Wednesday, January 08, 2020

Record Heat and Cold Expose Climate Alarmists' Bias

Australia was literally on fire in December. Record heat made headlines in global media. So did the extreme rainfall in east Africa.

You and everybody else on earth can guess what climate alarmists blamed for both: man-made global warming, a.k.a. climate change.

But record cold in northern India at the same time didn’t make headlines in any major media in the United States or the United Kingdom.

Why? Because it didn’t fit expectations.

It’s a perfect example of climate alarmists’ obvious bias that’s seldom brought to light.

In December, east Africa received extremely heavy rainfall, causing widespread floods in Kenya and Djibouti. The floods impacted more than one million people and killed scores already challenged by extreme poverty.

During the same month, Australia recorded all-time highs. Widespread, devastating wildfires made the situation worse.

Climate alarmists predictably claimed these weather events for their propaganda.

Almost all news article about the Australian heat and wildfires ultimately blamed man-made climate change. But more than four-fifths of Australia’s wildfires were caused by arson, not climate change. And what caused the extreme hot weather was not global warming but a phenomenon called Positive Indian Ocean Dipole (PIOD).

PIOD is a seasonal weather phenomenon that can affect climate in east Africa, south Asia, and Australia all at once.

The same PIOD that caused Australia’s heat (but not its wildfires) caused the year-end floods in east Africa.

It also caused extreme cold in northern India in the same month. Largely underreported in global media, the cold continued right through to the end of December.

Delhi, India’s capital, recorded its second-coldest December in 118 years. Intermittent cold waves gripped Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Delhi.

On December 28, the heart of Delhi recorded a minimum of 1.7˚C (35˚F). The temperature likely reached freezing outside the city’s urban heat island effect. The cold wave impacted everyday life for 29 million people in Delhi.

But neither CNN nor BBC headlines ever mentioned it. It runs contrary to their narrative. Winters are supposed to become warmer. Though the mainstream media do link the PIOD to the Australian heat and the east African floods, they never shy away from blaming man-made climate change and find ways to link both.

Now their new theory is that the PIOD itself has become more intense because of climate change. In other words, weather events are non-existent in their dictionary. Each and every extreme weather event is blamed on man-made climate change.

This is what happens when people read every weather event through the preconceived lenses of climate alarmism.

Closer inspection reveals no change in very hot days in Australia since World War I. So hot weather (short term) and hot climate (long term) have nothing to do with the wildfire outbreak.

December’s extremes — heat in Australia, flooding in east Africa, cold in India — all were caused by a strong PIOD, not climate change.

These weather events neither prove nor disprove man-made climate change. But they do expose the bias of climate alarmists who blame them on man-made global warming.


The Martyrdom of Saint Greta of Sweden

She's a puppet

So Meat Loaf caused a little kerfuffle this weekend by saying he thought Greta Thunberg had been "brainwashed."

I don't know why that should be a surprise, but it got me thinking about her again. I have a lot of sympathy for the kid.

For me, it started with seeing her picture. She's small, slight, even scrawny; her head looks out of proportion to her body. She's now 17 (as of 3 January) but she still looks childlike, prepubertal, younger than her 14-year-old sister. Frankly, she looks like she's been in a concentration camp: malnourished over the long term.

Sure enough, reading a little about her, we find that she's an Asperger's child (I guess this month that's now called "high-functioning autism"), she has obsessive-compulsive disorder, she stopped eating for months and still refuses to eat anything but certain specific things, in particular, a dish of pancakes filled with rice — but her OCD keeps her from eating if there's a sticker or label on the package. She suffers from "selective mutism," which means basically that there are situations in which she's unable to speak.

She's said that this means she only "speaks when she thinks it's necessary." This includes speaking to the UN General Assembly, but in interviews, her mother often speaks for her.

Her public career started when she took Fridays off from school to hold up a sign outside the Swedish Parliament; this grew into a movement that spread throughout Europe.

Through it all, things keep striking me as odd. I don't know what it's like in Sweden, but cutting classes one day a week isn't normally feted as heroic in the U.S. And she hasn't been attending school for months as she traveled. In the U.S., that's called "dropping out".

