Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Warren: Green New Deal Doesn't Go 'Far Enough'

The Green New Deal promised a “massive transformation of our society,” with goals that include eliminating air travel, cars, fossil fuels, and nuclear energy, as well as retrofitting every building in America to be energy efficient. While most sane people understood the plan was a fantasy, albeit a dangerous one, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren said Thursday she doesn’t believe the $93 trillion proposal goes far enough.

“What I want to see us do is get off an oil economy, and not only for ourselves, but for the rest of the world,” Warren said during a CNN town hall event.

“I want to see us move entirely to green, and let me say on this, I not only support a Green New Deal, I don’t think it goes far enough,” she added. “I also have a blue new deal cause we have got to be thinking about our oceans as well that we need to protect.”

Warren may claim she has lofty goals to save the planet, but her decision to fly around the country on a private jet shows just how committed she is.

Earlier this month the Massachusetts Democrat was caught traveling on a private plane to New Hampshire after the Iowa caucuses. When she saw she was being filmed, she quickly stepped behind her staffer to hide.


The Truth Behind Rising Sea Levels and Global Warming

On January 3, 2020, 13 states in the U.S. joined Rhode Island in a lawsuit against oil companies for contributing to climate change and the dangers it poses.

The reason: They believe sea-level rise from climate change threatens their low-lying coastal regions.

An alarmist news site in Honolulu claims, “Warmer air temperatures are causing our oceans to thermally expand and glaciers around the world to melt. This combination leads to global sea level rise.”

However, the real-world situation differs dramatically from these hyped-up, sensationalist claims.

Manmade Global Warming: Not the Primary Driver of Sea-Level Rise

Doomsday proponents suggest that glacial melt induced by global warming can contribute significantly to the rise in sea levels. But a growing number of scientific studies (like this one in 2018) find that manmade global warming is not a primary driver of global sea-level rise.

The reason? Contrary to the media narrative, more factors than glacial melt drive sea-level rise.

Three major sets of natural factors control the rise and fall of sea levels: water temperature and salinity changes (steric), cryosphere/glacial changes (glacio-eustatic), and geological changes in continents and ocean basins (isostatic).

Despite multiple influences on sea levels, some alarmist narratives focus exclusively on glacial melt. Why? To make people panic about melting glaciers in the Arctic and Antarctic.

Moreover, sea-level doomsday reports seldom address sea-level rise in previous centuries and millennia. Avoiding that supports the alarmist narrative, as it portrays the current rise as new and unprecedented.

Sea-Level Rise: Higher and Faster in the Past

A 2014 scientific study did a comprehensive analysis of sea-level measurements from 1,277 tide gauge records since 1807 to estimate trends and acceleration in sea-level rise. In the 20th century, global sea-level rise displayed a linear trend of 1.9 ± 0.3 millimeters (mm) per year.

Sea levels have been much higher in the past and varies regionally.

Whoever has been feeding you false information on unprecedented sea-level rise needs to be redirected to research that documents not only higher sea levels in the past but also more rapid sea-level rise.

Long-term historical analysis of sea-level rise (from around 14,000 BC to the present) in Europe, Australia, Russia, Canada, Eurasia, China, India, Thailand, the Caribbean Islands, Bolivia, and various other places indicates that sea levels were much higher in the past than today.

During the early Holocene (11,719 to 7069 calibrated years before 2019) the sea level rose by 55 to 60 meters and the rate of sea-level rise was 11 to 12 mm/year. In Tahiti, the largest French Polynesian Island in the South Pacific, the sea-level rise was “11.7 mm/year for the period 8950-11,650 before 1950.”

Besides, scientific publications published in the 1980s, before the advent of the global-warming craze, reveal that “many parts of the world provide evidence of higher than present strand lines dating from the late Holocene.”

Is Future Sea-Level Rise a Threat to Islands?

In contrast to the early Holocene period, the global sea-level rise since 1958 has been just around 1.3 to 1.5 mm per year, much lower than the 20th-century average.

