Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Why naive environmentalism is like religious fundamentalism

Excerpts below are from the chapter “Why I Am Not An Environmentalist” in economist Steven Landsburg’s book “Armchair Economics: Economics and Everyday Life,” where he explains why naive environmentalism is like religious fundamentalism:

The naive environmentalism of my daughter’s preschool is a force-fed potpourri of myth, superstition, and ritual that has much in common with the least reputable varieties of religious Fundamentalism.

"Like other coercive ideologies, environmentalism targets children specifically. After my daughter progressed from preschool to kindergarten, her teachers taught her to conserve resources by rinsing out her paper cup instead of discarding it. I explained to her that time is also a valuable resource, and it might be worth sacrificing some cups to save some time. Her teachers taught her that mass transportation is good because it saves energy. I explained to her that it might be worth sacrificing some energy in exchange for the comfort of a private car. Her teachers taught her to recycle paper so that wilderness is not converted to landfill space. I explained to her that it might be worth sacrificing some wilderness in exchange for the luxury of not having to sort your trash. In each case, her five-year-old mind had no difficulty grasping the point. I fear that after a few more years of indoctrination, she will be as uncomprehending as her teachers."

In a letter to his daughter Cayley’s teacher, Landsburg wrote:

"Just as Cayley’s teachers in Colorado were honestly oblivious to the fact that there is diversity in religion, it may be that her teachers here have been honestly oblivious that there is diversity in politics.

Let me then make that diversity clear. We are not environmentalists. We ardently oppose environmentalists. We consider environmentalism a form of mass hysteria akin to Islamic fundamentalism or the War on Drugs. We do not recycle. We teach our daughter not to recycle. We teach her that people who try to convince her to recycle, or who try to force her to recycle, are intruding on her rights.

The entire program of environmentalism is as foreign to us as the doctrine of Christianity (Note: Landsburg is Jewish). We face no current threat of having Christianity imposed on us by petty tyrants; the same can not be said of environmentalism. My county government never tried to send me a New Testament, but it did send me a recycling bin.”

In a footnote at the end of the chapter:

"My friend Alan Stockman has made the point that there seems to be general agreement that it is better to transfer income from the relatively rich to the relatively poor than vice versa. It seems odd then to ask present-day Americans to make sacrifices [e.g. recycling, etc.] for the benefit of future generations who will almost surely be richer than we are."


Polar Bear Numbers Could Have Quadrupled

Researcher says attempts to silence her have failed

Polar bear numbers could easily exceed 40,000, up from a low point of 10,000 or fewer in the 1960s.

In The Polar Bear Catastrophe that Never Happened, a book published today by the Global Warming Policy Foundation, Dr Susan Crockford uses the latest data as well as revisiting some of the absurd values used in official estimates, and concludes that polar bears are actually thriving:

My scientific estimates make perfect sense and they tally with what the Inuit and other Arctic residents are seeing on the ground. Almost everywhere polar bears come into contact with people, they are much more common than they used to be. It’s a wonderful conservation success story.”

Crockford also describes how, despite the good news, polar bear specialists have consistently tried to low-ball polar bear population figures.

They have also engaged in a relentless smear campaign in an attempt to silence her in order to protect the story of a polar bear catastrophe, and the funding that comes with it.

A few unscrupulous people have been trying to destroy my reputation”, she says. “But the facts are against them, and they have failed”.


Sidelined because she rejects radical green agendas?

Fish & Wildlife Service director nominee joins hundreds of others in confirmation limbo

Paul Driessen

Aurelia Skipwith has a BS in biology from Howard University, a Master’s in molecular genetics from Purdue and a law degree from Kentucky. She has worked as a molecular analyst and sustainable agriculture partnership manager. She was also co-founder and general counsel for AVC Global, a Washington, DC-based agricultural supply chain development company that helps small farmers link up with multinational buyers and with agronomy, business, financial and other service providers.

For two years, she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Interior Department, where she performed her duties so well that last October President Trump nominated her to become the next Director of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) at Interior. She is an ideal candidate for the post.

