Wednesday, October 28, 2020

The Climate Crisis Can’t Just Be Another Soapbox for the Left

By framing climate action as a progressive issue, the left is guaranteeing its failure.

The Warmist below has a moment of insight

For an established scientific fact, Europe’s take-it-or-leave-it approach to anthropogenic climate change and its associated dangers is an odd one. In my naive way I had hoped that impending environmental and societal collapse would be enough to snap politicians out of their murderous inaction and force them to collaborate. Alas, no. Even as Europe dries up and burns down, it seems the climate crisis has become just another victim of petty gammon-and-snowflake factionalism.

This isn’t to say politicians are silent on the subject. On the contrary, progressives across Europe and further afield proudly tout their green credentials. The past few years have seen various national parties and organizations propose Green New Deals with the ambitious aim of saving the planet by revolutionizing the economy along leftwing lines.

The urgency and ambition of these proposals are to be welcomed. However, by framing climate action as an inherently progressive concern, the left is virtually guaranteeing its failure. The combination of environmental measures with anti-capitalist or pro-union rhetoric—valid though the rhetoric may be—creates a political package that will almost certainly flounder when it comes to achieving the widespread political support it needs to be enacted. When politicians on the left present such unworkable environmental solutions like this, we can be forgiven for wondering if their hearts are really in it, or whether they see the climate crisis as just another soapbox.

At least the left is making the correct noises. Far less excusable are the actions of those on the political right, who have willingly handed the climate agenda over to the left in order to dust their hands of any environmental responsibility. The worst offenders are of course the climate change deniers, who promote such a thoroughly anti-science position that they might as well claim that the earth is flat. One such example is Bulgarian politician Neno Dimov, who inexplicably served as the president of the EU’s Environment Council in 2018. He had previously dismissed climate change as a “fraud used to scare people.”

Little better are the majority of outwardly sane conservatives who accept the reality of climate change but choose to do nothing about it. Their unwavering support for fossil-fueled industries is a green light to our species’ suicidal environmental practices, and their lazy attacks against the specter of cultural globalization thwart the concerted global action that is needed to save the planet.

“The left needs to stop combining urgent environmental measures with other progressive agendas.”

As a result of the political inertia caused by this polarization, the world’s ecosystems unravel at an ever-faster rate while we do next to nothing to effectively combat it. Meaningful action on climate change is far more likely if both the left and the right abandon the tit-for-tat partisanship that has allowed environmentalism to be seen—and, for many, dismissed—as just another progressive concern.

The left needs to stop combining urgent environmental measures with other progressive agendas that currently have no chance of achieving cross-party support, and instead propose practical legislation in a spirit of cooperation and collaboration.

The results won’t be perfect—such is the bittersweet fruit of compromise—but they will be better than nothing, and can serve as a foundation for further legislation.

“The right needs to grow up and accept some responsibility for this planet it calls home.”

The right, meanwhile, needs to grow up and accept some responsibility for this planet it calls home. One of the most frustrating things about the right’s squeamishness towards environmentalism is that there’s nothing inherently left-wing or right-wing about climate action. If anything, you’d have thought that conservationism and conservatism would go hand in hand. This was actually the case in the early 20th century, when European conservatives, alarmed by the accelerating rates of deforestation, soil erosion and desertification around the world, laid the foundations for the modern conservation movement. Think how much simpler climate legislation could be today if the right were willing to reclaim this heritage.

'Economic Death Sentence': Trump Slams Biden's Energy Plan in Pennsylvania

Speaking during the first of three campaign rallies in Pennsylvania Monday morning, President Donald Trump slammed former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris for their policy positions on American energy.

"I want to begin today by discussing an issue of existential importance to Pennsylvania. Very very important. Last week Sleepy Joe Biden made perhaps the most shocking statement ever uttered in the history of presidential debates. In other words, he blew it," Trump said. "Joe Biden confirmed his plan to abolish the entire U.S. oil industry. That means no fracking, no jobs, no energy for Pennsylvania families, Texas, all the others."

