Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Green wave batters Emmanuel Macron in local elections as his centrist party suffers humiliating loss to socialist alliance with eco warriors

A Green wave proved disastrous for French president Emmanuel Macron tonight as his party suffered significant loses in municipal elections.

An alliance between ecological candidates and traditional Left-wing ones saw Mr Macron’s candidates swept away.

Among the biggest winners was Anne Hidalgo, who was re-elected Socialist Mayor of Paris for a second term of six years.

Exit polls on Sunday night suggested she has won with 50.2 per cent of votes, in front of the conservative Republicans candidate Rachida Dati on 32 per cent.

Agnès Buzyn, the former health minister and candidate for Mr Macron’s LREM party (The Republic on the Move!) was pushed into third place, with only 16 per cent.

Ms Hidalgo’s comfortable win was the result of an alliance with Greens leader David Belliard, of the Europe Ecology-Greens.

Ms Hidalgo has pledged to continue her ambitious programme to cut pollution, encourage cycling and expand green spaces, while pedestrianising more of Paris.

Exit polls in major cities including Strasbourg and Lyon suggested that they had been won outright by the Greens.

France was holding the second round of municipal elections in 5,000 towns and cities on Sunday – one which were postponed because of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Voters chose mayors and municipal councillors at polling stations operating under strict hygiene rules.

Face masks and hand gel were all made available, and those voting had to stay one metre apart.

The spread of Covid-19 has slowed significantly in France, following nearly 200,000 confirmed cases and 29,781 deaths. By 5pm on Sunday, voter participation was at just 34.67 per cent, compared to 38 per cent in March.

This is much lower than the participation rates during the 2014 municipal elections when it was already above 50 per cent at 5pm.

The polls are seen as a key political indicator ahead of the 2022 French presidential election.

Paris is a major battleground, because the mayor will oversee the 2024 Olympics.

Mr Macron’s three-year-old centrist party fielded municipal candidates for the first time but lacks deep rooted support.

His government has faced criticism during the pandemic over mask shortages, testing capacity and a lack of medical equipment.

Despite this, Mr Macron’s prime minister, Edouard Philippe, won the post of Mayor in his hometown of Le Havre on Sunday night.

A government reshuffle is expected to be carried out by Mr Macron in the wake of Sunday’s result.

Opinion polls currently show Mr Macron’s popularity rating is hovering around 40 per cent – higher than before the virus outbreak.

The anti-immigration, far-right National Rally, led by Marine Le Pen, was focusing on consolidating its 2014 results, when candidates backed by the party won in 12 towns.


CMIP6 Climate Models Producing 50% More Surface Warming than Observations since 1979

Those who defend climate model predictions often produce plots of observed surface temperature compared to the models which show very good agreement. Setting aside the debate over the continuing adjustments to the surface temperature record which produce ever-increasing warming trends, let’s look at how the most recent (CMIP6) models are doing compared to the latest version of the observations (however good those are).

First, I’d like to explain how some authors get such good agreement between the models and observations. Here are the two “techniques” they use that most annoy me.

They look at long periods of time, say the last 100+ years. This improves the apparent agreement because most of that period was before there was substantial forcing of the climate system by increasing CO2.

They plot anomalies about a common reference period, but do not show trend lines. Or, if they show trends lines, they do not start them at the same point at the beginning of the record. When you do this, the discrepancy between models and observations is split in half, with the discrepancy in the latter half of the record having the opposite sign of the discrepancy in the early part of the record. They say, “See? The observed temperatures in the last few decades nearly match the models!”

In the following plot (which will be included in a report I am doing for the Global Warming Policy Foundation) I avoid both of those problems. During the period of strongest greenhouse gas forcing (since 1979), the latest CMIP6 models reveal 50% more net surface warming from 1979 up to April 2020 (+1.08 deg. C) than do the observations (+0.72 deg. C).

Note I have accounted for the trends being somewhat nonlinear, using a 2nd order polynomial fit to all three time series. Next, I have adjusted the CMIP time series vertically so that their polynomial fit lines are coaligned with the observations in 1979. I believe this is the most honest and meaningful way to intercompare the warming trends in different datasets.
As others have noted, it appears the CMIP6 models are producing even more warming than the CMIP5 models did… although the KNMI Climate Explorer website (from which all of the data was downloaded) has only 13 models archived so far.


A Drowned World? The Latest False Alarm About The Climate

Bjorn Lomborg has an article in the Wall Street Journal entitled “Examining the Latest False Alarm on Climate, ($)” which contains a helpful illustration of the way the media uses studies to whip up anxiety around one of their pet projects.

In the piece, he discusses a spate of recent startling headlines all of which suggest that, in his words, “Rising sea levels from climate change could flood 187 million people out of their homes.”

This claim has its origin in a paper published all the way back in 2011, and when you actually read the paper, you see that it needed to make some pretty questionable assumptions in order to arrive at that figure.

As Lomborg explains, the paper found that “187 million could be forced to move in the unlikely event that, in the next 80 years, no one does anything to adapt to dramatic rises in sea level.”

In other words, in order for their projection to make sense, the paper’s authors had to take worst-case climate scenarios (which are already questionable) projected out over a century and then disregard what we know about actual human behavior.

If sea-levels rise as much as these authors are claiming (which is, once again, not certain), leading to significant coastal flooding, one hundred eighty-seven million people — not to mention their governments — aren’t just going to sit there until they’re neck-deep in water.

What would actually happen, says Lomborg, is we would deal with those problems as they arise.

We have more know-how and technology than ever to build dikes, surge barriers and dams, expand beaches and construct dunes, make ecosystem-based barriers like mangrove buffers, improve building codes and construction techniques, and use land planning and hazard mapping to minimize flooding.

The one hundred eighty-seven million displaced people headline, then, is a canard, based on dubiously applied data, whose object it is to frighten you into signing onto a sprawling environmentalist program.

While flooding will likely be a serious problem over the next 80 years, as it is in many parts of the world today, targeted policies and spending could go a long way towards reducing their human and financial costs.

They’re also more likely to be successful than the beef-and-airplane bans our mainstream media overlords have in mind.


Amid the lockdowns, mining saves the Australian economy

The global economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic has sliced almost $7 billion from the value of Australia's key resource and energy exports in three months, with warnings of bigger hits next financial year.

But new forecasts from the Industry Department, released on Monday, show the iron ore sector will defy the coronavirus gloom with high prices and surging exports to help it offset the broader economic weakness.

In its June quarterly outlook report, the department's office of the chief economist forecasts total resource and energy exports to reach a record $292.7 billion in 2019-20 before falling to $263.2 billion.

In March, the department predicted $299.3 billion in commodity exports this financial year and then $276.1 billion in 2020-21.

The department said overall resource and energy exports had been resilient in the face of the pandemic recession, noting earnings from the sector were 50 per cent higher than during the global financial crisis.

"These forecasts come with significant risks: a second outbreak of COVID-19, another surge in trade tensions, or an unexpectedly slow global recovery," it said. "But on balance it remains likely that Australia's resources and energy sector will once again buffer the Australian economy against external headwinds."

Holding up resource exports is iron ore with $102.7 billion worth expected to be shipped this financial year. This was an upgrade on the March forecasts. Gold, which is touching all-time highs as investors seek to protect themselves, is also remaining strong with exports tipped to hit $27.4 billion this year. The department had expected gold exports to fall to $21 billion next year but now thinks they will rise to $32 billion.

But energy exports, on the back of falling demand and prices, are tipped to fall away.

Thermal coal exports are forecast to edge down to $16 billion next financial year from a downwardly revised $20 billion in 2019-20.

LNG exports, which in March were expected to reach $48.6 billion this year and $44.2 billion in 2020-21, are now forecast to make $47 billion and $35 billion respectively. LNG prices are closely tied to oil prices, which remain extremely low.

Overall energy exports have been downgraded by $58.5 billion for the next two years since the March forecast.

While the mining sector contributed growth through the first three months of the year, the department noted that none of this came from the coal sector.

"In the coming year, it is likely that this sector will make a much smaller contribution to GDP growth, as low prices and mine closures and cutbacks impact on the sector’s output," it said.

The department said that while resource export volumes had climbed by 4.6 per cent over the past year, energy volumes were down by 2.5 per cent, with warnings they were likely to stagnate over the coming two years.



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


Monday, June 29, 2020

Green Haste Will Trash The Promise Of Hydrogen

Desperate policy makers trying to reach Net Zero targets that are unaffordable and infeasible are rushing into the premature adoption of hydrogen as a last ditch attempt to save the current agenda.