We cannot blindly assume that islands will get submerged by future sea-level rise of around 2 mm per year or 0.2 meters (m) per century.

Because even if sea levels around islands or along coastlines go up, the coastal regions may still remain unsubmerged, and might even grow in some cases, due to accretion, i.e., geological changes that increase elevation and extension of landmass by accumulation of sediments, growth of coral, or uplift of the landmass itself.

In order to evaluate the same, scientists conducted studies to analyze the impact of sea-level rise on the Pacific islands — like Tuvalu, Tokelau, and Kiribati — which are often projected by climate alarmists as the first victims of rising sea levels.

The study found out that even with a 0.5 meter and 1 meter rise in the sea level (much higher than the 0.2 meters observed during the entire 20th century), the islands remained unaffected.

The scientists attribute this adaptability to “physical changes in island structure, including both vertical adjustments that influenced island topography and planform movement.” The study concluded that the “islands have the capability to morphodynamically respond to rising sea level through island accretion.”

The impact of relative sea-level rise on any coast can only be discerned after considering the vertical crustal motion, and the accretion of sediments, in the coastal region. The assertions of these scientific studies can also be observed in some islands.

For example, in the Grande Glorieuse Islands, the landmass grew by 7.5 ha (1989–2003) despite an absolute sea-level rise around the island and a 28% erosion of shoreline.

So, it is evident from scientific literature that sea levels have not risen dramatically in the recent past; they have been much higher in the past; and the ongoing rise (and potentially faster ones) poses no problem to the islands and other landmass.

Sadly, the mainstream media and climate activists pay no attention to these peer-reviewed and universally accepted scientific facts about sea levels.


Nations seek biodiversity accord to stave off mass extinction

Just another attempted power grab

Nature experts and government delegates gather this week in Rome to thrash out an international deal for endangered species, trying to avoid a mass extinction event caused by human activity.

Having been hastily relocated from Kunming in China following the coronavirus outbreak, negotiators from more than 140 countries have until February 29 to study a draft text.

The 12-page document, which focuses on goals to be met by mid-century and envisages a stock-take in 2030, should be adopted at the COP15 summit on biodiversity in October.

The United Nations biodiversity panel IPBES last year warned that up to one million species face the risk of extinction as a result of humanity's insatiable desire for land and materials.

"I cannot underscore enough the importance of making progress at this meeting," said Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, acting executive secretary for the UN's Convention on Biological Diversity.

"The world is eagerly waiting out there for demonstrable progress towards a clear, actionable and transformative global framework on biodiversity."

While the 2015 Paris agreement saw nations commit to cutting greenhouse gas emissions to stave off the worst threats of climate change, there is no equivalent accord for the world's endangered species.

The IPBES report highlighted the threats posed to nature from human activity, saying that three-quarters of all land and two-thirds of oceans have already been severely affected by mankind.

The report also demonstrated how the depletion of nature will in turn harm humanity.

"This degradation of nature is unprecedented in the history of mankind," said IPBES executive secretary Anne Larigauderie.

2020 is a crucial year for nature, with the global congress of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature set for Marseille in June and the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow in November.

Negotiators in Rome are focusing on ways to reduce threats to biodiversity, including officially protecting at least 30 percent of land and marine areas and a 50 percent cut in pollution from fertilisers.

It also calls for stricter regulation on plastic pollution and acknowledges the role that the preservation of nature can play in the battle against climate change.

While Louisa Carron, who works for Greenpeace, told AFP the draft was a "good first step", Lin Li of WWF International said she had "mixed feelings".

"The zero draft has not address the drivers of biodiversity at all, for example the consumption/production that really causes causing the loss of nature," said Lin.

Li Shuo, who works on biodiversity issues for Greenpeace, was guarded about the prospects of success in Rome.

"Simply having a 'vision' does not guarantee its fulfilment," he told AFP.

