Monday, May 20, 2019

Does what I eat have an effect on climate change?

The article below from the NYT is too silly for me to reproduce all of it.  It is a sort of hymn for the global warming religion.  You have to believe in "planet-warming greenhouse gases" to take any notice of it.

But note also below that the do-gooders never miss a chance to condemn "red meat and dairy".  That evil red meat will both ruin your health and destroy the planet.  There's actually nothing bad that red meat will not do. It's a sort of new Puritanism being preached below.  And, like the original Puritanism, its main aim is to stop pleasure and enforce suffering

Yes. The world’s food system is responsible for about one-quarter of the planet-warming greenhouse gases that humans generate each year. That includes raising and harvesting all the plants, animals and animal products we eat — beef, chicken, fish, milk, lentils, kale, corn and more — as well as processing, packaging and shipping food to markets all over the world. If you eat food, you’re part of this system.


Lots of ways. Here are four of the biggest: When forests are cleared to make room for farms and livestock — this happens on a daily basis in some parts of the world — large stores of carbon are released into the atmosphere, which heats up the planet.

When cows, sheep and goats digest their food, they burp up methane, another potent greenhouse gas contributing to climate change. Animal manure and rice paddies are also big methane sources. Finally, fossil fuels are used to operate farm machinery, make fertilizer and ship food around the globe, all of which generate emissions.


Meat and dairy, particularly from cows, have an outsize impact, with livestock accounting for around 14.5 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases each year. That’s roughly the same amount as the emissions from all the cars, trucks, airplanes and ships combined.

A major study published last year in the journal Science calculated the average greenhouse gas emissions associated with different foods: In general, beef and lamb have the biggest climate footprint per gram of protein, while plant-based foods tend to have the smallest impact. Pork and chicken are somewhere in the middle.

Now, these are only averages. Beef raised in the United States generally produces fewer emissions than beef raised in Brazil or Argentina. Certain cheeses can have a larger greenhouse gas impact than a lamb chop. And some experts think these numbers may actually underestimate the impact of deforestation associated with farming and ranching.

But most studies agree with this general hierarchy: Plant-based foods usually have a lower impact than meat, and beef and lamb tend to be the worst offenders by a considerable margin.


Consuming less red meat and dairy will typically have the biggest impact for most people in wealthy countries. That doesn’t necessarily mean going vegan. You might just eat less of the foods with the biggest climate footprints, like beef, lamb and cheese. If you’re looking for substitutes, pork, chicken, eggs and mollusks have a smaller footprint. But plant-based foods like beans, pulses, grains and soy tend to be the most climate-friendly options of all.


It varies from person to person. But a number of studies have concluded that people who eat a meat-heavy diet — including much of the population of the United States and Europe — could shrink their food-related footprint by one-third or more by moving to a vegetarian diet. Giving up dairy would reduce those emissions even further.

If you don’t want to go that far, there are still ways to shrink your individual footprint. Just eating less meat and dairy, and more plants, can reduce emissions. Cutting back on red meat in particular can make a surprisingly large difference: According to a World Resources Institute analysis, if the average American replaced a third of the beef he or she eats with pork, poultry or legumes, his or her food-related emissions would still fall by around 13 percent.

Keep in mind that food consumption is often only a small fraction of a person’s total carbon footprint: There’s also driving, flying and home energy use to consider. But dietary changes are often one of the quickest ways for many people to lighten their impact on the planet.


Joe Biden's Heresy
The left is starting to take aim at Democratic front-runner Joe Biden. At a conference this week, liberal activists repeatedly booed when told that Biden wanted to find “middle ground” on climate policy. When an audience member shouted “No middle ground!” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., replied, “No middle ground is right!” and declared “I will be damned if the same politicians who refused to act come back today and say we need a middle-of-the-road approach to save our lives.” Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., joined in her criticism, “There is no ‘middle ground’ when it comes to climate policy.”

The left’s issues with the former vice president go far beyond his position on climate policy. To the neo-socialists now driving the debate in the Democratic primary campaign, Biden’s entire approach to politics — reaching across the aisle and forging compromise built on consensus — is anathema.

