Thursday, July 23, 2020

Greta Thunberg Wins €1M Prize; Will Give To Green Groups

I wonder what old Nubar Gulbenkian would think of this use of his money. He was pretty capitalistic so I doubt that he would like it

 Greta Thunberg has taken yet another prize for her woke climate activism, banking the one million euro Gulbenkian Prize for Humanity for her “contributions to mitigation and adaptation to climate change.”

The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation was established in Lisbon, Portugal, in 1956 “to improve the quality of life through art, charity, science, and education” but 2020 marks its first-ever Prize for Humanity, an award created to stimulate climate change activism.

According to its website, the Gulbenkian Prize for Humanity “distinguishes innovative pathways with high impact potential to assist in processes of mitigation and/or adaptation to climate change, one of the greatest threats to this century and with devastating consequences for the well-being of current and future generations and for the economy and our natural ecosystems.”

The foundation shares the widespread conviction that humanity “is facing an unprecedented climate crisis,” which is “clearly visible in the ever-increasing frequency of heatwaves and droughts, the rise in seawater temperatures, melting glaciers and extreme weather events.”

The 17-year-old Ms. Thunberg was already named Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year” for 2019, joining a series of notable figures including Adolf Hitler (1938), Joseph Stalin (1939), and Ayatollah Khomeini (1979).

Thunberg was launched into the public limelight thanks to her Fridays for Future movement, whereby students are encouraged to skip school every Friday in order to protest climate change.

Thunberg also received broad acclaim from the international Left for her public scolding of world leaders at the United Nations last September.

“You have stolen my dreams, my childhood, with your empty words and yet I’m one of the lucky ones,” Thunberg said at the U.N. General Assembly. “People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you?” […]

Soon after, a series of contrite contenders for the Democrat Presidential nomination began falling over themselves to praise the young activist for her prophetic words.

Bernie Sanders, Beto O’Rourke, and Kamala Harris all joined in the Greta love-fest, with Harris confessing that we are “failing our nation’s youth.”

The Maryknoll missionaries, a Catholic religious order, went so far as to compare Thunberg to the Virgin Mary.

“Christians getting their knickers all in a twist over the passionate, articulate & knowledgeable witness of Greta Thunberg because of her age seem to overlook the age of the Virgin Mary at the time of the Annunciation,” the group wrote on Twitter.

On receiving the award Monday, Thunberg immediately promised to donate the money to organizations devoted to combatting climate change, such as the SOS Amazonia Campaign the Stop Ecocide Foundation.


New Climate Summary Destroys Wildfire Myths

Wildfires throughout the United States have become much less extensive in recent decades as the climate has warmed, reports a new climate summary at the website Climate at a Glance.

Climate at a Glance is designed to provide policymakers, educators, students, and the general public compelling one- or two-page summaries destroying common global warming myths. Each summary begins with a few short bullet-points to concisely summarize the topic, followed by one or two explanatory paragraphs and an illustrative graphic.

According to the new summary on U.S. wildfires:

Wildfires are far less frequent and severe than was the case throughout the first half of the 20th

Occasional upticks in current wildfire activity still result in far less land burnt than was the case throughout the early 20th century

Even the worst recent wildfire years burned only 1/5thto 1/2 as much land as typical wildfire years during the early 20th century

Drought is the key climate factor for wildfires. As shown in Climate at a Glance: Drought, the United States in recent decades is benefiting from strikingly small amounts of drought.


EPA Leaves Current Ozone Standards in Place, Says They are Safe

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced it is leaving in place the current air quality standards for ground level ozone because the best available science indicates they sufficiently protect human health.

Ozone is an odorless gas produced at ground level by a reaction of sunlight with regulated pollutants emitted by a variety of sources such as automobiles, electric power stations, and industrial plants. Ozone is the main component of smog, which still plagues some cities, such as Los Angeles.

Current Standard Deemed Safe

Under the 1970 Clean Air Act, the EPA is required to review the standard for criteria pollutants, of which ozone is one, every five years.

The EPA lowered the standard for ground-level ozone to 70 parts per billion (ppb) in 2015, under the administration of President Barack Obama, down from 75 ppb set in 2008. EPA said at the time the 70 ppb level was sufficient to protect both human health and the environment.

In a January 13, 2020 press release announcing the existing ozone standard would be maintained, the EPA affirmed the best science still indicates the 70 ppb standard is safe. Ozone concentrations fell by 4 percent between 2017 and the end of 2019, the agency reported.