Faced with the task of eliminating carbon dioxide emissions while sustaining economic growth, the UK government, like others around the world, is promoting hydrogen as an energy carrier for sectors of the economy such as heavy transport and peak winter heating that are extremely difficult to decarbonize.

The wisdom of this policy, with a special focus on the United Kingdom, is addressed in a new historical and technical study published today by the GWPF.

The study concludes that current enthusiasm is a desperate measure that will jeopardise the long-term promise of hydrogen for the sake of short-term political optics.

Because of the accelerated timetable required by arbitrary targets, it is necessary to manufacture hydrogen via two expensive and energetically inefficient commodity production processes, the electrolysis of water, and the reforming of natural gas.

Electrolysis is extremely expensive, and the reforming of methane emits carbon dioxide and so requires Carbon Capture and Sequestration, which is not only costly but unproven at the required scale. Both these commodity processes imply high levels of fresh water consumption.

The prudent approach, obvious since the 1970s and still the official long-range policy of the government of Japan, is to aim for hydrogen production by the thermal decomposition of sea water employing advanced nuclear reactors, which alone might conceivably make hydrogen cheap. This is, however, very difficult chemical and nuclear engineering, and its realisation lies well into the future.

The paper also notes that hasty introduction will not give enough time for safe societal adjustment to the inherent dangers of a fugitive and readily ignited gas that has a strong tendency to technical detonation (combustion with a supersonic combustion frontier). The learning experience could be needlessly painful and deadly.

Dr John Constable, author of the study, said:

“Hydrogen has genuine long term potential as a universal energy carrier to supplement electricity, but current methods of production are hugely expensive and will stress fresh water supplies. Target-driven haste is already resulting in accidents. Counterproductive and naive policies are compromising the hydrogen future.


CO2 no threat to oceans

For the past three decades the public has been taught by the news media and the folks who make a living composing mathematical equations they claim to simulate how our planets climate operates, that our oceans are in jeopardy.

They have all told you one of the biggest falsehoods in human history. They say that carbon dioxide, the only reason man can inhabit Earth, is actually causing the planet to heat up to a dangerous level and the oceans will become unlivable for marine life. There is no proof of these lies whatever. Civilization has generally been most prosperous under warmer than colder conditions. We do know that as many as nine times more folks perish from excessive cold than excessive heat. The oceans are in fact prospering with more CO2 overhead. Be that as it may much of the public has bought the scare.

Regardless of what scientists on the right side of the issue come up with to thwart the misinformation, they are drowned out by the media and the well financed climate modelers on whom governments around the world have showered countless billions of dollars.

Little of the true reality supported by science has succeeded in winning over the world’s governments to scientific reality. Now comes along biologist Jim Steele of the CO2 Coalition and former Research Director of San Francisco State’s Sierra Nevada’s Field Campus to drop a blockbuster of truly new knowledge. He has proven how our Oceans, all of them, are benefitting enormously by the increase in carbon dioxide which man’s industrialization has produced. The global warming scaremongers have falsely preached that additional carbon dioxide could lower the pH of the oceans to where they become acidic, killing off ocean life. This is in fact physically and chemically   impossible, and now we can better understand the enormous benefits CO2 is bringing to the oceans

The Ocean “acidification” from carbon dioxide emissions preached by the scaremongers would require an impossible ten-fold decrease in the alkalinity of surface waters. Even if atmospheric CO2 concentrations triple from today’s four percent of one percent, which would take about 600 years, today’s surface pH of 8.2 would plateau at 7.8, still well above neutral 7.

Ocean health has improved as a result of greater CO2, as it feeds phytoplankton that stimulates the oceans food chain. CO2 allows phytoplankton such as algae, bacteria, and seaweed to feed the rest of the open ocean food chain. As carbon dioxide moves through this food web, much of it sinks or is transported away from the surface. A high surface pH allows the ocean to store 50 times more CO2 than the atmosphere. Digestion of carbon at lower depths allows for storage there for centuries. Periodic upwelling recycles carbon and nutrients from deep ocean waters to sunlit surface waters. Upwelling injects far more ancient CO2 into the surface than diffuses there from atmospheric CO2. Upwelling at first lowers surface pH, but then stimulates photosynthesis, which raises surface pH. It is a necessary process to generate bursts of life that sustain many ocean life forms.

When CO2 enters ocean water, it creates a bicarbonate ion plus a hydrogen ion, resulting in a slight decrease in pH. However, photosynthesis requires CO2. So marine organisms convert bicarbonate and hydrogen ions into usable CO2, and pH rises again. Contrary to popular claims that rising CO2 leads to shell disintegration, slightly lower pH does not stop marine organisms from using carbonate ions in building their shells.

The concentration of atmospheric CO2 is governed by the balance between stored carbon and CO2 released back to the atmosphere. On land, carbon is continuously stored as organic material in living and dead organisms, with some carbon eventually buried in sediments. During the last major glaciation, expanding glaciers destroyed much of the northern hemisphere’s forests and reduced the earth’s ability to store terrestrial carbon. Just as deforestation does today, that loss of forests should have increased atmospheric CO2. Instead, atmospheric CO2 decreased! It appears that the missing CO2 was stored in the ocean.

Across the earth’s upwelling regions, ocean surface pH is primarily affected by the upwelling of ancient stored carbon, rather than human activities . The ocean surface is seldom in equilibrium with the atmosphere. Recent upwelling of subsurface carbon typically raises surface concentrations of CO2 to 1000 ppm and temporarily lowers surface pH. Upwelling of old carbon and other nutrients then stimulates photosynthesis in phytoplankton and sea grasses, which then reduces pH.

It is now esmated that 90 percent of the difference in pH between surface waters and deeper waters results from downward movement of ocean life. When transformed into organic matter, CO2 can be rapidly exported downwards. For example, anchovy and sardine fecal pellets sink 780 meters in a day. Tiny diatoms, which account for half of the ocean’s photosynthesis, are believed to sink at rates over 500 meters per day because of their dense silica shells.

Upwelling is a vital dynamic that brings carbon and nutrients, otherwise sequestered in the ocean’s depths, back to the surface. Although there may be negative consequences of low-pH and low-oxygen upwelled waters, without upwelling of low-pH waters, global marine productivity would be greatly reduced.

In the political arena of climate change, crucial factors are misleadingly ignored by those claiming that rising CO2 leads to shell disintegration. First, shells of living organisms are protected by organic tissues that insulate the shells from changes in ocean chemistry. Mollusk shells are typically covered by a periostracum. This allows mollusks to thrive near low pH volcanic vents, or in acidic freshwater, or when buried in low pH sediments. Coral skeletons are protected by their layer of living coral polyps. When shell-forming organisms die they lose that layer of protective tissue and their shells or skeletons may indeed dissolve. However, dissolution also releases carbonate ions, which buffers the surrounding waters and inhibits any further change in pH.

Slightly lower pH does not stop ocean organisms from converting bicarbonate ions into shell- building carbonate ions. Some climate modelers incorrectly suggest that a small drop in pH will inhibit shell-building in marine organisms.

The ability to make shells despite experiencing atmospheric CO2 much higher than today has been preserved in massive deposits of calcium carbonate shells.

So what is the bottom line, the take home to share with friends. The oceans will not become acidic — CO2 enriches all life in the ocean. There is no evidence to suggest that the oceans are becoming less of a great habitat for marine life due to rising atmospheric CO2.

CO2 is quickly consumed by photosynthesizing bacteria, plankton and algae. Greater productivity allows more organic carbon to be exported to depths where it can be sequestered for hundreds to thousands of years. It is highly likely that the recent increased productivity and increased sequestration of carbon has offset any pH effects from added atmospheric CO2.

So now you have one more of the fraudulent global warming scares put to rest.


Bernie’s Green New Deal to go 100 percent renewable in 10 years would destroy America

Are the American people about to vote to destroy the way of life?

If socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) is elected, his utopian promise to implement a 10-year Soviet-style Gosplan to end oil and gas consumption —the Green New Deal—will radically transform the U.S. economy, and possibly leave America in the dark and cold.

The plan, according to Sanders’ website, calls for “[r]eaching 100 percent renewable energy for electricity and transportation by no later than 2030 and complete decarbonization of the economy by 2050 at latest – consistent with the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change goals – by expanding the existing federal Power Marketing Administrations to build new solar, wind, and geothermal energy sources.”

All sources of non-renewable energy accounting for 62 percent of the electricity grid would need to be replaced. No more coal, natural gas or petroleum based electricity generation. Those aren’t renewable.

In addition, 19 percent of the grid via nuclear power would come to an end, too, even though it doesn’t emit carbon. New nuclear plant construction would cease under the Sanders plan.

