Monday, September 05, 2022

Climate change can make bumblebees wake up too early and die - study

This is just another prophecy about a future that may never come -- and which ignores adaptation. If there is survival value in waking up later, bees which wake up later will dominate. There are around 2,000 bee species in North America and if one species gets into trouble, others will move into any vacant ecological niche

The effects of climate change could be devastating for bumblebees, as altered seasonal weather changes could cause the bees to wake up from hibernation early, a new study has found.

The findings of this study were published in the peer-reviewed academic journal Biological Conservation and present some stinging news regarding the damage climate change can wreck on bumblebees and, by extension, global agriculture.

Bumblebees may not be producers of honey like their more popular cousins, the honeybees, but they serve an extremely important role in the ecosystem as being pollinators.

Pollenating is necessary for the spread of many types of plants. As such, they play a major role in agriculture, as well as food production, with a large percentage of food crops relying on bee pollination.

Bumblebees hibernate during the winter and wake up during the spring. This is important because they will have access to pollen and nectar from plants for food to survive.

But what if bumblebees wake up too early? Unfortunately, the odds don't look too good for them, as they won't have access to the food they need without spring flowers.

And with climate change, that's going to be a bigger issue.

The researchers behind the study at the University of Ottawa in Canada were able to study the variations in when different bumblebee species emerged from hibernation.

This was done by going through databases of different bees in museum collections throughout North America.

The factor that seemed to link these early bumblebee emergences was the climate. This is because climate change can possibly lead to an early start to spring, which would make the bumblebees wake up before the food is available.


Cloudy With a Chance of Fraud: Federal Weatherization's Back

Alarm bells are sounding at the Department of Energy as the Biden administration has moved to triple the budget for the Weatherization Assistance Program, which provides low-income applicants with free home and apartment renovations, such as insulation, duct-sealing, new heating systems, and kitchen appliances. The last time the program was lavished with such a surge in funds, through President Obama’s 2009 stimulus bill, audits and investigations uncovered a pattern of fraud, embezzlement, shoddy work, inflated expenses for parts and materials, sketchy billing, kickbacks, and gimcrack construction.

In a private meeting in February, the department’s inspector general, Teri L. Donaldson, warned Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm that the enormous new budget for the program – slated to grow to $1 billion a year from $315 million – threatens to overwhelm the department’s ability to protect taxpayers’ money. In April, the inspector general made that warning public with a memo to Secretary Granholm cataloging the risks to the money being entrusted to the Department of Energy. Donaldson identified a history of problems with the program, noting that “few administrative remedies such as suspensions and debarments were made for the multitude of problems that occurred and were identified.”

Despite those problems, the program’s labyrinthine structure remains. Congress apportions weatherization funds to the Department of Energy. The department, then, distributes grants to the states; the states, in turn, disburse the monies to “community action agencies” [CAAs], organizations that administer, at the local level, various programs to aid the poor, including Head Start, “Community Services Block Grants,” and “SNAP Education & Training.”

The model used for the weatherization program illustrates how many federal anti-poverty programs operate. There are over a thousand community action agencies managing the local implementation of federal anti-poverty programs, and for many the weatherization program is their flagship. If there are problems with the management of weatherization, there are likely to be similar problems, if not worse, with the programs that are less visible.

For the weatherization program, CAAs collect applications from low-income residents and check that they meet eligibility conditions, including that an applicant’s income falls below 200% of the poverty line. People “who are most in need,” the DOE states, “are often moved to the top of this list.” Contractors bid for the weatherization work and are chosen and paid by local community action agencies to install insulation, plug holes in ductwork, repair or replace doors and windows, install programmable thermostats, and put in new furnaces, water heaters, and refrigerators.

But just like shoddy connections in a gas or water line, the many junctures where money changes hands can lead to leakage. Costs are supposed to be kept low by awarding contracts to the most competitively priced bids, but the DOE’s office of inspector general has found that low bids are often followed with “work scope changes” – extra parts or labor added on well after the bid, and even added to final bills. Work changes, the IG warns, tempt contractors to sidestep the cost controls of the competitive bidding process. An audit to test how Tennessee was handling and spending its share of Obama-era stimulus funding, for example, found local Community Action Agencies regularly approved work order changes – often after the job was done. It also found that “prices for smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, and thermostats ranged from about 120 percent to 200 percent over the average retail price.”

