Wednesday, August 03, 2022

New report: Little evidence of changes in extreme weather trends

London, 27 July - A new paper from the Global Warming Policy Foundation finds that the IPCC's recent shift in methodology has led to misleading claims about changes in weather extremes.

The review, from physicist Dr Ralph Alexander, finds that IPCC claims that many of these weather extremes are increasing significantly are largely unsupported by observational evidence.

According to Dr Alexander

"On almost every kind of extreme weather, with the possible exemption of heatwaves, the evidence for significant changes is scant. But the latest IPCC report has introduced novel 'attribution' statistics and now insists that things are getting worse. It's yet another case of scientists trying to scare the public into compliance."

Dr Alexander's paper looks at:

- droughts
- floods
- hurricanes
- tornadoes
- wildfires
- hot and cold extremes
- coral bleaching.

He concludes that

"The mistaken belief that weather extremes are worsening because of climate change is more a perception, fostered by media coverage, than reality. The IPCC's new statistical method is playing an unworthy part in bringing this sorry state of affairs to pass."

GWPF invited the Royal Society and the Met Office to review this paper, and to submit a response to be published as an appendix to it. No reply was received.


Gov. DeSantis Declares War on Environmental, Social, and Governance Investing Scam

On July 27, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis lobbed a broadside attack on the latest woke investment scheme that has become all the rage among Wall Street elites and C-Suite executives: environmental, social, and governance investing.

Specifically, DeSantis announced that he will seek to enact “legislative proposals and administrative actions to protect Floridians from the environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) movement which threatens the vitality of the American economy and Americans’ economic freedom by targeting disfavored individuals and industries to advance a woke ideological agenda.”

According to DeSantis, “The leveraging of corporate power to impose an ideological agenda on society represents an alarming trend.”

He added, “From Wall Street banks to massive asset managers and big tech companies, we have seen the corporate elite use their economic power to impose policies on the country that they could not achieve at the ballot box. Through the actions I announced today, we are protecting Floridians from woke capital and asserting the authority of our constitutional system over ideological corporate power.”

In a nut-shell, ESG investing vastly increases the power and economic influence wielded by giant investment firms and multinational corporations by allowing them to determine who and which companies will have access to capital based solely upon their adherence to ESG scores.

Moreover, because ESG investing is entirely subjective in nature, and the metrics are apt to change at any moment, it allows large investment firms like BlackRock to nudge society in any direction our “betters” choose at a given point in time.

As of right now, ESG scores heavily favor companies that toe the “climate change/global warming is an existential crisis” line. They also currently reward companies that are all-in when it comes to implementing “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” initiatives. However, ESG metrics are not set in stone, and can be deployed to accomplish any woke cause with a few tweaks.

Yet, this pales in comparison to the greatest concern regarding the ESG movement: ESG investing allows powerful elites like BlackRock’s Larry Fink to favor their preferred social objectives with everyday Americans’ investment funds above their fiduciary responsibility to maximize shareholder profit.

Such is why DeSantis outlined three goals for his anti-ESG proposals.

First, the Florida governor willcall for legislation that would, “prohibit big banks, credit card companies and money transmitters from discriminating against customers for their religious, political, or social beliefs.”

Second, he will push for a bill that would, “prohibit State Board of Administration (SBA) fund managers from considering ESG factors when investing the state’s money.”

Third, he will seek to convince Sunshine State lawmakers to pass legislation that would “require SBA fund managers to only consider maximizing the return on investment on behalf of Florida’s retirees.”

According to DeSantis, “The proposed legislation will amend Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices statute to prohibit discriminatory practices by large financial institutions based on ESG social credit score metrics. This ‘ESG score’ is a framework created to force companies to meet ESG standards and arbitrarily includes metrics based on political affiliation, religious beliefs, certain industry engagement, and ESG benchmarks. Violations will be considered deceptive, and unfair trade practices will be punished according to the law.”

Furthermore, he “will propose an update to the fiduciary duties of the State Board of Administration investment fund managers and investment advisors to clearly define the factors fiduciaries are to consider in investment decisions. Environmental, social, or corporate governance factors will not be included in the state of Florida’s investment management practices.”

If DeSantis and the state legislature are able to accomplish these three goals in the 2023 legislative session, it would certainly be a big blow to the ESG movement.

Make no mistake, ESG investing is a scam with the purpose of increasing the wealth and power of multinational corporations, huge investment firms, big banks, and global elites. But, it could also trigger a grassroots tidal wave of opposition to the crass cronyism that is inherent to the ESG scheme.

At this point, it is too early to tell which direction ESG investing will take, but the fact that states like Florida (and Kentucky) are pushing back is a very good sign for those who favor free-market capitalism, also known as shareholder capitalism, over the corrupt arrangement that is “stakeholder capitalism” and ESG investing.


Electric Car Drivers: Why You Might Not Be Pumped Over Privacy-Jolting Mileage Taxes

The environmental impact of electric cars may still be unknown, but leaders are growing concerned about the threat they pose to the financing of the nation’s highway system. Because freeways and bridges are funded, in large part, through federal and state taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel, the battery-powered future will test whether roads can just be paved with good intentions.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are trying to devise new ways to raise that fuel tax revenue, which in fiscal year 2020 delivered $35 billion to the federal government and an additional $51 billion to state and local governments. But experts say that proposed fixes to the anticipated highway funding shortfall – involving charging drivers for the miles they travel by tracking their movement – pose a significant threat to personal privacy and liberty.

