Friday, July 31, 2020

Tropical Plants Harmed by Global Warming (??)

There is a very clear trend in the response of plant life to temperature:  The warmer it gets the more plant life flourishes. So the article below is aberrant

So how did the researchers come to a different conclusion?  They looked at existing data on seed germination.  But the data was not optimized to determine temperature maxima so is not conclusive. A proper experiment where the effects of a range of temperatures on germination ceteris paribus would be needed to give sound results.

And even in the survey concerned, it was admitted that the effects are not "all or none". There were different percentages of germination for different temperatures.  So if only 5% of the seeds germinated in some projected future high temperature the species would still survive and probably flourish in that temperature.

The whole article is a big underestimate of survival capacity.

The thing that totally makes it absurd however is that in the much warmer age of the dinosaurs, plant life flourished mightily.  The species of today are descendants of that ancient plant life so most should have the heat tolerance of that time.

Further in the all-effects-of-climate-change-are-bad category, we hear that “Tropical plants closer to the equator are most at risk from climate change because it is expected to become too hot for many species to germinate in the next 50 years, UNSW researchers have found.”

On the face of it this conclusion is implausible. Global warming should drive species from their current habitats to ones that used to be cooler, away from the Equator toward the poles, in which case cold-weather life forms would hit the wall first (say, those obstinately flourishing polar bears) while things like orchids would be the last to go, migrating from Central America to Wisconsin and ultimately Baffin Island before going off the edge. As even the Guardian admits, “When left unattended, trees migrate toward more favorable conditions through a process known as seed dispersal, in which seeds are carried by the wind or birds to new places, taking root where the weather and water are right.” But when it’s climate change, warming can’t even expand the range of things that like warmth.

How about that! It's almost as if Mother Nature reacts protectively during times of (slow, gradual, perfectly normal climate evolution) and takes steps to ensure her progeny's welfare. As the Guardian story cited above observes with wonder:

There is an impressive array of pine species at the Nature Conservancy’s Plum Creek preserve in Maryland – loblolly, Virginia, shortleaf – creating a landscape that emits the smell of Christmas well into the summer. But a newcomer to the preserve has fueled an ethical debate about the role of conservationists in the age of climate change.

But longleaf is not native to Maryland, and many scientists believe they should not be planted at Plum Creek, or anywhere outside of theirnaturalrange. These relatively young trees are part of an experiment to determine if human intervention could help the pines migrate north as climate change alters its natural range... Assisted migration has been accused of being expensive and risky, a case of humans playing God.

This being the Guardian, the worry is that even with the help of Scientists (the new priest class of the atheist Left), neither gimpy old Gaia nor God himself won't be able to move fast enough to save herself. And a "restoration ecologist" named Deborah Landau blames -- you guessed it -- the coming of the white man for the retreat of the ugly, scrub longleaf pines.

Longleaf pine once blanketed 90 million acres of the American southeast, but today it inhabits only 3% of its original range. According to Landau, longleaf was “practically knocking on the door” of the Chesapeake Bay when Europeans showed up 400 years ago. “We truly feel it would have eventually arrived on its own,” she says. Instead, longleaf pine forests were decimated by logging and fire suppression, their growth fragmented by human development.

Climate change -- is there anything it can't do?


Is Climate Change a Threat to Arctic and Antarctic Sea Ice?

Following record high temperatures in Antarctica last week, the global media made a clarion call for saving the planet from the imminent threat of climate change.

One headline read, “Antarctica Records Highest Ever Temperature, Proves Climate Change.” “2020: A Warning,” declared another publication as it made reference to “severe forest fires sweeping through the Arctic.”

A closer look at the poles, however, reveals a totally different story. What do the changes in the Arctic and the Antarctica really entail?

The Arctic is more often used in climate doomsday narratives than Antarctica. What the doomsayers don’t tell you is that the Arctic is at one of its healthiest states in the past 10,000 years.

In 2017, scientists published details on sea-ice variation in the Arctic Ocean, spanning 10,000 years, a period known as the Holocene. The sea-ice cover today is at its highest in the Holocene, except for the Little Ice Age in the 17th century.

The same was true for the sea waters in the North of Iceland (part of the Arctic Ocean). The present-day sea ice extent there is higher than in most of the past 10,000 years.

The sea ice was at some of its lowest levels during the Medieval and Roman Warm Periods (roughly the 1st and 10th centuries, respectively), two periods that experienced temperatures as high as today’s.

Despite the current warm period (known as Modern Warm Period) being as warm as these past periods, Arctic sea ice extent, though lower than it was during the Little Ice Age, remains at historic highs compared with the rest of the last 10 millennia.

Arctic Sea Ice is not in danger from the ongoing changes in global average temperature, nor has it been impacted as it was during the previous two warm periods of the last 2000 years.

The Antarctic

Since 1979, there has been an increase in Antarctic sea ice extent. This is one of the main reasons why climate fearmongers prefer to focus on the Arctic rather than the Antarctic in their doomsday lectures and discourses.

The growth trend of Antarctic sea ice does not bode well for the mainstream narrative. A 2017 study concluded, “The Antarctic sea ice extent has been slowly increasing contrary to expected trends due to global warming and results from coupled climate models.”

And it is not just the sea ice extent. In a 2018 study, scientists reported “Southern Ocean changes over recent decades include surface cooling and circumpolar increase in Antarctic sea ice.”

Southern Ocean sea surface temperatures have been declining since the 1980s and are inconsistent with the alarmist view that the Antarctic is in danger from high temperatures and rising atmospheric CO2 levels.

If we consider the entire Holocene, the Antarctic sea ice levels during the past 100 years or so are the most extensive in 10,000 years! They are at one of their highest levels despite contrary claims by the media. A brief record high temperature doesn’t imply that suddenly things are different. That’s particularly so if we recognize that it’s a record only for as long as we’ve been recording temperature in Antarctica. That doesn’t go back very far, particularly if we’re talking about enough monitoring stations to come remotely close to a representative sample of the massive and almost totally uninhabited continent.

While it is true that the poles experience constant changes in climate, they are not under threat from the ongoing changes in climate. Given the rapid increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration levels since 1850, it is surprising to see how insignificant its impact has been on sea ice extent near the poles.

The mainstream media use short-term changes in sea-ice extent, and even shorter-term changes in temperature to make sensational claims about sea-ice melt and global warming. By so doing, they deprive their audiences of historical perspective. This in turn helps alarmists sell their doomsday narrative.

The two poles tell the same story: Sea ice levels today are more extensive than in much of the last 10,000 years, they are not declining in an unprecedented manner, and they remain largely unaffected by the emission of greenhouse gases.


U.S. Congress Passes Land Conservation Funding Bill, President Says He’ll Sign

The U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill that automatically provides $900 million in permanent funding for federal land purchases. The Senate passed the bill in June, so it now goes to President Donald Trump for his signature.

The Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA), passed by a bi-partisan vote of 310 in favor of the bill and 107 opposed on July 22. When it becomes law it will provide $900 million funding automatically each year, drawn from federal oil and gas revenues, to the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), used to increase the size of the federal estate by purchasing land for parks, trails, and other types of federal recreation areas.

The bill also allows billions of dollars to be spent on addressing a maintenance backlog at national parks over a five-year period. In 2018, the federal government estimated there was a maintenance backlog of approximately $12 billion in needed repairs and upkeep on existing federal lands. As a step to remedy the backlog, GAOA provides $1.9 billion annually for five years for national park maintenance.

Trump Pushed Bill

President Trump announced his support for a bill to fully fund the LWCF and address the maintenance backlog on federal lands, especially parks, in March, just as various states’ governors began issuing shelter in place orders, fearing of the Coronavirus pandemic.

“Send me a Bill that fully and permanently funds the LWCF and restores our National Parks” Trump tweeted in March, continuing, “When I sign it into law, it will be HISTORIC for our beautiful public lands.”

Trump’s support resulted in the U.S. Senate passing GAOA on June 17, by a vote of 73 in favor of the bill and 25 opposed.

Misplaced Spending Priorities

Not everyone supports the bill, however. Some Republicans lawmakers, including Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA), argued during the economic crisis created by the pandemic, it was bad time to direct federal oil and gas revenues to land purchases, when it could be put to other uses.

“‘Quick. There’s a global pandemic. Let’s spend billions of dollars repairing fences, putting up new signs, fixing toilets at our wildlife refuges, parks, and forests,’ said no one ever,” Graves said on the House floor before the vote. “What this legislation does is it takes everything else and it puts it on the back burner.”