Experts fear progress could be stalled if the plan is to phase out damaging environmental practices on a nation-by-nation basis in roughly the same was as the emissions cuts in the Paris accord.

With the COP15 still set to take place in Kunming, the Rome talks are likely to play a large role in how effective a global deal on biodiversity will be. "We do not expect a failure," said Mrema.


Keeping Africa on the brink of starvation

UN and EU government agencies – and tax-exempt NGOs – have brought a plague of locusts

Paul Driessen

Billions of desert locusts have descended again on East Africa. Crawling first, then sprouting wings and flying in hungry hoards of 40-150 million or more, they are devastating crops and threatening tens of millions of people with lost livelihoods and starvation. This latest locust plague, says the United Nations, is the worst in 70 years for Kenya, the worst in 25 years for Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti and Somalia.

Locust swarms can blanket scores or hundreds of square miles at a time, travel 80 miles a day, and consume more than 400 million pounds of vegetation daily, Africa Fighting Malaria cofounder Richard Tren notes. The insects increase their numbers logarithmically, meaning numbers can be 500 times higher in six months. In Ethiopia, on January 9, a massive swarm nearly brought down a Boeing 737 jetliner.

Many fear the voracious insects could soon reach croplands in South Sudan, Uganda, and even Asia.

Despite past history, UN Food and Agricultural Organization officials say this is an “unprecedented threat” to food security, one “of international dimensions.” It’s “a far more serious emergency than we had earlier anticipated,” an African official said. “Please do not wait to act,” FAO Deputy-Director-General Helena Semedo pleaded at a February 7 gathering of “international experts” and African leaders.

Desperate Africans are responding with “time-tested” methods: whistling and shouting loudly, banging on metal buckets, waving blankets and sticks, crushing the bugs – perhaps even roasting and eating them, under UN-approved nutrition programs. In Eritrea, they are using “more advanced” methods: hand-held and truck-mounted sprayers. In Kenya, police are firing machine guns and tear gas into the swarms!

Fenitrothion is a highly effective pesticide against locust swarms. But only in Ethiopia, it seems, are they spraying pesticides from small airplanes. Fenitrothion supplies are extremely limited – and aerial spraying is too expensive for cash-strapped countries, too dangerous in areas wracked by radical Muslim insurgencies, and minimally effective against such massive swarms with so few available aircraft. And it takes days for pesticide-phobic farmers to move cattle and goats out of areas that could be sprayed.

In this era of incredible modern agricultural and insect control technologies, when American farmers get 3-5 times more crop yields per acre than 50 years ago­­ – how is it possible that Africa remains perpetually on the brink of starvation? That Africa faces yet another locust plague of biblical pharaoh proportions? That Africans must rely on absurd “time-tested,” almost totally ineffective locust control methods?

Incredibly, this looming catastrophe is due to policies and programs that have been officially adopted and deliberately implemented by the very UN agencies that are now crying loudest about the horrific situation.

For years now, the FAO, UN Development Programme and UN Environment Programme (UNEP) have been working in cahoots with some of the most radical environmentalist pressure groups on Earth to devise and impose “agroecology” – a perverse combination of socialism, pseudo-ecology and primitive, anti-technology agriculture. The program is financed and advanced by the UN, by European governments via their development agencies and funding of environmentalist NGOs – and even by US taxpayers, who provide 22% of UN funding and underwrite grants to and tax-exempt status for environmentalist groups.

Agroecology is above all political. It rejects virtually everything that has enabled modern agriculture to feed billions more people from less acreage. It rabidly opposes monoculture farming, hybrid seeds, synthetic/non-organic insecticides and fertilizers, biotechnology ... and even mechanized equipment like tractors! It claims Dr. Norman Borlaug’s Green Revolution, which saved a billion people from starvation, did little more than put global food production “under the control of a few transnational corporations.”

