Wednesday, April 29, 2020

No, Antarctica Is Not ‘Rapidly Melting’

"It’s easy to wonder if the sheer volume of panic being spread on the issue of climate change is a conspiracy. But it doesn’t have to be a conspiracy to be this pervasive, it just has to fit the world view of a critical mass of special interests"

The BBC, which in September 2018 announced its decision to censor any reports by climate skeptics, continues to propagandize for climate alarmists. On March 12, BBC “Science Correspondent” Jonathan Amos published an alarming article entitled “Greenland and Antarctica ice loss accelerating.” According to Amos, “Earth’s great ice sheets, Greenland and Antarctica, are now losing mass six times faster than they were in the 1990s thanks to warming conditions.”

The BBC was not alone, of course. Generic journalist NPCs around the world ran with the story. The Guardian’s version came with a predictably terrifying subhead: “Losses of ice from Greenland and Antarctica are tracking the worst-case climate scenario, scientists warn.” USA Today offered its version on March 16, with a story headlined, “Greenland and Antarctica are now melting six times faster than in the 1990s, accelerating sea-level rise.”

The source of these dire statistics was a report in the journal Nature, published late last year and released online on March 12. The key findings were summarized by NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and come down to certain quantitative assertions that invite skeptical analysis.

Perhaps the most alarming sounding statistic was the following, quoting from NASA/JPL:

The two regions [Greenland and Antarctica] have lost 6.4 trillion tons of ice in three decades; unabated, this rate of melting could cause flooding that affects hundreds of millions of people by 2100.

This sounds like a lot of ice, “6.4 trillion tons.” But it’s not. This equates to 6,400 billion tons, which may also be referred to as 6,400 gigatons, which is 6,400 cubic kilometers. That would be an ice cube 18.5 kilometers on a side, or, to revert to the imperial system of measures, an ice cube 11.5 miles on a side. If you dropped this ice cube in the world’s oceans and let it melt, it would raise the level of the oceans by 18 millimeters—that’s 9/16ths of one inch.

How horrible.

Tectonic Shifts

To focus on Antarctica, the report in Nature claimed Antarctica is losing, in recent years, 190 gigatons of ice per year, an amount that supposedly portends an ominous future for coastal cities around the world. But the total ice mass of Antarctica is generally estimated at 26.5 million gigatons. This means that the participating scientists claim they can observe a change in the total ice mass of Antarctica of one seven millionths per year. You can’t even make an easily comprehensible fraction for an amount this infinitesimal. Expressed using decimals, it’s .000007.

It doesn’t take a scientist to wonder if these scientists aren’t jumping to conclusions. This amount of change is way below the noise level. How on earth—using satellite-based imagers screaming through a polar orbit at nearly 20,000 miles per hour, observing a continent 5.4 million miles in area, covered with an ice sheet that is up to three miles thick—can these scientists claim with confidence that they’re detecting an annual change in the total ice mass of .0007 percent—and, worse, announce this to the world as if it’s terrifying?

This is the sort of reasoning that the BBC openly censors. But thank God for the blogosphere to debunk alarmist reports about the cryosphere.

A good anthology of links and summaries of contrarian, non-alarmist findings can be found on the indefatigable Marc Morano’s Climate Depot website. Included in a recent post are articles by NASA glaciologist Jay Zwally claiming Antarctica is actually gaining ice.

One of the biggest obstacles to accurately measuring the volume of an ice sheet is that the underlying terrain itself changes, uplifting, or subsiding depending on tectonic shifts and other geologic variables. Available online, from the Journal of Marine Science Research and Oceanography, is an article titled “The Views of Three Sea Level Specialists.” The observations by meteorologist Thomas Wysmuller, formerly with NASA, are particularly helpful in understanding the difficulties with measuring Antarctica’s ice mass, as well as sea-level trends.

With respect to sea-level rise, Wysmuller explains that “the most influential driver of local sea level trend happens to be local tectonics,” and therefore the most accurate long-term measurements of sea level can only be found in places that are “tectonically inert.” He cites these areas as reporting a 1 millimeter to 1.2-millimeter rate of annual sea-level rise over the last century, with scant evidence of acceleration.

Wysmuller provides an excellent example of how sea level data is manipulated by alarmists, by showing a chart from NOAA depicting mean sea level at Seward, Alaska. The trend line of the long-term tide gauges shows a supposed rapid rise in sea level, but when you observe the actual year over year data, it is clear that sea level was stable both before and after the Alaskan earthquake in 1964. At a magnitude of 9.3, this devastating quake caused the coastal land to fall by 0.9 meters.

It is impossible to refute every argument made by climate alarmists, because there is a perpetual onslaught of propaganda connecting virtually any topic to climate change. But voters and politicians have an obligation to look past the hype and perform their own critical reasoning. Six-point-four-trillion-tons. That sounds like so much, but in fact it’s just a drop in the ocean.

And as for Greenland, why is it called Greenland? Because in “Old Greenland,” back in the 10th century and for a few hundred years thereafter, parts of this harsh land were green. To this day there are ruins of churches, anchoring settlements where thousands lived until the little ice age drove them out.

And what about “thermal expansion” of the oceans? Then why is there no indisputable evidence of sea levels rising? And why wouldn’t increased evaporation in a thermally expanded, warmer ocean, offset the thermal expansion? These questions deserve discussion and answers. But the BBC, along with most other mainstream and online media, suppress discussion, and suppress answers with which they do not agree.

Former presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg, when talking about his policy positions, was fond of prefacing a remark with the phrase “science says . . . ” But using the words “science says” as a way to gain credibility and stifle debate is not scientific. The lifeblood of science is skepticism. It is supposed to be the lifeblood of journalism as well. And when it comes to climate change, “science” knows a lot less than its self-proclaimed spokespersons claim.

It’s easy to wonder if the sheer volume of panic being spread on the issue of climate change is a conspiracy. But it doesn’t have to be a conspiracy to be this pervasive, it just has to fit the world view of a critical mass of special interests. And that it does.

Anyone who believes in socialism, or just in bigger government, will favor the climate alarmist narrative. Anyone who believes in globalism and the withering away of national sovereignty will be similarly attracted to climate alarmism. As for private opportunists, from rent-seeking multinational corporations to local environmental impact consultants, climate alarmism is a gold mine.

Worst of all is not just the censorship of skeptical voices, but the demonization of skeptics. For example, a Google search on Thomas Wysmuller reveals links to several websites devoted to nothing but smearing and defaming him and everybody like him. But it is the documented facts and logical integrity of Wysmuller’s arguments that must be considered, not the attacks on his character made by his ideological enemies.

Perhaps referring to these left-wing, slime-slinging websites is the best way to quickly learn who’s willing to tell the other side of the story; perhaps it’s where we find the good guys.


Climatologist Delighted Over Economic Downturn, Wants Carbon Tax

Betts is an old diehard Warmist from way back

In a recent opinion piece, Vermont “climate scientist” Alan Betts rejoiced at the world’s financial troubles, beginning with his title: “The global economy crumbles.”

Hundreds of millions of people face imminent starvation globally, but Mr. Betts (an expert in “atmospheric research”) gloats that “reality has intruded on sacred ‘free-market’ theology.”

To Betts, all of the world’s problems were created by cruel, unnamed capitalists who manipulated the poor while toxifying the environment.

He lambasts these horrible antagonists:

Capitalism has no moral guiding principles, it simply demands growth and profits, with no consideration for resilience and long-term stability.

Historically, justice for working people was not considered, let alone justice for life on Earth[.] … Looking back, it is clear that the growth of the capitalist system was powered by fossil fuel.

Ironically, Mr. Betts has not “historically considered” the state from whence he is shrieking.

Vermont, which boasts a history of self-reliance and small farm production, has long been sustained on that capitalism he disdains as unjust (long before fossil fuel dependency).

But for him, Vermont must be delivered from capitalist injustice through the unnamed virtues of socialism, by embracing more local production and control.

Says Betts:

[W]e must step away from the endless pleas for growth, and grasp the simple reality that exponential [sic] growth of the consumer economy means sacrificing the planet just so some can profit.

This too is stupid when our engineers could easily and cheaply build long-lived products for a sustainable society instead of the throw-away culture that was started in the 1950s.

This “simple reality” must be the one Betts suggested hadn’t “intruded on sacred free-market theology.” But Betts’s “simple reality” points to “the consumer economy.”

Is that the fault of the mysterious capitalists? Mr. Betts blames the producers and the consumers of the goods — is he Marxist or bourgeois?

Mr. Betts promises undisclosed socialist panaceas to rescue the planet’s future from the totalitarian grip of the capitalist past.

His sole (atmospheric?) policy prescription is a regressive tax on gasoline:

Now is a perfect time to add a fossil carbon tax, when the price of oil is low, to fund the transition to an efficient society powered by renewable energy.

The public would not notice, but what is obvious to us is unthinkable to the rich and powerful oil industry, which demands instead subsidies to protect profits as usual.

Betts wishes to use what he calls the “clueless central government” to take money from low-income drivers (while they “won’t notice”) to transfer (as subsidies) to the rich and powerful renewable energy industry, in the name of the “rich and powerful oil industry.”

Presumably, the money siphoned off those poor-slob car-drivers would “fund the transition” to throw away that throwaway culture and manufacture a new Shangri-La.

But Betts hasn’t asked for consumption to be thrown away. He also hasn’t told readers where to throw away the tens of millions of people facing starvation due to the “global economic crumbling” he chortles over.

He has thrown away capitalism with Vermont history, discarded self-reliance with self-respect, and cast common sense to the wind.

Yet Mr. Betts has not thrown away economics:

We can also delight in the benefits from the large economic downturn. Decline in the pollution from air travel and less driving helps Earth. The big drop in global air pollution from the reduced burning of fossil fuels benefits the planet, and ironically may save as many lives as are dying from COVID-19.

