Wednesday, April 08, 2020

NY Times Claims Nepal Crop and Migrant Crisis – As Yields Set New Records

The New York Times invented a fake climate scare today (April 6), claiming climate change is causing thousands of people in Nepal to become migrants due to crop failure caused by climate change. The problem is, crop yields throughout Nepal are enjoying consistent, long-term growth. In fact, the past seven years provided the seven highest crop yields in Nepalese history. The year 2017, the latest year for which the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) provides data, produced the highest Nepalese crop yields ever.

The Times pulls out all the stops to convince people of a Nepalese crop failure caused by climate change. The title of the article is “As Himalayas Warm, Nepal’s Climate Migrants Struggle to Survive.” The subtitle is equally alarmist: “Pushed out of their village by a drought and lack of food, a group of Nepalis are fighting to amplify the voices of those forced to relocate by the planet’s warming.”

“With dwindling food, most families have packed their belongings and left, driven out by a faceless, man-made enemy,” the Times reports. “They are Nepal’s climate-change migrants, and there will be more.”

The article goes on for 35 paragraphs, presenting heart-wrenching human-interest stories of starving Nepalese. The Times reiterates, over and over again, that global warming is to blame for the nationwide crop failures that cause mass migration and thousands of Nepalese to become climate refugees.

The Times presents no objective data on Nepalese crop production to support its story. The FAO, however, meticulously records nation-by-nation crop production. And Nepal’s crop data exposes the New York Times as fake news reporting on a fake climate crisis.

As shown by the chart below (available here), FAO data show Nepalese crop yields have been consistently increasing for the past 30 years. Not only were the last seven years the highest crop yields per acre in Nepal’s history, yields are now 50% higher than was the case just 20 years ago.

The New York Times provides a perfect illustration of truth versus lies in the climate change debate. The media twist and manipulate reality to sell a fictitious Climate Delusion to the general public, versus climate realists who have overwhelming scientific evidence on their side.


When computer models create mayhem

BY ALAN BEARD (Alan Beard is Managing Director of Interlink Capital Strategies, a Washington, D.C. based financial advisory firm and fund manager)

As an international banker who finances highly structured multimillion loans in emerging markets for power projects, railroads, toll roads, port expansions, etc., we use sophisticated financial models to predict outcomes and determine areas of potential weakness (stress testing) in order to appropriately underwrite transactions to protect lenders and investors. Often hundreds of millions — or even billions — of dollars ride on these financial projections, and their use is considered critical to making the investment decision. However, in three decades of using computer models, seldom have I seen them accurately project ultimate outcomes. Their real value is determining possible changes in the inputs and how they can impact the project, along with other quantitative and qualitative analysis.

Some of the current hysteria for the coronavirus has undoubtedly been fed by similar sophisticated healthcare computer models, most notably the Imperial College’s doomsday predictions which indicated that as many as 500,000 deaths could occur in Britain and over 2 million in the U.S. After several public policy actions had already been put into place by  governments — at least in part because of computer models such as the credible scientific U.K. forecast — the projections were abruptly revised down to show fewer than 20,000 U.K. deaths were likely to occur from the virus and 200,000 in the U.S.

Those of us who use computer modeling on a daily basis to assist in our analysis know how dynamic projections can be. These types of dramatic changes are routine when there are significant changes to the inputs that go into the models. In fact, that is the reason for modeling: determining the parameters of the inputs and how they affect the underlying outcomes.

Unfortunately, a superficial, agenda-driven press, which universally reports on outcomes from these imperfect tools as “settled science,” inevitably does a disservice to the casual reader in an effort to generate news and affect government policy.

It was refreshing to have a credible scientist like Dr. Deborah Birx on the White House Coronavirus Task Force gently scold those who are promoting catastrophic outcomes from computer models when the evidence no longer supports it.

A good financial analyst knows that a computer model is dynamic and needs constant adjustments as new data becomes available. As the numbers, or data, come in differently than what was originally anticipated, models have to be changed — and sometimes even redone drastically — because the original assumptions weren’t correct or were based on limited or faulty data.

This becomes obvious when observing the predictive values of climate change models developed over the last several decades.

A few years ago a prominent science writer noted that “most temperature records show that since 1998 the [climate] models and observed average global temperatures have parted ways.  The temperature in the [climate] models continue to rise, while the real climate has refused to warm up much during the last 15 years.” One former NASA scientist goes as far as to say “global warming projections have a large element of faith programmed into them.” These are understatements when reviewing the reporting on global warming predictions over the last several decades. The “settled science” isn’t as exact as some scientists and most reporters would have us believe.

The same rush to a foregone conclusion is happening with the coronavirus. If the media had paid attention to what the scientific advisors have been saying from the beginning, they wouldn’t have been surprised by their skepticism with the computer models. In almost every press conference the doctors have acknowledged the lack of good data on this virus and that it would take time to make more accurate projections or models. Not unlike the financial models bankers work on, the coronavirus modeling needs better inputs to test the assumptions — and most probably significant adjustments to better project future outcomes.