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, passed with bipartisan support last year, authorized the Department of Transportation to launch new pilot programs to test ways to collect necessary fees. These include a range of high-tech means such as accessing location data from third-party on-vehicle diagnostic devices, smart phone applications, telemetric data collected by automakers, motor vehicle data obtained by car insurance companies, data obtained from fueling stations, and “any other method that the Secretary [of Transportation] considers appropriate.”

“Location data” – that is, information about where people are and where they’ve been – “is highly sensitive,” said Lee Tien, legislative director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit that defends civil liberties in cyberspace. It can reveal “what they do, who they’re with, where they worship, what medical procedures they’re having.”

While the infrastructure act authorizes a pilot program to test collecting the personal information needed to charge drivers for their use of roads and highways, it doesn’t answer the far thornier questions about how to protect that data. Will only the feds track drivers? Will each state and locality that currently depends on fuel taxes also monitor drivers? If so, will the data be pooled? Will destinations be tracked along with mileage?

These questions are arising as the Biden administration demands more energy-related data across the board as it seeks to achieve its ambitious climate change goals. The Securities and Exchange Commission, for example, wants almost all U.S. companies to tally and disclose the total amount of carbon emitted in producing their products. The Federal Highway Administration and the Department of Transportation proposed new regulations in July requiring states to measure carbon dioxide emissions “associated with transportation” and report those figures to the federal government. States will be required to establish emissions targets aligned with “national policy” established by Biden’s climate-related executive orders.

Advocates of new highway user fees acknowledge the threat to privacy and promise to find ways to protect sensitive information. Asked about the risks posed by tracking vehicles, Rep. Sam Graves of Missouri, ranking Republican member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, pointed to a previous statement: “For years, I have been talking about the need to eliminate the gas and diesel taxes. It’s time to move this solution toward reality, but in doing so, we must ensure that privacy concerns are addressed.”

The Department of Transportation isn’t taking on these issues from scratch. For more than a decade, DOT has been awarding grants to states willing to work out the kinks in a pay-as-you-go system. Pilot programs have been funded in states such as Minnesota, Iowa, and Nevada. The Nevada Vehicle Miles Traveled Fee Study found “The greatest barrier to public acceptance is recognized as insuring driver privacy to the greatest extent allowed by available technology.”


Canberra: where electricity is a luxury the poor can't afford

‘Where do you go?’

They are all older women, retirees from the federal and territory public services, the ASO 5 and 6 level officers who kept the wheels of government turning – carrying out the programs, and watching their section heads and directors take credit for their work.

They’re not talking about where to eat lunch. They’re discussing where (and if) they should go to spend a few hours in heated premises to escape Canberra’s freezing weather after temperatures dropped 2 and 3 degrees below.

One who recently ‘VR-ed’ (Voluntary Retired) still goes back to her old workplace, usually late morning, when the security guard who remembers her gives a nod and a smile as she settles into one of the comfortable settees in the reception area.

Another heads for Canberra institution, the Southern Cross Club in Woden, where you can sit over newspapers and a coffee for half a day. The Hellenic Club is another popular choice.

It’s an old government service tradition in Canberra that, when winter sets in, people start arriving at their desks early. It isn’t unusual to find a roomful of people working away by 7 am. And if you rode your bike to work, braving the fog, or can convince your colleagues you have, you might even be entitled to take a quick hot shower, courtesy of the taxpayer.

Public libraries in the National Capital are now considered, by staff and patrons alike, to be ‘community centres’ where people come to read, use the computers, charge their phones, and use the toilets. It’s where clients of the NDIS, escorted by carers, are brought and propped up in their wheelchairs in front of computers or seated in deep armchairs by the magazine stands. Some, abandoned by their carers, shout incoherently for attention. Newly arrived migrants – Somalis, Iraqis, Syrians – jostle for attention of the library staff, asking for translation assistance with various forms and declarations.

Our libraries, warm and welcoming, have a crowd at their doors before the 10 am opening. A couple of those outdoor heaters that restaurants use were given a try-out a week or so ago, but vanished after a day, considered to be too expensive in use. Still, as the territory government has promised an upgrade for Woden public library, the heaters may re-emerge.

We are reaching a point where clean water and electricity are considered luxuries.

Retail electricity bills in the ACT will rise by around $333 a year for most families, the ‘typical households’ with a couple of kids and people who take hot showers and wash their clothes. And, of course, in winter, need their heating.

Residential gas bills are expected to rise by around $247 on average, adding hundreds of dollars to power bills.

Wood stoves, once officially banned, now simply disapproved of, have returned. The wood-burning pot belly stove, once a feature of many older Canberra homes, once considered illegal, is making a comeback, though the territory government has issued a plea for users of wood burners to use only dry, seasoned wood.

How, as ‘Macca’, perhaps the most-loved voice on ABC Canberra radio asked once morning, has it come to this in Australia?

That electricity that most of us as a taken-for-granted household utility, has become something that only the affluent may be able to afford is frightening. That hot water may be rationed in households – by householders themselves, if not by authorities – is alarming.

Living in Hong Kong in the late Sixties, when water pipelines were blocked by China during the madness of the Cultural Revolution, our Yau Yat Chuen apartment block was much visited, due to the fact that we, and our neighbours, had a well in the garden.

As a journalist in Jakarta, I had to remember to fill the large plastic tubs in the bathroom to cover our washing and drinking needs for the day, when the water was turned off for a couple of hours to conserve energy.

Australia’s cities, including Canberra, may be headed for similar occurrences with the shutting down of coal-fired stations and unrealistic dependence on wind, solar, and battery energy. This country is not – not yet – heading down that road. But it may soon do so.

Excuse me while I head to the local library to grab a seat before they’re all taken.




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