Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Global warming is beneficial:  The NYT says so

Most of the wealth and human progress is located in the North of the world. Even quite far North countries such as Norway and Sweden do very well.  And  it gets pretty cold there a lot of the time.

Even in Italy, it is the cooler North where the prosperity is mostly to be found.  And the warmer European countries such as Greece, Portugal, Turkey and the Yugoslav countries are not rich at all.

But cold climates do have their limits.  All that snow shovelling and burst water pipes, for instance. So wouldn't countries in those cold climates benefit from a bit of warming?

The NYT quotes a study that confirms that possibility.  Global warming has been good for the First World countries. The small bit of global warming we have had over the last century or so has made us richer.  It has made a variety of things marginally easier for us.  So where's the worry?

Apparently the people of the warmer and poorer world not only don't benefit, they actually slide behind economically.  Sometimes it is too hot to work, for instance.

So what is to be done?  Nothing, as far as I can see.  The poorer countries have so much catching up to do in so many areas that the climate is the least of their worries.  Working to get rid of corruption would be the most likely way in which they could get ahead

Climate change creates winners and losers. Norway is among the winners; Nigeria among the losers.

Those are the stark findings of a peer-reviewed paper by two Stanford University professors who have tried to quantify the impact of rising greenhouse gas emissions on global inequality. It was published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Global temperatures have risen nearly 1 degree Celsius, or 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit, since the start of the industrial age, and the study was aimed at quantifying what effect that increase has had on national economies and the global wealth gap.

Poor countries lost out, while rich countries, especially those who have racked up a lot of emissions over the last 50 years, the study found, have “benefited from global warming.”

Inequality among nations, which has come down a lot in recent decades, would have declined far faster, it concluded, had climate change not been in the mix. It estimated that the gap in per capita income in the richest and poorest countries is 25 percentage points larger than it would have been without climate change.

The study relies on earlier research by Marshall Burke, an economist at Stanford. In that earlier work, he had found that when temperatures were hotter than average (for any reason), economic growth slowed in poor countries but accelerated in rich countries. That’s because the world’s richest countries are by and large already in cooler latitudes, while poor countries are disproportionately concentrated around the Equator, where even a slight increase in temperature can be devastating to crop production, human health and labor productivity.

For this latest study, Dr. Burke, along with Noah Diffenbaugh, a climate scientist, looked at more than 20 climate models to estimate how much countries have warmed since 1960 specifically because of climate change. Then, they estimated what each country’s economic performance could have been without such a temperature rise.

Most of the world’s poor countries are poorer today than they would have been had those emissions not altered the climate, while many rich countries, especially in the northern belt of the Northern Hemisphere, are richer than they would have been, the study found.

Between 1961 and 2000, climate change dampened per capita incomes in the world’s poorest countries by between 17 percent and 30 percent. Among the countries hardest hit were also some of the largest. India, the world’s second most populous country, would have been 30 percent richer without climate change, the study concluded. For Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, that figure was 29 percent.

Norway, which is also a big oil and gas producer, fared well: It grew 34 percent richer. The authors cautioned that data on the very hottest and the very coldest countries is relatively sparse.

Countries in temperate zones, including China and the United States, did not feel much of an effect, the study said.

“If you’re a really cool country you’ve been helped a lot,” Dr. Burke said. “If you’re a really warm country, you’ve been hurt a lot. And if you’re in the middle the effects have been smaller or much more muted.”

The findings carry enormous implications for the global debate about who should bring down greenhouse gas emissions the fastest — and who should pay for the havoc they are causing, especially in poor countries. That is already one of the stickiest issues in global climate negotiations.

Dr. Burke said this study quantified the “dual benefits” that rich countries, particularly industrialized countries in the cooler latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere, had enjoyed — first being able to consume fossil fuels to grow their economies and then reaping the gains of warmer temperatures. “Other countries have not had either of those,” Dr. Burke asserted.

“They didn’t cause the problem,” he said. “They’re being harmed by it. There’s a clear equity dimension here.”


