Friday, April 03, 2020

Climate Crisis RIP: People Will Be In No Mood For Needless Panic

COVID-19 has not only been a nightmare for the public worldwide but especially for “climate crisis” alarmists who have seen their agenda disappear from the media radar.

And it’s going to stay off the radar for quite some time. People can take only so much panic and restriction.

Once the COVID-19 crisis subsides, and it will in a few months, the global citizenry will be in absolutely no mood to keep on panicking. They’ll want to go back to the prosperity they previously enjoyed. “Enough sacrifice and restrictions,” they’ll be saying.

Far lower urgency

There are several reasons the climate crisis isn’t going to come back soon.

First off, it’s human nature to address only dangers that are truly present. Though many believe there’s a climate crisis, it’s one that is perceived to be years, even decades, off into the future.

So there’s no sense of real urgency like the immediate sort we’ve been seeing with COVID-19. So what if sea level rises 2 feet by 2100. I can move in 30 years – long before it ever gets here!

People will be sick and tired of panic

Secondly, by the time COVID-19 passes, citizens will be sick and tired of panicking, and they aren’t going to be in the mood for a continued high-level panic over something far, far less urgent.

They’ll have had enough of lockdowns and sacrificing and aren’t going to be very open to sacrificing for the weather.

Too many people aren’t buying the flaky climate crisis “science”

A third reason is that the climate crisis is still highly uncertain and increasingly hotly disputed. Much of the science behind it is flimsy.

While it has been crystal clear that COVID-19 is urgent, especially for the elderly, the climate crisis is fraught with huge uncertainties and flaky science.

Too many people just aren’t buying it. They’re going to take the let’s-wait-and-see attitude before flying off the handle again.

The media aren’t going to keep up the high panic

Fourthly, the media can’t devote the same attention to the “climate crisis” that they did to COVID-19 simply because people would just tune them out, and rightly so. Enough is enough. People will want to get back to normalcy.

Who in their right mind would want to spend the rest of his life in a state of panic like the alarmists propose?

Why would people — already fatigued by the COVID-19 panic — worry about a climate doomsday when summer is finally there?

And despite all the hype surrounding Greta and Fridays for Future, a recent study by the organization Media Matters, revealed that there were only 238 minutes of climate crisis coverage by major US networks in 2019!

So after COVID-19 subsides, the networks aren’t going to keep crying doomsday. They know they’ll be tuned out totally if they do.

Gotten so old

Moreover, the climate warnings have been going on more than 30 years now and people had been tuning them out already and for good reason.

Life on the planet by most measures is far better today. All the dire predictions made in the 1990s and 2000s never came to pass.

Political suicide

Finally, politicians will be very wary about calling for more pain to combat a distant, dubious threat. Doing so after going through the pain of COVID-19 would be tantamount to political suicide.

Dictatorship as the last hope for the climate crisis?

“As heretical as it may sound, there are valid questions to be raised about whether a democratic system with regular elections is suited to dealing with an issue that requires short-term sacrifice for long-term benefits,” wrote Joe Wiggins, a researcher in fund management.

Good luck with that.


CAFE standards reform means safer cars and saved lives

In the midst of the fight to save lives from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Trump administration earlier today announced a regulatory change on another issue that also will save lives.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said they will increase—at a slower pace than existing regulations—the required average miles per gallon that automobiles and light trucks must attain.  Specifically, the new regulations require automakers to increase the current year “corporate average fuel economy” (CAFÉ) standard of 36.8 miles per gallon by 1.5 percent annually to a standard of 40.4 miles among their respective fleet of vehicles by 2026.

That means heavier, safer cars overall, and more lives protected when accidents occur, compared to the prior standards.  According to data from the NHTSA, the new regulations over the next decade will save 3,300 lives and result in nearly 400,000 fewer injuries from auto accidents.

The environmental cottage industry is nonetheless apoplectic.  Gina McCarthy, president of the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), claimed the new regulations “will harm the air we breathe, stall progress in fighting the climate crisis and increase the cost of driving.”