"The Biden energy shutdown would inflict deep pain and misery on Pennsylvania. Mass layoffs, constant black outs and brown outs, soaring gas prices. It's nice to have that $2 gasoline isn't it? Surging energy bills, no air conditioning during the summer, no heat during the winter and no electricity during peak hours," he continued.

Trump also slammed the Paris Climate agreement, which Biden has vowed to rejoin.

"Biden's plan is an economic death sentence," Trump said. "He will eradicate your energy and send Pennsylvania into crippling depression."

During the final presidential debate in Nashville last week, former Biden dared Trump to produce footage of him saying he would ban fracking. Trump obliged and the Trump campaign has been hammering the issue.

NY County opts out of green-energy tax exemption

Tuesday night at the Niagara County Courthouse, opponents of the proposed Bear Ridge Solar project in Cambria/Pendleton showed their support of a county law denying property tax exemptions to local solar and wind energy generation projects.

For Niagara County Legislator David Godfrey, Tuesday night's legislative battle over opting out of a state-authorized property tax exemption for solar and wind energy systems had nothing to do with going green.

Godfrey, R-Wilson, said the issue was "local control" versus a "top down" set of alternative energy incentives passed on from Albany. Legislator Dennis Virtuoso, D-Niagara Falls, argued those alternative incentives were not about local control but, rather, economic development.

"I'm worried about economic development," Virtuoso said as the legislature debated the opt-out proposal. "If there's one thing that unites this legislature it's economic development."

And Virtuoso suggested that the local lack of alternative energy incentives authorized in state law would have a harmful effect on the county's efforts to lure an Amazon distribution center.

"They are committed to solar energy. That means they're going to have solar panels on top of that distribution center," Virtuoso said. "Are they gonna say, 'We're outta here' 'cause we can't get a tax break if we put solar panels on our building?"

Legislator Chris Robins, D-Niagara Falls, echoed Virtuoso's concerns. "In today's day and age of climate change, I'm not sure this is something that we, as a county, should do," Robins said.

But Godfrey and Legislator John Syracuse, R-Newfane,, the co-sponsor of the opt-out local law, pushed back, saying tax breaks could be given to developers by the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency.

"(The IDA) can guide (developers) to locations (for alternative energy projects)," Godfrey said. "We are sending a message. If a project comes to Niagara County and has no community support, there will be no tax breaks."

The local law, Godfrey said, would bring back home rule to municipalities where energy companies are courting farmers to use their land for large-scale clean energy projects.

“I don’t care if it’s a landfill or a brownfield,” Godfrey said. “We will provide a pamphlet of conducive sites where such projects would be of benefit. Don’t take our farmland.”

Syracuse criticized Virtuoso's concerns, suggesting he would place economic development over the will of community residents.

The local law was approved by a 9 to 5 vote.

Scientists all at sea with alarmist barrier reef warning

Fancy theories preferred to the real world

A new scientific paper, received with great fanfare among inter­national media and Australia’s public broadcaster, the ABC, claims half the corals of the Great Barrier Reef are dead.

The paper is by academics at James Cook University’s ARC Centre for Excellence for Coral Reef Studies. It is a scary headline. But is it true?

This finding is not based on any tried and proven method. Rather, the researchers from James Cook University have come up with a new method of statistical analysis based on a complicated “proxy” to estimate “colony size”.

The study itself was undertaken in 2016 and 2017, just after a coral bleaching event at cyclone-damaged reefs. If they had used traditional methods and longer time frames, it would likely be found that there is actually nothing wrong with the Great Barrier Reef.

Great Barrier Reef photographer Julia Summerling wrote recently about how a section known as North Direction Island, saying that the island’s corals were “savaged beyond recognition” due to Cyclone Ita in 2014, cyclone Nathan in 2015, and a coral bleaching event in the summer of 2016. So it was probably not the most representative time to be sampling. But the headlines are based on proxy measures from just a few reefs at that time.

