Thursday, July 04, 2019

The costs and benefits of a "clean" economy

The article excerpted below parades as a sober statistical analysis but is in fact just a religious tract.  It totals up all the costs of all the adverse events that are said to be due to global warming and accepts that cost figure without critcism or reservation. It thus shows that global warming would be very costly.

But that is all dependant on the global warming theory being right.  If none of the costly events are due to increased atmospheric CO2 then reducing CO2 will not reduce the costly events listed and the whole analysis collapses.  The whole screed is simply a confession of faith in the magic power of CO2

It is no more informative than:

I believe in God, the father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.


Business leaders, politicians and policymakers have spent years asking if we were to cut emissions, how much would it cost in lost income or Gross National Product (GDP) in Australia? How much worse off would we be?

If countries around the globe also cut emissions how badly would Australia’s exports of coal and natural gas suffer?

While once framed purely as an environmental issue, the Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia Guy Debelle noted earlier this year that the risks that climate change poses to the Australian economy are “ first order” and have knock-on implications for macroeconomic policy.

So using recent work by Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute (MSSI) at the University of Melbourne, we have compared the cost of damages from climate change, with the cost of reducing emissions from the recent Climate Council Report for economic damages under current or continued increases in emissions.

We know that climate change can have potentially disastrous effects, and the list is long; pollution, heat stress and its impact on human health, falls in agricultural productivity and permanent losses in biodiversity.

[Climate change could indeed have such effects but will it?  And would a reduction in atmospheric CO2 have any effect on it? We do not "know" any of that. We cannot make such assumptions.  They are prophecies, not facts]

As well as damage to environmental assets such as the Great Barrier Reef, sea level rise and resulting infrastructure damage, the increased likelihood of floods and bushfires, possible increased frequency and severity of tropical storms, and severe migration pressure from countries most affected by climate change are only part of the list.

But the relative costs of emissions reduction to avoid these damages, can be hard to measure in dollar terms, given our complex and uncertain future.

As a first step, we use a large dimensional global trade and climate model, an extension of other recent work, to determine the cost of meeting Australia’s minimum target of a 26 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030, compared to 2005.

We also assume that all other countries do reduce their emissions by more than double the current unconditional ‘Nationally Determined Contribution’ in the Paris Accord, or a 12 per cent reduction in emissions on average.

There are two major cost effects for Australia here; the cost of transition from fossil fuels to renewables, resulting in relative and variable price changes for energy, across all sectors, and the effect of falls in net exports of fossil fuels on national income.

For the 26 per cent target, we find only negligible effects on national income.

The total cost is only $A35.5 billion in the cumulative fall in GDP from now until 2030 in Australia – a measure much lower than previous other estimates, which range from more than $A82 billion to nearly $A300 billion, using the exact same target.


Blue Planet in Green Shackles. What Is Endangered: Climate or Freedom?

Future generations will wonder in bemused amazement that the early twenty-first century’s developed world went into hysterical panic over a globally averaged temperature increase of a few tenths of a degree, and, on the basis of gross exaggerations of highly uncertain computer projections, proceeded to contemplate a roll-back of the industrial age.

The advocates and promoters of the global warming hypotheses are mostly scientists who profit from their research, both financially and in the form of scientific recognition, and also politicians (and their fellow travelers in academia and in the media) who see it as a political issue attractive enough to build their careers on.

The current – so unfairly and irrationally led – debate about the environment and about global warming in particular is increasingly becoming a fundamentally ideological and political dispute.

The largest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy, and prosperity at the end of the 20th and at the beginning of the 21st century is no longer socialism or communism. It is, instead, the ambitious, arrogant, unscrupulous ideology of environmentalism. This ideological stream has recently become a dominant alternative to those ideologies that are consistently and primarily oriented toward freedom. It is a movement that intends to change the world radically regardless of the consequences (at the cost of human lives and severe restrictions on individual freedom). It intends to change humankind, human behavior, the structure of society, the system of values – simply everything.

Even through environmentalism boasts about its scientific basis, it is, in fact, essentially a metaphysical ideology that refuses to see the world, nature, and humankind as they really are. It has no regard for spontaneous evolution and takes the current state of the world and nature as an untouchable standard, any changes to which would be a fatal jeopardy.