The law mistakenly makes purchasing new lands a priority over maintaining properties the federal government already owns, said Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT), who opposed the act referring to it on the House floor as the “not-so-great American Outdoors Act.” Bishop criticized the bill for making the LWCF funding mandatory, while the spending on repairs and maintenance was discretionary.

“Now we are also saying in this bill the billion dollars of money to buy more land is now also a priority above and beyond what’s happening for the parks,” said Bishop. “This bill is not about funding our public lands … the only thing this is about is how we can find another way to buy more property.

“We can’t afford the property we already have,” Bishop said.

‘Owns Far Too Much Land’

The federal government already owns far more land than the America’s founders ever intended, said Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute in a press release issued July 21 before the U.S. House voted on GAOA, urging them to reject the bill.

“The federal government already owns far too much land – 640 million acres or more than one-quarter of the country,” said Ebell. “It owns far more land than it can it can adequately manage and maintain, as is evidenced by the need for a special appropriation of $9.5 billion to address half the maintenance backlog.

“Wide private property ownership and secure property rights are cornerstones of America’s system of limited government and essential conditions of economic prosperity,” Ebell said. “Instead of spending billions and billions of dollars to buy millions and millions of acres of private land, Congress should be passing legislation to transfer substantial BLM lands and National Forests to the states and into private ownership.”

Federal land ownership also rob cities and states of revenue, said Ebell.

“Federal land is a huge economic as well as environmental burden on rural counties,” said Ebell. “The federal government does not pay local property taxes, and the Payment in Lieu of Taxes program provides only pennies on the dollar in compensation for lost property taxes.

“Taking more and more private property off the tax rolls will only exacerbate this problem,” Ebell said.


Australia: A report from more than 150 experts and affected community members has called on the government to punish climate change enablers

Climate skeptics would like to see this go to court.  The case would collapse like a house of cards when the full weight of scientific evidence about global warming was led

In a sobering study released this week, Australia was revealed to have lost nearly three billion animals due to the devastating Black Summer bushfires.

The fossil fuel industry has “pushed Australia into a new bushfire era” and should pay for the carnage inflicted from blazes and other disasters across the country, former emergency leaders, climate scientists and doctors have declared.

The Emergency Leaders for Climate Action (ELCA), a group of more than 150 experts and affected community members, have called on the Federal Government to impose a levy on those contributing to climate change.

As part of the 165 recommendations, the group wants a climate disaster fund set up to cover the massive costs associated with natural disasters.

The rising impact of global warming evidenced in the summer’s devastating and extensive bushfires has created the need to “fundamentally rethink how we prepare for and manage this growing threat”, former Fire and Rescue NSW Commissioner Greg Mullins said.

“This plan outlines practical steps that all levels of government can take right now to better protect communities,” he said, who is also a Climate Councillor.

“It’s important that the Federal Government takes these recommendations seriously and acts on them urgently. “First and foremost, the Federal Government must tackle the root cause of climate change by urgently phasing out fossil fuels to reach net zero emissions.”

The declaration comes ahead of the royal commission report into the destructive bushfire season which is due to be handed to government next month, which Mr Mullins hopes will include provisions for a climate response.

The cost of extreme weather events is growing towards a total annual bill of $39 billion by 2050, Deloitte Access Economics partner Nicki Hutley said, who also contributed to the report.

“Climate change, which is fuelling more severe extreme weather events and worsening bushfire danger, has serious economic consequences,” she said.

“Reducing emissions, building community resilience, and boosting emergency resourcing can help us avoid huge economic impacts and damage in the future, while creating clean new jobs right now.”

The report comes as the government faces increasing pressure to invest in a major green energy plan, with groups from across the political spectrum declaring an investment is imminent to help propel the economy out of the virus crisis.

Once the iconic divide between conservative and progressive politicians, activists and lobby groups say the need for action on climate change has reached a boiling point with evidence of environmental damage now being undeniable.

“The pressure is growing and the larger picture is a lot of the Coalition members, Liberals and Nationals, do support this transition and understand it ultimately will happen,” Coalition for Conservation chair Cristina Talacko told

“It’s not a question of debating the ideology behind climate anymore, we’ve gone totally past that, now it’s about what’s good for Australia, what’s going to give us resilience because we don’t want the droughts and the bushfires.”

Climate Council chief executive Amanda McKenzie said calls for a green energy policy overhaul is coming from most segments of the community but insists there are still hurdles within the party led by Scott Morrison, who once famously brandished a lump of coal during Question Time.

“There are a few dinosaurs in federal parliament but the amount of support that’s now coming from state governments, from business, and from industry will be irrepressible,” she told



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, July 30, 2020

Activist Group’s Climate-and-Economy Claims Are Bogus, Despite Media Hype

The climate activist group Ceres just published ridiculous, biased claims that climate change has hammered the economy, while the establishment media eagerly and shamelessly promotes the bogus claims. Don’t be fooled by the climate activist group; climate change has clearly helped rather than harmed economic activity.

Ceres published its claims in a letter to various federal agencies. The letter opens with the dire warning, “It is more clear than ever that the climate crisis poses a systemic threat to financial markets and the real economy, with significant disruptive consequences on asset valuations and our nation’s economic stability.” Ceres cited no data or evidence for the claims. This is not surprising, because no credible data or evidence supports such false claims.

Despite the lack of supporting evidence, Marketwatch, the New York Times, and many other fake news media outlets reported Ceres’ claims as if they were self-evidently true. Citing Ceres’ letter, Marketwatch asserted, “The U.S. has sustained more than $1.775 trillion in costs from more than 265 climate-related extreme weather events since 1980, by some measures, and more than $500 billion in economic losses between 2015 and 2019.”

Even if extreme weather happened to cause such losses, there is no evidence indicating extreme weather events have been worsened by climate change. Instead, the scientific evidence shows exactly the opposite.

In a recent review of the literature conducted by University of Colorado professor Roger Pielke, Jr., Pielke examined 54 studies published between 1998 and 2020. The studies analyzed the costs of extreme weather events by removing impacts attributable to societal change, such as increasing wealth, increasingly expensive infrastructure built in disaster-prone locations, etc. Pielke found “little evidence to support claims that any part of the global economic losses documented on climate timescales can be attributed to human caused changes in climate, reinforcing conclusions of recent assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.” (emphasis mine).

That last, italicized part is very important. As Pielke noted, and as repeatedly documented by the website Climate at a Glance, even the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes there is little if any evidence suggesting any recent worsening of floods, droughts, hurricanes, tornadoes, etc. Yet, when a climate activist group like Ceres makes claims to the contrary, the media report Ceres’ false assertions as if they were scientifically indisputable facts.

After making its false claims about past and present climate impacts, Ceres moved on to making equally ridiculous, speculative predictions about future climate harms. To support its claims, Ceres utilized the most extreme, worst-case, and least-likely scenario of the many scenarios examined by the IPCC. That scenario is known as RCP8.5.

RCP8.5 has been heavily criticized in the peer-reviewed literature as being extreme or absurd. RCP8.5 assumes, among other things, an unrealistic 500% increase in coal use and a 6℃ rise in global temperatures by 2100. Even the IPCC admits RCP8.5 is exceedingly unlikely to occur, saying RCP8.5 had only a 10% chance of becoming reality at the time IPCC evaluated it. More recent estimates place RCP8.5’s chance of occurring at less than 3%.

Even if the worst-case estimate of climate change occurs, economist Stan Liebowitz notes that the impact on the economy, as a percentage of estimated GDP, would be miniscule. If RCP8.5 comes to pass, the total cost of damages resulting from climate change in 2090 will be approximately $507.6 billion. Yet, Liebowitz notes, U.S. GDP in 2090, even accounting for climate change, is estimated to be approximately $70 trillion. This means, at worst, the cost of climate change in 2029 will represent only slightly more than 0.7% of U.S. GDP. “Thus the damage from climate change in [the] worst-case scenario, according to our ‘best scientists and experts,’ is less than 1 percent of U.S. GDP in 2090,” Liebowitz observes.

In summary, the climate activist group Ceres published a poorly sourced paper in which it made demonstrably false claims about past climate impacts, demonstrably false claims about present climate impacts, and exaggerated claims about future climate impacts, even in the unlikely event that Ceres’ worst-case forecast climate scenario comes to pass. Then the media trumpeted it like Chicken Little saving us from the sky falling down.