Coal Miners Give AOC Reality Check After She Promises To Kill Their Industry

In a video released earlier this week, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez narrated a strange version of a Green New Deal future that appeared more like a delusional fever dream than a practical plan.

She imagines high-speed bullet trains, a Democratic-led government, the demise of fossil fuels, and “in transition” energy sector workers relegated to planting mangrove trees under the guidance of Native American elders.


Despite being only slightly less realistic than the “Star Wars” franchise, this line of thinking in our nation’s leadership needs to be taken as a credible threat.

Of course, the coal miners of West Virginia know this all too well. Through the generations, they’ve experienced the ups and downs of coal country and the government overreach that can deal death blows to communities.

And there’s one little problem they have with Ocasio-Cortez’s plan: “There is no America without coal.”

In the video, a group of coal miners savages Ocasio-Cortez’s position on the fossil fuel, delivering a brutal fact check about what her policies would actually do to workers.

“The Green New Deal would be bad for coal miners because it’s going to put every coal miner out of a job,” said a man who identified himself as Kentucky coal miner Chris Dingess.

“If the Green New Deal passed,” said Dingess, “this is what it would do to me: I’d lose my home. I wouldn’t be able to pay for my vehicles. I’d have to find a new profession and start all over from scratch, and try to figure out a way to live.”

This is a far cry from the future of sustainable mangrove-planting jobs envisioned by Ocasio-Cortez.

And since these men have witnessed the brutal reality of what regulation can do to a coal mining community, their prediction is actually based in the real world.

“AOC, this is my message from coal country,” said a man who identified himself as John Manuel, a West Virginia coal miner with 37 years in the industry.

“We have been coal miners all of our lives. Things have gotten safer and better in the coal industry for the coal miners. “And we are here to stay.”

If a New York liberal like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wants to put these men and the tens of thousands of others like them out of a job, she’d better be prepared to face the consequences of her actions.

Gutted communities, unemployment, and a power crisis would only be the beginning of her “decade of the Green New Deal.”


Earth Day Is About Being Scolded by Celebrities

Today is Earth Day, and you know what that means: It's time to get scolded for living in the world! Environmentalists are better than you because their entire identity is centered around believing as much, so you will sit there and take your punishment. You'll hear the same crap you heard last year, and the same crap you'll hear next year, such is their commitment to recycling.

There's no point in saving the planet if nobody sees you doing it, which is why the environmentalist movement needs celebrities. The other day Emma Thompson brought about tangible, lasting change by flying 5,000 miles to march against airplanes. But was she willing to shave off all her facial hair? Was she ready to make that sacrifice for Gaia? Jason Momoa is. He just deforested his whole face!

If you're not sure how Aquaman shaving off his beard raises awareness, well... now you're aware he did it, right?

Momoa shot that in Jordan, where he's currently filming Dune, and presumably he didn't walk or ride a bicycle to get there. So... the biggest problem with flying all over the world on airplanes is the little bottles of water they give you? Really? Well, he's very handsome and seems like a good dude, so it's nice that he's doing whatever he's doing with those cans.

Speaking of water, say what you want about Ed Begley Jr., but he's so committed to conservation that he drinks his own wee-wee. If you have absolutely nothing else to do today, you can watch him do... whatever this is:

Lots of celebs are doing everything they can to save the planet with the mountains of cash they make by despoiling the planet. Did you know Leonardo DiCaprio has invested his own money in something called "vegan meat"? The future depends on this vital research into oxymorons.

Meanwhile, I hope you'll join me in commemorating Earth Day by doing absolutely nothing differently. George Carlin called it, almost 30 years ago: "The planet has been through a lot worse than us."

I'll believe there's a crisis when the people who tell me there's a crisis start acting like it. If these guys wanted me to believe they care about the planet, they'd leave it alone. Just imagine all the carbon that wouldn't be released into the atmosphere if environmentalists would just shut up.

P.S. Credit where it's due: Ira Einhorn, the man who created Earth Day, ended up killing his girlfriend and composting her remains. What better way to reduce her carbon footprint?