She now says those areas have since recovered. “What I saw — and photographed — I could hardly believe. Young dinner-plate-sized corals were crammed into every available space on the limestone plateau as far as I could see, bristling with iconic fish life, from maori wrasse and coral trout to bumphead parrotfish and sweetlips. I swam a long way on the dive, checking to see how far the coral shelf stretched. The further I swam, the denser the coral fields became.”

For a new Institute of Public Affairs film, in January this year I visited the Ribbon reefs with Emmy award-winning photographer Clint Hempshall to follow the edge of Australia’s continental shelf to find and film coral bleaching. It was meant to be one of the worst-affected regions — 60 per cent dead from bleaching, which the same scientists say is caused by climate change. But we could not find any significant bleaching. We mostly found jewelled curtains of coral, appearing to cascade down underwater cliff faces. So colourful, so beautiful, all in crystal clear and warm waters.

The problem for Professor Terry Hughes, who co-authored the research, is that his study was undertaken in 2016 and 2017 then extrapolated out to cover other years. All of the research and subsequent media attention points to a narrative that the Great Barrier Reef is at risk of imminent collapse from climate change.

It was for questioning this claim, and the quality of science behind it, that Dr Peter Ridd was eventually sacked from James Cook University. Part of those claims by Ridd were that a lot of the science coming out of JCU’s ARC Centre for Excellent in Coral Reef Studies “is not properly checked, tested or replicated, and that is a great shame because we really need to be able to trust our scientific institutions, and the fact is I do not think we can anymore.”

Neither James Cook University, nor Hughes, have ever rebutted Ridd’s criticisms of the research.

This is what objective observers need to put into context when examining Hughes’s most recent claims. Ridd also said: “I think that most of the scientists who are pushing out this stuff, I think that they genuinely believe that there are problems with the reef, I just don’t think they are very objective about the science they do. I think they’re emotionally attached to their subject and you can’t blame them the reef is a beautiful thing.”

One quick glance at Hughes’s Twitter account and you will find he is critical of the Morrison government’s gas-led recovery, cheerleading for a royal commission into the Murdoch media and constantly criticises the Adani Coal mine.

The new paper by James Cook University scientists claims both the incidence of coral bleaching and cyclones is increasing, but there is no evidence to support ­either contention. The available data from 1971 to 2017 indicated there has actually been a decrease in both the number and severity of cyclones in the Australian region.

Coral-bleaching events tend to be cyclical and coincide with periods of exceptionally low sea levels. As discussed in a new book, Climate Change: The Facts 2020, there were dramatic falls in sea levels across the western Pacific Ocean in 2016. These were associated with an El Nino event.

Until recently, coral calcification rates were calculated based on coring of the large Porites corals. There are well-established techniques for coring the Porites corals and then measuring growth rates. So why do Hughes and his colleagues stray from these tried and tested methods?

Since 2005, the Australian Institute of Marine Science has stopped using this technique to measure how well corals are growing at the Great Barrier Reef. The few studies still using the old technique suggest that, as would be expected, as water temperatures have increased marginally, coral growth rates have also increased.

But rather than admit this, key Great Barrier Reef research institutions have moved from such ­direct measures to new and complicated “proxies”. They thus have more flexibility in what they find because the measurement is no longer one that represents coral growth rates or coral cover.

As proxy votes are something delegated, this gives the researchers at JCU the potential to generate what might be considered policy-based evidence. And yet without question, the media reporting of the most recent research is that “there is no time to lose, we must sharply decrease greenhouse gas emissions”.

Far too frequently, climate science has demonstrated noble cause corruption — where the ends justify the means. We will only know exact coral calcification rates, and changing trends in coral cover, when our once esteemed research institutions return to more traditional methods of measuring such important indicators of coral health and growth.

We need a return to real science that is based on real observations and real measurements and then we may find written in journals what we see in the real world when we jump off boats and go under the sea.




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