Every building including 129 million households would all have to be upgraded to no longer emit any carbon.

Home heating and hot water heaters via natural gas and oil would all have to be replaced. So would all of your stoves if they run on fire. Are you ready for winter yet?

Every car and truck—more than 250 million—that runs on gasoline and diesel would have to be replaced.

Convenient air travel would have to be banned.

The oil, coal and gas industries will be eliminated.

To get across the country, you’d probably have to take a train. Overseas? Hope you got your sea legs.

This is a dagger pointed at the heart of Middle America. Do you commute to work in a car? Do you live in a single family home? Can you afford tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars of upgrades for your home? How about a new electric car? Does that fit in your budget?

Work in the energy industry? Drive trucks for a living? Not any more. It’s job retraining camp for you.

The Green New Deal would change everything, compelling millions of Americans to probably move to warmer areas to survive as the federal government unilaterally ends the industrial revolution — the reason we’re such a prosperous species — with a radical revolution of its own.

The U.S. emits about 5.1 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide every year as of 2017, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency: 45 percent from petroleum, 29 percent from natural gas and 26 percent from coal.

Of the portion of emissions devoted to natural gas, 1.47 billion metric tons a year, only 506 million is from electricity generation. The rest is from heating homes in the winter, making hot water, cooking food and the like

And then there’s the rest of the world — another 30 billion metric tons a year or so — which of course the plan fails to specify how much of that the U.S. will have to subsidize, too, in order to reach the goal of cutting emissions in half globally by 2030 outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change at the United Nations.

That’s right. To get it done, we have to work out a cooperative plan with China, Russia, Europe and the rest of the world to halve carbon-based production that they need to keep their billions of peoples fed and warm in the winter.

How do we intend to persuade the world to commit economic suicide? Even if some sort of agreement could somehow be made, it would surely be a tyrannical scheme to arrest economic development, sacrificing an entire generation of opportunity and innovation on the altar of radical environmentalism.

This would set back economic progress for decades or longer and crash the global economy and dislodge hundreds of millions of careers.

There are also opportunity costs to be considered. What technological innovations, say in the fields of carbon capture, might have been achieved if the economy had kept growing the way it was before we willingly turned the lights out? What improvements to our lives will be foregone in the pursuit of a utopia?

In 2020, Americans will have a choice to make about which future they want to raise their children in. One where the government dictates allowances and rations resources, forces you to rebuild your homes and every other building in the country under Bernie Sanders, or one where Americans keep their liberty and the freedom to harness the gifts God gave humans to keep the economy growing.


Seattle’s NHL Stadium Renamed Climate Pledge Arena, To Immediate Mockery

Perhaps fearing attack by a leftist mob, or being violently targeted for a new CHOP, CHAZ, or CHwhatever zone, Amazon announced yesterday it is changing the name of Seattle’s KeyArena to Climate Pledge Arena. Yes, really. The arena hosts the WNBA’s Seattle Storm women’s basketball team and will host Seattle’s incoming NHL hockey team.

“I’m excited to announce that Amazon has bought the naming rights to the historic Seattle arena previously known as KeyArena,” said Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos on Instagram. “Instead of calling it Amazon Arena, we’re naming it Climate Pledge Arena as a regular reminder of the urgent need for climate action. It will be the first net zero carbon certified arena in the world, generate zero waste from operations and events, and use reclaimed rainwater in the ice system to create the greenest ice in the NHL.”

The arena is in downtown Seattle, just a few blocks from the sea. If climate change is such an existential crisis, won’t the rising seas wash the arena away soon, anyway? So why bother paying for naming rights?

The decision to rename the arena Climate Pledge Arena drew immediate laughter and mockery. Proposed nicknames for arena include:

Phony Pledge Arena
Virtue Signal Arena
Pixie Dust Arena
Gore Court
Greenwash Arena
The Unicorn Center
Poseur Arena
Chicken Little Arena
Bedwetter Arena
Climate Hypocrisy Arena

Feel free to note your favorite in the Comments s



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, June 28, 2020

Facts Vs. Fearmongering

Swedish supermarket chain Coop has announced it will be creating new “sustainability” labels for all of its food products, including their climate impact.

The Swedish company announced the new labels, which will be accessed on electronic devices by scanning a bar code. Coop compared the sustainability labels to ingredients labels, a practice the company began as early as 1946.

“Many of our members and customers today are looking for guidance on how to make sustainable choices in stores, which is why we will begin to show how each individual has affected the earth’s resources, climate, and society,” Coop CEO Magnus Johansson said in a press release.

“We want to change the food industry so that we become even more sustainable and we hope, of course, that the entire industry will follow us in this initiative,” Johansson added.
The company said the sustainability score will be determined by ten different ratings, including whether products are locally sourced and their claimed impact on climate change.

“A commodity may have a small climate imprint, but at the same time, a major negative impact on the local population’s life and work environment in production. For us at Coop, it is important to show several aspects of a product’s impact,” Charlotta Szczepanowski, Coop’s Head of Sustainability and Quality, said.

Coop’s proposal has been supported by major American politicians in the past including Democratic Senator Kamala Harris, who said last year that she backed climate impact labels on food.

“I’ve always believed that we should, you know, expand what’s on those cans of those things you buy in the grocery store,” Harris said. She added: “We should expand the list. And included in that should be a measure of the impact on the environment.”

Others, such as those involved with the European Commission’s Farm to Fork (F2F) Strategy, have stated that the public should not only consider eating a more vegetable-based diet but also consider alternative forms of protein such as insects.
Swedish academic and behavioral scientist Magnus Söderlund shocked many last year when he floated the idea of cannibalism as a climate-saving idea.


28 June, 2020 

Extinction Rebellion activists launch new political party - by SHOP-LIFTING trolleys of food from a London Sainsbury's 'because poverty sucks'

A group of Extinction Rebellion activists launched their new political party in London today by shoplifting from a supermarket 'because poverty sucks'.

Five members of the new Beyond Politics party walked out of a Sainsbury's store in Camden with trolleys laden with food.

They claimed it was an attempt to highlight the instability of food distribution and supplies globally.

The group were not stopped by staff, though two activists did clash with security guards.

They had earlier used a loudspeaker to proclaim that they were giving away free food.

The activists also put stickers on food items that read: 'New lower price: free. Because poverty sucks'.

The 'supermarket sweep' is the first in a series of stunts that will end with an event in central London on July 25.

Beyond Politics has chosen shocking pink as their launch colour.   

Discussing the stunt, party member Benedict McGorty said: 'I'm not stealing food, I'm 'gift-aiding' it. We are changing the rules because the rules are plain wrong. This is not against Sainsbury's but the profiteering of a basic human need.' 

The group believe that the climate emergency and political failures have led to dwindling global food supplies. 

A spokesperson for the new party said: 'While the government gives billions to its corporate buddies, millions of families don't have enough money just to feed their kids.

'We want to establish a participatory democracy. We want to engage everyone and for people to be able to have their say. The current political system is incapable of making the structural changes necessary. We need a complete transformation of politics.'

Beyond Politics' founders say that the current political system is corrupt and failing.

They want to hand power to ordinary people through citizens' assemblies, and plan to field candidates across the country for future local, regional and national election.

To start with, north London activist Valerie Brown will stand for mayor of London at next year's election.

Extinction Rebellion's co-founder Roger Hallam is a driving force behind the party. He told the Guardian: 'We are seeing complete incompetence of the governing class. There have been 20,000 unnecessary deaths from Covid. The crowning glory is the inability of the political class to respond to the extinction of the human race.' 

Hallam says he is assisting with design and organisational work for the new political party and insists that it is separate from the Extinction Rebellion movement.


Green Thumbs Down

FreedomWorks Foundation's Regulatory Action Center (RAC) has published an issue brief on the environmental regulations the Trump administration has rolled back. You can read the paper excerpted below or in its entirety in the attachment at the bottom of this post or HERE.

One of the main features of the Obama administration was its ruthlessly efficient use of the regulatory state. President Obama famously said that if Congress refused to act, he would employ “his pen and his phone” to get the job done. There was perhaps no area of public policy that embodied this approach more than the environment.

The Obama-era Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was busy during their eight years. In terms of cumulative cost, they surpassed every other agency. After the administration rolled out of town, the Obama EPA had accounted for 187 finalized regulations, totaling just over $344 billion in regulatory costs, and almost 33 million paperwork hours to do so. The administration certainly earned its “regulation nation” moniker.

This regulation nation spanned all aspects of the environment, from what gets emitted to the air, to what can be done on certain lands, and even as minute as what is considered a “navigable water.” The wide-reaching and ever-expanding nature of EPA’s authority impacted families and businesses across the United States, causing unnecessary burdens.