Mind you, the administration’s new regulations are increasing the CAFÉ standard to more than 40 miles per gallon in the next six years from the current mandate of 36.8 miles.  That means greater fuel efficiency, lower per capita usage of oil, and lower driving costs.  The previous mileage mandate of 46.6 miles per gallon by 2025 was imposed by the Obama administration in 2012.

We’re talking six measly miles per gallon – and the world comes to end?  Contrary to the assertion by the NRDC, this is not “gutting the clean car standards.”

Former President Obama was not happy with this change to CAFE by his successor administration. He tweeted the new regulatory standard was akin to “climate denial” and compared the supposed consequences of this action to “those who denied warnings of a pandemic.”

Not unlike so many politicians, Barack Obama has long made such straw-man arguments. Whoever he claims was denying “warnings of a pandemic” he did not say, but those would have to include officials in his own administration who were no more prepared for the worst pandemic in a century from COVID-19 than any other administration.

As for “climate denial,” does anyone seriously believe that higher CAFÉ standards in the U.S. in five years, but six miles per gallon below what was previously promulgated, will accelerate the warming of the planet?  Should the former president and Mrs. Obama now put a “for-sale” sign on their recently purchased, multi-million dollar Martha’s Vineyard oceanfront mansion?  If the climate warms faster from “gutting” the CAFÉ standard, will sea levels rise and flood his yard, and perhaps reach into the parlor?  But, I digress.

Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards were first imposed in 1975 to force auto manufacturers to make more fuel-efficient cars so Americans would consume less gasoline. World oil reserves at the time were thought to be more limited, and gas was rising sharply in price. CAFÉ was not originally about global warming theory, especially since the world then was thought by many to be cooling.

Those who today invoke climate change to further increase CAFÉ standards believe we must curtail fossil fuel use, as if such a vast phenomenon like climate would stop changing by driving more “Smart Cars,” which are little more than go-carts with an engine; a 21st century Yugo.

Higher CAFÉ standards always came with a price – in human lives.  A multitude of studies over the last 40 years confirms this; however, other simultaneous developments have offset to a degree this impact, including more airbag and seatbelt use.

The debate over corporate average fuel economy standards, like so many public policies, have always been about trade-offs, including saving energy, reducing pollution and mitigating accidents and death. The revised regulations attempt to achieve that difficult balance.

Regardless of the competing studies on CAFÉ, no one disputes that higher gas mileage mandates necessitated more cars be smaller in size and lighter in weight.  Indeed, a Toyota Corolla gets better gas mileage than a Chevy Suburban.  If I’m in a car accident, I’d rather be in the Chevy, and so would you, regardless of your position on the climate’s trajectory.


To Fight The Pandemic, The World Returns To Fossil Fuels

March 2020 will be the month the western world changed. As March began, there was relative normalcy except in China and isolated places in east Asia. By month’s end, much of the West – indeed, the entire world – was in quarantine.

Entire nations have put their lives on lockdown as we try to “socially distance” ourselves to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

In these unprecedented times, the world has returned to basic truths that manifest themselves when the price of ideology is too high.

One of those involves fossil fuels.

In an instant, sometimes without realizing it, the world has demanded fossil fuel products, and few concerns have been raised about their carbon footprint.

First among these truths is the production of surgical masks and other protective gear. Many of the best masks are made of polypropylene, clearly a fossil fuel product.

With COVID-19 raging, there has been little to no discussion of going to less effective paper masks.

The paper might have a less climatic impact – although fewer trees also have a carbon footprint – but almost without exception, our medical personnel has determined that their health is more important to them than the abstract potential to affect climate change.

Who can blame them?

Another example is the return of plastic bags at the local supermarket. Prior to the virus hitting, many markets announced they were stopping the use of plastics bags for their groceries.

That didn’t last long.

It turns out, of course, that single-use plastic bags are far cleaner than other bags people keep in their house and then bring to the market – carrying all the germs and viruses they’ve collected along the way with them.

