Friday, June 21, 2019

The Plastic We 'Recycle' Is Actually Horrible for the Environment

You can't win

When you drop your plastic waste into the recycling bin, it most likely makes its way around the world, where it can pose a health and security risk to developing countries, according to a new Guardian report.

The planet is getting buried under plastic: beaches are littered with it, sea life is choking on it, and a new report finds that we're even drinking a credit-card-size amount of plastic every week from our drinking water. Needless to say, recycling is a good idea.

Until it's done wrong. That plastic bottle that you drop into a recycling bin on the streets of New York isn't always broken down and crafted into a brand-new product. Sometimes, it ends up across the world in someone's backyard, taking its place among scores of supermarket bags and snack pouches. [In Photos: The World's 10 Most Polluted Places]

The U.S. ships about 1 million tons of plastic waste overseas every year. Much of that plastic used to end up in China, where it was recycled — that is, until the country abruptly stopped most of the plastic waste imports in 2017. Now, a good part of U.S. plastic waste is shipped to the world's poorest countries for recycling, including Bangladesh, Laos, Ethiopia and Senegal, the Guardian reported.

Last year, about 68,000 shipping containers' worth of plastic recycling waste from the U.S. were shipped to developing countries, which mismanage over 70% of their own plastic waste, they wrote. For example, Malaysia dumps or improperly disposes 55% of its own plastic waste, yet it receives more U.S. recyclables than any other country, they wrote. What's more, an estimated 20% to 70% of plastic waste that goes to recycling facilities worldwide is unusable and discarded as trash, according to the report.

Beyond just having to live among the trash that litters their beaches and streets, the increasing number of plastic processing facilities that are popping up in these countries is posing health risks to citizens who live among contaminated water supplies and the smell of plastic fumes, they wrote.


Leftist Agenda and Climate Change Linked by Indoctrination Tactics

Joe Bastardi

Why is the same age group that helped to tear down the Iron Curtain now advocating for policies that would reduce freedoms?
As a meteorologist in the private sector, wherein success is largely determined by forecasting skill, I cannot afford to be wrong. I was taught that studying the past helps one predict the future. This is the origin of my involvement in the climate debate, since the “worst ever” bloviating we see today can easily be challenged through examination of the past.

My politics are simple. I believe one should have as much freedom as possible to enjoy life, liberty, and pursue happiness. In my opinion, the role of government is to establish standards to maximize these freedoms. I assume no one has anything against life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I also assume there is a large population of young people who are concerned about the future.

There is a striking difference between young people in this country today and the young people in the Eastern Bloc who actively worked to overthrow the communist chains that enslaved them in the 20th century. Young people 35 years ago yearned for the freedoms they saw in the West — the very ideals a growing movement in this country seeks to overturn. The US was a beacon of light to that generation, but now the same age group wishes to dim that very light.

Why do people now seek to push the West into a system in which government controls information? I believe it’s because of a lack of countering information that’s fair and balanced.

The issue at play is using climate as a means to an end. The crucial swing generation and those growing into it (the 6-19-year-olds of today) have only been exposed to a drumbeat meant to indoctrinate them. Indoctrination is a crucial aspect of totalitarian systems and comes about with a media working in tandem with a political agenda and an education system designed to feed one side of an issue. This is very similar to the same system that the young people in the Eastern Bloc worked so hard to get rid of, as many from those countries will tell you.

Check out this book that is being used in some elementary schools. In my opinion, it is pure indoctrination.

It was in part written by an author who wrote Do Fish Fart?

What do you say to an eight-year-old who comes home with this book?

If people knew and understood the power of the state in controlling information, they would be skeptical of what they are being told about changes in climate.

CO2 occupies 0.04 percent (.0004) of the atmosphere. Man’s contribution is ¼ that, or .0001 of the atmosphere.

The U.S. contributes 15% (.000015) to that .0001. Since this has occurred in the past 45 years, the yearly contribution from the U.S. is .00000033. The average state enacting Paris-accord-type agreements contributes .0000000066. This is all to save .01°C. But as Gina McCarthy said when questioned about that figure, that’s not the real value of the EPAs intention. Her exact quote from her 2015 Senate hearing (in which she did not know the percentage of CO2 in the air): “The value of this rule is not measured in [temperature reduction]. It is measured in strong domestic action, which can actually trigger global action to address what is a necessary action.”

The cost of such plans has been estimated at $93 trillion over 10 years by the American Action Forum. But do people who are buying into it know that? Do they know the physical properties of CO2 that limit its effects? Dr. Will Happer, who is chairing the president’s climate-change panel, certainly does, and it’s the reason for his stance on CO2 as a net benefit to the planet. It’s not a tipping-point prospect; instead, it’s a diminishing return, similar to putting extra coats of paint on a surface — because the bands it absorbs radiation in are essentially saturated already (it’s a very narrow window).

Besides, given the variation in both in the known history of the planet, can anyone tell you what the ideal planetary temperature is? Or the ideal CO2 level? The agenda means economic hardship for the U.S. I believe young people today are buying into this only because they are indoctrinated into a single way of thinking in the absence of opposing information.

When you hear only one point of view, there is plenty of reason to be skeptical, as people escaping from socialist societies will tell you.


Without Mining There Is No 'Green Revolution'
The recent threats by Beijing to cut off American access to critical mineral imports have many Americans wondering why our politicians have allowed the United States to become so overly dependent on China for these valued resources in the first place.

Today, the United States is 90% dependent on China and Russia for many vital “rare earth minerals.”