She’s also only the third woman ever nominated for this position – and the first African American. Her impeccable scientific, legal, agricultural and conservationist background would ensure fairness, balance, integrity, solid science and multidisciplinary thinking in FWS decision making.

And yet, Ms. Skipwith lingers in confirmation limbo, along with hundreds of others whose nominations have been stalled for many months to well over a year. Too many Democrat senators appear determined to prevent the president from having people onboard who would implement his policies.

In fact, the US Senate has already been forced to hold cloture votes – ending drawn-out debates – on 128 Trump nominees! In glaring contrast, the Senate had a grand total of only 24 such cloture votes for all six previous presidents combined: Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush II and Obama! That’s 32 times more nominees by this president sidelined by Congress than during all ten previous presidential terms.

Why is Ms. Skipwith being treated this way? It appears to be simple ideological politics. Senate Democrats seem to be acquiescing to the demands of Deep Green environmentalists and Deep State career bureaucrats who hate having their views, policies and agendas challenged.

Her molecular analysis and sustainable agriculture work were with Monsanto, the ultimate Evil Corporation to many of her opponents, because it manufactures both Roundup weedkiller and genetically engineered (GE) crops like Bt corn and Roundup-Ready soybeans. As Deputy Assistant Secretary, Ms. Skipwith supported reversing Obama era bans on planting such crops and using advanced-technology neonicotinoid pesticides in wildlife refuges administered by Fish & Wildlife.

The 2014 bans resulted from collusive sue-and-settle lawsuits between environmentalist groups and Obama DOI officials. They were reversed in August 2018, following a careful review process. As I have noted in many articles (here, here and here, for example), GE crops, glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup) and neonics are safe for humans and the environment. They also enable farmers to produce more food from less land, using less water and fewer pesticides, and with greater resistance to droughts, floods, insects and climate change, than is possible with conventional or organic crops.

Genetically engineered crops promote sustainable agriculture and help the world feed billions who otherwise face prolonged malnutrition and starvation. And yet, radical greens oppose them. They even attack Golden Rice, which prevents blindness and death in malnourished children and parents, by incorporating genes that produce Vitamin A precursors, vastly expanding nutritional values in rice.

Americans alone have consumed more than four trillion servings of foods with at least one GE ingredient – without a single documented example of harm to a person or the environment.

Regarding glyphosate, only one agency, the International Agency for Cancer Research (IARC), says the chemical is “probably carcinogenic” to humans – and its analysis is tainted by fraud and blatant conflicts of interest. Studies by the European Food Safety Authority, Food and Agriculture Organization, Germany’s Institute for Risk Assessment, Australia’s Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority, and other respected organizations worldwide have concluded that glyphosate is safe and non-carcinogenic.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency scientists conducted a “comprehensive systematic review of studies submitted to the agency and available in the open literature,” and concluded that the chemical “is not likely to be carcinogenic in humans.” Health Canada conducted a similarly extensive review of global studies, found no likely cancer risk, and noted that “no pesticide regulatory authority in the world” believes glyphosate is a cancer risk to humans “at the levels at which humans are currently exposed.”

As cancer researcher Arthur Lambert noted recently, “exposure to carcinogens influences the risk of developing cancer, which is a function of many factors, including the dose and duration of the exposure” – to glyphosate for example. But other factors also play integral roles, including inherited genes and genetic mutations, how well one’s immune system can find and eliminate mutated cells before they develop into cancer, personal lifestyle choices, and exposure to additional carcinogens over the years. Separating all those factors is virtually impossible.

Risks associated with glyphosate fall “somewhere between the small hazard that comes from eating a considerable amount of bacon (for colorectal cancer) and consuming very hot tea (for esophageal cancer),” Lambert notes. In fact, IARC lumps bacon, sunlight and plutonium together in its “definitely carcinogenic” category and lists as “possible” carcinogens pickled vegetables, caffeic acid found in many fruits and vegetables, and even drinking hot beverages or working the night shift.

