Thursday, November 14, 2019

EPA wants research data to be readily available

The screech from the NYT below relies, as usual, on a distortion.  

Much of the "science" used by the EPA has in the past been secret.  The conclusions are announced but not the raw data used to arrive at the conclusion. That is a breach of scientific ethics but Greenies don't care about that.  Often, other scientists have doubted the conclusions and asked for a copy of the raw data so that they can do their own analyses.  The EPA has refused, a practice that throws their findings into doubt. 

The new Trump rules aim to stop the rot.  Unless the data is made available to other scientists, the conclusions will be ignored.

The NYT rubbish below pretends that the new rules will cause scientists to breach confidentiality. It will not.  The raw data can be and normally is anonymized.  All that is required is a set of numbers

The Trump administration is preparing to significantly limit the scientific and medical research that the government can use to determine public health regulations, overriding protests from scientists and physicians who say the new rule would undermine the scientific underpinnings of government policymaking.

A new draft of the Environmental Protection Agency proposal, titled Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science, would require that scientists disclose all of their raw data, including confidential medical records, before the agency could consider an academic study’s conclusions. E.P.A. officials called the plan a step toward transparency and said the disclosure of raw data would allow conclusions to be verified independently.

“We are committed to the highest quality science,” Andrew Wheeler, the E.P.A. administrator, told a congressional committee in September. “Good science is science that can be replicated and independently validated, science that can hold up to scrutiny. That is why we’re moving forward to ensure that the science supporting agency decisions is transparent and available for evaluation by the public and stakeholders.”

The measure would make it more difficult to enact new clean air and water rules because many studies detailing the links between pollution and disease rely on personal health information gathered under confidentiality agreements. And, unlike a version of the proposal that surfaced in early 2018, this one could apply retroactively to public health regulations already in place.

“This means the E.P.A. can justify rolling back rules or failing to update rules based on the best information to protect public health and the environment, which means more dirty air and more premature deaths,” said Paul Billings, senior vice president for advocacy at the American Lung Association.

Public health experts warned that studies that have been used for decades — to show, for example, that mercury from power plants impairs brain development, or that lead in paint dust is tied to behavioral disorders in children — might be inadmissible when existing regulations come up for renewal.

For instance, a groundbreaking 1993 Harvard University project that definitively linked polluted air to premature deaths, currently the foundation of the nation’s airquality laws, could become inadmissible. When gathering data for their research, known as the Six Cities study, scientists signed confidentiality agreements to track the private medical and occupational histories of more than 22,000 people in six cities. They combined that personal data with home air-quality data to study the link between chronic exposure to air pollution and mortality.


AOC Suggests We Need to Fight 'White Supremacy' to Combat Climate Change

"White supremacists"are the mythical boogeymen for the Left

On Saturday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) claimed that fighting "white supremacy" is a fundamental part of combatting climate change. She also attacked "consultants" who would encourage climate activists to focus on solar panels more than social justice.

"The way we inoculate ourselves from continuing to burn up our planet at unsustainable level, triggering feedback loops that we have not even begun to comprehend, is by honoring indigenous wisdom and allowing it to guide our climate policy. The way that we preserve our systems is by transitioning to principles of universality. That means I want you clothed, I want you educated, I want you paid a living wage, no ifs ands or buts. And what that also means — and what Naomi talked about as well — is directly, consciously, combatting white supremacy in the United States of America," AOC declared.

She was referring to Naomi Klein, a Canadian activist who had spoken just before her. Klein had been more explicit. She spoke about "two fires": climate change and the divisive conservative politicians like President Donald Trump who champion an "in-group" over an "out-group." She accused Trump of dividing America with "white supremacy."

"At this moment when the climate crisis becomes impossible to deny ... at this very moment these figures who are so expert at the art of spreading division" are rising, she said. "I believe that we all know on the cellular level that there’s something deeply wrong with our common home," and she accused the right of exploiting that fear with the message, "We will protect you against the other."