Don’t lie awake at night worrying about climate impacts on the economy. The science and economics say even the worst-case scenario would be quite mild.


Food Security in a Post-COVID World

Paul DriessenPaul Driessen|Posted: Jul 28, 2020 9:40 AM
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
Food Security in a Post-COVID World

US-EU trade talks are already stalled over agriculture issues. And yet the European Union’s new “Farm to Fork” strategy doesn’t just double down on the EU’s contentious agricultural regulations. It promises to use access to European markets to compel the United States and other countries to adopt EU-style organic farming, precautionary and other regulations if they want to remain trading partners with Europe.

“Farm to Fork” (or F2F) is being billed as “the heart of the European Green Deal.” Like recent energy, climate and other initiatives, it is largely an environmentalist wish (or demand) list – with little basis in science, practical experience or real world impacts. It sets out three primary objectives, which the EU intends to implement fully by 2030, barely nine years from now:

-Bring “at least 25% of EU agricultural land under organic farming” – from its current 7.5%

-Reduce “overall use and risk of chemical pesticides by 50% – forcing greater use of “natural” chemicals

-Reduce the use of manmade chemical fertilizers “by at least 20%” – again forcing “natural” substitutes

F2F is being billed as a continental and global agricultural transformation that will ensure a “just transition” to a “more robust and resilient food system,” guarantee “affordable food for citizens,” and simultaneously improve human health, protect biodiversity, and promote environmental sustainability.

It will almost certainly end up doing just the opposite, which is why the European Conservatives and Reformists Party is hosting a "Europe Debates" webinar on the topic this Wednesday, July 29.

The problems with “organic” farming are well documented, though largely ignored by environmentalists, policymakers, regulators, journalists and academics.

Organic agriculture requires far more land and much more human labor than modern mechanized farming with manmade fertilizers and crop-protecting chemicals, to get the same crop yields. Many of the “natural” fertilizers and other chemicals that organic farmers employ are equally or more dangerous to bees, other insects, birds, fish and terrestrial animals than modern manmade alternatives.

Low-yield organic agriculture raises food prices for consumers, particularly harming poor families and countries, many of which have been especially hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. It makes EU farmers increasingly uncompetitive in world markets. It creates a less resilient food system that is increasingly vulnerable to plant diseases, invasive species, floods, droughts and insects. As a result, it inevitably undermines the climate, “sustainability,” biodiversity and nutrition goals it promises to achieve.

Finally, Farm to Fork will also likely exacerbate the EU’s growing trade frictions with other nations. Even before F2F, agriculture issues were already imperiling US-EU bilateral trade agreements. Meanwhile, the US and some 35 other nations had formally complained to the World Trade Organization that current EU regulations on agricultural imports clearly violate internationally accepted norms, because they are not based in science. And now F2F promises to impose similar productivity-destroying regulations on even its poorest trading partners: African countries. In fact, the European Commission (EC) itself has admitted:

“It is also clear that we cannot make a change unless we take the rest of the world with us.… Efforts to tighten sustainability requirements in the EU food system should be accompanied by policies that help raise standards globally, in order to avoid the externalisation and export of unsustainable practices.”


Facts vs. fearmongering


Environmentalism’s Radical Next Generation Is Already Here
beyond politics protestThis past week, a new group calling itself Beyond Politics (BP) threw buckets of bright-pink paint at the entrances to the London offices of four global NGOs, including Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace.

“We have no words to describe our disgust,” messages left at the scene told their targets. “We accuse you of appeasing radical evil.”

BP accuses NGOs of not taking the issue of climate change seriously enough. “In the face of this monstrosity, what have you done? Fuck all that’s meaningful.”

This somewhat pathetic green-on-green hostility has yielded little media attention, but it illustrates the global environmental movement’s bizarre and longstanding contradictions.

BP and its petty vandalism were the brainchildren of Extinction Rebellion (XR) cofounder Roger Hallam, who got himself excommunicated from his own movement after he told German newspaper DieZeit that the Holocaust had been “almost a normal event . . . just another fuckery in human history.”

Hallam’s confidence was not dented by exile and charges of anti-Semitism, however. After all, he had seemingly driven an environmental movement from a standing start to a global concern in just a matter of months.

Motivated by “the indescribable suffering and death of billions of people,” Hallam now demands that big NGOs either “drive your organizations into a final battle with this genocidal regime” or “disband yourselves.”

Though Hallam is credited with cofounding XR, he forgets the role of money in its ascendancy. It was through the generosity of, among others, billionaire hedge-fund manager Christopher Hohn that XR could afford offices, legal costs, and its protesters’ generous per diems.

Though populated by self-identifying system-crashing anti-capitalists, XR suited Hohn’s £30-billion portfolio, which he uses to threaten companies such as BlackRock and Moodies with “divestment” should they fail to conform to green diktats.

Hallam is right about one thing. Green NGOs have developed cozy relationships with the establishment.

Even XR, which managed to bring only a few thousand people out into London’s streets, nonetheless succeeded in shutting down those streets, thanks to the nearly full cooperation of the Metropolitan Police and the glowing, uncritical support of London mayor Sadiq Khan.

Within a year, XR was invited by MPs to give evidence to committees at the very government departments that its protests had shut down.

Secretary of State for the Environment Michael Gove held a conference with the group to discuss its demands. Parliament declared a “climate emergency” and convened a “Citizens Assembly” to hasten the government on a path toward its newly stated “net zero” ambition.

All as XR had demanded.

How was this possible? XR has a high profile and cash in the bank, but it is an organization with just a few thousand members, with unpopular aims—bringing down governments and dismantling industrial, democratic, and capitalist society.

It is the close relationship between radical environmentalism and the government that better accounts for XR’s success than any power XR generated for itself.

XR succeeded not because it had mobilized the British public but because it used cash from philanthropic funds to reanimate a small army of surplus activists as an off-the-shelf PR outfit, with well-established strategic and communications teams and extant connections to media and government.

It was ever thus. Environmentalism has long been lucrative for the well-connected, who are able to tap into streams of cash from philanthropic foundations to service corporate social-responsibility virtue-signaling PR and government propaganda—big business, in other words. Very big.

The blueprint for this pact was established in the 1980s when the United Nations appointed Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland to the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED).

Brundtland’s 1987 report, Our Common Future, laid out the framework for a “sustainable” global political order.

In Brundtland’s schema, ordinary voters have no role in the body politic of the global ecological Utopia. In place of the democratic competencies of national governments, NGOs will serve as the real intermediaries between supranational governance, industry, finance, and science on the one hand, and the hoi polloi on the other.

Thus, whereas green NGOs were once seen as single-issue campaigns or charities, they are today recast as “civil society.”

The quid pro quo has required NGOs to sustain two aspects. First, they must act like dignified members of global society, able to mingle politely with royalty, corporations, billionaires, dignitaries, and despots.

Second, street-level environmentalists need to act as would a popular movement – a task which, despite the green movement’s half-century of history, it has not yet achieved.

Hence, green activism is better characterized by high-profile, media-friendly stunts and shrill, alarmist rhetoric than by representative membership organizations with coherent constitutions and founding objectives.

This more performative role, however, has created a tension and a liability for the movement: the believers created by the unchallenged narrative of imminent doom are themselves left out of the cozy insiders’ compact.

Earlier this year, Michael Moore and director Geoff Gibbs’s film, Planet of the Humans, blew the green movement’s cover in the political mainstream.

The film argued that, as radical as high-profile greens pretend to be, they are in fact the placemen of billionaires and corporate interests.

Moreover, green energy turns out to be at least as environmentally destructive as any other extractive industry, and it requires the public—rather than the venture-capitalist backers of radical environmental movements—to provide subsidies for the demolition of forests and natural landscapes.

It is because the coordinates of the climate change debate are so easily turned upside-down that the green movement turns on its own with aggression usually reserved for its putative enemies.

Moore and Gibbs’s film was swiftly denounced as an abomination—a work of “far-right,” “white supremacist” fossil-fuel propaganda that must be censored.

Through its hostility to debate and dissent, environmentalism has spawned a growing movement of those whom it cannot accommodate and cannot answer: fire-and-brimstone ecological zealots that no policy will ever satisfy. Fearmongering, it turns out, is a Pandora’s box.

Pink paint is just the start. Coming over the horizon are Greta Thunberg’s contemporaries: an entire generation whose sense of the future is being shaped by ecological propaganda.