These burdens naturally led to resentment and anger towards unelected bureaucrats thinking they knew best and could tell Americans of all stripes how to live. After Donald Trump was elected on a platform running against the Obama environmental agenda, his administration came in poised to deliver the promised change of the campaign trail.

The administration promised to repeal at least two regulations for every new one implemented. President Trump appointed reform-minded Administrator Scott Pruitt to head the EPA and other cabinet officials dedicated to this promise. In almost three and a half years, the administration has not disappointed.

As we come to the end of the first Trump administration, this piece explores the history behind some of the most destructive regulations addressed by the administration. It also analyzes the impact of scaling them back and why it was so important to do so. Just as the Obama administration left no corner of the earth untouched by regulation, the pendulum eventually swung back. The air, sea, and land are all more free today because of it.


EPA biofuel mandates don’t make sense

Did you know that adding corn into oil based gasoline actually increases the cost of that gas over non-blended gasoline?

How about the fact that the Environmental Protection Agency’s own data shows that refiners had to rely on 481 million gallons of foreign fuel to meet the EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standard mandate in the United States in 2019?  America achieves energy independence, yet is still compelled by outdated federal rules to buy foreign fuel to meet an arbitrary mandate.

And just one more, did you know that the National Wildlife Federation wrote a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency supporting reducing ethanol blending requirements due to the findings in an EPA produced, “comprehensive report to Congress in 2018 that outlined the negative environmental impacts of biofuel production.”

And yet in spite of the environmental harm, increased cost (estimated at $1.80 more per gallon for bio-diesel), and the reliance on foreign producers of biofuels, the EPA persists in a misguided effort to push ethanol production standards which exceed what is known as the “blendwall” or the amount of ethanol that can currently be blended into the domestic gasoline supply.

These overly aggressive mandates force our nation’s oil refiners to purchase compliant fuel from foreign companies to achieve Renewable Fuel Standard compliance increasing our national trade deficit.

To put this in even simpler terms, the EPA is forcing U.S. companies to buy foreign produced bio-mass fuels in order to meet an artificial government created quota, and ethanol isn’t even good for the environment.

President Trump has been at the forefront of cutting absurd and harmful regulations and has doubled down on this effort as our nation enters into an economic recovery phase after the devastating job losses due to the shutdowns caused by the reaction to the Chinese-originated virus.

In a May 19, 2020 Cabinet meeting the President said, “With millions of Americans forced out of work by the virus, it’s more important than ever to remove burdens that destroy American jobs.”

He continued by instructing his Cabinet officials to use emergency authority to speed up regulation cuts or move forward with “new rules that will create jobs and prosperity and get rid of unnecessary rules and regulations.”

These are pretty clear instructions directly from the President to his Cabinet Secretaries, including EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler.

Right now, due to the COVID-19 economic downturn, many U.S. oil producers have turned off the spigot for the foreseeable future due to oil price instability, yet, domestic oil refiners are having to not only cut the amount of oil-based fuel used in gasoline to meet RFS rules but pay foreign refiners to import more fuel partially made from food.

What’s more, the virus crisis has caused the United Nations to estimate that 42 million to 66 million more children worldwide could fall into extreme poverty, noting that in 2019 some 386 million children were already in extreme poverty.  And yet, somehow the regulators at the EPA continue to insist that America’s cars burn food rather than fuel, ensuring that acres upon acres of corn and soybeans which could have been exported to feed those who through no fault of their own find themselves in danger of starvation.

Only in Washington, D.C. could people charged with protecting the environment think that it is a good idea to mandate a product that hurts the environment, costs more money, and has to be imported, while shifting food production away from feeding starving people. It is enough to make you cry.


Australia's Drought-Ending Rains Restore Critically Endangered Woodlands

Panic about their survival neglected their long history of bouncing back.  They are fire-adapted

In box gum grassy woodlands, widely spaced eucalypts tower over carpets of wildflowers, lush native grasses and groves of flowering wattles. It's no wonder some early landscape paintings depicting Australian farm life are inspired by this ecosystem.

But box gum grassy woodlands are critically endangered. These woodlands grow on highly productive agricultural country, from southern Queensland, along inland slopes and tablelands, into Victoria.

Many are degraded or cleared for farming. As a result, less than 5% of the woodlands remain in good condition. What remains often grows on private land such as farms, and public lands such as cemeteries or traveling stock routes.

Very little is protected in public conservation reserves. And the recent drought and record breaking heat caused these woodlands to stop growing and flowering.

But after Queensland's recent drought-breaking rain earlier this year, we surveyed private farmland and found many dried-out woodlands in the northernmost areas transformed into flower-filled, park-like landscapes.

And landholders even came across rarely seen marsupials, such as the southern spotted-tail quoll.

These surveys were part of the Australian government's Environmental Stewardship Program, a long-term cooperative conservation model with private landholders. It started in 2007 and will run for 19 years.

We found huge increases in previously declining native wildflowers and grasses on the private farmland. Many trees assumed to be dying began resprouting, such as McKie's stringybark (Eucalyptus mckieana), which is listed as a vulnerable species.

This newfound plant diversity is the result of seeds and tubers (underground storage organs providing energy and nutrients for regrowth) lying dormant in the soil after wildflowers bloomed in earlier seasons. The dormant seeds and tubers were ready to spring into life with the right seasonal conditions.

For example, Queensland Herbarium surveys early last year, during the drought, looked at a 20 meter (65 feet) by 20 meter plot and found only six native grass and wildflower species on one property. After this year's rain, we found 59 species in the same plot, including many species of perennial grass (three species jumped to 20 species post rain), native bluebells and many species of native daisies.

On another property with only 11 recorded species, more than 60 species sprouted after the extensive rains.

In areas where grazing and farming continued as normal (the paired "control" sites), the plots had only around half the number of plant species as areas managed for conservation.

Spotting Rare Marsupials

Landowners also reported several unusual sightings of animals on their farms after the rains. Stewardship program surveyors later identified them as two species of rare and endangered native carnivorous marsupials: the southern spotted-tailed quoll (mainland Australia's largest carnivorous marsupial) and the brush-tailed phascogale.

The population status of both these species in southern Queensland is unknown. The brush-tailed phascogale is elusive and rarely detected, while the southern spotted-tailed quolls are listed as endangered under federal legislation.

Until those sightings, there were no recent records of southern spotted-tailed quolls in the local area.

These unusual wildlife sightings are valuable for monitoring and evaluation. They tell us what's thriving, declining or surviving, compared to the first surveys for the stewardship program ten years ago.

Sightings are also a promising signal for the improving condition of the property and its surrounding landscape.



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, June 26, 2020

Covid-19 has led to a pandemic of plastic pollution

As the world produces more protective equipment—and gorges on takeaways—pity the oceans

THE THAMES has always been a reflector of the times, says Lara Maiklem, a London “mudlark”. Ms Maiklem spends her days on the river’s foreshore foraging for history’s detritus, from Roman pottery to Victorian clay pipes. She can tell the time of year, she says, just by the type of rubbish she has to sift through: champagne bottles during the first week of January; footballs in summer. The year 2020 has left its own mark. Since the coronavirus reached Britain the mud has sprouted a crop of latex gloves.

In February, half a world away, Gary Stokes docked his boat on Hong Kong’s isolated Soko Island. Soko’s beaches are where OceansAsia, the conservation organisation he runs, sporadically records levels of plastic pollution. Mr Stokes says he is all too accustomed to finding the jetsam the modern world throws up, such as plastic drinks bottles and supermarket carrier-bags. But what he documented that day made news across Hong Kong: 70 surgical facemasks on a 100-metre stretch of beach. Having cleaned it up, he went back four days later. Like a stubborn weed, the masks had returned.

Whether on the foreshore of the Thames or the deserted beaches of Soko, the planet is awash with pandemic plastic. Data are hard to come by but, for example, consumption of single-use plastic may have grown by 250-300% in America since the coronavirus took hold, says Antonis Mavropoulos of the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA), which represents recycling bodies in 102 countries. Much of that increase is down to demand for products designed to keep covid-19 at bay, including masks, visors and gloves. According to a forecast from Grand View Research, the global disposable-mask market will grow from an estimated $800m in 2019 to $166bn in 2020.

Staggering though such figures are, personal protection is only part of the story. Lockdowns have also led to a boom in e-commerce. In March, as parts of America and Europe shut up shop, some 2.5bn customers are reckoned to have visited Amazon’s website, a 65% increase on last year. In China, more than 25% of physical goods were bought online during the first quarter of the year, according to the Peterson Institute for International Economics, a think-tank in Washington, DC.