"Do we think it is a coincidence that these two fires are raging at the exact same time? And as these strongmen turn their populations against each other, that frees them up for the real business at hand which is pillaging the" earth. "We cannot win this fight without battling white supremacy."

Speaking at a rally for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate AOC had endorsed, the congresswoman recalled strategizing about her central policy proposal, the Green New Deal. She said her team planned to launch it not just to fight the alleged catastrophe of climate change but also to help "communities that were left behind."

AOC went on to chide consultants who encouraged her to focus on the technological solutions to the alleged climate crisis, rather than tying climate into her identity politics message.

"Just worry about solar panels, leave the social justice stuff behind," the congresswoman summarized. "Race makes everything complicated." She dismissed this advice as wrong-headed.

As a practical matter, Ocasio-Cortez is entirely wrong. Even if climate change were a catastrophic threat, fighting "white supremacy" would have a negligible impact on the environment. AOC has the uncanny ability to see "white supremacy" behind everything from the tea party movement to The New York Times. In this case, she seems to interpret "white supremacy" as anti-immigrant terrorists like the El Paso shooter.

Terrorism in all its forms should be condemned, and true white supremacy — the doctrine that white people are inherently superior to other racial groups and should rule over them — should also be unequivocally condemned. However, AOC uses "white supremacy" as a catch-all term to describe her political opponents and to connect them with racism and terrorism. This disgusting tactic has everything to do with taking power and nothing to do with saving the environment.

As for the environment, predictions of climate catastrophe — extreme cold, extreme heat, glaciers melting, cities underwater — have failed to come to pass. In one of the most embarrassing examples, alarmists predicted that The Maldives Islands in the Indian Ocean would sink beneath the waves in 2018 — and the islands are still there. In fact, they have actually grown in recent years!

AOC's Green New Deal is a fantasy. Taxing the rich at 100 percent would not even come close to footing the bill for the Green New Deal and Medicare for All, according to a Heritage Foundation study. The $48 trillion or $93 trillion price tags aside, AOC's attempt to remake the American economy in her social justice and climate alarmist image is not possible. If Ocasio-Cortez were serious about fighting climate change, she would talk more about nuclear energy and less about restricting the entire economy, let alone "white supremacy."


'Scientists' Advocate Population Control to Save Planet

Climate alarmists falsely claim the only "real solution" is to have fewer people.

Like something out of a dystopian science-fiction story, more than 11,000 “scientists” from 153 nations recently signed a petition declaring that climate change would bring “untold human suffering” that is “unavoidable” unless drastic action is immediately taken. And what is the drastic action these “scientists” advocate? A socialist tyranny that would end capitalism by stopping all economic growth and … human population control. Why is it that socialists’ solutions invariably call for less stuff, fewer people, and restricted freedom?

As David Harsanyi notes, “Basically, these scientists are advocating for the Green New Deal: a collection of ludicrous solutions wholly unconcerned with economic tradeoffs or political reality. The plan treats nature and people as moral equals, imagining them in an apartment-dwelling, plant-based-food-eating, bicycle-riding society where well-being is administered ‘by prioritizing basic needs and reducing inequality’ — which doesn’t sound creepy or authoritarian at all.”

Oh, the glaring irony in warning of “untold human suffering.” That’s exactly what would be brought by the socialist “solutions” to climate change — solutions that are responsible for creating some of the worst human suffering and misery the world has ever known. So, in order to save the planet and keep humanity from suffering, millions must die.

It’s the overpopulation myth. Harsanyi observes, “‘Overpopulation’ is routinely cited by journalists — who often live in the densest, yet miraculously, the wealthiest, places on earth — as a problem. Yet, if density were itself causing human suffering, Monaco, as Nicholas Eberstadt once pointed out, with its 16,000 people per square kilometer, would be a far bleaker place than Bangladesh, with its 1,000 people per square kilometer.”