What will this next generation do? They can’t all be bought off, as many in the first generation of environmentalists were, with jobs in eco-consultancies or NGOs to service the interests of hedge-fund managers.

But they have learned from that generation’s teachers, scientists, and governments to despise democracy.

And they have learned that the way to assert themselves is to take to the streets—not to give voice to carefully articulated grievances but to perform infantile tantrums.


Alaska’s Pebble Mine no threat to salmon

The nearly two-decades-old controversy surrounding a proposed gold and copper mine in Southwest Alaska entered a new phase July 24, when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), reversing an Obama-era finding, and concluded that the project “would not be expected to have a measurable effect on fish numbers” in the Bristol Bay watershed, which supports the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery. Bristol bay is the easternmost arm of the Bering Sea, which lies between Alaska and Russia.

In its environmental assessment, the Corps found that the mine would affect up to 2,261 acres (less than four square miles) of wetlands and up to 105.8 miles of streams but that there would be “no measurable change in the number of returning salmon.”

The fight over Pebble Mine, which would be the largest mine in North America, pits supporters of the sockeye salmon fishery, including local Native Alaskan tribes and national environmental groups, against proponents of using the area’s vast mineral reserves – estimated to be worth as much as $500 billion — to combat growing Chinese dominance of global mineral resources.

Shifting Political Sands of Different Administrations

Like all major infrastructure projects, Pebble has had to navigate the arduous permitting process at the state and federal (National Environmental Policy Act, NEPA) level, cope with the shifting political sands of different administrations, and deal with the ever-present threat of litigation. The project appeared doomed in 2014, when the Obama EPA, in an unprecedented move, preemptively vetoed the mine on the grounds that it would do irreparable harm to the sockeye fishery. EPA undertook its action even before the project’s developer had submitted its environmental impact statement.

The project’s developer, Canada’s Pebble Limited Partnership, filed for a federal permit with the Corps in late 2017, and in 2019 the Trump EPA reversed the Obama EPA’s veto of the project, paving the way for the Corps’ revised environmental assessment of the mine’s effect on the sockeye fishery.

Over the years, the size of the proposed mine has been scaled back. According to the Pebble website, the project will cover more than 13 miles and include a 270 mega-watt power plant. It will be served by a natural gas pipeline and an 82-mile two-lane road. The site would have extensive storage facilities and will require the dredging of a new port at Iliamna Bay. Trucks would make several round trips a day transporting the extracted minerals to a processing plant through which they would be fed at a rate of 180,000 tons per day.

NRDC Plays the Race Card

The latest twist in the Pebble saga did not go down well with the project’s opponents. Taryn Kiekow Heimer, who heads the Natural Resources Defense Council’s (NRDC) campaign to stop the mine, was delighted to play the race card.

“It’s especially embarrassing for the government and appalling given the current social context we are in,” she told The Washington Post (July 25), referring to the Trump administration’s accelerated approval process. “It’s just another example of the entrenched and systemic racism that this government is showing people of color and indigenous people in particular.”

Long Road Ahead

Pebble’s future depends in no small way on the outcome of the Nov. 3 election. If presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden wins, his administration would almost certainly try to kill the mine by reversing the Trump policies, which reversed the Obama policies. If Trump is re-elected, the approval process will move forward, but the mine’s opponents will sue, tying the project up for another two to three 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


Wednesday, July 29, 2020

'Bold leadership': Seven young climate activists to have a say in UN

Children as experts?  It suits the infantile theory that is global warming, I guess

The global warming theory is that increasing levels of atmospheric CO2 cause increasing global temperatures.

They do not, as the "grand hiatus" shows: For 30 years between 1945 and 1975, CO2 levels leapt but global temperatures remained flat, which completely contradicts the theory. See here

New York: The head of the United Nations will start meeting regularly with young climate activists, saying participation by youth on the front lines is critical to scaling up action to slow global warming.

A group of seven people, ages 18 to 28, from seven countries will sit down with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to advise him on global warming issues, he said in a video on Twitter.

"We have seen young people on the front lines of climate action, showing us what bold leadership looks like," Guterres said.

The youth advisory group is tasked with providing "perspectives, ideas and solutions that will help us scale up climate action," he said.

"We are in a climate emergency. We do not have the luxury of time," he added.

The announcement marked an acknowledgement of the role young people have been playing in combating climate change as they look to their future.

Young climate change activists met with UN leaders last year to demand a greater role in global decision-making and planning processes to combat global warming.

The one-day summit at the UN drew more than 1000 young climate campaigners from more than 120 countries.

Guterres, who has made climate change his signature issue since taking office in 2017, said recently that governments should consider the issue when designing economic stimulus responses to the coronavirus pandemic.

Swedish activist Greta Thunberg urged European leaders to take emergency action on climate change, saying people in power had practically 'given up' on the possibility of handing over a decent future to coming generations.

"Where taxpayers' money is used to rescue businesses, it needs to be tied to achieving green jobs and sustainable growth," Guterres said on Earth Day in April.

Unable to gather due to coronavirus restrictions, young activists from about 20 countries recently took to YouTube in a 24-hour broadcast to share ideas on how to fight global warming.

Previously they were skipping classes, marching through cities and holding vigils outside government buildings in regular Friday protests.

The founder of Fridays for Future, Sweden's Greta Thunberg, 17, addressed the United Nations last year.

She was not among those named to the advisory group, which included Nisreen Elsaim, a Sudanese climate activist; Ernest Gibson of Fiji; Vladislav Kaim, an economist from Moldova; Sophia Kianni, an American who founded a non-profit to translate climate information into more than 100 languages; Nathan Metenier of France; Paloma Costa, a Brazilian lawyer; and Archana Soreng of India.


Green propaganda

Radical environmentalism sees truth as a threat to its objectives. Propaganda (whether outright lies, exaggerations, or distortions) in pursuit of green goals is justified.

Perhaps the most famous example of green propaganda has been the persistent claim that 97% of climate scientists agree that man-made climate change endangers the planet. Studies sporting the 97% figure were debunked in 2014. In one such study, four independent reviewers found that only 0.3 percent of 11,994 abstracts cited actually stated that human activity is the primary cause of global warming.

But forget about a measly 97%! In November 2019, the green propaganda machine upped the ante. Now, they claimed, there is 100% scientific consensus that humans are the main drivers of climate change. 100 percent?!? What about the “350 [peer-reviewed] papers published since 2017 [that] subvert the claim that post-1850s warming has been unusual” and dozens of additional articles in 2019 found “that there’s nothing alarming or catastrophic about our climate”?

Another commonplace tactic of green propaganda has been simply to fudge actual temperature records. Environmentalist and computer model expert Tony Heller has documented many of those shenanigans in a series of eye-opening videos. (Here is another link. And another.) Interestingly, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the official keeper of temperature records for the United States was, according to The Wall Street Journal, explicitly exempted from the Data Quality Act – the federal law that requires sound science in policymaking.

Another fertile field for green propaganda shenanigans is the “peer review” process. First , many scientists believe that the peer review process itself is broken. Some describe it as “a form of censorship” – a gate-keeper to keep out dissenters. Others assert, “peer review is known to engender bias, incompetence…ineffectiveness, and corruption.” Dr. John Ioannidis, who has been so on-target with his critiques of data gathering and modeling in connection with Covid-19, maintains that the “hotter” a field of scientific research is (“hotter” meaning more popular and active) “the less likely the research findings are to be true.” And what field of scientific research has been hotter than climate change for the last 30 year?

Second, as we have learned from climategate emails and other sources, peer review in climate science has been highly incestuous, with key figures in the alarmist camp arranging to review each other’s work while shielding their work from review by other scientists.

Third, the late IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri haughtily asserted that IPCC uses only peer-reviewed science. Not so. The IPCC’s much-ballyhooed “climate bible” (the 2007 report that garnered a Nobel Peace Prize for IPCC) cited 5,587 non-peer-reviewed sources such as “press releases, newspaper and magazine clippings, working papers, student theses, discussion papers, and literature published by green advocacy groups.”

A common propaganda technique is to tell only one side of the story. Thus, green propaganda hyped the record-warm temperature of 64.94 degrees F. (18.3 C.) in Antarctica in February this year. While hyping a record summertime high in the southern hemisphere, the green propagandists turned a blind eye to a record wintertime low in the northern hemisphere that had happened a month earlier – specifically, a temperature reading of minus 86.8 degrees F. (-66C) in Greenland.