Mr. Betts proposes to 1) use a collapsing economy and gas prices to 2) take money from working-class people to 3) finance renewable energy projects and electric vehicles that benefit the wealthy, while 4) blaming wealthy capitalists and 5) saving all life on planet Earth.

Families are struggling financially, with food security threatened for some — even in Vermont. The government faces a fiscal crisis.

But with gasoline consumption at the lowest since the Vietnam War, Mr. Betts and other progressive Earth rescuers have dropped the pretense that a fuel tax will reduce consumption and are simply grabbing for a tax.

There is a big difference between an existential futuristic threat of global climate change and the very real and present harm to mankind of seismic economic collapse.

There is also a huge gulf between dreading and delighting in that economic downturn, which may yet claim vastly more lives than were taken by COVID-19 (or saved by that “big drop in air pollution”).

It is surreal to delight in the face of mass human suffering while opportunistically advocating a regressive tax on cheap gas to “transition to an efficient society.” Human morality is crumbling faster than the global economy.

What is this new sacred theology that is replacing the free market?


New N.H. Temp Reconstructions Devoid Of Mann-Made ‘Hockey Sticks’

New paleoclimate records from Europe, Scandinavia-Russia, China, and the northeastern USA indicate there has been no unusual modern warming.

Instead, these newly published reconstructions show warmer periods and more rapid centennial-scale warming events occurred in past centuries, or when CO2 concentrations were much lower than they are now.

United States

In the late 1990s, Dr. Michael Mann heavily weighted tree-ring evidence from North American bristlecone pines to construct the notorious hockey stick temperature graph featuring a sharp uptick in modern warming.

A new 2,500-year tree-ring reconstruction (411 B.C.E. to 2016 C.E.)  for the northeastern United States shows no unusual climate changes in recent decades have occurred in this region (Pearl et al., 2020).

The authors suggest the tree species used, Atlantic white cedar, is “significantly correlated” with this region’s temperature.

Scandinavia, Russia

Another new dendroclimatology study (Shi et al., 2020) affirms Northern Eurasia (Sweden, Yamal) warmed 3 to 6 times faster during the 4th, 15th, and 19th centuries than during the 1900s-2000s.

For example, the temperature record suggests it warmed 0.37°C to 0.85°C within the last century.

During the Roman and Medieval warm periods as well as the 19th century, regional temperatures rose at much faster rates of 1.37°C to 3.31°C per century.

Further, the record shows regional temperatures were warmer during the first millennium than during the last century.


Using ice cores, tree rings, lake sediments, and stalagmites from 28 proxy temperature reconstructions from throughout the “whole country” of China, Hao et al., (2020) find the “longest warm period on the centennial-scale” occurred during the 10th to 13th centuries, or during the Medieval Warm Period (MWP).

The two warmest 30-year periods during the MWP are also “comparable” to the warmth of the most recent decades.

None of these Northern Hemisphere temperature reconstructions indicate there has been any unusual modern warming relative to the natural temperature variations of the last few millennia.


Australia could get 90% of electricity from renewables by 2040 with no price increase

On windy nights only, presumably.  What do you do when the wind doesn't blow and the sun doesn't shine? They talk blithely of pumped hydro and batteries but omit to mention that the costs for both are vast while the output is trivial

Australia could get 90% of its electricity from renewable energy by 2040 without an increase in power prices, according to an analysis by the energy and carbon consultancy RepuTex.

Under current government policies, the country is on track to have 75% of its electricity generated by renewables within 20 years, but the analysis suggests a weak federal policy framework would lead to wholesale prices rising for a period after 2030.

RepuTex’s latest outlook for the national energy market finds investment driven by state policies, including renewable energy targets in Victoria and Queensland, will help keep wholesale electricity prices down throughout the 2020s.
Zali Steggall calls for investigation of Coalition plan to underwrite gas, hydro and coal power
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But it says wholesale prices would rise again in the 2030s without federal policy to encourage investment in new clean energy generation before ageing coal-fired power stations close.

RepuTex examined two scenarios, one that forecasts wholesale electricity prices under current government policies, and another that forecasts prices under the Australian Energy Market Operator’s more ambitious “step change” scenario that uses a carbon budget in line with the Paris agreement. It has made a summary of its report and methodology, but not the full report, available on its website.

Under current policies, Australia would reach 50% renewable energy by 2030 and 75% by 2040, despite the absence of a federal policy framework beyond the underwriting of new generation investment scheme.

The report finds new investment would be driven by state-based policies and renewable energy targets, which RepuTex forecasts would bring about 17 gigawatts of new capacity by 2030, along with 4GW of rooftop solar and 3.5GW of new storage capacity.

The falling costs of clean technology would put pressure on coal and gas generation and lead to 18GW of thermal capacity exiting the market by 2040. It forecasts wholesale prices would remain at roughly the current level, between $50 -$70 a megawatt hour, over the next 10 years. Wholesale electricity prices have fallen by nearly 50% over the past year.
Energy companies will face pressure to lower prices as wholesale costs tumble
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“As new renewable energy and storage projects such as Snowy 2.0 are commissioned, along with the continued uptake of small-scale resources, traditional volumes for black coal and gas-fired capacity are likely to be eroded,” RepuTex’s head of research, Bret Harper, said.

But the report finds that a disorderly closure of coal-fired power stations would push wholesale prices up in the 2030s in the absence of federal policy to guide investment.

RepuTex found that an increase in wholesale prices could be avoided under the more ambitious scenario, forecasting that average annual prices in the 2030s would remain below $80/MWh. The step change scenario sets out an emissions budget for the electricity sector that would lead to decarbonised energy systems by 2050, in line with the Paris agreement commitment of keeping global heating below 2C.

RepuTex forecasts this scenario would lead to Australia reaching 70% renewable energy generation by 2030 and 90% in 2040, and that the combination of more renewable energy, improved storage technologies and a carbon budget would be “fatal” for coal-fired power.

“The most interesting thing is we can have this decarbonised energy system and it won’t cost any more,” Harper said.

“In fact, it costs slightly less. Just in the last year even, energy storage costs have really come down, whether it’s battery or pumped hydro.”



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


Farmed fish at increased risk of disease due to global warming

This is nonsense.  Fish species are most abundant in tropical waters.  Overall, warmth is GOOD for fish

Farmed fish are at increasing risk of disease due to global warming, a study has found for the first time.

Researchers discovered that as oceans and freshwater sources heat up, conditions become more favourable for bacteria, leading fish farmers to use increasing amounts of antimicrobial drugs to fight disease in their stock.

But large quantities of antimicrobial agents in fish farms has led to an increase in drug-resistant bacteria.

“Resistant bacteria in aquaculture can either spread or transmit their resistance genes to non-resistant bacteria that infect humans, thus causing diseases that are difficult to treat in both animals and humans,” Samira Sarter, a microbiologist who was part of the study, told Science Daily.

The report, published last week in Nature Communications, was conducted by researchers from the Institute of Evolution Sciences at the University of Montpellier, France.

The researchers analysed more than 400 scientific articles on over 11,000 bacteria found in aquacultures from 40 countries to come up with a multi-antibiotic resistance index. It revealed that low and middle-income countries had high antimicrobial resistance​ (AMR) levels.

The study also found that "infected aquatic animals present higher mortalities at warmer temperatures. Countries most vulnerable to climate change will probably face the highest AMR risks, impacting human health beyond the aquaculture sector, highlighting the need for urgent action. Sustainable solutions to minimise antibiotic use and increase system resilience are therefore needed".

When micro-organisms such as bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites become resistant to antimicrobial drugs - a range of treatments which include antibiotics and antifungals - they are often referred to as “superbugs”, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The resistant infections have huge implications for the aquaculture industry, where farmers rear fish and shellfish.

The aquaculture industry provides half of the fish and seafood consumed worldwide and is a vital source of protein for a growing number of people around the world, particularly in the developing world. The global population is expected to increase by 2bn people by 2050. Food security is a looming challenge in countries facing more droughts, floods and wildfires due to climate change.

In 2016, 37 countries were producing more farmed than wild-caught fish, according to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization. In 2014, a report by the World Bank predicted that by 2030, 62% of the seafood consumed globally will be farm-raised.

An estimated 700,000 deaths around the world each year could be attributed to antimicrobial resistance, according to WHO, and this is predicted to increase to 10m deaths annually in the next 35 years.

The health risk does not only apply to fish farming but also to farming on land. According to the CDC, an estimated 6 in 10 known infectious diseases in people can be spread from animals.

The researchers said alternatives for antibiotics are needed urgently on fish farms. One solution could be using certain plant varieties which help boost disease immunity in fish.

The study also recommended better land management to prevent run-off from crops, animal farming and sewage entering water sources.


Electric car boom could result in resource shortages and toxic waste - report

Consequences of EV production aren't so green.  The debate about the green credentials of electric cars has been reignited.

With new research claiming a rise in electric vehicles could create a shortage in natural resources and further damage to the planet unless we find more sustainable ways to source the metals required to construct battery packs and wiring.

The new study, conducted by a coalition of Canadian researchers, says the transition away from fossil fuels is increasing demand for base metals, with shortages in nickel, cobalt and copper predicted to emerge as early as 2025.

The solution, it says, could lie in the deep sea mining of certain underwater rock concretions that can provide the materials used in electric car battery production without any of the toxic waste.

The study was commissioned by deep sea mining company DeepGreen, which has a vested interest in the proposed method.

According to the research, an electric car with a 75KWh battery and NMC 811 (nickel-manganese-cobalt) chemistry needs 56kg of nickel, 7kg of manganese, 7kg of cobalt and 85 kg of copper for electric wiring.

The problem is, the study claims, these land ores have limited yield and conventional land mining processes produce billions of tonnes of waste while leaking deadly toxins into soil and water.

"The good news is, metals are recyclable and over time, as we build up enough metal stock-in-use to cover our needs, we should be able to cycle and recycle the same stock through the system," the study says.

However, in the meantime, researchers point to a shortfall in metal stock as a potential problem.