If glyphosate poses few risks of cancer in humans, its threats to ducks, geese, turkeys and other animals in wildlife refuges are likely infinitesimal. The same is true for GE crops and neonicotinoid pesticides.

Most neonics are used as seed coatings, which get absorbed into plant tissues as crops grow. They protect plants against insect damage by targeting only pests that actually feed on the crops – and are largely gone by the time mature plants flower, which means they are barely detectable in pollen and don’t harm bees.

As to claims that neonics harm bees and thus should be banned from wildlife refuges, a 2015 international study of wild bees found that most wild bees never even come into contact with crops or the neonics that supposedly threaten them. The same study also determined that the 2% of wild bees that do visit crops – and so would be most exposed to these pesticides – are among the healthiest bee species on Earth.

The eight senators who recently expressed concern that chlorpyrifos and other pesticides threaten multiple protected species should applaud Interior’s reversal of bans on modern agricultural technologies (which reduce the use of such pesticides). Ducks Unlimited and the National Wild Turkey Federation certainly did.

The bans “were clearly not based on science,” they said, adding that the reversal restored GE crop use as an “essential tool” for waterfowl and wildlife management in national wildlife refuges. Many refuges were established along migratory bird flyways to provide food for waterfowl. But some can provide sufficient food only through cooperative agreements that let local farmers plant crops on refuge lands in exchange for leaving some of their crops unharvested, to supplement natural food on the refuge.

Genetically modified crops maximize crop yields, the FWS has explained, and “a blanket denial” of their use limits the latitude that refuge managers need to fulfill the purposes of each refuge. The ban on neonics was equally problematical because they are often used with GE crops and Roundup.

Aurelia Skipwith’s actions reflect the best in science-based (government decision making. Her broad expertise enables her to separate fact from fiction, and reality from ideological agendas. She is the right person for this job – and indeed may turn out to be one of the best FWS directors ever.

Now that Mitch McConnell has reformed Senate rules to end Democrat obstruction, responsible senators should confirm her forthwith – along with the rest of President Trump’s nominees.

Via email

Nearly Half of N.H. Voters Just Say No To Paying For Green New Deal

Presidential hopefuls get big cheers from New Hampshire crowds when they tout their support for the Green New Deal. But when it comes actually paying for it, Granite Staters have a different message:

Forget it.

An exclusive New Hampshire Journal poll asked local voters how much more per month they are willing to pay in their utility bills “to achieve the goals of the Green New Deal.” The top answer: None.

Nearly half — 46 percent– said they aren’t willing to pay any more on behalf of the highly-publicized climate change initiative. And of those who are, fewer than half are willing to pay any more than just $10 per month.

The Green New Deal is being offered as a plan to address concerns over climate change. How much more per month would you be willing to pay in your heating or electric bill to achieve the goals of the Green New Deal?

You would not be willing to pay any more per month                46.2

You would be willing to pay up to $10 more per month             28.7

You would be willing to pay up to $50 more per month               8.6

You would be willing to pay up to $100 more per month             4.7

You would be willing to pay over $100 more per month               3.3

Not sure                                                                                                                8.5

That $10 figure stands in stark contrast to the expected costs of converting to a carbon-free energy grid, which the most conservative estimates project will cost thousands of dollars per household.  Robert Pollin at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, for example, says the cost would be “manageable” at $600 billion a year for 30 years, which works out to about $4,500 in yearly costs to every American household.

The percentage of Granite Staters willing to pay even $100 or more per month in higher energy bills?

Three percent.

This hasn’t stopped almost all of the top-tier Democratic 2020 presidential candidates from endorsing the Green New Deal, including the six sitting U.S. Senators in the race. All of them are co-sponsors of the Green New Deal resolution — the same resolution just voted down 57-0 on the Senate floor last week.

“Politicians promoting policies that raise [energy] rates think they’ve got the people on their side, but they’re just hearing from a small segment of voters,” Marc Brown of the New England Ratepayers Association told NHJournal. “This poll proves what we’ve been saying all along: They need to think about the ratepayers.”

