Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Shutting down middle and blue-collar America

From Biden to Warren, Democrat president wannabes push job-killing pseudo-green policies

Paul Driessen

Vocal activists increasingly drive Democrat Party positions across the public policy spectrum. Print, television, social and click-bait media generally support them, while permitting little debate on liberal proposals or their potential ramifications. Even semi-moderate Joe Biden has been pressured into shifting or flipping his positions on abortion, energy, climate change and other issues, to satisfy far-left factions.

Their policy prescriptions often find ready acceptance in coastal, urban, academic, media and big government circles. But factory workers, blue collar families and Middle America better pay very close attention to how climate change scare stories and proposed Green New Deal programs will impact their energy costs and reliability, jobs, living standards, mobility and personal choices. Warning signs abound.

Reflecting heavy dependence on wind and solar power, German and British electricity prices are already three to four times higher than what the vast majority of American households currently pay – and rising. The exorbitant prices have largely shuttered the UK’s aluminum industry and what’s left of its steel industry. Combined with ever-tougher carbon dioxide emission limits, factory operating costs similarly “threaten the very existence” of Germany’s automobile industry, Volkswagen’s CEO laments.

Nearly 350,000 German families have had their electricity cut off because they cannot afford to pay their power bills. German families and businesses had to cope with 172,000 localized blackouts in 2017. The country has banned fracking (hydraulic fracturing) and imports US coal and Russian natural gas.

In Britain more than 3,000 elderly people die every year because they cannot heat their homes properly, exposing them to constant chilly temperatures that make them more likely to contract and succumb to respiratory or heart disease. The situation is likely to get even worse. In stark contrast, abundant natural gas supplies from the fracking revolution have driven prices down in the USA, saving some 11,000 American lives each winter, according to a recent National Bureau of Economic Research study.

Multiple widespread blackouts over a three-month period in South Australia were caused by the elimination of coal-fired power, 52% reliance on wind turbines, storms, grid instability, and an inability to predict weather conditions or peak power demand. In May 2019, they helped persuade Aussie voters to replace their climate-obsessed government with a conservative coalition that supports fossil fuels.

China, India and other overseas aluminum, steel and vehicle exporters to the EU and US face no climate-driven energy price or emission obstacles. The Paris Climate Agreement does not obligate them to reduce their fossil fuel use or emissions for decades to come, if ever. Indeed, China’s annual increase in “greenhouse gas” emissions is greater than Australia’s total annual nationwide emissions!

Asia’s total GHG emissions now dwarf the USA’s. So even total, painful, job-killing, economy-shackling elimination of US fossil fuels would do nothing to end the steady rise in atmospheric CO2 levels.

Unfortunately, these hard realities have had no effect on people or companies that expect to benefit politically or financially from legislated energy upheavals rooted in manmade climate change alarmism.

New Mexico recently joined California and Hawaii in mandating “renewable” electricity: 50% by 2030, 80% by 2040 and 100% by 2050. Despite the absence of any state mandate, the Northern Indiana Public Service Company wants to replace 1,850 megawatts of affordable 24/7 coal-based electricity with 1,650 MW of expensive, intermittent, weather-dependent wind and solar, plus 1,500 MW of backup batteries.

Modern factories, offices, hospitals, schools, households and cities cannot function or survive on starvation energy diets like these. Moreover, claims that wind, solar and battery technologies are clean, climate-friendly, renewable and sustainable are little more than useful fairy tales.

Wind and solar energy are certainly renewable and perpetual. However, the massive amounts of land and raw materials required to harness, store and utilize that energy certainly are not. And many rare earth elements, lithium, cadmium, cobalt and other high-tech metals are extracted and processed by Chinese companies under zero to minimal child labor, fair wage, worker safety and environmental standards.

But all this generally gets swept under the rug, while tsunamis of climate chaos scare stories terrorize children and even a lot of adults into believing human civilization, wildlife and even our planet face annihilation in less than twenty years, unless the world quickly rids itself of fossil fuels.

From Kamala Harris to Bernie Sanders, and now Joe Biden, every Democrat presidential candidate supports some version of the Green New Deal and would have us believe its authoritarian edicts and multi-trillion-dollar price tag are affordable and necessary.

Helping to drive this narrative is billionaire and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg – proud owner of twelve houses, a private jet and helicopter, and a fleet of pricey cars. He intends to give the Sierra Club and other activist groups $500 million to conduct new campaigns to eradicate coal power and block construction of natural gas-fired generators that would otherwise replace coal-fired plants.

In fact, no sooner is one example of climate nonsense debunked, than another dozen take its place.

After decades of frightening visitors with tall tales that Glacier National Park glaciers would all melt away by 2020 or soon thereafter, park rangers are finally acknowledging that the Grinnell, Jackson and other glaciers have actually been growing since 2010. They are now (quietly) removing signs, videos and brochures that featured the (Al) Gorey claims about catastrophic (Michael) Mann-made global warming.