The solution, researchers say, is an alternate source of metals known as 'polymetallic nodules' taken deep from the seafloor of the Pacific Ocean.

Also called 'ocean nodules', these rock masses contain high concentrations of nickel, cobalt and manganese and have been described as "effectively an EV battery in a rock".

Unlike their land-ore counterparts, ocean nodules contain no toxic levels of harmful elements and mining them has the potential to generate almost zero solid waste.

Compared with mining the land, ocean nodules deliver 70 per cent smaller carbon footprint, a 100 per cent reduction in solid waste, 94 per cent less land use and 93 per cent less wildlife at risk.

Additionally, they offer lower unit costs compared with land ores, which are more expensive due to smaller supplies and the energy- and personnel-intensive mining requirements they demand.

However, researchers acknowledge the ocean-sourced metals will provide fewer jobs than the traditional land-ore mining industry, but contend these jobs will be "safer and higher-quality".

DeepGreen's research isn't the first of its kind to point to deep sea mining as a way to ensure electric cars remain a viable environmental solution.

According to the BBC, a 2019 European investigation found that meeting the UK's targets for electric cars by 2050 "would require nearly twice the world's current output of cobalt".

"It's readily available on the seafloor, it's almost like potato harvesting only 5km deep in the ocean," EU project head Laurens de Jonge told the BBC.

Behyad Jafari, CEO of Australia's Electric Vehicle Council, says concerns around electric vehicles' impact on resources and the environment have been raised before and work is already being done to circumvent future issues.

"The development of batteries is where EVs have, in the past, been shot in the arm – a few environmental and ethical issues have been raised," Mr Jafari told Drive.

"When it comes to the supply chain of metals there have been questions before about who's digging them up and how, but now that large OEMs and reputable businesses have been put into this domain they've made sure they are reputable sources and are working to provide transparency in that market."

Mr Jafari says studies investigating resource shortages often only account for present-day supply of these metals, which he says does not predict supply in the future. In fact, he says, supplies are likely to increase rather than decline.

"If we look at the pipeline of investment going into making more of those metals, that's actually been scaled back due to concerns of over-supply, not of under-supply," he explained.


Ban on GM crops set to go in South Australia

The South Australian parliament is set to pass legislation to lift a ban on genetically-modified crops on the state's mainland

Legislation to lift the ban on genetically modified crops on the South Australian mainland is set to pass state parliament after negotiations between the Liberal government and the Labor opposition.

Primary Industries Minister Tim Whetstone says under proposed amendments local councils will have six months to apply to remain GM-free, though a final decision will still rest with the minister.

Kangaroo Island will also remain GM-free.

"This agreement is a great outcome for South Australian farmers who will have the opportunity to reap the benefits of growing GM where that is best for their business," Mr Whetstone said.


Mandatory climate change classes plan for Scottish leaders

Scotland is very Leftist

MSPs, business leaders and newly enrolled university students may be asked to take mandatory climate change studies if plans currently under consideration are adopted.

The studies would help arm them with facts and knowledge to make urgent changes to society as it emerges from COVID-19 lockdown. The Scottish Government has already committed to enrolling at least 100 senior officials to the Climate Solutions course.

The news comes just days before Tuesday’s one-year anniversary of Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon declaring a climate emergency.

The course was devised by experts at the Perth-based Royal Scottish Geographical Society in partnership with the Institute of Directors, Stirling University’s Business School and the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Carbon Innovation.

Among the main areas the course looks at are issues around transport, energy use, supply chains, social behaviours, mitigation and planning for the future.

Former UN executive secretary on climate change Christiana Figueres who brokered the Paris Agreement, former Bank of England Governor Mark Carney who is now UN special envoy on climate action and finance and ex Irish President Mary Robinson who set up a climate justice foundation, are among heavyweight names lending their support.


The man behind the idea, RSGS chief executive Mike Robinson, said a number of business leaders have already committed to undertake the course along with the Scottish Government, with further discussions to ensure new university students and MSPs can take part well-underway.

The studies are aimed at filling the gaps in knowledge, on a scientific and factual basis, with a focus on developing a structured plan. Online modules are live now, with the first planned workshop to be held in June.

He insists business leaders – and the farming community in particular – will play a key role in deciding future outcomes.

Mr Robinson, said: “What we’re really hoping is we can make it universal.

“The conversations I’ve had are with six universities is about making it mandatory for students as a matriculation course. Stirling and Edinburgh universities are already further down the line on that than others.

“I’m also talking to others about making it as mandatory as we can in all other sectors - including business - because we need everybody to wake up a bit to their responsibilities.

“The Scottish Government are already committed through their programme of government to put through 100 senior staff on it.”

Scotland has some of the most ambitious climate targets in the world, setting a legally binding pledge to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 at the latest – five years ahead of the date set for the UK as a whole.

The nation’s emissions cuts in March stood at around 50 per cent since 1990 baseline levels, but achieving 100 per cent is expected to take a lot more work across every sector of the community.

Speaking during Climate Solutions Week, Mr Robinson added: Targets, particularly on climate change, relate to the whole of our society and not just government, and you need businesses, you need local authorities, you need individual actors to pick up the baton and play their role.

“Until you all have the same thing you are working too, then the danger is you are actually pulling apart instead of pulling in the same direction and that’s actually the single biggest risk.

“There is a willingness, but not necessarily clarity.

“So, here’s a way that’s credible, reliable, makes sense to business and helps them implement stuff - because if you don’t know this stuff how are you going to run a business in ten years time.”

Anticipating hundreds of people to enrol in the first year, he hopes the course can help reduce the impact of the pause.

He said: “It’s very solutions focussed, its imbued with optimism which I think is essential from a mental health point of view. I’m not into scaring people witless about this, we want to enable them.

“What we’re trying to do is make it easy as possible for people to work out the answers quickly, and the need to take action quickly.

“Even if you can’t necessary impact a solution directly by introducing it in your business or in your own life then what you can do is recognise the need for that change and allow it to happen.”



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


Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Borders Closed by Virus Imperil European Farming

Because of generous welfare provisions, Western European countries often have large numbers of unemployed  -- over 10% in the case of France.  So a local workforce for local farms is actually there.  Some version  of work for welfare would unlock a local workforce.  And the Coronavirus might be just what is needed to get that going

America already has such provisions. The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA) is a United States federal law passed by the 104th United States Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton.

After the passage of the law, the number of individuals receiving federal welfare dramatically declined as previously unemployed people got jobs

Agriculture in the EU depends on easy migration and an interconnected market.  Covid-19 is tearing at that, raising questions about the viability of an economic system built on borderless migration and a single market that matches labor supply with demand. Nowhere is that more apparent than in the sudden reordering of its agricultural industry.

Normally, workers from poorer parts of the EU, particularly Central and Eastern Europe, would take many of these jobs. Each spring they hopscotch the continent on buses, moving from farm to farm to plant and pick crops.

Now, with many borders closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, many in Western Europe are rethinking the dependence on distant pools of labor—and are trying to spur an interest in farm work among people closer to home.

Travel is still restricted in many areas for nonessential workers. In response to the labor squeeze, the EU deemed seasonal workers essential, but countries have the final say on whether the laborers can cross their borders and under what conditions.

And many workers in Central and Eastern Europe, where the pandemic is less severe, are hesitant to travel to more heavily afflicted countries in the West, because of the health risk, particularly if it means crowding into buses.

Ewa Adam, a 45-year-old in Poland, had been planning to travel by bus, passing through Germany, to the south of France for a three-month farming stint that pays €8,000, or about $8,700.

“I can live comfortably in Poland for a year” with the money, Ms. Adam says.

But she’s putting it off, waiting for the spread of the virus to slow. She’s also spooked about the potential for sudden border closures, which would cut her off from elderly family members in Poland

The demand for seasonal farmworkers is less acute in the U.S., because farms are concentrated in the hands of fewer owners, who have embraced automation to a greater degree than Europeans. The U.S. grows a higher proportion of bulk crops, which are easier to plant and harvest with machinery.

In Europe, low-wage labor and hefty subsidies feed a patchwork of more than 10 million farms. Most are a fraction of the size of the average American farm. Many have focused on higher-value crops that require more hand labor. That caters to European palates accustomed to pearl-size Champagne grapes and mozzarella from buffalo’s milk.

In many cases, rich countries have a hard time filling jobs with local people, who can choose work with fewer physical demands and higher pay. But workers from Central and Eastern Europe are attracted by minimum wages in countries like France and Germany that are more than double what similar work pays at home.

People in some countries have raised concerns that foreign workers could help spread the virus. Antiforeigner sentiment has increased in some countries in recent years amid a rise of nationalist groups.

The Dutch government has rolled out an information campaign in several languages to reassure Eastern European workers that they are welcome in the Netherlands during the pandemic.

Germany has chartered planes to carry 80,000 laborers from Central and Eastern Europe, with the aim of reducing the exposure of bus travel through multiple countries. The workers are screened for symptoms upon their arrival, including temperature checks, and bused to farms, where they are expected to live in dormitories, under quarantine conditions, until the end of May.

News of the German airlifts led to crowding at airports in Romania, where prosecutors are investigating the recruitment firms for violating the country’s strict lockdown regulations. One Romanian worker died of coronavirus after arriving in Germany for the harvest.

The scramble, farmers and officials say, shows the need for structural change to guarantee Europe’s food security. With the threat of a disrupted single market, countries might need to farm more staples for stockpiling and produce fewer delicacies like asparagus, farmers say. It also means developing a local workforce or increasing automation.


Why is the Left censoring Michael Moore’s Green energy movie?

Filmmaker Michael Moore released his latest movie, Planet of the Humans, on Earth Day.

Moore hails from the deep roving anti-capitalist Left, so imagine everyone’s surprise when we learned that the film powerfully skewers wind, solar, biomass, ethanol and the rest of so-called “renewable energy.”

The global warming crowd, and of course the people making their fortunes from renewable subsidies, went apoplectic.