To make dramatic policy decisions solely on the basis of very imperfect models can lead to bad life or death decisions.

As more data becomes available, the coronavirus models will be fine-tuned and will become better tools for policy makers. It will be important that — as this occurs — biases and faulty assumptions are teased out of the models to ensure their accuracy and to better inform policy makers. While this is all happening in a matter of weeks for the coronavirus, the same should apply to climate change models that have become almost sacrosanct over the last couple of decades.

Since science has now become the ultimate arbiter of how we determine most public policy debates adjudicated in the press, coronavirus forecasting is a cautionary tale to reporters who easily confuse what is science and what is conjecture.

Projecting the future — whether it be a financial model for a power project in Latin America, a global pandemic, or the future climate of the earth — is a tool that can be valuable but understandably flawed.


How Coronavirus Could Set Back the Fight Against Climate Change

Some sorrowful comments below

This year was supposed to be a big one in the international fight against climate change. But the fast spreading new coronavirus disease, COVID-19, is posing a triple-threat to action that could derail the Paris Agreement effort to combat global warming, worried experts say.

The disease is a challenge for climate change action on multiple fronts. COVID-19 has already disrupted crucial negotiations ahead of a November conference in Glasgow that could determine the Paris Agreement’s success in reducing emissions. The outbreak may supplant climate concerns in the minds of the public, weakening political will at a key moment. And it may encourage burning fossil fuels in hopes of restarting the global economy.

“Everybody’s going to be putting safety first right now,” says Matthew McKinnon, an advisor to a group of countries especially vulnerable to climate change. “And whether or not safety first aligns with climate first is going to vary from place to place.”

Under the Paris Agreement, countries are supposed to announce new pledges to reduce emissions this year ahead of a the Glasgow summit. If they don’t follow through this year, climate policymakers will need to depart from a decades-long cycle of important conferences, or accept that the world will blow past targets to limit temperature rise.

To lay the ground for the Glasgow summit, international climate and environmental policymakers planned to hop between a series of important meetings and conferences that would set the stage and, they hoped, allow the world to finally bend the curve on emissions. But, as international travel has ground to a halt, the important work of climate diplomacy has suffered as in-person meetings have become impossible and a series of important conferences have been canceled, from the World Oceans Summit in Japan to CERAWeek, perhaps the most important energy conference, in Houston. The United Nations’ climate body has called off all meetings through the end of April, citing health and safety of attendees as well as the inability to muster a quorum.

Rescheduling meetings has proven hazardous. The Convention on Biological Diversity, which is trying to broker a landmark deal to protect nature by October, moved a meeting from Kunming, China to Rome, to escape the coronavirus. But as the meeting progressed delegates were slowly recalled as news spread of a coronavirus outbreak in Italy. “We left around the middle of the week,” says Lina Barrera, vice president of international policy at Conservation International. “Some people didn’t come at all.”

The cancellation of meetings may sound dull, but it has the potential to totally derail climate talks at a delicate time. The last major international breakthrough on climate came at the 2015 Paris climate talks after a year of behind the scenes maneuvering from diplomats around the world. China and the U.S. made a joint commitment to work together to reduce emissions, a tone-setting statement from the world’s largest emitters. Countries vulnerable to climate change banded together to form a formidable alliance. And France coordinated the myriad demands from the nearly countries that would gather in Paris. Such a schedule is widely seen as a necessity for big breakthroughs on the issue, and not being able to meet face to face has left climate policymakers in the lurch. “We’ve been unable to come up with previous comparisons or analogs,” says Nathaniel Keohane, a senior vice president at Environmental Defense Fund who served as an environmental policy advisor to President Obama, of the pause in meetings.

Even if countries could keep up the breakneck pace of meetings and summits, the coronavirus and its related fallout threaten to distract countries from making big commitments to reduce their emissions. Bold climate plans require spending political capital, and world leaders are likely to want to use their political energy to boost the economy in response to coronavirus.

Every country will have its own approach, but the most significant country to watch is China, the world’s second-largest economy and largest emitter. Emissions there fell 25% in mid-February compared to just a few weeks earlier as the country’s industrial economy ground to a halt, but leaders have promised a giant stimulus to restore growth. In the past, such stimulus measures in the country have meant carbon-intensive infrastructure.

“The question is, what will happen once the economy starts to rebound?” says David Sandalow, an expert on China’s energy and climate policy who serves as a fellow at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy. “Economic growth will be an even higher priority in the months and years ahead as the government works to stabilize the economy in the face of the coronavirus.”

Still, spurring economic growth doesn’t necessarily need to increase emissions. The European Commission, the European Union’s executive body, for instance, doubled down on its plans for a $1 trillion Green Deal last week, which is intended to reduce emissions and foster growth. Indeed, many climate advocates have long-advocated for “green” stimulus measures in times of economic uncertainty to serve a dual purpose of expanding and decarbonizing the economy. Such measures of economic stimulus are certainly possible in China and elsewhere — but they are certainly not guaranteed.