Much of what is bought online comes wrapped in plastic—and the bad kind at that. Goods are often packaged in plastic comprising several layers. That keeps the contents safe in aeroplane holds and on delivery lorries. It also makes it nearly impossible to recycle the plastic. At the same time, the locked-down masses have been consuming home deliveries from restaurants in record numbers. First-quarter sales at Uber Eats, one of America’s biggest restaurant-delivery apps, for example, rose by 54% year on year. Every extra portion of curry, or pot of garlic dip, means more plastic waste.

If the public’s increasing appetite for single-use plastic worries environmentalists, then so too does its diminishing inclination to recycle materials that can be reused. In Athens, for example, there has been a 150% increase in the amount of plastic found in the general-waste stream, says Mr Mavropoulos. Anecdotal evidence from ISWA members suggests this is a worldwide trend. An unwillingness to recycle might be explained by people’s nervousness about venturing out to put waste in recycling bins. Or it might just be that lockdowns have put more pressing matters into their minds, prompting a slip in their diligence.

Covid-19 has led to a glut in plastic waste in other ways. For one, the pandemic caused a crash in the oil price. Because petroleum is a major constituent of most plastics, they became cheaper to produce, says David Xi of the University of Warwick. That in turn gave firms less incentive to use the recycled stuff. But the growth of plastic rubbish is mainly caused by the fact that municipalities around the world have curtailed their recycling schemes. Collections have been cut back and plants have been shut over fears about spreading the contagion. Worries about contaminated rubbish have also made some refuse collectors and sorters nervous about going into work (the virus can survive for about 72 hours on plastic).

All of which means that much of the plastic produced this year is ending up either in landfill sites or being incinerated. Both could store up future problems. Landfills, especially in poor countries, are often little more than open dumps. They are responsible for some of the biggest leakages of plastics into oceans, says Mr Mavropoulos. Because the material is light, it is easily swept by rain or wind into waterways.

Incineration is not much better. Again, particularly in the developing world where facilities can be shoddy, not only can burning plastics create toxins, but it also often fails to obliterate the plastic, leaving considerable levels of nano- and micro-particles. These can both be emitted into the atmosphere, where they can cause cancers, or leach into groundwater and eventually into oceans.

There is no academic consensus on whether plastics in the oceans, once they are broken down by salt and sun into micro-particles, are particularly dangerous to animals. Polymers, on which plastics are based, are chemically inert, although some additives can be toxic. But given the huge natural experiment now under way, researchers may soon have a clearer idea. “We are only just starting to understand the potential impacts of nanoparticles and the way in which they can penetrate into living cells in marine organisms as well,” says Dan Parsons, director of the Energy and Environment Institute at the University of Hull. “Plastic nanomaterials released into the environment could be the asbestos of the seas.”

Indeed, like the virus itself, pandemic-era plastic pollution is hitting the poor hardest, says Inger Andersen, executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme. In low-income countries, 93% of waste goes into open dumps, she says. And where there are incinerators, they tend to be of low quality. Even in rich countries, the poor are more likely to live closer to facilities that deal with rubbish, says Ms Andersen.

There are good reasons why the public has turned to plastics, says Mr Parsons: “People know that it protects them” from the coronavirus. Not only that, points out Ms Andersen, it is hardly fair to blame manufacturers for producing environmentally unfriendly protective equipment—or consumers for buying it—given the global scramble to obtain the materials needed to make the masks and visors that keep health workers and others safe. And a world in which less plastic is produced would not necessarily be a greener one. Because the material is light, it often causes lower emissions when it is transported than alternatives do.

But what worries Mr Parsons is that years spent trying to change the public’s attitude towards single-use plastic might now be lost. Preliminary findings from research his team has conducted suggest that the public has reverted to its earlier insouciance about plastic waste. The pandemic has already encouraged the rolling back of anti-plastic legislation, such as taxes on single-use grocery bags in some American states, or a ban on plastic straws in Britain. Ironically, that may even help the climate. But just as covid-19 has scarred families and harmed livelihoods across the world, its effect on the planet will linger, too, in the world’s landfills and oceans.


Green investing is red hot but its impact is underwhelming

Publicly traded firms are directly responsible for only a modest share of greenhouse-gas emissions

INTEREST IN CLIMATE change was once a rarity in high finance; the preserve of boutique investment houses and pokey back-offices in the large asset-management firms. Now it is all the rage. Pressure from regulators and clients, as well as the increasing frequency of extreme weather events, has made green investment red hot. The trend could be a force for good in the fight to reduce climate change. But there is a limit as to how much it can do.

In order to see how much of the world’s emissions might be amenable to investor-led action The Economist analysed emissions disclosures from over 5,000 publicly listed companies. The number of companies making such disclosures has been rising steadily. Those disclosures differentiate between the emissions that companies make directly (called “scope-one” emissions) and “scope-two” emissions which are produced by the companies which provide them with energy, mostly in the form of electricity. To look at the total emissions we considered only scope one, since adding in scope two leads to double-counting.

As you would expect, the largest emissions come from companies that burn fossil fuels in the normal course of their business: those that run fossil-fuel power stations, or fleets of aircraft or steelworks. In Europe ArcelorMittal is the biggest emitter because steelmaking requires the burning of coal. In America the biggest is ExxonMobil, which unlike many large companies produces much of the electricity and heat that it uses itself. Using the emissions disclosed by these companies, we estimated emissions for non-disclosing firms on the basis of those disclosed by similar firms in the same sector with comparable revenues. Given that a firm’s decision whether to disclose and its emissions intensity may not be independent, this step could introduce error.

Totting everything up reveals that each year publicly traded companies emit greenhouse gases equivalent to 10bn tonnes of carbon dioxide from their operations. Perhaps a quarter of those are produced by listed firms that are majority-owned by governments. That leaves eight gigatonnes of emissions that stockmarkets can influence directly. That is 14% of the world’s total emissions, or 19% of emissions related to energy use and industrial processes. (Those estimates undercount oil emissions. If you add those from the oil sold by institutionally controlled energy firms, part of what is called “scope three” emissions, then the proportions increase to 23% and 32%, respectively.) Thus fund managers have some influence over a big slice of the economy, but many emissions occur outside the firms they control. They cannot directly influence the bosses of state-controlled Chinese coal-fired power plants or Middle Eastern oil and gas producers. The role that financial services can play in fighting climate change must not be misunderstood or overstated.


New Climate Poll, Same Results: People Concerned, But Not Very Much

Every few months one polling firm or another releases a survey asking people if they would like action on climate change. And survey after survey says people would – if action is not too costly or disruptive. A new Pew Research Center poll is being hyped by the Washington Post and other Establishment-Left media, but it does nothing to change the equation.

A June 23 survey conducted by the reports a majority of respondents say they are concerned about climate change along with other environmental issues, and that government should do more to prevent climate change.

As with other such surveys, however, the more important question is where their concern about climate ranks in relation to other issues and, crucially, how much they will personally be willing to pay to fight climate change. The Pew Poll doesn’t ask these question, but others have and the answers are enlightening.

If you ask the public about almost any potential concern that is frequently in the headlines, poll respondents will say government should do more to fix the problem. Indeed, when surveys ask whether crime, economic growth, education, health care, immigration, jobs, retirement, taxes, terrorism, and similar issues are important – and whether government should do more to solve these problems – majorities consistently say yes. However, what we really need to know is how important each issue is relative to other matters of concern. In a world of limited resources and limited voter attention, government must focus on what the public is most concerned about and what will motivate people when they go to the polls.

In this regard, climate change consistently ranks at or near the bottom on the list of public concerns. For example, a United Nations poll surveying more than 7 million respondents from 195 countries asked participants to rank 16 priorities. Quality education ranked first and “Action Taken on Climate Change” ranked dead last.

The results of a survey conducted by the Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation in 2019 are similar. Survey participants were asked, “How important are the following issues to you personally?” Options included climate change, the economy, gun policy, health care, immigration, and renewable energy. Climate change came in second-to-last among adults and third-to-last among teens in the number of people rating it as either “extremely” or “very” important. The only category that consistently ranked lower than climate change was “renewable energy.”

The new Pew poll touted by the Washington Post misleadingly asks if people think government should tax the fossil fuel industry, or spend more on renewable energy sources, or impose tougher emission restrictions on power plants and automobiles to fight climate change. Significant majorities of respondents say yes, yet the survey attaches no dollar figures to any of these policies. When people think something will cost them nothing, they want it, but the number of takers declines sharply as the costs go up.