Similarly, when the mercury in the Siberian town of Verkhoyansk touched 100 degrees F. on June 20, the green propaganda machine went into overdrive. (That temperature was less than one degree above the previous record high set in 1988.) They failed to mention that such heat north of the Arctic Circle was not unprecedented. The temperature reached 100 degrees F. in Fort Yukon, Alaska way back on June 27, 1915. Oh, by the way, I didn’t see any green reports that the people of Verkhoyansk woke up to snow on the ground on July 5. Wild temperature gyrations are a fact of life there due to peculiar topography and other natural factors.

Did you catch the BBC report about the Antarctic glacier Thwaites melting rapidly? That’s true, but the report failed to mention that active volcanoes beneath the glacier are causing the melting. Banning SUVs will not keep Thwaites from melting.

Last September, 250 news organizations around the world openly proclaimed a coordinated campaign to convince their readers and viewers of the urgent need for political action to address catastrophic climate change at the UN’s climate summit that month. Any pretense of journalistic impartiality was explicitly disavowed. The media outlets openly and proudly announced themselves as advocates (propagandists) for their favored viewpoint. Variety magazine even featured an article entitled, “Is Hollywood Doing Enough to Fight the Climate Crisis,” as if the entertainment industry should be in the vanguard of public brainwashing.

Meanwhile, some green zealots are insisting that the green propaganda aimed at children here and abroad over the last few decades needs to be ramped up. One British greenie wrote, “Teachers…will have to help young people critique and rethink…deeply ingrained assumptions, attitudes and expectations that run throughout history, and now endanger much of life on Earth.”

I’ll leave you with a question: Do you really know the truth about climate change, or have you heard green propaganda so many times that you just assume what they say is true?


The Shellenberger Chronicles part three: Do radical environmentalists mean well?

This is the third and final article in the series I call The Shellenberger Chronicles. I hope you have had an opportunity to read parts one and two still appearing at More importantly however than reading my highlights of the book Apocalypse Never is for you to obtain the book and read it cover to cover.

I have published over 500 reviews of science books in my career, now spanning seven decades. Most of them were good and well worth reading. Many were excellent, but in today’s world where politics has biased nearly everything we read, see and hear in the media, Apocalypse Never is the most important book you can read. It is not a work of opinion but rather the unveiling of the facts and details of the nefarious goals of radical environmentalists across the world desiring to control your life.

I have been a bit harsh, at times, on Mr. Shellenberger for having spent two decades of his life helping those he is now Book Review: Apocalypse Never by Michael Shellenbergercommitted to expose. In his final chapter titled False Gods For Lost Souls he explains why. He first describes from Ernest Becker’s book The Denial of Death that an exaggerated fear of death reveals a deep and often subconscious dissatisfaction with one’s life. Where what one is really recognizing that he or she is not making enough out of their lives. They feel stuck in bad relationships, unsupportive communities, or oppressive careers. Then Shellenberger says:

“That was certainly the case for me. I was drawn toward the apocalyptic view of climate change twenty years ago. I can see now that my heightened anxiety about climate change reflected underlying anxiety and unhappiness in my own life that had little to do with climate change or the state of the natural environment”.

The final third of this amazing book is a complete denouement of who Shellenberger is today. He proves to be not only an excellent writer but also a philosopher. Not the kind that pulls thoughts out of thin air as Plato was known to do but thoughts based on a build up of concepts derived from the work of dozens of others described in his 1220 end notes, Just as he learned from Ernest Becker mentioned above.

In Chapter Nine “Destroying The Environment To Protect It”, he follows in the footsteps of Michael Moore’s outstanding movie Planet For The Humans which illustrated the destruction done in creating the materials necessary to build wind turbines and solar arrays. He goes further however in making a clear calculation that if the United States were to try and generate all the energy it uses with renewables, which is Mr. Biden’s plan, between 25 and 50 percent of all land in the US would be required. By contrast we know that today’s energy system requires less than a single percent of our nation’s land.

Now consider this. Just as the high power density of coal made the industrial revolution possible, the far lower power densities of solar and wind would make today’s high energy urbanized, and industrial civilization impossible. In fact for many environmental alarmists that is their very goal.

These facts become more obvious when we learn from the author of the corruption of most of the major environmental groups you can name. While fighting tooth and nail against the fossil fuel industry they are taking donations from them with the promise of helping them defeat any further success of nuclear power in America. Shellenberger specifically names the Sierra club, the Natural Resource Defense Council(NRDC), the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and Bill McKibben’s in this cabal.

His research turned up through government reports shows that Climate activists such as those mentioned above, massively outspend climate skeptics, though they claim the opposite. EDF and NRDC alone have a total budget of $384 million while the two largest skeptic groups, the Competitive Enterprise Group and the Heartland Institute have combined budgets of $13 million.

During the many years these groups were denouncing fossil fuels and Exxon and the Koch brothers for funding their political opponents and demanding that universities stop investing in fossil fuels, all of the above mentioned groups were accepting large quantities of money from fossil fuel billionaires like Michal Bloomberg and Tom Steyer.

In the next to last chapter of Apocalypse Never Shellenberger zeros in on the true evil perpetrated on the poor by rich progressives and Non Government Organizations (NGOs) pretending to help them. The United Nations and environmental NGOs describe their work as helping poor nations “avoid the mistakes made in the industrialized world”, in the words of the UN Development Program.

While we all know of Thomas Malthus, the late 18th century economist who predicted that the earth could not sustain its growing population, you will learn how truly evil he and his disciples have been. Malthusians continue to this day to operate through radical environmentalism. Adolph Hitler too was inspired by Malthus. “The productivity of the soil can only be increased within defined limits and up to a certain point” he wrote in Mein Kampf. What has given Malthus his popularity among the ruling classes is that he furnished a plausible reason for the assumption that some have a better right to existence than others.

Today’s Malthusians, Shellenberger tells us, have significantly modified Malthus preachings. Where he warned that overpopulation would result in scarcity of food, today they warn that energy abundance will result in overpopulation, environmental destruction and societal collapse. They say this while ignoring energy use among the rich and famous.

You may think that celebrities who moralize about climate change are tone deaf while jetting around the globe, but they are not. They are flaunting their special status. Hypocrisy, the author tells us, is the ultimate power move. It is a way of demonstrating that one plays by a different set of rules from the ones adhered to by the common people.

By virtue of giving up his spot among them he has quickly become a pariah to the left. He has been attacked in newspapers, on twitter and of course by CNN. The New York Post allowed him to publish a rebuttal to all the abuse and he did so with excellent clarity. He still has not given up his belief that CO2 may effect temperature but no one’s perfect. He does clearly explain the minimal negative impacts from climate change and points out that alarmists constantly say it makes disasters worse in order to have visual and dramatic events like Hurricane Sandy and California wildfires “to make the issue more salient with voters”.

In the end he says in his NY Post article “climate alarmism gives them a purpose: to save the world from climate change. It offers them a story that casts them as heroes. And it provides a way for them to find meaning in their lives while retaining the illusion that they are people of science and reason not superstition and fantasy”.

This is the theme of the final chapter of his book False Gods For Lost Souls. The trouble with the new environmental religion he tell us is that it has become increasingly apocalyptic, destructive, and self defeating. It leads its adherents to demonize their opponents as we have seen with every so called denier. A term which we know was lifted from the despicable “holocaust deniers”. It drives them to to seek to restrict power and prosperity here and abroad. Worst of all it spreads anxiety and depression among an unsuspecting populace.

If the climate apocalypse is a subconscious fantasy he says, for people who dislike civilization, it might help explain why the people who are the most alarmist about environmental problems are also the most opposed to the technologies capable of addressing them.

The answer for many rational environmentalists like myself who are alarmed by the religious fanaticism of those claiming to be concerned with the environment is that we need to better maintain the divide between science and religion, just as scientists need to maintain the divide between their personal values and the facts they study.

As I reach the end of my chronicles of Shellenberger’s work, I hope I have not made you satisfied with understanding the great service he has done in committing himself to right the wrongs he now understands he committed. You will benefit so much more by obtaining his book and giving it a slow and discerning read.


Irrigators warn Australian Premier that her minister is picking the environment over farmers

Irrigators have taken a complaint against NSW Environment and Energy Minister Matt Kean to the Premier, claiming the minister appears to be choosing environmental concerns over the interests of farmers and agriculture.

