Wednesday, April 10, 2019

More Attenborough fakery

Greenies just can't help it. Reality is so unkind to their theories

Walruses seen falling to their deaths as they scaled high cliffs to escape climate change could have died because they were being chased by polar bears, a zoologist has claimed.

Footage from Sir David Attenborough's Netflix documentary Our Planet showed walruses plunging off 250ft high cliffs in northeast Russia.

The animals were said to be making the dangerous climb to higher ground to escape receding sea ice due to warming seas.

Hundreds of walruses became confused by a combination of shrinking ice cover and their own poor eyesight, causing them to scale cliffs and often plummet to their deaths when they attempt to return to sea, the show stated.

In the disturbing clip, walruses could be seen perched precariously on the edge of the rocky cliffs, unaware of just how high up they were.

It's not the first time a David Attenborough-narrated programme has been faced accusations of faking dramatic wildlife footage.

In 2011 Frozen Planet admitted after the show aired that filmmakers used footage of cubs taken at a zoo using fake snow in the Netherlands and spliced it with polar bear clips from the wild.

Then the BBC's Blue Planet 2 series in 2017 saw creators defend the use of studio shots taken in laboratories as it featured images of coral bleaching that could only be filmed with lights and specialised cameras.

The Blue Planet team also recreated a rock pool on board a ship to film up-close zebra mantis shrimp and the long teeth of the fangtooth fish. 

In the recent Our Planet episode of the Frozen Worlds series, Attenborough says that all the walruses know is that they need to join the others and find food.

But a leading zoologist has accused filmmakers of using 'tragedy porn' and 'emotional manipulation' to gain viewers.

Susan Crockford, of the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada, claims the animals were more likely to have been driven over the cliffs after being chased by polar bears.

She cited a famous incident in 2017 near where the Netflix series was filmed, where 20 polar bears chased walruses over to top of cliffs at Kozhevnikova Cape, Ryrkaypiy, in eastern Russia, according to the Siberian Times.

Describing the footage as 'contrived nonsense', Dr Crockford told the Telegraph: 'This powerful story is fiction and emotional manipulation at its worst.

'The walruses shown in this Netflix film were almost certainly driven over the cliff by polar bears during a well-publicised incident in 2017, not because they were confused by a combination of shrinking ice cover and their own poor eyesight.

'Even if the footage shown by Attenborough was not the 2017 incident in Ryrkaypiy, we know that walruses reach the top of cliffs in some locations and might fall if startled by polar bears, people or aircraft overhead, not because they are confused by shrinking sea ice cover.

'The bears were then able to feed off the many carcasses after the survivors took to the water.'

Sophie Lanfear, director of the Frozen Worlds series that features the Our Planet episode, defended the footage, saying two crew members watched the animals fall and claimed they were not being chased by polar bears.

She said: 'We filmed Pacific walrus falling from high cliffs. They were not being driven off the cliffs by the polar bears and we know this because we had two team members watching the cliffs from afar who could see the polar bears and were in radio communications with us to warn us about any bears approaching the crew closer to the walrus and the cliffs.

'Once the walrus had rested at the top for a few days they wanted to return to sea when all the others below started to leave.

'We would watch them for hours teetering back and forth on the edge before finally, falling off.

'Fundamentally, the reason walrus used this haul out location is because of a lack of sea ice in the region, meaning they are coming ashore more frequently than they did in the past.

'Especially mothers with their pups. And at this particular site, once the beach below the cliffs was full, they spread out and up the cliffs and were unable to find their way safely down, with tragic consequences.'

During the scene in Our Planet, Sir David said: 'A walrus' eyesight out of water is poor. 'But they can sense the others down below. As they get hungry, they need to return to the sea. 'In their desperation to do so, hundreds fall from heights they should never have scaled.'


White House planning executive order that aims to boost pipeline construction, lower energy prices

The White House is planning to roll out an executive order next week that aims to cut regulations, spur interstate pipeline construction and lower energy costs, according to two senior administration officials.

The effort was spurred by the blockage of the construction of the 125-mile Constitution Pipeline from Pennsylvania to New York. A protracted legal battle over the project has been underway since the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, gave a greenlight in 2014 and 2016, because the state of New York has refused to issue a water permit.

According to four current and former administration officials, the order directs the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency to clarify Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, the law that gives states authority over permits where water quality is concerned.

Backlash from states and governors is expected, especially in New York, where regulators warned of further legal action if FERC throws out its water safety review in the Constitution case.

And Wall Street likely won’t see this as a big breakthrough.