Obama Era Judge Shuts Down Trump’s Attempt To Open Fed Lands to Coal Mining

A federal judge in Montana delayed a Trump administration attempt to open up more federal lands to coal mining on Friday, The New York Times reports.

U.S. District Court judge Brian Morris ruled that the Trump administration illegally overturned a moratorium placed on coal mining on federal lands by former President Barack Obama.

Obama instated the policy in 2016 as part of his administration’s environmental agenda to cut coal usage.

Morris’ decision states that former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke did not consider the full environmental effects of overturning the coal mining ban and ordered the Department of the Interior to redo and expand environmental studies on the matter.

The DOI is looking into the court decision before taking further action, the Times reports.

“Federal Defendants’ decision not to initiate the [National Environmental Policy Act] process proves arbitrary and capricious,” Morris, who was nominated to the federal bench by Obama in 2013, wrote in his decision.

The next push to overturn Obama’s moratorium on selling coal mining leases for federal land will fall to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt.

Bernhardt took charge of the DOI as acting secretary after Zinke left the department in January. The Senate confirmed Bernhardt’s nomination on April 11.

Trump campaigned on reviving America’s faltering coal industry to save jobs in the sector as well as promote U.S. energy independence from foreign sources.

Environmental activists and Democrats have hampered the administration’s progress, claiming that emissions from the sector are worsening climate change and may do irreparable harm to the environment.

The courts themselves have put up some of the stiffest resistance to the Trump administration’s policies. A federal judge in Alaska struck down two different Trump administration acts in March.

In one case, the Trump administration negotiated a land swap with a remote Alaskan community so the village could construct a road to the areas only all-weather airport.

The second court ruling struck down an order from Trump to revoke a ban on oil and gas exploration in federal waters in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans.


A Consensus of Amazon Employees Reject the Radical Climate Change Agenda

Announced with great fanfare last week was a letter from 4,500 Amazon employees urging the company to rethink how it deals with climate change. The workers want the company to reduce its carbon footprint and incorporate their vision of climate-change mitigation in its decision making.

For starters, they advocate passage of a shareholder resolution next month to force the company to address how it might lessen its contribution to man-made warming. In addition, they want Amazon to withhold its cloud business from oil and gas companies that utilize the service to extract more fossil fuels.

The release of the letter was widely reported under headlines like “Thousands of Amazon employees urge company to do more on climate change.”

A much better headline would read “99.3 percent of Amazon employees do not endorse climate change letter.” That is because the signatories represent an amazingly tiny percentage of Amazon’s workforce of 613,300 workers worldwide. If the issue of man-made catastrophic warming were the existential threat it is so often made out to be, one would expect to at least get a measly one percent of the workforce to sign up if only to virtue signal.

The same media regularly tout the mythical “97 percent consensus” of scientists who support the notion that man-made warming is harmful. Yet, in this case, they seem to put huge stock in an incredibly small set of workers at a huge company that they believe should have an oversized effect on policy.

The supposed 97 percent consensus that is trotted out at every opportunity to support the idea of catastrophic man-made warming is based on a paper written by John Cook in 2013. Cook defined his consensus to be that man had caused the majority of the global warming since 1950.

To get to 97 percent he cast a wide net (which would include the likes of me), but more importantly, he misrepresented his own statistical results in the publication.

An independent study by David Legates and two co-authors reviewed the scientific papers that Cook had used in arriving at the “consensus” and discovered multiple serious errors in Cook’s methodology and results.

In fact, they determined that only 41 out of the 11,944 climate papers Cook examined had explicitly stated that man caused most of the warming since 1950. The percentage of such papers was only 0.3 percent, quite a different story than that advanced by the mainstream media.

Please note that this actual percentage supporting the “consensus” is strikingly similar to the 0.7 percent of the Amazon employees who cared enough to endorse the climate change letter.

Dr. Legates said: “It is astonishing that any journal could have published a paper claiming a 97% climate consensus when on the authors’ own analysis the true consensus was well below 1%.