So, this is what we're being asked to believe: that an autistic kid with OCD who often can't speak on her own has:

* organized a worldwide movement

* given TED talks, spoken to the UN General Assembly, and been named Person of the Year by Time magazine

* managed to get a ride on a multimillion-dollar racing yacht so she wouldn't have to fly (and bragged on how she wasn't releasing CO2 on the trip, although it required seven plane tickets for the crew for the boat).

There's a bucolic barnyard term for that — actually, several, depending on your choice of equine, bovine, or galline.

This isn't a neurologically atypical high school kid arranging this: there are adults, and probably a lot of adults, using her as a front. Some of them are surely her parents, but while they've been reasonably successful in music and the arts, I don't think they have the money that's obviously behind this.

Frankly, that's a tragedy. Instead of getting the treatment she needs, she's become a climate-change muppet.

It's hardly the first time a teenage girl has become the symbol of a movement. Of course, Joan of Arc was eventually burned at the stake.

I don't think that is in Greta's future. But what's happening to her looks to me like another martyrdom in pursuit of a political cause.


Trump Ends Decade With A Bang, Nixing Nearly 100 Enviro Regulations During His First Three Years In Office

President Donald Trump nixed nearly 100 environmental regulations during his first three years in office, effectively rolling back much of his Democratic predecessor’s environmental legacy.

The president rolled back more than 90 environmental rules and regulations, The New York Times reported in December. The NYT relied on an analysis from Harvard Law School, Columbia Law School and other sources to keep tabs on Trump’s numbers during his time in office.

The NYT’s list includes regulations that are officially reversed and rollbacks still in progress.

Trump has fully eliminated 25 rules designed to rein in air pollution and emissions, as well as 19 that regulate energy producers’ ability to drill and extract oil and gas. Trump uses a “one-two punch,” according to Caitlin McCoy, a fellow at Harvard Law School who tracks such measures.

“First a delay rule to buy some time, and then a final substantive rule,” McCoy told The NYT.

One of Trump’s biggest accomplishments in the early going was replacing former President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which required states to make deep cuts to power sector emissions. The U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay on the CPP’s implementation in 2016.

Obama’s rule was expected to force more coal power plants and mines to close down, costing thousands of jobs in the process. Nearly 40% of coal-fired power capacity has been retired or announced plans to retired as a result of market forces, technological change and an increase in regulations, according to some experts.

Trump promised to end what conservatives believe was Obama’s “war on coal.”

The Environmental Protection Agency rolled out a replacement plan in June, called the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule, which asks states to improve coal plant efficiency. Critics said the agency does not do enough to enforce the rule.

California’s ability in September to set more stringent emissions standards for cars and light trucks. The president’s flurry of actions does not appear to have had a substantial impact on the coal industry, which is still suffering from a prolonged downturn despite an increase in coal exports.

More than 50 coal companies have filed for bankruptcy or shuttered their doors since 2016, when Trump was inaugurated.


Reform USAID energy aid policies now!

President Trump should direct USAID to support coal and gas, not just wind and solar

Paul Driessen and David Wojick

Apparently unable to grasp the cruel irony, USAID Commissioner Mark Green boasts that “electricity enables access to refrigeration to store fish, milk and vaccines. Electricity brightens the night and helps schoolchildren study. Electricity allows businesses to stay open later and makes communities safer.”

Abundant, reliable, affordable electricity absolutely does all of this, as developed countries prove daily. Expensive, intermittent power does none of these things. Unpredictable, on-and-off power cruelly promises refrigeration, heat, light, factories, businesses, jobs, modern schools and hospitals, better living standards, longer and healthier lives – then takes them all away, for hours, days or weeks at a time.

Right now, the average Sub-Saharan African enjoys the blessings of modern electricity 1 hour a day, 8 hours a week, 411 hours a year – at totally unpredictable times, for a few minutes, hours or days at a stretch. Under Mr. Green, the US Agency for International Development would “improve” this horrific situation by ensuring electricity maybe 25-30% of the year: 7 hours a day, 50 hours a week, 2,628 hours (110 days) a year, still at totally unpredictable times, thanks to wind turbines and solar panels.