“We don’t think this manifestly changes the state of play,” said ClearView energy analyst Christine Tezak. “An executive order can’t change the statutory discretion of a state to approve, deny or waive, so a state could still say no.”

But officials vow the administration’s broader goal is to lower energy prices by accelerating the transport of natural gas and to reaffirm U.S. energy “dominance,” a word that appeared multiple times in an early draft of the order.

Energy executives are optimistic about the prospects for more pipeline construction.

Dennis Xander, chief executive of West Virginia-based Denex Petroleum, said the state is at risk of a glut if it can’t ship more gas to New England or the Gulf states.

“We now have more capacity than we do gas for the first time in several years,” Xander told CNBC. But in central West Virginia where Denex operates, “There’s no pipeline to get the gas transported.”

Lower energy prices are of high interest to President Donald Trump, who has tweeted criticism of OPEC and its impact on higher prices at least 12 times.

The executive order is currently slated to be signed on Wednesday, with Texas as one suggested location for the event. Administration officials caution the plans could change.


Population Bombed! Book Shortlisted For Prestigious Prize

The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) is delighted to announce that our book Population Bombed! by Canadian authors Pierre Desrochers and Joanna Szurmak has been shortlisted for the prestigious Donner Book Prize.

The Donner Prize annually rewards excellence and innovation in public policy writing by Canadian authors. In bestowing this award, the Donner Canadian Foundation seeks to broaden policy debates, and make an original and meaningful contribution to policy discourse, all of which will contribute to an even stronger and more inclusive Canadian democracy.

The 2018/2019 shortlist titles were chosen from a field of 70 submissions. The winner receives $50,000 while each other nominated title receives $7,500.

The winner of this year’s Donner Prize will be announced at an awards ceremony at the historic Carlu in Toronto on Wednesday 1 May 2019.

Many scholars, activists and policy-makers have linked population growth to environmental degradation, including catastrophic climate change. The authors argue that significant improvements in human well-being in recent years, longer lifespans, improved health, abundant resources and a general improvement in the environment, counter this claim.

Desrochers and Szurmak provide a useful and provocative contribution to the policy debate by challenging the models and assumptions upon which the new population control narrative is built, and argue that population growth alongside economic development represent the only practical way forward.

Pierre Desrochers is an Associate Professor of Geography at the University of Toronto. Joanna Szurmak is a doctoral student at York University’s Department of Science and Technology.


More California dreaming: New governor to Blame Illegal Immigration On Global Warming

The Left have an infinite ability to make stories up. They need to. Reality is just too pesky for them

California Gov. Gavin Newsom is going all in on opposing President Trump – and the majority of the American people – on the problem of illegal migration as the caravans from Central America fire up.

Now he’s heading off to El Salvador to “examine the root causes of migration,” as Big Daddy holding out the bag of goodies to would-be illegal immigrants in their home countries.

To him, they’re his constituents. So he’s got to find some justification for this trip and you can bet he will. My bet’s on him using the trip as a soapbox to make claims about global warming causing it.

In his first weeks in office, Governor Newsom signed AB 72, legislation to fast-track state aid to asylum seekers who are being abandoned at bus stations and on the side of the road by the federal government.

It was the first bill he signed into law. AB 72 established a Rapid Response Relief Fund of $5 million in immigration assistance, which helped support the opening of a migrant support shelter in San Diego.

Have pork, will travel.

But his claimed mission is worth looking at, too – to examine the “root causes of illegal migration” not to stop it, but as his pork demonstrates, to encourage more of it.

RealClearPolitics ran a long, very long, article from the New Yorker about how global warming is the real reason illegal migrants are heading in their caravans, not to the next convenient country, but to the United States, that country more than 1,000 miles away that is largely English-speaking and has a modern economy, with modern conventions such as flush toilets and washing machines.

Which, though the idea is a rapidly discrediting superstition from the left, is a wonderfully convenient excuse for justifying illegal migration. See, global warming is caused by gringos, so gringos did it. Get ready for the illegal migrants with their hands out as a result.

The New Yorker piece is very very long, (and pretty interesting as a descriptive piece), so I won’t quote it, but suffice to say, the author of it failed to make her point.

I will sum up what its writer found so as to make her argument that global warming causes illegal immigration:

Guatemala’s western highlands are in a drought. That drought is creating food shortages. The Guatemalans are clueless about how to adapt to any drought-like conditions.

That means they need U.S. NGO aid workers to teach them about crop rotation, saving seeds in their own seed banks, and minimizing the need for water through shade planting. Guatemalans can’t figure that out on their own.

Aid from American NGO workers is the only thing that can keep people fed. And not just any aid, only American aid (Guatemala is apparently excused from the need to provide aid, despite the record remittances in the hard currency it receives).