Leading the charge to censor and bury Moore’s film is fellow left-wing filmmaker Josh Fox, best known for his movie Gasland, an anti-fracking propaganda flick.

Marc Morano has full coverage over at CFACT’s Climate Depot, including an incendiary series of tweets.

We recommend you watch Planet of the Humans on YouTube, right away, in case the move to completely censor the film succeeds.

Keep in mind that Michael Moore is no choir boy, and certainly no friend of free markets, individual freedom and industrial prosperity. You might want to skip around a bit, but you’ll love watching power company executives admit that their solar array, which would cover a football field, can only put out enough electricity to power ten homes, when the sun shines. To power the entire city of Lansing, Michigan, the array would have to be three miles by five miles! How’s that for a footprint?  The last things the climate people want you to contemplate are “solar dead zones.”

The organizer of a Green concert is greeted by cheers and applause when he shouts that the entire concert is powered by solar energy. Then go behind the stage where the piddling solar array is only big enough to power a single toaster. The actual electricity comes from diesel generators!

Watch citizens hike over a pristine mountaintop, and share their dread as they prepare for the construction of 21 mega wind turbines that will drive nature off the mountain.

Watch the biomass absurdity; burning whole trees or grinding them into chips to generate electricity, receive the contempt it deserves.

The film even exposes massive industry funding of the Sierra Club and the rest of the eco-Left!

There’s plenty more to savor.

So this weekend grab a big bowl of popcorn, fast forward through the Green misanthropy, and watch an arch-Leftist devour the Greens.


Green alarmism obtuse as ever

Other than that, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?

Not a few green activists and media-types can avoid pointing out how much “cleaner” is the environment (“the play”) since the economy has gone into a worldwide depression because millions of people have lost their jobs and/or remain idle at home.

The coronavirus has brought rampant death worldwide combined with now 26 million jobless Americans (and millions more globally). But, we’re being told by many, it’s splendid the environment is better!

Here are samples of this callous, out-of-touch thinking, all of which from people who appear to remain gainfully employed.

Christopher Jones of the “CoolClimate Network” at UC Berkley said, “If we can think about how to prepare for climate change like a pandemic, maybe there will be a positive outcome to all of this.”

Excuse me, but there is no “positive outcome” lurking. There is a massive, well-funded cottage industry of organizations like the CoolClimate Network, which for decades have been thinking about “how to prepare for climate change.” We don’t need a pandemic as a reminder.

Victoria Rochard, head of “Thought Leadership” at SAP, noted the clearer skies in Asia.  In an article in Forbes headlined, “Every Day Earth Day: A Silver Lining in the Pandemic…,” she wrote, “Despite the hardship COVID-19 has created, people are finding comfort in the view of the [Himalayan] mountain range, previously denied to them.” [An aside: Steve Forbes, call your office; with such drivel, what has happened to Forbes media?]

Isn’t it lovely? People who have lost their jobs and livelihoods, along with losing friends and family members to coronavirus, can get a better view of the Himalayas. In Italy, a nation that has suffered the worst, those in Venice can now see fish swimming in the canals.

Monica Medina and Miro Korenha, founders of Our Daily Planet, wrote, “In the midst of the economic and health tragedy posed by the coronavirus pandemic, there is an unexpected bright side: the marked improvement in our environment as a result of the massive slowdown.”

How reassuring. Human misery and tragedy has a bright side: environmental “improvement.”Green alarmism obtuse as ever 1

Sarah McFarlane, reporter for the Wall Street Journal, wrote, “One hopeful development from the coronavirus pandemic: Global air quality is improving dramatically as the outbreak sends many countries into lockdown, climate scientists say.”

She also reported that green groups including Greenpeace and the World Resources Institute are “seizing the crisis as an opportunity to press governments” to impose a green agenda on the teetering private sector.

There are countless more examples of this colossal lack of empathy from green alarmists ready to exploit human suffering, so let’s conclude with Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, often featured on CFACT. She is delighted over the collapsing oil industry in America, even though thousands of workers are in jeopardy. Along with many in Congress, she wants to exploit the pandemic to impose a green political agenda.

“You absolutely love to see it,” she tweeted, referring to the oil collapse. “This along with record low-interest rates means it’s the right time for a worker-led, mass investment in green infrastructure to save our planet.”

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez grew up middle class in prosperous Westchester County, New York. Affordable and viable oil and gasoline remains integral to that living standard throughout America. She deleted her tweet.

Green extremism has long included viewpoints that too many people occupy the Earth and capitalist-style economic growth harms the planet; i.e., people and prosperity are zero-sum with environmental nirvana.  But, America has demonstrated in the last half century since the first “Earth Day” that higher living standards, increased population and robust commerce have coincided with a cleaner environment.

What good is a cleaner, “carbon-free” environment if tens of millions of people lose their livelihoods they spent decades building? Is waiting in a bread line or for an unemployment check more acceptable because satellite photos show clearer skies?

The 26 million jobless Americans along with millions more in economic lockdown would surely tolerate the very congenial air quality we had two months ago in order to reclaim their lives. More so, anyone would forgo a nicer view of a mountain range to have a friend, colleague or loved one spared from coronavirus death.

Maybe it’s news when satellite photos show a clearer atmosphere during a tragic pandemic, but let’s not contend there is an environmental “silver lining” or “bright side.” There is no “hopeful development” with the environment when the cost is the death of scores of thousands of people and economic suffering of millions more.


Imperiled Monarch Butterfly benefits from private conservation plan

There is an ambitious plan involving the private sector in efforts to protect the habitat of the monarch butterfly. This holds the promise of sparing nearby communities the burden of having the creature put on the federal endangered species list and could serve as a model for the recovery of other at-risk plants and animals.

In early April, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) concluded an agreement with private landowners and 45 energy and transportation companies under which the private entities will provide habitat for the monarch butterfly. It is the latest of 51 such agreements, known as “candidate conservation agreements with assurances” (CCAAs), that have been struck since 2000. Once a CCAA has been finalized, and provided its terms are adhered to, landowners are not required to carry out any additional conservation measures.

This means landowners and the surrounding communities will not be subjected to the rigorous land-use restrictions of the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) which can keep broad swaths of private land out of production for years.

The monarch butterfly or simply monarch (Danaus plexippus) is the most familiar North American butterfly and is considered an iconic pollinator species. Its numbers have declined in California from an estimated 10 million in the 1980s to 300,000 now, according to research from Washington State University, Vancouver, Bloomberg reports.

In 2014, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Center for Food Safety filed a petition requesting ESA protection for the monarch and its habitat. The decision on whether to list the monarch is still pending, and a new deadline for completion of an internal FWS species status review report is set for December 2020. FWS’s willingness to sign CCAAs with affected parties indicates that the Trump administration is looking for ways other than the bureaucratic ESA to protect the butterfly.

Aware of the shortcomings of the ESA – both in terms of species recovery and the economic harm it inflicts on affected areas – the Trump administration last year adopted new rules for the statute aimed at speeding up recovery and enlisting the cooperation of landowners to that end.

Cooperation Instead of Coercion

Referring to the CCAA program, Georgia Parham, a spokeswoman for FWS told Bloomberg: “It’s designed to encourage landowners or land managers to conserve species that are at risk of extinction,” with the goal of avoiding listing altogether.

CCAAs are increasingly being used across the West to help protect the habitat of the greater sage grouse, a chicken-sized, ground-dwelling bird whose dwindling numbers raised concerns that it could be added to the Endangered Species List. That could wreak havoc on the region’s natural resources industry, and state and local officials, along with the private sector, have welcomed CCAAs as a viable alternative to an ESA listing.

“By engaging early in voluntary conservation, utilities and departments of transportation can avoid increased costs and additional delays as a result of a potential listing,” Iris Caldwell, program director at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Energy Resources Center, which will administer the agreement, said in a statement.

Encouraging Voluntary Conservation

Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Western Energy Alliance, which represents small oil and gas producers, points out that her industry has long supported CCAAs as a sensible way to protect at-risk species while minimizing economic harm to nearby communities.

“CCAAs can be an effective tool for protecting habitat while providing regulatory certainty for producers. CCAAs encourage voluntary conservation, and when they are working well, can take the place of a species list,” she told Bloomberg. “We support their voluntary use and other voluntary measures to protect species.”



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


Sunday, April 26, 2020

Greenhouse gas emissions have dropped six percent due to coronavirus lockdowns, but its NOT enough to stop climate change, the United Nation warns

OK.  Where is the global cooling? CO2 molecules bounce radiation around instantaneously.  If there are fewer of them up there, we should have less of their usual effects.  We should have a temperature drop. But there is no word of that

The world has seen an average of a six percent drop in greenhouse gases amid the coronavirus pandemic due to lockdowns and industry shutdowns.

Although levels rose to new records this time last year, the decrease is still not significant enough to halt climate change, the United Nation's weather agency warns.

Experts say that once the global economy starts to recover, emissions will return to normal and continue to contribute to climate change.

They also foresee a boost in emissions, as many industries have stopped production altogether during the outbreak.

Since the outbreak, many countries have implemented stay-at-home orders and the shutdown of numerous businesses.

The decrease in human activity has caused a drop in carbon dioxide levels across the globe, including major creators of the gas like India, parts of Europe and China.

But Professor Petteri Taalas, World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Secretary-General, said 'This drop of emissions of six per cent, that's unfortunately (only) short-term good news.'


Michael Moore Admits He Had No Idea Where the Juice to Power Electric Cars Came From

Michael Moore is out with a new film the media will hype but most Americans will never see. This speaks well of the latter and poorly of the former.

In a Reuters story promoting Moore's latest, he admits:

Moore said that he, like many people, thought electric cars were a good idea, “but I didn’t really think about where is the electricity coming from?”

That's awesome. Moore has been going around for decades promoting politicians and policies that would basically wreck the economy. He wanted a coronavirus-level economic tsunami before we'd ever heard of Wuhan and its bats.

But he had no idea what he was talking about. He continues.