Biden’s supposed heresy is that he believes in working with Republicans. He says on the stump that Trump is an “aberration” and predicts that if the president is defeated, Republicans will work toward bipartisan reform, which Biden insists is the only way to get anything worthwhile done. “This nation cannot function without generating consensus,” he said in New Hampshire this week.

Well, generating consensus is not what the left wants. It is not simply opposed to Trump. Many liberals believe, as Ocasio-Cortez has put it, that “capitalism is irredeemable.” So for many Democrats, the Obama-Biden approach to governing is now considered too moderate. On climate, they don’t want the government to simply invest in green energy, like President Barack Obama did. They want to spend tens of trillions of dollars to replace every vehicle that uses a combustion engine, bring high-speed rail to every corner of the country, upgrade or replace every building in the United States and eliminate all fossil-fuel energy.

On health care, they no longer make a pretense of promising voters that they can keep their health plans, like Obama did. They openly advocate abolishing private insurance altogether. Biden’s support for a “public option” that would give Americans a choice of buying into a Medicare-like health plan is seen on the left as capitulation. There will be no choices in the brave new world of democratic socialism. We will have government-run health care for all, whether we want it or not.

Of course, Biden is no moderate. He is an old-fashioned, liberal Democrat. But to the Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez wing of the party, that makes him too far to the right — and too willing to compromise with the far right. I saw Biden’s willingness to do so up close when I worked on the staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during the 1990s. As the ranking Democrat, Biden prided himself on his ability to compromise with committee chairman Jesse Helms, R-N.C., arguably the most uncompromising conservative in the Senate. Together, they passed legislation — the so-called Helms-Biden Act — to reform the United Nations and cut deals to restructure the State Department. “As chairman and ranking member, we passed some of the most significant legislation passed in the last 40 years,” Biden explained during a 2015 speech. He continues to tout his relationship with Helms (who died more than a decade ago) on the stump as an example of how he can work with die-hard conservatives to get things done.

Is this what Democratic primary voters want? Biden’s lead in the national polls suggests it may be. But it is early. After all, at this time in 2015, Scott Walker, the Wisconsin governor at the time, appeared to be the front-runner for the Republican nomination and no one was taking Donald Trump seriously. Biden may be ahead for now, but all the energy inside the Democratic Party seems to be with the uncompromising left. It sees Biden standing in the way of its takeover of the Democratic Party. So as his lead in the polls expands, their efforts to stop him — and his heretical calls for compromise — will escalate.

“We have to unify this country,” Biden said at a speech in Iowa earlier this month. “The other side is not my enemy, it’s my opposition.” How sad that has become a controversial statement.


JEREMY CLARKSON thinks the Greenies don't realize the pleasure that powerful cars can give

As I write, hundreds of men and women with unnecessary hair are blocking up London by staging Kumbaya singalongs and holistic wellness seminars at key intersections. It’s hard to understand what they want, exactly, as their keynote speaker is a girl of about eight who probably still believes in unicorns. But I think it has something to do with climate change and being bored.

Presumably they would very much enjoy the life I’ve been leading for the past couple of months. I lived on an island off the coast of Vietnam where there were no hire cars. So I used a bicycle, and each day would pedal through a jungle, in the sunshine, to the fabulous market where I would buy fresh fish and unusual vegetables.

I’m back in London now and it’s all a huge shock. First of all, you can hear birds singing, which, thanks to the constant horn-blowing, you cannot in Vietnam. And second, instead of a bicycle, I have been getting around in an Audi R8 Performance – the fastest road car to wear those four rings.

There have been beefed-up and hunkered-down versions of the R8 before, and it’s hard to see why the Performance is faster or better. It produces only a little more power than the old Plus. And yet it’s quicker from 0-200km/h than a Porsche 911 Turbo S. With a top speed of 330km/h, it’s faster flat out than a light aircraft.