Even the Washington Post has acknowledged that the number of violent (F4-5) tornadoes has declined 40% between the 1950-1984 period and 1985-2018 interval – with not one violent tornado recorded in the USA in 2018, for the first time in history. The United States also enjoyed a record 12-year absence of Category 3-5 hurricanes making landfall, between Wilma in 2005 and Harvey in 2017. Overall, actual evidence shows no upward trend in extreme weather, floods, droughts or sea level rise.

So now we’re being told plant and animal species are disappearing 100 times faster than historic rates, because of manmade climate change – and a million or more are at risk of extinction … out of some eight million that a new UN report claims exist on Earth. There are serious problems with this latest hysteria.

Scientists have actually identified and named only 1.8 million plant and animal species. The other 6.2 million “have no names, have never been identified,” and exist only as bits and bytes in computer models and fear-mongering reports and news stories, forestry ecologist and Greenpeace cofounder Dr. Patrick Moore observed during recent testimony before the House Water, Oceans and Wildlife Subcommittee.

Only 800 or so species have gone extinct in the last five centuries, Dr. Moore added – and most of them were victims of cats, rats, foxes and other invasive species introduced by European colonizers, or on small islands where native species had no defenses and could not escape.

Assuming this pattern will be repeated on a global scale, across entire continents, because of climate change, for a mythical 8 million species ... and plugging those assumptions into computer programs ... isn’t science. It’s garbage – designed and intended to justify eliminating the fossil fuels that provide over 80% of the energy that the United States and world use to produce food, jobs, health and prosperity.

We’re also supposed to swallow pseudo-scientific claims that “surging levels” of plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide are creating dangerous hybrid puffer fish, making salmon unable to detect danger, making sharks right-handed and unable to hunt, making Arctic plants “too tall,” making coffee growing impossible in many countries, causing pigs to get skinnier, turning Earth into a super-heated Venus, causing the demise of tropical birds, and many other fearsome stories of White Walkers and Days after Tomorrow.

Sadly, all too many people soak up this nonsense like sponges. (Unkind comedians might suggest they have the brain cells of a sponge.) But to have these tales ... and the voters and politicians who believe and propagate them ... drive our energy and economic policies would be the cruelest joke of all.

Via email

Place blame for recent tornadoes where It belongs

Tragically, there is nothing unique about the number or severity of more than 55 devastating tornadoes that tore through the outskirts of Kansas City, swept through Indiana and Ohio, and stretched eastward from Idaho and Colorado across eight states late last month.

Nor, unfortunately, is there anything unique regarding all-too-alluring temptations for some politicos to blame such events on “climate change,” a term that has come to replace “global warming” in name only.

Flash back to Al Gore lamenting during a June 2013 Rhode Island energy and environment conference following a destructive Moore, Oklahoma twister that scientists “won’t let us yet” link tornadoes to climate change. Gore claimed that shoddy historical statistics resulted in failures to connect “these record-breaking tornadoes and the climate crisis.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., wasted no time attributing this latest raft of tornadoes to climate change after a hazard warning was issued for Washington, D.C. The New York Democrat immediately released an Instagram video. “The climate crisis is real y’all,” she said. “Guess we’re at casual tornadoes in growing regions of the country?”

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez added, “Other regions deal with wildfires, tornadoes, droughts, etc. But ALL of these threats will be increasing in intensity as climate crisis grows and we fail to act appropriately.”

Democratic 2020 presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., blamed climate change for two tornadoes that hit eastern Alabama. Sanders posted a May 28 statement on his Senate Facebook account. Sanders wrote:

“This is insane: As Oklahoma and Arkansas face catastrophic flooding, and Ohio and Indiana reel from tornados, Trump is trying to undermine the very science that proves climate change is real. We need policy based on facts, not rightwing ideology.”

So okay. Let’s review some real scientific facts.

For starters, the 2019 tornado season wasn’t a result of unusually warm spring temperatures, but rather, just the opposite conditions.

As explained by meteorologist Dr. Roy Spencer at the University of Alabama, tornado conditions exist only when cool and warm air masses collide. Writing in Fox News, he notes that the perfect conditions for this existed this year after winter has refused to lose its grip on the western United States.

May temperatures across the nation were close to 2 degrees Fahrenheit below normal. In addition, atypical snow conditions extended from Northern Michigan through Colorado to the Sierra of California into late May. Together, these circumstances produced a persistently lingering cold air mass.

Tornadoes occur when severe thunderstorms known as supercells create spiraling updrafts causing strong wind shear at the boundaries between colliding warm and cold air masses. The warm air rotates upwards at increasing speeds until it punches through the colder air layer.