“I assumed solar panels would last for ever. I didn’t know what went into the making of them,” Moore added, referring to raw materials, including quartz, and the fossil fuels needed to manufacture the panels.

What's the word I'm looking for here? Oh, right. Clueless. Michael Moore is clueless.

I know, that's probably not news to most of our readers. But it's nice to see it confirmed from his own mouth. Michael Moore has pushed medical policy despite having no clue about it, and he has pushed environmental policy despite having no clue about that too.

Let's take electric cars. They're not powered by peace, love and boutique dispensary pot. They're powered by a combination of oil, coal, natural gas, and the most heinous form of energy to some of the left -- nuclear power -- along with wind and solar. So that environmentally conscious and ostentatious Tesla you see zipping down the road isn't any better, really, than your gas car. Its emissions and consequences are just transferred from right where it is to somewhere else. If you're anti-nuke, electric cars are far worse. Never mind dirty coal.

The batteries in those cars are highly toxic. Sometimes they spontaneously catch on fire. They require extensive mining, as do solar panels. Solar panels require rare earth minerals, for instance, and guess who currently controls a majority of the world's rare earth mineral sources?


Those giant windmills? They're so big we can't crush them to put them in normal landfills and they'll probably never deliver enough energy to offset the amount of energy it takes to build them in the first place.

As Michael Moore is belatedly figuring out, there is no free lunch...when it comes to energy.


New Video Demolishes Claims of Megadrought in U.S. West

Tony Heller, who operates the website, has posted a powerful four-minute video absolutely destroying claims that the western United States is currently experiencing a nearly unprecedented megadrought.

During the past week, the media have been scaremongering the general public by trumpeting a shoddy, newly published paper making the megadrought claim. Earlier this week, H. Sterling Burnett published an article here on Climate Realism pointing out serious flaws in the paper. Tony Heller’s video drives the final nail in the coffin.

In short, only a small portion of the U.S. West is experiencing drought or unusually dry conditions. Much more of the West is experiencing wetter-than-usual conditions than dryer-than-usual conditions. Moreover, long-term National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) data show increasing precipitation throughout the U.S. West rather than decreasing precipitation.

Heller’s video, available here, is a must-watch for people interested in climate change. Please share it with everybody you know who is interested or curious about the climate change debate.


Coronavirus: Pandemic ‘could ruin weather forecasts, climate records’

The global coronavirus pandemic could ruin our ability to forecast the weather and predict climate change as global lockdowns cause ecological and meteorological monitoring exercises to halt, meteorologists warn.

Science journal Nature reports that this disruption in scientific activity will compromise future forecasting efforts by creating yawning gaps in decades-long data sets used to make predictions.

"The break in the scientific record is probably unprecedented,” University of California Santa Barbara ecologist Frank Davis told the journal.

Mr Davis, who is the executive director of the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) program, says coronavirus lockdowns have disrupted the ability of LTER scientists to monitor the effects of weather and environmental events at 30 ecological sites from Alaska to Antarctica.

At some sites, it is the first interruption to monitoring in more than four decades. "That's painful for the scientists involved," Mr Davis said.

Weather monitoring programs are facing similar issues, as scientists often collect data on commercial container ships or leverage data collected by commercial flights.

As the quantity of these services decrease, so has the amount of data collected.

The meteorological data provided by the US aircraft decreased to half its normal levels as of 31 March, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

"It’s certainly the case that with the virtual loss of worldwide aviation, there is a gap in some of the records,” said Grahame Madge, spokesperson for the UK Meteorological Office.

The Meteorological Office estimates that the loss of aircraft data will increase forecast errors by one to two per cent, and more in areas where flight activity is higher.

Program specialist at the International Oceanographic Commission in Paris Emma Heslop told Nature that the measurements made at sea were important in helping to forecast weather patterns over the ocean and keeping longer-term records on the effects of climate change on oceans.

Ms Heslop said that shipboard observations had decreased by 15 per cent since February, with the scientific community scrambling to figure out alternative ways to collect the data as the pandemic continues. “The longer the restrictions are in place, the longer it will take for our operations to recover," she said.



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


Friday, April 24, 2020

AOC Celebrates Oil Workers Losing Their Livelihoods: 'You Absolutely Love to See It'

On Monday, U.S. oil prices fell below zero for the first time ever, shocking observers and raising doubts about the solvency of oil and gas companies coming out of the coronavirus crisis and the oil selling war between Saudi Arabia and Russia. These negative prices were distressing news for the U.S. economy, threatening the livelihoods of oil and gas workers and the availability of the gasoline Americans will need after the crisis ends. Yet Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) saw them as a reason to celebrate.

"You absolutely love to see it," AOC tweeted. "This along with record low interest rates means it's the right time for a worker-led mass investment in green infrastructure to save our planet. *cough*"

In other words, AOC found the negative prices not only a reason to celebrate but another excuse to push her radical Green New Deal legislation. Except, the Green New Deal would not be "worker-led," of course. The green big government boondoggle would not just devastate America's energy sector and cost all those workers their jobs, but it would require the government to tax the life out of the rich, the middle class, and probably the poor, too.

But you know what they say, never let an opportunity — oh, sorry, I mean a crisis — go to waste, right?

Even Ocasio-Cortez seems to have had some shame, however. She deleted the tweet but not before it had been saved for eternity.

House Minority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) was among those calling out AOC's despicable words.

"Oil & gas workers are losing their livelihoods. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez's response was 'you absolutely love to see it.' Then she deleted it because she doesn't want people to see the truth: Dems are willing to sacrifice people's jobs & livelihoods for their radical socialist agenda," Scalise tweeted.

AOC had retweeted independent journalist Brandon Smith, who noted that "oil prices [are] now at 'negative values,' meaning oil producers have to pay people to take it off their hands and store it because when demand plunges (like now), that is less expensive for them than building more storage and/or shutting wells down."

After deleting her original retweet, AOC retweeted Smith again, this time omitting the celebration over an economic downturn that will cost roughly 145,000 people their jobs. She did call the situation an "opportunity," however.

"This snapshot is being acknowledged as a turning point in the climate movement," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. "Fossil fuels are in long-term structural decline. This along w/ low interest rates means it‘s the right time to create millions of jobs transitioning to renewable and clean energy. A key opportunity."

Fossil fuels are in long-term structural decline. This along w/ low interest rates means it‘s the right time to create millions of jobs transitioning to renewable and clean energy. A key opportunity.

To be fair, it seems AOC is a true believer. She's not celebrating oil and gas workers' misery — she's dismissing it as incidental to this opportunity for enacting her green utopia.

"Now is the time to create millions of good jobs building out the infrastructure and clean energy necessary to save our planet for future generations. For our economy, our planet, and our future, we need a [Green New Deal]," she tweeted.

AOC may be a true believer, but that doesn't make her any less dangerous. The kinds of renewable energy she champions cannot meet the demands of today's American grid, and a forced transition would not "empower" anyone but the government, which would become increasingly totalitarian as the green dream falls apart.


Earth Day Musings

Today marks the fiftieth anniversary of the hippie springtime festival of lamentations known as Earth Day. Honestly, I almost never give Earth Day a thought, but this year’s occurrence provides me with an opportunity to write about something other than the dreaded coronavirus. Sure, we will get to some of that too, but let us turn on all of the lights in our houses and examine the folly of trying to “save” this planet from anything.

I have always been of the opinion this planet doesn’t need to be saved from anything. Ol’ Earth has made it through a lot worse than the perceived scourge of puny humans. The arrogance involved in the mindset that we are influencing the planet is staggering.

Earth Day originally had an environmental, conservationist focus, which is something that most people can get behind. Like many people, I like to spend time out in nature. I grew up in a little town in the White Mountains of Arizona where my friends and I would spend half of the summer camping in the woods near our houses. We were all instinctively respectful of our surroundings, innately environmentalist, if you will.

Unfortunately, environmentalism was quickly co-opted by the climate change freakshow. They ruin everything they touch, of course, and they’ve had their filthy, fear-mongering paws all over Earth Day for quite some time now.

Now, environmentalism and climate hysteria are constantly conflated: "We must act decisively to protect our planet from both the coronavirus and the existential threat of climate disruption" - UN Secretary-General António Guterres

It took some time, but the UN finally decided to try and take over Earth Day, passing a resolution in 2009 renaming it -- I kid you not -- International Mother Earth Day. Here’s a snippet from this year’s United Nations International Mother Earth Day message:

Mother Earth is clearly urging a call to action. Nature is suffering. Australian fires, heat records and the worst locust invasion in Kenya. Now we face COVID -19, a worldwide health pandemic link to the health of our ecosystem. Climate change, man-made changes to nature as well as crimes that disrupt biodiversity, such as deforestation, land-use change, intensified agriculture and livestock production or the growing illegal wildlife trade, can increase contact and the transmission of infectious diseases from animals to humans (zoonotic diseases) like COVID-19.

Never let a crisis go to waste, right?

I'm not sure if I've ever engaged in any criminal disruption of biodiversity, because I'm not really sure if such a thing even exists.


Save Our Energy Industry by Slashing Royalty Payments and Energy Taxes Now

America's domestic energy producers are under siege. The price of oil fell to below $5 a barrel on Monday, down from roughly $50 a barrel a year ago. This 90% drop in price is sending nearly the entire oil and gas industry into bankruptcy.

What is going on here?

Saudi Arabia and Russia have flooded the international market with cheap oil at the very time of a massive drop in demand due to the coronavirus pandemic. This "perfect storm" for America's drillers sent prices into this unprecedented tailspin.

Low prices are good news for American motorists and manufacturers, for sure. Get ready for $1 a gallon gas prices in some places. But the market saturation in cheap oil is a scheme by the Saudis to regain the power they lost when innovative U.S. drillers cracked the code to unleash the most prolific and unexpected oil and gas boom in the history of North America.

Because of their grit and determination, and for leading us out of the 2008 to 2009 recession, I love this industry. I wrote a book about the frackers in 2015, and, for full disclosure, I get some limited funding from energy firms. Under President Donald Trump's policies, which were highly supportive of American energy independence, the U.S. became a net exporter of energy, and OPEC's energy dominance was over.