Acceptance of agroecology tenets and restrictions has become a condition for poor farmers getting seeds, and their countries and local communities getting development loans and food aid. Mid-level bureaucrats get cushy jobs overseeing and propagandizing agroecology campaigns, while ruling elites get more opportunities to siphon off additional millions in international aid money. They still erect roadblocks to Golden Rice, which could save 2 million parents and children a year from blindness and death.

AgroEcology advocates extol “food sovereignty” and the “right to subsistence farming.” They promote “indigenous agricultural knowledge and practices,” to the exclusion of knowledge, practices, technologies and equipment that have been developed in recent decades – and could help end Africa’s perpetual poverty, malnutrition, disease, joblessness and early death. They sow fear about pesticides and GM food.

Instead of transforming and modernizing African agriculture, the UN, FAO, UNEP, and radical groups like Food First, La Via Campesina, Greenpeace and IFOAM Organics International demand “culturally appropriate” food produced through “ecologically sound and sustainable methods,” as only they can twist those terms to serve their sick determination to negate and roll back human progress.

FAO Steering Committee member Miguel Altieri insists that all this will promote “resiliency” in African food production. The locust plague and imminent starvation underscore just how “resilient” agroecology has made East Africa. There’s barely enough food for good times, much less days of droughts and locusts. Modern agriculture could turn much of Africa into a bread basket – but the lunatics won’t allow it.

In 2012, Kenya banned biotech (GM or GMO) food, even as highly successful pilot projects were doubling and tripling crop yields for Kenyan and South African farmers, and ending plant diseases that had devastated papaya and cassava crops. Now, even as locusts wipe out staple food crops, rabid NGOs are pressuring Kenya’s Parliament to ban over 200 pesticides that have been approved as safe for crops, wildlife and people by Kenyan authorities and by regulators in the USA, Canada and other nations.

Meanwhile, well-fed Uhura Kenyatta, president of Kenya since 2013, resorts to the typical cop-out: the locust plague is the result of climate change. And Kenya’s Ministry of Health says, even if there is a severe famine and a threat to loss of life, “every effort” will be made to “source [imported] food from non-GMO sources, failing which emergency GM food may be allowed in.” Shades of Zambia 2002!

Adding to the insanity, in late January the United Nations claimed it needed “more than $70 million from donors” to address the locust crisis. For 2020, the UN budget is $3.1 billion; the FAO’s is $1 billion; the UNEP’s $790 million; and the Green Climate Fund has some $2 billion, plus pledges of some $6 billion.

Surely, these outfits can find a measly $70 million in these bloated treasuries to address a genuine humanitarian crisis – even if they have to claw it away from agroecology and similarly useless programs.

And what about the rights of African farmers who don’t want to practice agroecology, who want to use modern seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and machinery? Do the FAO and UN Human Rights Commission support those rights of self-determination? Why isn’t the HRC blasting the NGOs, EU countries and UN agencies for these human rights violations and the misery, malnutrition, disease and death they cause?

Agroecology burdens African farmers “with systems that my grandfather gave up on 125 years ago,” Indiana farmer and US Ambassador to the FAO and other Rome-based UN agencies Kip Tom told people attending the February 20 USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum dinner. Whereas previous FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva was deeply involved in the agroecology movement, thankfully his replacement (Qu Dongyu of China) is a scientist who seems “willing to work with” American farmers and the Trump Administration “to feed a growing and hungry world,” Ambassador Tom added.

Agroecology represents eco-imperialism at its worst. Under any fair and balanced application of their own beliefs and standards, today’s “woke” environmental, campus and progressive activists would charge the organizations imposing agroecology on Africa with eco-manslaughter. But that will never happen.

President Trump, the Agriculture Department and Congress should loudly and publicly stigmatize the FAO, UN and EU and their NGOs – and terminate any funding and tax exemptions that support agroecology. US agencies should devote their resources to rooting out this perverse system and helping Africa bring modern agriculture, disease control, health and living standards to its mistreated families.

