Monday, October 19, 2020

U.N. Twists Climate Facts To Suit Its Radical Agenda

A report from the United Nations claims that there has been a ‘staggering rise in climate emergencies in the last 20 years’.

According to the report, ‘The Human Cost of Disasters’, there have been 7,348 recorded ‘disaster events’ worldwide during the last two decades, compared with 4,212 in the previous 20 years between 1980 and 1999. Most of these are said to be weather-related.

The claims have been met with astonishment and ridicule by experts, who have pointed out that the report itself contradicts its central claim with a graph showing that the number of disasters has been falling since 2000:

Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, has called for the report to be withdrawn. He said: ‘It’s a shambles; a catalog of errors. The UN should withdraw the report immediately and apologize for misleading the public in this way.’

Professor Roger Pielke Jr, a US-based expert in natural disasters, pointed out that the UN was misusing the source data, which measures human impacts of natural disasters rather than natural disasters themselves. He calls its conclusions ‘flawed’.

The UN report is based on data collected by the Emergency Events Database (EM-DAT), maintained by the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) in Belgium.

There have been major changes in the way disaster events have been recorded and logged by EM-DAT over the years. Earlier annual reports from CRED, such as in 2004 and 2006, acknowledged that many disasters were not recorded in the past.

The 2004 report noted: ‘Over the past 30 years, development in telecommunications, media and increased international co-operation has played a critical role in the number of disasters reported at an international level.

In addition, increases in humanitarian funds have encouraged reporting of more disasters, especially smaller events that were previously managed locally.’

CRED began publishing statistics on disasters only in 1998, and that year coincided with a doubling in the number of disasters recorded, mainly due to more comprehensive reporting.

EM-DAT’s current definition of a disaster includes small local events affecting more than 100 people with ten or more reported killed.

Thousands of such events may have gone unrecorded by EM-DAT in the past when methods were much more ad hoc, and before the days of the internet.

The datasets about the two different periods are therefore too different in quality, says Pielke. ‘You should not draw any conclusions about a changing frequency in climatic extremes on the basis of this dataset.’

The UN claims are contradicted by the IPCC, whose reports consistently state that there has not been a change in the intensity of most weather extremes, and this is confirmed by Pielke’s own rigorous studies.

Time and again he has shown that despite an increase in financial damage from natural disasters, there has not been a change in the intensity of most weather extremes. Increasing damage is down to the growth of population, real estate, and properties in vulnerable areas.

The UN report is heavily politicized, and some of its language seems to have been inspired by the likes of the Extinction Rebellion.

Co-author Mami Mizutori, head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, claims: ‘Disaster management agencies have succeeded in saving many lives through improved preparedness and the dedication of staff and volunteers.

But the odds continue to be stacked against them, in particular by industrial nations that are failing miserably on reducing greenhouse gas emissions,’ adding that it was ‘baffling’ that nations were continuing knowingly ‘to sow the seeds of our own destruction, despite the science and evidence that we are turning our only home into an uninhabitable hell for millions of people.’

Language such as this is not backed up by any credible data.

It is hard not to draw the conclusion that the purpose of this report has more to do with furthering the UN’s political agenda, rather than an objective analysis of the facts.

Climate change dogma lives loudly within Kamala Harris

During the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearings this week on President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Senator Kamala Harris, Joe Biden’s vice presidential running mate, revealed her climate change dogma with her flaccid attempt at “gotcha” questions for Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

During the three days of hearings, Democratic senators on the committee tried to get Judge Barrett to blunder in her responses. It was a fruitless pursuit. Rather, she refused to discuss any potential issue that may go before the Supreme Court, which is consistent with judicial ethics and past practice of prior nominees.

Committee senators were no match for Judge Barrett, whose poise and brilliance were on full display as she schooled them. That did not keep some senators from attempting to trap her somehow.

Sen. Harris asked a series of non-controversial questions with obvious answers in the hopes Judge Barrett would opine on weightier, controversial issues. She asked the Judge if “cigarettes cause cancer” and if “coronavirus is contagious.” Basically, yes and yes, the Judge responded.

Then (drum roll) Harris asked Barrett, “Do you believe climate change is threating the air we breathe and the water we drink?”

Judge Barrett responded to the V.P. nominee that climate change is a “very contentious matter of public debate” and that she will “not express a view on a matter of public policy …that is politically controversial because that is inconsistent with the judicial role.”

Sen. Harris thought she scored big! “Thank you, Judge Barrett; and you’ve made your point clear that you think [climate change] is a debatable point,” she said, with her familiar smirk. [Addendum: Sen. Richard Blumenthal also posed climate gotcha questions.]