The truth, is the greater number of humans existing, the greater amount of human capital leading to greater intellectual capacity to find and develop solutions to the myriad of problems facing humanity and the world. Stopping all modern economics and artificially limiting and controlling the human population will only serve to greatly increase human suffering, not lessen it. Thanks in large part to the spread of capitalism, the number of individuals living in abject poverty across the globe has been halved since the year 2000, even as the population of the planet has continued to increase.


Lettuce Pray: Climate Change, Neo-Paganism, and the End of the World

The climate change movement has become the “modern world’s secular religion,” declared Wall Street Journal columnist Gerard Baker recently.

Climate activists preach a gospel of conservation that aims to redeem humanity’s environmental sins. They counsel us to abstain from eating meat to reduce our “carbon footprint,” and prophesy that Earth will perish unless governments worldwide trust the oracle from whom we received this hallowed revelation.

Climate cultists appropriate aspects of Christianity to call the world to repent for its “Original Sin of a carbon industrial revolution,” wrote Baker. They do that and more. Climate cultists, whether consciously or unconsciously, have adopted the schema of the Christian eschaton, or end of the world. They have also incorporated into their faith elements of neo-paganism.

Baker wasn’t the first to spot traces of the eschaton in the climate gospel. Researchers Rachelle Peterson and Peter Wood remarked in “Sustainability: Higher Education’s New Fundamentalism” that “sustainability, like Christianity, offers a view of the Earth as once-pristine and pure but now fallen; recognizes the sinfulness of humanity,” and “offers forms of expiation and absolution.”

However, rather than seeking to redeem humanity in the “next life,” sustainability promises to stave off the end times and save sinners in the “here and now.”

Some episodes have emphasized the climate cult’s resemblance to neo-paganism. Sumantra Maitra at The Federalist pointed to an event at Union Theological Seminary in New York City where students confessed their sins to plants. Maitra argued that this means climate activists are “pagan animists.” In other words, they believe that worshipping nature enables one to “grow as a living soul connected to the universe.”

Maitra also highlighted a gathering at the Glarus Alps where 250 Swedes hosted a funeral to mourn a melting glacier. And Martha Sheen at The Irish Times identified shades of paganism in the climate gospel’s code of how to live, which prescribes “ritualistic sacrifices” like abstaining from meat to “satisfy the gods.”

Maitra and Sheen noted that, as opposed to Christians, Jews, and Muslims, who worship a personal creator that engages humanity from without space and time, neo-pagans worship Earth and other created things.

The emergence of pagan themes in climate activist circles is part of a trend away from Judeo-Christian-based faiths and toward religions like Wicca, which has surged in popularity among millennials, the demographic that worries most about climate change.

Wiccans aren’t the only neo-pagan sect. “Druids, Goddess worshipers, Heathens, and Shamans” count too. And although neo-pagan beliefs vary, historian Ronald Hutton of Bristol University has said that neo-pagans practice “forms of worship which regard nature as sacred.”

Some worship inanimate objects such as “trees, plants, and animals” to glorify the “soul” of each. Pre-Christian Celts, for example, worshipped the River Boyne in Ireland as Boann, the “Celtic Goddess of Poetry, Fertility, Inspiration, Knowledge, and Creativity,” to quote one feminist writer. Almost all pagans consult an astrology guru and play with tarot cards.

Neo-pagans form a small segment of Americans, but their ideas have permeated elites. Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in March indulged fans who obsessed over what her time of birth and horoscope meant for the future of the republic. In response to “fervent public interest,” she allowed astrologer Arthur Lipp-Bonewits to tweet the information.

Singer and climate crisis believer Lana Del Ray described herself in 2017 as a “witch” and said she hexed President Donald Trump. She bade her Twitter followers do the same, directing them to “bind” the president on dates that “corresponded to monthly waning crescent moons.”

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady trumpeted his connections to neo-paganism after winning his sixth Super Bowl title in February. He told reporters that his wife, supermodel and climate crisis apologist Gisele Bundchen, “always makes a little altar” for him before the big game and provides him with “healing stones and protection stones.”

Bundchen allegedly predicted that the Patriots would overcome the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl 53 and said to Brady later that night, “You’re lucky you married a witch.”