However, thunderstorms rarely produce tornadoes, and lacking cold air protagonists, they are virtually unknown altogether in hot and humid tropical regions.

Every year, springtime thunderstorms in Central and Southeast U.S. have plenty of warm, moist air to draw on from the Gulf of Mexico. This year, a large field of cold air hung around longer than usual.

Roy Spencer notes that a very slow U.S. warming trend in recent decades has been accompanied by fewer of these cold springtime air masses over the West. According to National Weather Service statistics, the long-term trend of strong (EF3) to violent (EF5) tornadoes has been decidedly downward, with 2018 experiencing record low activity.

This year’s spike in tornadoes is made far more dramatic in comparison with 2018 which was the first year recorded without a single violent tornado since record-keeping first began during the late 1800s.

Last year also experienced near-lows in terms of overall tornado damage.

The only better ones were 2017, 2016, and 2015.

Although NOAA reported a slow decline in tornado frequencies between 1954 and 2012, the actual annual numbers — those of weaker ones in particular — are uncertain prior to the advent of radar-detection technology.

Nevertheless, Patrick Marsh, a Storm Prediction Center meteorologist, reported that outbreaks of 50 or more tornadoes really aren’t uncommon, having happened 63 times in U.S. history. There are even three instances of more than 100 twisters in single years.

Roy Spencer reminds us once again not to conflate three decade or- longer climate cycles with seasonal weather which naturally varies from year to year. He writes, “The alarmist claims of AOC, Gore, and Sanders are not just speculative; they are opposed by our observations and by meteorological theory.”

As for that all too ever popular Trump-blaming mantra, perhaps he instead deserves some credit for making America’s very recent climate great again. According to the U.S. Natural Hazard statistics, last year also witnessed a below 30-year average in deaths caused not only by tornadoes, but also from hurricanes, flooding and summer overheating.

On the other hand, don’t count on the president getting cut any cool-headed climate slack either way. Staunch critics will probably still complain that the U.S. experienced a rise in deaths due to extra cold and long winter weather.


Climate security confusion abounds

The news media has been reporting what looks like a conflict within the Trump Administration, over the national security implications of climate change. Supposedly the conflict is between military and intelligence reports describing serious security implications and the Administrations position that climate change is not a serious threat.

There may in fact be no conflict. Here is how I see it. Hypothetical security vulnerability is the big confusion!

The military has a practice called “vulnerability analysis” in which a facility, region or system is assessed via a hypothetical thought experiment. The hypothesis can be extreme and often is. I have done a few that were completely unrealistic, but these analyses can still be useful.

These climate alarmist military and intelligence reports are just this sort of vulnerability analysis. They are all of this logical form:

“Suppose an extreme case of climate change happens, what adverse security effects might it cause?”

Approached in this way it is no surprise that many facilities, regions and systems are classified as vulnerable to some form of hypothetical extreme climate change or other (there being so many).

There are certainly regions that would be hard hit by extreme droughts, naval bases unprepared for fantastic sea level rise, airfields that would be damaged by catastrophic floods, etc. in the endless list of hypothetical extreme climate change impacts it might be hard to find one that had no security implications.

The point is that these hypothetical vulnerability analyses are in no sense realistic threat assessments. Not if these myriad extreme climate changes are not going to occur, and there is no reason to think that they will.

This is the Trump Administration’s position. Actionable national security threat assessments are based on what is actually happening or very likely to happen. They are never based on speculation, worst case scenarios, etc.

That these are not threat assessments calling for actual action needs to be made clear. As extreme hypothesis vulnerability analyses they might be okay.

The difference between a real threat assessment and a hypothetical vulnerability assessment is a huge confusion. (Confusion is my field.)

Note that we have pretty much the same deep confusion with the National Climate Assessment. The authors were specifically instructed to look at worst case scenarios, which are not a basis for action. Unfortunately these hypothetical scenarios were reported as real predictions, in part because some people actually believe them.

In the case of the IPCC’s October 2018 report that has generated the “climate crisis” or “climate emergency” scare, the confusion is different. The Paris Accord has targets that range from 2 degrees C of warming down to 1.5 degrees. The IPCC was tasked with saying what that difference looked like as far as the computer models were concerned.

Predictably the IPCC reported that there would be more damage with 2 degrees than with 1.5 degrees. But the differences were relatively small, certainly not catastrophic, which is why 2 degrees is still the target. They also said that hitting the 1.5 degree target would be very difficult.

In the “climate crisis” scare these small differences have morphed into 1.5 degrees of warming being the threshold to catastrophe. There is no basis for this whatever in the IPCC report, but the political stampede is on, led by the Green New Deal.

In short, climate change policy is a sea of confusion, especially with regard to national security.