Now, not only are stores returning to fossil fuel-based plastic bags, they are banning reusable ones from being brought in.

The third use of fossil fuels is the medicines we take.

While little known outside the pharmaceutical industry, fossil fuels are the foundation for between 80% to 90% of the pharmaceuticals we use.

As with surgical masks, when facing the stark reality of protecting a loved one through drugs that are carbon-based or letting that loved one fend for him/herself in order to fight climate change, few choose the latter.

Perhaps the most important aspect of the use of fossil fuels, however, has been the fact that we have the consistent energy supply that we need during this time to work remotely and to take care of our sick in the hospitals.

As marvelous as solar, wind, and other similar technologies are, they remain intermittent. We have yet to determine how to store and transmit power when the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow.

Without that consistent, reliable power supply – the overwhelming majority of which remains powered by fossil fuels – we in the west would have no chance to fight the virus.

Over the next few decades, we will and should be working tirelessly to find new, cleaner ways to power our world and to provide reliable power to the hundreds of millions who go without it.

But before we make that leap into the unknown–and currently unproven–world of a society relying entirely on renewable energy, we should use this current crisis as a way to inject some realism into a debate that for too long has been driven by idealism.


Australia: Why you mostly can't buy rice in the supermarket

Because most irrigation has ceased for lack of water -- while dam water is allowed to flow out to sea for "environmental" purposes

Panic buying is adding to the pressure on rice supplies at a time when drought and water reform have led to one of the smallest crops in the industry's 70-year history in Australia.

The grower-led company SunRice will produce about 5 per cent of its average rice production this year, and is relying on overseas product to meet demand domestically and for export markets.

Chief executive officer Rob Gordon said panic buying of rice had put enormous strain on the company's facilities. "We've got orders for 250 per cent of normal and obviously we don't have the spare capacity to be able to produce that, but we are flexing our supply chains," Mr Gordon said.

"We are importing rice from different parts of the world for the Australian market even though we normally sell Australian rice here. "Clearly that will be very clearly labelled so consumers can understand that we've had to source rice from somewhere else."

Mr Gordon said the company would secure enough rice from overseas suppliers to satisfy demand for an estimated 1.2 million tonnes in sales to about 50 countries this year.

This will be further complicated by the Vietnamese Government announcing that all rice exports will be banned from May 31 to protect its domestic supply, affecting the company's milling operations in that country.

Fewer than 70 Australian growers will harvest crops in the coming weeks, out of close to 800 producers in a good season.

Prolonged drought and water reform is likely to see production fall below last year's 54,000 tonnes, the second lowest crop on record.

In a good year, SunRice injects up to $500 million into the New South Wales economy in wages and payments to growers and local suppliers.

This year the company laid off 250 workers, and the impact of that reduced economic activity has hit the Riverina region hard.

The Mayor of Leeton, Paul Maytom, said governments needed to understand that the value of rice to local communities extended far beyond its farm-gate return.

"It should not be about who can pay the highest price for water; it should be about what will it cost our communities if we cannot sustain that diversity of irrigated agriculture that we have, which then moves into the value-added side, which then moves into employment and then sustains our whole community," Mr Maytom said.

Under water reforms, the environment and permanent crops, such as almonds, grapes and citrus, get water allocated before annual crops such as rice, cotton and cereals.

SunRice chairman Laurie Arthur said annual crop irrigators felt under siege.

About 500 have joined a $1.5-billion class action against the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, but he is urging calm.

Mr Arthur is one of the state's biggest rice growers and a former national water commissioner.

He said he understood grower frustration, but hoped state and commonwealth governments would make more water available for low-security irrigation.

"One of the reasons the irrigation community supported the reform process was the concept of property rights, transparency of process and a framework of water entitlements that give the sector confidence to invest to world's best practise," he said.

"Some of those have been delivered and some have demonstrably not been delivered.

"The government now holds 28 per cent of all the allocations in the Basin, so they are enormous users, and I believe they have the ability to correct the situation."

There are a number of big reports on water reform policy due in the coming months.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

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