Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Hundreds of climate protesters disrupt Harvard-Yale game, demand fossil fuel divestment

NEW HAVEN, CONN. — Demonstrators stormed the field during halftime at the Harvard-Yale football game Saturday, delaying the game for about an hour to demand that both universities divest their investments in fossil fuels and to call attention to the issue of climate change.

The protest, which began with a few dozen protesters staging a sit-in midfield as the Yale band finished its halftime routine, swelled to about 500 people at one point as others in the stands joined the demonstration, The New York Times reported.

Some held banners urging the schools’ presidents to divest from the fossil fuel industry and others spoke out against Puerto Rican debt and the treatment of Uighurs in China.

“Students are tired of Harvard and Yale profiting off of climate destruction and neocolonial investments in Puerto Rico’s debt,” protesters said in a statement to news organizations Saturday. “It’s time for more than lip service and greenwashing from academic leaders. Harvard and Yale must address the climate emergency at the scale and with the urgency it demands. This action is only the beginning.” ESPNU replaced the live broadcast with another game.

During the midfield protest, the protesters chanted: “Hey hey! Ho ho! Fossil fuels have got to go!” One banner read, “This is an emergency.”

Some of those involved with the game, such as Yale captain J.P. Shohfi, took the disruption in stride. “If we can’t control it, we can’t worry about it. In the locker room we were just re-focusing on our game plan, trying to stay loose,” Shohfi said.

Harvard coach Tim Murphy said you just deal with the circumstances that you have. “You don’t make a big issue out of it with your team,” he said. “It is what it is.”

Demonstrators were surrounded by police and security and the public address system asked them to clear the field “as a courtesy to players.”

Finally, police formed a line and moved from the Yale sideline to the Harvard sideline. Protesters began leaving the field.

Up to about two dozen protesters remained on the field, and Yale Police Chief Ronnell Higgins warned them they would face arrest, according to the AP.

Rachael Dane, a Harvard spokeswoman, said the university would not comment on the student protest or police response. A New Haven police spokeswoman directed comment to Yale University.

In a statement on Harvard’s climate actions, the university said that Harvard Management Company, which manages the University’s endowment, “engages directly with companies to address issues related to climate change through its work with the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment and the Climate Action 100+.”

The university statement said commitments in its Climate Action Plan “explicitly recognize” that the world must move quickly to end its use of fossil fuels. “While we agree on the urgency of this global challenge, we respectfully disagree with divestment activists on the means by which a university should confront it,” the statement said.

“Universities like Harvard have a crucial role to play in tackling climate change and Harvard is fully committed to leadership in this area through research, education, community engagement, dramatically reducing its own carbon footprint, and using our campus as a test bed for piloting and proving solutions.”

In a statement posted to Twitter Saturday afternoon, the Ivy League conference said it supports the right to freedom of speech and demonstration.

“It is regrettable that the orchestrated protest came during a time when fellow students were participating in a collegiate career-defining contest and an annual tradition when thousands gather from around the world to enjoy and celebrate the storied traditions of both football programs and universities,” the conference statement said.

Karen Peart, a Yale spokeswoman, said in a statement that the university “stands firmly” for the right to free expression, and also stands with the statement issued by the Ivy League.  “We are grateful to the staff members and police officers who ensured the peaceful departure of students from the field,” Peart said in the statement. “The exercise of free expression on campus is subject to general conditions, and we do not allow disruption of university events.”


UK: Green grandstanding is out of control

The parties’ ever more outlandish climate plans will eviscerate our living standards.


Brexit aside, this General Election campaign will be remembered for parties’ promises to spend more than their rivals. From the NHS to ‘free’ broadband for all, a bidding war has erupted. But it is the promises to spend on the green agenda that reveal just how ridiculous and empty most politicians’ promises are.

As reported previously on spiked, Boris Johnson’s green thunder was stolen from him before he became Conservative leader back in the summer. Theresa May, in her last days as prime minister, secured the ‘Net Zero’ CO2 emissions-reduction policy for her ‘legacy’. But this green competition to outbid and outmanoeuvre political rivals harks back even further. During the 2000s, David ‘hug-a-husky’ Cameron aimed to steal a march on the then Labour government by rebranding his party as an environmental champion.