Saving elk with coal mine reclamation

Contrary to what radical environmentalists would have you believe, rural property owners care deeply about the environment.

They’ve lived on their property oftentimes for generations. They see more wildlife in a year than many city dwellers may see in an entire lifetime.

Thus it’s sad to see when leftists, the vast majority urbanites, impugn their character as being callous toward the environment.

In episode 2 of CFACT’s “Conservation Nation” YouTube series, host Gabriella Hoffman interviews Leon Boyd and his volunteers who have been working to make reclaimed coal fields in Virginia suitable habitat for growing numbers of elk.

Private landowners have leased land to create habitat, while local volunteers and visitors from far and wide come to lend a helping hand with their efforts. Even the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy has pitched in, allowing for these formerly-mined lands to be used for conservation purposes.

The program has been so successful that from 2014 to 2019, the elk herd has actually grown from 71 elk to now around 200. A stunning free-market success story, thanks to Leon’s and his volunteers’ work with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

In the video, Leon Boyd explains how the region has been working hard to recover from Obama’s disastrous “war on coal” – an ill-conceived political effort that hammered many hard working folks.

Notes Leon, “Southwest Virginia has thrived on coal for so many years and depended on coal, and with the last few years with the coal and the gas industry being on a downturn and a lot of jobs lost from our area and people leaving, by having the elk and the deer in places that we’re trying to put together, we see a lot folks travel here now to spend the weekend and either ride the trails or birdwatch or just wildlife enthusiasts out here seeing whatever may be on the properties.”

The mantra of the green agenda for America’s forests and wilderness is “don’t touch!” But history tells us that environmental solutions are best fostered when humans are empowered with market incentives and strong protections of their property rights — not when they are prohibited from having any interaction with the natural world whatsoever.


Skeptical Australian Radio commentator slammed over climate change remarks on TV science panel

That weed Karoly has been a Warmist from wayback.  He is far from an unbiased scientist.  Note that all he points to is raised levels of CO2.  But nobody disputes that.  What about the global temperature? Is that rising? Crickets. (It's falling). Typical Greenie deviousness

His argument that Australia is contributing more than its "fair share" of global warming is also  faulty.  What he is referring to is again CO2 emissions. And skeptics see CO2 as being primarily plant food  -- which it undoubtedly is -- and not as any significant influence on global temperature.  There have been long periods when CO2 has shot up while temperatuers remained stable -- the 30 relatively recent years of 1945 to 1975, for instance. Karoly has his head in an unmentionable place

Alan Jones copped an absolute roasting on tonight’s episode of Q&A — despite not even being on the panel.

The radio shock jock was slammed by a panel of science experts for downplaying human impact on climate change, after he said we only contribute three per cent to greenhouse gas emissions during his own Q&A appearance last month.

“I saw the radio commentator Alan Jones on TV recently, and he said that 0.04 per cent of the world’s atmosphere is CO2,” the questioner said. “‘Three per cent of that human beings create around the world, and of that, 1.3 per cent is created by Australians’. Is that correct, and if so, is human activity really making a difference?”

Professor David Karoly, an Australian atmospheric scientist based at CSIRO, bluntly responded: “Not everything Jones says is factually accurate.”

Prof Karoly said that, while it’s correct that 0.04 per cent of the world’s atmosphere is carbon dioxide, Jones’ statistics around humans causing climate change — and the role Australians specifically play — is completely false.

“I am a climate scientist, and Alan Jones is wrong. The reason he’s wrong is because we know that yes, the greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere is 400 parts per million … and that corresponds to about 0.04 per cent.

“All his other numbers were wrong. We know that carbon dioxide concentration 100 years ago was about 280 parts per million, or 0.028 per cent, but it’s grown 120 parts per million — or about 40 per cent — and that 40 per cent increase is due to human activity. We know that for absolute certain.” [Real scientists never know anything for absolute certain]

In other words, Prof Karoly was saying we’ve technically increased greenhouse gases by 40 per cent, not the three per cent figure Jones used.

The scientist also slammed the radio host for implying that Australians contribute a negligible amount to global warming.

“Australians have contributed about 1.5 per cent. Now that sounds like a small amount, but Australia only makes up 0.3 per cent of the population, and we’re contributing 1.5 per cent roughly of greenhouse gases,” said Prof Karoly. “So is it fair that 0.3 per cent of the global population has contributed 1.5 per cent? We’ve contributed much more than our fair share.”

Particle physicist Brian Cox said people think the climate is overly “simple”, which is a big part of the problem. “But actually, the climate is extremely complicated. These models are very, very complicated and constantly evolving.

“I think many people assume you can just work out what the climate’s going to do, like it’s common sense. But it’s actually a very complex system.” [Too complex to support any firm prediction, in fact]



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.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


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