However, a 2017 University of Chicago and Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs research poll; a 2015 survey conducted by The New York Times, Stanford University, and Resources for the Future; and the 2019 Post/Kaiser poll found the public wants to fight climate change only if it can be done for free or at very little cost. Even a climate realist like me was surprised by how little money people are willing to spend to fight the mythical climate crisis!

More than half (60 percent) of Post/Kaiser survey respondents said they believed the world had less than 10 years to prevent the worst effects of climate change. Despite this, 51 percent of those surveyed would be “somewhat” or “strongly” opposed to paying a $2 monthly tax on U.S. residential electric bills to pay for the fight against climate change. Similarly, 61 percent would reject a 10-cents-per-gallon increase in the gasoline tax to fight climate change.

The number of respondents opposed to hikes in electricity costs and gas taxes rose sharply when the proposed fees were increased: 71 percent oppose a $10 monthly tax on U.S. residential electric bills, and 74 percent oppose increasing the gas tax by 25 cents per gallon. These relatively modest cost increases are far below what it would cost the average household to pay for the Green New Deal (GND), or even the GND-lite carbon tax proposals being offered by a very few liberal Republicans in Congress.

In the end, the so-called climate crisis may concern many people in the abstract, but relatively few people rank it high compared to other public policy issues of concern, and fewer still are willing to pay very much to fight climate change. That’s the important truth public polling firms should note.


Bayer to keep selling Roundup in Australia, will fight local lawsuits

Bayer will keep selling glyphosate-based weed sprays in Australia and fight litigation here against its product Roundup, despite agreeing to pay more than $US10 billion ($14.6 billion) to settle thousands of claims in the US alleging it causes cancer.

Executives from the company's United States and Australian operations vigorously defended glyphosate weed sprays in an early morning media call on Thursday, saying the product was safe to use and backed by a large body of scientific evidence around the world collected over many decades.

"What I want to make clear is we continue to proudly stand behind the safety and utility of our products, and our commitment to offer them to farmers and other users in Australia and around the world," said Brett Begemann, chief operating officer at Bayer’s crop science division.

"The decision to resolve these cases was driven by our desire to bring greater certainty to farmers we serve every day," he said.

Mr Begemann said the settlement came with a big expense, but was the "right decision" for Bayer and its stakeholders. The settlement would also enable Bayer to return its focus to work on the development of new agricultural products to protect crops.

Two class actions have already been launched against Roundup in Australia and are in their early stages.

Roundup is the biggest selling glyphosate-based weedspray in the world and is used extensively by farmers in various agricultural segments to kill weeds. It is also used by commercial gardeners and home gardeners.

Roundup is owned by Bayer, after the German company bought the US agrochemical company Monsanto in 2018. Monsanto invented and manufactured Roundup for decades, which meant that Bayer inherited the legal claims against Roundup with the 2018 deal.

"Let me be clear that the settlement in the United States has no bearing on glyphosate proceedings in any other jurisdiction. Bayer will actively defend any and all claims concerning Roundup brought against it in Australian courts...we're fully committed to these crucial weed control technologies and that commitment’s unwavering," Mr Begemann said.

The coronavirus pandemic was a key reminder of the importance of agriculture, food and science to the world, he said.

"We'll continue to sell Roundup and other glyphosate-based products to our loyal customer base," he said.

"There's a really strong consensus around the world that glyphosate does not cause cancer and is not carcinogenic. No regulator in the world has ever indicated they've seen any of that," he said.

Joerg Ellmanns, Bayer’s crop science country divisional head for Australia and New Zealand, said glyphosate weed sprays were a "cornerstone" of Australian agriculture, and the company had no plans to change its marketing of glyphosate products in this country.

Mr Ellmanns said sales of Bayer's glyphosate weed sprays in Australia were performing strongly.  "We believe it's essential for Australian agriculture," he said.

Shortly after Bayer bought Monsanto a California court awarded $US289 million to school groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson, who claimed that glyphosate caused his cancer. The monetary award was later reduced and Bayer appealed the verdict.

In Australia, the first class action launched against Bayer over Roundup was led by a Melbourne gardener, who blamed his non-Hodgkin lymphoma, diagnosed in 2011, on his use of Roundup. The case was launched last year.



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


Thursday, June 25, 2020

UK Environment Official Claims Britain Isn’t Wet And Rainy

Dr. Benny Peiser

The head of the government’s Environment Agency is claiming that the UK is no longer a wet and rainy country and is urging us to turn off taps and take showers rather than baths to save water.

Sir James Bevan, CEO of the Agency, is backing a report, The Great British Rain Paradox, which warns of potential water shortages in the UK in years to come. The report claims that the major factor for this is climate change.

In its foreword, Sir James says:

‘Climate change is causing long spells of dry weather that are putting our water resources under increased pressure. May 2020 has been the driest on record and exceptionally dry weather across the southeast between 2017 and 2019 led to some of the lowest groundwater levels we have ever seen.’

These claims have no basis in fact. Official Met Office data shows that the UK has actually been getting wetter in recent decades.

What is particularly noticeable in England and Wales is the absence of severe drought years in recent decades.
May 2020 certainly was not the driest on record either – in the UK as a whole, it was only the ninth driest since records started in 1862. The driest May was in 1896. Analysis of regional rainfall data also fails to support Sir James’s claims.

Nor does the claim of exceptionally dry weather in the South East of England stand up to scrutiny. Met Office data proves that rainfall there between 2017 and 2019 was close to average.
There are undoubtedly good reasons why water shortages may occur in the future, such as population growth and increased demands.

Spurious claims about climate change will simply serve to draw attention away from these very real issues and the failure to expand storage and deal with water leaks.

This is not the first time Sir James has been caught playing fast and loose with the facts to support a political agenda. He should apologize and issue a correction.


If We Unquestioningly ‘Follow The Science,’ It Leads Us Nowhere

Surely one of the more embarrassing moments in Anderson Cooper’s career as the host of his CNN nightly show was the night back in May when he brought in 17-year-old Greta Thunberg as a star interview for a CNN Town Hall — not on the climate crisis, for which Thunberg has been famously treated as an expert of sorts, but on the COVID-19 crisis.

The link between COVID-19 and climate change is a little unclear, so presumably Cooper and Town Hall co-host Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s medical expert, thought Thunberg would bring some special wisdom and insight to the virus crisis.

The only advice from Thunberg, however, was to urge everyone to “follow the science” as suggested by Cooper, who seemed to be appealing to the 17-year-old for confirmation of his views:

“This is a time, it seems, that the global scientific community is so critically important and we’re really seeing how important it is to follow the science.”

Thunberg took that soft handoff from Cooper as one might expect — as confirmation of her claim that we should also be following the science on climate change.

“People are starting to realize that we are actually depending on science and that we need to listen to scientists and experts. And I really hope that stays,” she said, adding that she also hoped it will apply to other crises “such as the climate crisis and the environmental crisis.”

When it comes to COVID-19, however, Thunberg seemed to have missed some of the science she said we should all be following.

She suggested it was misinformation to believe initial reports that COVID-19 affected only the elderly. “During any crisis, it is always the most vulnerable people who are hit the hardest, and that is children,” she proclaimed.

“Yes, this does affect elderly people a lot, but we also have to remember that this is also a children’s rights crisis because children are the most vulnerable in societies. Children do get the virus and they also spread it.”

The actual science shows, as we all now know, that children are not the hardest hit, nor are they the most vulnerable.

Children are in “extremely low risk” of getting the disease and when they do get it they are more likely to be asymptomatic. Few have died.

Welcome to FP Comment’s 22nd annual Junk Science Week, guided by our standard definition: Junk science occurs when scientific facts are distorted, the risk is exaggerated and the science adapted and warped by politics and ideology to serve another agenda.

Both CNN and Thunberg are manifestations thereof.

Whether the politicization of science is more widespread today is unanswerable, but it seems fair to conclude that there have been few signs of retreat.

As we shall explore later this week, peer-review regimes continue to fail, correlations are propelled into causation, health risks converted into draconian legislation.

Calls to follow the science are heard almost daily from politicians and activists — and many scientists. But what are they advocating?

When a politician declares “I believe in the science” (as per U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren), it’s akin to admitting a lack of knowledge about the science behind whatever policy is being promulgated.

And what if, as is too often the case, the science politicians are following is tainted and falls into the great science world where deliberate distortions and exaggerations — even fabrications — are common?

Lest anyone believe that doesn’t happen, it’s worth recalling the famous words of Stephen Schneider, the late Stanford University climate scientist who — along with many others over the years — saw fudging and fakery as the proper role of scientists.

“On the one hand,” said Schneider, “as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. To do that we need to get some broad-based support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, means getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements and make little mention of any doubts we might have. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.”