But green politics is a game of politics-by-numbers that disfavours first-movers. The Labour government responded to Cameron’s initiative by proposing the UK should reduce its CO2 emissions by 60 per cent by 2050. The Conservatives upped the bid to 80 per cent. The Liberal Democrats said it should be 100 per cent. To settle the argument, MPs decided that an ‘independent’ panel should be appointed to determine the UK’s so-called carbon budget. The Committee on Climate Change was thus formed and it decided that the target should be 80 per cent.

A decade on, and after MPs from all parties had talked themselves into the 100 per cent target (ie, Net Zero), the only two parameters left to compete with were the date, and how much money to spend to get there.

Sure enough, not long after the Net Zero target was waved through by parliament, Labour Party members passed a motion at their autumn conference committing the party to bringing the Net Zero target date forward by 20 years, to 2030. It’s worth spelling out that this would mean decarbonising the economy. Essentially, the Labour membership voted to abolish every petrol and diesel car, to abolish the gas grid and every gas-fired central-heating boiler, to abolish flights, and to force every homeowner in the country to spend tens of thousands of pounds to make their homes ‘Net Zero’ compliant. How could any party up that ‘ambition’?

Then, after months of parliamentary paralysis over Brexit, the election was called. Eager to quash green speculation that the Conservatives were not as committed to the climate-change agenda as they claimed, the party announced an indefinite moratorium on fracking. Small beer, perhaps. By virtue of it requiring the government to do nothing at all and coming from the odds-on favourite to win the next election, it has been the most realistic policy proposal. But it has also dashed any hopes for a sensible energy policy in the near future. The Tories also promised that 30million new trees would be planted every year between now and 2025.

The Lib Dems then upped the stakes. Net Zero would be achieved by 2045 and 60million trees per year would be needed to hold off the climate apocalypse. Additionally, a Lib Dem government would ban petrol and diesel cars 10 years earlier than the Tories, and bow to Extinction Rebellion’s demands to hold ‘citizens assemblies’ charged with deciding how to achieve these off-the-cuff climate targets.

Despite the endless green pledges and whinging, it has been Brexit that continued to dominate coverage of the election. The Green Party now argues that the election is not about Brexit, but is instead a ‘climate election’. ‘This election is the last chance to stop climate change’, it warns. This might be a more believable claim if the Green Party were to commit to never again mentioning climate change if they failed to win the ‘climate election’. But Greens are not ones for respecting the expressed wishes of the voting public in any case, as illustrated by their participation in a ‘Remain Alliance’.

The Green Party’s manifesto says that a 2030 ‘Net Zero’ target would be achieved by spending £100 billion a year over the next decade. This includes £91 billion per year of borrowing. Not including interest, that trillion-pound ‘Green New Deal’ is equivalent to £15,000 per head of the population.

But the green grandstanding didn’t end there. During the drafting of the Labour Party’s manifesto, the unions voiced scepticism about the party’s 2030 Net Zero target. It was unachievable, it would lead to mass job losses, and it would dent the living standards of millions of workers, they said. Shadow trade secretary Barry Gardiner suggested the target would be softened to apply only to energy production. But shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey was on hand to quash rumours of an outbreak of common sense and to reiterate the party’s target. ‘Our manifesto will set out a pathway towards Net Zero by 2030’, she tweeted.

Just as with Brexit, the rift on climate change reflects the widening divisions between Labour’s traditional base and the urban middle-classes that dominate its outlook. In fact, Labour’s disorientation reflects the wider disconnect between all of the disoriented parties and the public.