Climate advocates are only just coming to grips with the roadblocks to a big climate breakthrough. The growing public pressure that brought millions to the street last year combined with a new understanding of the risks of climate change in the financial community seemed to coalesce perfectly with the statutory requirements for new commitments rooted in the Paris Agreement. The landmark climate deal calls for countries to keep temperatures from rising more than 2°C by 2100 and ideally by less than 1.5°C.

The window to achieve that is closing with temperatures having already risen more than 1°C. Coronavirus — and all the related fallout — may close that window a little more, the latest setback in a series of challenges that have for decades held back efforts to tackle climate change. “In many countries, the political conditions are not conducive to a strengthening of climate action,” says a former senior climate negotiator. “Coronavirus will make a bad situation worse.”


Great Barrier Reef: Same old same old scares

Every couple of years we get the whines we read below:  The reef is being destroyed by global warming and farming.  But the reef is still there.  The prophecies of doom don't eventuate. 

One should in fact gravely doubt the findings below.  Peter Ridd has shown that the JCU people routinely exaggerate reef damage.  There are always bare spots on the reef and these are attributed to global warming.

But that is not so. It is the Crown of Thorns starfish that is responsible for most reef damage.  But from an aircraft you can't see starfish so the damage is all put down to global warming.  What you read below is therefore a travesty of science.  No effort was made to exclude competing explanations -- which is utterly basic in science.  They are propagandists, not scientists.

In another sad blow for the Australian environment, it has now been confirmed that once again climate change has taken its toll on one of its greatest natural wonders - the Great Barrier Reef.

The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system, home to some 600 species of coral.

But a recent aerial study has confirmed scientists' worst fears, concluding that the reef is experiencing its third large-scale bleaching event in five years.

Coral bleaching is the direct result of warming sea temperatures, which causes corals to become stressed. In this situation, coral expels the symbiotic algae which lives within its tissues, which is responsible for its bright colour.

Usually bright and colourful jewels among the reef, bleaching leaves a stripped-bare skeleton of the coral behind.

Professor Terry Hughes, Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University, led a team of researchers to assess the extent of coral bleaching across the reef.

Professor Hughes said: “We surveyed 1,036 reefs from the air during the last two weeks in March, to measure the extent and severity of coral bleaching throughout the Barrier Reef region.

“For the first time, severe bleaching has struck all three regions of the Great Barrier Reef – the northern, central and now large parts of the southern sectors."

Aerial surveys concluded that while some areas of the reef have remained unscathed, large swathes in other regions have been severely bleached, casting ominous doubt over the reef's future.

The Great Barrier Reef Foundation has described the phenomenon as a “matter of huge concern”.

So in order to preserve and protect the Great Barrier Reef for years to come, what is the solution?

How can the Great Barrier Reef recover?

Dr Mark Eakin, Coordinator of NOAA's Coral Reef Watch program, said while people “continue to spew carbon dioxide” the current phenomenon will become a much more common occurrence.

He said: “This is the third widespread, severe coral bleaching in less than five years.

“As long as we continue to spew carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere, corals will continue to bleach and die.

“Local efforts to reduce pollution on the reef and to restore reefs piecemeal help keep corals alive.

“If we want to save the Great Barrier Reef and other reefs around the world, we have to move off fossil fuels as quickly as possible.”

According to Dr Richard K.F. Unsworth, Senior Lecturer in Marine Biology at Swansea University, farming practices needs a significant overhaul in order for the reef to survive.

He said: “Although climate change is the primary cause of bleaching, the capacity of the reef to recover after bleaching events is improved when the water quality is high.

“This means low levels of nutrients, sediments and contaminants such as herbicides.

“The water quality in many areas of the inshore Great Barrier reef remains poor principally because of poor farming practices, reducing the capacity of the reef to recover after bleaching.”

Dr Unsworth added: “For the reef to have any chance of survival in the long-term, the water quality of the Great Barrier Reef region needs to improve through better farming practices, and global carbon dioxide emissions need to reduce rapidly.

Phil North at Dive Worldwide said some divers fear it “is not what it once was”, but all is not lost for the reef yet.

He added: “This having been said, the reef is vast. It is the largest living structure on earth that can be viewed from space.

“Not all of it is destroyed and there are some parts that are still quite beautiful.”

While the current bleaching event is undoubtedly a setback for the reef, Great Barrier Reef Foundation Managing Director Anna Marsden said the reef is a “resilient ecosystem” which can still recover.

She added: “We know that on mildly or moderately bleached reefs, there is a good chance most bleached corals will recover and survive.

“It’s heartening to hear that some of the key tourism reefs in the north and central areas are amongst those likely to bounce back from lesser levels of bleaching.”



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

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


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