In the 1980s, de Blasio supported the Marxist Sandinistas in Nicaragua against the foreign policy of the Reagan administration.

The "Meatless Mondays" program will offer "all-vegetarian breakfast and lunch menus every Monday," said the mayor's office in a statement. The vegetarian menu was piloted in spring 2018 in 15 Brooklyn public schools, and then was expanded to schools across the city in the fall 2018.

The Department of Education's Office of Food and Nutrition will meet with students to finalize the Mondays menu for next year's kickoff. The new program will affect about 1.1 million public school students in New York City. "Meatless Mondays" are good for the "environment," said Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza. “Our 1.1 million students are taking the next step towards healthier, more sustainable lives."

This plan will make our "planet healthier,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

New York City Council Member Justin Brannan said, “We are not taking climate change seriously unless we are talking about the astounding role animal agriculture and meat production plays in greenhouse gas emissions. Mitigating the effects of climate change means thinking outside the box and that means looking at the foods we purchase especially when it comes to what we feed our children in public schools."

"We’ve all gotta do our part to protect our planet,” said Brannan. "Expanding Meatless Mondays will not only help raise awareness of reducing meat consumption but it will absolutely make a difference when it comes to the amount of carbon dioxide our city contributes to the atmosphere.”

"It’s noteworthy to point out that if New York City public schools swapped out a beef burger for a plant-based protein once a month, the city would emit 375,000 pounds less of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere per year," said Andrea Strong, founder of the NYC Healthy School Food Alliance.

In addition to the new "Meatless Mondays" program, the mayor's office noted that N.Y. public schools have "made strides in making cafeterias eco-friendly and sustainable, including compostable plates rather than polystyrene trays, and placing clearly labeled Recycling Stations in every cafeteria. Since the 2011-2012 school year, 761 schools now take part in the City’s Organic Collection program."

"NYC students are ready to take action to fight climate change," said Debby Lee Cohen, executive director of Cafeteria Culture.  "Meatless Monday is giant step forward towards the 'Green New Meal.'"

“Reducing our appetite for meat is one of the single biggest ways individuals can reduce their environmental impact on our planet,” said Mark Chambers, director of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. “Meatless Mondays will introduce hundreds of thousands of young New Yorkers to the idea that small changes in their diet can create larger changes for their health and the health of our planet.”

Council Member Brad Lander said "Meatless Mondays" is "an important way the city can address environmental sustainability."

This will help make our "planet healthier," said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.


State AGs Undermine Themselves on Climate

Liberal attorneys general may have just signaled their intent to sue the pants off the Trump administration just as soon as any of various proposals to rollback Obama climate initiatives are finalized. But if the AGs haven’t just undermined their own impending lawsuits, they certainly have gone a long way toward debunking all the hot air being spluttered over the Obama climate agenda rollback – regardless of your views on climate science.

The New York University School of Law’s State Energy & Environmental Impact Center just issued a report entitled, “Special Report: Six Trump Administration Rollbacks Will Result in More than 200 Million Metric Tons of Additional GHG Emissions Each Year.” Variations of that title were then dutifully regurgitated across the media.

The report focuses on six specific Trump administration proposals estimated to result in higher greenhouse gas emissions including: rollbacks or changes in the Clean Power Plan, fuel economy standards, prohibition on remanufactured or “glider” trucks and various rules meant to reduce methane from oil and gas production, and landfills. The total increase comes to about 200 million tons, on which basis the report concludes: “In short, the Trump administration is preparing to take us over the climate cliff.”

For our purposes, we can just accept at face value that these rule changes would cause emissions to increase by what is touted as a whopping 200 million tons per year by 2025. So will an extra 200 million tons of emissions really take us over the climate cliff?

Not surprisingly, unmentioned in the NYU report and all the media coverage is the inconvenient statistic from the United Nations’ “Emission Gap Report 2018.” The UN reported total manmade emissions in 2017 were estimated to be 53.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent greenhouse gases.

If you do the rather simple math and divide the cliff-diving 200 million tons of emissions from the Trump rollbacks by the unmentioned 53.5 billion tons from the UN report, you find that the Trump rollbacks would increase global carbon dioxide emissions by a rather un-whopping figure of 0.37 percent per year by 2025. And by that time, the percentage increase would likely be even lower as global emissions continue their inexorable rise and fuel efficiency is increased, thanks to fuel producer technological improvements,

What’s all this got to do with the state AGs? As reported by the Competitive Enterprise Institute last year, the NYU law school’s State Energy & Environmental Impact Center was given $6 million by Bloomberg Charities for the purpose of providing free legal services to state AGs who wanted to advance the climate agenda without having to spend their own resources doing so. AGs from California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York endorsed the NYU report in the media release. They own this report.

We’ll have to see how the rules and legal challenges unfold, but it sure seems like the 0.37 percent figure ought to be a lot more damaging to the AG lawsuits than the 200 million tons of CO2 is to the climate.