All their absurd jostling to be the climate champions might make sense if the election was to be decided by the votes of some 45million Guardian readers. But the only thing passing for a test of the public’s appetite for radical green policies are poorly conceived opinion polls that attempt to measure the emotional impact of David Attenborough’s films. Yes, people largely agree that climate change is a problem. But asking people if they prefer mountain fresh clean air and trees or toxic pollution and dead polar bears is not a meaningful test of the public’s commitment to tackling climate change. No doubt, people’s enthusiasm for climate action cools when faced with the prospect of spending more each year on the climate than is spent on education or of being forced to make drastic lifestyle changes.

Another problem is that it is merely assumed, by all parties, that spending – ‘investing’, in the Westminster vernacular – trillions on green projects and environmental legislation will yield trillions in return. But there exists in the public domain no evidence whatsoever that spending a trillion on green energy, for example, will yield a single penny of benefit to the average voter. It will much more likely saddle households and the public purse with rising prices and substantial debt. The policies envisaged will kick people out of their cars on to inadequate public transport and will raise the cost and lower the standard of living. Politicians have barely begun to contemplate these consequences, let alone respond to them.

Far away from reality, politicians who claim to be championing climate change promise jobs, ‘social justice’, and economic renewal. But what the evidence suggests, from places as far afield as Iran, Chile, France, the Netherlands, and now Germany, is that rising energy prices and overbearing green legislation very quickly give rise to social discontent and often radical anti-government protests. No politician has yet explained how the UK will manage the inevitable difficulties ahead.

The only sense, then, that can be made of promises to spend trillions on the green agenda is that they are not offers to the public at all. They are instead pledges by the extant political establishment to itself. They are certainly nothing to do with representing the public’s wishes. After all, if no political party will depart from the cross-party consensus, then the cross-party consensus cannot be meaningfully tested. If nobody can vote against Net Zero, nobody can meaningfully vote for Net Zero, either. The point of green politics is to deny voters any choice whatsoever: not just over what to eat and how to travel, but also over how we are governed.


Global Warming’s Apocalyptic Path

Global warming has been characterized by its critics (and occasionally by followers like Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono) as a religious movement. While this is correct, it is a religious movement of a special kind, that is, an apocalyptic movement.

And although it is widely known that apocalyptic movements foretell an end of days, demand huge sacrifices by followers, and demonize dissent, what is less known is that these movements follow predictable patterns. The general “laws” that an apocalyptic movement follows over time explain both its short-term strength and, fortunately, its longer-term vulnerability.

In Heaven on Earth: The Varieties of the Millennial Experience (2011), Richard Landes chronicles recurring apocalyptic eruptions over the last 3,000 years. Typically there is belief in an imminent cataclysmic destruction that can only be averted by a total transformation of society. Precisely because the stakes are so high, a successful apocalyptic movement has extraordinary initial power. Believers are committed, zealous, and passionate, the urgent need for prompt action putting them at a high pitch of emotional intensity.

Landes describes the four-part life cycle of such movements. First comes the waxing wave, as those whom Landes calls the “roosters” (they crow the exciting new message) gain adherents and spread their stirring news.

Second is the breaking wave, when the message reaches its peak of power, provokes the greatest turmoil, and roosters briefly dominate public life.

Third is the churning wave, when roosters have lost a major element of their credibility, must confront the failure of their expectations, and mutate to survive.

Last is the receding wave, as the “owls” — those who have all along warned against the roosters’ prophecies — regain ascendancy.

While Landes does not apply his apocalyptic model to global warming, the fit is obvious. In the 1980s and ’90s, a series of UN conferences on climate launched the waxing wave. This was followed at the beginning of this century by the breaking wave.

In 2006, Al Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth (which later became a classroom staple) persuaded a broad public that man-made global warming threatened doomsday. That same year Sir Nicholas Stern, appointed by Prime Minister Tony Blair to lead a team of economists to study climate change, prophesied it would bring “extended world war” and the need to move “hundreds of millions, probably billions of people.” In 2009, then–UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon told the Global Economic Forum, “We have just four months. Four months to secure the future of our planet.”

