Thursday, January 13, 2022

No more research is neeeded

A truly peculiar article below. It is normally an item of faith among scientists that "more research is needed"


The science-society contract is broken. The climate is changing. Science demonstrates why this is occurring, that it is getting worse, the implications for human well-being and social-ecological systems, and substantiates action. Governments agree that the science is settled. The tragedy of climate change science is that at the same time as compelling evidence is gathered, fresh warnings issued, and novel methodologies developed, indicators of adverse global change rise year upon year. Meanwhile, global responses to Covid-19 have shown that even emergent scientific knowledge can bolster radical government action. We explore three options for the climate change science community. We find that two options are untenable and one is unpalatable. Given the urgency and criticality of climate change, we argue the time has come for scientists to agree to a moratorium on climate change research as a means to first expose, then renegotiate, the broken science-society contract.


US emissions and coal generation increased in 2021, threatening Biden's climate goals

Greenhouse gas emissions in the United States surged last year, putting the nation further off track from meeting President Biden's ambitious climate targets, your Climate 202 host and The Washington Post's Brady Dennis reported this morning.

The sobering analysis from the Rhodium Group, an independent research firm, found that U.S. emissions rose 6.2 percent last year compared to 2020, although they remained below pre-pandemic levels. One main reason: a 17 percent jump in the burning of coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel, marking the first annual increase in the nation’s coal generation since 2014.

The analysis demonstrates that the United States is not emerging from the coronavirus pandemic with a greener economy, making it even harder for Biden to deliver on his pledge to reduce emissions 50 to 52 percent by 2030, according to the authors.


No climate warriors in frozen foxholes

The climate warriors of the Democratic Party aren’t lacking for chutzpah, give them that.

The latest example is a letter from 41 Members of Congress to federal regulators, fretting about “the effect that anticipated increases in heating and energy costs will have on our constituents this winter.” You don’t say?

The letter’s signers include Massachusetts Sens. Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Rep. Pramila Jayapal, the head of the House progressive caucus. This gaggle of greens normally thinks oil is drilled straight from hell, but they’re now asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to exercise its “power to influence retail rates for natural gas and electricity.”

Naturally, their theory is that higher costs are a result of “market manipulation,” “profiteering,” and “high oil and gas exports.” Maybe they should read—OK, their staffs should read—the underlying document cited by their own letter. “We expect households that use natural gas as their primary space heating fuel,” the Energy Information Administration says, “will spend $746 this winter, 30% more than they spent last winter.”

Part of that is a forecast for colder weather, but there’s also basic economics. “The main reason wholesale prices of natural gas, crude oil, and petroleum products have risen,” the EIA says, “is that fuel demand has increased from recent lows faster than production.”

The report cites record exports of liquefied natural gas, but selling energy to American allies should be counted as a win, both economically and strategically, since it reduces the leverage of players like Vladimir Putin. The U.S. has enough gas to go around, and abundance is the ultimate fix for high prices.

But President Biden, encouraged by the signers of this letter, has made clear that U.S. fossil-fuel production must be phased out. The Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the PennEast Pipeline were both canceled even after beating opponents at the Supreme Court. Getting gas to Mr. Markey and Ms. Warren’s Massachusetts is so difficult that sometimes it comes into Boston Harbor on a tanker from Russia. And they wonder why heating prices are high.


Ketchup and mayonnaise sachets could be banned in new plans to curb plastic waste

Single-use plastic sachets for ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard and vinegar are expected to be banned in the UK as part of government efforts to reduce plastic waste.

The news, which has been reported by The Sun and The Times, has divided social media users, with some criticising the initiative and others welcoming the change.

The plans, which have not yet been confirmed by the department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, come after Environment Secretary George Eustice launched a call for evidence on “commonly littered and problematic plastic items” in November 2021.

“Single-use plastic sachets can cause considerable harm to the marine and terrestrial environment when disposed of incorrectly,” the call said, adding that sachets are unlikely to be recycled due to their small size, which makes it difficult to segregate and clean them.

According to a One Poll survey of 2,000 UK adults, eight out of 10 people think the sachets should be banned in the UK.

The British Takeaway Campaign said that, while it welcomes efforts to reduce plastic consumption, the change must not add “another costly burden on the smallest restaurants”.

“Takeaways need time to find affordable, non-plastic alternatives,” it said in a tweet on Tuesday, 11 January.

The Institute for Economic Affairs, meanwhile, accused the Government of “pursuing petty little projects” while the economy was “in a mess”

The plans have been criticised by the Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA) as “petty regulation” and “micro-management” of businesses.

“With the economy in the doldrums and inflation rising, banning things seems to be a displacement activity for politicians,” Christopher Snowdon, head of lifestyle economics at the IEA told Mail Online.

“It never seems to occur to them that placing endless regulation on businesses is a large part of the reason the economy is so sclerotic in the first place.”

Social media users are also divided. One person tweeted in support of the ban: “It might seem trivial right now. [But] the waste in sachets is unreal. Who’s ever asked for a sauce at McDonald’s drive through and been handed 4...”

Another said that doing away with plastic sachets in pubs and restaurants during a pandemic could pose a health hazard.

“Surely the environmental benefits of doing away with the single use plastic sachets have to be balanced against the health hazard of everyone getting their hands on the same bottle while eating?” they said.




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