Other audits have found that CAAs have problems verifying who is and isn’t eligible for free weatherization. The community groups have also struggled to meet the demands of other rules such as competitive contracting and “proper accounting for funds.” Previous inspector general reports have chastised states and local agencies for “insufficient oversight.”

At the top of the IG’s list of threats to the weatherization program is “senior leadership fraud,” better known as embezzlement. Recent years have seen several cases of theft from program coffers.

Steven Lloyd Taylor, for example, was a manager at the Northwest Michigan Community Action Agency, where he was in charge of handing out money to weatherize low-income housing in nearly a dozen of the state’s counties. Taylor created a shell company and phonied-up invoices to his fictitious weatherization company. In a year and a half, Taylor stole $349,210. He bought, among other things, an 18.5-foot Seaswirl fishing boat. When he was sentenced at the end of 2019, Taylor was ordered to pay $431,828 in restitution – the amount he embezzled, plus the taxes he failed to pay on that money.

Randi Smith was chief fiscal officer of the New York State Weatherization Directors Association, a group representing WAP agencies in the state. She embezzled from the group for four years. It’s possible she might have done so for even longer if her son hadn’t gotten his hands on the checkbook too. Together they stole over $1 million. They pleaded guilty to the theft in 2018.

The weatherization program was launched in 1976 and has been managed by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, an agency within the Department of Energy. Now the Weatherization Assistance Program, together with a grab bag of other new offices, such as the Local Government Energy Program and the Energy Futures Grant, are being housed in a new bureaucracy, the Office of State and Community Energy Programs. SCEP – in best Washington fashion, the new office is already being referred to by its initials – promises to “expand the weatherization provider network to assist low-income families with home energy retrofits.”

For all those grand plans, the department’s inspector general seems as if she would be happy if the State and Community Energy Programs merely managed to keep participants in the weatherization game from robbing the government blind. Issues with billing proved to be “pervasive,” the IG said in her report.

So too problems with quality control: Audits found as much as a third of projects to be unacceptable because of “substandard workmanship,” slipshod contracting such as “improperly installed kitchen exhaust ductwork…creating a potential fire hazard,” heating systems emitting dangerous levels of carbon monoxide, and “alarming” numbers of gas leaks.

And that’s the work that got done. On 10 of the 15 houses examined in Illinois as part of the inspector general’s accounting of how the Obama-era funds were spent, auditors found contractors had billed for work that wasn’t done.


Australia: A major Central Queensland coal mine expansion approved

A major Central Queensland steelmaking mine will undergo a massive expansion after getting the green light from the State Government.

More than 700 jobs will be supported during the expansion of Carborough Downs near Moranbah, increasing the metallurgical coal mine’s lifespan by another 11 years.

The underground mine, which is owned and operated by Fitzroy Australia, currently employs about 700 people, with almost 70 per cent of its workforce being local or drive-in, drive-out workers.

Coal production from the expansion is expected to begin in the next 12 months.

Resources Minister Scott Stewart said Carborough Downs was a “significant” employer and economic contributor to the Isaac region, with the extension ensuring the future stability of jobs.

“This investment is a strong vote of confidence in Queensland resources sector, including our state’s large deposits of high-quality steelmaking coal,” he said.

“Importantly, this extension will create flow on economic benefits for the entire Isaac region, from tools, safety and workwear suppliers right through to our pubs, caf√©’s and accommodation providers.

“Queensland offers a great lifestyle and having good jobs available in the regions is an important way to sustain this.”

Mr Stewart said the resources sector in Queensland supported about 77,000 jobs, with regional areas accounting for two-thirds of all mining jobs.

“Queensland is naturally blessed with the world’s highest quality metallurgical coal, which the world needs to make steel,” he said. “Even as the world transitions to renewables, metallurgical coal for steel will remain an essential, and valuable, international export commodity for Queensland.”


Interview with Lord Monckton in Italian newspaper

Featured in La Verità (August 23rd), by Franco Battaglia

Q: Lord Monckton, what was your role in Mrs Thatcher’s government?