The main reason for our overreliance on nations such as China for these minerals is not that we are running out of these resources here at home. The National Mining Association estimates that we have at least $5 trillion of recoverable mineral resources.

The U.S. Geological Survey reports that we still have about 86% of key mineral resources such as copper and zinc remaining in the ground, waiting to be mined. These resources aren’t on environmentally sensitive lands, such as national parks, but on the millions of acres of federal, state and private lands.

The mining isn’t happening because of extremely prohibitive environmental rules and a permitting process that can take five to 10 years to open a new mine. Green groups simply resist almost all new drilling.

What they may not realize is that the de facto mining prohibitions jeopardize the “green energy revolution” that liberals so desperately are seeking.

How is this for rich irony: To make renewable energy at all technologically plausible will require massive increases in the supply of rare earth and critical minerals. Without these valuable metals, there will not be more efficient 21st-century batteries for electric cars or modern solar panels. Kiss the Green New Deal and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Bernie Sanders’ utopian vision of 100% renewable energy goodbye.

Yet, for decades now, environmentalists have erected every possible barrier to mining for critical minerals here in America — which we have in great abundance.

Search far and wide through the grandiose Green New Deal plans and you will not find any call for additional domestic mining for battery-operated electric vehicles and electrified mass transportation systems, nor the underlying energy infrastructure.

Thanks to the extreme environmentalists, we import from unfriendly and repressive governments the critical minerals needed to produce rechargeable batteries (lithium and cobalt), wind turbine motors (dysprosium), thin films for solar power (tellurium) and miniature sensors that manage the performance of electric vehicles (yttrium).

Another irony in the left’s anti-mining crusade is that these same groups have long boasted that by eliminating our need for fossil fuels, America won’t rely on cartels such as OPEC that have in the past held our nation hostage to wild price swings and embargoes. Greens also complain that fossil fuel dependence requires a multibillion-dollar military presence in the Middle East and around the world to ensure supply. Now we can substitute OPEC with China and Russia.

Here is one simple but telling example of the shortsightedness of the “no mining” position of the environmentalists. Current electric vehicles can use up to 10 times more copper than fossil fuel vehicles. Then, additional copper wire networks will be needed to attach convenient battery chargers throughout public spaces and along roads and highways. Do we really want this entire transportation infrastructure to be dependent on China and Russia?

Of course, it is not just green energy development that will be imperiled by our mining restrictions folly. Innovation and research on new lightweight metals and alloys — such as those used in life-saving medical devices and tiny cameras in smartphones — could also become stalled if foreign prices rise prohibitively.

Also, because our mining laws (the ones that don’t prohibit mining outright) protect the environment far more than those in places such as China and Africa, by importing these minerals, we are contributing to global environmental degradation.

So, there you have it. The “keep it in the ground” movement demanded by environmentalists against use of almost all of America’s bountiful energy and mineral resources is blocking a green future and a safer planet. Do they know this? Do they care?


Climate change won’t be reversed in our lifetimes

The priority for governments should be to mitigate adverse effects.

In recent years, the public’s awareness of climate change has been growing by the day. Increased media coverage and protests by groups like Extinction Rebellion have captured a great deal of attention and persuaded many of the need for action.

Greater public engagement on climate change is certainly a welcome development. But there are also a growing number of myths and misconceptions that have come to underpin much of the debate.

There seems to be a commonly held impression that if Western nations like Germany and Britain reduce their net CO2 emissions to zero, climate change can be tackled in a relatively short period of time. For instance, it is not uncommon to hear that weather-related disasters – whether it is tornados in the United States, floods in Britain or bushfires in Australia – could have been avoided if only we had been taking stronger action against climate change.

In reality, even if humanity accomplished the Herculean task of reducing net global emissions to zero, a lot of damage has already been done which would not be immediately reversed. According to NASA, it could still take centuries for climate change to slow down.

Moreover, when you take a deeper look into the global-emissions data, emissions are projected to continue rising for the foreseeable future, despite the Kyoto Protocol and the much-heralded 2016 Paris Climate Accords treaty. Various organisations, including the OECD and Climate Action Tracker, project that global emissions will continue on their uptrend well past 2050, as developing nations continue to industrialise and raise their standards of living.

The unfortunate truth is that even if Western nations meet their pledges to reduce their emissions in line with the Paris accord – or to net zero, as Britain has just pledged – it is highly unlikely that there will be any meaningful reversal of the current effects of climate change within most of our lifetimes.

None of this is to say that climate change should not be addressed. But the top priority for governments around the world should be climate-change mitigation. As global CO2 emissions are guaranteed to rise, regardless of any unilateral action Western countries might take, governments need to invest in research, development and infrastructure in order to prepare for the worst effects of this.

Action on climate change needs to be built on a sound foundation of scientific facts and empirical data about what is actually happening to CO2 levels and the planet, not on the myths that have sadly become commonplace in the climate-change debate.


Australia: Company warns of $1b wound from gas royalty hike by Queensland government

A major coal-seam gas operation predicts that the Queensland government’s shock move to lift royalties will cost it at least $1 billion more over the lifetime of a project.

The initial modelling from Arrow Energy, which is proposing a 27-year project, comes amid acrimonious debate about whether the gas sector should be paying more to Queenslanders.

Arrow is proposing a project based in the Surat Basin in southern Queensland that it estimates would employ 1000 people, churn out 5 trillion cubic feet of gas and require $10 billion in capital expenditure.

It is so symbolic that Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk described the project as a “vote of confidence in Queensland as a resources investment destination”.

While it was not threatening to cancel the work because of the rise, Arrow pointed out that its shareholders Shell and PetroChina were yet to make the final investment decision on going ahead.



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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