In a stunning broadside against the minister in a letter sent to Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Friday, NSW Irrigators' Council interim chief executive Claire Miller suggested the water and agriculture sectors were being treated as "part of the problem" by some wings of the government.

The letter comes after a tense meeting with irrigators on July 1, in which Mr Kean apparently stated he had been appointed by the Premier to represent his energy and environment stakeholders, and left early.

"We quickly got the impression Minister Kean was not much interested in engaging with us," Ms Miller wrote to the Premier.

"It was troubling to realise Minister Kean does not consider farmers to be among his stakeholders. This narrow view is divisive and perpetuates the false binary that pits environmental interests against farming, as if the two are mutually exclusive."

In a strong warning to the Premier, Ms Miller said the agriculture sector regarded itself as a critical player in the state’s COVID-19 economic recovery program.

"We see ourselves as part of the solution and trust we [will] not be treated as part of the problem in some quarters of government."

Ms Berejiklian declined to comment on Monday, and did not respond to a question on a claim made by irrigators that Mr Kean said she had instructed him to deal only with energy and environment sector stakeholders.

Mr Kean declined to comment on the tone of the meeting, but was forthright in what he said during the session: he wanted to see more done to look after the environment.

"In my view, farmers and industry have an important role to play in caring for our natural environment, including our rivers and waterways," he said. "But I also think that more needs to be done. That is what I communicated to the [Irrigators’ Council]."

In response to other questions regarding the objective of the meeting, he said: "I want to see a sustainable agriculture industry thriving in NSW and an environment that is in a better state than the way we inherited it."

The tension between the minister and the state’s farmers and irrigators comes at a delicate time for the Premier, who is increasingly having to mediate between MPs pushing for more ambitious environmental action while regional communities continue to reel from drought and bushfires.

Within his own portfolio, Mr Kean is pushing the accelerator on his own steep environmental ambitions — including a plan to double the koala population by 2050, announced on Sunday, and a commitment to renewable energy.

Meanwhile, regional MPs argue the government hasn't done enough to help rebuild regional and agricultural communities still suffering hardships from a nightmare summer.

"Hopefully he can remember that he's the minister for the whole of NSW and if he busts this relationship with farmers he'll be essentially hurting the environment," one unnamed backbencher said. "And I very much doubt he's been given the Premier's instruction to disregard farmers."

Another was more blunt, saying, "Kean has shown a complete disregard for the people putting food on our tables in a time of crisis."



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

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


Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Welcome to the 15-minute city

This is just the old "smart growth" idea resuscitated. Such policies still have a following but only because they sound good in theory.

Attempts to implement it have been shown to drive the price of housing up, significantly reducing discretionary incomes, which necessarily reduces the standard of living and increases poverty

And relatively few job opportunities can be shoe-horned into the "smart" area.  It is generally inconsistent with economies to  scale

When a plague tore through Milan in the 1570s, everything had to change. Shops were closed. Mass was sung outdoors. A large church, the Lazzaretto, became a hospital. By 1578 the disease had fallen back, but the city was in financial trouble and had shed almost a fifth of its population.

This year, in the chaotic fallout from coronavirus, the Lazzaretto is once again part of an ambitious urban experiment. Giuseppe Sala, Milan’s leftwing mayor, announced in April that the area would host a pilot scheme for “rethinking the rhythms” of the Lombard capital. Amid the dense cityscape that has built up around the remains of the old hospital, the plan is to “offer services and quality of life within the space of 15 minutes on foot from home”.

The “15-minute” idea is based on research into how city dwellers’ use of time could be reorganised to improve both living conditions and the environment. Developed by Professor Carlos Moreno at the Sorbonne in Paris, the concept of “la ville du quart d’heure” is one in which daily urban necessities are within a 15-minute reach on foot or by bike. Work, home, shops, entertainment, education and healthcare — in Moreno’s vision, these should all be available within the same time a commuter might once have waited on a railway platform.

“One of the first lessons of Covid-19 is that we could radically change our ethos for working,” Moreno says. “In a few days, most people changed their remit and their jobs.” The mass, global switch to “working from home” (or living at work, as it may feel) suddenly makes multi-hour commutes appear wasteful, and clock-watching office life inefficient. Ironically enough, the French automobile group PSA (which makes Peugeot, Vauxhall and Citroën cars) was early to seize the opportunity to shift its non-production workforce to permanent remote mode.

Moreno, scientific director of entrepreneurship and innovation at the Sorbonne, is also special envoy to Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, and has influenced her vigorous implementation of pedestrian and bike schemes. Re-elected as mayor last month, Hidalgo pushed her “Paris Respire” programme even further during lockdown, turning miles of traffic lanes into cyclist-friendly “corona pistes”.

Moreno models the 15-minute city on his research into the “new relationship between citizens and the rhythm of life in cities”. To achieve a better rhythm, he says, we need to develop multipurpose services — “one building, with many applications through the day. How, for example, we could use a school for other activities, during the weekend. We also want buildings that mix places for living and working at the same time — this reduces the time for commuting.”

Above all, the 15-minute city is one that cuts down unnecessary journeys: “We need to reduce the presence of cars on the streets,” says Moreno. Hidalgo has already banned traffic along parts of the Seine and on some Sundays along the Champs-Élysées.

Other cities, such as Buenos Aires, have introduced free bike-rental schemes for both residents and tourists, while pioneering Amsterdam has a new model, the City Doughnut, which aims to reduce emissions and waste in the drive towards carbon neutrality.

But though the “quarter-hour” framework seems convenient and ecologically sound, it implies many limitations. Lockdown challenged an understanding of cities as places that provide the chance introductions and chains of encounters upon which interesting careers (and personal lives) are constructed. Is it realistic to think of this 15-minute lasso as a permanent, practicable feature? “We don’t want to oblige people to stay in the 15-minute district,” Moreno says. “We don’t want to recreate a village. We want to create a better urban organisation.”


Report calls for national delivery to decarbonise heating

Another day, another round of rampant evidence-free carbophobia. References to ‘carbon’ and ‘heat’ (amended in our headline to ‘heating’) show a dire lack of scientific understanding. They waffle about a ‘moral imperative’, but forget they rely on manipulated temperature data and failing climate models for evidence to support their lofty attitude.
– – –

A new Heat Commission convened by the CBI and University of Birmingham has called on the Government to develop a National Delivery Body (NDB) to lead the development and implementation of a national strategy to decarbonise heat, reports Electronic Specifier.

Heat is the largest single source of UK carbon emissions, accounting for over one-third whilst decarbonising heat stands as one of the most significant challenges in reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.

To overcome this challenge it is vital business, government, regulators and communities work together to shape the policies and delivery mechanisms that will be needed.

The Heat Commission’s report ‘Net Zero: The Road to Low-Carbon Heat’ recommends the establishment of an independent, time-limited, impartial body that will work with government on creating, coordinating and delivering an overarching NDB.

Crucially, the NDB will be expected to be locally formulated and locally delivered by local authorities who will synergise their own local and energy plan with the national programme.

Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, CBI President and Heat Commission Chair Lord Karan Bilimoria, said: “A green recovery and progress towards the UK’s net-zero emission target are doomed to fail if we don’t address the urgent need to decarbonise heat in our homes and buildings. Recent Government announcements will undoubtedly fast-forward our transition towards net-zero. The Commission’s recommendations offer a roadmap to accelerate progress, ensure our nation stays on a path to sustainable recovery and ensures the UK remains a global leader in meeting climate commitments.

“Aside from the moral imperative, there’s also a strong economic case for protecting our planet. Large scale heat decarbonisation and energy efficiency would provide a huge jobs boost for the economy at a time when new career opportunities are needed more than ever.”

The priorities of the NDB will include decarbonising transport, industrial emissions reduction, decentralising electricity supplies, and supporting local energy plans devised by local authorities.


The old "running out of food" scare lives on

Hitler based his "Lebensraum" policy on it

Among the top Google News search results for “climate change” today, Forbes published an embarrassingly fictitious article making several false claims about climate change and rice production. The Forbes article is titled “Rice, Climate Change And A Post-COVID Opportunity For Women In Guyana.” The article is typical of establishment media articles – and particularly Forbes articles – that simply make up false climate claims out of thin air, provide no supporting data for the claims (because no supporting data exist), and then act like people who present actual scientific data and evidence are attacking science. This article is the third of three articles debunking different aspects of the multi-ridiculous Forbes article.