Remarkably, in November of that same year, 2009, at the height of its urgency, the global warming apocalypse suddenly fell into the churning wave phase. Someone hacked into the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia in England and downloaded emails exchanged among the top scientific climate roosters. The messages bemoan recalcitrant data that fail to support the claim of “unprecedented warming,” describe the tricks (their term) used to coax the data to buttress the theory, report efforts to keep the views of scientific dissenters out of reputable journals and UN reports, and boast of deletion of data to make it unavailable to other researchers.

Given that public belief in the global warming apocalypse depended upon its supposed rock-solid scientific foundation, the scandal, dubbed “Climategate,” was devastating. Beleaguered owls, especially at the Heartland Institute, ground zero of what the mainstream media dismissed as “science deniers,” had high expectations that the credibility of the apocalypse had suffered a fatal blow.

It didn’t. One can only speculate as to the reasons. One major factor may be that political elites had become too committed to go back. Landes writes that elites are typically a hard sell, especially in the case of prophecies demanding a society self-mutilate. In this case they were won over with astonishing ease. Only a month after Climategate, in December 2009, England passed the Climate Change Act, in the works for several years, that mandated an 80-percent cut in six greenhouse gases by 2050 (relative to 1990 emissions).

Journalist James Delingpole, a long-time owl, has called it “the most stupid, pointless and wasteful piece of legislation ever passed in British parliamentary history,” with the costs likely to exceed a trillion pounds. It is a mark of the inroads the apocalypse had made in the political class that there were only five dissenting votes out of the nearly 650 cast. Not to be outdone, Germany’s politicians in 2010 passed the Energiewende, a program that looked forward to cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 80 to 95 percent by 2050.

Whatever the reasons, the churning wave turned out to be a mini-wave. For a few years polls showed greater public skepticism, with the issue ranking low compared to others. But this July, a BBC program called ‘Climategate’: 10 years on, what’s changed? found Climategate (the charges of scientific misbehavior come off in the program as “a smear”) might as well not have happened. Since then, the BBC reports, the public has reengaged, former skeptics have changed their minds, politicians are increasingly concerned, and children are speaking out “authentically.”

Rather than completing the normal cycle by going into a receding wave, the climate apocalypse has come roaring back as a breaking wave, this time with children in the forefront. (The classroom indoctrination of the previous decade paid off.) Led by a 15-year-old (now 16) in pigtails, Greta Thunberg, beginning in March millions of children in over 120 countries skipped school to embark on a series of “climate strikes.” At the March UN climate summit, Thunberg announced, “We are at the beginning of a mass extinction.” Berating the respectful audience of world leaders for having “stolen my dreams and my childhood,” she produced her electrifying (to her followers), “How dare you?”

“Time has almost entirely run out,” say the activists of Extinction Rebellion, a civil disobedience movement launched in England in October 2018 (it expanded to the U.S. this January). Its red-robed adherents have shut down traffic from London to Australia to Washington, D.C. ER, as it is called, demands that governments declare “a disaster and ecological emergency” and reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025. As a think tank sympathetic to the group has pointed out, this requires an end to air travel and taking 38 million cars off the road.

Nonetheless, this second breaking wave is also doomed to give way to churning and eventually receding waves. What eventually dooms apocalyptic prophecies is their failure to materialize. In the case of global warming, true believers are in a bind. The public is likely to accept a major reduction in its standard of living only if it believes “mass extinction” is the alternative. Yet the closer and more threatening the scenarios, the more they are subject to disproof. Believers may postpone the apocalyptic date, but eventually cognitive dissonance becomes too great.

What will trigger a successful “churning wave” and when it will occur is impossible to predict. But some of the factors likely to bring it closer are obvious. EU countries, with their legally binding commitments, have taken on the chief economic burden of “saving the planet.” Pushback has already begun from segments of the population feeling the effects. France’s Yellow Vest movement originated as a protest against the fuel tax President Macron sought to impose to reduce fossil fuel use (he retracted it). Last month Dutch farmers descended on Amsterdam in thousands of tractors to protest against government demands that they cull their herds to meet EU-imposed climate targets.