There is one area of science where a small blow — or maybe it will prove to be large — has been dealt to the “scary scenarios” that have driven climate policy over much of the past two decades.

That scenario is the work of the UN climate agency — the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) — which produced a so-called “business-as-usual” scenario implying that without drastic action to curb carbon emissions the world would plunge into economic and environmental hell.

Guelph University’s Ross McKitrick outlines on this page today that the official UN climate scenario known as RCP8.5 — cited by media and others to describe climate change risk — is a form of junk science based on assorted wrong-headed assumptions, including impossible projections of carbon emissions increases.

McKitrick concludes: “If we want to avoid the RCP8.5 future scenario all we have to do is stop feeding it into climate models because that’s the only place it exists.”

If we just unquestioningly “follow the science,” that’s where it seems to be leading, to places that don’t exist, to nowhere.


E&E Alarmist Article on Facebook's Climate Model "Fact-checking" Needs Its Own Fact-Checking

E&E News today published a news story backing the opinions of a partisan climate alarmist group that acts as a censor for opposing opinions on Facebook.

Dr. Caleb Stewart Rossiter, a climate statistician who directs the CO2 Coalition of climate scientists and energy economists that is fighting the censorship, responded that it is the E&E article that desperately needs fact-checking: 

"About the only thing that is accurate in this opinion piece masquerading as news story is this statement: 'climate models, which are the foundation used to craft many carbon regulations.' Climate models indeed are the only thing justifying the array of mandates and subsidies for wind and solar power that are making energy prices four times as high as they should be." 

Dr. Rossiter noted that the UN's own reports show that there has been no statistically significant increase in rates of sea-level rise, hurricanes, droughts, and other extreme weather during the era since 1950, when industrial CO2 could first have affected global temperature. (see Climate Statistics 101.

Said Rossiter, 

"Why do Facebook's censors go after anything we write about climate models? Because these models are the weak link in the alarmist narrative. These rough estimates based on pre-programmed warming assumptions continue to run three times too hot compared to actual temperature data." (see On Climate Sensitivity).
Via email from the CO2 Coalition: info@co2coalition.org

Australia: Leftist leader's letter to PM Scott Morrison to outline climate compromise

Labor leader Anthony Albanese has urged the Prime Minister to end the climate wars in a letter outlining a new bipartisan approach on energy policy that’s being dubbed “a surrender note” by critics.

In an olive branch, Mr Albanese has written to the PM urging the Morrison government to find an energy policy that both sides of politics can support and then get on with legislating it.

The Labor leader said that the ALP would not “seek a specific model” for the bipartisan energy policy as long as it could be scalable to different emissions targets of a future government.

After the Prime Minister spruiked the benefits of bipartisanship during the COVID-19 crisis with Labor state premiers, Mr Albanese is urging the Prime Minister to embrace a new deal on energy policy.

“As we address the greatest health and economic crisis we have seen for generations, it is only by working together that we can deliver the leadership Australian businesses and families are rightly crying out for,’’ Mr Albanese writes.

“It is my sincere hope that you carefully consider and accept this genuine offer.”

Previously, Labor had offered to back the National Energy Guarantee, which the Liberal Party put on ice two years ago during the leadership revolt that toppled Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister.

Whether it’s the carbon tax, the National Energy Guarantee or the emissions reduction scheme, successive governments have tried and failed to deliver a détente in the energy policy space.

While the brawls have toppled prime ministers and political leaders, experts insist the real losers are voters who are paying more for energy as businesses refuse to invest because of the uncertainty.

Business leaders have consistently warned that Australia’s energy prices for electricity and gas are higher than they should be as a result of the policy vacuum in the climate change space.

The new negotiating position was ticked off by the shadow cabinet recently, following negotiations between the Left faction’s Mark Butler and the Right faction’s pro-coal frontbencher Joel Fitzgibbon.

Last year, Mr Albanese carpeted Mr Fitzgibbon in the shadow cabinet over his public call for a “sensible settlement’’ with the Liberal Party on climate change targets.

The brawl prompted Mr Butler to announce he would be announcing a “climate change emergency’’ in parliament, which critics complained was “a crock of sh*t.”

In February, Mr Albanese announced that a Labor Government would adopt a target of net zero emissions by 2050.

In his letter to the Prime Minister, Mr Albanese has also offered to support the development and use of Carbon Capture Storage methodologies for the creation of Australian carbon credit units to be available for Emission Reduction Fund auctions.

This is despite the Labor Party insisting it remains opposed to the taxpayer funded Emissions Reduction Fund on the grounds it is an inappropriate use of taxpayer funds.

But while the bipartisan approach has been endorsed by the shadow cabinet, it’s likely to sharpen the differences between the ALP and the Greens and could alarm some inner-city MPs.

“We’ve taken ourselves hostage and now we’re sending the PM a surrender note,’’ a Labor MP quipped.



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, June 24, 2020

Buying the farm vote with carbon credits

Man caused climate change is probably the greatest fraud ever perpetrated on society. While much of the public with little science education has been conned by the media and well financed model builders into believing the arrogant idea that man controls the thermostat of planet Earth, it is in fact a political not a scientific issue. It is not about saving the planet.

The Climate change movement is political ideology. The socialist leaders of the movement believe that the world and all people in it should be controlled by a massive government. To these people capitalism and free markets are the enemy. Personal freedom and democracy are evil.

Essentially the entire Democratic Party has tied itself to this movement and will stop at nothing to bring the country to the sadistic utopia they see in socialism. Sadly they are joined by many in the Republican Party as well.

America’s agriculture community has largely resisted this damaging ideology.

Now they are going after America’s farmers and ranchers by proposing to give them money for what they naturally do, draw upon photosynthesis to utilize carbon dioxide to grow their crops and forests, and ask those who raise our meat to capture their flatulence. They are trying to push them into the global warming hysteria camp and buy their votes in the next election along the way.

A legislative bill has been introduced this month directing the US Department of Agriculture to help farmers, ranchers and landowners use carbon dioxide absorbing practices to generate carbon credits gaining access to revenue from the greenhouse gas offset credit market.

It is really a cruel joke when one realizes the last established values for decreasing carbon dioxide was $3 a ton. Time and effort to make such a calculation would cost folks more than that.

Hopefully the legislation will not pass, but if it does the USDA, once the greatest supporter of agriculture but now too often controlled by deep staters, will reject creating required protocols to qualify for this pitiful vote bribery.

Tom Harris of the International Climate Science Coalition said “That Congress wants to help farmers and ranchers during this difficult time is great, but just help them directly. Don’t create a program that gives them financial support for doing something to promote the nonsensical effort to stop climate change.

Terigi Ciccione, author of the new book, The Hitchhiker’s Journey Through Climate Change, said “the Dems have laid a trap, put a little cheese on the mousetrap, and when the two faced Republicans embrace it with bipartisan love for the farmers, the Dems will spring their Trojan Horse trap much like Lucy telling Charlie Brown this time she will really hold the football steady “.

It is crazy to think we are even debating the idea of limiting CO2 at a huge cost to society, when we should actually be promoting more CO2. This shows how persuasive the pro global warming movement has been with their sales pitch, organization and propaganda. We should actually be doing the opposite of what they are hyping. The global warming argument fails for lack of any real scientific observable evidence. We should not regulate, nor tax CO2, but rather put more of it into the atmosphere.

Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace, who now spends his time battling the lies put forth by the organization he founded to save whales and harp seals, predicts the day will come when we will be crushing limestone to put its carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere.

There is only 1/10,000 of a percent more CO2 in the atmosphere now than there was 260 years ago. The socialist alarmists are desperately telling us this threatens to plunge the earth into catastrophe.

In total, CO2 comprises only .04 percent of our atmosphere and is a very weak greenhouse gas with no impact on the Earth’s temperature as compared to the real players, the sun, the oceans, clouds, vegetation and such. Yet when it comes to biological processes, like plant photosynthesis, small amounts of CO2 do make a wonderful difference.


Ireland's Green Manifesto

Only 8% of the Irish public believe that tackling climate change should be the next government’s top priority, according to the results of an MRBI opinion poll published last week.

This low percentage didn’t stop Fine Gael and Fianna Fail caving into the Green Party’s very far-reaching demand that we cut our carbon emissions in half over the next 10 years.

The capitulation raises questions about the nature of Irish democracy. So does the largely uncritical coverage that the Green Party agenda receives.

Even during the general election, it was obvious that climate change was not a big issue for voters. Commentators and politicians noted it was rarely raised on the doorsteps.

This was despite enormous media coverage of the issue, with RTE basically campaigning about it for months.