There have also been reports claiming that conservative icon and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who played a formative role in persuading the United States to sign on to the Montreal Protocol in 1987, consulted an astrologer after she was nearly assassinated in 1984 by IRA terrorists. The Irish Times in 1996 quoted astrologist Marjorie Orr alleging she was asked by Thatcher to “warn her of future threats.”

Former President Ronald Reagan, without whom there wouldn’t have been a Montreal Protocol, leveraged his influence to help the treaty along for reasons, said The New York Times in 2013, “no one has ever quite understood.”

Reagan was, of course, warned that failing to join the protocol would deplete the earth’s ozone layer. But according to former White House Chief of Staff Don Regan, “virtually every major move” at the Reagan White House was cleared by Joan Quigley, an astrologer hired by Mrs. Reagan after John Hinckley Jr. failed to assassinate the president outside the Washington Hilton in March 1981.

At one point, wrote historian H. W. Brands in “Reagan: The Life,” it appeared to some in the administration that Quigley’s consultations determined even the president’s medical regimen.

None of this suggests that all climate crisis believers are neo-pagans, but wherever one hears among elites a call to save the planet, one also finds neo-paganism.

The outbreak of essays revealing the climate change movement’s religious underpinnings bothered at least some of its defenders.

According to a blog post at Sightings, an outlet published by The University of Chicago’s Martin Marty Center for the Public Understanding of Religion, conservatives have made similar arguments about everything from “Marxism to socialism, liberal progressivism, [and] Silicon Valley capitalism,” all of which also combined the Christian eschaton with its own worldview.

Critiquing secular ideas about the eschaton isn’t a niche market for right-wingers, however. In “God and Gold: Britain, America, and the Making of the Modern World,” historian Walter Russell Mead traced the Christian, or, Abrahamic origins of today’s secular ideologies not to discredit them, but to explain how they influence domestic political movements and foreign policy.

The Abrahamic understanding of history teaches that events are “part of a narrative that extends back into the misty prehistoric past and forward to some unimaginable climax in the future.”

Liberalism borrowed from Abrahamism the idea that history has a “shape and purpose: a beginning, middle, and an end”: Humanity began prehistory in a state of natural freedom. The first despotic governments sank it into an era darkened by class warfare, wars over religion, and arbitrary state rule. History ends when representative democracies, religious liberty, free markets, and low tariffs between trading countries fulfill liberalism’s purpose to create a “peaceful, liberal, and prosperous world order.”

Climate activists (and most secular liberals) fall under the category of what Mead called “Unconscious Abrahamists,” or, “those whose mental and political worlds are shaped in an Abrahamic context without the influence of a conscious religious belief.”

In the climate activist’s version of history, Earth’s “Garden of Eden” spanned the years that preceded the Industrial Revolution. Man fell into history when he began to deforest the world and burn carbon-emitting fossil fuels to shelter his offspring and grow the economy. The last days will come when his refusal to recognize the “integrity of non-human nature” causes a global catastrophe that destroys the planet as we know it. An eschaton.

Appropriating Abrahamic themes isn’t likely to make climate cultists treat their political opponents amiably.

“Wars of religion are largely an Abrahamic trait, found among the Abrahamic peoples and, in self-defense, among their neighbors,” Mead wrote.

A survey of the news stories coming out of the world of climate activism shows that even secular citizens who claim to be relativists share the Abrahamic faiths’ tendency to insist upon the universality of truth. And like the warring sides in conflicts past, they intend to shape human beings and political institutions to reflect that understanding.

Climate cultists so far haven’t organized to resist the carbon-emitting powers by the sword, but they have assumed responsibility for remaking civilization in their image.

Ocasio-Cortez became an icon of climate cultism when she proposed the Green New Deal in February. The bill alleged that “human activity” is melting glaciers, and increasing the rate of occurrence of wildfires, severe storms, and droughts.