In reality, Judge Barrett stated the obvious, while Sen. Harris appeared narrow and sophomoric. Climate change is a contentious public policy debate. The disturbing revelation in this exchange is that the possible next Vice President—and President in waiting—believes climate change and its impact are not debatable.

To paraphrase Sen. Diane Feinstein, the climate dogma lives loudly within Kamala Harris.

As with many others, climate change is tantamount to a religious faith for Sen. Harris, and thus inerrant. In contrast to traditional religious believers in America (e.g., Judge Barrett), a Vice President or President Harris will seek to impose her religious doctrine of climate change on America. This would cost trillions of taxpayer dollars and will harm our economy, job market and living standards, in exchange for the theoretical hope that average global temperature drops by a degree lower than its computer projection in 30 years. Indeed, the separation of church and state does not apply to Kamala Harris’ climate religion.

Not for the first time in history have authority figures declared a policy or scientific matter closed to debate. Just ask Galileo, who challenged the scientific orthodoxy of his day in the early 1600’s. In Judge Barrett’s case, all she did was make the evident point that climate change is a “controversial” subject, without indicating her own view, one way or the other.

Still, that was too much for Sen. Harris, who brooks no dissent, or even acknowledgement there could be various scientific views on climate.

Sen. Harris playing “gotcha” with her climate question also indicates how untruthful she and Mr. Biden are in downplaying their support for the multi-trillion dollar Green New Deal and banning hydro-fracturing of natural gas. They are all in on these issues.

Judge Barrett also wisely avoided the climate subject since climate policies have been, and will continue to be, litigated in the courts. Last January, for example, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the ninth circuit dismissed a major climate case, Juliana v. U.S. By a 2-to-1 vote, the court ruled that the “children” plaintiffs lacked standing and the judicial branch lacked the constitutional power to impose a “remedial plan” for the climate.

You can safely wager that a Harris-Biden administration will appoint judges who rule the opposite, at least as a fallback should Congress balk at passing the Green New Deal into law.

The close-minded dogmatism on climate change represented by Kamala Harris is ominous, considering the multitude of variables that affect the planet’s climate, which always is changing, and the litany of catastrophic global warming predictions that failed to materialize. It also is worrisome that such close-mindedness and groupthink on climate change from politicians and un-elected bureaucrats could lead to enormous economic harm to middle income, working class and poor Americans who are reliant on affordable energy and the millions of job-holders that depend on the same.

House Democrats Ram More Government Intervention in Energy Markets Through Congress

While most people’s attention was focused on the presidential election or battling the coronavirus and struggling to survive the economic shutdown the pandemic inspired most states’ governors to impose, swamp creatures in the U.S. House of Representative have been working behind the scenes to impose more inside-the-beltway big-government mandates and subsidies on U.S. energy markets.

On September 24, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) rammed through HR 4447, the Clean Economy, Jobs, and Innovation Act, without any hearings or real debate. No congressmen had time to read the entire 900-page monstrosity before a final vote was taken. Like Obamacare, Pelosi thought it better to “pass the bill in order to find out what’s in it.”

A statement of policy offered by the White House Office of Management and Budget said it would recommend President Donald Trump veto the bill, because the bill “would implement a top-down approach that would … empower the government to select favored solutions [and] lead to higher energy costs and discourage innovation and entrepreneurship.”

HR 4447 is nothing more nor less than a down payment on the multitrillion-dollar, socialist, Green New Deal (GND). Like the GND, and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s energy proposal, HR 4447 sets a goal for the country to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Also, like the GND, HR 4447 would require every federal agency to make “environmental justice,” central to its mission. The bill would establish a 26-person Environmental Justice Advisory Council to “ensure the ‘fair treatment’ of different groups based on race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status,” in part by incorporating environmental justice considerations into the already cumbersome National Environmental Policy Act review process.

It often takes years for critical infrastructure projects—such as bridges, pipelines, power lines, sewage lines, and roads—to get through the federal approval process, let alone built. And that is when the process is supposedly based solely on scientific and economic considerations—things that can be calculated, measured, and compared with some degree of objectivity. The process will become much more subjective, onerous, lengthy, and vulnerable to special-interest influences when amorphous, politically charged concepts such as “fairness” and “environmental justice” are made integral to it.

Even more projects will be delayed or cancelled, unable to get through the extensive and expensive process, which may be the point. Cancelled projects, or projects never proposed, don’t produce carbon dioxide emissions because they don’t create jobs or stimulate economic growth. Radical environmentalists have long called for an end to economic growth, and this bill would be a down payment on that goal.

In addition, although Democrats regularly chant or carry placards with the phrase “Follow the Science,” they inserted a provision in the bill that replaces science with mob-rule. HR 4447 would implement a new “community-based science” model unleashing “voluntary public participation in the scientific process.”

As the Washington Examiner describes, “This means that instead of allowing scientists to have the final say in conducting experiments, collecting data, interpreting results, and developing new technologies, the so-called ‘party of science’ would let everyone have a say. They call it the ‘democratization of science.’”

HR 4447 also contains provisions long sought by the powerful, taxpayer-funded wind, solar, and electric car lobbies. For instance, the bill would have federal taxpayers pony up $36 billion for the federal government to purchase electric vehicles and build electric charging stations across the nation.

Democrats’ big giveaway to the wind and solar lobbies comes in the form of a federal renewable energy mandate (REM), requiring the production of not less than 25 gigawatts of electricity from wind, solar, and geothermal energy projects by not later than 2025, on public lands.

For more than a century, states have had control over the power systems within their borders. To date, 29 states and the District of Columbia have enacted some form of REM.

Because REMs impose higher energy costs on residents and businesses in the states that have adopted them and cause significant environmental and public health harms, 21 states have rejected REMs.

Now, House Democrats would impose, for the first time ever, a national REM, saddling states that have said they don’t want REMs with one dictated by Washington, D.C. bureaucrats.

The aim of any energy legislation should be to deliver cheaper, more reliable energy, and to ensure America’s energy security and economic growth. Meeting those goals requires reducing the mandates, taxes, and subsidies that distort market incentives and innovation. HR 4447 does just the opposite, imposing greater intervention in energy markets through subsidies and mandates that support “politically correct” energy sources.

If Pelosi’s big green energy grab-bag bill ever reaches the president’s desk, whoever that president is, he or she should put the American people first and veto it.

Australia: NSW conservatives defy Greenies on koala issue

After a bruising political battle that saw Gladys Berejiklian impose her authority over state Nationals, NSW Liberals have quietly backed down, supporting a bill to weaken planned reforms designed to protect koalas on privately-owned farmland.

Simmering tensions between the coalition partners exploded in September when Nationals MPs complained new laws to protect koalas after the bushfires introduced by Liberal MP and Planning Minister Rob Stokes would cut the value of farm land.

Mr Stokes had argued the new Koala State Environment Planning Policy (SEPP) and its expanded definition of habitat was needed to prevent koalas becoming extinct. He said it responded to warnings from the NSW Audit Office, Natural Resources Commission and an Upper House Inquiry - which said NSW's koala would be wiped out by 2030 without urgent action to increase protections.

But by September NSW Nationals Leader John Barilaro had threatened to withdraw his party from the Coalition unless the laws were changed. He said the koala SEPP was a "noose around the neck of farmers that will cause a slow and painful death".

At that time, Mr Stokes dismissed Mr Barilaro's claims as "mistruths" and argued farmers could still "engage in any routine agricultural practice".

Premier Gladys Berejiklian stood firm and threatened to sack Nationals Cabinet Ministers unless they supported the policy. Mr Barilaro backed down and Liberals hailed it as a victory over the bombastic Mr Barilaro.

But this week the Nationals introduced the Local Land Services Amendment Bill to Parliament, supported by the Liberals, which will exempt private rural landholders from having to recognise the new, expanded definition of koala habitat.

Environmental Defenders Office head of law reform Rachel Walmsley said the changes would prevent expansion of koala habitat protection on private farmland into the future.

"This bill is trying to freeze in time the small areas that are currently mapped, whereas it's clear from the science we need to protect more habitat," Ms Walmsley said.

Nationals MP and Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall spruiked the proposed changes on Thursday this week.

"There is already a strong framework in place to regulate agricultural land in NSW and what this legislation does is ensure farmers continue to be regulated under that framework – rather than the planning system," Mr Marshall said.

Mr Stokes said on Friday he was "pleased to say we have hit the mark" and the Nationals' bill showed there are "often important robust and passionate discussions as part of the decision-making process".

The current Koala SEPP is limited in its impact on farmers and mostly only affects significant property developments that require local council approval. Land clearing and routine agricultural activities are still permitted on farmland.

Significantly, protections only kick in if a local government has developed a Koala Plan of Management. But removing koala habitat isn't barred, rather the developer is required to get an expert ecological assessment.

The Nationals' amendment bill kicks in where local governments develop a koala plan of management.

There are only five local governments with plans of management mapping koala habitat in place - on the NSW North Coast - and they would be unaffected by the proposed changes.

But if any local government develops one in the future, the bill guarantees private rural landholders are exempt and the protections could only apply to public or peri-urban land.

Independent MLC Justin Field said he was "disappointed that the Liberal Party has given in to yet more anti-environment brinkmanship from the Nationals".




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