Forbes Senior Contributor Daphne Ewing-Chow writes that “three quarters of global rice exports, that originate in Asian countries such as India and Thailand” have been impaired by “climate change-fuelled [sic] droughts.”

Ewing-Chow adds, “The United Nations World Food Programme has projected that the crisis will almost double the amount of people faced with acute food insecurity by the end of 2020, to an estimated 265 million.”

Fortunately for people who believe in facts and science, and unfortunately for Forbes and Ewing-Chow, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) keeps meticulous records of each country’s agricultural production, as well as global agricultural production.

As documented here, India and Thailand are also seeing consistently increasing crop production.

Nevertheless, one would expect FAO to report a dramatic decline in global food production, given Ewing-Chow’s claim that “food insecurity” is expected to double by the end of this year.

Let’s take a look at the FAO data.

According to the FAO data, global cereal production (the vitally important corn, wheat, and rice crops) set an all-time record in 2019. Moreover, FAO expects 2020 crop production to surpass the 2020 record.

We at Climate Realism don’t know what the United Nations defines as “food insecurity,” but we do know that Ewing-Chow and Forbes are trying to pull a fast one on its readers by asserting that climate change is causing declining crop production and increasing hunger.


Weak, voluntary CO2 standards for Australian cars

And the Greens are fuming.  See below

The Australian car industry has finally admitted that it needs to clean up its act – but the voluntary scheme it outlined on Friday is so weak that it will barely cause a change from business as usual. And business as usual in Australia, unfortunately, means it is a dumping ground for dirty engines that car manufacturers can not sell in other markets.

The proposal outlined by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries aims for a non-compulsory emissions standard for passenger vehicles in 2030 that is actually weaker than the one being imposed, and legally enforced, in Europe in 2021.

And because it is voluntary, it won’t result in any penalties for companies that don’t comply. Any buying of “credits” suggested in the scheme will be more likely be for green-washing marketing purposes rather than actually cutting emissions and improving fuel consumption.

The lack of standards has also hit the hip pocket of Australian consumers. We each pay over $500 a year in additional fuel and maintenance, according to government estimates, because our cars are so dirty and inefficient

And yet consumers are told by government and vested interests that any move to introduce such standards would amount to a “carbon tax on wheels” and blow out the costs of new cars. Which the government’s own research also contradicts.

So it would seem to be a welcome move that the FCAI should outline on Friday a “voluntary CO2 emissions standard” that sets targets out to 2030, so the industry “can contribute to Australia’s commitment to the Paris agreement.”

It aims for a level of CO2 emissions for passenger and light SUVs of under 100 grams per kilometre, and under 145g/km for heavy SUVs and light commercials (mostly utes and vans).

The target will be voluntary, and each manufacturer will be able to plot their own path to the 2030 target, and it will allow the inclusion of Carry Forward Credits and/or Debits.

To put this into perspective, Europe is aiming for 95kg/km by 2021. That target is enforceable, and car companies face massive penalties if they don’t comply. Countries are being urged by climate experts to ban the sale of any petrol and diesel car from 2030, and many like the UK have committed to such bans.

“The intent behind this new Standard is to ensure automotive manufacturers can continue to do what they do best – and that is to bring the latest, safest, and most fuel-efficient vehicles to the Australian market,” FCAI boss Toney Weber said in a statement.

The Electric Vehicle Council, however, did welcome the move as a “step that paves the way forward” and at least means the industry recognises that CO2 standards benefit consumers.



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, July 27, 2020

More evidence of the Roman warm period:  Warmer than now

The Mediterranean Sea was 3.6°F (2°C) hotter during the Roman Empire than other average temperatures at the time, a new study claims.

The Empire coincided with a 500-year period, from AD 1 to AD 500, that was the warmest period of the last 2,000 years in the almost completely land-locked sea. 

The climate later progressed towards colder and arid conditions that coincided with the historical fall of the Empire, scientists claim.

Spanish and Italian researchers recorded ratios of magnesium to calcite taken from skeletonized amoebas in marine sediments, an indicator of sea water temperatures, in the Sicily Channel.

They say the warmer period may have also coincided with the shift from the Roman Republic to the great Empire founded by Octavius Augustus in 27 BC. 

The study offers 'critical information' to identify past interactions between climate changes and evolution of human societies and 'their adaptive strategies'.

It meets requests from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to assess the impact of historically warmer conditions between 2.7°F and 3.6°F (1.5°C to 2°C). 

However, the historical warming of the Med during the Roman Empire is linked to intense solar activity, which contrasts with the modern threat of greenhouse gases. 

'For the first time, we can state the Roman period was the warmest period of time of the last 2,000 years, and these conditions lasted for 500 years,' said Professor Isabel Cacho at the Department of Earth and Ocean Dynamics, University of Barcelona.

The Mediterranean is a semi-closed sea, meaning it is surrounded by land and almost only connected to oceans by a narrow outlet, and is a climate change 'hot spot' according to a previous paper.

Situated between North Africa and European climates, the sea occupies a 'transitional zone', combining the arid zone of the subtropical high and humid northwesterly air flows.

This makes it extremely vulnerable to modern and past climate changes, such as changes in precipitation change and average surface air temperature, and is of 'particular interest' to researchers.

Home to many civilisations over the years, the Med, or Mare Nostrum as it was known by ancient Roman civilisations, has become a model to study the periods of climate variation.

Reconstructing previous millennia of sea surface temperatures and how it evolved is challenging, due to the difficulty retrieving good resolution marine records.

However, the study of the fossil archives remains the only valid tool to reconstruct past environmental and climatic changes as far back as 2,000 years ago, they say.

Turning to another method, experts analysed the ratios of magnesium to calcite taken from samples of single-celled protists called foraminifera, which are found in all marine environments.

In particular, the species Globigerinoides ruber, present in marine sediments, is an indicator of sea water temperatures.

Researchers took the skeletonised G. ruber sampled from a depth of 1,500 feet (475m) located in the northwestern part of the Sicily Channel.

It was recovered during a 2014 oceanographic expedition on board the RV CNR-Urania research vessel. 

These unicellular organisms, part of the marine zooplankton, have a specific habitat limited to the surface layers of the water column.

'Therefore, the chemical analysis of its carbonated skeleton allows us to reconstruct the evolution of the temperature of the surface water mass over time,' said Professor Cacho. 

Compared to the subsequent period of the Roman Empire, the Mediterranean was characterised by a colder phase from around 500 BC to 200 BC.

This corresponds with the beginning of the so-called 'sub-Atlantic phase' characterised by a cool climate and rainy winters which was favourable for Greek and Roman civilisations to grow crops.

The cool and humid climate of the sub-Atlantic phase lasted until around 100 BC and covered the entire period of the monarchy in Rome.

However, in 400 BC, cultural changes were synchronised across the Mediterranean region and more 'homogeneous' temperature conditions across the Med regions were established.

A distinct warming phase, running from AD 1 to AD 500, then coincided with the Roman Period and covered the whole Roman Empire archaeological period.

'This pronounced warming during the Roman Period is almost consistent with other marine records from Atlantic Ocean,' the team say in their research paper, published in Scientific Reports. 

This climate phase corresponds to what is known as the 'Roman Climatic Optimum' characterised by prosperity and expansion of the Empire, giving warmth and sunlight to crops.

Roman Climatic Optimum, a phase of warm stable temperatures across much of the Mediterranean heartland, covers the whole phase of origin and expansion of the Roman Empire.

The greatest time of the Roman Empire coincided with the warmest period of the last 2,000 years in the Mediterranean.

After the Roman Period, a general cooling trend developed in the region with several minor oscillations in temperature.

The climate then transitioned from wet to arid conditions and this could have marked the decline of the golden period of the Roman Empire after AD 500. 

These new record correlated with data from other areas of the Mediterranean – the Alboran Sea, Menorca basin and Aegean Sea.

'We hypothesise the potential link between this Roman Climatic Optimum and the expansion and subsequent decline of the Roman Empire.'

The study provides high resolution and precision data on how the temperatures evolved over the last 2,000 years in the Mediterranean area. 


Climate change: Democratic alarmism leads to failing policies

Climate change needs to be addressed but the Democrats' plan is alarmist and not going to save the planet. We need to weigh costs and benefits of climate action.

Bjorn Lomborg

Over the past few decades, climate change has been cast in ever more apocalyptic terms. A new global survey shows that almost half the world’s population and about 4 of 10 Americans believe global warming will likely lead to the extinction of the human race.