If the earth warms “two degrees Celsius beyond pre-industrialized” temperatures, she warned, 99% of coral reefs will go extinct and over 350 million people will fall victim to “deadly heat stress.”

Ocasio-Cortez also catastrophized that the climate crisis will cause the American economy to crumble. She predicted the United States will lose $1 trillion caused by damage to public infrastructure and “coastal real estate.” This detail likely hit home with AOC’s big-money donors and members of Congress.

The Green New Deal counted pilots, farmers, and coal miners together. It proposed that we mobilize the country to a degree not seen “since World II” to purge the earth of farting cows and airplanes.

To get there, we must first “overhaul transportation and agriculture,” which is to say the federal government must shut down transportation and agricultural industries as they currently exist. These policies will guarantee that the United States emits “zero greenhouse gases.”

Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old of Swedish origin, bore witness to Ocasio-Cortez’s testimonial when she addressed the United Nations in September.

“My message is that we will be watching you,” Thunberg began before an audience of world leaders. She upbraided the carbon-emitting civilization that transmitted her image around the world crowing, “You have stolen my dreams.” Even 50% cuts won’t suffice to heal the planet. “If you choose to fail us,” she concluded, millennials “will never forgive you.”

The climate gospel of Thunberg and Ocasio-Cortez is spreading. Extinction Rebellion, a British environmentalist group, recently blockaded thoroughfares in London to “address the climate crisis.” It entreats its followers to create a “world that is fit for generations to come.” And hopes to regenerate our culture by making it “healthy, resilient, and adaptable.” Its members actively hose nonbelievers with fake blood. What does this mean for us?

No civilization has a pass to trash the planet, of which the post-industrialized world is guilty. Nevertheless, climate cultists have amalgamated ideas that should not mix. The heirs of the Wicker Man should not be flattered to think that they can deliver humanity’s salvation.

Despite their talk of bringing us together, neo-pagans behave like people unfit to rule. They mock climate skeptics, prophesy phony predictions, worship themselves more than “Mother Earth,” and threaten to harm us unless we do what they say.

A 2018 Gallup Poll survey showed that climate cultists are winning the minds of millennials. We’re running out of time to stop the disciples of AOC from taking their agenda to Washington. The best we can do now is show that climate cultists are exaggerating their claims to attain political power.

Perhaps we can. The concept of “solar geoengineering,” which would have us blast particles into the atmosphere to reflect the sun’s rays back into space to cool the planet, is gaining favor among climate scientists. Research is ongoing, though it appears we’ll be spared after all.


Australian Labor party lost in climate fog

Most of the fatal flaws exposed by the internal review of Labor’s ­emphatic electoral repudiation were so obvious that many of us had been pointing them out ­before, during and after the campaign. None of which detracts from the hilarity of watching the majority of players and commentators who argued Labor had a plausible agenda, campaigned well and would easily win the election now also say the findings are ­obvious.

Still, there is one glaring exception — a planet-sized blind spot — wilfully ignored by the review and much of the analysis. Yet even this hopeless oversight was predictable, simply because of who the ALP chose to conduct its review.

It was dubbed the climate election by many in Labor who were eager to accentuate the choice ­between targets and plans, yet the ALP chose as one of two reviewers Jay Weatherill — he was the premier of South Australia who pushed his state to a 50 per cent renewable energy share and allowed coal and gas-fired generators to close, delivering some of the world’s highest electricity prices but leading to the lights going out in the first statewide blackout.

When one of the most contentious policy choices in the campaign was about whether to embrace Labor’s plan to more than double the national renewable ­energy target (to the same level that created chaos in SA) and ­almost double the national emissions reduction goal, how could a renewables zealot such as Weatherill give an objective assessment? For him to call out the recklessness of Labor’s federal climate policy would be for him to admit his own costly legacy.

Labor has twice gone to a ­national election with radically more ambitious emissions reductions plans than the Coalition — in 2013 and this year — and the results speak for themselves. But Weatherill is deaf and blind to this reality; if he and others have their way, the next election will offer a similar choice.