But now, Russia and Saudi Arabia want their price war to shut down American energy production while the world isn't looking. They are succeeding.

Many small- and medium-sized producers, from Texas to North Dakota and Pennsylvania, have been shutting down and are even fighting off bankruptcy. These companies are amazingly resilient and are experts at slashing production costs for the sake of survival. Almost no one (other than radical environmentalists) favors decapitating an industry that has made America an energy powerhouse, created as many as 5 million new jobs, and almost single-handedly pulled our nation out of the 2008 to 2009 recession.

Oil remains one of the necessary elements in society's ability to prosper and function. For example, the blue-collar jobs in oil production, transportation, refining, and petrochemical manufacturing were all deemed "essential workforce" (even in California!) during this period of national emergency. It would be dangerous and shortsighted to hand over energy production to foreign regimes that are less than friendly to the U.S. and have proven themselves to be less than dependable suppliers.

One smart retaliatory move would be to slash the taxes paid by our onshore drillers and royalties on drillers in the Gulf of Mexico and on federal lands. These royalties paid to Uncle Sam can range from a "tax" of between 12% and 18.5%. Ending the royalties through the end of the year would lift the after-tax price paid to drillers by as much as $5 a barrel. This would apply to about 4 million barrels of oil per day on federal properties.

The feds now collect about $6 billion a year in royalties. Canceling those payments would be a small price to pay to save an industry that employs several million workers. Under federal law, the president has the executive authority to take this action.

America has become the world's largest oil and gas producer -- and the Russians and the Saudis want to end that supremacy. Trump can and should make sure they don't succeed by slashing the taxes and royalties this critical industry pays until the coronavirus crisis is over.

Stephen Moore is a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation and an economic consultant with FreedomWorks. He is the co-author of "Trumponomics: Inside the America First Plan to Revive the American Economy."


'Happy' Lenin/Earth Day

Today is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and also (not so coincidentally) the 150th birthday of Russian dictator Vladimir Lenin, who the world can thank for ushering into power the murderous and anti-human ideology of communism. In 1970, the same year that the Environmental Protect Agency was formed, leftist Democrat Sen. Gaylord Nelson (WI) helped found Earth Day. There’s plenty of irony in communist ideology claiming to exist to promote the flourishing of humanity when in reality it’s responsible for killing more of humanity than any ideology in history. In many ways, the same can be said of the ecofascist movement responsible for creating Earth Day.

The goal of eliminating pollution for the betterment of humanity and the environment is laudable. However, when environmentalists actively celebrate the suffering of humanity brought about by the massive slowing of industry due to the China Virus pandemic (see: socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) as being “good for the planet,” they show their true colors.

Over the past 50 years, the U.S. has led the world in massively reducing pollutants that harm humanity and the environment. As Jason Isaac, senior manager and distinguished fellow of Life:Powered, notes, “The United States has dramatically reduced emissions of the six key pollutants that harm human health. Lead, ozone, carbon monoxide, and other harmful airborne substances have declined by 74% — all while our economy, population, vehicle miles traveled, and energy consumption have skyrocketed. Our cities are no longer shrouded by smog and toxic fumes, despite our dramatic growth.”

“In fact,” Isaac adds, “we’re the only highly populated nation to meet the World Health Organization’s standards for safe air. Of developed countries, only Canada and Australia have cleaner air. It’s worth noting, however, that both of their economies are considerably smaller — smaller than the state of Texas’s economy alone.”

The great irony of ecofascists celebrating the massive downturn in global industry and energy production is that the current malaise actually leads to fewer environmentally beneficial developments. Isaac cogently observes, “Without energy to provide for our physical needs — heating and cooling our homes, cooking our food, shipping our medicine, and providing clean, running water — scientific experimentation would be nearly impossible. When mined, transported, and used properly, fossil fuels are a friend of environmental progress.”

Finally, in a related story, The Washington Post reports that 2020 is on track to be the hottest year on record, even despite the massive decrease in CO2 emissions due to the pandemic. However, the Post conveniently dismisses this fact because its true commitment is to blame human activity for climate change: “Climate scientists do not place too much emphasis in annual rankings for monitoring and attributing global climate change, but rather focus more on long-term trends in greenhouse gas emissions, air and sea temperatures and climate indicators such as melting glaciers, sea level rise and changes in precipitation patterns.” So, when a massive decrease in human-caused emissions does happen and yet it won’t contribute to a decrease in global temperatures, the Post suggests that it’s merely an anomaly that should be ignored. How convenient.



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


Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Arctic Ocean will be ice-free in the summer before 2050 even if emission-cutting goals are met, shock study reveals

Another stupid model.  These models have never got anything right yet.  "As a result of".  How do they know what any melting was a result of?  They don't know and could not know.  It is just a bald assertion that CO2 was a factor

The sea around the North Pole will be ice-free in the summer before 2050 — even if emission-cutting goals are met, a shocking study has revealed.

Experts modelled the impact of various levels of carbon dioxide emissions on Arctic sea ice, finding that the targets of the Paris Climate agreement will not be enough.

Sea ice in the Arctic normally grows and shrinks according to the seasons, but at present some ice — which is home to animals like polar bears — always remains.

However, the team behind the findings said that we can still have control over how often the Arctic thaws and for how long in future — but only if emissions are slashed.

The climate-modelling study was conducted by climate scientist Dirk Notz of the University of Hamburg in Germany and colleagues.

'If we reduce global emissions rapidly and substantially, and thus keep global warming below 2°C relative to pre-industrial levels, Arctic sea ice will nevertheless likely disappear occasionally in summer even before 2050,' Dr Notz said. 'This really surprised us,' he added.

Currently, the North Pole is covered by sea ice all-year-round — but, each summer, the area of the sea  that the ice covers decreases before growing again in winter.

*As a result of* the warming effect of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane, areas of the Arctic Ocean once constantly covered with ice have begun to thaw out during the summer months.

In the future — if humanity succeeds in reducing its emission levels rapidly — completely ice-free years in the Arctic are predicted to occur only occasionally.

However, with higher emissions, the Arctic Ocean will become ice-free in the summers of most years.

Not only will the additional melting contribute to rising sea levels, but it will also mean the loss of precious hunting grounds and habitats for polar bears and seals.

In their study, the researchers used the most up-to-date climate models to predict the effects of different carbon dioxide levels on the state of Arctic sea ice.

These are the same models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the environmental research branch of the United Nations. [That's a recommendation??]

The full findings of the study were published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.


Happy 50th, Earth Day — now for less alarmism


As we mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on Wednesday and the birth of modern environmentalism, we should pause to give each other a virtual high-five for the impressive environmental progress society has accomplished during this span. We should also think about the ways we can make the next 50 far more effective.

Case in point: many people are surprised to hear that the environment is improving, a lot. This surprise grows from the unfortunate flip side of the Earth Day legacy, which too often can focus on doom and alarmism that can make us despondent and drive poor policies.

Early environmentalism from the 1970s helped focus societies on important environmental priorities such as polluted rivers — the Cuyahoga River in the US even famously caught fire in 1969 — and fouled air, with soot and smog killing millions.

Most bodies of water in rich countries are much cleaner, since we are prosperous enough to clean up our mess. In the US, a recent comprehensive study showed “water pollution concentrations have fallen substantially” across 50 years. And 3.8 billion people in the world have gained access to clean drinking water over multiple decades in that time.

Air pollution, the biggest environmental killer, has seen even greater improvements. Outdoor air pollution has declined dramatically in rich countries, in no small measure due to attention from 1970’s Earth Day and subsequent actions such as the landmark US Clean Air Act later that year.

For the world’s poor, the deadliest air pollution is indoors. Almost three billion of the world’s poorest still cook and keep warm using dirty fuels such as dung, cardboard and wood, and the World Health Organisation estimates the effects are equivalent to smoking two packets of cigarettes each day. Since 1970, the death risk across the world from indoor air pollution has been cut by more than half.

Despite the amazing progress, indoor and outdoor air pollution still kills eight million people. At least two billion people still use drinking water sources contaminated by faeces. So, we still have our work cut out for us. Things are far better, but they are still not OK.

But, curiously, this is not our typical environmental conversation. We don’t emphasise enormous improvements or focus on vital unfinished business in water and air. Instead, the standard story is how the environment is getting ever worse — how we’re hurtling towards catastrophe. This tradition also started with Earth Day.

By 1970, many environmentalists were predicting the end of the world. Stanford ecologist Paul Ehrlich, a frequent guest on the popular Johnny Carson television show, was perhaps the leading apocalypse proponent. For Earth Day, he pre­dict­ed that environmental deteriora­tion would kill 65 million Amer­icans, and four billion would die globally before the year 2000. Life Magazine also saw impending doom, predicting air pollution would be so bad that Americans would have to wear gas masks in the 80s and that pollution would block half the sunlight.

Not only were these predictions spectacularly wrong but they were outlandish when first made. Yet, in a world where more alarm gets more attention, they started a trend of framing environmental issues in worst-case ways. This tone scares, this depresses — and this likely skews our focus and spending.

Today, climate change takes up most of the environmental conversation, and it is definitely a real problem. However, too often it also is framed in exaggerated fashion, with predictable results: a new survey shows that almost half of humanity believe global warming likely will make humans extinct.

This is entirely unwarranted. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the gold standard of climate research, finds that the overall impact of global warming by the 2070s will be equivalent to a 0.2 per cent to 2 per cent loss in average income. That is a problem but not the end of the world.

Such fear also makes us prioritise poorly. Climate change mitigation today costs more than $US400bn ($634.5bn) each year in renewable subsidies and other costly climate policies. Yet we spend much less on making water and air cleaner for the billions with basic needs.

We can rightly look back on Earth Day with pride for the attention it has brought to the environment. But we need to curb the exaggerations, to make sure we leave the environment in the best possible state.