As one of the six advisers to the Prime Minister in her Policy Unit at 10 Downing Street, I advised her inter alia on climate change, saying the situation should be carefully monitored; the hull design of warships, exposing a complex international fraud; computer modelling of voting in the 1983 general election, predicting the large victory won by Margaret Thatcher; the interaction of the taxation and benefit systems, leading to simplification of both; the epidemiology of HIV, leading to a change in the government’s messaging; railway network analysis, leading to a $50 billion saving; housing demand analysis, leading to a $50 billion saving; analysis of homelessness in London, exposing a Communist front group that had been artificially increasing homelessness; analysis of when human life begins, so that the Prime Minister decided not to welcome a report approving experimentation on human embryos; and evaluation of the practicalities of defence against incoming intercontinental ballistic missiles, so that the government became aware of the true source of danger from nuclear weapons.

Q: Was Mrs Thatcher among the first who wondered about a possibly dangerous impact of manmade CO2 on climate and asked scientists to investigate the issue?

It was not until 1984 that James Hansen at NASA first perpetrated the elementary error of physics that led him, and thousands of climate scientists thereafter, to predict large and dangerous rather than small and harmless global warming. In my time at 10 Downing Street, from 1982-1986, global warming was discussed, but had not yet become a substantial political issue. It was my successor, the late George Guise, who wrote a speech for Mrs Thatcher in which she said that unless action were taken there might be as much as 1 degree of global warming per decade (a prediction that has proven excessive by an order of magnitude). She and I both came to realize that the alarmist position was scientifically untenable. In her memoirs she retracted her earlier position.

Q: After decades of research, what has been the most plausible conclusion regarding the “climate emergency”.

There is no “climate emergency”. The notion of large and dangerous (rather than small and net-beneficial) global warming arose from an elementary error of physics. At the temperature equilibrium in 1850 the direct warming by the preindustrial greenhouse gases was 8 K, but the total natural greenhouse effect that year was 32 K, of which 24 K was feedback response. It was, therefore, incorrectly assumed that, thanks to feedback response, a 1 K direct warming by doubled CO2 in the air would cause about 4 K final warming. In reality, the multiple of direct warming to allow for feedback response was not 32/8 = 4. Climate scientists had forgotten the Sun was shining, and that, without any greenhouse gases in the air, the average temperature would be 260 K. That crucial feedback-driven multiple of direct temperature was (260 + 32) / (260 + 8), or less than 1.1. After correcting this climatologists’ error, there will not be 4 K warming this century, as currently imagined, but little more than 1 K, which will be globally beneficial. Warming is already proving beneficial:

Q: Can we say that respectable conjecture has turned into an embarrassing superstition?

Yes. But it is more than a superstition. For decades, the Disinformation Directorate of the KGB, and its successor body the FSB, together with Chinese agents of influence such as the “Confucius Institutes” at Western universities, have been working via Communist-led environmentalist front groups such as Greenpeace, the World Wide Fund for Nature, Oxfam, Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion to promote global-warming alarm, with the declared aim of destroying the economic hegemony of the West. It was the Directorate that planned and executed the miners’ strike of 1984-5 in Britain in Margaret Thatcher’s time. We defeated that strike. The Directorate, realizing it could no longer rely on Communist union leaders when the very great majority of union members were not Communist, switched its tactics after that defeat and began to penetrate the environmental movement. One of the Directorate’s first targets was Greenpeace, one of whose founders, dr. Patrick Moore, has said that when the Communists moved in he and other true environmentalists were driven out. We know of the Communist origin of the attack on affordable energy supply in the West, including the global-warming scam, thanks to General Ion Mihai Pacepa, who led the Directorate from its foundation in 1945 until 1978, when he defected to the West and told us everything. Sadly, he died earlier this year.

Q: Why does the climate superstition have the potential to cause great harm to humanity?

The chief harm is already occurring. The West, whose politicians have been cowed into silence by the threat of reputational assault if they do not faithfully adhere to the climate-Communist position, has thrown away its economic and political hegemony of the world, and has handed it to two of the world’s most murderous regimes – Russia and China.