Via email

Great Australian Bight: Equinor abandons plans to drill for oil

Norwegian oil company announces it has scrapped its $200m plan to deepwater drill in Great Australian Bight Marine Park

After extensive Greenie harassment

Norwegian oil giant Equinor has abandoned plans to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight, declaring the controversial project did not make commercial sense.

The company said on Tuesday it had told federal, South Australian and local authorities it had decided to scrap the $200m project to deepwater drill in the Great Australian Bight Marine Park.

It is the third major oil company to abandon plans to drill in the bight, following BP and Chevron.

“Following a holistic review of its exploration portfolio, Equinor has concluded that the project’s potential is not commercially competitive compared with other exploration opportunities in the company,’’ the company’s country manager for Australia, Jone Stangeland, said in a statement.

The decision is a significant win for environment groups and other opponents of the project, including Indigenous elders and local councils. The proposal sparked protests supported by tens of thousands of people opposed to fossil fuel extraction in a marine wilderness area.

Equinor’s announcement comes shortly after the proposed Stromlo-1 well site, in water more than 2.2km deep and nearly 400km off the South Australian coast, was granted environmental approval by the federal offshore petroleum regulator. The Wilderness Society launched legal action challenging the decision last month, arguing opponents had not been properly consulted.

Peter Owen, the Wilderness Society’s South Australian director, welcomed Equinor’s decision to “responsibly withdraw” from the project.

“It’s been a while coming, but the right decision is the right decision, and we have no doubt that the hundreds of thousands of people that have supported the campaign to fight for the Bight will be both delighted and relieved to hear this news,” he said.

Owen called on the Morrison government to “listen to the people and permanently protect the unique waters of the Great Australian Bight from drilling for good”.

The federal minister for resources, Keith Pitt, said the government was disappointed about Equinor’s decision, but pleased the company had made clear it would still be part of the oil and gas industry in Australia. It said the decision would be “particularly hard for South Australia”.

He said the government remained committed to “encouraging the safe development of Australia’s offshore petroleum resources. “The Bight basin remains one of Australia’s frontier basins and any proposals for new oil and gas fields in this area will be assessed fairly and independently,” he said.

Equinor was granted a petroleum title over areas in the Bight in 2011. In December, it cleared the second of four regulatory hurdles it needed to pass before it could start drilling, when the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority, known as Nopsema, granted its environmental approval.

The company described the decision as an important milestone that followed more than 400 meetings with community and other organisations. Environmentalists, local councils and elders of the traditional owners of the Bight, the Mirning people, denied they had been properly consulted and vowed to continue to fight the project.

Industry body the Australian Petroleum and Production and Exploration Association said the company’s decision to drop the project was disappointing for South Australians, who would have benefited economically, and for the “wider Australian community”, which needed new energy supplies.

Matthew Doman, the association’s chief executive, said: “The proposed exploration activity had been subject to an extreme campaign of false and exaggerated claims that deliberately overstated the risks and ignored the potential benefits.”

Greenpeace Australia Pacific’s chief executive, David Ritter, said the decision was an “incredible win for people power and nature”. He said it followed years of relentless campaigning by coastal communities, Indigenous traditional owners, surfers, the seafood industry, tourism operators and local businesses.

“Never doubt the power and determination of the Australian people,” Ritter said.

Sarah Hanson Young, the Greens environment spokeswoman and a South Australian senator, called on other parties to back Greens’ legislation that would put the Bight forward for world heritage protection.

“Opening a new fossil fuel basin in the middle of our ocean was always madness,” she said. Moving to net zero emissions by 2050 means we must reduce pollution now, not give the green light to new polluting projects.”

Noah Schultz-Byard, South Australian director of the Australia Institute, said polling suggested an overwhelming majority of people would support world heritage listing for the Bight.

Stangeland said Equinor said it still held an offshore exploration permit in Western Australia and would maintain “other ongoing interests and activities in Australia”.



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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