But Democratic presidential candidates are thinking about primary voters, not ratepayers. And among New Hampshire Democrats, 71.5 percent said they were willing to spend more on behalf of the Green New Deal, though only a third are willing to spend more than $10 per month. And younger voters (18-24), a key demographic in the New Hampshire Democratic primary, are also far more enthusiastic about bearing the costs. More than 80 percent say they’re willing to pay.

And it’s not just in New Hampshire. A November 2018 national survey released by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found similar results. In that poll, 43 percent of respondents were unwilling to pay even a single dollar in higher energy costs to fight climate change.

The question is how will that translate in a general election against President Trump?

Not well, apparently. Among Granite State Republicans, 68 percent oppose any increase in their utility bills, as do 46 percent of undeclared voters. And while a mere 10 percent of Democrats are willing to pay $100 or more on the Green New Deal, the percentage among both Republicans and independents is zero.

“The Green New Deal is just a way to energize the Democrat base,” says New Hampshire GOP strategist Mike Dennehy. “These poll numbers illustrate that the Republican base, and pocketbook independents, will get equally as fired up in opposition. You can count on this being a top issue in the 2020 general election – up and down the ballot.  Democrats will push Republican candidates on their support of Trump and Republicans will push Democrats on their support of the job-killing Green New Deal.”

The poll of registered voters was conducted by Praecones Analytica between March 26-28 and has a weighted margin of error of +/- 4.86 percent.


Australia: Coal mine protesters have stormed the stage while Prime Minister Scott Morrison addressed the Valley Chamber of Commerce in Brisbane today, before another group stood up chanting as he tried to continue

The usual Leftist authoritarianism.  They are Stalin's kin

TWO Adani protesters have stormed the stage while Prime Minister Scott Morrison addressed the Valley Chamber of Commerce in Brisbane today.

Mr Morrison began his speech asking “how good is Trevor Evans?” when a protester ran onto the stage holding a “stop Adani” poster.

Security removed the woman and the Prime Minister tried to continue his speech but was interrupted by a second protester also storming the stage.

Mr Morrison laughed off the incident, asking if there were any contestants for round three.

A third protester stood up in the crowd saying the Prime Minister was forgetting about climate change.

Mr Morrison said he “would get to climate change” before the man was escorted out by security.

A fourth group stood up, this time chanting, before also being escorted out.

The protests followed the entire lockdown of the building after Adani protesters gathered outside the building, chanting against the Government.

It comes after the PM blasted vegan activists as “green-collared criminals” for targeting farmers and causing traffic chaos today.

A farm in Queensland’s Darling Downs was one of several properties targeted, while in Melbourne nearly 40 activists were arrested.

PRIME Minister Scott Morrison has reignited his election campaign in southeast Queensland today, saying Opposition Leader Bill Shorten “doesn’t get how Australians like to live” and has slammed Labor’s plans to increase electric vehicles.

Visiting GCI Group, a laser cutting service at Yatala, Mr Morrison said Shorten was taking away the choices of the nation’s people.

“Bill Shorten is not going to give people a choice in the future — electric vehicles currently make 0.2 per cent of the vehicle market in Australia and he wants to take it to 50 per cent but it’s not just that, it’s also the carbon emissions per kilometre that he’s imposing on the economy,” he said.

“What Bill Shorten wants to corral people into as part of his plan is out of the sort of lifestyle that are supported by the vehicles that people are currently buying.

“So I think it just shows he doesn’t get how Australians like to live. We’re leaving the choice in the hands of Australians — Bill Shorten wants to take that choice away.”

Regarding Adani, the Prime Minister said the Government would be taking advice from scientists.

“We’re taking the advice from scientists like we have on all the approvals of both the state and commonwealth … we’re following the normal administrative process on that … I don’t think there is anything particularly unique about these remaining matters — they’re quite minor matters,” he said.

“In the scheme of the broader approvals that have already been provided, and like in all the other cases, we will be relying on the scientific evidence that is provided to the Government when making that decision.”

Mr Morrison made no confirmation of the election date and simply said it would be in May.



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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