Russia’s ambition is not merely to make energy unreliable and cripplingly expensive, destroying the very lifeblood of the Western economies, but also to profiteer by the increase in gas prices that has arisen since Communist agents persuaded foolish Western governments to close down the coal-fired power stations that used to provide clean, reliable electricity at $30 per megawatt-hour. Recently, to keep the lights on in London during a heatwave, the grid authority had to pay more than $11,300 per megawatt-hour for electricity generated in Europe chiefly by Russian gas and sent to us via the undersea inter-connector. Germany and Italy are the two largest contributors to the cost of Russia’s special military massacre in Ukraine, for – exactly as the Kremlin’s economic advisers had predicted – the war pushed up the usual price of gas many times over. Similar increases have occurred in nickel, cobalt and lithium for electric vehicles. Mr Putin is laughing all the way to the Moscow Narodny Bank: he is making many times more by selling these and other commodities to Europe than he is spending on his massacre.

China, too, is profiteering by Western scientific feeble-mindedness, economic illiteracy and political poltroonery: it now controls most lithium carbonate production worldwide, and the price has soared since the massacre in Ukraine began. Expect the price to rise considerably further: if the UK alone replaced all real cars with electric buggies, it would on its own consume nearly all the global production of lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide. The price of lithium and all such rare-earth metals can, therefore, be expected to rise many times over in the coming years, as a direct consequence of the needless shuttering of coal-fired power stations capable of generating electricity at a levelized cost of only $30 per MWh.

Q: How did the “97% consensus” about global warming turn out to be a 0.3% consensus?

Cook et al. (2013) reported that 97.1% of 11,944 scientific papers on climate and related topics published in the 21 years 1991-2011 had stated that global warming was chiefly manmade. That result was – and still is – widely publicized in the far-Left Western news media. In response to that paper, Mr. Obama tweeted that “global warming is real, manmade and dangerous”. However, Legates et al. (2015) showed that Cook et al., in their own list of all 11,944 papers, had marked only 64, or 0.5%, as stating that recent warming was chiefly manmade. Legates et al. read all 64 papers and found that only 41 of them, or 0.3% of the entire sample, had actually stated that recent warming was chiefly manmade. At the request of a citizen of Queensland, the site of Cook’s university, the police investigated and concluded that a deception had been perpetrated. A private intranet used by Cook and his conspirators was penetrated. It revealed that they were self-declared Communists.

Public money is being diverted from real emergencies, such as earthquake protection, into the climate superstition. What other real emergencies should be addressed?

More than 99.9% of all species on Earth had become extinct long before Man first came down out of the trees in Africa. Volcanism, meteorites, ice ages and pandemics have all caused extinction-level events. Genetic studies of human mitochondrial DNA show that a super-eruption in what is now Indonesia some 70,000 years ago wiped out all but 5000 humans, from whom all of us are descended. In practice, we can do very little about volcanism, meteorites and ice ages. However, we could have done something about a) the HIV pandemic, which has killed 50 million worldwide and established a base in the human population via exceptional sexual promiscuity among a certain subset of the population in San Francisco; b) the Chinese-virus pandemic, which, once the pathogen had escaped from the Wuhan laboratory and had begun to kill 40 million Chinese, was deliberately spread worldwide by China with the active assistance of Ghebreyesus, an Ethiopian Communist who was China’s nominee as head of the World Health Organization, so that the pathogen has killed another 20 million worldwide, when most of those deaths could have been prevented; c) the monkey-pox pandemic, again chiefly spread by sexual promiscuity among a certain subset of the population.

It is also now urgent to end the environmentalists’ war on meat. At present, under the influence of the sugar lobby, Western governments foolishly advocate high-carbohydrate, low-fat diets for their citizens. The direct result has been a dramatic and dangerous expansion in obesity, diabetes and their complications. In the United States, one health dollar in three is now spent on diabetes treatment, and it is proven that the surge in diabetes since the mid-1970s is a direct result of the promulgation by the “Democrats” of guidelines recommending a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet. The human species has evolved to eat meat, and almost nothing but meat, throughout the past 2.1 million years. Ending meat-eating, as the far Left demand, would greatly increase the prevalence of diabetes and cause still more damage to the Western peoples and economies than the global-warming nonsense.