“It is still more astonishing that the IPCC should claim 95% certainty about the climate consensus when so small a fraction of published papers explicitly endorse the consensus as the IPCC defines it.”

Richard Tol also reviewed Cook’s work and concluded: “Cook’s 97% nonsensus paper shows that the climate community still has a long way to go in weeding out bad research and bad behavior. If you want to believe that climate researchers are incompetent, biased and secretive, Cook’s paper is an excellent case in point.”

David Legates and his co-authors labeled the “consensus opinion” as “agnotology.” In case your lexicon does not include that word, the definition of agnotology is “the study of culturally induced ignorance or doubt, particularly the publication of inaccurate or misleading scientific data.”

This is a term you should consider using when referencing those promoting the consensus myth, or those who seek to foist their politically-driven ideas to control the uncontrollable (climate) on major institutions like Amazon.


Australia’s new battlefield: insiders vs outsiders: As in Brexit Britain and Trump’s America, it’s the elite vs the people.

The Left's electric car fantasy is totally inappropriate for the  Australian people and the policy could yet be their  undoing

If you trust the polls, Labor leader Bill Shorten will win next month’s Australian federal election, as surely as the British voted to remain in Europe and Hillary Clinton won the US presidency in 2016.

Shorten has been the consistent frontrunner for more than two years and faces a centre-right coalition with weakened authority after five years of internal division and two changes of leader.

Yet there is good reason to suspect that polling may be as reliable as it was in 2016.

Like Britain, the US and much of the democratic Western world, Australia is undergoing a transition from the politics of left and right to a contest between conformist insiders and woefully disobedient outsiders.

Shorten and the prime minister Scott Morrison feel obliged to tread cautiously across a treacherous cultural landscape. One false move could trip the next political explosion, as Shorten did two weeks ago when he announced a bold policy on electric vehicles.

Australia was lagging behind the rest of the world, he said. A Shorten government would ensure that by 2030, 50 per cent of vehicles sold on the market would be powered by batteries.

Had Shorten sought advice from anyone living more than five kilometres outside the Canberra political triangle, the thought bubble would never have been released.

Australians love their cars with the passionate intensity mid-America displays towards guns. The backlash was immediate. Alan Jones, the country’s most popular talkback radio host, declared that the issue would lose Shorten the election.

Shorten compounded his problems two days later when he was asked by a breakfast radio presenter how long the batteries took to charge. ‘Oh, it can take, umm … it depends on what your original charge is, but it can take, err, eight to 10 minutes depending on your charge’, Shorten ventured.

A more accurate answer would have been eight to 10 hours.

Few Australians would be embarrassed by Shorten’s accusation that they are behind the rest of the world in the quality of the exhaust emitted from their tailpipes. They live in a country of vast distances and rough terrain with the third-lowest fuel taxes in the developed world. Miles per hour still counts for more in the Australian car market than miles per gallon.

Others are welcome to drive Ford Fiestas, VW Golfs and Vauxhall Corsa, the three top-selling vehicles in Britain. But they’re a little squashy for four grown men even without their fishing rods.

Which is why Australians prefer the Toyota HiLux, Ford Territory and Mitsubishi Triton, the current top-selling vehicles, which emit almost twice the CO2 of the Fiesta but are far better suited for rounding up sheep in a wet paddock.

Few nations could rival Australia in its unsuitability for electric vehicles. The challenge of installing chargers at convenient intervals along Australia’s 7.6million kilometres of roads is hard enough. It is considerably more difficult than in the UK, for example, where there are 77 cars per square kilometre, compared to Australia’s 2.5.

Utility vehicles, or ‘utes’ in the local vernacular, SUVs and four-wheel-drives account for more than 60 per cent of the small vehicle market in Australia and their popularity is growing.

There is no electrical equivalent of these vehicles on the market. We’re told that the Hyundai Kona could be on sale by Christmas, but at $60,000 – $20,000 more than the petrol version – you can forget it.