On Thursday, delivering the review he conducted along with the pedestrian former trade minister Craig Emerson, Weatherill said it was clear Labor must continue to “stand for strong action on climate change” and that this was a “bedrock principle” for the party.

Yet elsewhere in the review there is clear evidence that its anti-coal rhetoric and climate evangelism contributed strongly to the party’s abysmal performance in Queensland, NSW’s Hunter ­Valley and elsewhere in regional Australia.

To be fair, sensible people might argue this nation had long been engaged in “strong action” on climate change, so Weatherill’s aim could easily be satisfied by ­offering bipartisan support for the Paris emissions reductions targets. But we know this is not what Weatherill and other members of Labor’s Socialist Left want.

The policy “bedrock” will be interpreted as something close to the extreme and uncosted policies Labor put to the people on May 18, which means one of the most obvious lessons from the election will be rejected by large elements of the party. Only Hunter Valley MP and Labor resources spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon seems willing to urge his colleagues to see sense.

Labor has made itself a victim to its own straw-man strategy. The review finds: “A modern Labor Party cannot deny or neglect human-induced climate change. To do so would be wrong, it would cause enormous internal instability and it would be a massive electoral liability.” This is true but pointless because no major party argues this position.

By pretending its opponents proffer denial and inaction, Labor locks itself into reckless policies and indefensible arguments. It is conned by its own hyperbole, hemmed in by its own hype.

The review goes on to say that the way forward for Labor is to focus on jobs from renewable ­energy and on the “costs of inaction”. But this is exactly what Bill Shorten and others did during the campaign, especially to avoid talking about the costs of their policies.

And the reality is that renewable energy jobs have not materialised to the extent promised anywhere, and voters are wise enough to understand the costs of climate inaction in Australia are approximately zero. No matter how dramatic Australia’s cuts, they cannot improve the global environment while global emissions continue to grow substantially — our costly policies will not stop a single storm, ease a drought or avoid a flood.

The only benefit they deliver is a down payment on international action. Obviously, then, there can be no financial or economic cost to inaction.

While the climate cannot be ­altered by anything we do alone, the only price to pay for inaction would be possible diplomatic repercussions for rejecting multilateral climate gestures. The “cost of inaction” argument is an exercise in stupidity and, as the election demonstrated yet again, mainstream voters tend to be smarter than that.

On climate, the ALP review is alarmingly myopic; it effectively recommends Labor sticks with the same extreme policies and inane arguments. It is unclear how it expects voters, who have repeatedly seen through this, to suddenly fall under its virtue-signalling spell.

Yet Anthony Albanese is sticking with this rhetoric; at the ­National Press Club on Friday the Opposition Leader continued with the pretence that additional climate action will create jobs rather than cost them. And he regurgitated Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young’s line from the day before about how the government’s drought response failed to mention climate change — does Labor argue a higher renewable energy target can end the drought? This is absurd stuff.

At Tony Abbott’s farewell dinner on Thursday there was some well-received triumphalism from conservative forces, especially from Peter Dutton, who was received as a hero for bringing on the move to take down Malcolm Turnbull. But ­Abbott made the most incisive point; he said that without Morrison’s victory this period of Coalition government would have gone down in history as an “embarrassing failure”.

Abbott then pointed out that both he and Turnbull owed Morrison a debt of gratitude. Yes, the Morrison win means all three can bathe in some of the success of a tumultuous period that has restored border integrity, rescued the budget, axed onerous taxes, struck significant free-trade deals and ushered in same-sex marriage.

Climate is the issue that repeatedly has divided the Liberal Party and is always a chance to do so again. This is where the Prime Minister has been proven right and others, including me, got it wrong. The proposition that he should abandon Paris as a means of ­accentuating policy difference has been proven unnecessary. His pitch of “Paris and no more” has seen him pick the economic, environmental and political sweet spot where Australia is doing enough but not too much, in a cautious but prudent response.

Taking extreme action on climate is to impose certain economic harm for dubious or non-existent benefits. Best leave that to Weatherill and Labor.



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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