Steve Milloy publishes, served on the Trump EPA transition team is the aut


Geologist Accuses Apple of Political Bias in Removing App Countering Climate Alarmism

Al Gore sits on the board of directors of tech giant Apple, which dropped an app that is skeptical of climate alarmism from its store. Pictured: Gore, founder and chairman of the Climate Reality Project, speaks Thursday at the Climate Change Leadership Porto Summit in Porto, Portugal. (Photo: Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Political figures who support the so-called Green New Deal and other proposals to restrict carbon dioxide emissions are up against some “inconvenient facts” that Americans may access immediately through a smartphone application, a geologist and author says.

But there’s one big problem.

The app, called Inconvenient Facts, is available only to Android users through the Google Play Store. Since March 4, users of Apple’s iPhone no longer can access the app through the tech giant’s App Store.

Why is that?

Gregory Wrightstone, a geologist with more than three decades of experience, told The Daily Signal in an interview that he has his own opinion about what may have transpired inside Apple.

Wrightstone is the author of a book “Inconvenient Facts: The Science That Al Gore Doesn’t Want You to Know,” which served as the basis for the information available from the app.

He notes that former Vice President Al Gore, a leading proponent of the view that mankind’s activities propel dangerous climate change, is a board member of Apple.

“It’s very rare for an app to be approved and then taken down unless there is offensive material or some other extreme issue,” Wrightstone said of Apple’s action in a phone interview with The Daily Signal, adding:

We thought at first it may have been our fault. But I did a search on climate change and global warming in the Apple App Store and pulled up a whole bevy of pro-man-made global warming apps that are really bad. They are not formatted, they have incorrect spellings and no links.

But I suppose they have the political narrative right. Compared to these, our app is the gold standard. I made sure we had charts and links and references to the source for our data. This is all right in the palm of your hand.

A total of 60 facts in Wrightstone’s book are available through the Inconvenient Facts app to Android users. Complete with data, charts, and videos, they challenge the premise of alarmist theories about climate change that link man-made emissions to dangerous levels of global warming.

Gore’s ongoing campaign to convince the public that rising levels of carbon dioxide emissions could trigger catastrophic global warming was the subject of the 2006 documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” and the 2017 follow-up, “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power.”

Apple initially approved the Inconvenient Facts app for sale Feb. 3. Since that time, the app has been downloaded 13,000 times, according to figures Wrightstone provided.

He also points out that the app has earned positive reviews.

“A key takeaway here is that Apple has a monopoly over iPhone apps and the Apple App Store is the only place to get them,” Wrightstone said. “It appears that Apple has chosen to weaponize its control over purchasing apps to stifle science that doesn’t conform to its politically correct notions.”

The Daily Signal sought comment from Apple’s media relations office by phone and email, asking whether the company would address Wrightstone’s allegations of political bias. Apple had not responded by publication time.

The Daily Signal also sent inquiries to Delaware-based Carthage Group LLC, with which Gore is associated, and to the Climate Reality Project, which Gore founded, seeking his comment for this article. Neither organization had responded by publication time.

Users who tap on the Inconvenient Facts app have access to images and data that run counter to much of what was presented in Gore’s documentary films. Some examples:

—Inconvenient Fact No. 53: “There are more polar bears now than we’ve had for 50 years.”

—Inconvenient Fact No. 10 cites a “Recent Inconvenient Pause of 18 years in warming, despite rise in CO2.”

—Inconvenient Fact No. 12: “Modern warming began long before SUVs or coal-fired plants.”

— Inconvenient Fact No. 21: “The current warming trend is neither unusual nor unprecedented.”

The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, a Christian public policy group that favors free market approaches to environmental policy, published a commentary Friday that is critical of Apple. It concludes that the company’s decision to reject the Inconvenient Facts app “smacks of censorship.”

The study of geology provides important insights into the study of climate change because it considers short-term trends within the larger context of Earth’s history, Wrightstone told The Daily Signal.

“Geologists are probably the most skeptical of all the sciences concerning a man-made link to temperature changes,” the geologist said, adding of carbon dioxide:

Just to be clear, I don’t, and my colleagues don’t, dispute that CO2 is increasing, and I agree that it has to have some slight warming effect on the atmosphere. But I argue that it’s modest and overwhelmed by the same natural forces that have been driving temperatures since the dawn of time. …

Looking out across Earth’s history, CO2 levels are extremely low. I always argue we are actually CO2 impoverished.

Information about Wrightstone’s book and the Inconvenient Facts app may be found here as well as on YouTube and Facebook.


Regional Australian govt axes deal with wave power company

The WA government has axed its funding deal for a wave power project in the state's south after the proponent, Carnegie Clean Energy, ran out of cash.

Australian Associated PressMARCH 12, 201912:52PM
The West Australian government has decided to stop subsidising a company that planned a wave power project in the state's south but has run out of cash.

Carnegie Clean Energy was in October handed a $2.625 million payment despite not meeting targets for the Albany project and last week posted a $45 million half-year net loss, revealing it only has $1.68 million left in the bank.

On Tuesday, regional development minister Alannah MacTiernan said the WA government had terminated the funding agreement.

"We have concluded they are unlikely to meet their obligations under the agreement," Ms MacTiernan told reporters.



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