But it’s not the speed that really matters in this car. It’s the feel of the thing. And that comes from the fact that it uses a V10 engine. Almost all cars these days are turbocharged, and that’s fine. Turbos produce the power and the torque while keeping the polar bears happy. However, comparing a turbocharged engine to a normally aspirated V10 is like comparing a piano to the organ in St Paul’s Cathedral. When you put your foot down in a V10-powered R8, and the double-clutch gearbox works its magic as you rocket down the road in a blizzard of G and thunder, it’s hard not to think, “This is what a supercar is meant to be like”.

I’ll be honest with you. After two months of driving nothing but a bicycle, and with news of those eco-halfwits filling the traffic reports, I did think for the first day or two that cars of this type were a bit stupid and unnecessary. It was hard to watch Sir Attenborough in that new Netflix series, gently castigating us all for messing up his film set, and then go to work in a car that sounds like a volcano.

After a few days, though, normal service was resumed. I began to realise a V10 is better than a bicycle and having fun at 280km/h is more important than having angst about plankton. I began to appreciate the engineering, too. This is a massively powerful car and it makes do with a gearbox that has only seven speeds. Which made me question why my gap-year bicycle needed 21.

And then there was the Audi’s ability to settle down when driving round town. It would glide over speed bumps without scuffing its nose, and would jiggle and wiggle over potholes without transmitting news of the shoddy workmanship to the seat of my pants.

There were one or two irritants, though. They probably thought they were being ever so clever moving the screen from the centre of the dash to the instrument binnacle. But when you turn the wheel to back into a parking space, you can’t see the reversing camera. And the bonnet catch was so stiff you had to take a running jump at the bonnet to get it to close properly. Oh, and an awful lot of stuff is an optional extra – the diamond stitching in the roof lining, for example, costs £2500 ($4700). And how small does your penis have to be before you think, “Yes. I need that in my life”?

The car itself is quite good value. I know this is not a view that would go down well at the holistic wellness seminar, but it is, actually. For a truly fast, viscerally exciting, all-wheel-drive, mid-engined supercar that you really could use every day. There’s just one problem. The whole point of a supercar is that you don’t use it every day. It’s meant to be special. Something you take out only at weekends. So, while I admire the Audi and I liked driving it, I’d always spend a bit more and go for its virtually identical twin sister – the even more viscerally exciting Lamborghini Huracan. Because if you’re going to buy a car that annoys Sir Attenborough, you may as well get one that really annoys him.


Congress Should Let Electric Vehicle Subsidies Die

With the $7,500 tax credit for electric car buyers already in the phase out period for the two biggest manufacturers – Tesla and GM – it's no surprise that many Democrats in Congress are clamoring to lift the cap and keep the subsidies flowing. Unfortunately, several Republicans are joining the effort, creating unfortunate bipartisan support for a piecemeal version of the crackpot Green New Deal they have been rightly mocking and ridiculing.

The so-called Drive America Forward Act would triple the existing cap on subsidies of 200,000 per manufacturer – massively expanding a program that was always supposed to be temporary and was originally premised on the national security rationale that it would lessen dependence on foreign oil – a now comically anachronistic concern when the United States has become a leading oil exporter.

Moreover, while the Green New Deal is a socialist income leveling exercise in the guise of environmental policy, electric vehicle subsidies use environmental delusion as a cover for a wealth transfer from poor and middle income Americans to the rich who buy electric hobby cars as their third or fourth vehicle.  Voters agree – with a recent poll showing 67 percent do not think their tax dollars should help pay for electric vehicle subsidies.

The Pacific Research Institute looked at IRS data and found that more than half of the electric car buyers claiming the credit make more than $200,000 per year and nearly 80 percent make more than $100,000. Just one percent make $50,000 or less.

There is also a geographic dimension to the wealth redistribution.  The most recent industry data shows that nearly half of all electric vehicles sold in the United States are sold in California, which has its own lavish subsidies at the state level.