“Under President Trump, the U.S. has made significant progress in reducing ozone concentrations across the nation,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler in the agency’s press release. “Based on a review of the scientific literature and recommendation from our independent science advisors, we are proposing to retain existing ozone standards, which will ensure the continued protection of both public health and the environment.”

The EPA’s action marks the second time in 2020 that, after the required review of the best available science, the agency has decided to maintain an existing standard for a regulated pollutant. EPA decided to keep the existing standard for particulate matter in place in April.

‘Win for Our Nation’

EPA’s decision to maintain the existing ozone standards will benefit cities and states while protecting public health, said Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) in statement.

“EPA’s responsible decision to keep current ozone standards continues to ensure that our air is clean and our communities are protected, while at the same time lowering the massive burden on states and localities to meet ever-moving goalposts of environmental regulations,” Gosar said. “Administrator Wheeler and President Trump have seen consistent decreases in ozone under this administration, and keeping the standards that have driven that success in place is a win for our nation.”

The current ozone standards keeps people safe, said Bruno Pigott, a commissioner with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, in a statement.

“This stringent ozone standard continues to ensure that Hoosiers have cleaner air than ever before,” Pigott said.

Avoids Jeopardizing Economic Recovery

By following the science and not being led by environmental advocates who pushed the Trump administration to set an even more stringent standard for ozone, the EPA maintained essential environmental protections while helping the economy to recover from the economic shutdown resulting from fears raised by the COVID-19 pandemic, said Rachel Jones, vice-president of Energy & Resources Policy at the National Association of Manufacturers, in a statement.

“Protecting the environment and improving public health for all Americans must come first,” said Jones. “Manufacturers’ commitment to clean air is why we support EPA’s proposal to retain the Obama ozone standards.

“Amid a global pandemic, manufacturers are serving on the front lines helping our nation respond to and recover from COVID-19.” Jones said. “So at a time when we are facing record-breaking unemployment, an even lower ozone standard could have jeopardized more than seven million manufacturing jobs.”


Dr. Ridd: James Cook University wins unlawful sacking decision

The grounds for the university's actions were contemptible.  He was sacked for disagreeing with his colleagues.  If academics cannot disagree with one-another, where does that leave the search for truth?

He was not even abusive in what he said. He just said that their conclusions needed more validation -- a scientific comment if ever there was one.

This needs to go to appeal but funding may be a barrier to that

The reason for the furore is that the JCU scientists said that the reef was damaged by global warming.  Dr. Ridd demurred

The Federal Court has allowed an appeal of a decision which found James Cook University acted unlawfully in its 2018 sacking of Peter Ridd, after the professor questioned colleagues' research on the impact of global warming on the Great Barrier Reef.

Dr Ridd was awarded $1.2 million in damages by the Federal Circuit Court in September, which had earlier found JCU sacked the physics professor unlawfully.

The case attracted intense focus due to Dr Ridd's scepticism of climate change science and the broader debate about free speech at Australian universities.

The university reiterated last year it would launch the appeal, and has maintained its sacking of the professor was based on his treatment of colleagues rather than the expression of his scientific views.

Dr Ridd had originally sought reinstatement to his position but later abandoned this in favour of compensation.

In a judgment published on Wednesday, the Federal Court set aside that compensation decision and allowed the university to appeal the earlier ruling it had acted unlawfully.

Justices John Griffiths and Roger Derrington found Dr Ridd's enterprise agreement did not give him "untrammelled right" to express his professional opinions beyond the standards imposed by the university's code of conduct.

The termination of his employment did therefore not breach the Fair Work Act, they said.

Outlining his final declarations and penalties last year in September, Federal Circuit Court Judge Salvatore Vasta suggested the university's conduct had bordered on "paranoia and hysteria fuelled by systemic vindictiveness".

"In this case, Professor Ridd has endured over three years of unfair treatment by JCU – an academic institution that failed to respect the rights to intellectual freedom that Professor Ridd had as per [his enterprise agreement]," the judge decided.

Conservative think-tank the Institute of Public Affairs described the new Federal Court judgment on Wednesday as a "devastating blow" to freedom of speech.

"Alarmingly, this decision shows that contractual provisions guaranteeing intellectual freedom do not protect academics against censorship by university administrators," IPA director of policy Gideon Rozner said. "The time has come for the Morrison government to intervene."

He added that Dr Ridd was now considering his legal options around a High Court challenge.



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