As the years go by and requirements for emissions reductions rise according to existing laws, these restrictions become ever more costly and burdensome to meet. Sooner or later some in the EU are bound to ask, “Why are we making these sacrifices when world CO2 emissions are rising anyway and most countries are more interested in economic growth than saving the planet?”

While the Paris Climate Agreement of 2016 was considered a milestone in bringing the world on board, a report co-authored by Sir Robert Watson, former chair of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, examined the pledges made by 184 countries and found that the 28 EU nations were the only sizable emitters of greenhouse gases to make a significant commitment to reduce them. Indeed, 127 nations made their pledges for any reduction at all conditional on funding from rich nations, to the tune of 100 billion dollars a year. The Trump administration has pulled the U.S. out of the Paris Accords, leaving the EU, already struggling economically, to foot that bill as well.

Fearful of being labeled “science deniers,” European politicians have been unwilling to challenge global warming orthodoxy. But with the rise of populist parties, even that is changing, One study by the Adelphi Institute found that seven of the 21 populist parties studied were “deniers and skeptics.” In Germany, ground zero for climate virtue, Alternative for Germany is making opposition to government policies on climate change its signature issue, with co-leader Alexander Gauland declaring that renewable energy will turn Europe into a “de-industrialised settlement region covered in wind farms.” These parties are still marginal, but if establishment politicians see that they make electoral headway with the issue, they too will be tempted to reexamine their most economically self-destructive policies.

It is very important that the receding wave come as soon as possible. That’s because, as Landes points out, that apocalyptic movements are always wrong does not mean their effects are not profound. In the case of global warming, the longer the roosters are ascendant, the more difficult it is to undo the damage. Even in the United States, where at the federal level global warming hysteria has not had the impact it has had in Europe (states like New York and California are another matter) entrenched interests become very hard to dislodge. There is an ethanol lobby, a solar lobby, and a wind energy lobby, all determined to hang on to their mandates and subsidies.

Owls can feel frustrated and helpless as they see the roosters rising. But by what they do — and avoid doing — owls can bring the end nearer. The worst thing they can do is try to compete with roosters, for example by offering, as so many have done in ostensibly conservative journals of opinion, so-called market-based plans for carbon taxes. Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz of Florida has advanced a “Green Real Deal” to counter the Democrats’ Green New Deal, with the idea of appealing to young people eager for action on climate change. All this only lends more credibility to the roosters.

What’s more, appeasement doesn’t work. Despite its pioneering role in the fight against climate change, its huge investment in renewables and setting binding targets even more stringent than other EU countries, Germany has seen the largest turnout of angry child planet-savers, with an estimated 1.4 million participating in a recent (September 20) school strike.

There are issues the owls can usefully exploit. While climate science is mysterious, something the public does understand is costs, and owls can demand more transparency. Recently the state of New York legally committed itself to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 by at least 85 percent over 1990 levels. If the average citizen was made aware of the huge impact on his energy bills of this exercise in climate virtue, he might find it less alluring.

The chief apocalyptic danger is not a “sixth mass extinction,” as the current crop of roosters maintain, but an economic collapse should leaders in the West succumb to their demands. Robert Harris’ 2019 novel The Second Sleep could then prove prophetic. He describes a future in which a mysterious calamity has led drastically shrunken Western societies to revert to the horse-driven, torch-lit, homespun clothed existence of their ancestors.


The wicked Chamber of Commerce

Comments by Chuckie Schumer and Shelly Whitehouse, two of the most rabid Democrat Senators.  Unintentionally, they rather make the chamber look good

The earth is spinning toward climate catastrophe. The international community has about a decade to take the steps necessary to avoid breaching the 1.5 degrees Celsius safety zone that the scientific community has established. It will take American leadership to achieve that goal, which means not only bold action in Congress, but meaningful leadership from the president, our allies around the globe, and leadership from powerful forces like major corporations.

Unfortunately, much of corporate America so far failed to step up and sufficiently support policies that would begin to address the existential threat of climate change. Many individual corporations, perhaps out of conviction, perhaps out of the desire to keep and win over new customers, profess to be on the side of fighting climate change. But in an act of rank hypocrisy, they turn around and support business associations, like the US Chamber of Commerce and the American Petroleum Institute, which have been relentless adversaries of climate action.