Thousands of schoolchildren had been taking part in climate strikes and we even had a children’s parliament, which took over the Dail chamber for a day to discuss the matter. The environmental campaigner Greta Thunberg seemed to be never off our screens.

Last summer, the Fine Gael government published a climate action plan, promising to reduce carbon emissions by an average of 3% a year by 2030.

Every other day we seemed to have a new UN report issuing dire warnings of impending environmental doom.

Here in Ireland an environmental expert, Professor Peter Thorne of NUI Maynooth, warned that, at some stage in the coming decades, a catastrophic storm during high tide would leave thousands of properties and landmark buildings in Dublin underwater, with significant flooding in the city center.

Despite all these warnings, voters still couldn’t be persuaded to put climate change at the top of their concerns. Yet this didn’t stop politicians going right ahead and making it the top priority of the next government.

Of all the commitments in the new program for government, none is as radical as the promise to cut carbon emissions by 7% a year for the next 10 years, and not 3% as first promised — a target that was already considered very ambitious and expensive.

What has been notable since the program was published last week is how little discussion there has been of how much the 7% commitment is going to cost us, and whether it has a proper democratic mandate.

The only real debate seems to be among the 3,000-plus membership of Green Party itself, with its Extinction Rebellion wing opposing the deal on the grounds that it doesn’t go far enough.

Unless more than two-thirds of these members approve the program, it’s back to the drawing board for the political parties, and maybe another election.

Perhaps we should have another election anyway because if you are going to do something so huge and radical, it should have broad support and be properly debated.

If you told people upfront that the commitment on climate would cost tens of billions of euros, inhibit economic growth, and that households would be asked to pay tens of thousands on electric cars and retrofitting their houses, we would have Instant Rebellion.

But we have been told none of this. A radical commitment has been slipped in as though it is the most reasonable proposal in the world.

It’s time for a proper debate, one in which we hear from a broad range of climate experts, engineers, and economists, who represent a range of views, and not simply those who meet with RTE approval, such as Professor John Sweeney of NUI Maynooth’s geography department.

He seems to be the go-to guy for RTE on all things climate, yet I cannot remember hearing a journalist ask him a single hard question.

We are invited to believe that when Sweeney speaks, it is not simply the voice of one expert, but that of science itself, and that everything he says is indisputable.

In fact, climate models seem to be a lot like those epidemiological ones we’ve been hearing so much about. They involve lots of different assumptions and their predictions range over a wide spectrum.

Although we know more about climate than we did about Covid-19 a few months ago, even the UN itself, and its Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change, makes a range of predictions about temperature increases and sea-level rises over the coming decades.

At a minimum, when Sweeney is on a TV or radio show, he needs to be asked which projection he himself believes in and if he is focusing on the worst ones.

Occasionally, he should have to debate with another expert who does not believe in the upper-end predictions.

But is that even permitted any more? Are you now banned from the Irish airwaves if you believe in the lower-end predictions for temperature rises and sea-level increases?

Quite aside from that, we need to hear far more from engineers, because they are the ones who will have to deliver the conversion from fossil-fuel energy to green energy over the next decade.

Do they think the wholesale switch promised by the program for government is feasible? What about the promised reductions in carbon emitted by transport, never mind agriculture?

And we can’t hear only from engineers approved by the Green Party. We must have a range of opinions.

Then there is the cost. A report from the Irish Academy of Engineering in November 2016 estimated that a 30% cut in emissions by 2030 — just about feasible, in their view — would cost €35bn at an absolute minimum.

Yet cutting it by 50%, the new commitment, would presumably cost far more and be even less feasible from a practical point of view.

Economists need to tell us what the 7% a year cut will cost households. How much will we need to pay in higher carbon taxes, and in other charges, to fund all this?

Retrofitting our homes to make them more energy-efficient would cost the average household between €30,000 and €80,000, according to one estimate.

The program for government envisages 600,000 homes doing this over the next decade. Then we also have to consider how the Green Party’s agenda might harm economic growth.

Why aren’t politicians, experts, and commentators all over the airwaves asking these questions? Why do we get to hear only a narrow range of voices? That isn’t healthy. A radical green agenda is being imposed on us without our true consent.

A properly democratic country would allow debate so that voters could then make informed choices. What we are being served up instead amounts to little more than Green Party propaganda.


Netflix’s ‘The Politician’ Turns Climate Change Into A Hot Mess

Even though this is 2020, we apparently need to talk more about elections. At least, that’s what The Politician would have us believe.

We’re still more than four months away from November, but the Netflix series is determined to remind us of everything we hate about election season. Namely, it’s once again filled with lies, smug liberals, and countless scandals.

The new season, which premiered June 19, follows Payton Hobart (Ben Platt) still on his quest to one day become President of the United States.

This time, he plans to run for State Senator of New York’s 27th District against longtime incumbent Dede Standish (Judith Light). As the election continues, scandals start flying as both sides are determined to win at seemingly any cost.

Considering this is New York, it is shoved with progressive politics to the point where the term “right-wing” is used as a pejorative.

Both candidates are overtly liberal, but Payton goes above and beyond by running on a single issue: climate change.

He pushes it as a spearheading platform to reel in young voters, but it really becomes an excuse for the show to remind us we’re all going to die in ten years.

Within seven episodes, climate change is referred to as a “climate catastrophe that threatens all of civilization as we know it” as well as the “greatest long-term threat to human existence.”

Payton lays it all down in the season premiere “New York State of Mind” as he gives a speech at a climate rally.

Payton: Now, listen. Every one of us here today knows that we are in a generational fight that will determine our species’ future on this planet. But politicians like Dede Standish…they cannot accept our urgency to clean up this mess, because if they did, they would have to admit that they are the ones who made it! Well, Senator Standish, if you are listening today, I do not want my children and grandchildren living in a New York City with 20-foot sea walls holding back a dying ocean on a scorched Earth with tens of millions of climate refugees…

Infinity: No. No.

Payton: And fascist governments around the globe are committing wholesale genocide while we fight for dwindling supplies of food and water! That is where this world is heading if we continue to do nothing, Dede Standish. And when you say that we can’t afford to take action, I say this: It’s because of your generation’s policies that my generation has no other choice!

…Netflix’s The Politician continues to display the rapid decline of standards and politics on television. But what else is new?

After watching this episode, I came away with one thought: the entire season is completely fact-free and based solely on hyped-up emotion, worst-case scenarios (that only dim-witted 20-something liberals believe), and some of the worst propaganda talking points outside a climate rally.


Alarmists Falsely Blame Climate Change for Localized Warming in Detroit

At the top of Google News search results today for “climate change,” a climate-activist meteorologist wrote an article attributing 3.3 degrees Fahrenheit of warming in Detroit over the past 50 years to global warming. A quick look at relevant evidence shows the claim is more alarmist hype than scientific fact.

Meteorologist Paul Gross, citing a graph produced by the climate activist group Climate Central, reports a summer warming trend in Detroit since 1970 of approximately 3.3 degrees, with most of the summer warming occurring at night.

While this data may or may not be accurate, attributing it to “climate warming” is likely wrong.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) records show Michigan as a whole has warmed an average approximately 2 degrees – not 3.3 degrees – since the beginning of the 20th century.

Also, the largest spike in warming occurred from the 1930’s through the 1950’s, with the vast majority of warming occurring during the spring and winter, when such warming is welcomed, as opposed to the summer.

Indeed, NOAA reports a declining trend “of hot days (maximum temperature above 90°F) and no overall trend in warm nights (minimum temperature above 70°F)” for Michigan.

As Climate at a Glance: U.S. Temperatures reports, NOAA’s 30-year U.S. temperature trend for the upper Mid-West – including Michigan – is undergoing a modest cooling trend. Also, NOAA’s Climate Reference Network, its high-quality network of temperature stations throughout the United States, shows no warming trend across the United States since the network became operational in 2005.

Assuming Gross is correct that Detroit has experienced more warming than other places—indeed a non-typical temperature trend since 1970—one should look at factors other than anthropogenic global warming as the cause of the anomalous temperature trend. The most likely cause is the urban heat island effect, caused by Detroit’s substantial industrialization and development, rather than global warming.

The urban heat island effect would explain why Detroit’s temperature increase is almost entirely due to an increase in summertime nighttime warming. As explained in Climate at a Glance: Urban Heat Islands, heat absorbed by concrete and other impervious surfaces during the day in urban areas is slowly released into the atmosphere at night, resulting in disproportionate increases in nighttime low temperatures.

Before Gross pointed his finger at climate change as an explanation for Detroit’s idiosyncratic temperature trend, he should have considered countervailing national and state temperature trends, as well as other localized factors that would better explain the anomalous temperature increase in Detroit.



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