The environmentalists’ attitude toward nature is analogous to the Marxist approach to economics. The aim in both cases is to replace the free, spontaneous evolution of the world (and humankind) by the would-be optimal, central, or – using today’s fashionable adjective – global planning of world development.

What is at stake is not environment. It is our freedom.


The Barrage of Bad News About Climate Change Is Triggering 'Eco-Anxiety,' Psychologists Say

When news about the environment becomes grim, you might be overcome by an urge to hide or collapse.

On last week's episode of HBO drama "Big Little Lies," 9-year-old Amabella did both. The character's metallic boots were found sticking out of a classroom closet following a lesson on climate change, and the internet collectively nodded in recognition.

It turns out that anxiety, grief and despair about the state of the environment is nothing new. It even has a name: eco-anxiety. And according to psychologists, it's incredibly common.

According to a Yale survey conducted in December 2018, 70% of Americans are "worried" about climate change, 29% are "very worried" and 51% feel "helpless." Despite these striking statistics, most people don't realize how widespread eco-anxiety is, one psychologist told Live Science.

"[Ecoanxiety] is often hidden somewhat under the surface," Thomas Doherty, a clinical psychologist based in Portland, Oregon, told Live Science, "people aren't taught how to talk about it."

Still, over the past decade, eco-anxiety has gained increasing recognition from scientists and non-scientists alike. It's not listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, psychology's list of official diagnoses. That's partially because its symptoms are poorly defined, said David Austern, a clinical psychologist at NYU Langone Health. The American Psychological Association defines it as "a chronic fear of environmental doom." Eco-anxiety can range from day-to-day worry about the fate of the world, to Amabella's outright panic attack. Depending on whom you ask, it can even include the fear and panic attacks some natural disaster victims experience after the fact, Austern said. Its symptoms are largely the same as any other kind of anxiety; its only distinguishing factor is its cause, Austern said.

But that doesn't mean that psychologists aren't taking eco-anxiety seriously. In 2008, the American Psychological Association established a climate change task force. And in 2017, they published a 70-page report on the mental-health effects of climate change. This year, at their annual conference in Chicago, there will be four climate change related sessions.

A term like eco-anxiety, though nebulous, is important to create recognition for a very real phenomenon, Austern said. It helps people express what they're experiencing.

Psychologists agree it's important to open up a dialogue about the mental health effects of climate change. But they also agree that in most cases, eco-anxiety isn't a bad thing.

"It's a rational reply to a really serious problem," Maria Ojala, a psychologist at Örebro University in Sweden, told Live Science. That, she says, is why it could be dangerous to make it a clinical diagnosis.

"We have to ask, Is it more pathological for someone to be so worried about climate change or is it actually more pathological that people are not more worried about it?" Austern said. Anxiety is precisely the emotion that'll propel us to do something, he added. Conveniently, taking action Is also one of the most effective coping mechanisms for eco-anxiety, Ojala said.

But anxiety is only good for sparking action up to a certain point, Doherty said. A tenet of psychology, the Yerkes-Dodson law, holds that up to a certain point, arousal — how alert or worried you feel — leads people take action and perform better. But overly high levels of anxiety can become paralyzing. For example, one study described cases in which fear of extreme weather approached the level of phobia. Depending on how anxious you are, that's either incredibly convenient, or presents a catch-22 situation.

In these cases, anxiety becomes counterproductive to climate action, Doherty said, And it's important to seek help. Luckily, if you're too anxious to take action, fostering a sense of connection with one's environment and community can also help with symptoms. A recent study found that 2 hours per week in nature is enough to reap mental health benefits.

Despite its prevalence, eco-anxiety still goes under-recognized. It shouldn't be, Doherty said. "This 'Big Little Lies' episode clearly struck a chord with people," Doherty said. And that's a sign, he added, of how important a conversation this is to have.


How Do AOC’s Climate Claims Fare in City She Represents?

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (commonly known as AOC) has emerged as the most high-visibility Democratic figure of 2018 following her radical policy recommendations to “fight” climate change.