Surprising clarity from Michael Moore

As you likely know Michael Moore is an ardent champion for climate change (e.g. here).

Understanding his perspective, please watch his latest anxiously-awaited full length documentary, which was just released to the public today.

In this movie he:

1 - unapologetically exposes Al Gore, Bill McKibben, Robert Kennedy, etc. for being con artists and hypocrites,

2 - crucifies the Sierra Club and their ilk for being disingenuous and primarily in it for the money and influence, and

3 - also carefully documents how wind, solar and biofuels are scams.

(Skip the other messages as those are the three key takeaways.)

Any of this sound familiar? To readers here, yes.
To the public (the marks and victims here), probably no.

To be clear, despite the unequivocal message about the foolishness of industrial wind energy, the movie still understates the problem. For example see this Report, as none of these issues were mentioned in the film.

Oil market crash just one more reason why Pelosi must start doing her job

Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement in response to the crash of global oil markets:

“While Speaker Pelosi enjoys her $13/pint ice cream, the world's oil markets have completely crashed due to the destruction of the global economy of the China-originated virus. While it is debatable whether Pelosi is playing the role of Marie Antoinette or Nero, who fiddled while Rome burnt, it is inexcusable of her to engage in her dereliction of duty by not having the House of Representatives immediately convene to provide necessary relief for small businesses to allow them to survive this public health devastation.

“The current oil price drop puts hundreds of thousands of American energy jobs at risk. While this might seem to be a Green New Deal dream, it actually is an economic catastrophe, which can only be alleviated when governors restart their respective economies. When commuters hit the roads again, they can expect gas prices at levels not seen since before the OPEC oil embargo of 1973. Counterintuitively, this is also bad for our nation's airlines who purchase fuel months in advance and were obligated to pay dramatically more per barrel months ago. Airlines consume a significant amount of America's oil usage, and America restoring previously robust travel schedules will soak up some of the oversupply, but the main answer to restoring energy markets will be when Americans hit the road and get back to work, enjoying dramatically lower commuter costs.

“At the very least, Speaker Pelosi's private jet commuting from San Francisco to Washington, D.C. can show the way for America getting back to work, even though the work she typically does is counterproductive. Maybe this time she can actually help out by passing a clean funding bill to save what remains of our nation's small business economic backbone.”



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


Electric vehicles are 'almost THREE TIMES greener' than petrol or diesel cars - even when taking into account battery and electricity production, Greenie CO2 calculator claims

This is not particularly surprising.  The whole point of electric cars is to emit less CO2.  Whether the difference is as great as the Greenie calculator says is however unlikely

One of the fiercest debates around electric cars is how green they are when you take into account the production of batteries and the energy to power them.

One report has found that electric models in Europe emit, on average, almost three times less CO2 than equivalent petrol and diesel cars, according to the figures from a new online calculator.

And the tool has estimated that electric cars will reduce CO2 emissions four-fold by 2030 as the Europe's energy gird moves increasingly towards renewables.

The calculator has been created by a green transport group to promote electric vehicle adoption and also show the scale of the environmental impact of motorists shifting to plug-in cars.

Lucien Mathieu, an analyst at Transport & Environment, said the tool 'puts to rest the myth that driving an electric car in Europe can be worse for the climate than an equivalent diesel or petrol'. He adds: 'The most up-to-date data shows that electric cars in the EU emit almost three times less CO2 on average.'

T&E says this green gap between internal combustion engine vehicles and electric cars will widen by 2030 thanks to an EU grid relying more and more on renewable energy.

The tool doesn't use lab test figures for petrol and diesel cars as the campaign group says they 'seriously underestimate real-world fuel consumption and therefore CO₂ emissions', despite them being used as official figures by car makers in sales brochures,

For diesel and petrol cars, the measurement of CO2 is the average real-world consumption of the top 10 most-sold vehicles in 2018 for each vehicle category, including superminis, medium-size family hatchbacks, SUVs and so on.

Fuel and energy consumption is based on the declared values provided by millions of drivers, taken from the German Spritmonitor database.

Electric cars, which produce zero tailpipe emissions, were - of course - measured differently. 

Full lifecycle carbon emissions from electricity generation have been taken into account.

This includes emissions generated by burning fossil fuels in power plants (e.g. coal or gas) to produce electricity, but also the upstream emissions from the production of the powerplants.

For renewables, the upstream emissions from the extraction of the metals and the manufacturing of the solar panels or the wind turbines are also included.

As a consequence, no source of electricity is completely zero CO2 emissions (the lowest being wind electricity).

As well as electricity generation, all emissions from the battery production are included, such as the mining and refining of the materials.

However, T&E says the recycling of the batteries is not yet taken into account by this tool because, it states, there is 'little solid evidence to support what could be the impact of recycling'.

It added: 'Existing studies provide values that are within the margin of error and do not rely on fully scaled-up and efficient recycling plants.'

With all these factors taken into account, the tool shows that electric cars in Europe emit, on average, almost three times less CO2 than equivalent petrol/diesel cars.

In the worst case scenario, an electric car with a battery produced in China and driven in Poland - which is the European nation most heavily reliant on coal-powered stations to generate electricity - still emits 22 per cent less CO2 than a diesel and 28 per cent less than a motor with a petrol engine.

And in the best case scenario, an electric car with a battery produced in Sweden and driven in Sweden can emit 80 per cent less CO2 than diesel and 81 per cent less than petrol, the tool suggests.

The eco transport campaigners want European governments to take account of the environmental benefits of electric vehicles and to speed up the transition to them.

T&E, based in Brussels, is supported by 62 organisations (52 members and 10 supporters) working to promote smarter, cleaner transport in 24 countries across Europe.

Members are not-for-profit national organisations with an interest in transport users and the environmental and health impacts of transport, with funding coming from various sources - including Transport for London in the UK.


A pandemic is the wrong time to shut down NYC’s top source of electricity

The devastation being wrought by the coronavirus has underscored two undeniable facts. First: We were woefully unprepared for a black-swan event like this pandemic. Second: Modern society — our medical system, in particular — is completely dependent on the electric grid.

What if New York’s electric grid were to be hit by another black swan during the pandemic, triggering blackouts across significant parts of the city?

That terrifying thought is relevant now because the city’s single most important source of electricity — the Indian Point Energy Center, which sits about 40 miles due north of Times Square in Westchester County— is being permanently shuttered.

By the end of this month, one of the two reactors at the 2,069-megawatt facility will stop producing power. The remaining reactor will be shut down next April.

This is the exact wrong time to be closing Indian Point, which by itself reliably provides about 25 percent of the electricity consumed in New York City. Closing the plant will reduce the resilience of New York’s electric grid and increase the state’s reliance on natural gas for electricity production.

What if gas supplies were suddenly stopped or reduced due to an accident, terrorism or a cyberattack? (Recall, too, that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been blocking new gas pipelines for years.)

Renewable-energy advocates have repeatedly claimed wind and solar energy can supplant Indian Point’s juice output. Yet due to ferocious opposition from rural towns and counties, very little onshore wind-energy capacity is being built in the state.

Offshore wind has potential, but building enough capacity to replace Indian Point could take decades. And what would happen if those wind turbines were destroyed by a hurricane?

The decision to prematurely shutter the nuclear plant was a victory for environmental groups — including Riverkeeper and the Natural Resources Defense Council — which repeatedly claimed Indian Point was unsafe and that the 16 terawatt-hours of carbon-free electricity it produces every year could be replaced by renewables and increases in efficiency.

The groups convinced Cuomo of that, and three years ago, he announced the plan to close Indian Point. At the time, he declared that when the plant closes, “New Yorkers can sleep a little better.” Last year, Cuomo signed into law a bill that requires 70 percent of the state’s electricity be derived from renewables by 2030.

Today, our hospitals are being flooded with sick people who need ventilators and other electricity-dependent equipment to stay alive. If you were one of those virus-stricken patients, what would you choose to power your ventilator? Solar panels and wind turbines or a 2,000-megawatt nuclear plant?

The essential point here is that electric grids — particularly those in densely populated cities like New York — should not be too reliant on any one thing, be it a transformer, transmission line, fuel source or generation facility.

Angry US landowners are killing off renewable energy projects
And yet, that is exactly what is happening: New York is concentrating its risks on a single fuel: natural gas.

In 2018, I was lucky to get a tour of Indian Point. I walked through the hangar-like turbine hall of the Unit 2 reactor. After seeing it up close, I became convinced that Indian Point is one of New York’s most valuable assets.

It’s a marvel of engineering and ingenuity that should be appreciated alongside other iconic landmarks, like the Hoover Dam. Alas, the workers at Indian Point have already begun reducing the power output of Unit 2 in anticipation of the April 30 shutdown.

New Yorkers take cheap, abundant, reliable electricity as a given. Yet the coronavirus proves that black swans can have calamitous impacts on modern societies.

Amid the current devastation, Cuomo should immediately order that Indian Point remain online to help assure the reliability of electric supplies. And New Yorkers must hope that another black swan doesn’t alight on the electric grid and, in doing so, turn the current crisis into an even greater catastrophe.


Even Facing A Pandemic, New York State Remains In The Grip Of The Green Movement

One breakout political star of the Coronavirus crisis has been New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo. His daily briefings have been direct and succinct.

Cuomo often says that numbers will drive the policy. Unfortunately, in the energy context, the Governor has not always acted in this fashion. Last week, even in the face of the virus pandemic, his government made budgetary decisions that could hurt New York State’s ability to react to a hypothetical new pandemic, or a resurgence of the present one.

In its Fiscal 2021 State budget, the New York Legislature codified a ban of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) in New York State. Previously, Governor Cuomo and his predecessor had instituted a ban by gubernatorial initiative, leaving open the possibility of reversing course in the future. The codification of such a ban into law means it would take an act of the State Legislature to reverse it - a much tougher process.