Take the Chamber. The US Chamber is not the local chamber of commerce sponsoring your main street businesses. It runs a massive influence machine on behalf of big corporations, touching every part of the federal government.

In federal agencies, the Chamber is an 800-pound gorilla in virtually every room where climate policy comes up. It lobbies agency officials, files regulatory comments by the dozen, and deploys its public relations machine whenever regulators turn to matters affecting the fossil fuel industry.

In courts, the Chamber is in a league of its own. During a three-year period late in the Obama administration, the Chamber filed friend-of-the-court briefs in 476 cases and was a litigant in another 25. Environmental issues were its third most litigated subject, and its position always aligns with polluters.

In Congress, the Chamber is the largest lobbyist, spending roughly three times more than the next biggest group. Energy and environmental issues are a big part of that lobbying effort. Every year, the Chamber sends out dozens of letters and key vote alerts telling members which way it expects them to vote. Those letters and alerts inevitably support fossil fuel and oppose reducing emissions.

The Chamber aggressively attacks climate action with the last piece of its machine: election spending. The Chamber has spent almost $150 million on congressional races since the Citizens United decision of 2010. In most congressional election cycles, it is the biggest dark-money spender. The Chamber is known for having sharp political elbows. Cross them and you risk triggering an ad against you — like the one run against a US Senate candidate in Pennsylvania in 2016 suggesting her climate position was akin to stealing youthful energy from American children.

Some Chamber members who say they support climate action may well be funding the efforts to oppose climate action in Washington through the Chamber and other groups. This doubletalk needs to end.

To fight back, companies that care about climate ought to demand full disclosure of who funds climate obstruction at the Chamber, as well as at API and other big lobbying and influence groups. Justice Louis Brandeis said, “Sunlight is . . . the best of disinfectants.” Send sunbeams into the dark-money corners where climate denial and obstruction fester.

Better yet, these “pro-climate” companies should demand that those organizations stop blocking climate action and instead support real action in Congress to address climate change. Corporate shareholders ought to know whether their company funds groups that block climate legislation. And corporations who are board members of these denial and obstruction groups have their own governance obligations to know if they’re throwing good money after bad, allowing their goals to be diluted by the influence of the fossil fuel industry.

The stakes are high: There are massive economic risks flowing from climate change. Don’t take our word for it; listen to the Bank of England, Freddie Mac, Nobel Prize laureate economists, and hundreds of our own government’s most knowledgeable experts.

Corporate America can still choose which side of the climate fight to be on. But the clock is running out.


Marine heatwaves threatening Australia's oyster industry and affecting Great Barrier Reef, scientists warn

Note the dog that didn't bark below.  The people involved are NOT barking about global warming.  They cannot logically do so.  If waters are warming much more rapidly than the global rate, it is not global warming!  Sometimes a tautology is needed

Waters off parts of Australia are warming at some of the most rapid rates in the world, threatening the future of some of the country's most important marine industries, scientists say.

Scientists say the heatwaves are having a severe impact on oysters — and threaten the future of the industry — as well plants and creatures that rely on the ocean for life, pushing some into new areas, while killing others.

"The oceans are really ringing the alarm bells," said CSIRO biological oceanographer Alistair Hobday, a leading expert on MHWs.

"[The oceans] are telling us we've got big problems and those problems are not going to go away."

A MHW is defined as a period of warm water that lasts five days or longer, where temperatures are in the top 10 per cent of events typically experienced in that region.

They are graded in severity — similar to how cyclones are — with category five being the most intense.

The heatwaves lead to outbreaks of diseases that can be fatal to oysters and other molluscs, and reduce the reproduction rates of species such as salmon and abalone as well as killing seagrass and kelp.

"[We thought] marine heatwaves were an example of what the climate would look like in 100 years time," Dr Hobday said. "But we [are] getting it today."



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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