Thursday, February 02, 2023

Feeding off insects

Sanja Marcetic

Since 2013, the UN wants to impose insects as our daily food. The UN branch, FAO, says that insects are very healthy food for us humans, because they are rich in protein, especially spiders and scorpions. But also healthy are beetles, flies, caterpillars, wasps, grasshoppers, worms, etc. Beetles have long since entered through the small door into our food products, such as bread and pastries, crackers, biscuits, pasta, sauces, pizzas, soups, various snacks, chocolate desserts and paints used in the food industry. If you notice the name ACHETA DOMESTICUS on the packaging of a product, then you can be sure that it contains zohari in addition to other ingredients.

On the other hand, the UN's information on the usefulness of insects in human nutrition has not been confirmed by independent research teams around the world. Many of them point out some risks associated with this type of "food".


Chemical poisoning comes most often from what the insects feed on. These are usually heavy metals, plant poisons and mushroom poisons.


Research has shown a high concentration of lead, cadmium, mercury and arsenic in insects. Of course, other animals that serve humans for food have certain concentrations of them, but the body weight is not the same. The consumption of insects can be very dangerous for humans, precisely because of the increased concentration of poison on a modest body mass.


Insects feed on edible plants and mushrooms, as well as poisonous ones. which do not bother them. Mushroom poisons are actually considered the biggest risk when it comes to feeding insects. The reason for this is that the mushroom mycelium contains a substance called chitin, and the same chitin forms the insect's skeleton. Chitin itself is inedible, but also a good conductor of poison.


Insects are usually carriers of a large number of microorganisms that often spread diseases in humans. Studies are still limited in this area, but it is known that bacteria are an integral part of the microflora of insects and many of them cannot be destroyed by cooking. Of course, the bacteriological world is also present in other living beings, but for now the microbiological control of insects is still incomplete, so the risk is even greater.


Insects can very easily cause allergic reactions, such as irritation of the throat, throat and oral cavity, rashes, swelling, asthma, and even anaphylactic shock, which in the worst case can result in death. The reason is the unusually high concentration of HISTAMINE in a modest body mass. There are many foods with histamine, so it is known that people react very negatively to this substance. However, nowhere is the concentration of histamine per body weight as high as in insects.

CHITIN, which forms the skeleton of insects, is in many ways even more dangerous than histamine. Not only is it highly allergenic, but it is actually not food in the true sense of the word. It cannot be broken down in the human body, so it just passes through the body and comes out "alive".
In some areas of Africa, Asia and South America where the consumption of insects is a traditional phenomenon, chitin is increasingly associated with a whole series of diseases, such as impaired immunity, various poisonings and some strange, very persistent and long-lasting infections that people do not recover from throughout their lives. can release.


With Russian gas gone, coal makes EU comeback as ‘traditional fuel’

Coal demand in Europe went up for the second consecutive year in 2022, led by “strong growth” in electricity generation, where it has partly replaced gas as a backup power source, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Once eclipsed by cheaper and less-polluting Russian gas, coal is making a comeback in Europe to supply electricity when carbon-free sources like nuclear and renewables aren’t available.

And with gas prices expected to remain volatile for some time, the winds are blowing more favourably for European coal power generators, an IEA official said on Monday (23 January).

“In our forecast, despite the recent decline in gas prices, until 2025, coal is still more competitive than gas,” said Carlos Fern├índez Alvarez, who heads the IEA’s division on gas, coal and power markets.

Growing demand for coal was driven chiefly by the war in Ukraine and the need to reduce gas consumption following Russia’s decision to diminish supplies to Europe, according to the IEA’s 2022 coal report, published in December.

Alvarez said that the demand for coal in Europe was also pushed up by the decline in nuclear power generation coming from France, Germany, and Belgium.

“There is a gap [in power generation capacity] that needs to be filled. And with high gas prices, it’s coal” filling the gap, the IEA analyst said at a meeting organised by industry association Euracoal.

As a result, coal demand in Europe is set to grow for the second year in a row in 2022, the IEA indicated in its December report.

For many in Europe, Russia’s war in Ukraine brought an end to the assumption that gas would be used as a stepping stone to phase out coal power.

“Last year, we saw the end of the notion of gas as a transitional fuel,” said Radan Kanev, a Bulgarian conservative MEP. Rather, “the transitional fuel is the traditional fuel,” he added about growing demand for coal last year to replace Russian gas.

Coal’s resurgence in Europe is expected to be short-lived, however.

With EU pressure piling up to meet climate goals and reach net-zero emissions by 2050, the industry assumes that coal will have disappeared entirely from the EU’s electricity mix during the next decade.

“If you think it through, it implies that the electricity sector has to hit net zero already in 2035,” said Roger Miesen from RWE, a German power utility. In other words, coal generation in Europe is expected to go down “to virtually nothing in the 2030s,” he explained.

The EU, particularly Germany, will have significantly increased coal consumption and production by the end of the year, though structural decline is expected to start in the next three years, according to an International Energy Agency (IEA) report.

‘Wrong’ to focus just on coal phase-out

However, phasing out coal power also implies that alternative clean electricity generation capacity is scaled up in parallel to replace it.

According to Miesen, this is an aspect often overlooked in the public debate, which focuses chiefly on the need to phase out coal without considering whether the alternatives are available.

“In our perspective, that’s the wrong discussion,” he said, adding: “it’s even dangerous to do that because you might get security of supply problems”. “The right discussion is how do we get the alternatives in. When the alternatives are in, coal will leave anyway,” he said. But if the alternatives aren’t built quickly enough, the energy transition might simply “not happen,” he warned.