Mean President Trump is cutting off aid. Yet he’s the one who caused this whole debacle because he doesn’t buy into the idea of global warming.

The writer keeps trying to circle around and claims that global warming is the cause of the Guatemalan drought as if the region had never seen one earlier, but it’s a tenuous and unpersuasive argument, never proved.

The writer can describe problems, but can’t analyze or consider multiple scenarios, and she wrecks her piece by trying to shoehorn it all into a “narrative’ about global warming with insufficient evidence.

Rest assured, she didn’t wreck her piece from the perspective of the agenda she was promoting.

That influential ”narrative” is going to get into the Democratic party line as justification for cartel-led and gang-led illegal immigration, which of course strengthens cartels and gangs at U.S. taxpayer expense.

Global warming means it’s all O.K.., and never mind that detail about Guatemala’s failure to take care of its own people during what in reality is a temporary weather condition for farmers whose capacity to adapt is basically by fleeing north.

Rest assured, Newsom will be up on this by the time he gets out of El Salvador. He’s got to claim he did something other than shovel pork. He’s going there to blame Trump for everything, and global warming is a big low hanging fruit for him.


Australia: Federal government gives green light to new coalmine

The federal environment minister has given the green light to the controversial Adani Carmichael mine’s groundwater plan, taking it a step closer to construction.

But left leaning lobby group GetUp’s climate campaigner Sam Regester is already warning the decision will cost the Government seats.

“Make no mistake, they will feel the backlash,” he said. “This will cost them seats. The Coalition can expect to lose a swath of seats around Australia for their capitulation to a single coal company at the expense of the community.

“We’re talking about a company who has shown a complete inability to follow the law and Scott Morrison has rushed through a dangerous approval maybe just hours before his Government goes into caretaker mode.”

He said GetUp now plans to make an extra 100,000 calls into Health Minister Greg Hunt’s electorate of Flinders and 80,000 calls into Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg’s electorate of Kooyong.

Environment Minister Melissa Price confirmed today she had signed off on the final plan that Adani needs from the Federal Government for its Carmichael mine. Further approvals are needed from the Queensland Government.

She said science agencies CSIRO and Geoscience Australia had confirmed the company’s revised plans met strict scientific requirements.

“Following this independent assessment and the Department of Environment and Energy’s recommendation for approval, I have accepted the scientific advice and therefore approved the groundwater management plans for the Carmichael coal mine and rail Infrastructure project under Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999,” she said in a statement.

The mine still needs approval from the Queensland Government for its groundwaters plans and its black-throated finch management plan.

“To date, only 16 of 25 environmental plans have been finalised or approved by the commonwealth and Queensland governments with a further nine to be finalised,” Ms Price said. “It must meet further stringent conditions of approval from the commonwealth before it can begin producing coal.”

She said the company had accepted a number of actions including better monitoring of the Doongmabulla Springs, tighter corrective action triggers if there are any groundwater impacts and more scientific modelling within two years of the start of mining.

The federal government is not providing any financial support to the mine or to its rail project, she said.

Ms Price’s approval comes as environmental groups warned of legal challenges if the minister was pushed into signing off on the project.

Australian Conservation Foundation campaigner Christian Slattery said Australians were right to be deeply sceptical about the process that led to this decision.

Queensland coalition MPs have been agitating for the minister to make her decision before Prime Minister Scott Morrison goes to the polls, expected on May 18.

Mr Morrison told reporters on Tuesday the decision would be made by “ministers listening to scientists, not senators listening to themselves”.

Resources Minister Matt Canavan earlier attended a shed meeting in central Queensland on Tuesday with Dawson MP George Christensen to reiterate the government’s support for coal mining.

“This isn’t just about one project or one mine — the Labor party wants to get rid of all coal mines and all coal mining jobs,” Senator Canavan said in a statement afterwards.

“The Liberal-Nationals coalition government backs Queensland resources workers and Queensland’s coal mining communities.”

Adani’s proposed Carmichael coal mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin is a contentious project that has sparked mass protests around Australia.

In contrast to Queensland electorates — where many are keen for the jobs the mine is hoped to create — many residents in city areas oppose the mine because of potential impacts to climate change and the Great Barrier Reef, as well as concerns over groundwater use and threatened species.

The Coalition is not the only party split over Adani’s plan, with reports Labor is also divided over the coal mine.

Labor leader Bill Shorten is reportedly sceptical about the mine but has not said he would block it from going ahead.

Environmental groups have previously slammed the mine’s plan, which they say is not properly assessed and puts water resources at risk.



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