That’s because the USAID won’t support real energy. Its Deep State Obama era policies should have been deep-sixed the day President Trump took office. Instead, three years later, they still impose cruel and unusual punishment for Africa’s “crime” of being the last continent to modernize with 24/7 electricity.

USAID runs a program with the promising, grandstanding name “Power Africa.” It began six years into the Obama presidency. And yet, five years later, it has delivered less than 3,500 megawatts (MW) of new generating capacity. Total installed US summertime electricity generation capacity is 314 times that: 1.1 million MW, to support less than one-third as many people as live in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Even worse, this minuscule improvement includes no coal-fired and no nuclear power. It’s mostly wind, solar and natural gas electricity generation, plus a tiny bit of geothermal and even a bit of heavy oil power generation – even though this still “dark” lights-free continent has enormous coal deposits. In fact, some 60% of Power Africa financial aid goes to relatively wealthy Nigeria and South Africa, not the numerous really poor countries – and countries receiving funds for wind and solar are not getting money for gas-fired power. Many countries get no energy aid at all; each of the others receives only a little.

It’s all because USAID’s “flagship” energy program is centered around and obsessed with “low-emission economic development.” Emissions in this context of course mean plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide or CO2, the trace gas (0.04% or 400 ppm of Earth’s atmosphere) that makes life on Planet Earth possible.

So even under President Trump, USAID remains locked into the notion that manmade CO2 is the primary or sole factor in climate change, and any climate or weather fluctuations will be catastrophic. Indeed, USAID brags, climate change plays a central role throughout the entire agency’s development efforts and throughout its partnerships with other federal agencies and multiple developing countries.

USAID claims its programs “help countries achieve self-reliance while pursuing clean economic growth and resilient development.” That’s complete, self-serving, carbon-colonialist garbage.

First, there is nothing clean, green, renewable or sustainable about wind and solar (or battery) energy. Wind and solar require 200 times more raw materials per megawatt than fossil or nuclear energy – and electrifying Africa, the USA or the world with wind and solar would require the biggest expansion of metals, minerals and limestone mining in human history. To end their intermittency, you’d need billions of expensive 100-kWh battery packs, still more mining – and vastly more child labor and slave labor.

Moreover, economies powered by insufficient, intermittent electricity cannot possibly be “resilient.”

USAID’s “lights on” slogan is just as phony. Solar provides zero electricity at night and powers society maybe 30% of the time year-round. A 600-MW coal-fired power plant generates 600 MW pretty much around the clock; 600 MW of solar capacity provides maybe 200 MW of power in bits and pieces, amid clouds, rains and nighttime. Battery backup for cities or countries is prohibitively expensive.

Wind is even worse. It typically takes sustained winds over 30 mph to generate full power, which rarely happens in most of Africa. Yet Power Africa boasts almost 2,500 MW of highly intermittent wind farms.

USAID programs to bring electricity to people for the first time means all Africans will get is intermittent electricity. This is cruel and unfair – a stupid, callous, eco-imperialist way to spend billions of aid dollars.

USAID’s anti-fossil-fuel, anti-development, anti-people policies are cloaked in lofty virtue-signaling language. Greenwashing PR guides and justifies policy. The agency claims it shares its “world-class knowledge, data and tools” to “help countries predict, prepare for and adapt to” climate change and “lay the foundations for sustainable growth powered by clean, reliable energy and healthy landscapes.”

These claims fail every factual and humanitarian test. They may make Deep State, UN, IPCC, World Bank and EU technocrats – and their environmentalist allies – happy. But they will keep Africa mired in poverty, disease, misery, despair and needlessly early death for generations.

USAID’s “Low Emission Development Strategies” do not “forge partnerships” with poor countries. They impose “partnerships” that provide inadequate funding for insufficient supplies of intermittent energy – while doing nothing to “mitigate” climate changes that are no different, more frequent or more intense from what Africa (and the world) have faced numerous times throughout history. And most of the aid money ends up in the bank accounts of ruling elites and wind and solar manufacturers.