A September 2018 NERA Economic Consulting study looked at the economic impact of eliminating the cap and found that the costs outweigh the benefits.  The study finds total household income falling as a consequence of lifting the cap by $7 billion in 2020 and $12 billion in 2035, which is about $50 to $70 per household in lost income every year.

That's a cost of over $50 every year to middle-income Americans to pay for subsidies for rich people in California.

Orrin Hatch, the original sponsor of the bill, explained the logic behind the cap in 2007:

"I want to emphasize that like the tax credits available under current law for hybrid electric vehicles, the tax incentives in the FREEDOM Act are temporary. They are needed in order to help these products over the initial stage of production, when they are quite a bit more expensive than older technology vehicles, to the mass production stage, where economies of scale will drive costs down and the credits will no longer be necessary."

At the time, big subsidies for electric vehicles were justified based on the theory that they were needed to lessen American dependence on foreign oil.  A decade later, America is the largest oil and gas producer in the world and electric vehicles are a mature enough technology that they should be left to succeed or fail on the preference of consumers, not politicians.

Ironically, it is now electric vehicles that are vulnerable to strategic supply disruptions because they require rare earth minerals for their motors and batteries –the production of which is overwhelmingly controlled by China.  Such resources also present moral issues, with the cobalt used for batteries sourced in part from Congo mines worked by children in hazardous conditions.

Meanwhile, gasoline vehicles have become vastly more environmentally friendly and fuel efficient.  In fact, a study last year from the Manhattan Institute found that widespread deployment of electric vehicles would only reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1 percent – and would increase emissions of SO2, NOx, and particulate matter.

The bottom line: efforts to raise the cap are a cash grab that will force taxpayers to subsidize wealthy Californians for no presently valid reason.  Congress should let the subsidy phase out as scheduled.


Australian academic quits in disgust over university sacking of Peter Ridd, a critic of their Greenie policies

A James Cook University associate professor has resigned from her honorary position over the sacking of professor Peter Ridd, who was dismissed after he criticised the institution’s climate change science.

Sheilagh Cronin ­resigned from the unpaid role at the Townsville university in protest and said she was “ashamed” that she had not done so earlier.

A marine physicist who had worked at the university for 30 years, Professor Ridd was censured three times before being sacked last year. He challenged the dismissal in the Federal Court and on April 16 judge Salvatore Vasta found all 17 findings used by the university to justify the sacking were unlawful.

Dr Cronin, an adjunct associate professor with the university’s Mount Isa Centre of Rural and Remote Health and a former president of the Rural Doctors Association of Australia, sent a letter to vice-chancellor Sandra Harding last week outlining her reasons for resigning.

“I am coming to the end of my professional career but my main reason for resigning is my disquiet over the dismissal of the respected physics professor … Peter Ridd,” Dr Cronin wrote. “I believe his treatment by yourself and your board is completely contrary to the philosophy of open discussion and debate that should be at the heart of every university. It saddens me that the reputation of JCU is being damaged by the injustice of Professor Ridd’s case.”

JCU denounced the Federal Court’s decision and stood by its disciplinary processes, but has yet to decide if it will appeal. The university has since declined to comment on the case.

In 2016, Professor Ridd was censured after he emailed a journalist to allege that images of unhealthy coral given to the media by university colleagues were misleading and the photographs were being used to “spin a story” about the impact of climate change. He was censured again in 2017 when he repeated the claims on Sky News and said there was a lack of rigorous quality assurance in terms of the university’s climate change science.

After a third alleged violation of the code of conduct, including allegedly leaking confidential information about the disciplinary process, Professor Ridd was sacked in April last year.

“At the time, it made me feel quite uneasy that they’d sacked someone for questioning the methodology of the research into the Great Barrier Reef,” Dr Cronin said. “But nobody from JCU did anything to support him.”

Dr Cronin, who has never met or spoken to Professor Ridd, said she did not believe the university would take much notice of her resignation, given her association with the university was mostly a title.

“It’s a small protest in support of science and fairness and justice,” she said. “It does make me feel a bit sad because it was an honour to get that (title). “But, equally, people should stand up when they see something like that.”



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