In 2007 Al Gore, accepting the Nobel Prize, said the North Pole would completely melt by 2013. What would you say to Al Gore today?

I should say what I said to Al Gore when he made his silly Arctic-melting prediction at the Bali climate-change conference: his prediction was anti-scientific nonsense. That year, I assisted a London truck driver who took the British Government to court when it proposed to circulate Al Gore’s sci-fi comedy horror movie to every school in England. The truck-driver, who had two children in school, won the case and the Government was ordered to send 77 pages of corrective guidance to every school. Gore is now a joke figure.

Q: Why is there such an insistence on spreading this superstition? Is it the desire for money, or for power obtained by promoting fear, or for political reasons?

It is the far Left who have been driving the climate scam, with the effect – whether intended by Communists or unintended by those whom Lenin contemptuously but accurately characterized as “useful idiots” – of gravely damaging the Western economies and greatly benefiting the two Communist-led states, Russia and China. Global hegemony is passing from the benevolent democracies of the West to these two malevolent dictatorships. The silencing of all debate on the climate issue has been achieved by a typical totalitarian tactic – organized and continuous reputational assault against anyone brave enough to question the Party Line on the climate issue. For instance, a single Communist agitator based in a small Cambridgeshire village has rewritten the Wikipedia biographies of 2500 sceptical climate researchers, including mine, to make us out to be knaves or fools or both. Fear of reputational assault has cowed politicians, journalists and opinion-formers into silence. This technique of Rufmord, invented by Goebbels, was found by the MGB in the files of the Reichs-propagandaamt in Mauerstrasse, in the governmental Mitte district of Berlin, in April 1945. Within a month, the MGB (soon to become the KGB) established the Disinformation Directorate with Pacepa at its head. Its original mission was to assault the reputation of anyone successful or prominent in speaking out against Communism. This technique of Rufmord has been deployed against all of us who have been speaking out against climate Communism. The electronic media, substantially Communist-influenced, ban or shadow-ban the accounts of climate sceptics. The legacy media likewise refuse to allow both sides of the climate question to be debated: only the Communist position is presented and argued for.

In the UK, coal, oil and gas provided 90% of energy in 2000 and 80% in 2021, while CO2 emissions increased by 50% worldwide. What was and is the economic impact of measures intended to abate emissions and, eventually, to achieve net-zero emissions?

Two years ago, the typical UK household’s energy bill was less than $1000 a year. Next year, it will be $8000, and it will continue to rise thereafter. In 2030 the use of real cars will be banned and it will be possible to buy only electric buggies, which by then will be at least twice the price of real cars. Most households will no longer be able to afford personal motor transport. The poor will be hardest hit, but that suits the agenda of the revolutionaries whose real aim is to exploit the grievances of the poor so that they can overthrow democracy itself.

Suppose that Britain actually achieved net-zero emissions by 2030. The cost, according to McKinseys Consulting, would be £4 trillion ($5 trillion), or four times the Government’s estimate and almost twice the grid authority’s estimate. And how much abatement of global warming would that $5 trillion (or probably much more, given the inflation of rare-earth prices) actually buy? The devastating arithmetic is simple, but until now it has never been published. One can do the arithmetic on the back of an envelope:

In the past 30 years, 1 unit of manmade forcing has arisen, at a near-straight-line rate of 1/30th of a unit per year. If, therefore, the whole world were to move in a straight line to net-zero emissions in the three decades to 2050, half a unit of forcing that would otherwise have arisen will be abated. Final warming per unit of forcing is 3/4 degree per unit. Therefore, if the whole world achieved net-zero emissions, just 3/8 degree would be abated by 2050. But Britain represents only 1% of global emissions. So, if we actually achieved net-zero (and we won’t), the reduction in global warming by 2050 would be less than 1/250th of a degree. For this reason, even if global warming were a problem rather than a benefit, every cent spent on attempting to abate it would be a cent wasted, since the effect even of global net-zero emissions would be so small as to be unmeasurable. These economic facts have been kept from the general public.




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