Another key question is whether coal will be needed to provide so-called “ancillary services” to the electricity grid, for example, to provide backup for renewables when unavailable.

“These services will not come as a by-product; someone needs to guarantee that they are provided, otherwise we are in a blackout,” Alvarez said.

In this context, Euracoal Secretary-General Brian Ricketts warned against a push from the gas industry to obtain government subsidies for building new gas power plants as a backup for renewables.

“The gas utilities are calling for subsidies to build those plants,” which is “absolutely amazing” given the current geopolitical volatility with gas, Ricketts told EURACTIV.

A cheaper option, he said, would be to utilise coal power plants, which are immediately available and do not require new investments.


Electric Vehicles Now More Costly To Operate Than Gas-Powered Cars

A new report found that in late 2022, a drop in fuel prices made gas-powered cars cheaper to drive than electric vehicles for the first time in 18 months.

According to the Anderson Economic Group, the average mid-priced gas-powered car cost around $11.29 to drive 100 miles compared to the average mid-priced electric car, which cost $11.60.

“The run-up in gas prices made EVs look like a bargain during much of 2021 and 2022,” AEG’s Patrick Anderson says. “With electric prices going up and gas prices declining, drivers of traditional ... vehicles saved a little bit of money in the last quarter of 2022.”

The difference between the cost to charge an electric car versus fueling a gas car was more pronounced when adjusted for the cost of commercial charging as opposed to home charging.

Charging a car commercially cost over $3 more than fueling a gas car for the same 100 mile trip. Luxury electric vehicles, however, were still cheaper to fuel by $7.56 per 100 miles, compared to their gas-powered counterparts.

To calculate the total cost of operating the vehicles, Anderson looked at the cost of the underlying energy, be it gas, diesel, or electric; state excise taxes charged for road maintenance; the cost to operate a gas pump or electric charger; and the cost to drive to a fueling station.

According to the Department of Energy, 2022 marked a tipping point for electric cars, as sales of the vehicles exceeded 7 percent of all new car shares for the first time, tripling from around 2 percent of new car sales in 2010.

Although there are multiple drivers of this trend, high gas prices throughout much of the past three years as well as tax credits, expanded on by the Inflation Reduction Act, have been contributing factors.

Until 2032, those who buy an electric vehicle can now receive a $7,500 tax credit per new vehicle or up to $4,000 per used vehicle. Businesses can also receive up to a $7,5000 tax credit for a new light vehicle or up to $40,000 for electric vehicles over 14,000 pounds.


Another State Just Joined the Fight Against ESG Investing

In the ongoing work to protect consumers and investors whose assets are managed by large firms from losing out due to woke priorities sold as "ESG," Oklahoma State Treasurer Todd Russ is putting financial companies on notice: confirm that you're not engaged in a boycott of energy companies or get banned from doing business with Oklahoma's state government entities. And that ban on doing business with the Sooner State could cost woke companies billions of dollars.

In a letter to dozens of financial companies — including familiar ESG-pushing names such as BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street — Treasurer Russ explained that the Oklahoma Energy Discrimination Act of 2022 requires him to "prepare and maintain a list of financial companies that boycott energy companies."

To create such a list, Russ' office "requests a written verification of your company's position regarding the boycott of energy companies, executed and verified by an authorized representative of your company" which must be completed and returned to the Oklahoma State Treasurer (OST) "no later than 60 days after receiving" Russ' letter. The treasurer notes that a company "may be presumed to be boycotting energy companies under Oklahoma law" if they "fail to timely respond" to OST's request.

Among the 15+ questions posed by OST to the financial entities are: "Has your company committed or pledged to meet environmental standards, such as reducing your greenhouse gas emissions, beyond applicable federal or state law with respect to its lending, investing, or underwriting portfolio, or with respect to the companies with which your company does business?" and "Do you belong to the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative?"

Getting listed on the State of Oklahoma's energy company-boycotting list "will prohibit Oklahoma governmental entities from investing in, and may potentially require divestment from your company, your company's affiliates and subsidiaries, or investment vehicles affiliated with your company, its affiliates, or subsidiaries," OST's letter further explained.

"I took office on January 9th and began compiling a list of companies, banks, and other entities that act against Oklahoma’s interests because of their ESG stance," Treasurer Russ said. "It is my responsibility to ensure Oklahoman’s tax dollars will not be used to enrich organizations that act counter to our taxpayers’ interests and our values," he explained. "Other states are taking similar steps, and Oklahoma joins them in asserting that we will not do business with financial companies who discriminate against or boycott our energy industries and businesses."

"This list is crucial to provide accountability for our government entities, including organizations responsible for pension funds such as the Oklahoma Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS), Teachers Retirement System (TRS) to ensure our constituents’ tax dollars are only invested in secure and verified financial companies that comply with Oklahoma law," Russ noted. "OPERS alone has more than 60 percent of their portfolio totaling more than $10 billion managed by BlackRock, a well-known adversary of energy businesses," he said.

That is, BlackRock alone could be out $10 billion just from one State of Oklahoma entity — and there were dozens of financial companies who received the OST letter and other Oklahoma entities from which energy boycotting companies could lose business.

Several other Republican-led states have taken similar actions to divest from financial companies pushing ESG priorities at the detriment of customers and the state's economy. Kentucky, Missouri, Texas, and others have worked to divest state funds from ESG-obsessed asset managers while 13 states took action to prevent Vanguard from buying up shares in publicly traded utilities with the goal of "decarbonizing" the energy industry and 19 states launched a probe of major banks' involvement with a United Nations alliance promoting ESG.




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