Incessantly claiming the end of the world is near is simply unbridled alarmism and untethered to the actual research presented by the UN Climate Panel. However, such scare scenarios are ideal for politicians; they can promise to save the world, and they can leave the substantial bill to future election cycles.

Democrats' action plan for climate change

In this context, House Democrats have joined a long list of prominent global politicians across the last decades who promise to fix global warming, outlined in a 538 page Congressional Action Plan. Among many other proposals, it promises no new gasoline cars by 2035, ending fossil fuels in the power sector by 2040, and reducing the net emissions from the U.S. to zero by 2050. Appropriately, speaker Nancy Pelosi capped her presentation by promising the plan would be “saving the planet.”

It might seem odd to be discussing climate change in the midst of a global pandemic. However, the Democrats point out that climate, not corona or the recession, is the “essential crisis of our time” as it threatens devastating health and economic consequences.

Yes, climate change is a real challenge that we need to tackle smartly. But suggesting it is an “existential threat” to human existence, as Joe Biden frequently claims, causes us to panic and make poor decisions. Instead, we need to weigh costs and benefits of climate action.

When the Democrats claim that climate change is worsening the impacts of extreme storms, droughts, and flooding, they are mostly wrong. Peer-reviewed research clearly shows that neither landfalling hurricanes nor strong landfalling hurricanes in the U.S. have become more frequent since 1900. The 2017 National Climate Assessment even states that “drought has decreased over much of the continental United States.” It also concludes that flooding, which has increased in some places and decreased elsewhere, cannot be connected to climate change.

While costs from disasters are increasing, this is overwhelmingly because more people with more valuables live closer to harm’s way. For instance, the coastal population in Florida has increased 67-fold since 1900, with each family living in more expensive houses. A hurricane hitting Florida today will, therefore, create much more financial damage than a similar hurricane 120 years ago. Thus, helping future generations avoid costly hurricane damage is about better building codes, restricting siting in vulnerable areas, and providing residents with more information.

This doesn’t mean there aren’t real benefits to cutting emissions, but they are dramatically lower than what the Democrats suggest. The UN Climate Panel shows that the total negative impact of climate change in half a century will be equivalent to a reduction in annual incomes of between 0.2 and 2%. As it expects the average person in 50 years to be 363% richer than today, that means with global warming the average person will grow 356% richer. That is a problem, but not the end of the world.

The costs of cutting emissions

Unfortunately and glaringly, the Democratic plan contains no cost estimates, despite its intention to fundamentally restructure the growth engine of the U.S. Only one nation — New Zealand — has been bold enough to request an independent cost estimate of cutting emissions to zero by 2050. The New Zealand Institute of Economic Research found that the optimistic cost would reduce GDP by a whopping 16% each year by 2050. Translated to the projected U.S. GDP in 2050, this would imply a cost of at least $5 trillion in today’s money. Not just once, but every year. That is more than the entire pre-Covid-19 annual federal spending of $4.5 trillion.

Needless to say, spending 16% or more to avoid part of a 2% problem is a bad deal. But Democrats are not alone. Many countries have made spectacular promises to cut emissions and failed. The UN, in a surprisingly honest review, says that despite all the good intentions from the Obama administration and other countries, actual global emissions look similar to a hypothetical world which had made no climate policies since 2005.

And cutting emissions is hard. The corona epidemic has created a dramatic recession, yet it will likely reduce U.S. 2020 emissions by just 7 to 11%. To get to zero would require ten or more lock-downs every year. This will be phenomenally expensive and politically impossible.

That is why Democrats — and all of us — should focus more on solutions that will actually be effective and realistic. Currently, cutting emissions is costly and involves subsidizing inefficient solar, wind, and electric cars. Rich countries can afford a little, though none can afford to dramatically switch.

But if we invest much more into green research and development, we can innovate the price of future green energy below fossil fuels. Then everyone will switch.

Claiming climate change is our biggest challenge is a false alarm. Proposing unrealistic and extremely expensive policies is unhelpful. The Democrats are correct to emphasize we need climate policies, but the policies must be smart.


NY Times Doubles Down on Fake Guatemala Crop Failures

In an article published this morning and sitting atop Google News searches for “climate change,” the New York Times claims climate change is the primary reason people are leaving Guatemala and unlawfully entering the United States. According to the Times’ article, titled “The Great Climate Migration,” drought and extreme weather events are making it impossible for Guatemala farmers to continue making a living. In reality, objective crop data show farms in Guatemala are doing better than ever. Climate change is reducing the pressure on Guatemalans to flee their failing nation-state, even with rampant crime, corruption, gang activity, and violence.

The author of the Times article, Abrahm Lustgarten, writes, “Last summer, I went to Central America to learn how people like Jorge will respond to changes in their climates. I followed the decisions of people in rural Guatemala and their routes to the region’s biggest cities, then north through Mexico to Texas. I found an astonishing need for food and witnessed the ways competition and poverty among the displaced broke down cultural and moral boundaries.”

If Guatemalans are lacking food, it is certainly not because of climate change or crop failures. According to official crop data compiled by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), as shown in the graph below, Guatemalan crop production is continuing a history of long-term growth. Guatemala crop yields per acre are currently:

double what they were in 1970 – 50 years of global warming ago
50% higher than they were in 1980

10% to 20% higher than they were in 1990 and 2000
enjoying eight straight years of year-over-year improvement from the preceding year

None of this good news matters to the New York Times when they have a refugee causation myth to create and a climate myth to perpetuate. According to the Times article, “it almost never rained” for Guatemala farmers for five years between 2014 and 2019. Moreover, “under a relentless confluence of drought, flood, bankruptcy and starvation, they [Guatemala farmers], too, have begun to leave. Almost everyone here experiences some degree of uncertainty about where their next meal will come from. Half the children are chronically hungry, and many are short for their age, with weak bones and bloated bellies.” This is how the Times describes a period of longstanding growth in Guatemala crop production.

And again, even if this misery exists, the Guatemala crop data show the reason is a corrupt, violent political state rather than climate change.


Australian Government sued by 23-year-old Melbourne student over financial risks of climate change

Governments have often been sued over global warming in the USA without success.  This is probably just a publicity grab

A 23-year-old Melbourne law student is suing the Australian Government for failing to disclose the risk climate change poses to Australians' super and other safe investments.

The world-first case filed today in the Federal Court alleges the Government, as well as two government officials, failed in a duty to disclose how climate change would impact the value of government bonds.

Katta O'Donnell, the head litigant for the class action suit, said she hoped the case would change the way Australia handled climate change.

"I'm suing the Government because I'm 23 [and] I think I need to be aware of the risks to my money and to the whole of society and the Australian economy," Ms O'Donnell said.

"I think the Government needs to stop keeping us in the dark so we can be aware of the risks that we're all faced with."

Experts say it is the first where a national government has been sued for its lack of transparency on climate risks.

Government bonds are considered the safest form of investment, with most Australians invested in them through compulsory superannuation.

Bonds are similar to shares, but instead of investing in companies, the investor lends a government money to build infrastructure and fund critical services such as health, welfare and national security.

Ms O'Donnell, who has invested in bonds independently from her super, said she did it to "protect her future".

However bonds, like shares, can lose value if they become less attractive to the market. This can occur if investors question a government's ability to repay them due to rising government debt, ethical or reputational reasons.

Ms O'Donnell said watching the impact of bushfires in Australia made her worry about the value of her bonds.

Despite the Government not disclosing climate-related risks to its investment products, government regulators are increasingly forcing companies to disclose how climate change will impact their shareholders.

This landmark trial has the potential to change the way superannuation funds invest retirement savings and pave the way for more climate-change-related litigation.

No damages, just recognition

Ms O'Donnell's case names the Commonwealth, as well as the secretary to the Department of Treasury and the chief executive of the Australian Office of Financial Management — both of whom are alleged to be responsible for promoting government bonds.

The case is a class action, with Ms O'Donnell representing all investors and potential investors in government bonds tradeable on the Australian Securities Exchange.

It does not seek damages, but instead a declaration that the Government and those two officials breached their duty.

It also seeks an injunction, forcing the Government to stop promoting bonds until it updates its disclosure information to include information about Australia's climate change risks.

The case is backed by heavy-hitting silk and former Federal Court judge Ron Merkel and barrister Thomas Wood, who was previously the counsel assisting the solicitor-general of the Commonwealth.



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