The global mania driving the introduction of electric vehicles seems puzzling viewed through Australian eyes. If Norway chooses to spend billions of krone earned by selling oil on subsidies to bribe its citizens to drive electric cars, then let them. Unlike the Norwegians, Australians do not have 31 billion watts of hydro-generated electricity at their disposal.

Yet the technological obstacles and investment challenges are treated with little regard by the elite, where anxiety about the predicted effects of global warming are keenly felt. Support for electric cars, like enthusiasm for renewable energy, is strongest in well-to-do suburbs close the city, frequently close to the beach, where they drive cars the least and are soothed by maritime breezes on stinking-hot summer days.

The hostility to electric vehicles is not helped by the performance of the political and policy elites who have a track record of policy disasters in energy. The last Labor government used draconian cross-subsidies to force investment in wind and solar power with unfortunate results.

Australians once enjoyed among the cheapest electricity in the world. Now it vies to be the most expensive. The intermittent supply from renewable energy has made the grid unstable. There have been lengthy blackouts in South Australia and Victoria, where coal-fired power stations have been forced out of the market.

The intellectual elites who created this mess still struggle to see where they went wrong. If it worked for Denmark, why wouldn’t it work here?

But Australia is a very different country. Like other net exporters of energy, the relatively high level of emissions per-capita does not reflect local habits.

It exports some of the world’s cleanest coal, thus contributing to a reduction of emissions in some countries. And if coal is considered too dirty, there’s always gas, in which Australia leads the world in exports.

Agriculture, of which Australia is also a net exporter, contributes 16 per cent to national emissions, most of which comes from enteric fermentation in ruminant livestock – a polite way of saying belching and farting, for which there is no known antidote.

These peculiar national characteristics help to explain why climate policy is Australia’s Brexit: the issue that divides the intellectual elites with their grand theories from the rest of Australia with its no-nonsense practical outlook. It is the touchstone issue on which the nation divides along non-party lines, and could once break up a barbie in those innocent days when the two tribes grilled their steaks together and parked their six-cylinder Holdens in the same drive.

Like Brexit, leaders would prefer if they didn’t have to take sides, for fear of causing offence and disunity within their own party. Like Brexit, however, there is no fence to sit on. Shorten, the leader of the party that pays increasingly little attention to the workers that once defined it, is siding with the intellectuals, promising to abate roughly three times the amount of greenhouse gas by 2030 than Australia is obliged to do under the Paris Commitment.

If he thinks such virtue-seeking will go unquestioned by hoi polloi beyond the beltway, he will be disappointed. It is proving to be an electoral disadvantage in the outer suburbs and in regional Australia where a Trump-like revolt, if it ever happened in Australia, would be likely to break out.

It is here that Morrison is discovering surprise middle ground on the continuous issue of climate policy. Like Shorten, he promises action to reduce emissions, which 70 per cent of Australians favour. His appeal, however, is toward practical, measured policy, rather than one that seems intellectually pure.

‘You don’t have to choose between the economy and the environment’, Morrison says. ‘You don’t have to choose between your job and the environment.’

Any predictions about the result next month must be heavily qualified. The political duopoly that has been in place since the end of the Second World War is fraying. Populist independents and pop-up parties are strengthening and will almost certainly hold the balance of power in the next parliament, as they have for the past 12 years. They may also increase their presence in the lower house, increasing the chances of a hung parliament.

The Liberal/National Coalition, which has been in government for 18 of the past 24 years, comes to the poll as a weakened force, despite an exceptionally strong economy and low unemployment. PM Scott Morrison, who has been in office for less than eight months, has gone some way to restoring the government’s fortunes and repair the internal disunity, but time was never on his side.

The weekend polls still put Labor ahead by 52 per cent to 48 per cent. Yet if Morrison can manage to tap the well of discontent against the outlandish climate policy pursued by much of the political class, the coalition may yet confound those who have written them off.



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1 comment:

Malcontent said...

97% of climate scientists predictions over the last 40 years have been wrong.
Peter Ridds recent victory against James Cook University shows the poor governance of the university on matters of Science
Cook the Books?