The lives of impoverished families improve little, and only at the margins. The electricity that the USAID, World Bank, EU banks and even Africa Development Bank (AfDB) so grudgingly finance cannot possibly support modern homes, hospitals, businesses, factories, communities and nations.

These climate-centric, anti-development policies force African nations to turn increasingly to Chinese banks and mining companies, accept the onerous preconditions often attached to their contracts, and live with the horrific conditions that exist in their mines and processing plants. America, Europe, Canada and Australia – and their laws, regulations and operating standards – will be relegated to the sidelines.

As to assertions that carbon dioxide and other “greenhouse gases” have replaced the Sun and other powerful natural forces that actually govern Earth’s climate and weather: with China, India and dozens of other countries building new coal and gas generating plants every week, and driving millions more cars and trucks every year, USAID’s “low emission” policies and strategies will make no difference.

Africa’s families and communities are not threatened by fossil-fuel-induced climate or weather that differs little from what they have confronted and survived numerous times throughout history. They are threatened by climate alarmist policies that keep them impoverished and energy-deprived – with few prospects for ever enjoying the living standards, health and longevity they dream of – and deserve.

It’s time to reform or end USAID’s inhumane policies. The agency should finance coal, gas and nuclear electricity projects in destitute African countries, insist on state-of-the-art controls for real pollution, but drop all CO2 emission rules. This would transform economies and save lives. If Africa’s own banks and governments would finance coal, gas and nuclear power, they too would create jobs, growth and revenue.

President Trump should demand this via an executive order – and withhold US funding from the World Bank, AfDB and other anti-development banks until they also support coal, gas and nuclear power. He would stand tall as a true world leader on energy, climate change, prosperity and human health – a leader who finally terminated the global financial aid community’s deadly carbon-colonialist policies.

Support for abundant, reliable, affordable electricity is good policy not just for the United States, Europe,  Asia and other industrialized and developing regions – but for the poorest continent on Earth. This policy change would be the best New Year’s present Africa’s desperate people ever received.

Via email

Australia: Senior government ministers have dismissed a Liberal backbencher's comments denying the link between climate change and the bushfires as a "sideshow"

It's politically inconvenient to knock global warming

Senior government ministers are distancing themselves from an outspoken backbencher who dismissed the link between climate change and bushfires.

Liberal MP Craig Kelly has caused major headaches after appearing on British television to talk about Australia's bushfire crisis.

As recently as Sunday, the prime minister claimed his government had always made the connection between climate change and extreme weather conditions.

Mr Kelly, who strongly denies the link, made his views known to an international audience.

Emergency Management Minister David Littleproud described his comments as a "sideshow".

"He doesn't represent the views of the government," Mr Littleproud told reporters on Tuesday. "I couldn't give a rats what he said, it's irrelevant, let's just focus on those people that are out there that need our help."

Mr Kelly said the suggestion the government could have reduced the bushfires by bringing down carbon emissions was nonsense.

Instead, he made disputed claims that fuel loads were largely to blame for the spread of the fires.

Scientists have disputed claims a lack of hazard reduction burns have led to the size of the bushfires, with former fire chiefs blaming the effects of climate change.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg also put Mr Kelly at arms length from the government. "Our view of climate change is that it's real. We accept the science," Mr Frydenberg said.

While Mr Frydenberg said fuel loads had been a factor in the bushfires, he said climate change was causing hotter, drier summers.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese said he was despaired by Mr Kelly's comments.  "The tragedy is that he's imposed those views along with a few others to ensure that Australia isn't taking action," Mr Albanese said.

After being panned for the "train wreck" interview, Mr Kelly has defended his decision to go on air, saying he needed to defend the government because it was under attack.

Good Morning Britain host Laura Tobin called Mr Kelly a "climate denier" with Piers Morgan telling the MP to "wake up". "You are facing now one of the greatest crises you have ever faced, and there is you... who still doesn't think this has anything to do with a heating up planet," Morgan said.

Mr Kelly later dismissed Tobin as a "arrogant pommy weather girl" who didn't know what she was talking about, and claimed Morgan "didn't want to hear the facts".

Tobin quickly hit back, pointing out she was a qualified meteorologist and former aviation forecaster for the Royal Air Force.



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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