While the New York fracking ban has had little real impact on natural gas development in the Northeast (except to New York’s Southern Tier counties of Broome and Chemung, who sit upon rich shale gas deposits that could bolster their economy but are unusable), in recent years Governor Cuomo has gone further in implementing a so-called “Green Agenda.” Using a little known section of the Federal Clean Water Act called the Section 401 Clean Streams Certification, Cuomo has blocked the construction of interstate gas pipelines previously approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the agency charged with rationalizing decisions made on interstate energy commerce. Cuomo’s actions have made both the New York City metropolitan area and New England dangerously exposed in times of energy needs, as pipelines are the cleanest and most efficient means of transporting natural gas and oil, but a ban on pipelines in New York means the gas and oil cannot reach New England through the most direct route possible.

Governor Cuomo didn’t stop there. Despite policies like the above that severely limit the importation into and  use of natural gas in New York State, his government plans to shut down the two remaining reactors of the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant in Westchester County, New York, which currently provide about 25% of New York City’s energy needs. The first reactor is set to be mothballed this month.

From where will New York get the energy to replace Indian Point? The Governor talks about using offshore wind farms, hydroelectric power from Canada, and other sources, but they remain theoretical – and there are many impediments to any of them eventually becoming reality.  It would not be a stretch to wonder if the Governor is entrusting New York State’s energy needs to hope and wishful thinking. If so, there couldn’t be a worse time to do so.

If Downstate New York needs one thing right now, it’s reliable energy. Nothing would turn the current COVID-19 calamity into a catastrophe quicker than rolling blackouts. To date, from an energy perspective New York has been fortunate. The general economic downturn combined with the oil price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia both have depressed demand for energy and driven down its price. In addition, the COVID-19 outbreak followed a mild winter as the Northeast warmed into spring. But things easily could have gone the other way, and still can.

Saudi Arabia's mercurial ruler Prince Muhammed Bin Salman and Russia's Vladimir Putin seemed on the verge of creating their own energy axis prior to the current spat. Nothing prevents them from doing so in the future. Should they agree on a production cut to stabilize the oil markets, and should the natural gas and oil bottlenecks caused by Governor Cuomo's pipeline policies help bankrupt American shale producers, which always remains a possibility in a severely collapsing economy wrought by COVID-19, then once again the United States could be at the mercy of foreign energy suppliers with their own political agendas for our indispensable energy needs.

Further, should the Coronavirus problem continue and even get worse as we head into periods where we need greater energy for air conditioning or heat, the current economic damage will only be magnified by the large energy costs we so far have avoided. To take it to the extreme, should New York, as in 2018, need to import energy from Russia despite having the world's richest natural gas fields three hours away in the Marcellus Shale region, who's to say if Putin will come to the rescue, and if he does what price would he charge?

None of this is out of the question or fanciful. The Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918 hit in three waves lasting from March 1918 to the summer of 1919. China already seems to be starting a second wave of COVID-19. During the first wave in the United States, Andrew Cuomo has taken a difficult situation handed to him and handled it well. Should it hit again, this time with no Indian Point providing nuclear power, no gas pipelines or in-State fracking providing natural gas power, and few American energy producers available to offset the cost of foreign energy, Governor Cuomo may have some real explaining to do.


Financiers of poverty, malnutrition and death

Private ‘philanthropic’ foundations join government agencies in funding anti-technology NGOs

Paul Driessen

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization, anti-development banks, the Agency for International Development (USAID), NGO (non-government organization) pressure groups and other eco-imperialists are properly condemned for using their money, power, and control over trade and lending to keep millions of African, Asian and Latin American families from having access to reliable, affordable energy, pesticides and spatial insect repellants to prevent disease, and modern agricultural technologies.

Those outfits perpetuate poverty, disease, malnutrition and death. Yet the eco-manslaughter continues.

Too many US, EU and UN government agencies have been captured by neo-colonialist elements in their leadership and ranks, and among the politicians who set their budgets and programs. The NGOs enjoy tax-exempt status and global prestige, because the human and environmental costs of their policies rarely receive more than superficial scrutiny by media, human rights or other “watchdogs.”

But the fact is, few NGOs would even exist without the wealthy foundations that finance them. Indeed, “philanthropic” foundation support for radical environmentalist groups and campaigns is one of the best kept secrets of modern society. It’s time to spotlight some of them and call them to account.

Wealthy foundations – often created with profits and fortunes made in industry and technology – directly and indirectly support some of the most radical anti-energy, anti-technology and agro-ecology activism in America, Europe and the world. Their wealth, direct and indirect aid mechanisms, and inter-locking global network of funders, managers and advisors make them a powerful, callous, oppressive force.

They use direct donations and a growing number of clever non-transparent pass-through operations (funds of funds, or foundations of foundations) to consolidate money from multiple donors and direct “charitable giving” to organizations and projects that support their ideologies and causes. The system also helps insulate the foundations – and their patrons and managers – from direct association with the most questionable, controversial, and often thuggish and lethal organizations and activists.

The funding, in turn, enables the organizations and activists to paint themselves as legitimate, benevolent and popular voices worthy of attention in global and domestic debates over laws, policies and regulations.

They have become especially effective in blocking the use of modern, innovative farm technologies like improved pesticides, GM crops (genetically modified, engineered through biotechnology) – and even fertilizers, tractors and hybrid seeds – under the auspices of what they cleverly call “agro-ecology.”

A big part of the problem is that the World Bank, EU agencies and Euro foundations demand and support primitive subsistence farming, and block food imports from countries that permit biotech farming. The World Bank’s Global Environment Facility and various European donors support groups like the Route to Food Initiative, Kenya Organic Agriculture Network, Biodiversity and Biosafety Association of Kenya, and Resources Oriented Development Initiatives of Kenya. In fact, virtually every African country is beset by their “benevolence,” as are India and other countries in Asia and Latin America.

All of them promote the supposed benefits of organic farming that bans the use of “dangerous, poisonous” manmade pesticides – but permits the use in “organic” farming of “natural” pesticides and other chemicals that are also toxic and dangerous to humans, wildlife, fish and beneficial insects. They stridently oppose all biotech crops – including life-saving Golden Rice – and have been pressuring Kenyan and other African governments to ban more than 200 pesticides that have been approved as safe in many other countries. Many of the groups even oppose mechanized equipment like tractors.

Among the EU funders are BioVision, the Danish Agency for International Development Cooperation, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, and the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation. They even support newspapers like Britain’s Guardian, which is often little more than another NGO that runs and supports anti-technology campaigns and seeks donations from readers and major funding from foundations in exchange for stories.

Self-proclaimed “philanthropic, charitable” US foundations are just as guilty. They probably provide far more significant than EU funding, but their secretive networks make that hard to ascertain. Foundation support for the agro-ecology Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa helps illustrate how all this works.

AFSA is a pan-African alliance of organizations committed to “resisting” the “corporate industrialization” of African agriculture. It claims the use of modern agricultural technologies like pesticides for crop protection, chemical fertilizers, and genetically modified crops for drought and insect resistance and higher yields will result in “massive land grabs, destruction of indigenous biodiversity and ecosystems, displacement of indigenous peoples … and the destruction of their livelihoods and cultures.”

AFSA’s core members include activist pressure groups that espouse an even broader variety of anti-capitalist, anti-technology, radical environmentalist goals and philosophies. Among the more notable and notorious ones are The African Biodiversity Network, African Center for Biodiversity, GroundSwell International, Friends of the Earth (FOE), and La Via Campensina Africa. These organizations work together to plan and support pro-organic, anti-biotech campaigns, and provide financial management and expertise in furthering AFSA principles. Letting them retain tax-exempt status is a travesty.

Core member La Via Campensina Africa (The Peasant Way – Africa), for example, is a radical, proponent of anti-technology agro-ecology. It rejects modern farming technologies: crop protection pesticides and herbicides, fertilizers for nutrient-depleted soils, and even biotech replacements for bananas, cassava and other crops that have been all but destroyed by viruses and diseases. It also advocates an anti-free market program of peasant-centric subsistence agriculture that largely limits farmers to backbreaking organic agricultural farming methods, and selling to local markets.

Agro-ecology farmers are largely limited to those local markets, in part because they cannot raise enough crops for export to wider markets like Europe – while other produce is blocked because many EU nations ban the import of crops that are so much as tainted by glyphosate, neonicotinoids or biotech pollen.

The US-based AgroEcology Fund (AEF) helped to launch and continues to support the AFSA. It acts as a pass-through fund of funds to hide sources, and helps to coordinate, direct and manage giving to outfits like AFSA. The AEF also partners with AFSA and other organizations such as the Center for Food Safety (CFS), to battle “the industrial model” and promote organic farming.

The AgroEcology Fund directly gave the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa in 2015 $200,000 and has given it some $500,000 overall (and possibly more via clandestine means). That may not sound like much, but such funds pay for 10-100 times more hourly wages and activism in Africa than they would in USA. In 2017, the AEF and AFSA worked together on a campaign to prevent biotech seed patent protections laws from being enforced in Africa.

The AEF was created by three wealthy American foundations, the Christensen Fund, the New Fields Foundation, the Swift Foundation and a donor who remains unknown. AEF programs and funding are overseen by New Venture Fund, which was created to help “philanthropists” better direct funds to projects and programs in line with their neo-colonialist goals; the NVF is managed by Arabella Advisors.

Ironically and perversely, the foundations that funded AEF’s creation are rooted in money generated in innovation, industry and technology. Now AEF and its foundation backers battle agricultural innovation and keep African farmers mired in farming practices that can feed few people, and can successfully battle few crop-devouring insect pests, much less protect crops against recurrent locust plagues.

Equally perverse, rich countries have abundant food – traditional, modern and organic. Meanwhile, poor countries are saddled with barely enough food, no safety net for all those times when droughts or insects destroy crops, and diktats from ultra-wealthy foundations and pressure groups that tell farmers they should be happy to engage in dawn-to-dusk subsistence farming, ox-drawn plowing, stoop labor, banging on metal pans to drive the locust hordes away, and living on the verge of starvation.

Via email


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