Like everyone else, she is entitled to her opinion on the environment. But when she insists on implementing policies like the Green New Deal (GND)—with massive negative economic impact tenuously justified by hypothetical future environmental benefits—it is important that her claims be put to rigorous scrutiny.

As a climate scientist, I tried analyzing some of her assumptions and conclusions on climate change and found them wanting, especially in the very city she represents in Congress.

AOC serves as the U.S. Representative for New York's 14th congressional district, which includes parts of the iconic Bronx and Queens neighborhoods.

New York’s Central Park, sandwiched between Upper Eastside and Upper Westside, is not far from the district AOC represents. Does its climate history match the levels of dangerous warming she claims?

Since records began in 1869, there has been a gradual rise in temperatures. Central Park’s average annual temperature rose by slightly over 4C between 1869 and 2018, or about 0.27 per decade.

The increase in average annual temperatures can be attributed to two major reasons:

The natural increase in global temperature that has been happening since the end of the Little Ice Age (LIA) in the 18th century. This post-LIA warming is rarely mentioned in public discourses on climate change, but it is a scientifically established fact.

The Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect, a phenomenon by which increase in population density and construction in urban areas creates a localized increase in temperature.

In metropolitan areas with high population density, the UHI effect on temperature outweighs the trace minimal level of warming attributed to global CO2 emissions.

A testament to UHI influence on temperature levels can be understood by comparing them with the temperature trends from weather stations that do not have UHI effect.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration acknowledged that eliminating weather stations free from UHI effect from the record has created a false sense of warming as the ratio of UHI-influenced to UHI-free stations has risen.

However, the modern narrative adopted by the mainstream media and politicians like AOC neglects these critical drivers of temperature changes and focuses on the extremely insignificant levels of warming from anthropogenic CO2 emissions.

Tim Ball, a former professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Winnipeg, rightly identified this disparity when he commented on how the United Nations deliberately played down the influence of UHI in its directives to climate researchers.

“The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) deliberately limited climate science to focus on CO2 and temperature. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) directed them only to consider human causes of climate change. They used this to narrow the focus of all variables that create the climate and thus eliminate major variables that cause climate change,” said Ball.

He is right. UHI is one of the major variables the IPCC eliminated or neglected intentionally. New York was subject to rapid development in the 19th and 20th centuries, and there is no doubt that UHI has played a major role in increasing its temperature.

So AOC is wrong not just about the global climate catastrophe but also about the change in climate in the very city she represents. And that is sad, especially when her Green New Deal has gained so much support from other politicians.

Elected and future representatives need to take climate science seriously, assessing the matter objectively instead of adopting the popular media narrative.


Judge slashes Roundup payout

A US Judge says he'll reduce the $US80 million payout to a man who claims the weedkiller Roundup caused his cancer

US District Judge Vince Chhabria in San Francisco said the jury's $US75 million punitive damages award to plaintiff Edwin Hardeman in March could not stand.

"It's quite clear that under the Constitution I'm required to reduce the punitive damages award and it's just a question of how much," Chhabria said during a court hearing in which lawyers for both sides discussed the company's request to overturn the verdict.

Following a four-week trial, a federal jury on March 27 awarded $5 million in compensatory and $75 million in punitive damages to Hardeman, who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2014.

US Supreme Court rulings limit the ratio of punitive to compensatory damages to 9 to 1.

Chhabria said he was also considering reducing the compensatory damages award because Hardeman was now in full remission and unlikely to suffer as much as he had in the past.

Bayer, which bought Roundup maker Monsanto for $63 billion last year, says Roundup's active ingredient glyphosate is safe for human use and not carcinogenic.

The company faces lawsuits by more than 13,400 plaintiffs nationwide and a series of Roundup jury verdicts against Bayer have prompted its share price to plummet.

Bayer had asked Chhabria to reverse the jury verdict in Hardeman's case in light of scientific evidence and assessments by regulators finding glyphosate to be safe.

But Chhabria disagreed, saying jurors had seen sufficient evidence that Monsanto did not care whether its products cause cancer, instead focusing on undermining people who were raising concerns.



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


No comments: