Thursday, December 30, 2021

Hilarious false prophecies

The eco-extremists at the liberal Guardian should realize by now that the internet is forever. The outlet freaked out over 17 years ago about a frosty future thanks to a ridiculously inaccurate Pentagon prediction.

The Guardian published a report in 2004 sounding the alarm bells over a “secret report, suppressed by US defence chiefs” and obtained by sister newspaper The Observer. Here was the harrowing message, according to The Guardian: “[M]ajor European cities will be sunk beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a ‘Siberian’ climate by 2020.”

It’s now 2021, and major European cities are still intact and a Reuters report this year flushes The Guardian’s frets about a little ice age in Britain down the toilet. Reuters trumpeted: “Britain's climate getting warmer, sunnier and wetter - Met Office.” Travel website Touropia has an updated report headlined, “25 Best Cities to Visit in Europe.” Even the waterway-dominated Venice, Italy is No. 17 on the list. Ouch.

The liberal Guardian had even gone so far as to propagandize how the world was supposedly going to end up experiencing “nuclear conflict” because of climate change. The report flailed in its lede paragraph: “Climate change over the next 20 years could result in a global catastrophe costing millions of lives in wars and natural disasters.”

The propaganda spiraled down the whirlpool of insanity:

The [Pentagon] document predicts that abrupt climate change could bring the planet to the edge of anarchy as countries develop a nuclear threat to defend and secure dwindling food, water and energy supplies. The threat to global stability vastly eclipses that of terrorism, say the few experts privy to its contents.

The hilarious bit about The Guardian’s prophecy about total eco-Armageddon was that it said the report’s “findings” would prove “humiliating to [President George W. Bush’s] administration, which has repeatedly denied that climate change even exists.” But the only thing “humiliating” about this report was the fact some of the major predictions never panned out, eh Guardian?

The Guardian isn’t the only publication to see major climate scare-porn it peddled go up in flames.

In 1995, The New York Times tried to frighten readers into believing that “most of the beaches on the East Coast of the United States would be gone in 25 years,” which would be the year 2020. Newsflash: The East Coast beaches are also still intact. U.S. News & World Report even ran a report in May 2020 headlined: “16 Top East Coast Beaches to Visit.


UK: Energy crisis talks fail to reach deal as household bills could double

Emergency talks aimed at fixing Britain’s mounting energy crisis are set to continue as the government and suppliers grapple with how to tackle soaring gas prices.

A meeting held on Monday failed to find a solution to what one industry leader has described as an “enormous crisis” as an industry riven by bankruptcies – around two dozen energy suppliers driven out of the market since August – has warned of an “enormous crisis” in 2022.

Still, despite dire statements from industry leaders, no agreement was reached on Monday. The failure to secure a way forward will pile pressure on the government amid fears that another major supplier could topple as wintry weather and limited supplies in the UK and Europe could force gas prices even higher.

A government spokesperson said that the meeting between large energy suppliers and Ofgem concluded with an agreement to keep talking to ensure “UK consumers are protected” against a backdrop of rising gas costs.

Suppliers claim that even with well-hedged portfolios , aimed at insulating themselves from price hikes, they are still partially exposed to the sharp rise in wholesale gas prices.


How bad is cryptocurrency for the environment?

Cryptocurrency, often just called crypto, is any form of currency that exists digitally or virtually and uses cryptography to secure transactions.

Cryptocurrencies are popular because they don’t have a central issuing or regulating authority, instead using a decentralised system to record transactions and issue new units.

They have soared in popularity – and volatility – over the past few years, but the environmental consequences of the phenomenon has come under scrutiny.

What is cryptocurrency mining and why does it have such a large carbon footprint?
Cryptocurrency mining is the process of generating new units of cryptocurrency by solving complex puzzles.

Critics say the process is environmentally unsound because the process of mining uses a lot of computer equipment and is highly energy-intensive.

According to the Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance, this mining consumes about 110 Terawatt Hours of power per year, or 0.55 per cent of the world’s energy production.

The centre estimates a single cryptocurrency transaction uses the same amount of energy that an average American household uses in one month, with an estimated level of global energy usage equivalent to that of the country of Sweden.

The majority of Bitcoin is mined in China and is largely fuelled by cheap coal power in the Xinjiang region, according to reports.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge have said almost two-thirds of Bitcoin generation as of April 2020 took place in China, with one-third of that being done in Xinjiang.

Even crypto enthusiast Elon Musk has sounded the alarm bell. In May he tweeted: “We are concerned about rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for bitcoin mining and transactions, especially coal, which has the worst emissions of any fuel.

“Cryptocurrency is a good idea on many levels and we believe it has a promising future, but this cannot come at great cost to the environment,” he added.

Are regulators cracking down?

In May, New York state put forward a bill seeking to shut crypto mining down until its impact on the environment has been assessed – which it says will take three years.

The New York State Senate bill, introduced by Senator Kevin Parker, would require a study on the greenhouse gas emissions caused by cryptocurrency mining, as well as its effects on air, water, and wildlife. In the meantime, no mining would be allowed.

“Cryptocurrency mining threatens not only New York’s climate goals, under the CLCPA, but also global energy policy, such as the Paris Agreement,” Senate Bill S6486 says.

Accordingly, “there shall be a three-year moratorium on the operation of cryptocurrency mining centers in the state, including, but not limited to cryptocurrency mining centers located in converted fossil fuel power plants.”

Can crypto be mined ethically?
High energy use does not necessarily mean high greenhouse gas emissions. According to the Harvard Business Review, the carbon footprint of Bitcoin mining really depends on which energy sources are used.

Bitcoin miners have embraced renewable energy, often because it is cost-effective.

Iceland, for example, is a cryptocurrency mining hub thanks to its cheap geothermal energy and cold climate, which helps cool the machines.

Meanwhile, hydropower resources in Quebec and British Columbia in Canada and windpower in Texas have also attracted miners.

Miners have even resurrected defunct hydroelectric plants in the US to generate energy to mine cryptocurrency.


Is solar energy really green?

As the world continues to push towards net zero emissions, more large-scale solar farms will be built in Australia.

But why are they being built on productive agricultural land and are how credible are claims about toxic contamination?

The Clean Energy Council (CEC) is forecasting a massive increase in the number of solar panels in the short term.

The amount of solar power installed in Australia has doubled in the past three to four years, and the CEC is forecasting it will double again in the next couple of years.

Concern is global

Achim Steiner, administrator of the United Nations Development Program, said solar panels were adding significantly to the world's non-recycled waste mountain.

"But it also poses a growing threat to human health and the environment due to the hazardous elements it contains," Mr Steiner said.

Australia is adding to that mountain by sending 40,000 old panels a year in containers to markets in developing countries.

While that trade provides cheap panels for poorer nations, the UN is concerned that many of them will end up in landfill overseas.

The vast majority of solar panels are made of thin silicon wafers using refined silicon dioxide.

It is the same chemical compound as sand, which is used in making glass, so it is harmless.

The solar cells are connected by thin strips of tin and copper which is sealed and protected under glass.

Almost all of the materials can be recycled and there are several new plants in development that will be able to turn old panels into reusable materials.

There are, however, a small number of panels that were made in the past using cadmium, which is highly toxic and associated with serious health problems.

Some panels are also made with nitrogen trifluoride (NF3), a gas that is associated with global warming.

A South Korean study from 2020 raised concerns about contamination from solar panels that are "released into the environment during their disposal or following damage, such as that from natural disasters."

The United States wants to address the problem as well, with a report by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory from March 2021 pointing to a lack of incentives for recycling companies and confusing and conflicting state regulations.

Are solar farms taking over productive farm land?

The NSW government has set up five renewable energy zones in regional areas where it is promoting the development of solar farms close to large populations and the existing electricity grid.

That means productive farming land is sometimes used to build large-scale solar plants, and farmer Bianca Schultz right is in the firing line.

She owns a property next door to the proposed Walla Walla site in the Riverina in south-west NSW, while the Culcairn project borders her other boundary.

"There's been talk of heat island effects and heavy metal leachate, [while] the visual impact is a large concern for us being directly across the road," she said.

Ms Schultz said the property was used in the past for grazing livestock, making hay, and cropping. She thinks that turning it into an industrial-scale solar plant with just a few employees for maintenance will negatively affect the local economy.

"The on-flow effect on the transport companies, the grain merchants, the rural merchants; it's taking away a lot from our community," she said.




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